Creeping Jenny: confusion, overwintering & toxicity of moneywort


I study landscape ecology and through my studies have discovered a love for plants. Plants are not only beautiful, but also have countless fascinating survival strategies. To bring a bit of nature into my home as well, I nurture my houseplants and herbs on every possible windowsill.

Favourite fruit: rhubarb and all kinds of berries
Favourite vegetables: onions and garlic

The low-maintenance creeping Jenny is a real insect magnet, as the groundcover provides plenty of food for bees and the caterpillars of butterflies.

Moneywort growing on a stone
Moneywort can grow not only over the ground, but also over rocks [Photo: Manfred Ruckszio/]

Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia) is attractive not only in the garden, but also grown in pots or in the aquarium. The perennial, which is native to our region, does not make high demands on location and care. The plant is also known as creeping Charlie and moneywort. It probably got its name from its flowers, which resemble money coins in colour and size, or from its small, roundish foliage leaves. Here you can find out what you need to bear in mind when planting and caring for this plant.

Creeping Jenny: characteristics and origin

Native to Central Europe and Western Asia, creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia) belongs to the primrose family (Primulaceae). It prefers to grow near water or half in water, on moist or alternate soils, such as riparian forests. However, it thrives on many different substrates. In partial shade under trees and shrubs, it grows creeping along the ground and up stones or rocks. Due to its creeping growth, the perennial rarely grows taller than 5 cm, but can reach considerable widths and quickly forms carpets.

Creeping Jenny flowers have 5 petals and shine bright golden yellow. The flowering time of moneywort extends from May to July. Since the plant is self-sterile, fertilisation and seed formation rarely occur. Reproduction is mainly vegetative via the re-rooting leaf nodes on the ground. The shoots of the plant are covered with small, roundish and dark green leathery leaves.

Yellow moneywort blooms
The blooms of moneywort resemble gold coins a bit [Photo: Charlie Goodall/]

Creeping Jenny is perennial and even retains its foliage in mild regions and not too harsh winters. As a native wild perennial, moneywort is very interesting for bees and other insects. It is closely related to dotted loosestrife (Lysimachia punctata), also known as large yellow loosestrife, which grows up to 1 m tall.

Moneywort: danger of confusion

Because of its similar appearance, creeping Jenny may be confused with the closely related yellow pimpernel (Lysimachia nemorum). The leaves of the yellow pimpernel are pointed at the top, unlike creeping Charlie.

Lysimachia nemorum
The leaves of Lysimachia nemorum are spikier than those of lysimachia nummularia [Photo: Marin Fowler/]

Should you control creeping Jenny as a weed?

As a native wild perennial, creeping Jenny is a valuable bee pasture and also serves as a decorative groundcover under woody plants or by the garden pond. Nevertheless, it spreads rapidly and can quickly become dominant. Regular pruning of the plant will keep moneywort in check so that it does not have to be completely banned from the garden.

The most beautiful varieties

Two varieties of creeping Jenny are known that catch the eye with their golden yellow foliage leaves:

  • ‘Aurea’: Also known as yellow-leaved moneywort, groundcover with golden yellow leaves.
  • ‘Goldilocks’: About 10 cm tall; a little taller than the otherwise very similar cultivar ‘Aurea’.
Moneywort in a pot
Moneywort can be kept on the balcony when planted in a pot [Photo: AliaksaB/]

Varieties like to be planted in pots and containers, where their shoots decoratively hang over the edge.

Creeping Jenny as groundcover: Creeping Jenny is excellent as a groundcover due to its creeping growth. All variants can be used for this purpose. As a rule, people use the species because the varieties with their golden yellow, somewhat artificial-looking leaves are more likely to be used for planting in tubs.

How to plant creeping Jenny

The frugal and spreading creeping Charlie can be easily planted in the garden and is equally beautiful in a pot.

Moneywort in the garden
A bright location is ideal for moneywort [Photo: Peter Turner Photography /]

The right location: pond, balcony and co.

The creeping growth on the ground means that moneywort is usually shaded by other plants in its natural habitat. In the garden, too, creeping Jenny should therefore be given a location in partial shade or light shade, although it also does well with somewhat light places. However, it must not be full sun. Of course, enough space is necessary, because the plant is very fond of spreading. To develop its charm should be planted at least 10, preferably 20 plants in a group. The substrate is ideally fresh or moist – but less moist sites are also tolerated. For example, the bank of the garden pond is a suitable place for moneywort. To the type of soil moneywort makes very few demands. It will grow in almost any garden soil regardless of pH, nutrient content or soil type. Nutrient-rich, loamy-sandy soil is preferred.

You can keep creeping Jenny n a pot if you want to limit its spread or maintain it on the balcony. Especially the above varieties are popular for keeping in pots because of their foliage colour.

Moneywort around a pond
Moneywort can grow ckose to ponds but it can also thrive on or in the water [Photo: Ian Grainger /]

Those who do not have a balcony or garden, but own an aquarium, can even keep creeping Jenny in the water. The temperature in the aquarium must not exceed 25 °C. In the aquarium, it tends to grow upward, toward the light, rather than creeping along the bottom.

