Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Gooseneck Loosestrife

Gooseneck Loosestrife earned its common name from its elegant arches of white flowers thought to resemble a gooseneck. When planted en masse, the numerous plants appear as a gaggle of geese, with each "gooseneck" pointing in the same direction.

gooseneck loosestrife flower

Gooseneck Loosestrife is very easy to grow. It is hardy in zones 3-8, tolerates any soil type (including soil with poor drainage and heavy clay), and will thrive in a full sun or partial shade environment. The white blooms generally appear in mid-Summer and last through late-Summer, but my plants began blooming in late Spring. The plants will reach up to 3' in height, and the green foliage turns a lovely shade of bronze in the Winter. The plants do eventually die back in Winter but re-emerge in early Spring.

This plant is most effective in mass plantings, and since Gooseneck Loosestrife multiplies very rapidly, it is difficult to deter a mass planting from occurring whether planned or not. Since this plant reproduces primarily by running roots, it can be planted in a large pot that is plunged into the ground to help control its invasive tendencies. Moist soil is the catalyst for rapid spreading, so a drier soil should inhibit spreading a bit.

Since Gooseneck Loosestrife multiples so rapidly, it is the perfect perennial to transplant from a friend's garden in early Fall. This bed was created from twelve transplants I took from my MIL's garden last September. Each plant has produced at least three more plants in that time and will be ready to divide next Fall. It is fun to grow plants that can be shared with others!

hydrangeas and gooseneck loosestrife

You can tell by this photo of the original transplants that not only does this plant multiply quickly, but it also grows beautifully. When I dug these from my MIL's yard, I didn't bother with getting much dirt around the roots, but pretty much just yanked them from the ground bareroot. I transplanted them into this heavy clay area that has very poor drainage, but they persisted through the Winter and emerged happily in Spring.

hydrangea garden

We all have those areas of the yard that we want to fill in quickly and don't necessarily care to fuss with throughout the year. Gooseneck Loosestrife is an excellent choice for a low maintenance solution.

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At 11:39 AM , Blogger Tami said...

Those are lovely flowers! I had never seen or heard of them before.

At 9:21 PM , Blogger Tammy said...

I love this plant! Yes, it has invasive tendencies so only plant it where you don't mind it spreading, uncontrollably. I am in the process of transplanting these from the front of my house, where they are choking my hibiscus and running into my butterfly bushes, to a long (200') unpainted dog-ear fence - the perfect backdrop for these to beautify! Those that I transplanted last summer - in the arid dog-days, and by nearly yanking up and burying - are starting to emerge... I am going to take more of the newly emerging shoots from the front of the house and transplant them next weekend so they can get all of the upcoming April showers. I cannot wait to see them bloom!


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