Golden creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia "Aurea") is often thought of as a nuisance in the yard because of how well it spreads. It's one of those plants that straddles the line between an obnoxious invasive and a beautiful ornamental.
Though it can quickly take over a large part of your garden, it is also incredibly easy to grow and adds color and a softening of any hard edges wherever it's planted. 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 and doesn't threaten your yard (if you don't tempt it).
Golden creeping Jenny is also called moneywort because the leaves are shaped like tiny coins. It is a member of the family Primulaceae and is hardy in United States Department of Agriculture 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. Although 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 plant's sun exposure: golden yellow in full sun and chartreuse green in partial shade. In hot climates, afternoon sun may cause its leaves to blanch.
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 in its container.
Due to its resilience, creeping Jenny is easy to propagate. The plant naturally spreads by both seeds and rhizomes and can be rooted in water 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.
Potted 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 and may not be available at your local nurseries. However, the golden or "Auria" varieties are not as invasive as the green.
Even if you plant it in containers and keep them away from the yard, be careful when dumping out your pots at the end of the season. It can quickly establish itself and grow like wildfire, a fact your neighbors may not appreciate. In fact, it's not uncommon for the seeds of this determined plant to sneak out of a container and reach the lawn, where they will root and spread.
If you take care with your creeping Jenny, you can overcome the plant's bad reputation. It really is a lovely ornamental.
Design Ideas With Creeping Jenny
Use creeping Jenny as a spiller plant in pots and hanging baskets. Pair it with taller plants that it won't smother rather than small low-growers. When designing your containers, creeping Jenny's foliage colors will contrast well with dark green foliage and brightly colored flowers.