Procedure for planting

To plant moneywort, a suitable area is prepared in the spring in a suitable location by loosening the soil. If the soil is more sandy, high-quality potting soil such as our Plantura Organic All Purpose Compost can be worked into the soil before planting. Our soil retains water excellently and thus helps to provide ideal site conditions for moneywort. The included starter fertiliser ensures that moneywort spreads quickly and acts as a groundcover. Then place a maximum of 16 plants per square meter and plant them in the loose soil.

Organic All Purpose Compost, 40L
Organic All Purpose Compost, 40L
  • Perfect for all your house, garden & balcony plants
  • For strong & healthy plants as well as an active soil life
  • Peat-free & organic soil: CO2-saving composition

For pot planting you need a good planting soil and a planter with a drainage hole. It is best to use a nutrient-rich substrate that can retain water welll, such as our Plantura Organic All Purpose Compost. Our organic soil does not require any peat at all. The moderate nutrient content and the mainly organic composition of the fertiliser it contains ensures constant, not too strong growth, so you do not have to constantly reach for the scissors.

Plant care

In suitable locations, moneywort usually requires no maintenance. The plant is undemanding, hardy and copes with many different sites.

Moneywort hardly needs any care when planted in a suitable location [Photo: Charlie Goodall/]

If creeping Charlie is kept in a pot, it must be watered regularly. The soil should always feel moist. Occasional waterlogging is no problem, but it should not stand dry for too long. On less humid sites in mid-summer, occasional watering may also be necessary in the garden.

Creeping Jenny should be provided with a slow-release fertiliser such as our Plantura Flower Food each spring in nutrient-poor sites. In poor sites, re-fertilise in the summer if you want the plant to spread even faster.

Due to its rapid growth, it may be advisable to cut creeping Jenny regularly. Pruning also stimulates branching and can be done at any time of year, but preferably after flowering.

Large moneywort plant
If the growth of moneywort gets out of hand you can easily prune it [Photo: sharoyip/]

Why is my creeping Jenny plant turning brown? Since Lysimachia nummularia prefers a fresh moist site, prolonged drought is usually the cause of brown leaves. Therefore, during dry periods, especially in sunny locations, should be watered occasionally. In harsh locations, creeping Jenny is also not evergreen and loses its foliage – after the leaves turn brown.

Flower Food, 1.5kg
Flower Food, 1.5kg
  • Perfect for flowering plants in the garden & on the balcony
  • For healthier plants with beautiful & long-lasting blossoms
  • Long-lasting fertiliser that is free from animal products - child & pet friendly

Is creeping Charlie hardy?

Since it can withstand temperatures as low as – 34 °C, creeping Jenny is hardy in our area. It usually survives the cold season without any problems. If the winter is mild, the may even retain its leaves. If it is kept in a pot, you should place the perennial in a sheltered spot on a block of wood to overwinter and wrap the pot with a fleece to protect creeping Jenny from the cold.

Creeping Jenny: propagation

To propagate creeping Jenny, there are many ways. The easiest way is to cut off the rooted shoots, which you can replant in another place. The shoot should necessarily have roots and leaves and be used in a suitable location for moneywort.

Alternatively, you can dig up the plant and divide the root ball. Both sections should have some leafy shoots, and then planted separately in a suitable place.

Seedlings of moneywort
Offshoots can easily be cut off and planted in another spot [Photo Manfred Ruckszio: /]

Last but not least, cuttings can also be used for propagation. In early fall, cut off half-mature shoots from the plant and let them root in potting soil or moss. The substrate should always be kept moist.

Harvesting and use as a medicinal plant

In the past, moneywort was used mainly as a medicinal plant. Today it is hardly used in Germany. The valuable ingredients such as mucilage, silicic acid and tannins still make creeping Jenny a popular medicinal plant in other parts of the world. It is used against cough, rheumatism and diarrhea.

To apply creeping Jenny externally or internally, shoots including flowers and leaves are cut off at flowering time and tied into bundles to hang up to dry. The dried parts of the plant are later brewed into a moneywort tea, for example. In such a decoction can be dipped compresses for external use and put on the skin. Flowers and leaves taste slightly sour and can be used in the kitchen as an addition to salads and herbal curds.

A moneywort bloom
Moneywort can be confused easily with yellow pimpernel [Photo: Martin Fowler/]

Is creeping Jenny poisonous?

No, moneywort is not poisonous, in fact, it is used as a medicinal plant. Like actually any medicinal herb, Lysimachia nummularia should not be consumed daily and in large quantities. Pet owners do not need to worry about creeping Jenny. However, it is better not to confuse it with the similar-looking yellow pimpernel because the latter is classified as slightly poisonous.

Another ground-covering medicinal plant is silverweed. It forms pinnately lobed leaves with silvery undersides, which makes it a particularly beautiful plant even when not in bloom. With us you will learn how to plant and care for silverweed.

Subscribe to the Plantura newsletter