By: Mary Ellen Ellis
Creeping Jenny is a versatile ornamental plant that provides pretty foliage that “creeps” along and spreads to fill in spaces. It can be aggressive and invasive, though, so growing creeping Jenny in a pot is a great way to enjoy this perennial without letting it take over the whole garden or flower bed.
About Creeping Jenny Plants
This is a trailing, or creeping herbaceous perennial that produces waxy, small, and round leaves on thin stems. It is hardy in zones 3 through 9 and includes several cultivars of Lysimachia nummularia. Native to Europe, some of the varieties are more aggressive than others and can be considered invasive.
In addition to the pretty leaves, creeping Jenny produces small, cupped yellow flowers beginning in early summer and continuing intermittently through the fall. The green variety is more invasive, but the color of the flowers looks nice contrasted with the green leaves. The golden variety is not as aggressive, but the flowers are less conspicuous.
Potted creeping Jenny is a great alternative to putting these plants in the ground, where they can quickly get out of control.
Container Grown Creeping Jenny
Each creeping Jenny plant will grow like a mat, only rising to 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30.5 cm.) in height. Creeping Jenny in a bed looks great as a groundcover for this reason, but in a container, it can look a little flat. Combine it in a pot with taller-growing plants for contrast. Another great use for creeping Jenny in a container is to create a vine-like effect in a hanging pot.
Creeping Jenny grows readily and quickly, so plant them 12 to 18 inches (30.5 to 45.5 cm.) apart. Provide a location that is sunny or only has partial shade. The more shade it gets, the greener the leaves will be. These plants like moist soil too, so water regularly and ensure good drainage in the container. Any basic potting soil is adequate.
With its vigorous growth and spreading, don’t be afraid to trim creeping Jenny back as needed. And, take care when cleaning out pots at the end of the season. Dumping this plant in the yard or in a bed can lead to invasive growth next year.
You can also take the container indoors, as creeping Jenny grows well as a houseplant. Just be sure to give it a cooler spot in the winter.
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Does Creeping Jenny Come Back After the Winter?
If you plan to grow creeping jenny (Lysimachia nummularia), you may wonder whether it comes back after a long winter season. Also known as moneywort, creeping jenny can be grown in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 9. It's most often grown as an evergreen ground cover in these areas, surviving as a perennial when grown in zones 3 through 7.
Considered invasive in some parts of the United States, this ground cover is difficult to kill, even with tough winter weather. This is just one reason why creeping jenny grows well in the winter months.
Why You Should Overwinter Perennials in Containers
Even if you picked perennials that are hardy to your zone, perennials in containers are subject to harsher winter conditions than those perennials planted in the ground. The root system is in a pot rather than inside of the ground, which exposes them to freezing air temperatures and drying winds. Those conditions can damage the root system.
Perennial plants have roots that sleep until next spring. Many of your favorite plants are perennials, such as hostas, daylilies, and astilbe. The goal of overwintering perennial plants is to keep the plants dormant and create the right environment for your hardiness zone.
A few other reasons that you want to overwinter your perennials include:
- Soil heaving takes place when the soil freezes and thaws repeatedly. That can cause the roots to break up and move up from the earth, leaving plants more vulnerable.
- Temperatures fluctuate more above ground than in the ground. Perennials aren’t a fan of significant temperature fluctuations they prefer gradual changes or a consistent temperature.