Green and gold flower

Green and Gold

Green and Gold is a charming, low-growing native with evergreen leaves. The dark green leaves provide the perfect backdrop for its cheerful yellow flowers.

  • Long flowering period
  • Attracts early pollinators
  • Grows in shade


  • 6 to 8 in. tall
  • 12 to 18 in. wide
  • Perennial that forms evergreen clumps
  • Hardy in USDA hardiness zones 5, 6, 7, and 8

Flowering period

In central North Carolina, flowering starts in March and can continue well into June.

How to grow

Easy in well-drained soil. Avoid planting Green and Gold in wet soil and low lying areas. Partial shade, preferably with a least a couple of hours of sun to produce a decent display of flowers. Plants can grow in full sun, but the flowers tend to discolor and look bleached out.

Care and maintenance

To prevent self-seeding, cut plants back after flowering.

Where to plant

At the front of shady borders and along the edges of woodland paths.

When to plant

The best time to plant is in the spring or fall.


It can be planted 12 to 18 inches apart when planting in a grouping.

When will my plant flower?

Plants purchased in early spring will be in bud or flower. Green and Gold planted after mid-May will flower the following year.

Native habitat and range

Moist-to-fairly dry woodlands from south-central Pennsylvania to southeastern North Carolina and central South Carolina.

Source and origin

Plants are grown from seed off stock plants at the nursery. The original plants were grown from seeds collected at the edge of a woodland in Bladen County, North Carolina.

The variety we offer (virginianum) is clump-forming and does not run. There are two other varieties of Green and Gold that spread by stolons (stems on top of the ground) to form colonies.

Wildflowers of the United States

Chrysogonum virginianum – Green and Gold. Chrysogonum is a monospecific genus native to the eastern United States. In the past some authorities have separated the genus into two species based, I think, on whether or not the plant was stoloniferous – C. virginianum, without stolons, and C. australe, stoloniferous.) Now the plant is classified into three varieties:

  • C. virginianum var. virginianum is non-stoloniferous. It is the shortest of the varieties, with the leafy clumps growing up to about 16 inches high, and the flowering stems can reach 2 feet. The early flowering stems do not have leaves, but later stems are leafy. It is a more northern variety, with little or no overlap with var. australe. It is sometimes known as Northern Green and Gold or Virginia Green and Gold.
  • var. brevistolon is the intermediate variety, including its range, which overlaps with both of the other varieties. It has stolons with shorter stolon internodes than var. australe.. While it is stoloniferous like var. australe, it is taller than that variety, although not as tall as the tallest of var. virginianum, and like this latter variety, its flowering stems develop leaves as the plant ages. It is sometimes known as Carolina Green and Gold, appropriate since this is the “middle variety” in pretty much all ways, including range.
  • var. australe is stoloniferous with relatively long stolon internodes. It is the shortest variety, with the flowering stems rarely growing more than 5 inches tall, and they do not develop leaves on the flowering stems. This southernmost variety is sometimes known as Gulf Coast Green and Gold, since it is known only in the Gulf Coast states, plus Georgia.

Chrysogonum virginianum – all three varieties – are used in flower gardens as a groundcover, both for their foliage and beautiful bright golden-yellow flowers. It is listed as Endangered in KY, OH, PA, and TN.
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Growing Golden Stars – How To Grow And Care For Green And Gold Plant

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 solves 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 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 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.

Goldenstar, Green and Gold



Water Requirements:

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


Grown for foliage



Foliage Color:

Unknown – Tell us


6-12 in. (15-30 cm)


15-18 in. (38-45 cm)


USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 °C (-20 °F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 °C (-15 °F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 °C (-10 °F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 °C (-5 °F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 °C (0 °F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 °C (5 °F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 °C (10 °F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 °C (15 °F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown – Tell us



Bloom Color:

Bright Yellow

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown – Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown – Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Other details:

Unknown – Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Unknown – Tell us

Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:

Unknown – Tell us


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Gadsden, Alabama

Vail, Colorado

Braselton, Georgia

Cleveland, Georgia

Stone Mountain, Georgia

Bridgewater, Massachusetts

Framingham, Massachusetts

Spencer, Massachusetts

Piedmont, Missouri

Flat Rock, North Carolina

Trinity, North Carolina

Cincinnati, Ohio

Columbus, Ohio

Hilliard, Ohio

West Chester, Pennsylvania

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Leesburg, Virginia

Lexington, Virginia

show all

When it comes to sprawling ground cover plants, the choices are endless. Chrysogonum virginianum, or green and gold, is a gorgeous choice due to its dainty, star-shaped yellow flowers with spooned leaves. It makes for a sense and beautiful ground cover.

