Golden Creeping Jenny, Gold Moneywort
Lysimachia cv. ‘Aurea’ & ‘Goldilocks’
ROYAL HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY
AWARD OF GARDEN MERIT
Lysimachia nummularia L. is the correct and accepted scientific name for this species of Lysimachia. It was named and described by Carl von Linnaeus in Species Plantarum in 1753.
Plants of the World Online lists 256 accepted species in the Lysimachia genus (as of 2-22-19 when I am updating this page). The genus is a member of the Primulaceae family with 52 other genera. This information was found on Plants of the World Online which is a fairly new site and still uploading data. That, with the fact that further testing is ongoing means these numbers can change at any moment… There were 260 accepted species when I first wrote this page.
The Lysimachia genus was originally in the Primulaceae (Primrose) family, or at least it had been there for a long time. Several years ago it was reclassified and placed in the Myrsinaceae family. Not long after that, the Myrsinaceae family was included as a subfamily of the Primulaceae family and renamed Myrsinoideae. In other words, it is back where it was in the first place and probably where it belongs. Not all “groups” recognize the subfamily deal anyway.
The species Lysimachia nummularia can become quite invasive, but the gold-leaved cultivars are much less aggressive. They make nice additions to combination planters where their stems hang over the sides. I remember my grandma Miller (dad’s mom) had the green leaved type growing along their home when I was a kid. I am not sure how old I was, maybe 8-10, but I already had a flower bed along one side of my parents home where I grew up. I brought some cuttings of grandmas plants home and started it at my parent’s house. That was a very long time ago…
A good friend and fellow plant collector, Walley Morse, of Greenville, Mississippi gave me my first start of Creeping Jenny in the spring of 2012. I put in the west bed next to the sunroom at the mansion. It grew very well and I had plenty to spread around throughout the bed. It looked really well growing among the Purple Heart (Tradescantia pallida). The Purple Heart was from cuttings taken by Kyle Hall he picked up somewhere on one of his walks.
I sold the mansion in Mississippi to a group who renovated it and turned it into The Thompson House Bed and Breakfast. Dad asked me to move back to the family farm in mid-Missouri, so I did. I gave up around 200 plants but brought most of my succulents and some other plants I couldn’t part with. However, I did not think about bringing the Creeping Jenny. Life was a little strange without it so I was happy to see Lowe’s had the cultivar ‘Goldilocks’ in the spring of 2014.
I was glad dad told me I could do what I wanted on the farm and with the flower beds. You know, he is the third person that has told me that and none of them realized what was about to happen. 🙂
During the first summer, the Lysimachia nummularia ‘Goldilocks’ did very well but didn’t go crazy. Some websites indicate the Creeping Jenny grow to 3′ long but that is not exactly correct. Some websites also say they spread by rhizomes. Well, that may be although I am not sure about that either. In my experience, this plant sends out stems which branch out and take root along the leaf nodes. So, to say it grows 12″ long or even 36″ long is an understatement. It can, and wants to spread indefinitely.
During the winter I thought it was all but gone. It did come back but not where I had planted it.
Origin: Many European countries.
Zones: USDA Zones 3a-10b (-40 to 35° F)
Size: 1/4-1/2” x 12-18”, spreads indefinitely
Light: Sun to part shade. Yellow-leaved cultivars show the best color in more sun.
Soil: Prefers rich, moist, well-drained soil but does well in just about any soil.
Water: Average to wet, drought tolerant once established
Flowers: Yellow flowers in June although mine has not flowered.
Uses: Groundcover, containers
This is one plant that will go where it wants to get what it wants. It is spreading out into the yard, out of the flower bed, to get more sun. Dad didn’t know what to think about that… His suggestion was to put it back in the bed but I had a different opinion. It was a good reason to make the bed bigger.
It doesn’t hurt to give the Creeping Jenny a little cover for the winter although it needs to be loose. It doesn’t seem to like a covering of leaves packed on top of it. The above photo shows it being sheltered from old Iris leaves.
In our fourth summer together the Lysimachia nummularia ‘Goldilocks’ has spread to much of the bed which is what I hoped for. As I do a little weeding, it is not hard to accidentally pull up or break off pieces of this plant. I just put it in some bare spots and it takes root and grows.
This wanderer of a plant did very well during 2018.
January was very cold here, even several -10 days the first week. We didn’t have much snow all winter, so it was just plain cold. That isn’t good for many perennials. As usual, during the winter the Creeping Jenny completely disappeared without a trace. Then once we had a few warm days in a row, it would send up a shoot or two like it was checking if the coast was clear. Soon it was popping up in more places than it had been before.
It’s almost as if it grows underground during the winter.
So, despite the cold winter, the Lysimachia nummularia ‘Goldilocks’ will have a great and productive summer.
The Lysimachia nummularia nicely spread clear to the steps in 2018.
I always pretty much let the Lysimachia nummularia and the Oxalis stricta do as they please.
The Lysimachia nummularia ‘Goldilocks’ didn’t die back much this past winter. We had some cool temps but there was usually snow on the ground when it happened. I had written earlier that the Lysmachia had disappeared for the winter and wondered later why I had said that… Last winter it was completely gone like it had never been there. This winter the leaves changed color but the plants themselves remained intact. That probably means they will really spread this coming summer.
The Lysimachia nummularia is supposed to flower, some websites say “profusely”, but I have not seen any flowers on mine. I am going to put some cuttings in a few other areas to see how they do in more light. Maybe they will flower in a different location…
In the right conditions where it doesn’t completely die back in the winter, this plant will form a perpetual ground cover. It has a shallow root system, so it really doesn’t compete for moisture or nutrients. It is kind of sort of like a living mulch. Some gardeners may get a little frustrated that this plant spreads out into the yard or areas where you may not want it. Nature has a way of taking care of itself. This is not a big plant that can become obstructive or pose any kind of threat. It is just very friendly and wants to be part of your life and the other plants it grows among. If it gets out of its boundary, you can easily pull up what has grown in the yard and put it where you want it. No problem.
One more thing… Lysimachia nummularia is sometimes called Creeping Charlie by some. Creeping Charlie is actually the common weed Glechoma hederacea. Well, we all know many plants share common names.
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