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Becca Dickstein / Native Roots

Golden groundsel excellent alternative for ground cover

Golden groundsel is one of the earliest flowering native plants in our region, flowering from early March and into April.

As its name suggests, its flowers are deep yellow, about three-forth inch across, and make it a favorite for spring. Golden groundsel blooms with multiple flowers on each plant, held high above the foliage — the flower spikes are usually 14 to 24 inches tall. Each plant blooms for about two weeks. After flowering, it can be mowed.

Consider planting golden groundsel as a ground cover instead of Asiatic jasmine, English ivy or vinca. Its evergreen leaves remain green, even in a dry summer. When not blooming, golden groundsel is 3 to 6 inches tall, with rosettes of ovate, 1 to 2 inches long, deep green leaves with serrated edges. Its bottom-most leaves may be purplish on their undersides.

Golden groundsel’s roots are stoloniferous, forming runners that make dense colonies. It can be propagated by transplanting the new plants formed by the stolons.

Golden groundsel should be planted in shade, part shade or dappled shade.

It is adaptable to most soils, but like many other natives, it needs good drainage. It can be part of a woodland or formal shade garden, mixing with native violets, Hinkley columbine, white avens, horseherb or lyreleaf sage.

Look for the NICE! Plant of the Season signs and information sheets on your next visit to a North Texas nursery. Participating nurseries include: Four Seasons Nursery, Meador Nursery and Painted Flower Farm, all in Denton; Schmitz Garden Center in Flower Mound; and Shades of Green Nursery in Frisco.

BECCA DICKSTEIN is a member of the Trinity Forks Chapter, Native Plant Society of Texas. Dr. Dickstein is also a member of UNT’s Biological Sciences faculty.