Solidago gigantea
Common Name: early goldenrod
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Native Range: North America
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 3.00 to 7.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 6.00 feet
Bloom Time: August to October
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize, Rain Garden
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Butterflies

Culture

Easily grown in average, slightly acidic, moderately rich, moist to wet, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates light shade. Intolerant of full shade. Performs best with consistent moisture. Tolerates some flooding in spring. This is a rhizomatous, spreading, somewhat weedy plant that can rapidly colonize an area by creeping rhizomes and self-seeding. Removal of flower heads prior to ripening of seed, if practicable, will help prevent seed dispersal. Taller plants tend to lean over when flowers are in bloom. When grown in garden settings, plants may be cut back by 1/2 in June to reduce height and minimize the need for staking.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Solidago gigantea, commonly called early goldenrod or giant goldenrod, is a rhizomatous, upright perennial of the sunflower family. It is native from Quebec to British Columbia and throughout the 48 States except for Arizona. It is mostly found growing in moist conditions on stream/pond margins, floodplain woodlands, wet woods, thickets, wet prairies and bluff bases.

Glabrous central stems rise to 3-7' tall clad with numerous, narrow, alternate, lance-shaped, sharply-toothed, stalkless to short-stalked, glabrous, green leaves (to 3-5" long and 2/3" wide) which are tapered at each end. Central stems are topped in late summer to fall (August to October) with large horizontally branched terminal panicles (to 12" long) containing recurving branches filled with masses of tiny yellow flowers (each to 1/4"). Flowers are followed by achenes.

Goldenrods are attractive to bees and butterflies. Goldenrods have been wrongfully accused of causing hay fever which is actually an allergic reaction to wind-borne pollen from other plants such as ragweed.

Blooms earlier (sometimes beginning in July) than is the case with many other species of goldenrod.

Genus name comes from the Latin words solidus meaning whole and ago meaning to make in reference to the medicinal healing properties of some species plants.

Specific epithet is in reference to the size of this plant.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Susceptible to rust, powdery mildew and leaf spot. Root rot may occur in poorly drained soils. Potential insect pests include several different types of beetles, aphids and gall-forming insects. Plants can be aggressive spreaders in optimum growing conditions, but are generally not considered to be invasive in the U.S.

Garden Uses

Typically not planted in garden settings because of its spreading rhizomatous growth. Plants grow as somewhat unexceptional mounds of green foliage until the flowers explode into bloom in late summer.