Perennials & Ornamental Grasses

Plant, care for and multiply pennywort


The pennywort feels almost everywhere. However, it does not tolerate drought. We show them what is important when cultivating this plant.

© K. Thalhofer /

The pennywort is a water-loving plant that can spread rapidly within a short time and forms pretty carpets with its bright yellow flowers. The plants are native to Europe and the Caucasus, and are very robust and adaptable. In the rock garden, the pennywort (Lysimachia nummularia) cuts a fine figure just as it can be used as a border plant or as a pond plant attracts attention.

Small plant description

Penny Herb (Lysimachia nummuralia)
Spread:30 - 40 cm a year
Height:5 - 10 cm
Use:Woody margin, open space, water edge
Plant spacing:35 cm planting distance, 8 to 10 pieces per m²
Location:Sun to partial shade
Ground:fresh to moist, well-drained, normal garden soil
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The discoverer of the plant is hidden in the generic name. It is said to have been the ancient general Lysimachos. While this is a legend, the designation "nummularia" alludes to the shape of the leaves, which is reminiscent of a coin.

The pennywort is an evergreen, fast-growing plant that forms creeping runners up to half a meter long. Roots develop on the leaf nodes and this allows the plant belonging to the Gilbweiderich genus to spread rapidly across the soil.

The small yellow flowers are on the flower stems, which can be up to three centimeters long. Rarely are capsule fruits formed, which are spread by water and by humans.

Dissemination and use

The pennywort is native to the temperate climates in Europe and Asia. As an ornamental plant, the Pfennig-Gilbweiderich is sold all over the world today. The pennywort occurs all over Germany and is partly overgrown. In the Allgäu Alps, the plant grows up to an altitude of 1,300 meters.

As a garden plant, the pennywort is often found on the pond bank and is considered a popular ground cover. In the Middle Ages, the pennywort was called "leech herb" and was used to support wound healing and was also used in the treatment of lung diseases. The importance of the penny herb as a medicinal plant has been preserved in Eastern Europe to this day.

The medicinal properties of the plant are generally considered controversial. The silica contained is said to help fight inflammation. The plant is also said to promise help with rheumatism. For use as a remedy, the leaves and flowers are dried and brewed as tea or used as a brew.

Plant pennywort

Find the right location

Pennywort also feels comfortable in the shallow water zone in the garden pond - © bigemrg / The pennywort prefers a bright location. The plant is reluctant to stand in the blazing sun. A place in partial shade is ideal. The pennywort feels most comfortable when there is water nearby. The pennywort can also be used as an aquarium plant and can help regulate the nutrient balance in water. However, care should be taken to ensure that other aquatic plants are not displaced and that their growth is prevented.

Attention: The pennywort should only be used as an aquarium plant up to a water temperature of 25 degrees.

In the bed or balcony box, the penny herb with astilbe, delphinium, honorary award, milkweed or purple bells finds suitable neighbors.

Choose the ideal substrate

A normal garden floor is usually sufficient. The pennywort is quite frugal. However, the plant cannot cope with a dry soil. The pennywort is one of the marsh plants and therefore tolerates a permanently elevated water level.

The shallow water zone of the garden pond would be an ideal place. A fresh and well-drained soil is also an advantage. Heavy clay soils should be mixed with sand.

Planting pennywort - step by step

1. Select location
2. Prepare the substrate
3. Dig out the planting hole
4. Upgrade the substrate
5. Insert the plant
6. Fill up the substrate
7. Tread the earth well
8. Water the plant
9. Fill up soil if the soil has settled

The pennywort can be planted in spring and autumn. When choosing the location, it should be borne in mind that the pennywort grows quickly and also expands accordingly. The distance to other plant neighbors should therefore be at least 30 centimeters.

Tip: No more than ten plants should be planted per square meter.

After the planting hole has been excavated, the substrate is mixed with compost or horn shavings and thereby upgraded. After planting, the soil may settle and some substrate may need to be refilled.

The pennywort can also be cultivated in a bucket, but will spread less rapidly. If the plant is placed in the front area of ​​the tub or planter, the hanging shoots appear particularly attractive.

Tip: The “Aurea” variety also cuts a fine figure as a house plant in the hanging traffic light.

