FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Solidago canadensis ‘Crown of Rays’ is a compact clumping perennial wildflower. This cultivar is robust but less vigorous than the parent species. Plants have sturdy stems and lance shaped leaves. From late summer until autumn, foliage is topped by attractive golden-yellow flower panicles. This goldenrod prospers in sunny moist or dry sites.
HABITAT & HARDINESS: The parent species Solidago canadensis ranges through most of North America. The species occurs throughout Canada, Alaska and in the contiguous United States except for a few southeastern states.
Indigenous plants are found in disturbed parts of mesic or dry prairies, limestone glades, savannas, open areas in floodplain and upland woods, gravel seeps, thickets, disturbed fields, power line and railroad rights-of-way and roadsides.
‘Crown of Rays’ was developed in Europe as a commercial cut flower. This cultivar is notable for its sturdy compact habit, large flower panicles and early bloom time.
Plants are hardy from USDA Zones 3-8.
PLANT DESCRIPTION: Solidago canadensis ‘Crown of Rays’ is a low growing vase shaped perennial with pubescent green or tan stems.
Leaves are alternate and sessile. Blades are lance shaped and tapered at each end with toothed or smooth edges.
From mid-summer until early autumn, stems are crowned by showy plume like flower panicles. The inflorescences are large with spreading horizontal branches densely packed with small golden flowerheads.
The florets mature into small ribbed achenes crowned by tufts of hair.
Plants grow 1.5-2’ tall with a 1-1.5’ spread. They spread at a moderate to rapid rate forming colonies from creeping underground rhizomes.
CULTURAL & MAINTENANCE NEEDS: Solidago canadensis ‘Crown of Rays’ thrives in sunny sites with well drained, slightly acid, dry to average soils.
Plants tolerate part sun, sandy, loamy or clay soils, drought and seasonal flooding. Plants will survive extended drought but may develop powdery mildew.
In ideal growing conditions, plants can colonize and spread by underground rhizomes.
To prevent seed dispersal and encourage rebloom, plants can be deadheaded. This cultivar can be divided in early spring if needed.
LANDSCAPE USES: Solidago canadensis ‘Crown of Rays’ is a good Butterfly Nectar Plant or Cut Flower. Plants have Showy Blooms and are appropriate for a Grouping or Mass Planting in Perennial Borders, Meadows, Rain Gardens or Wildlife Gardens.
COMPANION & UNDERSTUDY PLANTS: Try pairing Solidago canadensis ‘Crown of Rays’ with Aster ericoides, Aster novae-angliae ‘Purple Dome’, Chyrsopsis mariana, Eupatorium hyssopifolium Liatris spicata or Panicum virgatum 'Rostrahlbusch'.
Solidago sphacelata 'Golden Fleece' is another compact goldenrod cultivar with similar cultural needs that could substitute in some situations.
TRIVIA: ‘Crown of Rays’ is also known as ‘Strahlenkrone’. The cultivar name means “Aureole” and is defined as a halo-like radiant light around the sun or around the head or body of a sacred person.
Seed is windborne but pollen is not. So Solidago spp. is often falsely accused of causing allergies.
The pollen and nectar entice native bees, wasps, flies, beetles, butterflies, moths, lacewings and hoverflies.
The parent species Solidago canadensis has infiltrated and become an invasive weed in parts of Europe, China and Japan. This cultivar is reported to be much less aggressive than the parent species.