Without further ado, let’s learn how to care for this incredible lawn alternative!


The gorgeous flower looks like a yellow star.Source: FritzFlohrReynolds

Scientific Name: Chrysogonum virginianum
Common Name(s): Green and gold, golden star plant, golden knee
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Origin: Eastern United States
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 6-12″
Spread: 8-18″
Bloom Time: May to October
Flowers: Yellow, star-shaped
Sun: Full to part shade
Water: Medium to wet

Scientifically known as Chrysogonum virginiaum, with “Chrys” meaning “gold” and “gon” meaning “offspring.” It’s named after the kind of flowers that it produces during its blooming time. Belonging to the Asteraceae family, it’s a perennial herb with hairy leaves and clusters of gorgeous yellow flowers.

For Zones 5 to 9, this creeping native perennial offers low mats of yellowish daisy-like flowers from summer to fall. The leaves are small and green, a great contrast to the flower. It’s easy to propagate in spring and a quick spreader. It likes rich, loamy, moist soil in partial shade to full sun — more shade if planted in southern areas.

Also known as the golden star plant, is native to the eastern United States. It is commonly found in New York State, Rhode Island, Florida Panhandle, and Louisiana.

Before we get into how to care for it, let’s look at the different varieties available.


All of the varieties look relatively similar, their growing characteristics are slightly different.Source: FritzFlohrReynolds

There are three main varieties of this plant, categorized by where they originated.

Chrysogonum virginianum var. australe

Commonly found in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, this variety is an ideal option for those looking for low maintenance plants. They bear dark yellow flowers in early spring with a low-growing mat of dark green leaves.

This variety is commonly referred to as green and gold. What makes var. australe different from the other varieties of the green and gold plant are its shorter flower stem and more rapid expansion of roots.

Chrysogonum virginianum var. brevistolon:

Also known as golden star plant, var. brevistolon of the green and gold groundcover is a low-growing perennial. It is ideal for woodland path and rock gardens. You can pair them up with Virginia bluebells and have a beautiful looking garden!

It has bright green foliage and showy yellow flowers having a star-like shape. Their appearance resembles a daisy and has five rounded petals. This variety of green and gold plant can bloom from spring to fall in cooler climates.

However, if you live in warmer areas, the blooming may stop in hot summer days. Var. brevistolon is common in Georgia, Alabama, Carolinas, Tennessee, and Kentucky.

Chrysogonum virginianum var. virginianum:

This is the most common variety that you’ll find. They produce daisy-like yellow flowers from March to October. May is the peak bloom time. The foliage is dark green and can grow up to nine inches in height. Var. virginianum is able to retain its evergreen leaves throughout the year and make an ideal choice for a rock garden.


Note the hairy stem of the green and gold plant. Source: scadwell

Golden star is a low maintenance plant. You don’t have to worry about pest problems, plant diseases and constant pruning. Also, it can handle average soil with moderate moisture.


These plants grow well in locations with partial to full shade. They can tolerate full sun, but you have to make sure the soil remains consistently moist. The ideal location is a partly shady sun-dappled area.


They prefer medium to wet soil. If you decide to plant green and gold in a location that is windy or gets more sun, you need to water the soil frequently or else it will dry up and your plants will suffer. Make sure to increase watering frequency during the heat of summer as well.


Golden knee plant prefers neutral or acidic soil with pH value less than 6.8. Although it can handle wet soil, allow for some drainage or the plants’ roots will suffer root rot.


Although this yellow-flowered ground cover doesn’t absolutely need fertilizer, you can feed it with a slow-release, organic fertilizer if you choose. Mix into the top 1″ of soil before planting, or amend by sprinkling in spring and summer.


Although most gardeners opt to grow as a ground cover, you can easily cultivate in a container garden as well. To repot, simply divide it and move to another pot. Pretty soon you’ll have another full container or growth!


To propagate golden star plants, you can use the softwood cuttings technique. For this, you need a variety that produces stolons. These stolons can be cut and dug to extract the root from the soil and transplanted elsewhere.

