Plant A Goldenrod For Pollinators

It’s National Pollinator Week! In celebration I wanted to highlight a family of wildflowers that is one of the most beneficial for our native pollinators: the Goldenrods.

Florida has dozens of native goldenrod species, all in the Solidago genus. They all bloom in late summer, fall and sometimes through the winter in warmer climates. The genus is known for it's stalks covered in clusters of small, sunny yellow blooms. Goldenrods are often incorrectly blamed for seasonal allergies because the showy blooms open at the same time as the ragweed plant-the real culprit. Goldenrod pollen is not airborne, it relies on pollinators to move it from plant to plant and rewards these busy insects with rich nectar and pollen to eat. The goldenrods are an indispensable source of nectar and pollen in the fall and I rarely see a plant in bloom that isn’t being used by bees, butterflies, beetles, wasps or other insects.

We have a few of our favorite native goldenrod species in stock now. They are all reliable perennials and bloom in late summer through fall;

  • Seaside Goldenrod, Solidago sempervirens- adaptable to many soils, salt-tolerant. Tolerant of wet soils and drought tolerant once established. Very showy stalks of blooms 3-6ft tall. Plant forms a clump and will reseed, but not aggressively. Full to part sun.
  • Sweet Goldenrod, Solidago odora- pretty pyramidal clusters of yellow blooms atop stalks 3-4ft tall. Average garden soil, adaptable to clayey soils. Anise-scented foliage is used in teas. Clump grower, reseeds. Full to part sun.
  • Downy Goldenrod, Solidago petiolaris- one of the most uniform and ornamental, forms a clump 2-3ft tall-doesn’t spread. Average soil and water needs. Full sun.
  • Wand Goldenrod, Solidago stricta- sends up tall, thin ‘wands’ 2-4ft tall topped with blooms. Adaptable to many soil types. Full to part sun.
  • Wreath Goldenrod, Solidago caesia- arching branches of blooms on 2ft tall stalks. Reseeds and spreads by root. Full sun to part shade.