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Maryland Native Plants: Golden Groundsel

A very versatile and vigorous plant!

a carpet of native golden groundsel in spring
Golden Groundsel in Spring

Golden groundsel (Packera aurea) is a very easy to grow, early blooming native perennial. Yellow flowers are beginning to bloom now throughout the central part of the Chesapeake watershed. If you see a stand of golden groundsel, it rivals ornamental forsythia (Forsythia) from Asia and Europe for cheery yellow gold color in spring.


Golden groundsel is an adaptable plant. It grows in shade, part shade and partly sunny locations and tolerates dry, medium or wet soils. Flower stalks grow up out of rosettes of foliage. Those rosettes make a great groundcover year round. Golden groundsel establishes quickly and spreads readily by both seeds and clumping. This can be a very good thing in the right place.


Slopes

golden groundsel, sedges and grasses planted by Native Roots Conservation Landscaping
Slope Planted by Native Roots Conservation Landscaping

Slopes can be challenging. Plants with extensive root systems work best. Golden groundsel is just such a plant. The golden groundsel blooming above was planted just last spring.

This fairly steep slope, along the edge of a community park in Washington D.C., was a quagmire of ivy, vinca and other invasives. Native Roots Conservation Landscaping, a family owned landscape business specializing in native plants in Washington D.C., removed the invasives, covered the slope with an inch of compost and a biodegradable jute netting for erosion control and planted 80% of the slope with grass and sedge plugs and 20% with quart sized perennials. One year in, the golden groundsel is already doing its thing!


Tree Lawns

Tree lawns, that strip of ground between sidewalks and the street, can be really difficult places to plant, particularly in urban areas. The ground is often very compacted, water is scarce and foot and pet traffic sort of seal the difficult situation for plants. I planted golden groundsel in just such an area in front of our house and, amazingly, it is doing well two years in. Tough plant!


Beds of Vinca and Ivy

Many of us with established gardens have beds planted with vinca, ivy or a mix of both. We know these are invasive plants but removal is a project. I always encourage friends starting native plant endeavors to first, make sure you are doing no harm. If you have invasives in your garden, the very best first step is to remove them. But not everyone can undertake the expense or the labor.


If you are in such a place, in the interim, you can improve things by adding a native perennial that can stand up to vinca and ivy. Golden groundsel is likely up to the task. Adding some natives will not remove problems posed by invasives but it will improve the situation until you can remove ivy and vinca.


Living Mulch

golden groundsel as living mulch

The best mulch ecologically, and work wise, is a living mulch. Covering bare soils with plants crowds out weeds and helps with moisture retention. Once established, there is no more need for the task of adding mulch. In shady areas, a fast spreading plant like golden groundsel really does the trick.


Golden groundsel works in a number of difficult places and is readily available from native plant nurseries. If you are looking for a perennial that will not spread, this is not the best choice! Bona Terra, Nature by Design and Wildflower Native Plant Nursery, all in the D.C. area, show it as available. Golden groundsel is also available by mail from Plant More Natives.


An easy to grow perennial bringing a punch of yellow before all of spring is here - gotta love that!









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We want you to be as excited about planting Chesapeake natives as we are. “Plant This or That” gives you a native alternative to popular plants. Other posts highlight really fabulous fauna native to the Chesapeake.

Nuts for Natives, avid gardener, Baltimore City admirer, Chesapeake Bay Watershed restoration enthusiast, and public service fan.

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