Perennials & Ornamental Grasses

Planting Marsh Marigold - Notes on location & substrate


Marsh marigolds like it moist. Otherwise, these herbaceous plants are rather undemanding. We show you what you need to consider when planting.

© Klaus Brauner - Spring is coming to the garden pond with the marsh marigold (Caltha palustris). As early as March, the native buttercup family opens its yellow cup flowers and the first bumblebees, bees and butterflies can be found. So that this atmospheric round dance can be experienced anew every year, a few notes regarding the cultivation of the yolk flowers must be observed. Below you will find out what you need to consider when planting marsh marigolds.

Marsh marigold - small plant description

Marsh yolk flowers, also called cow flowers, are small herbaceous plants that can reach a maximum of half a meter in height. The bare stems rise from the strong rhizome-forming rootstock. The dark green and almost stemless leaves can grow up to 15 centimeters long. Flowering begins in March and, if the location is optimal, can extend into early summer.

" Tip: A second bloom is often observed in the marsh marigold in late summer and early autumn.

Each stem usually has several flowers. The marsh marigold misses a calyx. In addition to the numerous yellow stamens, there are also several closely spaced fruit leaves. The fertilized fruit leaves give rise to slender follicles that contain the almost three millimeter large seeds.

Marsh marigold spread

Marsh yolk flowers are very common in Europe. The plants occur up to the north of Russia and to Iceland. North America and Asia are further distribution areas of the undemanding yolk flower. The plants mainly grow on watercourses and on swamp meadows. The marsh marigold is often found in the company of carnations, cabbage thistle or swamp forget-me-not. The plants also occur in floodplain forests. The distribution area in the Allgäu Alps extends to an altitude of more than 2,000 meters.

Special features of the marsh marigold

The marsh marigold is an attractive and easy to maintain aquatic plant for the garden pond. The plant is already in full bloom in spring, thus providing one of the first splashes of color in the winter garden. In the past, the marsh marigold was used as a colorant. The buds were boiled and pickled, which served as a substitute for capers. In 1999 the marsh marigold was named "Flower of the Year". The plants have been protected since then.

" Attention: It is prohibited to dig up wild marsh marigolds.

Plant marsh marigold - find a suitable location

The marsh marigold should be bright and moist. A slightly sunny to partially shaded location is best tolerated. If the plants get too little light, the shoots shoot unnecessarily and the flowering capacity suffers. A location in the shallow water zone is ideal. However, there should be no water flow.

The right location in brief:

  • bright
  • partial shade
  • near the pond
  • in swamp beds

How deep can the marsh marigold stand in the water?

© etfoto - Roots and rhizomes of the marsh marigold may be in the water. The upper rungs should be able to spread over the water surface. The water depth should not exceed ten centimeters. A water level that is too low has a negative impact on growth and flowering. The shallow water zone of the garden pond is the ideal location.

Suitable substrate for the marsh marigold

A nutrient-rich and moist soil is required. Some species prefer a slightly acidic soil. There are also species that feel comfortable on a calcareous surface. The plants thrive in the marshy earth in the shallow water zone of the garden pond just as they grow in the fresh substrate of a wet meadow. If you have the opportunity to determine the pH of the soil, values ​​between 5.8 and 6.5 are ideal for the marsh marigold.

" Tip: A permanently moist substrate forms the basis of life for the marsh marigold.

Select the ideal substrate in brief:

  • moist to wet
  • nutritious
  • slightly acidic
  • humos
  • marshy
  • pH between 5.8 and 6.5

Planting Marsh Marigold - Instructions

When is planting time?

Early plants can be planted between spring and autumn. The prerequisite for this is that the water is not freezing and that frost is not to be expected. The ideal planting time can be seen from August to October.

Planting marsh marigold - step by step

  1. Find location
  2. Dig out the planting hole
  3. Place the plant in the planting basket
  4. Weighing down the planting basket
  5. Close the planting hole

Once the right location has been found, the planting hole is dug out about twice the size of the root ball. Since the marsh marigold does not theoretically proliferate, a planting basket is not absolutely necessary. However, it is advisable to use a planting basket, especially if the marigold is placed on the edge of a fish pond. To prevent the fish from moving and knocking over the plant basket, it should be weighed down with pebbles. The plants grow in width and height at approximately the same distance. Therefore, a planting distance of at least 30 centimeters is advisable. The marsh marigolds come into their own when planted in small tufts. Up to twelve copies can be used per square meter.

The most important information on planting at a glance

Select locationA moist location is vital for the marsh marigold. Pond edges, bog beds or wet meadows are ideal. A partially shaded location is well tolerated. If the plant is too dark, it will lose its compact growth.
Choose substrateThe marsh marigold escapes a nutrient-rich and moist soil. Some species like it to be slightly acidic, others prefer limestone soils.
Make plantingWhen planting on the edge of fish ponds, it makes sense to use a planting basket. The planting hole should be dug out twice the size of the root ball. The yolk flower should be in the water with the roots.

Cultivating marsh marigold in a bucket, is that possible?

Without a garden pond, no marsh marigold - far from it. The plants can also be kept on the balcony and terrace in a watertight container filled with muddy earth. Of course, you should not forget to top up water regularly. The water should always be a few centimeters above the ground. The container plant is only watered less during winter rest, but the root ball must not dry out.