The Shade-Loving Green & Gold Plant That'll Help With Weeds In The Garden

One of the most frustrating gardening conundrums is the fact that there seem to be more weeds that love shade than there are intentional or beneficial plants. Luckily, there are options for shady gardens and some of them can even help to inhibit the growth of weeds. One of these heroes of the flourishing shade garden is a flowering gorgeous semi-evergreen plant that spreads enough to serve as ground cover. It's a low-maintenance perennial known as green-and-gold.

If you've been looking for the perfect ground cover for your shade garden or wanting to fill in the empty spots in your landscaping, green-and-gold might be the answer. It's gold flowers in the summer and vibrant green foliage are about as cherry an option as you'll find for your shadiest corners. Consider this your guide to adding green-and-gold (aka Chrysogonum virginianum) to your lawn or garden the next time you're searching for a shady solution.  

Throwing shade: how to plant green-and-gold

Green-and-gold — sometimes referred to as the golden star plant — requires at least partial shade to thrive, so make sure you have a shady spot in mind before you plant this ground cover. The plant also requires a location within hardiness zones 5-9 and prefers to be planted in spring or fall. While there are other varieties of green-and-gold that spread faster and don't grow as tall, Chrysogonum virginianum is the most commonly available variety and reaches 6-12 inches in height.

Once you've found the best shady spot to accommodate the size and spread of the plant, it's time to start planting. Green-and-gold is known to thrive in any average soil, as long as it can retain some amount of moisture without waterlogging. Plant your seedlings at least 12 inches apart and expect them to fill in to create a ground cover over time as they grow. Water the plants after putting them in the ground and then stand back to admire your handiwork.

Caring for your new favorite weed-suppressing shade plant

While green-and-gold is a low-maintenance plant you don't have to fertilize, that doesn't mean that it won't require some amount of care at times in order to thrive and contribute to lessening your weed problem. Unless your area experiences very hot or drought-like conditions, an average amount of rainfall should provide it with enough water to grow and spread. Otherwise, occasional watering will be required. As it spreads and begins to function as an easy-to-grow ground cover, you'll notice that it crowds out and eventually takes over many — if not all — of the weeds growing in the area where it was planted. Instead of weeds, you can enjoy a plethora of pollinators visiting your green-and-gold groundcover. 

The only real maintenance that is required for green-and-gold plants is pulling any shoots that spread beyond the area where you'd like it to grow. These small shoots are very easy to remove, which is why the plant isn't considered invasive despite its spreading habits. Deadheading can help to increase flowering during blooming season and you can trim back foliage for better airflow or aesthetic purposes, but pruning is not required. As a semi-evergreen perennial, the plants will turn partially brown over the winter, but be prepared for them to return unbothered when spring returns.