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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Saturday - January 22, 2011

From: Manchaca, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Goldenrod recommendations for Buda, TX
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

I am looking for a Solidago species Goldenrod that is non-invasive and suited to the area around Austin/ Buda, TX. I prefer to use a native, non-hybrid, especially since I am adjacent to a wild area. Do you have a suggestion? Thanks for your help!

ANSWER:

You came to the right place! – We’re all for native, non-hybrid plants!  I searched the “Native Plants” database for Solidago and there were 29 species of Goldenrods that are native to Texas with many of them established in or near Travis County. In the “Recommended Species” list with the selection of Central Texas the number of choices was reduced to three:

Solidago gigantea (Giant goldenrod),   Solidago juliae (Julia's goldenrod), and Solidago nemoralis (Gray goldenrod)

 In chatting with the naturalists at the Wildflower Center, they are of the opinion that the Giant Goldenrod is aggressive in its growth habit. If you don't mind it growing in your wild areas, that is fine, as the tall flower stalks are very attractive.  Julia’s Goldenrod has little written about it.  S. nemoralis is referred to as Gray goldenrod, Prairie goldenrod, and Old field goldenrod. It was noted as native to Travis County and attracts butterflies. In addition, individual plants bloom at various times and therefore extend the flowering season. That would be the species that Mr. Smarty Plants recommends for you.

                                                    

               Solidago gigantea                                             Solidago nemoralis

In addition, in the recommended species list, S. nemoralis has two extra varieties mentioned which would also be good choices!

Solidago nemoralis var. longipetiolata (Gray goldenrod) and  Solidago nemoralis var. nemoralis (Gray goldenrod)

 

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