Monday, September 30, 2013

Groundcover Review: Chrysogonum virginianum, Green and Gold

Chrsysogonum virginianum, Green and Gold in early July. Three months after being planted, Chrysogonum had grown from being teeny tiny to just tiny. Not covering a lot of ground yet, but for some reason I love the shape, color and fuzziness of the foliage.

Chrysogonum virginianum (a.k.a. Green and Gold)


- Native to Tennessee and most of the Eastern U.S.

- Charming yellow flowers supposedly from mid-spring to early-fall in cool climates (stops flowering during the summer in hot climates like Tennessee but resumes in the fall). This is my first year with Green and Gold. The plant I bought was tiny, but it still flowered sporadically throughout April and May. These flowers reportedly attract native bees. I can't say I've noticed any yet, but there are typically just 1-2 flowers open at any given time so far. Maybe you need a carpet of Green and Gold to really attract the attention of the bees?

- Hardy to zone 5. Reportedly evergreen to semi-evergreen in zones 6-7. The foliage has a nice mix of colors in it - greens, but also yellows and reds.

- Supposedly easy to propagate by divisions or cuttings in early spring.

- Tolerates drought with partial to full shade in the South. So I've got it planted with an Eastern exposure and afternoon shade. Also reportedly tolerates wet soils. (We had a lot of rain this past spring and Green and Gold seems perfectly happy.)

- Diminutive but still gives good coverage. I don't think Green and Gold would overwhelm any other plants. It seems like more of a rambler than a mat-former. But I do think it's just tall and thick enough to prevent most weeds from getting through. Does not seem too aggressive. I think it should be easy to control.


- Hard to find in the nursery trade. And when you do find it, you're likely to find a tiny plant. Since the plant grows slowly (at least at first), it would be very expensive to produce an instant groundcover effect.


So far, the pros far outweigh the cons for me on this groundcover. I wish it was a little faster-spreading (OK, a lot faster-spreading), but otherwise I'm thrilled to have Green and Gold in our garden. There's supposedly a more stoloniferous and faster-spreading variety called Eco-Lacquered Spider carried by Plant Delights, but I'm loathe to spend $12 (plus shipping) on a quart-size plant just to see if it lives up to the hype.

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