Western Goldenrod

Euthamia occidentalis

Native Plant

Plant Category   
Flowering Time   Fall
Fruiting Time   
Planting Time   
Where to Plant   
Soil and Light   
Companion Plants   
Wildlife   Bees, butterflies, wasps, beetles, flies, and more.

Western Goldenrod

Euthamia occidentalis

Welcome to the vibrant world of Western Goldenrod, scientifically known as Euthamia occidentalis. These resilient and radiant plants play an essential role in supporting local ecosystems. And let’s debunk a myth while we’re at it – contrary to popular belief, Goldenrod does not cause hay fever; the wind-pollinated Ragweed – also a native plant – is the real culprit. 

Western Goldenrods are insect magnets during August and September while in full bloom, offering a late-season feast for many pollinators, from industrious bees to graceful butterflies. Notably, they are crucial in supporting Monarch populations that migrate through the San Lorenzo Valley before stopping to roost and overwinter in sites around Santa Cruz and Monterey.

But Goldenrods are more than pollen producers; they’re mini-ecosystems hosting a variety of insects. It is a nectar source for many insects, including bees, butterflies, wasps, beetles, flies, and more. As summer transitions into fall, Goldenrod becomes a crucial food source for birds, mammals, and insects alike, as it is one of the last food sources for many before winter weather stops nearly all insect activity.  

Goldenrods thrive in diverse environments, from sunny patches to drier soils, and serve as mini-ecosystems. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a nature enthusiast, Goldenrods are a must-have addition to your green space, providing beauty, biodiversity, and boundless joy all season long. 

Caring for Western Goldenrod

Caring for Goldenrod is a breeze – it thrives in sunny spots, tolerates various soil types, and is pretty drought tolerant, requiring little supplemental water once established. Spreading by rhizomes and wind-disseminated seeds, it forms colonies extending your patch and requiring little effort on your part beyond appreciating its beauty and the life it brings. Euthamia’s deep-rooted nature prevents soil erosion while anchoring and protecting fragile ecosystems, making it ideal for embankments. 

Propagating Goldenrod

Left undisturbed, a clump of Goldenrod might live for decades 

  1. When new growth starts in spring, lift the entire plant out of the ground with a shovel. If it is too big to remove in a single piece, do so in sections. Or, remove outer sections from the main clump. 
  2. Shake off any excess soil, which helps to separate the rhizomes into smaller sections. Use a sharp knife to separate away rhizomes. 
  3. Replant each section at the same depth found on the original plant and water well. Water the division until you see new growth. 

You can also propagate Goldenrod from cuttings:

  1. Cut stems 3 to 6 inches long with at least two nodes.
  2. Remove lower leaves. 
  3. Treat the cut end with rooting hormone if desired. 
  4. Plant cuttings in potting medium individually in separate pots or mass in a flat 
  5. Keep soil moist and transplant into the garden when you see new growth. 

 Pruning

  1. Pruning stem tips early in the season can result in Goldenrod plants becoming fuller and bushier, leading to more flowers later in the season. 
  2. Deadheading spent flower heads can prolong the bloom season well into fall. 
  3. At the end of the season or in late winter, cut the plant stalks back to a few inches above ground level.

By inviting these pollinators into your garden, you’re enjoying their beauty and boosting crop pollination!