The Plant Store is now closed for 2023 and will re-open for sales in May of 2024

  • Please see the Using the Plant Library  page  for some tips on how to make the most of the information here to select species for creating a healthy native plant community suited to the conditions of your site.

Packera aurea, Golden Groundsel

Packera aurea
Golden Groundsel or Golden Ragwort

  • Full sun to light shade
  • Average to high moisture soils
  • Spring to early summer blooming
  • Ontario Native Species, Groundcover

I was warned when I brought this plant home that they love plenty of moisture and that they can spread very quickly, especially in drainage ditches or other seasonally wet areas. The single plant ended getting tucked into a patch at the end of a vegetable garden bed in well draining, low organic matter, sand/silt soil on a south facing slope, in full sun at the end of the summer since I hadn’t found a home for them yet. (Yes, I do that too. I have a nursery bed area now so that the plants don’t have to suffer while I’m deciding on forever homes for unplanned adoptions and purchases.)

They came back the following spring as a compact little patch of rounded leaves. I wasn’t entirely sure who those leaves belonged to at first. As you can see in the photos, the finely serrated heart-shaped base leaves and the deeply divided, deeply serrated leaves on the flowering stems bear little resemblance to each other. In this hot, dry location they have remained as a compact clump and have yet to begin to spread (although they may just be working up to it and will pop up all over the garden in a future year).

Those finely cut leaves surround deep purple buds that open to brilliant yellow blooms that are extremely popular with small pollinators. The clusters of flowers hummed with life every day that they were in bloom.

They both flower early, usually in late May or Early June in my garden, and set seed early. I began gathering the very lightweight puffs of seeds in the second week of June last spring. Some of them were winter sown outdoors back in December and others will be stratified in the refrigerator for a couple of months before being planted under lights in my dining room.

If you are looking for ways to include this early-blooming pollinator-magnet into the spaces you care for, a few possibilities that I’d suggest are:

  • Plant them somewhere high and dry and be patient while they establish, to enjoy them without being overwhelmed by their abundance. I’d suggest a dry-ish meadow setting where they would have some competition from grasses and other species that actually prefer dry conditions, like Coreopsis, Orange Butterfly Weed, Silverweed, Grey Goldenrod, Agastache etc.
  • Plant them in a high moisture location with similarly assertive species that are not likely to be overwhelmed by a fast-spreading neighbour. This could include Red Monarda, Wild Bergamot, Obedient Plant, Prairie Sundrops (Oenothera pilosella), Canada Anemone and Joe-Pye-Weed to name just a few. -The species recommended below are for this scenario 
  • Plant them in locations where invasive species, such as Garlic Mustard, have been removed and a rampantly spreading, native, species that is wildly popular with pollinators would be appreciated for their capacity to fill as much space as possible.

Species that were not sown / aren't being sown for 2023 are marked with an * 
Species that are native to this continent, but not historically native to Ontario are marked with a ~ 
While it rarely comes up, I do reserve the right to limit plant quantities, mostly to help ensure that as many native plant gardens as possible become a reality
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