Creeping Jenny: Plant Guide (2024)

By Amanda Lutz Updated July 16, 2024

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Creeping jenny is a favorite of beginner gardeners as well as experienced landscapers because it’s a fast-growing ground cover plant that doesn’t require fussy watering schedules or maintenance. Creeping jenny, also known as moneywort, grows so quickly that it’s sometimes considered an invasive plant. However, with some monitoring, you can grow and propagate creeping jenny, use it as a lovely ground cover plant, and cultivate your plants for years to come.


Growing Conditions for Creeping Jenny

Creeping jenny can thrive across a variety of conditions. It grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Hardiness Zones 4 to 9, which encompass most of the United States. It prefers full sun and well-draining, moist soil, but the soil can be acid, alkaline, or neutral.

It can grow in partial shade but not as fast as in full sun. The leaves turn a golden yellow in full sunlight and a pale green in partially shady areas. If it receives too much sun, the leaves will blanch. 

Creeping jenny can frustrate gardeners because it’s so easy to grow. We recommend routinely mowing or cutting back your creeping jenny so it doesn’t overrun your garden or reach your neighbor’s lawn.


How to Plant Creeping Jenny

You can add creeping jenny to your garden either in containers or directly in the ground. There are two general methods for planting it: from cuttings or from nursery starters.

To grow ground cover from nursery starters, plant them in sandy, loamy, or clay soil that’s well-draining and moist. Plant them two feet apart to allow ample room to grow.

Creeping jenny will quickly grow tendrils to fill in the gaps and create a thick, dense carpet of bright green and yellow leaves. It also grows yellow flowers in the early summer. Creeping jenny grows so thickly that it can prevent weeds from taking root.

If you want to grow creeping jenny from cuttings, there are extra steps. Prepare the cutting by dipping the freshly cut end into rooting hormone, and plant the cutting in a container full of moist, well-draining soil. Cover it in clear plastic and let it sit in indirect sunlight.

Once the cutting develops roots, you can transplant it into your garden using the same process as planting nursery starters.


Recommended Varieties of Creeping Jenny

You can choose from two commonly available varieties of creeping jenny: Goldilocks and Aurea. Both varieties are trailing plants that are hardy, drought-resistant, and easy to grow as ground cover.

Goldilocks creeping jenny, or Lysimachia nummularia, is deer-resistant and grows in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 through 10. These zones encompass everywhere in the contiguous United States.

Aurea creeping jenny, which is also called golden creeping jenny or Lysimachia nummularia Aurea, grows across most of the United States. It has bright yellow and lime green leaves with rounded edges, and the leaves become a brassy color in full sunlight.


Creeping Jenny Care

Creeping jenny plants are low-maintenance and can thrive with little to no attention. One of the most important care aspects is controlling the plant’s spread. You can grow it in a hanging pot or container to stop it from overrunning, or you can mow the edges of ground-planted plants to keep it under control. Pruning is a must for managing creeping jenny.

Creeping jenny plants love moisture, so plant them in naturally moist areas such as water gardens or water them frequently to prevent the soil from drying out. While it can survive cold winters, we recommend overwintering it and cutting the foliage back in the late fall to minimize decay or fungal diseases.

If you repot your creeping jenny once a year, it won’t need separate fertilizer treatments. If it’s planted in the ground, lightly fertilize it annually.


Propagating Creeping Jenny

Creeping jenny is easy to propagate. If you trim back your plant and toss the trimmings in a corner of your lawn, they may take root on their own. There are two common processes for propagating creeping jenny, and both are forgiving: cuttings and separating root clumps.

Because it’s so prolific, we recommend creeping jenny for beginner gardeners who want to learn more about propagation.


Potting and Repotting Creeping Jenny

Growing colorful creeping jenny in pots prevents the plant from spreading across your landscape.

Pot your plant in a container that’s at least two inches wider than the plant. Ensure it has well-draining soil, but disregard the soil’s pH level. The plant will grow and cascade over the edges.

Repot your creeping jenny whenever it doubles in size, or at least once a year. Don’t worry about adding fertilizers if you use fresh potting soil. You can also trim back the plant to slow its growth if you have to repot it too frequently.


Common Pests and Diseases

Creeping jenny is a resilient plant, but you should watch for diseases and pests. The plant is vulnerable to fungal diseases such as powdery mildew and southern blight because it prefers moist conditions. There is no easy treatment for southern blight, but you can cut back infected stems and replace the soil with a better-draining soil mix. You can also apply a gentle fungicide.

Creeping jenny can be invaded by aphids and spider mites. A couple of aphids are fine, but too many can overwhelm and kill your plant. Gently wash off the aphids if you find them, and apply a gentle insecticide or neem-oil spray.


Overwintering Creeping Jenny

Overwintering is the process of protecting plants from cold weather conditions in a sheltered place, such as your home. Creeping jenny doesn’t need to be sheltered from winter conditions, but we recommend overwintering to promote stronger growth in the following early spring.

If your creeping jenny is planted in the ground, cut the foliage back to the roots and rhizomes—the continuously growing underground stem with lateral shoots—in the late fall. When you leave dead foliage over the winter, it increases the risk of disease and fungal infections.

If you have containers of creeping jenny, cut back the tendrils and move the container to a warmer, more protected spot, such as inside your home or on the southern-facing side of your landscape. Wrap insulation or a blanket around the pot of creeping jenny to provide more protection.


Is Creeping Jenny Invasive?

Creeping jenny is not classified as an invasive plant, but it grows prodigiously and can become a nuisance if it isn’t monitored. Regularly trim back or mow the edges of your plant if it’s directly in the ground, or plant it in areas surrounded by hardscaping elements and walkways to keep it in check.

Another easy strategy is to grow your plants in pots. This is an aesthetically pleasing way to prevent it from invading your lawn.


Our Recommendation

Creeping jenny is a fun, low-maintenance plant type that works well as ground cover and is a beautiful addition to any container garden. We recommend it for beginner gardeners who want a quick-growing and forgiving plant.  Monitor its spread so it doesn’t overtake your garden or invade your neighbor’s landscape.


Creeping Jenny FAQ

What zones does creeping jenny grow in?

Creeping jenny can grow in USDA Hardiness Zones 4 to 9. The Goldilocks variety can grow in Zones 3 to 10.

Is creeping jenny perennial?

Creeping jenny is a perennial grower. It can survive winter in colder climates, but the foliage dies back and regrows in the spring.

Does creeping jenny spread quickly?

Creeping jenny spreads quickly. Each plant will grow up to 18 inches across, and the new growth can put down roots to continue spreading across your landscape or garden beds.

Is creeping jenny toxic to dogs?

Creeping jenny is not toxic to dogs. It’s a nontoxic plant for people and pets, making it safe to plant anywhere in your landscape.

How do I control creeping jenny?

You can control creeping jenny by trimming back the plant as it grows. Growing the plant in window box containers and hanging pots will prevent it from growing out of control. Creeping jenny is a beautiful spiller plant that cascades over the edge of hanging pots.