Growing Creeping Jenny: Growing Information And Care Of Creeping Jenny Ground Cover

Creeping jenny plant, also known as moneywort or Lysimachia, is an evergreen perennial plant belonging to the Primulaceae family. For those looking for information on how to grow creeping jenny, this low-growing plant thrives in USDA zones 2 to 10. Creeping jenny is a ground cover that works well in rock gardens, between stepping stones, around ponds, in container plantings or for covering hard to grow areas in the landscape.

How to Grow Creeping Jenny

Growing creeping jenny is relatively easy. Before planting creeping jenny, check with your local extension office to be sure that it is not restricted in your area due to its invasive nature.

Creeping jenny is a hardy plant that will thrive in full sun or shade. Purchase plants from nurseries in the spring and choose a site, in the

shade or sun that drains well.

Space these plants 2 feet apart, as they grow rapidly to fill in empty areas. Do not plant creeping jenny unless you are prepared to deal with its rapidly spreading habit.

Care of Creeping Jenny Ground Cover

Once established, creeping jenny plant requires very little up keep. Most gardeners prune this fast-growing plant to keep its horizontal growth under control. You can also divide the plant for better air circulation or to control spreading in early spring.

Creeping jenny requires regular water and does well with a little organic fertilizer when first planted. Apply mulch or organic compost around plants to help with moisture retention.

What Is the Difference Between Creeping Charlie and Creeping Jenny?

Sometimes when people are growing creeping jenny plant, they mistakenly think it’s the same thing as creeping charlie. Although they are similar in many ways, creeping charlie is a low-growing weed that often invades lawns and gardens, while creeping jenny is a ground cover plant that is, more often than not, a welcome addition to the garden or landscape.

Creeping charlie has four-sided stems that grow up to 30 inches. The roots of this invasive weed form nodes where the leaves join the stem. Creeping charlie also produces lavender flowers on 2-inch spikes. Most varieties of creeping jenny, on the other hand, reach a mature height of 15 inches with yellow-green, coin-like foliage that turns bronze in the winter and has inconspicuous flowers that bloom in early summer.

Your Guide to Creeping Jenny, Everyone’s Favorite Shiny Golden Ground Cover

How to Plant

Less is more should be Lysimachia nummularia’s motto. Due to its rapidly spreading nature, plant 12 to 18 inches apart. They will grow quickly to form a dense carpet anywhere from 4 to 8 inches tall. Planting in early spring is best to ensure its pretty summer blossoms, although Creeping Jenny will take root whenever the weather is mild and regular water is available.

Growing Conditions

Creeping Jenny needs consistently moist, but not soggy, soil. Often happiest in damp, low-lying areas of the garden where there’s room for them to spread and not cause trouble for neighboring plants. Don’t allow Creeping Jenny flowers to dry out between watering and plant in sun to partial shade. In hot climates, protect from direct afternoon sun—the heat may blanch the leaves and cause pronounced wilting.

Creeping Jenny Care & Maintenance

If the golden Creeping Jenny foliage begins to look tired, feel free to cut back. Once established, Creeping Jenny grows and recovers quickly. Some consider this plant to be invasive, so don’t leave to its own devices for too long or it will overtake a garden. Or, if spreading is a concern, try growing as a trailing, complimentary plant in a container or along the edge of a raised bed.

Flower Color

There’s something especially cheery about Creeping Jenny’s bright yellow flowers meandering along a pathway or spilling from a pot. Upturned, cup-shaped and 1-inch in diameter, they seem happy and eager to please!

Soil: Easily grown in moist, humus-rich, well-drained soils.
Light: Plants prefer some part afternoon shade in the southern growing zones, but flowers and foliage of yellow-leaved cultivars usually show best yellow color in full sun. Foliage is lime green in shade.
Water: Give a new plant a good soaking once a week during summer, unless rainfall is plentiful (more than 1″ per week). Established plants can generally get by on less water, but most grow best if the soil remains evenly moist.
Spacing: 18 inches
Fertilizing: We recommend against fertilizing at planting time and during the first growing season. Plants need time to settle and root in before being pushed to grow. Most established plants grow best if fertilized with a light hand. We fertilize perennials just once — in early spring — with a light but even coverage of a balanced, slow release fertilizer (Osmocote), or organic fertilizer.
Winterizing: No special care needed
Maintenance & pruning: Allowed to grow, the plant’s stems trail as much as 30 feet and root where their nodes touch the soil. Prune them as necessary to maintain a desirable length. Removing mature plants that spread too enthusiastically isn’t difficult, thanks to their shallow roots.

Plant of the Week: Moneywort (Creeping Jenny)

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture does not promote, support or recommend plants featured in “Plant of the Week.” Please consult your local Extension office for plants suitable for your region.

