Marsh Marigold Caltha palustris var. palustris

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
swamp marsh marigold


The plant known by its common name, marsh marigold, presents a vibrant and lush visual display in wetland areas where it typically grows. The most striking feature of this plant is its bright yellow flowers that bear a strong resemblance to buttercups. These flowers are large and glossy, with rounded petals that surround a central cluster of stamens, creating an eye-catching contrast against the green backdrop of the foliage. The leaves of the marsh marigold are almost as noteworthy as its flowers. They are dark green, with a heart-shaped or kidney-shaped appearance and a smooth, waxy surface. They are borne on long, hollow stems that rise directly from the base of the plant. The overall impression of the marsh marigold is one of lushness and vibrancy, with its bold yellow flowers creating splashes of color in the environments where it thrives. Its preference for moist, boggy soil ensures that it often forms dense clumps that can be striking in their natural setting.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Marsh Marigold, Kingcup, Water Dragon, Meadow Bright, Soldier's Buttons.

    • Common names

      Caltha palustris subsp. palustris, Caltha palustris f. palustris, Caltha palustris var. radicans, Caltha palustris var. sibirica.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Marsh Marigold is known to contain toxic glycosides that can be harmful if ingested by humans. Ingesting parts of the plant may lead to symptoms such as abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. Additionally, handling the plant may cause skin irritation in some individuals. It's important to avoid consuming any portion of the plant to prevent potential poisoning.

    • To pets

      The Marsh Marigold is also toxic to pets, containing substances that can irritate the gastrointestinal tract. If a pet consumes parts of this plant, they might experience symptoms like drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea. In severe cases, ingestion can lead to more serious symptoms or complications. As with humans, it is critical to keep pets from ingesting any part of the plant to avoid these toxic effects.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      1 foot 6 inches (45 cm)

    • Spread

      1 foot 6 inches (45 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area

      Northern Hemisphere


  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Ecological support: Caltha palustris var. palustris, commonly known as marsh marigold, provides habitat and food for a variety of insects including butterflies and bees, which are important pollinators.
    • Water filtration: As a wetland plant, marsh marigold helps to filter and purify water by trapping sediments and utilizing excess nutrients, which can improve water quality.
    • Erosion control: The plant's root systems help to stabilize soil and prevent erosion, especially in riparian zones and wetland areas.
    • Ornamental value: With its showy yellow flowers, marsh marigold is often used in water gardens and naturalistic landscaping to add aesthetic value.
    • Wildlife attraction: Marsh marigold provides an early source of nectar and thus attracts a variety of wildlife, contributing to the biodiversity of an area.
    • Edibility: The young leaves and flower buds can be cooked and eaten as a green vegetable, a use that should be approached with caution due to potential toxicity if consumed raw or in large quantities.
    • Cultural significance: Marsh marigold has been used in folklore and traditional celebrations, especially as a symbol of spring and renewal in various cultures.
    • Education and research: As a native species, marsh marigold serves as an important subject for educational purposes and ecological research, including the study of wetland ecosystems and native plant propagation.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Analgesic Properties: Traditionally, the plant has been used to relieve pain.
    • Anti-inflammatory: The plant contains compounds that are believed to reduce inflammation.
    • Antipyretic: It has historical use as a treatment to reduce fever.
    • Wound Healing: Caltha palustris has been used topically in some traditions to help heal wounds.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • The marsh marigold is often used in water gardens or bog gardens due to its tolerance for wet conditions and its bright, cheerful flowers.
    • In some regions, the marsh marigold is planted to prevent soil erosion because its roots can help hold the soil in place, particularly on the banks of streams or ponds.
    • This plant's large leaves can be placed under delicate fruits like strawberries in the garden to keep the fruits clean and off the soil.
    • The flowers of the marsh marigold have been historically used to dye fabrics a yellow color, although this is not a common practice today.
    • Marsh marigold can be used as an indicator plant as it prefers moist soils; its presence can signal a well-hydrated area suitable for other moisture-loving plants.
    • Early European settlers in North America used the bright flowers of the marsh marigold as a part of Easter decorations and celebrations.
    • Some people cultivate marsh marigold in rain gardens, which are designed to absorb rainwater and reduce runoff.
    • Marsh marigold is sometimes introduced in constructed wetlands to aid in water filtration and enhancement of the habitat.
    • In addition to its attractiveness to gardeners, marsh marigold is a valued plant for attracting pollinators such as bees and butterflies, helping to support local ecosystems.
    • The plentiful nectar and pollen of marsh marigold make it a useful early spring food source for emerging pollinators when other food sources are scarce.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Marsh Marigold is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Marsh Marigold is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Renewal: Caltha palustris var. palustris, commonly known as Marsh Marigold, blooms early in spring, symbolizing the renewal and rebirth that comes with the season.
    • Innocence: The bright and pure yellow flowers of the Marsh Marigold are often associated with the innocence and purity found in childhood.
    • Bravery: Thriving in wet environments where other plants may struggle, Marsh Marigold represents bravery and the ability to overcome challenging conditions.
    • Protection: Historically, Marsh Marigold was believed to have protective qualities, and it was used to ward off witches and evil in folklore.
    • Vitality: The lush and vigorous growth of Marsh Marigold symbolizes a strong life force and vibrant energy.

