FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Solidago rugosa ‘Fireworks’ is an upright perennial wildflower with sturdy pubescent stems. Leaves are narrow and lance shaped with a wrinkled surface. From late summer until autumn, plants are crowned by attractive bright yellow flower sprays. This lovely goldenrod prospers in sunny sites with moist well-drained soil.
HABITAT & HARDINESS: The parent species Solidago rugosa occurs over a wide range in eastern and central North America. The species is indigenous to wet sandy prairies, swamps, marshes, gravelly seeps, low open woods, pine barrens, swampy meadows and thickets, bogs, moist sand dunes, rocky cliffs or bluffs and abandoned fields.
‘Fireworks’ was selected by Ken Moore of the North Carolina Botanical Gardens in Chapel Hill. The plant originated in a North Carolina coastal plains population and was introduced into the trade in 1993 by Niche Gardens. This cultivar has a compact habit and showy 18” long arching flowering stems.
Plants are hardy from USDA Zones 4-9.
PLANT DESCRIPTION: Solidago rugosa ‘Fireworks’ is a mounding clumping perennial with an attractive semi-evergreen basal rosette.
Stems are sturdy with deep green leathery leaves. The blades are lance-shaped, toothed and rugose with indented veins that impart a wrinkled appearance.
From late summer until fall, stems are terminated by bright lemon yellow flower panicles. The inflorescences are narrow and cascading and are often compared to the arching paths of a fireworks display.
The panicles are produced in abundance covering the plant with a lacy mantle of blossoms.
Florets mature into small bullet shaped achenes crowned by tufts of hair.
Plants grow 3-4’ tall with a 2-3’ or wider spread.
CULTURAL & MAINTENANCE NEEDS: Solidago rugosa ‘Fireworks’ thrives in sunny well drained, slightly acid, average, mesic or wet soils.
Plants tolerate light shade, slightly alkaline pH, sandy, gravelly loamy or clay soils and some drought.
Plants proliferate from rhizomes gradually becoming large beefy clumps. They may also self-seed but generally will not come true.
LANDSCAPE USES: This is a good choice for use as a Butterfly Nectar Plant, Grouping or Mass Planting in a Wildlife Garden or Meadow. Solidago rugosa ‘Fireworks’ has Showy Blooms and is appropriate for Cottage Gardens, Low Maintenance Plantings, Perennial Borders and Rain Gardens.
COMPANION & UNDERSTUDY PLANTS: Try pairing Solidago rugosa ‘Fireworks’ with Aster laevis ‘Bluebird’, Chyrsopsis mariana, Eupatorium hyssopifolium Liatris spicata, Panicum virgatum or Sorghastrum nutans.
Solidago rugosa could be substituted in naturalized areas.
TRIVIA: Solidago rugosa ‘Fireworks’ provides late season nectar and pollen for native bees, wasps, Monarchs and other butterflies, moths, beetles and pollinating flies. Caterpillars of several moths feed on the foliage and seed are eaten by songbirds.
In the Chicago Botanic Garden’s five-year goldenrod evaluation, Solidago rugosa ‘Fireworks’ received the highest rating.
The North Carolina Botanical Garden relates that ‘Fireworks’ was first encountered during a plant recue in the mid-1970’s near Wilson, North Carolina. The plants were being saved from a unique evergreen shrubby sphagnum peat bog habitat called a pocosin. The bog was due to be filled, paved and used as a parking lot for an adjacent automobile repair shop. The rescuers harvested pitcher plants and native shrubs and replanted them in the Garden’s Coastal Plains Habitat Display. Garden Superintendent Ken Moore began to admire this goldenrod in the planting and later made the selection.
AKA Oligoneuron rigidum 'Fireworks'