Goldenrod: jewel or neophyte?

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The Common Goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea) used to be a very popular cottage garden plant. The richly flowering, unpretentious summer-flowering shrub has graceful inflorescences that tower in the summer to cloud-like tufts of color and enhance the sunny appearance of the robust shrub. In addition, the goldenrod was an important dye plant and also had a certain importance as a medicinal plant.

Goldenrod usurer fence pioneer plant

In front of the fence is behind the fence: the goldenrod likes to spread over a large area

Goldenrod as an invasive neophyte

When the Canadian Goldenrod and Giant Goldenrod were introduced to Europe from their North American homeland in the mid-fifteenth century, hardly anyone took notice of these species. Only in the 19th century they spread in the gardens - and soon in the wild. The invasive neophytes are typical pioneer plants: they often grow on railway embankments and fallow land, but also threaten the native vegetation, especially the ecologically very valuable dry grassland communities. Not only do the neophytes spread via subterranean rhizomes, they also multiply very strongly - in a short space of time, extensive goldenrod populations can emerge.

Garden-suitable Goldenrod

Unfortunately, the two North American species, with their dominant appearance, have brought the entire genus Solidago into disrepute. However, certain varieties of Goldenrod have the makings of decorative garden plants. As the species imported from North America are often found outdoors in locations where the native goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea) grows, there are also naturally occurring crosses that can have garden quality. In the Schau- und Sichtungsgarten Hermannshof and the Nürtingen University of Applied Sciences, around two dozen varieties were tested for their garden suitability. The following seven varieties were rated "very good" on both test surfaces: 'Golden Shower' (80 centimeters), 'Radiant Crown' (50 to 60 centimeters high), 'Juligold', 'Linner Gold' (130 centimeters), 'Rudi', 'Septembergold' and 'Sunshine', the first two of which belong to the standard range of perennial nurseries. With a grade of "good", they scored 'Cloth of Gold' (80 centimeters), 'Golden Gate' (90 centimeters), 'Goldstrahl', 'Late Gold' (70 centimeters) and 'Yellow Stone'.

Goldenrod Cloth of Gold

Goldenrod 'Cloth of Gold'

Not included in the sighting was the very valuable hybrid species of Goldenrod and Aster called x Solidaster 'Lemore'. Also worthy of garden is the horstig growing gold ribbon rod (Solidago caesia). The originating also North American Grape Goldenrod (Solidago petiolaris var. Angustata) flowers well into October and so late that their seeds do not ripen in our climate. Even the variety 'Fireworks' (80 to 100 centimeters) does not flatten out, nor proliferate. Also suitable for gardening is the autumn flowering goldenrod 'Golden Fleece' (60 centimeters). Although goldenrod can do a great deal of damage in the wild, it is certainly beneficial to the insect world as an important nectar and pollen plant. In addition, they flower quite late in the year - so at a time when the food for the honey bees is scarce in many places.

Design perennial beds with goldenrod

Goldenrod in the bed

In the bed, the glowing goldenrod can become a showpiece

A good location for the Goldenrod is the bed background, where her sometimes bare feet are covered. The plants thrive best in humus, nutrient-rich soil. Beautiful companions are Herbstastern, Sonnenauge, Sonnenbraut and Sonnenhut. Attention: Plan the location carefully and with enough space in the width. Removing a well grown solidago from the garden is a tedious job. You can dig it out or cover the surface with an opaque black foil. The rhizomes dry out and can then be removed. But it is best to plant varieties that do not proliferate from the beginning. If you already have a Goldenrod in the garden and are unsure what it is, trim the old inflorescences back in time in late summer. This will prevent self-sowing in any case.

Insects on a goldenrod

The Goldenrod is a medicinal plant and a good food source for countless species of insects

Goldenrod as a medicinal plant

The Common or Goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea) was already useful to the ancient Germans as a medicinal plant. Its anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant and diuretic effect is used for the prevention of kidney stones and for the treatment of throat infections, rheumatism and gout. In the trade, there are various finished preparations with goldenrod share. As a home remedy, a tea from Goldenrod avert a beginning bladder infection and be drunk preventively against stones. But beware: For known edema, heart and kidney disease is advised against the use.

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