Hardiness of Goldenseal
Answered by: Richters Staff
Question from: Catherine Rodeck
Posted: Before April 1998

I am interested in growing GoldenSeal in a small S.E sloping maple woods here in Quebec. I would like to know if GoldenSeal is hardy in our area. Our area is zone 4, on the colder side of 4, because we are in the hills. Uses, goldenseal is rated hardy for zones 4-8. You are on the margin of its hardiness range. Your chance of success improves if you have excellent soil drainage, preferably in a spot with a slope, and you get good snow covers. We are not strong advocates of the hardiness zone system. At best zones should be used as an indication of hardiness, but by no means should gardeners allow themselves to be limited by them. Nor should they assume that plants rated hardy for their zone will always do well. Soil drainage, soil fertility, snow cover are some of the more important factors in northern regions. Humidity and lack of a cold dormant period are important factors in the southern zones. Experienced gardeners can often push the zone limits by employing simple techniques such as applying a winter mulch in areas where snow cover is not adequate.

In your catalog you use "P" and "TP" only to designate the hardiness of different plants. I have ordered plants with a "P" rating (i.e Lady Lavender) which does not survive our winter. Whereas "Nettle" with the same rating has no trouble. If there was a third rating of hardiness I would be able to decide on my own whether GoldenSeal is hardy enough for my area.

Our terms "perennial" ("P") and "tender perennial" ("TP") are relative to our zone 5. What does not survive at our farm outdoors reliably from year to year, is rated "TP". Some items that are marginally hardy in our area are rated "TP" but just a few kilometres to the south, they winter reliably. Our farm is located on the Oak Ridges Moraine just north of Toronto. It gets down to -25 degrees Celsius in winter and up to 30 degress C in summer. We get a good snow cover and our sandy loam drains very well.

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