Grow Green and Gold: The Beauty of Chrysogonum Virginianum

When it comes to choosing a sprawling ground cover plant, the options can be overwhelming. However, one plant that stands out with its dainty, star-shaped yellow flowers and spooned leaves is Chrysogonum virginianum, also known as green and gold. This perennial evergreen ground cover is not only visually stunning but also provides great forage for native birds in the eastern United States.

Quick Care Guide

Before we delve into the specifics of caring for this incredible lawn alternative, let’s take a quick look at the essential care guidelines for Chrysogonum virginianum. Here are the important factors to consider:

Chrysogonum virginianum
Image source: FritzFlohrReynolds

  • Scientific Name
  • Common Name(s)
  • Family
  • Height and Spread
  • Light
  • Water
  • Soil
  • Fertilizer
  • Pests and Diseases

All About Chrysogonum Virginiaum

Scientifically known as Chrysogonum virginiaum, this perennial herb belongs to the Asteraceae family. Its hairy leaves and clusters of bright yellow flowers that grow from leaf axils add a touch of elegance to any garden. Native to the eastern United States, from New York to Florida and Louisiana, this plant is a perfect addition to native plant gardens, woodland gardens, woodland paths, and shade gardens.

Golden Star Plant
Image source: FritzFlohrReynolds

Chrysogonum Virginiaum Varieties

There are three main varieties of Chrysogonum virginianum, each with its own unique characteristics. While all form a foliage mat, some have a bushier appearance, while others work best as ground cover plants.

  • Chrysogonum virginianum var. australe: Found in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, this variety features low-growing mats of dark green leaves and yellow disk flowers. It is ideal for those seeking low-maintenance plants.

  • Chrysogonum virginianum var. brevistolon: Also known as the golden star plant, this variety is perfect for woodland paths and rock gardens. Its bright green foliage and showy yellow disk flowers resemble daisies and can bloom from spring to fall in cooler climates.

  • Chrysogonum virginianum var. virginianum: The most common variety, this cultivar produces daisy-like yellow flowers from March to October. It retains its evergreen leaves throughout the year, making it an excellent choice for rock gardens and low-growing ground cover.

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Caring for Chrysogonum Virginiaum

Green and Gold Plant
Image source: scadwell

Chrysogonum virginianum, also known as golden star, is a low-maintenance plant that requires minimal effort to care for. Here are some important care tips to ensure its health and vitality:

Light and Temperature

Chrysogonum virginianum thrives in locations with partial shade to full shade, or areas with sun-dappled shade. While it can tolerate full sun, it is important to keep the soil consistently moist. In regions with hot summers, provide ample shade to prevent browning. In colder regions, expect the plant to die back in winter, but it should return in spring.

Water and Humidity

These plants prefer medium to wet soil. If you choose to plant them in a sunnier or windier location, ensure frequent watering to prevent the soil from drying out. During the heat of summer, increase the watering frequency to maintain moderate humidity.

Soil

Chrysogonum virginianum thrives in neutral or slightly acidic soil with a pH value below 6.8. While it can tolerate wet soil, proper drainage is crucial to avoid root rot. Incorporate organic matter such as composted pine bark into heavy clay soils to improve drainage. Well-drained soils are essential for the plant’s overall health and growth.

Fertilizer

While not necessary, you can use a slow-release organic fertilizer for Chrysogonum virginianum. Mix it into the top 1″ of soil before planting or sprinkle it on the surface in spring. Be cautious not to over-fertilize, as native plants usually require little external assistance.

Pruning Green and Gold

Feel free to snip the flowering stems of Chrysogonum virginianum as the flowers fade in fall to prevent self-seeding. Prune the green parts of the plant at any time to promote air circulation and shape the plant according to your preferences.

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Repotting Chrysogonum Virginiaum

While most gardeners prefer to grow Chrysogonum virginianum as a ground cover, it can also be cultivated in a container garden. Simply divide the plant by its rhizomatic roots and transfer the divisions to another pot. This can be done during late spring, and soon you’ll have a beautiful container with lush growth.

Chrysogonum Virginiaum Propagation

Propagation of Chrysogonum virginianum can be done through softwood cuttings or division of the crown. For softwood cuttings, select a variety that produces stolons and transplant the cuttings elsewhere. Late spring is the best time to propagate by division. Follow the instructions mentioned earlier to ensure successful division and replanting in well-drained soils. Additionally, seeds can be collected from the base of established plants in spring and sown in a fine potting mix at a temperature of 70-75°F.

Troubleshooting

While Chrysogonum virginianum is generally problem-free, a few issues may arise. Here are some common problems you might encounter:

Chrysogonum Virginiaum Growing Problems

Most issues can be solved by preparing a suitable soil mixture and watering appropriately. Providing part to full shade and consistently moist soil are crucial for the well-being of these plants.

Pests

Chrysogonum virginianum rarely experiences pest problems. However, snails and slugs may occasionally eat holes in newer spring foliage. While they won’t cause long-term damage, you can eliminate them using methods such as iron phosphate or beer traps.

Diseases

Occasionally, Chrysogonum virginianum may encounter powdery or downy mildew issues. Both present as fungal growth on leaves, with downy mildew appearing on the leaf surface and undersides, and powdery mildew being confined to the tops of leaves and flower stems. To combat these diseases, remove affected leaves and flower stems, promote good air circulation through pruning, and keep affected plants away from others.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What fertilizer do I need for green and gold?
A: A slow-release, organic fertilizer is best. Mix it into the planting soil at the time of transplanting your starts.

Q: I have neutral soil. How do I make it ideal for green and gold groundcover?
A: Neutral soil works fine for green and gold. To make the soil more acidic, incorporate dolomitic limestone into the planting area to lower the pH below 6.8.

Q: Which variety of green and gold is best for larger woodland sites?
A: Chrysogonum virginianum var. australe is ideal for larger woodland sites due to its ability to rapidly spread.

Q: Is Chrysogonum an evergreen?
A: Yes, Chrysogonum virginianum is semi-evergreen unless exposed to significantly cold winters or placed in full sun in hot summer climates.

Q: Is Chrysogonum Virginianum deer resistant?
A: Yes, the hairy leaves of Chrysogonum virginianum irritate deer tongues, making it a great deer-resistant plant.

Q: Is Chrysogonum Virginianum invasive?
A: While not classified as an invasive species, it is advisable to plant these ground cover plants where you want them to spread or where you can easily maintain them.

Q: Is Chrysogonum Virginianum edible?
A: The berries produced by the plant along its leaf axils are edible for wild birds.

Q: How long does green and gold bloom?
A: Green and gold is a long-blooming plant. Its flowers open in late spring and fade in fall, revealing lovely berries.

With its stunning yellow flowers and low-maintenance nature, Chrysogonum virginianum, or green and gold, is a fantastic addition to any garden. By following the care guidelines provided, you can enjoy the beauty of this ground cover while providing a haven for native birds. For more information and to purchase Chrysogonum virginianum, visit Ames Farm Center.