An overview of the most important planting tips

Select location
  • Penumbra to shade
  • pond edge
  • Shallow water zone
  • Aquarium
Prepare the soil
  • fresh
  • sandy
  • wet
  • nutritious
Make planting
  • Planting time spring and autumn
  • Note planting distance
  • Mix excavated earth with compost

Care for pennywort

Water the pennywort properly

The water requirement of the pennywort is high. The water-loving plant must not dry out and should therefore be watered regularly. The irrigation can be saved if you decide to plant at the edge of the pond or use the mint herb as an aquarium plant.

A semi-shady location on the edge of the pond is ideal. Here the pennywort can stretch its shoots into the shallow water zone and thus ensure that its water requirements are covered.

Fertilize pennywort properly

Covering the nutrient requirements of the pennywort can already be ensured during planting. Compost or horn shavings are mixed under the substrate. Additional fertilization can be carried out in the following spring. If you do not have organic fertilizer, you can use a perennial fertilizer.

Tip: If you use slow release fertilizer, you only need to add fertilizer every three years.

Cut pennywort

The pennywort does not necessarily have to be cut. However, pruning is a good way to slow down the vigorous plant. A cut is possible at any time. The pennywort will not resent the hobby gardener if the long runners are shortened a bit before they overgrow the bed or the lawn and displace other plants. A pruning also leads to the plant developing a bushy habit.

Tip: The shortened shoots can be used as head cuttings for propagation.

The most important care tips at a glance

to water
  • high water requirements
  • water regularly
  • Ideal planting at the edge of the pond
  • Compost when planted
  • Long-term perennial fertilizer every three years
To cut
  • Cut back at any time
  • Shoots can be used as head cuttings

Varieties of pennywort

In addition to the natural form, some cultivated forms are on the market. The gold pennywort "Aurea" is extremely popular. The plants grow less abundantly and impress with a striking yellow coloring of the leaves. Aurea is popular as a balcony and houseplant. The funnel-shaped flowers of the Goldilocks variety are particularly appealing. This species is an ornament as a hanging plant and also comes into its own in the tub.

Other breeding forms:

Nodding loosestrife (Lysimachia barystachys)
The nodding loosestrife has white flower clusters that are slightly arched.

Snow loosestrife (Lysimachia clethroides)
The white flower ears of the snow loosestrife bend slightly at the top.

Eyelashed Loosestrife (Lysimachia ciliata)
The ciliated loosestrife blooms yellow and overgrows less than the natural form. It is suitable for borders and beds.

Goldfelberich 'Alexander' (Lysimachia Punctata Alexander)
The Goldfelberich 'Alexander' has cream-colored, variegated leaves.

Properly multiply pennywort

Propagation will play less of a role in the fast growing plant. Before the hobby gardener knows, the pennywort has spread so much that only the rejuvenation of the plant is really an issue.

However, if you want to multiply the pennywort, there are three options:

1. Propagation via foothills
The pennywort can be propagated within a few minutes by separating a branch that has already formed roots from the mother plant and transplanted it separately.

2. Multiplication by division
The propagation of the plant is also easily possible by dividing the perennial. For this, the penny herb must first be dug out. The earth is shaken off and the root ball divided with a sharp knife. The two plants are then transplanted separately.

3. Propagation via cuttings
If the pennywort is cut back, head cuttings occur. These are placed in flower pots and take root there within a few months. Finally, the plant can also be propagated through root cuttings. This happens in autumn. The roots are exposed. The hobby gardener selects a healthy and strong root in autumn and cuts it into pieces about eight centimeters long. The cuttings are placed in the ground and will sprout again next spring.

Are diseases of pennywort known?

In fact, the pennywort is one of the few plants that do not have to fight with diseases or pests. Even snails are not interested in the robust plant.

The biggest enemy of pennywort is drought. A sunny and dry location is not tolerated and leads to discoloration of the leaves. The leaves turn brown and brittle. If the plant is too dry for an extended period of time, it threatens to die completely.

Hibernate pennywort

The pennywort is robust and hardy. Winter protection is not required outdoors. A winter state that is too sunny can cause the shoots to dry up. A pruning in spring will quickly forget the damage caused by bald frost.

Tip: To prevent the pennywort from drying out in winter, watering should be done occasionally on frost-free days.

If the plant is cultivated in a bucket, a frost-proof planter must be used. If the tub is to spend the winter outdoors, it is best to place it on a wooden or polystyrene support and wrap the planter with a burlap sack.

Tip: If the planter is placed at an angle in winter, excess liquid can drain off better.