Marsh Marigold: Bright Yellow Flowers Appear In April And Last Until June

Marsh Marigold: Bright Yellow Flowers Appear In April And Last Until June

Marsh Marigold

Photo Compliments of Ian Marsman

Caltha palustris is more commonly called marsh marigold, or sometimes kingcup. This wonderful plant thrives across our watery landscapes. It is a spectacular looking herbaceous perennial that reaches a height of 1 to 2 feet and equal width. It produces mounds of light green, rounded leaves, with scalloped edges that emerge very early in spring. Leaves will range in width from 3 to 7 inches.

The foliage quickly yields to clusters of bright yellow flowers with 5 to 6 petals arranged in a cyme, each flower is roughly the size of a quarter. Flowers first appear in April and extend into June. The flowers resemble those of the buttercup. The flowers will bloom continually for one or two weeks before they develop mace-shaped fruits. Each spike of this fruit is an individual seed capsule that, when dry, it explodes, catapulting seeds. Marsh marigold emerges early in spring, blooms, and sets seed in spring before entering dormancy with the heat of the summer.

This wildflower is common in swampy areas and along stream banks. Marsh marigolds thrive when it grows just above the water. During their dormant period the soil should not be allowed to dry at all. Marsh Marigolds are a welcome sight in early spring but seem to disappear as fast as they emerged. They transplant well but going into the spring muck to dig them up cannot be described as easy.  Adding Marsh Marigolds to your water garden is well worth the effort.

How To Make Your Marsh Marigold Thrive

Marsh marigold is an excellent garden plant for moist, rich borders, and naturalized and woodland gardens. The plants are wonderful in bloom and if watered adequately, planted around water features, or planted in a bog like area the foliage will hang on through mid-summer.

If you have planted in the right area your marsh marigold will form foot-tall mounds of foliage topped with 1 to 2 inch wide yellow blooms in early spring. It’s also an excellent selection for chronically soggy or poorly drained sites. It will go dormant after it blooms, especially if it is stressed by heat and the soil is allowed to dry.

General Marsh Marigold Information

Pests And Disease

None reported.


Division is the simplest and most effective method.  The best time to divide is just after the plant finishes blooming.

Garden Uses

Beds and borders, areas that do not drain well.

Quick Facts

  • Family: Ranunculaceae
  • Light: Sun to partial sun
  • Hardiness Zones: Zones 2 to 8
  • Plant Type: Perennial, water and bog plant
  • Plant Height: 12 to 15 inches
  • Plant Width: 12 to 15 inches
  • Soil pH: Neutral
  • Water: Wet
  • Bloom Time: April to June
  • Flower Colors: Yellow
  • Transplants: Easily tolerates transplanting
  • Special Features: Flowers, tolerates wet soil

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  1. I love Marigolds. 🙂

  2. This is one I haven’t found in the wild yet, but it does grow here.

  3. Wonderful flowers! Love these yellow ones.
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