Goldenrod is one of our most gorgeous fall flowers. In addition to beauty, it is also a valued late season source of food for a wide variety of native pollinators including butterflies such as the monarch. While its virtues are indisputable, goldenrod is rarely considered a desirable garden plant. A primary reason for this it spreads and often grows extremely tall. However, I want to share with you tip that just might make you less inclined to pull up goldenrods that often crop up in gardens across the state.
More than 30 species of goldenrods are native to Georgia. As such, various species of the plan thrive in a variety of habitats. In addition, some goldenrods grow to be only a couple of feet tall while others can attain heights of eight feet or more.
Like many of you, goldenrods volunteer in our flower gardens every year. Obviously, the goldenrods growing in my yard are tall varieties. These plants easily top out at six to seven feet tall. This requires us to pull them up. If we don’t, they completely shroud other plants growing nearby.
This year my wife taught me, a trick that makes these lofty nectar plants easily managed. In August, she trimmed a few of goldenrods down to where their stalks were approximately a foot tall.
“Long-tailed skipper feeding on blooms produced by a goldenrod pruned in August.”
Each plants responded by developing three to four stems. As summer gave way to fall, the goldenrods growing along the edge of our property grew to be as tall as expected and produced golden plumes of flowers.
Their tiny flowers were visited by lots of bumblebees, some monarchs, and a variety of other pollinators. This feeding activity ceased a few weeks ago.
Meanwhile, the pruned goldenrods continued to grow eventually topping out at three feet tall and just recently produced their crop of flowers. These blossoms could not have come at a better time. Although many pollinators still are active in our yard, with each passing day, it is becoming more difficult for them to find nectar and pollen. Our pruned goldenrods are helping meet their need. In addition, they are extending the goldenrod’s floral show into late autumn. The bonus is we have found a way to include goldenrod in our nectar gardens. Wow! A well-time pruning can make huge difference.