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Moneywort, Creeping Jenny
Latin: Lysimachia nummularia

The round, penny-sized leaves on the trailing stems account for the common names of moneywort or creeping Jenny for this plant.

In the last few days, I have gotten around to converting the trail in my shade garden from grass to a perennial groundcover. The groundcover I chose for most of the path was creeping Jenny, Lysimachia nummularia. I had finally given up on grass because the site was just too shady, so I needed a groundcover that would tolerate both the shade and moderate foot traffic.

Creeping Jenny – also know as moneywort – seemed the best choice.

Creeping Jenny is a fast growing, prostrate plant with pairs or round, penny-sized leaves along the slender stems that snake out from the center of the plant. It’s mostly evergreen in our area, especially if situated where it doesn’t get much direct wintertime sun. The stems root freely at the nodes.

Plants grow about 2 inches tall but will spread as wide as space permits. My shade garden path is lined with azaleas, so light will probably be too low for it to spread much beyond the path. In another portion of my garden I have used it to edge a border. There it creeps out into the lawn, but if I had to choose one, it would probably be the creeping Jenny.

The most common form of creeping Jenny in the nurseries is the golden-leafed cultivar ‘Aurea’ which has bright, chartreuse leaves in the spring that take on a somewhat more subdued tone as they age. The green form is available, but less common. For my pathway, I planted two-thirds green plants and interspersed a third golden plants. They will have to work it out amongst themselves to see which dominates.

Creeping Jenny belongs to the primrose family. It has yellow, upturned, five-lobed flowers in late spring. The flowers are a nice bonus, but the leaves that are its main appeal.

This is an old European garden plant with many common names. Linnaeus assigned the epitaph “nummularia”, which translates from Latin as “resembling a coin,” a reference to the round leaves. In England it was known as “Twopence” but, moneywort seemed a better choice on this side of the Atlantic.

But the most often used common name seems to be creeping Jenny. Who was Jenny? Though this involves some speculation on my part, the following explanation seems plausible, given the way language changes through common usage.

It turns out that this little herb was first grown as an herbal remedy. According to the Gerrard’s herbal of the early 17th century; “The herbe boiled in wine with a little honie, or meade, prevaileth much against the cough in children, called chinne cough.” The “chinne cough” to which he refers is what we know as whooping cough. It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to imagine “creeping chenny” changing to “creeping Jenny” as the old word for the disease fell into disuse.

Creeping Jenny is easy to grow, responding to extra watering or fertilization by just growing faster. In rich garden soils, it provides a cascade of stems and leaves that shoot out in all directions with the stems capable of making a foot or more of growth in a month.

In poorer soils, it spreads more slowly but still provides reasonably rapid cover. Once the groundcover trail is established, a couple mowings during the summer should keep it neat and tidy.

By: Gerald Klingaman, retired
Extension Horticulturist – Ornamentals
Extension News – June 24, 2005

The University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture does not maintain lists of retail outlets where these plants can be purchased. Please check your local nursery or other retail outlets to ask about the availability of these plants for your growing area.

Creeping Jenny, also known as moneywort, is an evergreen perennial plant found in Europe that grows well in most of the United States. Its rounded yellow leaves look great along pathways, spilling over containers, along the banks of lakes and rivers. Creeping Jenny blooms with yellow flowers from late spring into summer, and, depending on the area, into early fall. Creeping Jenny is a groundcover plant, meaning it grows low to the ground and spreads outward.

The spot where creeping Jenny is planted must be chosen with care, as a single plant can grow up to two feet wide, laying roots as it spreads, and damaging the roots of neighboring plants. Beware though, as this beautiful plant, with leaf colors that can range from green to golden yellow, can grow out of control and become invasive.

While there are different species of this plant available, golden creeping Jenny (which is often referred as just golden Jenny) is the one with the lovely golden hue, the information given here applies to all species.

Due to its rapidly growing and invasive nature, creeping Jenny is considered harmful to native plants in some states. Please check before planting to make sure it in not banned in your area.

Growing Conditions for Creeping Jenny

Creeping Jenny is not a demanding plant when it comes to growing conditions. It does well in most environments, but it thrives best in moist but well-draining soil with a lot of nutrients that is rich with organic matter. Full sun is preferred by creeping Jenny, and sunshine shows off its colors the best, but this plant also thrives in partial shade.

If these conditions aren’t available, don’t worry. Creeping Jenny is a hardy plant that will take root anywhere enough water is provided. If planted in a hotter climate, this plant will need partial or even full shade, as the heat from the afternoon sun can cause blanched leaves and wilting.

How to Plant Creeping Jenny

Creeping Jenny can be grown in containers, inside or outside, or planted in large open areas outdoors. If you are starting from a seed, it is best to plant that seed in a container first, as this makes it easier to keep the seed and seedling moist.