Another way to propagate is through the division of the crown. The best season to propagate by division is in late spring. In this season, seeds can be found around the base of established plants. You can store up these seeds and sow in a fine potting mix at 70-75°F. The seeds will start germinating in three weeks.


If you’re looking for a problem-free groundcover to boost the aesthetic appeal of your home garden, green and gold is the perfect answer. It gives you the least level of trouble and is easy to take care of. However, you may run into a few key issues.

Growing Problems

Most of the issues you’ll run into can be solved by preparing a good soil mixture and watering appropriately. As mentioned before, they need a part to full shade and moist soil. If you get those two conditions correct, you shouldn’t have any issues.

You can add composted pine bark at 20% volume into heavy clay soils to avoid the possibility of roots rotting.


They rarely experience pest problems. However, snails and slugs can eat holes in newer spring foliage. It won’t cause any serious long-term damage, though. You can eliminate them by using iron phosphate, the beer trap, or a variety of other slug and snail control methods.


Every so often your golden star may run into powdery or downy mildew issues. For care for those particular diseases, see our in-depth guides.


Q. What fertilizer do I need for green and gold?

A. A slow-release, organic fertilizer is best. You can mix it in the planting soil at the time of transplanting your starts.

Q. I have neutral soil. How do I make it ideal for green and gold groundcover?

A. Neutral soil works fine for green and gold. To make the soil acidic, you can incorporate dolomitic limestone in the planting area to bring the pH down to below 6.8.

Q. Which variety of green and gold is best for larger woodland sites?

A. Chrysogonum virginianum var. australe is ideal for larger woodland sites because of their ability to rapidly spread.

This ground cover is available in multiple varieties and can be grown in diverse landscape and climatic locations. You can even plant them in your home with little effort required.

The Green Thumbs Behind This Article:
Kevin Espiritu
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Researchers at Michigan State University have discovered bacteria with the remarkable ability to turn toxic chemical compounds into 24-karat gold. The breakthrough, detailed in a combination art and biotechnology exhibition called “The Great Work of the Metal Lover,” is described by researcher Adam Brown as modern day “neo-alchemy.” Here’s what you should know:

What is this bacteria, exactly?
The microbe, Cupriavidus metallidurans, possesses the unique ability to survive in extremely toxic environments. A few years ago, researchers discovered the bacteria growing on gold nuggets at two separate sites hundreds of miles apart in Australia. That got scientists thinking: Does this bacteria just happen to live in the vicinity of gold, or do they actually create gold?

Well… do these bacteria actually turn chemicals into gold?
Yes. Kazem Kashefi, assistant professor of microbiology and molecular genetics, and Adam Brown, associate professor of electronic art and intermedia, discovered that C. metallidurans could grow and prosper if placed on gold chloride, an otherwise worthless yet toxic chemical. Using a portable laboratory made out of the bacteria, a glass bioreactor, and 24-karate gold-plated hardware, the team continually fed the bacterium “unprecedented amounts of gold chloride,” says R&D Mag. Not only were the bacteria extraordinarily resistant to gold chloride’s toxicity, but in about a week, they converted the toxic chemical into 99.9 percent pure gold. The details are a bit complicated, says Jesus Diaz at Gizmodo, but basically, “Cupriavidus metallidurans can eat toxins and poop out gold nuggets.”

What does this mean for gold production?
Although the Michigan State University experiment was successful, it could be “cost prohibitive to reproduce experiment on a larger scale,” says R&D Mag. So don’t expect to grow your own gold at home anytime soon.

Sources: Biofuel Digest, Gizmodo, R&D Mag, Science Daily

Non-digging animals can help too. Kangaroos, for example, eat plants that may have taken up gold. So resourceful Aussie geologists sample the kangaroos’ droppings — better known as “roo poo” — to get a jump on the location of buried gold, Worrall told Science News for Students.

Bringing gold to light is just accidental for the plants, insects and kangaroos. It can prove a huge stroke of luck for geologists, however After all, why dig and drill to look for gold if the local flora and fauna can do the dirty work for you? And biogeochemical prospecting really works, says Worrall.

She points to a major mineral discovery made in 2005. That’s when geologist Karen Hulme of the University of Adelaide found unusually high levels of gold, silver and other metals in the leaves of red river gum trees. They were growing near the mines west of Broken Hill, Australia. This remote mining town in New South Wales, Australia, is about 500 km (311 mi) northeast of Adelaide. “Those leaves pointed to the buried Perseverance Lode, a resource with an estimated 6 million to 12 million tons of ore,” notes Worrall.

