Golden creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’) is often thought of as a nuisance in the yard. It's one of those plants that straddles the line between an obnoxious invasive and a beautiful ornamental.
While it can quickly take over a large part of your garden, it is also incredibly easy to grow and adds a great pop of color to the yard. For these reasons, you might consider planting creeping Jenny in containers where it can become an elegant, sweeping plant that hangs over the edge of pots.
Golden creeping Jenny is also called moneywort because the leaves are shaped much like coins. It is a member of the family Primulaceae and is hardy in zones 3-9.
Creeping Jenny is a perennial plant with bright, small yellow flowers. Though the blooms won't last long, they are pretty. For that reason, this low-growing "creeper" is best grown for its foliage, which makes an excellent ground cover.
It is often confused with creeping Charlie, another invasive yard plant. While the foliage is similar, creeping Charlie has small purple flowers rather than the yellow found in creeping Jenny.
Creeping Jenny prefers moist, well-draining soils and can even be found along riverbanks where the soil is very wet. It will thrive best in full sun to partial shade. The leaves will be a different color based on the sun exposure: golden yellow in full sun and chartreuse green in partial shade.
The main problem most people have with creeping Jenny is that it spreads. If you plant it in the garden, it can quickly take over a spot if it's not kept under control. However, if your soil is on the drier side, that will impede some of its growth. It will not tolerate completely dry soil, however, so don't let it dry out.
Due to its resilience, creeping Jenny is very easy to propagate. The plant naturally spreads by both seeds and rhizomes and can be rooted in water very easily. The easiest way to establish new plants is to dig up a portion of an established patch, separate it, and plant it in new soil.
Creeping Jenny does well when overwintered in an unheated garage.
A Bad Reputation
Creeping Jenny is considered to be an invasive plant, in some places. However, the golden or 'Auria' varieties are not as invasive as the green.
While it's not banned, even if you plant it in containers, be careful when dumping your pots at the end of the season. Be aware that it can quickly establish itself and grow like wildfire, a fact your neighbors may not appreciate. In fact, it's not uncommon for this determined plant to sneak out of a container and reach out to the lawn where it will root and spread.
If you choose wisely and keep an eye on your creeping Jenny, you can overcome the plant's bad reputation. It really is a lovely ornamental, though it will require your attention.