Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia), also known as moneywort, is a species of evergreen perennial plant from the Primulaceae family.
Although native to Europe, Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia) has naturalized to North America and will grow well in most of the United States.
Creeping Jenny is a ground cover plant, meaning it grows low to the ground and spreads outward through stem-rooting. It has rounded leaves, thus the name nummularia, Latin for “like a coin.” It looks great along pathways, trailing and spilling its stems over containers.
There are different species of Creeping Jenny growing in the United States. Some with leaf colors ranging from green to golden yellow. The golden Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia aurea), often referred to as just “Golden Jenny,” is the one with the lovely, bright golden hue. However, the information provided in this guide applies to all subspecies.
You can expect the plant to bloom with yellow flowers from late spring into summer. Sometimes, even into early fall, depending on the area. It will rarely bloom in winter.
What Are the Growing Conditions for Creeping Jenny?
Creeping Jenny is not a demanding plant in terms of growing conditions. It does well in most conditions in the USDA zones 4 to 10. However, it thrives best in moist, well-draining soil, rich in nutrients and organic matter.
Don’t worry if these exact conditions are unavailable. Creeping Jenny is a hardy plant that will take search and take root anywhere when provided with enough water.
Although full sun is great for showing off the beautifully colored leaves and flowers, too much sun can damage the plant. In hotter climates, this plant will need partial or even full shade as the heat from the afternoon sun can cause blanched leaves and wilting.
How to Plant Creeping Jenny
Less is more when it comes to Creeping Jenny. The plant is fast-growing and, in some cases invasive, making it harmful to native plants. A single plant can grow up to two feet wide, laying roots as its spreads, potentially damaging the roots of neighboring plants.
Ideally, you should plant them about 12 to 18 inches apart. This way, it has enough room to spread out and form a beautiful dense carpet.
Other than being used as a ground cover, you can grow these hardy perennials in containers and pots like in a window garden.
Since it naturally spreads by both seeds and rhizomes, you can root it in water easily.
One of the easiest ways to propagate is to dig up a portion of an established patch and transplant it in new soil.
When starting from a seed, it’s best to start in a container, as this makes it easier to keep the seedlings moist.
Transplant your Creeping Jenny seedlings from the containers or the nursery in the early spring. This allows them to take root and blossom in time for summer.
Ensure that your new plants don’t dry out for the first week after planting. If planted in a cool and humid area, they will need less watering than in a hot and dry area.
In the right conditions, Creeping Jenny will grow and spread up to two feet very quickly. Before planting, ensure it is in an area where it will not infringe on, or harm, any others.
If necessary, you can use barriers, such as rocks, to keep the plant contained.
How Do You Care for a Creeping Jenny?
Once planted, Creeping Jenny needs minimal upkeep. Pests are unlikely to bother the dense covering, and there are no major diseases known to affect this species.
Sometimes, the leaves might develop rust or leaf spots, but these are minor problems that usually go away on their own.
Because this evergreen perennial requires a lot of moisture, mold can sometimes develop. In this case, water the plants from underneath and allow the leaves to dry completely.
Position Creeping Jenny in an area of your garden with full sun to allow the ground cover to dry out.
In areas where slugs are an issue, remove all concealing debris.
Sufficient sunlight and watering the plants from below the foliage can help make the plant less hospitable for slugs.
However, if the problem persists, you can use these non-toxic solutions to ward off the slugs:
Idea 1: Scatter Egg Shells
The sharp edges on broken eggshells are not comfortable on their soft, slimy bodies. This makes broken eggshells an effective repellent as they may get stuck.
You can also use broken nutshells in place of eggshells. They will work just as well and are easier to spot in shady areas.
Additionally, the eggshells are rich in calcium and will enrich light soil as they decompose.
Idea 2: Use Coffee as Slug Repellent
Slugs despise coffee. Keep them off your Creeping Jenny by sprinkling some coffee grounds around the leaves and flowers.
If this is your preferred method, remember fresh coffee grounds are more effective than instant.
Idea 3: Use a Copper Tape
Slug slime reacts with copper to create a tiny electric shock. Placing a copper around the rim of your Creeping Jenny pots and garden will dissuade any slugs from encroaching.
Idea 4: Use Grapefruit and Orange Rinds as Traps
Slugs are suckers for citrus fruits; this makes them a great option when making traps.
Place a few emptied grapefruit or orange rinds upside down on the ground with enough space for the slugs to crawl in. Leave the rinds overnight and dispose of any trapped slugs in the morning.
Idea 5: Use Slug Repelling Plants
Wormwood, fennel, anise, rue, and rosemary are natural slug repellents. Plant any of these to help control slugs.
Don’t be afraid to prune or trim back your Creeping Jenny if it starts to grow where it doesn’t belong. The shallow roots make it easy to pull.
However, that this is not a permanent solution, Creeping Jenny grows and recovers quickly with every new season.
You should also remove any dead flowers to prevent spreading. The blooms are how this perennial spreads its seeds. This is important, especially if positioned next to an area where unwanted seedlings are not welcome in the landscape.
Creeping Jenny vs Creeping Charlie
Sometimes, people mistake Creeping Jenny with Creeping Charlie.
It’s commonly known as ground ivy, alehoof, or run away robin. In some areas, it’s also known as Creeping Jenny, which brings about the confusion between the two.
Although the plants are alike in many ways, here’s a quick comparison to help you tell them apart:
Should You Plant Creeping Jenny?
If you are looking for a plant that’s easy to care for and hardy, then Creeping Jenny might be the answer.
These hardy plants can withstand a good deal of foot traffic, making it ideal for gardens and footpaths.
It is also used in unconventional medicine to:
- Treat diarrhea
- Increase saliva
- Loosen mucus
- Treat eczema
- Kill bacteria
- Treat/dress wounds
When planted in an area with high moisture and humidity, Creeping Jenny requires almost no help from the gardener to grow fabulously. But when planted in hotter and drier regions, it will need watering and should still grow well if given enough shade.
However, there are some considerations you should take into account before you go out and buy this plant.
Sometimes, Creeping Jenny grows a little too well. It grows rapidly, and in areas without enough room to spread, it will need constant pulling and pruning.
Due to its invasive nature, it is banned in some areas. Be sure to check with your local extension office before planting it.
The good news is, Creeping Jenny grows well in containers both inside and outside. So if you are still interested in growing this gorgeous evergreen perennial, you should consider planting it in a pot.
The yellow leaves look like a golden waterfall spilling over the sides, adding a splash of color to your home or garden.
Gardening is, possibly, the most relaxing activity you can take on. It adds value to your home and to your life. However, figuring out what plants best suit your garden, and how to care for them can be challenging.
Photo from Wikimedia