Native to the eastern United States, golden star plants (Chrysogonum virginianum) produce an abundance of bright, yellow-gold flowers from spring until autumn. They are ideal for an area that needs a continuous, uniform ground cover, but also look good in borders and as a low edging plant. The plants require very little care, and growing golden stars on steep banks solve mowing and maintenance problems. The plants develop tight, green foliage topped with bright gold flowers, giving rise to the common name green-and-gold.
Growing Golden Stars
Growing golden stars is easy. Golden star plants need at least half a day of sunlight. When grown in less light, the foliage loosens up and flowers are smaller and fewer in number. The plants tolerate almost any type of soil but do best when the soil is amended with plenty of organic matter. Good drainage is also essential. Space the plants 8 to 18 inches (20.5 to 45.5 cm.) apart and allow them to spread and fill in the area. Golden star plants make an excellent ground cover. One of the best varieties for this purpose is C. virginianum var. austral, which is sold under the cultivar name ‘Eco-Lacquered Spider.' This cultivar spreads quickly by taking root everywhere the stolons come in contact with soil. It also self-seeds, and the seedlings germinate in spring. When using a cultivar of this golden star ground cover, space the plants 18 inches (45.5 cm.) apart.
Care of Golden Star Ground Cover
Water the plants to keep the soil evenly moist but not wet or soggy. A thin layer of mulch helps the soil hold moisture and reduces the number of weeds. However, too much mulch slows the spread of green-and-gold plants because the stolons are less likely to come in contact with soil. Every other year, the plants should be lifted and divided or transplanted to another area. When lifting the plants, shake them to remove as much soil as possible. This stimulates the roots and reinvigorates the plants. Golden star plants are sometimes bothered by slugs and snails. Control these pests with slug and snail bait. Read the label carefully to make sure the product you choose is safe around children, pets, and wildlife.
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Jackie Carroll has written over 500 articles for Gardening Know How on a wide range of topics.
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