The shimmering heat of late summer actually can set off an explosion in your garden—particularly if you planted a clump of ‘Fireworks’ goldenrod. This showstopper, which was named a 2007 GreatPlant by Nebraska Statewide Arboretum, throws out arching horizontal spires of flowers, so it looks like the entire bush is full of golden-yellow fireworks. ‘Fireworks’ is a tough, long-blooming perennial that thrives in heat, tolerates both dry and moist sites, and attracts wildlife. Don’t worry about it causing long-lasting sneezes, either. Goldenrod is often blamed for aggravating hay fever, but the real culprit is ragweed, which blooms at the same time.
Common name: ‘Fireworks’ goldenrod, rough goldenrod
Botanical name: Solidago rugosa ‘Fireworks’
Plant type: Perennial
Zones: 4 to 8
Height: 2½ to 4 feet
• Sun: Full sun
• Soil: Average
• Moisture: Medium to moist
• Mulch: Mulch to preserve moisture in the soil.
• Pruning: None needed.
• Fertilizer: None needed.
• By cuttings or by division
Pests and diseases
• Vulnerable to fungal spots, powdery mildew, and rust.
• Not typically a target of pests.
• Goldenrod attracts bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies.
• Plant ‘Fireworks’ in front of a dark background (like evergreens) to get the most from its bright, showy color.
• Combine with asters, grasses, and fall-blooming prairie plants for a splendid autumn garden.
• Although some goldenrods can be aggressive, ‘Fireworks’ is said to be very well behaved. It does spread by rhizome, but slowly.
All in the family
• There are about 100 species in the genus Solidago, most from North America.
• Asteraceae, the aster or sunflower family, is one of the largest plant families, with 22,000 to 25,000 species.
Where to buy
• Bluestone Perennials, Madison, OH, 800-852-5243, www.bluestoneperennials.com
• RareFind Nursery, Jackson, NJ, 732-833-0613, www.rarefindnursery.com
• Sooner Plant Farm, Park Hill, OK, 918-453-0771, www.soonerplantfarm.com
(Text by Elizabeth Noll, photo of Solidago rugosa ‘Fireworks’ courtesy of Nebraska Statewide Arboretum)