Golden Groundsel, Packera obovata: Spring flowering perennial ground cover for shade

Description: Golden Groundsel (Packera obovata) is native to north central and east Texas. When not blooming, it is 3 to 6 inches tall, with rosettes of ovate, 1 to 2 inch long, deep green leaves with serrated edges. Its bottom-most leaves may be purplish on their undersides. The leaves remain attractive year-round. Golden Groundsel’s roots are stoloniferous, forming runners that make dense colonies. It can be propagated by transplanting the new plants formed by the stolons.

Flowers and Fruit: Golden Groundsel is one of the earliest flowering native plants in our region, flowering from early March and into April. As its name suggests, its flowers are deep yellow, and about ¾ inch across. Golden Groundsel blooms with multiple flowers on each plant, held high above the foliage – the flower spikes are usually 14 to 24 inches tall. Each plant blooms for about 2 weeks. Golden Groundsel's seeds are dispersed by the wind.

Planting sites: Golden Groundsel should be planted in shade, part shade or dappled shade. It is adaptable to most soils, but like many other natives, it needs good drainage.

Watering Instructions: Like many Texas natives, Golden Groundsel may need supplemental water during its first growing season. After it is established, it will thrive with existing rainfall. It is drought tolerant.

Comments: Although Golden Groundsel may be a little hard to find, it is worth the search. It self-propagates slowly, not becoming invasive. Its evergreen leaves provide a year-round ground cover and remain green, even in a dry summer. After flowering, Golden Groundsel can be mowed. Its golden spring blooms make it a favorite for early spring. It can be part of a woodland or formal shade garden, mixing with native violets, Hinkley Columbine, White Avens, Horseherb, or Lyreleaf Sage. Consider planting Golden Groundsel as a ground cover instead of Asiatic jasmine, English ivy or vinca.

Written by Dr. Becca Dickstein

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