Not all loosestrife is purple

Garden loosestrifes (Lysimachia) come in a variety of types, ranging from shorter ground covers to stunning upright perennials.

Many make good cut flowers. Most types have clusters of yellow or white flowers arranged in tall spikes.

Though garden loosetrifes have a tendency to spread a bit too readily, they're in a different genus, and more well-behaved, than the notoriously invasive purple loosestrife (Lythrum).

Common name: Loosestrife

Botanical name: Lysimachia spp.

Zones: 3 to 9, depending on species

Height: To 4 feet tall, depending on species

Growing conditions

• Sun: Full sun or partial shade

• Soil: Moist, well-drained soils are best, but the plants adapt to many types of moist soil.

• Moisture: Keep soil evenly moist.

Care

• Mulch: A layer of mulch around the base of the plant will help keep weeds at bay. Mulch also helps conserve moisture and keeps soil temperatures consistent.

• Pruning: Cut plants back in autumn after they freeze or in spring before they begin to grow.

• Fertilizer: In average soil, no fertilizer is necessary.

Propagation

• Division: Divide loosestrifes in spring or autumn.

Pests

•Leaf spot: In summer or autumn, leaves develop yellow to brown spots, often with concentric rings that form a bull's-eye pattern. To deter leaf spot, prune the plant to allow good airflow and avoid wetting the foliage in afternoons and evenings.

Garden notes

• While not aggressive weeds, some loosestrifes can grow quickly in the garden. Root guards may help prevent spreading; leave some space between loosestrifes and plants that don't grow as quickly.

• Don't confuse these loosestrifes (Lysimachia spp.) with the invasive purple loosestrife (Lythrum spp.).

Selections

Lysimachia ciliata: Grows to 4 feet tall with yellow flowers in summer. This species can get quite aggressive. Zones 3 to 9. Native to areas of North America.

L. clethroides: Grows to 3 feet tall with spikes of white flowers in summer. This species can get quite aggressive. Good for cutting. Zones 4 to 9.

L. clethroides: ‘Geisha': Grows to 3 feet tall with leaves edged in creamy yellow and spikes of summer-blooming white flowers. Grows much slower than the species. Good for cutting.

Zones 4 to 9.

L. nummularia: Aggressive ground cover with yellow flowers in summer. Grows to 4 inches tall. Zones 4 to 8.

L. punctata: Grows to 3 feet tall with spikes of yellow flowers in summer. This species can get quite aggressive. Zones 3 to 9.

L. punctate ‘Alexander': This selection grows to 3 feet tall with leaves edged in white and spikes of summer-blooming yellow flowers. Grows slower than the species. Zones 3 to 9.