Golden ragwort

During the winter of 2015-2016, I ordered 25 tiny plugs of Golden Ragwort (Packera aurea) from my favorite online native plant nursery, Izel Plants. I knew nothing of this perennial before I found it there, but if the terms “likes moist”, “deer resistant” and “native to the northeast U.S” are part of any plant description, I’m in.

The Golden Ragwort were planted last April and a year later, well, wow.

Golden Ragwort

That didn’t take long.

An insane amount of blooms on almost all of the plants. I had been seeking a big time early spring bloomer and this appears to fit the bill perfectly.

To date they are thriving in wet locations in both full and partial sun. No creatures have as much as looked at them funny, let alone nibble them, and the blooms have looked divine for over a week now.

Ding, ding, we have a winner.

But I couldn’t leave it at that. Not this over-analytical gardener.

In bloom, the Golden Ragwort is about 2 feet tall. Once the blooms are spent and showing signs of wear, I plan on diligently cutting off all of the flowers to prevent any reseeding (they are known to be aggressive re-seeders). Once the stems are cut down to the low-lying basal foliage, they’ll be closer to 6 to 12 inches tall.

Golden Ragwort

With that in mind, I question my best use of these “groundcovers” from a design perspective. Right now in flower, they’re taller than all of the slow growing perennials and shrubs behind them. It looks a bit off and I can’t stop analyzing it.

But once the stems and flowers are removed, the appropriate “ascending in size order” look will be there.

Do I bite the bullet, enjoy the fine flowers and chill the f out?

Golden Ragwort

Or are you unfortunately like me, and subscribe to the school of over-tinkering and over-thinking?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.





12 thoughts on “Golden ragwort

    1. jmarkowski Post author

      I’m kind of bad at chilling the eff out Misti, but I’m working on it. Ha.

  1. Marilyn Gist

    Thanks for the ID on this gorgeous volunteer plant blooming in my yard now — glad to know what it is. I had noticed the leaves, and they “looked like something,” so I didn’t pull it. If it reseeds there, that would be fine. I’m going for a natural meadow look in this area. But I’ll be curious as to how you decided to handle it in your plan so I know if I want to move some of it to more formal areas, or what to plant around it. There is some wild quinine, lyre-leaf sage, and blue-eyed grass near mine, also brought in by birds or wind, in bloom now, and some Rudbeckia hirta and grasses.

    1. jmarkowski Post author

      Marilyn – I know myself and I know I’ll be moving these around for a long time until I am satisfied. Ideally, I want them in a “wilder” area where they can fill the space to their heart’s content. I’ll be sure to document that journey here, ha ha.

  2. Laura T

    I’m with you on wildly overthinking the height-bloom dynamic. It probably doesn’t help that when I ‘read’ garden design books with great advice (oudolf, weaner, rainer-west…) I mostly see ‘blah, blah, complicated’ and concentrate on pouring over the garden porn photos. I look forward to finding out what you settle on! I have wanted to try out Golden ragwort, so I am quite curious to follow your journey.

  3. AnnJ

    They sure don’t look like groundcovers to me. And I’m not sure that they go with that Ranunculus?? that’s behind them.
    Here’s what I would do:
    1. Leave some where they are for now, but thin them out if possible so that they aren’t blocking anything;
    2. Stand behind the lower shrubs and perennials and look at them from the back, just to get a different
    3. Move some to a place where their height makes more sense and let them self-seed;
    4. After you’ve cut down the blooms on the original ones that are still left , take another look and decide
    if you still want to move them;
    5. Then you can definitely chill the eff out.

    1. jmarkowski Post author

      Oh they don’t go with the Trolllius behind them at all Ann. That is problem #1. Thanks for the feedback, I will be waiting until they stop blooming and they’re cut down before I put a plan in place. And then maybe, I can chill the eff out. But probably not.

  4. mary Hatton

    Well, ragwort sounded a little too close to ragweed, so I was a bit skeptical. However, I really like it! I also appreciate the mention of a new online plant source. Here in the country, I am limited to the seasonal nursery of a box store. Thanks, again, for sharing.

    1. jmarkowski Post author

      Mary – I love Izell and can’t say enough about their quality of shipping.

  5. Alice

    Sounds like a great plant, however one reference site mentioned it has runner roots, and that is something I avoid planting in my small garden.

    1. jmarkowski Post author

      Alice – only time will tell and I’ll be sure to document their journey, including their runner roots.

  6. Sharon Molnar

    I *think* this is something I picked up at the farmer’s market at Dvoor Bros. farm 2 years ago (I really do have to journal more, I do have the plant tags). I planted it in with my milkweed as part of a butterfly garden.

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