Lysimachia Nummularia Care Guide – Planting, Growing, and Propagation

Lysimachia Nummularia Care Guide – Planting, Growing, and Propagation

Lysimachia nummularia has lots of different names, but the most common one is Creeping Jenny. Initially, this plant was widely used as a landscape plant in nurseries and gardening centers.

However, it has also proved itself capable of thriving both emersed and submersed. As a result, its hardiness and adaptability have made Lysimachia nummularia a popular choice for aquarium and paludarium setups as well.

In this article, I will be discussing Lysimachia nummularia specifically in terms of its suitability for aquariums. I will cover aspects like care, maintenance, propagation, problems, and more.

Interesting fact: in 2010, the New York Invasive Species Council recommended prohibiting Lysimachia nummularia as a problematic/invasive weed species. So far, no actions have been taken regarding this matter.

Quick Notes about Lysimachia Nummularia

Common Name Creeping Jenny
Other Names Coin plant, Moneywort, Twopenny grass, Centimorbia, Monnoyere, Wandering Jenny, Creeping Charlie, Creeping Loosestrife, Creeping Penny, and Herb Twopence
Scientific Name
Lysimachia nummularia
Difficulty Easy
Lighting Moderate 
Optimal pH 6.0 – 8.0
Optimal GH 4 – 16
Optimal Temperature 59 – 86°F (15 – 30°C)
Substrate Any
Can Be Grown Emersed
Yes
Growth Rate Moderate to fast
Placement in Tank
Midground and background
Aquarium size 20+ inches (over 50 cm)
Fertilizers
Needed
CO2 Optional
Propagation Vegetative by cuttings
Color
Green 

Interesting fact: Lysimachia nummularia has a long history of use in traditional folk medicine. For example, in traditional Chinese medicine, it has been used to treat various ailments, such as inflammation, diarrhea, and jaundice.

Taxonomy of Lysimachia Nummularia

In 1737, Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778), the eminent Swedish naturalist, mentioned this species as Lysimachia foliis subcordatis, floribus solitariis, caule repente — “loosestrife with nearly heart-shaped leaves, solitary flowers, creeping stem”.

In 1753, he wrote the first official description of this species in the first volume of Species Plantarum.

  • Kingdom: Plantae (Plants)
  • Clade: Tracheophytes (Vascular plants)
  • Clade: Angiosperms (Flowering plants)
  • Clade: Eudicots (Plants with two seed leaves)
  • Clade: Asterids (Asterids, a large group of flowering plants)
  • Order: Ericales (Ericales, an order of flowering plants)
  • Family: Primulaceae (Primrose family)
  • Genus: Lysimachia (Lysimachia, a genus of flowering plants)
  • Species: Lysimachia nummularia

Etymology of Lysimachia Nummularia

It is believed that the name “Lysimachia” comes from the Greek “Λυσίμαχος” (Lysimachos), which was the name of Macedonian general and later king Lysimachos Lisimaco (~ 361 BC-281 BC). Legend suggests he fed this plant to his oxen to calm them.

The species name “Nummularia” is derived from the Latin word “Nummulus”, meaning “a small coin”, referring to the shape of the plant’s leaves, which resemble small discs.

Distribution of Lysimachia Nummularia

This plant was native to Europe (from the south of Sweden down to Spain, east to Greece, and the Caucasus) but has quickly spread to various parts of the world.

Nowadays, it is naturalized in Asia, New Zealand, Australia (New South Wales), Canada, and the eastern United States (including the following in the Great Lakes region: IL, IN, MI, MN, NY, OH, and WI).

Habitat of Lysimachia Nummularia

Lysimachia Nummularia Care Guide – Planting, Growing, and Propagation - emersed formThis plant is known as a floodplain-inhabiting species. It can be usually found in various habitats such as wetlands, marshes, swamps, stream banks, roadsides, ditches, forest edges, and other moist areas.

Elevation ranges between 0-3280 feet (up to 1 km).

Although Lysimachia nummularia is not generally considered to be a submersed aquatic plant, it still adapts very well. In the natural environment, it does not like deep waters and can be found at depths up to 2 ft (~0.5 m)

Note: This is the reason why it is becoming an increasingly problematic invasive in and around Missouri spring systems

Description of Lysimachia Nummularia

Lysimachia Nummularia Care Guide – Planting, Growing, and Propagation in aquariumThis plant is a perennial prostrate stemmed plant.

