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We have a tough dry spot in the garden (USDA zone 4) about 2' x 5' where a goldenrod cultivar would go nicely. The native species, although attractive, has a tendency to seed freely and be almost impossible to remove.

Are the cultivars more manageable, or do they seed freely and propagate by rhizomatous roots like the native species?

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Two years later the clumping variety are very nicely behaved. They flower reliably, do not sow seed all over the place and stay in place. – kevinsky Jun 30 '14 at 23:26
up vote 5 down vote accepted

It really depends on the exact variety you choose, some are "clump forming", while others are more like the native species you mentioned -- will naturalise.

Varieties that naturalise can be controlled (somewhat) by dividing the plant every 2 or 3 years.

Some "clump forming" varieties:

Some "will naturalise" varieties:

All of the above plants are approved for UDSA hardiness zone 4.

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