Keep soil consistently moist
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every year
Not needed
  • water dropWater

    Marsh Marigold thrives in wet environments, so it's crucial to keep the soil consistently moist. Water the plant with about 1 to 2 gallons weekly, but adjust the quantity depending on the soil's moisture level and the climate; marshy or boggy conditions may require less. During periods of high heat or drought, additional water may be necessary to maintain the saturated soil condition that Marsh Marigold prefers. Overhead watering can help mimic natural rainfall, but be careful not to waterlog the plant.

  • sunLight

    Marsh Marigold prefers full to partial sunlight to flourish best. A spot that receives morning sunlight and partial shade in the afternoon is ideal. Avoid placing it in deep shade, as this can impede its growth and flowering capabilities.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Marsh Marigold is cold-hardy and can tolerate temperatures as low as the upper teens in Fahrenheit, but it grows best in temperatures between 50°F and 70°F. It can survive a freeze but prolonged exposure to temperatures above 80°F may cause stress to the plant.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning Marsh Marigold isn't regularly required, but it can be beneficial to remove dead or yellowing leaves to maintain its appearance and health. Trimming should be done after the flowering season in late spring or early summer to encourage new growth. Pruning just before winter may help prevent decay and disease.

  • broomCleaning

    Not needed

  • bambooSoil

    Marsh Marigold prefers wet, boggy conditions with soil that retains moisture well. A mix of loamy soil with additional peat or organic matter can work, to mimic marshy conditions. The soil pH should be neutral to slightly acidic, ideally ranging from 6.0 to 7.0.

  • plantRepotting

    Marsh Marigold typically doesn't need frequent repotting as it thrives in wet conditions and can spread naturally if the environment suits it. However, if grown in a container, consider repotting every couple of years to refresh the soil.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Marsh Marigold thrives best with high humidity levels, which mimic its natural boggy habitat. Aim to maintain a humidity level that is consistently high without allowing the soil to dry out.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Grow Marsh Marigold in wet soil and high humidity indoors.

    • Outdoor

      Provide constant moisture and part shade for outdoor Marsh Marigold.

    • Hardiness zone

      3-7 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Caltha palustris var. palustris, commonly known as Marsh Marigold, begins its life cycle as a seed that germinates in wet, marshy ground in spring. The seedling develops into a herbaceous perennial plant, producing a rosette of glossy, heart-shaped leaves. As the plant matures, it produces bright yellow flowers, typically in early spring to late spring, which are pollinated by insects attracted to the color and nectar. Following pollination, the flowers develop into follicles containing numerous small seeds that are dispersed by water or possibly by animals. The plant dies back to its root system in winter, surviving the cold months as a rhizome or as seed. Each spring, the Marsh Marigold re-emerges from the rhizome or from new seedlings to begin the cycle anew.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time


    • The most popular method of propagation for Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris var. palustris) is by division. This perennial plant is easiest to propagate in the spring as the growing season commences or in the fall after the plant has died back. To propagate by division, carefully dig around the plant, ensuring to leave ample space to avoid damaging the roots. The clump should be lifted from the ground and gently separated into smaller sections, each having a portion of the root system. These divisions can then be immediately planted into prepared soil with appropriate moisture levels, reflecting the plant's preference for wet ground or marshy conditions. The divisions should be spaced about a foot (approximately 30 centimeters) apart to allow for sufficient room for growth. Regular watering after planting will help establish the new plants.