  • Growth form. Lysimachia nummularia can be grown partially emersed (in paludarium) or completely submersed (in aquariums).
  • Size: This is a large plant. In aquariums, it can reach over 20 inches (50 cm) in height. If the plant is grown in a paludarium, its stems will creep horizontally forming leafy mats, which is why it is named Creeping Jenny.
  • Stems: The stems have 4 wings from leaf tissue, forming vertical grooves along the sides.
  • Leaves: The smooth leaves are arranged opposite each other on the stem. They are mostly oval to round in shape, with a rounded or slightly heart-shaped base. Leaves are typically 0.4 – 1 inch (10 – 25 mm) long and wide. The top side of the leaves is dark green, while the underside is lighter green, with the veins raised on the top and visible on the bottom.
  • Flowers: Lysimachia nummularia is a flowering plant. The yellow flowers appear above the water. They usually have 5 petals. The petals are smooth and rounded at the top, shaped like elongated ovals, and can be up to 0.6 inches (1.4 cm) long. The fruit is a rounded or nearly rounded capsule, 2–4 mm in diameter, which opens longitudinally into 5 sections when mature, releasing many seeds.

Note: The plant is self-fertile (hermaphrodite). It flowers from May to August, with seeds ripening from August to September.

  • Roots: The roots are thin and white. They develop where leaf nodes touch the soil.

For a more detailed and scientific description of Shinnersia rivularis, you can read here and here.

Tank Requirements and Water Parameters

Tank size:

In an aquarium, Lysimachia nummularia will only grow upwards. Therefore, considering its large size, a minimum aquarium size is a 10-gallon (40 liters) tank. Tall tanks are better than long tanks.

In a paludarium, keep in mind that it can quickly form a dense mat and occupy a larger area than when grown in an aquarium.  So, long tanks are better than tall tanks.

Water type, Temperature, Hardness, and pH:

Temperature: The worldwide distribution of Lysimachia nummularia demonstrates its excellent adaptation to various climatic conditions. This plant thrives well in both cold waters (59°F or 15°C) and warm waters (86°F or 30°C). It’s worth noting that its growth will be faster in warmer water although this can also result in smaller leaf size.

pH: It does not care much. Lysimachia nummularia will grow in acidic or alkaline waters. So, if you have pH in the range of 6.0 – 8.0, it will be fine.

Hardness: The plant can also adapt to a wide range of water hardness values (4 – 16 GH).

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Lighting:

Lysimachia nummularia prefers moderate to high lighting in aquariums. Providing it with full spectrum lighting for 10-12 hours a day is generally suitable.

However, it can tolerate lower light conditions as well. In nature, this plant can be found growing in semi-shaded areas. So, if you have a low-tech tank, this plant can also be a good choice. However, its growth rate will be significantly lower.

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Flow:

It is not mandatory but a gentle water current would be optimal for Lysimachia nummularia cultivation.

It will help to distribute nutrients and oxygen throughout the plant, promoting healthy growth, and preventing the accumulation of debris around the leaves and stems.

Substrate:

Lysimachia nummularia is a very undemanding versatile plant since it primarily absorbs nutrients from the water.

Therefore, when growing it in an aquarium, you can use almost any substrate, ranging from nutrient-rich to gravel with sand.

However, a substrate with a finer texture may be beneficial for rooting and anchoring the plant effectively.

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CO2 and Fertilization:

CO2: CO2 supplementation is optional. However, providing CO2 will significantly enhance its growth rate.

Fertilization: When it comes to fertilizers, the situation is somewhat different. Lysimachia nummularia requires regular fertilization.

However, if you’re growing it in a densely stocked aquarium with (fish and snails), under certain conditions, their waste can serve as a substitute for fertilizers. Nonetheless, in all other cases, I would strongly recommend supplementing with fertilizers.

Note: If you keep shrimp in the tank with this plant, I would highly recommend reading my articles:

Care and Maintenance of Lysimachia Nummularia

It can live in aquatic or humid environmental conditions.

In aquariums, Lysimachia nummularia is usually used as a classic stem plant, planted along the sides in the midground, or background due to its larger size.

Be ready to trim this plant pretty often since it exhibits a medium to fast growth rate. Once established, it may take only a few weeks before it will be ready for propagation and/or trimming.

Do not allow the plant to reach the surface. You may get a big tangled mass.

Start trimming it when there are 4-6 (10-15 cm) inches to the surface of the water. You can safely shorten it by half. Do not worry, it will grow back rather quickly. Regularly trim the plant to prevent overcrowding and promote bushier growth

Planting Lysimachia Nummularia

Lysimachia nummularia is a plant with a long stem and is generally planted along the sides of an aquarium, in the midground, or background.

  • Remove the plant from its pot and carefully separate any tangled roots.
  • Dig a small hole in the substrate and place the plant’s roots into it.
  • Cover the roots with substrate, ensuring they are firmly anchored.

Also, do not plant the stems too close to each other (keep them at least 2 inches (5 cm) apart).

Lysimachia Nummularia as Carpeting Aquarium Plant

Some aquarists attempt to turn this plant into a carpeting plant in aquariums as well. They want it to spread across the surface of the aquarium as if it were growing emergently.

