Elm-leaved Goldenrod against the coming fall red of Shenandoah Switch Grass

Elm-leaved Goldenrod against the coming fall red of Shenandoah Switch Grass

This photo from Dr. John Hilty's Illinois Wildflowers web site shows the golden color of ray and disk flowers and their upward facing orientation to advantage.

This photo from Dr. John Hilty's Illinois Wildflowers web site shows the golden color of ray and disk flowers and their upward facing orientation to advantage.

Solidago ulmifolia, Elm-leaved Goldenrod

Elm-leaved Goldenrod (Solidago ulmifolia) blooms are filling the garden here and there with soft golden explosive arcs of golden yellow color in the late afternoon sun.

A goldenrod that prefers light shade, this species is found in the wild in woodland edges, mesic to upland woods and partially shaded stream banks among other lightly shaded places where it blooms late summer to early fall for approximately 3-4 weeks.

Elm-leaved Goldenrod grows to a maximum height of usually about 3 feet on a single unbranched stem. Its root system includes secondary fibrous roots and rhizomes which allow it to form colonies.  To date I have not found this problematic in my garden where I enjoy its delicate shoots of color against ‘Shenandoah’ Switch grass in the fall light.  

Elm-leaved Goldenrod prefers a loam or sandy loam soil or one with some stone. It is easily grown in the garden, proof of its preference for mesic to slightly dry soil moisture.

The flowers of the native goldenrod are literally humming with activity. A broad variety of bees are busy collecting nectar and pollen.  Other visitors include various wasps, flies, and beetles among others.  A number of moth caterpillars also feed on goldenrods.  Leaves may be occasionally eaten by rabbits and deer.  Goldfinch, juncos and tree sparrows eat the seeds into the winter as long as supplies last.

This is a lovely goldenrod to add to your shade garden. Remember, if it grows too tall for your taste, try cutting it back to about 8 inches in early June.  Also remember, goldenrods do not cause hayfever.  Their pollen is too heavy to be wind-borne.  Rather, our two native ragweeds are the culprit behind your sneezes and congestion!