Here on the West Coast of California, most of us know goldenrod only as a color of crayon. In most other parts of America though, it is a common wildflower that is colorful enough to be popular in home gardens. Yet, with more than a hundred specie, it is hard to say exactly which goldenrod, (Solidago spp.) the crayon color corresponds to. All are some shade of gold or yellow, but some are a bit more orange than others.
Most varieties of goldenrod that are available locally bloom in late summer or autumn. Some are still blooming prolifically now, on seemingly overloaded stems that stand taller than two feet. Shorter types that get only a few inches tall are probably unavailable. Perennial rhizomes spread slowly but surely, and can be divided to propagate new plants. Goldenrod needs full sun exposure, but not much water once established.
The blooms of goldenrod are just as interesting physiologically as they are colorful. The floral trusses of the most popular types are somewhat conical, but arching from their own weight. Each of these trusses supports a profusion of minute daisy-like flowers, which are actually composite flowers comprised of even smaller and more abundant florets! Bees and butterflies really seem to appreciate the floral redundancy!