To achieve this, they initially plant it using the Dry start method. Once the plant has rooted its stem in several places, they flood the aquarium.

Although this method may initially keep the existing stem horizontally oriented, new shoots will eventually tend to grow upwards over time. Keep it in mind.

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Propagation of Lysimachia Nummularia

Emersed forms of propagation:

  • Reproduction by stolon. As the stem extends horizontally along the ground, new roots emerge at the stem nodes, facilitating the plant’s establishment and the creation of new plants.
  • This plant also produces seeds. Surprisingly, this method is pretty rare.

Submersed form of propagation:

Cuttings. We can also propagate Lysimachia nummularia from stem cuttings.

  • Take a healthy stem cutting, making sure it has several leaves and nodes.
  • Cut it.
  • Remove any leaves from the lower portion of the cutting and plant it in the substrate.
Tip: If you have problems with rooting and find the plant floating, which is common when propagating with bare stems, you can initially let it float in the aquarium for 1-2 weeks.

During this time, you will notice roots starting to grow from the nodes, making it easier for you to plant it in the substrate afterward.

Problems Associated with Lysimachia Nummularia

Ugly roots. This plant develops adventitious (aerial) roots at the nodes along the stem. There are not many of them but I find them ugly anyway.

Solution: It is not possible to completely avoid them. Therefore, you can only trim them.

LeggyWhen the stem reaches the water surface, the plant may shed leaves at the lower part.

Solution: Trim it or place it behind driftwood or rocks. This helps decorate the bare stem.

Fast growth/ Overgrowth: Under high lighting, fertilization, and CO2 Lysimachia nummularia can grow like a weed. It can fill up the tank within a few months. So, it will require a lot of clipping.

Solution: The plant will require regular stem trimmings to prevent it from overtaking the whole tank.

Rust and leaf spots. It happens if the plant is kept emersed in too warm and humid conditions.

Solution: To prevent rust and leaf spots, ensure proper spacing between plants, maintain good airflow, and avoid overhead watering.

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Benefits of Lysimachia Nummularia

Aquascape: This species has been used for ornamental purposes because of the attractive yellow flowers.

Unpalatable and Hard structure: Lysimachia nummularia is not a preferred food source for fish or mammal species. It was noticed that even rabbits and groundhogs may eat it only occasionally. Thus, this plant is good for planted tanks where fish cause problems.

Foraging place: The structure of the creates a natural feeding ground for the shrimp. They will be constantly grazing on it.

Reduces nitrates: Because of its fast-growing rate, Lysimachia nummularia acts as a sink for nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen.

Hiding place: Eventually, these plants form a very thick bush in the aquarium, giving shrimp and fry plenty of hiding spots.

Quarantine Lysimachia Nummularia

Since this plant is widely distributed worldwide, it’s quite common for aquarists to just collect it from nearby water bodies and introduce it to their aquariums.

However, in this case, I would be extremely careful! The main problem is that by doing so we may introduce parasites (such as leeches, pest snails, dragonfly, damsefly nymphs, etc.) into your aquarium.

Furthermore, even in the case of purchasing Lysimachia nummularia from stores or greenhouses, I would still be very cautious since it may already contain residues of chemicals (pesticides) to remove parasites, snails, etc. These chemicals are extremely poisonous to fish, shrimp, and other invertebrates.

To avoid all these problems, do not forget to quarantine this plant.

To find out more, read my articles:  

In Conclusion

Lysimachia nummularia is also one of the popular aquatic plants in the aquarium industry. This plant will be a good choice even for beginners.

Whether used in summer ponds, paludariums, or aquariums, it easily adapts to various aquatic environments.

However, due to its rapid reproduction and robust growth, this plant often requires frequent replanting and thinning. Keep this in mind if you plan to choose it.

References:

  1. Suciu, Felicia, Iuliana Stoicescu, Elena Carmen Lupu, Antoanela Popescu, Adrian Cosmin Roșca, Florentina Nicoleta Roncea, Denisa-Elena Dumitrescu, Victoria Badea, and Florin Ciprian Badea. “Antibacterial Activity of Lysimachia nummularia L. in Oro-Dental Diseases.” Applied Sciences13, no. 11 (2023): 6830.
  2. Cao, L, and L. Berent, 2024, Lysimachia nummularia: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, and NOAA Great Lakes Aquatic Nonindigenous Species Information System, Ann Arbor, MI,
  3. Kodela, Phillip, and Richard W. Jobson. “Lysimachia nummularia (Primulaceae) Naturalised in New South Wales, Australia.” Telopea19 (2016): 153-157.
  4. Karataş, Mehmet, and Muhammad Aasim. “In vitro plantlet regeneration from nodal segments of creeping jenny (Lysimachia nummularia L.)-A medicinal aquatic plant.” Fresenius Environmental Bulletin24, no. 4 (2015): 1263-1268.

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