Plant of the Month April 2019: Golden Ragwort

Packera aurea, Golden Ragwort or Golden Groundsel

Golden Ragwort (Packera aurea) is a spring-blooming native wildflower with a lot of ‘wow’ power! In early April, its 2-1/2’ tall stems are topped with flat-topped clusters of 1” wide, bright-yellow, daisy-like flowers that bloom for weeks. The handsome dark green basal leaves, which are up to 4” across, are evergreen, making a perfect, weed-smothering ground cover through the year while the finely divided stem leaves add textural interest.

Golden Ragwort grows naturally in moist to damp soils in ravines, low woods, swamps and along streams, and can tolerate wet soils. Over time it can naturalize into large colonies via underground rhizomes and seeds. The sweeps of blooms can be spectacular in woodland gardens. It is easy to grow in either sun or shade, and is a reliable and heavy bloomer even in heavy shade.

Plant in moist woodland gardens, along a stream or pond, or even in rain gardens, where Golden Ragwort will bring weeks of spring color as well as early bees and butterflies. To prevent seeding around, simply cut back stems after flowering.

Close-up of Golden Ragwort blooms. Photo by Betsy Washington.

Close-up of Golden Ragwort blooms. Photo by Betsy Washington.