It is best to transplant grown creeping Jenny, either from its container or when it is purchased from a nursery, in the early spring. This will allow the plant to take root enough that it will blossom in the summer.

When planting creeping Jenny, make sure to leave enough room between each plant—about 12 to 18 inches, so there is enough room for them to spread. Do not let newly planted creeping Jenny dry out for the first week after planting. If planted in a cool humid area, these plants need less watering than if they were planted in a hot, dry area. Make sure that the soil is kept moist when first planted so that it can take root.

Given the right conditions, creeping Jenny can grow and spread up to two feet very quickly. Make sure before planting that this plant is in an area where it will not harm others. If necessary, barriers, such as rocks, can be placed to keep this plant contained.

Care of Creeping Jenny

Once creeping Jenny is planted, there are no major care concerns. Pests are unlikely to bother this dense ground covering, and there are no major diseases that are known to affect this plant. It may develop rust or leaf spot, but these minor problems usually go away on their own. Because Creeping Jenny is plant that is in need of a lot of moisture, mold sometimes develops. If this is the case, water the plant from underneath, and give the leaves the ability to fully dry.

If planted in an area where slugs are an issue, all slug-concealing debris needs to be removed. Give the plants full sun and water from below to make this plant less habitable for these pests. If the slugs are being stubborn, scatter iron phosphate around the plant and along the slug trails. This nontoxic bait will get rid of the most persistent of slug infestations.

Don’t be afraid to prune, or trim back, creeping Jenny if it starts to grow where it does not belong. Due to its shallow roots, this plant is easy to pull if it starts to grow in an area where it is not supposed to. This is not a permanent solution, as this plant grows and recovers quickly. Make sure to remove any dead flowers. The blooms are how Creeping Jenny spreads its seeds, so it’s especially important to do this if the creeping Jenny is located next to an area where unwanted seedlings are not welcome.

If you are looking for a plant that’s easy to care for and hardy, creeping Jenny may be the answer. When planted in an area with enough moisture and humidity, creeping Jenny requires almost no help from the gardener to grow fabulously. If planted in a hotter and drier area, this plant will need constant watering, but it should still grow well if given enough shade.

Unfortunately, there are some considerations that must be taken into account before going out and purchasing this plant. Primarily, gardeners should know that sometimes, it grows a little too well. Creeping Jenny grows rapidly, and, if planted in area where it does not have enough room to spread, requires constant pruning and pulling to make sure it does not encroach where it is not wanted. Due to its invasive nature, creeping Jenny is banned in some areas, so make sure to check that it is allowed in your area before falling in love with its range of colors and cheerful yellow flowers.

The good news is that this plant grows well in containers, both inside and outside. So, if you are still interested in growing this gorgeous evergreen perennial but don’t have space in a yard, considering planting it in a pot. The yellow leaves look like a golden waterfall spilling over the sides, adding a splash of color wherever creeping Jenny is placed.

Abbie Carrier graduated from Texas Woman’s University with a Bachelor of Science in history and a minor in political science, and is currently working on a Master’s of Arts in Arts Administration from the University of New Orleans. With this degree, she hopes to gain a position in museum curation and currently works as a grant writer for nonprofit organizations. She enjoys writing about the arts, history, and politics, and topics related to science, health, lifestyle, and entertainment.

Learn more about Creeping Jenny

Fine Gardening writes about creeping ground covers and golden creeping jenny.

Gardening Know How

Sunset

How to Winterize Creeping Jenny

Creeping Jenny is thought to be invasive in most of the United States. However, many people still plant it in their gardens because it makes nice ground cover. It is hardy through zones 2 to 10, so it can stand a lot of climate variety. In warmer climates, creeping Jenny is an evergreen instead of a perennial. However, in colder climates, winterizing creeping Jenny is needed. Winter care for creeping Jenny is very simple though.

Continue watering creeping Jenny as normal until the ground freezes. Creeping Jenny likes moist soil and thrives in damp environments. If your creeping Jenny is in a drier part of your garden, add extra water as winter approaches. If your creeping Jenny grows near a pond, no extra steps are needed.

Trim back creeping Jenny’s flowers if any are remaining. Also trim off any dead or damaged foliage. Leave only the green foliage on your creeping Jenny.

Spread your creeping Jenny over other perennials after the first frost if they are nearby. Creeping Jenny will act as a natural mulch and keep the ground warm for the flowers beneath it. Remember to remove the creeping Jenny in the spring before if takes root and crowds out your other flowers.

Allow creeping Jenny to die back naturally in the cold and leave it alone. In USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 5b and lower, creeping Jenny turns brown for the winter, but it will come alive again in the spring.

Stop watering creeping Jenny once the ground has frozen. Do not water it again until the ground thaws out in the spring.

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