Lysimachias are a range of plants that belong to the Primulaceae family. Their small five-petalled flowers can be star, saucer or cup-shaped and usually grow on tall spikes. These are often yellow, but some varieties have white or crimson flowers.
All lysimachias do best in moist soil that doesn't dry out in summer, in sun or partial shade. Their need for moisture also means they're perfect for bog gardens and some are suitable for growing as marginal plants around pond edges. Their flowers are extremely attractive to bees and other pollinators.
Incorporate plenty of organic matter when planting lysimachia and mulch annually with well-rotted manure or compost to help retain moisture. Divide congested clumps in spring. Lysimachias can be vigorous growers and some varieties have a tendency to spread – if you don't want them to do this, dig up new shoots in spring.
Several lysimachias are also known as loosestrife, although this common name also applies to members of the Lythrum genus.
Here are six of the best lysimachia to grow.
This hardy perennial is a cottage garden favourite and bears spikes of yellow flowers from June to August. A variegated variety, Lysimachia punctata 'Variegata' (or Lysimachia punctata 'Alexander') is also available. If happy it has a tendency to spread, so dig up clumps that you don't want.
Height x Spread: 90cm x 60cm
Best for: moist borders, bog gardens, pond margins, heavy clay soil
- Buy Lysimachia punctata from Van Meuwen
- Buy Lysimachia punctata 'Alexander' from Crocus
- Buy Lysimachia punctata 'Alexander' from Primrose
Lysimachia nummularia is a fast-growing British native that is also known as creeping Jenny, thanks to its spreading habit. It has pretty, rounded leaves and cup-shaped, yellow flowers from June to August. This versatile evergreen is useful for spilling over the edge of hanging baskets, pots or window boxes and can also be used as ground cover in a moist border. It can also be planted to cascade down a moist wall or to disguise a pond liner around a pond edge. A variety with golden leaves, Lysimachia nummularia 'Aurea', is also available.
H x S: 10cm x 1m
Best for: containers, pond edges, ground cover
- Buy Lysimachia nummularia from Primrose
- Buy Lysimachia nummularia 'Aurea' from Crocus
- Buy Lysimachia nummularia 'Alexander' from Thompson & Morgan
Lysimachia atropurpurea 'Beaujolais'
Lysimachia atropurpurea ‘Beaujolais’ has crimson flower spikes that contrast beautifully with the silver-green foliage. This short-lived perennial is a favourite with garden designers and is often seen in show gardens at flower shows. It looks excellent grown with ornamental grasses for a wild, prairie feel. It also makes an excellent cut flower. Incorporate plenty of well-rotted manure or compost when planting and mulch annually in spring. Lift and divide congested clumps in spring.
H x S: 60cm x 50cm
Best for: Moist borders, contemporary gardens
Lysimachia ephemerum is a perennial that has spikes of delicate white flowers with pink stamens, above clumps of willow-like, green-grey leaves. The flowers are followed by attractive seedpods in autumn. The flowers are especially attractive to butterflies and make excellent cut flowers. The RHS has awarded Lysimachia ephemerum its prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).
H x S: 1m x 30cm
Best for: Moist borders, bog gardens
Lysimachia ciliata 'Firecracker'
Lysimachia ciliata ‘Firecracker’ bears tall stems of pointed, dark purple leaves, which contrast beautifully with the pale lemon flowers in July and August. It’s perfect for growing in a mixed herbaceous border, and will also thrive at the pond edge or bog garden. It makes an excellent cut flower, combined with dahlias or gladioli. For the best purple flush on the leaves, grown in a sunny spot. The RHS has given Lysimachia ciliata 'Firecracker' it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).
H x S: 1.2m x 60cm
Best for: Moist borders, bog garden, pond edge, cut flowers
Also known as Chinese loosestrife or gooseneck loosestrife, Lysimachia clethroides is a fast-growing, clump-forming perennial. It has fresh green, pointed leaves, which briefly turn orange-red before falling in autumn. Its star-shaped flowers grow on long, slender arching spikes, said to be reminiscent of a goose's neck, in July and August. It’s perfect for growing in a mixed herbaceous border and is a tall plant, so may need supporting. It has a tendency to spread, so cut back after flowering and dig up new shoots around the plant in spring to control its spread.
H x S: 90cm x 60cm
Best for: Moist borders