Yellow loosestrife – Lysimachia punctata

Glorious yellow spires. Moisture loving and undemanding, yellow loosestrife belongs to river banks, woodland edges, and to cottage and wild gardens. Its spikes of golden, starry flowers rise in clumps and brighten up the garden all summer long.

WINTER

SPRING

ANNUAL CALENDAR

March-May:

A good time for planting.

June-August:

Yellow loosestrife begins to flower. The lower buds flower first, followed by the upper ones.

September-October:

After flowering, the generous spires of green leaves are still attractive, so do not cut the plant down too soon. You can divide and spread the plant or cut it back where it has spread too much.

November-February:

The new shoots lie close to the ground and are scarcely visible.Yellow loosestrife is hardy (frost tolerant) and needs no protection.

Planting combinations

Yellow loosestrife is a versatile specimen which combines well with almost all kinds of flowering plant, from the stately lace-cap hydrangea to one of the hardy cranesbills or the pale As trail Ha major. In clamp places, loosestrife is a good choice to complement Siberian irises and tiger lilies. It looks equally effective planted near trees with traditional cottage garden favourites such as foxglove {Digitalis), dead-nettle {La mi urn), hosta, campanula and veronica. If you have a wild garden, a mixed planting of yellow loosestrife, herb robert and campion is attractive. -—

A GOOD CUT FLOWER

Yellow loosestrife is a bright addition to flower arrangements and combines particularly well with other tall, spiky flowers. It will last for some time in a vase, particularly if you stand it in a deep bucket of cool water for several hours immediately after picking.

Y ellow loosestrife thrives in moist, shaded conditions where many plants fail. It spreads quickly and soon fills dark corners of the garden with colour.

Yellow loosestrife provides clumps of bright yellow flowers growing up sturdy stems among lance-shaped, mid-green leaves. It grows to 60 100cm tall and forms a clump of about 45cm. It spreads quite quickly if left alone. Flowering lasts from June to early August. When the flowers are over, the dense foliage remains and contrasts well with later-flowering plants.

Where to plant

Although the yellow loosestrife does best in a rich, moist soil, it grows in most situations in the garden, running along a fence, wall or hedge or even along a woodland edge. Its yellow-gold flowers look particularly pretty grown in the shade of tall trees. However, you will need to cut the plant back hard in shade to prevent it from growing spindly.

Its invasive growth habit makes yellow loosestrife an ideal plant for a damp spot in the garden where nothing seems to grow properly. If the soil is very rich and moist, the plant may spread rapidly. One small planting can become a miniature hedge in one or two years.

POPULAR VARIETIES

Other loosestrifes which make good garden plants include Lysimachia clethroides, which is similar, but has tiny white flowers in arching spikes above mid-green foliage.

L nummularia (creeping Jenny or moneywort) is a hardy trailing plant with yellow, cup-shaped flowers lem across in summer and deep evergreen roundish leaves on short stalks. Creeping Jenny makes a good ground cover or waterside plant. ‘Aurea’ has attractive yellow leaves.

L. ephemerum has small, star-shaped white flowers, sometimes tinged with purple. These appear in July and August, on spikes that reach about 1m high.

Correct care

Yellow loosestrife needs little care after planting. It grows in most soils, although it prefers damp conditions. It does not usually need staking, but in rich soils and on exposed sites you may need to support the lower stems with twiggy sticks.

Cut down the old stems in late autumn. If the loosestrife is taking over from less vigorous plants, cut it back or dig out some of the extending roots.

IMPORTANT

Too much feeding results in intensified growth and small leaves. As yellow loosestrife is a naturally vigorous plant, it is best not to add fertilizer or manure to the soil. If your plant still spreads too quickly, divide the roots and replant the extra pieces elsewhere.

Yellow loosestrife

SITUATION

Tolerates full sun in moist soil; otherwise better in partial shade. At the edge of woods, beside ponds and streams or along fences and walls. Combines well with other tall plants in a wild garden.

SOIL

Prefers damp and tolerates quite soggy soil for short periods. Prefers a humus-rich soil. Do not add manure. It will tolerate heavy clay if plenty of compost is added when planting.

CARE

Plant in spring or autumn. Too rich a soil encourages invasive growth. Divide the roots to prevent it spreading further. Once planted it needs no further care.

BUYING

Wild loosestrife is sometimes called yellow loosestrife.

Look for it in garden centres or nurseries that specialize in wild or water-loving piants.

PLANT HEALTH

Yellow loosestrife is generally free from pests and diseases. It is an excellent plant for the busy gardener since it practically looks after itself. Remember that it likes its roots to be damp, so it grows less vigorously in dry soil. Also, you may have to prevent it from taking over from other, less spreading, surrounding plants.

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