Creeping Jenny to Create Lush Container Gardens
Creeping Jenny is a small and humble plant. Despite its modest name and compact growth, this ordinary plant is one of the best container garden plants that you can buy. It creates the spilling effect that is so gorgeous in large pot arrangements.
Creeping Jenny is ideal if you are looking to create a focal point on your front porch or a relaxed look with hanging baskets. Creeping Jenny is also an excellent ground cover. It softens the look of rocky walkways and defined edges.
According to the plant experts at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Creeping Jenny can be invasive. You can mitigate this by planting less invasive species of creeping Jenny or planting it in contained areas.
What is Creeping Jenny?
Creeping Jenny is a perennial herb of the primrose family. It has bright green foliage and a trailing growth pattern. Its scientific name is Lysimachia nummularia. Creeping Jenny also goes by the common names of moneywort or herb twopence because the tiny leaves resemble small coins. It is also sometimes called creeping Charlie, though this name is more common for an unrelated lawn weed that is part of the mint family.
Creeping Jenny Quick Facts
|Botanical name||Lysimachia nummularia|
|Light||Full sun to partial shade|
|Water||Water on a regular basis to keep soil moist|
|Fertilizer||One application of fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season|
|Pests||Rare, but potential aphids, caterpillars, slugs, snails|
|Diseases||Rust, leaf spot, blight|
|Soil||Moist but well draining soil|
|Climate Zones||Hardy in Zones 4-9|
|Size||2-4 inches high, 18-24 inches wide|
|Foliage||Tiny light green to golden leaves that grow along a slender vine|
|Flowers||Small and yellow. Grown for foliage rather than flowers|
Creeping Jenny will thrive in a wide variety of conditions, but to have the healthiest plants, consider its specific care needs.
Common Creeping Jenny Varieties
Standard creeping Jenny is an invasive plant similar to English ivy. Therefore, the most common species available in the United States are ‘Aurea’ and ‘Goldilocks’. These plants have light green leaves in the shade but turn golden in the sun.
Creeping Jenny thrives in bright sunlight but will also tolerate partial shade. Some popular varieties like golden creeping Jenny will become more golden in the sunlight but remain green in the shade. Too much shade will not allow the stems to fill out as they should.
In hot climates, the leaves of creeping Jenny may whiten or burn in the harsh sunlight. In places like this, it is best to plant creeping Jenny in an area where it can have some afternoon relief from the sun.
Creeping Jenny thrives in moist environments. It loves to grow along the edges of ponds, bogs, and lakes. Therefore, it is important to mimic these conditions in the areas where you place your creeping Jenny.
This is even more important in container gardens where there is no deep water source. Creeping Jenny has a shallow root system that will not reach far below the surface. Keep the soil moist and never let it dry out.
Creeping Jenny grows in a wide range of soils, but the best kind is well drained moist soil. Creeping Jenny does not grow as well in rocky and sandy soil because it does not hold moisture.
Creeping Jenny has a wide growth area. It is considered a perennial and will be hardy in USDA Growing Zones 4-9. Creeping Jenny will also grow in Zone 3, but it may die back in the winter and reappear in the spring. It will not survive with sustained temperatures of 30 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.
A creeping Jenny plant does not require much fertilizer throughout the year. Apply a balanced fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season in the spring to spark new growth. Otherwise, it will thrive in nutrient rich soil. If you notice sparse leaves on your creeping Jenny, this may be due to too few nutrients.
Pests and Diseases
Creeping Jenny is not prone to pests and diseases, but under certain conditions, there are some to watch for. Slugs are the biggest pest for creeping Jenny that is planted in the ground. Use iron phosphate slug baits along the slug trails. Also, keep the plants dry and free from weeds to discourage infestations.
Creeping Jenny is susceptible to a few diseases because of the moist growing environments that it loves. Fungal diseases attack creeping Jenny when there is not good circulation around the plants. If you notice brown or yellowish spots on your plants or silver-gray spores, cut back the plant to increase the air circulation around the leaves. You can also use commercial fungicides to treat the plants.
How to Propagate Creeping Jenny
Creeping Jenny is a fast growing plant, but if you want to place it in a different area, propagating it is easy. Propagate creeping Jenny from cuttings, by seed, or by division. The easiest ways are from cutting or division.
To propagate from cuttings, choose a stem that is around 4 inches long and cut at a 45 degree angle. Strip the bottom leaves and place in filtered water or moist soil. If you use water, change it every couple of days while it is growing roots. Plant creeping Jenny shoots when the roots are 1-2 inches long.
To propagate by division, just dig up a section of the plant that has roots. Plant small sections in areas where you want creeping Jenny to grow.
Pruning and Maintenance
Creeping Jenny plants do not require much pruning or maintenance. You may need to trim out dead or damaged stems in the fall to promote new growth in the spring. Also, make sure to weed or dig out creepers that have grown into undesired areas. Divide plants when the growth becomes too dense to avoid common fungal diseases.
Uses for Creeping Jenny
Creeping Jenny in pots is one of the most beautiful looks for this plant. Use it as a “spiller” plant to give the container garden more variety. Pair it with dark, upright plants and bright flowers to give the pot the most interest.
Creeping Jenny is also useful in hanging baskets, window boxes, and fairy gardens. It is an ideal ground cover as it is fast and easy growing. Use it to soften the look of rock pathways and defined garden edges.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ
Is creeping Jenny toxic for humans or pets?
Creeping Jenny is classified as a “safe plant” according to the University of California. Therefore, it is not considered toxic for animals or humans if ingested in small quantities.
Can I grow creeping Jenny indoors?
Creeping Jenny works well as a houseplant. Make sure to place creeping Jenny in an area where it gets extensive sunlight. Like the outdoor plants, indoor creeping Jenny needs adequate moisture. Do not let the soil dry out between waterings. Also, creeping Jenny grows well in terrariums or even aquariums under the water.
Is creeping Jenny invasive?
Standard creeping Jenny is invasive. It can spread throughout your garden, choke out other plants, and be difficult to remove. According to the extension center at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, the golden varieties of creeping Jenny, like Goldilocks and Aurea, are much less invasive. This explains the popularity of these varieties.
What are the best creeping Jenny companion plants?
Choose plants that are different forms and colors than creeping Jenny to produce the most pleasing look for gardens and pots. Use plants like bee balm, coral bells (heuchera), sedge, catmint, ferns, sedge, and barberry to accent creeping Jenny.
Does creeping Jenny come back every year?
Creeping Jenny is an evergreen perennial, therefore it lasts from year to year and it does not lose its leaves. If you live in a cold climate, your creeping Jenny may die back, but it will re-emerge as the weather gets warmer.
Creeping Jenny is a wonderful plant, but it works best in certain environments. Plant it in areas where you are not concerned about its vigorous growth patterns like containers of out of the way paths. Or, just be sure to keep an eye on the way that it spreads in your outdoor garden. This plant’s wonderful benefits can be harnessed while controlling its invasive growth habits.