Phyllis Webster earned a degree in journalism before embarking on a long career in public relations and marketing. A Granbury resident since 1998, she has been deeply involved in the community. She is an award-winning writer and photographer, as well as a Master Gardener. She has authored Garden Patch since 2001.
firstname.lastname@example.org | 817-680-4849
Goldenrod Signals Fall
Texas has the opportunity for a “second spring” in years when fall brings cooler temperatures and rain. Roses, salvias and other perennials bloom, ornamental grasses flaunt their seedheads and newly planted annuals flourish. When drought and high heat persists well into September, the chance of a second spring diminishes.
In this scenario, many summer-blooming plants will likely remain dormant. However, shorter autumn days will trigger the growth and bloom of fall ornamentals, such as chrysanthemum, aster, goldenrod, Mexican bush sage and Mexican mint marigold. Their ability to develop to their full potential likely depends upon available moisture.
Texas native plants have a better potential to thrive during drought and heat, particularly those that naturally grow along roadsides, in pastures and in other undeveloped areas. Goldenrod, for instance, is a perennial wildflower that reliably produces bright yellow flower clusters atop tall stems from late summer until frost. It is so prolific that it’s often thought of as a weed. And because it appears at the same time as ragweed, it is mistakenly thought to cause allergies.
In North America, more than 100 goldenrod species exist as well as numerous cultivars. They thrive in myriad environments, including meadows, woodlands, and swamps. Goldenrod is a forgiving plant that adapts well to cultivation in Zones 2-8. It blooms best in full sun to mostly sunny conditions. Goldenrod also tolerates poor, rocky soils and drought.
When flowering, goldenrods produce nectar for bees, butterflies, and wasps. As blooms fade and seed develops, birds enjoy the feast. Likely because of its spicy fragrance, goldenrod is deer resistant.
Goldenrod naturalizes easily in gardens, so give it room to spread. It propagates by wind-driven seeds and multiplies by underground rhizomes. If space is limited, contain the plant’s spread either by dividing it every two to three years, removing spent blooms before they go to seed, surrounding the plant with edging placed deep enough to limit root spread or by growing it in pots. Containerized plants may be sunk into the ground in garden beds, assuming the pots have adequate drain holes.
When planting, site goldenrods in well-drained soil where it receives very little supplemental water. Do not fertilize. Giving the plant fertilizer, too much shade or too much water will result in tall, floppy foliage and fewer blooms. Taller varieties grown in rich soils may require staking. Mulch around plant roots annually to conserve water and reduce weeds.
Goldenrod species vary in size and appearance. Cultivars are less aggressive spreaders than their native counterparts. In late winter, cut plant stalks to within a few inches of the ground.
For answers to your horticulture questions, please call the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Hood County at 817-579-3280 or go online to visit lakegranburymastergardeners.org.