I was introduced to the long-flowering native perennial for the shade Chrysogonum virginianum, green and gold, by the dean of landscape architecture at UGA during my undergraduate years, Darrell Morrison. He was ahead of his time in his regard for native plants, and he really liked green and gold.
Green and gold is a reliable mat-forming perennial native to the eastern United States. The cultivar photographed here is green and gold ‘Pierre’, said to have larger flowers than the species.
Chrysogonum virginianum (green and gold) is a long-flowering native perennial for the shade garden.
The yellow-gold daisy-like flowers are small, maybe a 1/2″-1″ or so across. Chrysogonum virginianum blooms from May through October. It is a member of the Aster family. Green and gold grows maybe six inches tall or so, and the bright green leaves are reliably healthy all season.
Chrysogonum virginianum in the perennial garden
If you have consistent soil moisture green and gold can be grown in full sun, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Morning sun is fine. It is such a beautiful plant in shady garden spots, and frankly the smallish flowers would be lost visually in bright afternoon sunlight. Soil should ideally be rich and well-drained. Avoid heavy clay soils, as Chrysogonum virginianum will not make it.
Space plants 12″ and be prepared for a deliberate yet inexorable march towards filling out the bed. Due to the difference in leaf textures, Chrysogonum virginianum looks wonderful with ferns and dwarf crested iris.
The genus name Chrysogonum is derived from Greek for ‘gold’ (Chrysos) and ‘knee’ (joint) because the flowers originate from leaf axils (source: Missouri Botanical Garden). Another common name for Chrysogonum is golden knee, a term I have never heard but also learned from the excellent write-up on green and gold from the Missouri Botanical Garden.