Plant of the Week: Blue stem goldenrod

The changing of seasons always brings new anticipation and excitement. At the High Line, the transition from summer to fall is distinctive. Many wildflowers reveal their different looks with fruits and seed heads after the bloom and the prairie grasses reach their prime. It's also a time when fall flowers begin showing their colors, and in the last few days, the Northern Spur Preserve has been particularly beautiful.

Located at West 16th Street, the Northern Spur Preserve is meant to evoke the original landscape of the High Line before it became a park, and its plantings reflect the wild beauty of such untamed habitat. At this time, the Northern Spur Preserve has the appearance of intricate patchwork of plant color and texture, and Solidago caesia is in bloom with elegant streaks of bright yellow color.

Photo by Ayinde Listhrop

Commonly known as blue stem goldenrod, Solidago caesia is a member of the Aster family, and native to woodlands, bluffs and rocky cliffs of central and eastern North America. It has arching, bluish stems and long, thin leaves; and clusters of small yellow flowers attract a wide variety of bees and butterflies. From late summer to fall, the Solidago species provide vital food sources for insects when many other local perennials cease doing so. It's true that some Solidago species have reputations of being weedy due to its aggressive rhizomatous growth and often being difficult to control. Solidago caesia, however, is clump-forming and doesn't spread aggressively. Another reputation of Solidago is that it causes hay fever. This is a simple misconception. Hay fever is actually an allergic reaction to wind-borne pollen from other plants such as grasses and ragweed. Solidago caesia is an attractive, easily grown plant, and great addition to native plant gardens, woodland gardens, or butterfly gardens.

Photo by Ayinde Listhrop

Visitors can see Solidago caesia and experience the Northern Spur Preserve from the adjacent ramp and the overlook.

PLANTING TIP:

Grow in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. It may become somewhat drought tolerant once established. Propagation is by seed or by division. USDA zone 4 to 8.

WHERE TO FIND THIS PLANT:

Solidago caesia can be found in the Northern Spur Preserve (between West 16th and West 17th Streets)

The High Line's planting design is inspired by the self-seeded landscape that grew up between rail tracks after the trains stopped running in the 1980s. Today, the High Line includes more than 500 species of perennials, grasses, shrubs, and trees – each chosen for their hardiness, adaptability, diversity, and seasonal variation in color and texture. Some of the species that originally grew on the High Line's rail bed are reflected in the park landscape today. Every week we share one of our gardeners' current favorites with you.

Our horticultural team counts on members and friends like you to help keep the High Line beautiful and thriving. Join our community of supporters who play an essential role in the High Line's most important gardening projects.


TD Bank is the Presenting Green Sponsor of the High Line.

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