On Gardening

Goldilocks is just right for enhancing container garden

McClatchy-Tribune News ServiceNovember 30, 2012 


This urn filled with yew as the thriller plant, pansies as a blooming filler and Goldilocks lysimachia as a showy filler, welcomes visitors to the Columbus Botanical Garden in Columbus, Georgia.


Goldilocks is the perfect plant for creating the spiller effect in mixed containers.

The recipe for designer mixed containers is thriller, filler and spiller. The thriller plants are the tall ones in the center that catch your attention. The spiller plants create a vertical, downward element, while the filler plant occupies the spaces or pockets in between.

With its chartreuse foliage cascading over the rims of a container, Goldilocks can usually rival any thriller plant.

Goldilocks is known botanically as Lysimachia nummularia, and is also commonly called Creeping Jenny and Moneywort. Native to Europe, it is perennial from zones 3 through 11, which includes all of North Carolina. It is a tough plant, a multi-award winner and a top seller, though it has started to creep up on some weed lists.

Lime green, or chartreuse, has been among the hottest colors for more than a decade. The disc-like leaves of Goldilocks are a lime green color that will turn an iridescent yellow given more sun.

At the Columbus Botanical Garden, we have two large urns with yews as the thriller plant, Goldilocks as the filler and pansies for cool-season pockets of blooming color.

Goldilocks works equally well in the landscape, but do a little bed preparation before you plant. Amend tight, heavy soil with 3 to 4 inches of organic matter and work it shovel-deep, 6 to 8 inches. I am a proponent of incorporating a little pre-plant, slow-release fertilizer like a 12-6-6 blended with micronutrients.

The top of the rootball should be even with the soil surface. Goldilocks, like other varieties of Creeping Jenny, will spread, so space them 12 to 18 inches apart. This spread also makes it very easy to divide into more plants for the garden or containers.

Water plants to get them established, but after that, water sparingly. A light application of a slow-release, balanced fertilizer a month after transplanting should be sufficient for vigorous growth. Don’t be afraid to pinch or prune as needed to keep them within bounds. In containers, let them spill over for a foot or more. The lime green-golden color makes a striking companion with blue. In our containers the blue comes from large-flowered pansies in cool weather, and during the summer from scaevola. Other great choices would be the new Surprise Marine petunia or, my all-time favorite, the Sanguna Midnight Blue petunia.

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