With their bright green leaves and bright yellow flowers, loosestrife varieties (genus: Lysimachia) are real eye-catchers in any green space. Pennywort (Lysimachia nummularia) is particularly decorative, with its leaves being round and coin-like in shape. The herb reaches a height of 5cm and offers runners up to 50cm long, so that the plant can be used very well as a lawn replacement and ground cover. Kept in the pond, pennywort filters nutrients from the water and thus prevents uninhibited growth. Since the plant is quite robust and requires little care, the cultivation is also suitable for plant lovers without special previous knowledge.

Choose location and soil

Pennywort thrives in different places. The plant feels particularly comfortable in partial shade; however, complete shade is also tolerated. If sufficient watering is provided, pennywort can even be brought to sunny locations. In principle, cultivation can be done both outdoors and in tubs. Various locations are available outdoors. Since the perennial grows with numerous outlets and can take up a considerable area, the pennywort is particularly popular as a ground cover. The plant appears very decorative in front of or under trees. But the plant is also often planted within the edge zones of ponds or watercourses. Pennywort is ideal for concealing unsightly pond edges.

Long spurs that develop near the pond continue to grow in the water without any problems. As soon as the roots find sufficient soil and enough light, the plant will grow uninhibited. For this reason, cultivating as a marsh plant is easily possible. The aquarium offers a very special location for pennywort. The plant can also thrive here at temperatures of up to 25°C, but in this case the growth habit deviates slightly; this takes place in the water in a vertical direction and forms only a few branched stalks.

In addition to the possibility of cultivating the pennywort outdoors, it can also be planted in a bucket. Then the shoots hang decoratively at the edge of the container. Accordingly, the plant is also suitable for balcony boxes; here, too, care must be taken to ensure adequate irrigation.

The composition of the substrate used for the pennywort is just as variable as the location can be chosen. However, the plant thrives particularly well on soil that meets the following criteria:

  • rich in nutrients
  • fresh texture
  • high moisture content
  • powerful
  • clayey
Note: The more permeable the soil, the better and faster the pennywort will thrive.


Pennywort basically requires very little maintenance. However, care must be taken to ensure adequate watering. This is especially true for specimens that thrive in a sunny location. With prolonged drought, the leaves of the plant turn brown. In later stages of desiccation, the entire plant dies. Targeted fertilization is not necessary. However, it has proven useful to sprinkle the plant with compost in the spring. Since the pennywort is one of the moderately rampant plants and spreads quickly if it is well tolerated by other plants, it has proven useful in many cases to restrict growth accordingly. For this purpose, a targeted pruning should be carried out as required. Autumn or late autumn is the best time for this measure. Plant growth is effectively curbed by simply cutting back individual stems.

Overwintering the perennial is easy; since the plant has its origins in the temperate zones of Asia and Europe, the winter cold in our regions cannot harm it much. Absolutely winter-proof, the evergreen plant survives the cold season without additional protective measures.

planting and propagating

Pennywort is propagated by dividing and separating off the foothills. For this purpose, the first step is to carefully dig up the plant or carefully lift it out of the ground with a digging fork. Care should be taken to ensure that the root system is damaged as little as possible. The plant can then be separated into one or more sections. Each piece should have the following components:

  • a sufficient number of leaves
  • at least one drive knob
  • sufficient root mass

The separation is preferably carried out from the young growth area of ​​the roots. The separation can be done by simply pulling apart. If the plant has grown particularly tightly together, a sharp knife or spade can also be used to separate it. After division, the individual parts are planted in the ground. Much easier than propagation by division is the cultivation of runners, which present themselves as long stalks in pennywort. The foothills can simply be cut off. Then the planting takes place in the prepared substrate.

The best time to plant pennywort is fall or spring. Plants are planted as deep in the ground as they were before. As ground cover, 8 to 10 plants per square meter should be estimated. When planting, it should be noted that the soil will still settle a little after pressing and watering. Before refilling the excavated soil, adding mature compost has also proven to be useful. If there are still depressions after pressing and watering, these should also be filled with substrate.