That showed just how far a plant could go in helping prospectors, and turned a lot of heads in the mining industry. “Biogeochemical prospecting has huge potential,” says Worrall. With geologists already using plants, insects and kangaroos, what’s next? “Bacteria,” she says. “It’s the cutting edge.”

LEAVES OF GOLD CSIRO geochemist Mel Lintern explains how and why his team is studying ways that plants concentrate natural gold from underground. Credit: CSIRO

Power Words

bacteria (singular bacterium) A single-celled organism forming one of the three domains of life. These dwell nearly everywhere on Earth, from the bottom of the sea to inside animals.

biogeochemistry A term for the movement or transfer (even depositing) of pure elements or chemical compounds (including minerals) between living species and nonliving materials (such as rock or soil or water) within an ecosystem.

biogeochemical prospecting Using biological material to help locate mineral deposits.

fauna The animal species that live in a particular region or at a particular period of time.

flora The plant species that live in a particular region or at a particular period of time.

geochemistry A science that deals with the chemical composition of and chemical changes in the solid material of Earth or of another celestial body (such as the moon or Mars).

geology The study of Earth’s physical structure and substance, its history and the processes that act on it. People who work in this field are known as geologists.

mineral A chemical compound that is solid and stable at room temperatures and has a specific formula, or recipe (with atoms occurring in certain proportions) and a specific crystalline structure (meaning that its atoms are organized in certain regular three-dimensional patterns).

mineral deposit A natural concentration of a specific mineral or metal.

nano A prefix indicating a billionth. It’s often used as an abbreviation to refer to objects that are a billionth of a meter long or in diameter.

ore Rock or soil that is mined for some valuable matter it contains.

prospect (in geology) To hunt for a buried natural resource, such as oil, gems, precious metals or other valued minerals.

regolith A thick layer of soil and weathered rock.

synchrotron A large, doughnut-shaped facility that uses magnets to speed up particles to nearly the speed of light. At these speeds, the particles and magnets interact to emit radiation — an extremely powerful beam of light — that can be used for many types of scientific tests and applications.

termite An antlike insect that lives in colonies, building nests underground, in trees or in human structures (like houses and apartment buildings). Most feed on wood.

Green and gold

Size and Method of spreading

Green and gold is a low growing (4 to 8 inches high) ground cover that can spread out to a foot and a half wide. It is a colonizing ground cover. Colonizing ground covers produce underground stems that spread out horizontally and shallowly, produce roots and then send up new shoots. Green and gold is not aggressive like other colonizing ground covers.

Plant Care

Green and gold can grow in a wide range of light exposures from full sun to fairly full shade. Shaded sites are best in hot, southern climates. Full sun sites require consistent moisture. Well-drained, acidic soils are best.

Disease, pests, and problems

None common.

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to much of Eastern North America.

Leaf description

The opposite leaves are ovate with scalloped margins.

Flower description

The bright yellow flowers have five petals, giving them a star-shape. Flowers are produced in spring and early summer.

Fruit description

The fruits are achenes; not ornamentally important.

Cultivars and their differences

Eco lacquered spider green and gold (Chrysogonum virginianum ‘Eco Lacquered Spider’): Long, purplish runners and deeply notched flowers.

Pierre green and gold (Chrysogonum virginanum ‘Pierre’): A flat growth habit and extended flowering time.

Chrysogonum virginianum var. australe


Chrysogonum virginianum var. australe is a delightful, low-growing groundcover with semi-deciduous foliage, and yellow, daisy-like flowers that are about 1.5″ in diameter. It forms basal rosettes and spreads primarily via stolons (less so by rhizomes) to create dense mats of interconnected clumps. Beginning in spring, and then sporadically through summer, the flowers will emerge and rise 3 to 4″ above the foliage for a total plant height of about 10″.


Green and gold is a non-aggressive, low-maintenance groundcover. It is at its best under filtered light or open shade, and in moist, well-drained soil. It will also tolerate considerable direct sunlight if the soil is kept consistently moist. Its preference is for rich, loamy, slightly acidic environments. Deep shade should be avoided, as well as heavy clay and poorly-drained soil. It is a charming plant to have at the front of a shade garden, and combines well with Aquilegia canadensis, Heuchera americana, Spigelia marilandica, ferns, and other transitional species. Zones 5-8

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