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You’ve heard of Christmas in July? Well, this is Independence Day in September! Fireworks Goldenrod is quiet all summer—a fountain of clean, dark green foliage. Then, in early fall, the fuse is lit. The flower panicles burst open, looking like fireworks leaving golden smoke trails in all directions. Few Spirits bloom this late, making its performance that much more spectacular. Happy pollinators buzz their approval. Plant Fireworks Goldenrod in a mixed border, where it will shine during its season and simply blend into the background during the rest of the year. It’s also perfect for the rain garden, as it will tolerate poorly drained soil without complaint.
- Hardiness Zone: 5-9
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Fireworks Goldenrod was almost lost forever. Fireworks belongs to a species of Goldenrod known as Rough Goldenrod, a rather unremarkable species common to wet areas all over the eastern U.S. It generally grows tall and lanky and sports only modest flower clusters. Fireworks was special. Relatively small and compact, with big, showy inflorescences, it was far superior tothe rest. The problem? It was growing in a North Carolina pocosin (peat bog), which was due to be filled in to make an auto shop parking lot. Luckily, Ken Moore and some other folks from the North Carolina Botanical Garden saved Fireworks and some other treasures from the bog. It was introduced to the public in 1993.
Won’t Fireworks Goldenrod trigger my hay fever?, you may ask. No! Goldenrod is often blamed for causing allergies, although Ragweed, which blooms around the same time, is far more likely to be the real culprit. You can plant Fireworks Goldenrod without worry.
How to Grow
For best results, site Fireworks Goldenrod in full sun or very light shade. Regular moisture will keep it looking lush. Boggy soil is acceptable, too. If you wish to reduce the plant’s size, you can trim it back in early summer; this will force bushier, more compact growth. Cut old growth to the ground in late winter (or whenever it begins to look rough) to clear the way for fresh new shoots in spring. Songbirds may feed on the seeds in winter, so don’t be in a rush to tidy up.
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