Diseases and Pests of Pennywort

Since pennywort is generally very robust and easy to care for, no particular diseases are to be expected. However, if the plant is cultivated in a very sunny location and at the same time not sufficiently watered, the plant can show typical symptoms of drying out. This includes above all the discoloration of the leaves, which become brown and brittle. If the drought persists, the plant may die off completely. However, there are no known pests that attack pennywort.

Use of pennywort in folk medicine

Pennywort is used in folk medicine in dried form for numerous diseases due to its active ingredients (e.g. tannins, saponins and silicic acid). These include, above all, complaints in the gastrointestinal area, severe diarrhea, rheumatism and body aches. The astringent effect of the ingredients is held responsible for the effect. Concentrated decoctions are also made into a poultice and administered to poorly healing wounds.

Varieties of Pennywort

The “Goldilocks” variety, which presents funnel-shaped golden-yellow flowers, is mainly cultivated outdoors.

The Lysimachia nummularia Aurea variety, on the other hand, is suitable for cultivation in aquaria. With growth of up to 4cm per week, this variety is one of the fast-growing plants and looks very decorative in the aquarium due to its yellow-green stem and yellow-green leaves. Here the variety is suitable for the first planting and ensures that the biological balance of the small biotope is not shifted by removing nutrients from the algae. The plant has numerous uses in the aquarium:

  • Can be used in Holland aquariums due to its upright growth
  • for the formation of high-contrast plant streets
  • as a group to form a bushy population in natural aquariums

Pennywort grown in the aquarium requires little care overall. However, the regular supply of micronutrients and nitrate has proven to be useful, since deficiencies can lead to fading of the leaves and possibly also to stunted growth. With a final height of 40cm, it can also be used in smaller aquariums; if the plant breaks through the water surface, the shoot tips should be shortened. Such cut shoots can then easily be used as cuttings for propagation. Cultivated in a nutrient-rich, fine-grained substrate, roots form quickly. Pennywort gets along very well with other aquarium plants. However, the leaves can be affected by being eaten by herbivores, as the leaves and stems are quite delicate.

Other loosestrife species

In addition to the well-known pennywort, other species of the genus Lysimachia can be found in home gardens. This includes above all the yellow loosestrife (Lysimachai punctata), which is also called “spotted star”. The upright and dense bushy perennial reaches a total size of up to 100cm and forms numerous offshoots. The loosestrife appears particularly decorative due to its cup-shaped flowers, which shine in a golden yellow color and develop a delicate fragrance. The flowers are decoratively arranged in whorled layers around the green lanceolate leaves. The location and the suitable substrate are selected according to the same criteria as for pennywort. As with pennywort, the plant is often used in small groups at the edge of the pond. In these areas, additional irrigation is usually not necessary. Regular pruning prevents the plant from spreading too quickly.

Tip: The perennial is particularly pretty in borders or in cottage gardens or in natural garden areas for naturalising.

The spotted star must be poured vigorously in a sunny location and prolonged drought. Adequate care also requires the addition of compost in the spring and the regular removal of offshoots. Planting and propagation works in a similar way to pennywort:

  • Propagation by division in spring and autumn
  • Sowing possible, but tedious
  • Plant in autumn at a distance of 50-80cm

Very similar to the yellow loosestrife in growth height and use, the snow loosestrife (Lysimachia clethroides) produces small-flowered, densely covered flower clusters of white color. This is an East Asian species that blooms into September. The same modest claims as its European relatives, however this species should be given extra frost protection in winter.

Strauss loosestrife is one of the popular varieties that can be found in home gardens. The perennial only grows to a height of 50cm and presents particularly small yellow flowers in feathery racemes. The easy-to-care-for species, which requires the same location and care conditions as pennywort, is particularly popular in moist to swampy soil or in moist natural garden areas.

Pennywort offers gardeners who don’t have a lot of time to spend on their plants the ideal opportunity to cover specific areas in the garden with colorful leaves and bright flowers. Extremely versatile, the variety suitable for the aquarium is an important part of aquaculture. To provide variety, other loosestrife varieties, such as the decorative yellow loosestrife, can also be used in the garden.

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