Marsh Marigold Caltha palustris var. palustris 'Plena' (d)

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


The plant known as Marsh Marigold 'Plena' is a perennial that features lush, dark green leaves with a rounded, heart-shaped appearance. Its leaves add a vibrant base layer from which its distinct flowers emerge. These blossoms, which characterize the 'Plena' variety, are fully double, meaning they have more petals than the single-flowered types, resulting in a ruffled and opulent look. The flowers are a bright, buttery yellow, creating an eye-catching display against the green foliage. Due to their double form, the flowers have a particularly full and almost pom-pom-like effect, exuding a cheerful and ornamental appeal in garden settings. The Marsh Marigold 'Plena' typically blooms in spring, adding a splash of color to the area it inhabits. Its overall demeanor is one of freshness and vivacity, often found thriving in places with moist soil conditions.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Synonyms

      Double Marsh Marigold, Kingcup, Water Dragon.

    • Common names

      Caltha palustris var. plena, Caltha palustris var. fl. pl.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Marsh Marigold is known to contain toxic glycosides and alkaloids which can cause irritation and harm if ingested. Consuming any part of the plant may lead to symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and irritation of the mouth and throat. Handling the plant can also cause skin irritation or dermatitis in sensitive individuals. It is important to avoid ingesting any parts of the Marsh Marigold and to exercise caution when handling it.

    • To pets

      Marsh Marigold is also toxic to pets. If ingested, the plant can cause similar symptoms to those observed in humans, such as gastrointestinal upset including vomiting and diarrhea. In severe cases, it can lead to more serious symptoms like convulsions or cardiac issues. Pet owners should prevent their animals from eating or coming into contact with any part of the Marsh Marigold to avoid the risk of poisoning.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      1 foot (30 cm)

    • Spread

      1 foot 6 inches (45 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Ornamental Value – Caltha palustris var. palustris 'Plena', also known as double-flowered marsh marigold, has showy, multi-petaled yellow flowers that add visual interest to ponds and wetland gardens.
    • Wildlife Attraction – The plant provides nectar for early spring pollinators such as bees and butterflies, supporting the local ecosystem.
    • Water Quality – Being native to marshes and wetlands, marsh marigold helps in maintaining the health of aquatic environments by stabilizing soil and potentially filtering water.
    • Erosion Control – The fibrous root system of the marsh marigold can help to secure soil and prevent erosion on the banks of streams and ponds.
    • Naturalizing Effect – It can spread in an appropriate wetland environment, creating a natural and wild aesthetic in landscape designs.
    • Low Maintenance – Once established, marsh marigold is relatively easy to care for, requiring minimal maintenance, especially in suitable wet environments.
    • Early Blooming – As one of the first plants to bloom in spring, it can provide color to gardens when most other plants are still dormant.
    • Edible Parts – Some parts of marsh marigold, particularly when cooked, have been traditionally consumed, although care must be taken due to its potential toxicity when raw.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Anti-inflammatory: Historically, Caltha palustris, commonly known as marsh marigold, has been used in traditional medicine to reduce inflammation.
    • Analgesic: Some sources suggest that the marsh marigold was used for its pain-relieving properties.
    • Diuretic: The plant has been attributed with diuretic effects, promoting the increased passing of urine.
    • Wart treatment: Juice from the stems has been applied topically to treat warts in folk medicine.
    However, the use of Caltha palustris var. palustris 'Plena' for any medicinal purpose is not widely documented, and it should not be used without the guidance of a healthcare professional due to potential toxicity.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Marsh Marigold 'Plena' can be used as a natural dye for fabrics, providing a range of yellow hues depending on the mordant used.
    • In some cultural practices, the plant has been used to symbolize fertility and was therefore included in floral arrangements and decorations during spring festivals.
    • The stems and leaves of Marsh Marigold can be used to feed livestock such as cattle and goats, but only after they have been properly cooked to neutralize toxins.
    • The flowers, when treated, may serve as a natural food coloring in various dishes, although usage is very rare due to the presence of toxic compounds.
    • Before modern refrigeration, the plant's leaves were sometimes used to wrap butter for its purported ability to keep the butter fresh and cool.
    • Marsh Marigold can be planted in constructed wetlands to facilitate the phytoremediation process, helping to clean contaminated water.
    • In garden ponds, the plant can provide shade and shelter for aquatic life, as well as aesthetic value with its bright flowers.
    • Marsh Marigold's dense growth habit can be used to prevent soil erosion along stream banks and other water bodies.
    • The plant has been used in traditional arts for creating botanical prints due to its distinct shape and texture of leaves.
    • Marsh Marigold is sometimes incorporated into educational programs about wetland ecosystems and plant life cycles, given its distinctive and easily identifiable features.

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

    • Innocence: Marsh Marigold is often associated with childlike purity and the untainted joy found in nature.
    • Bravery: Thriving in marshy, wet conditions where other plants might not survive gives Marsh Marigold a symbolic connection to courage and overcoming adversity.
    • Resurrection and Renewal: As one of the first plants to bloom in spring, the Marsh Marigold symbolizes rebirth and the awakening of nature after winter's dormancy.
    • Prosperity: The lush, full appearance of the double-flowered 'Plena' variety hints at abundance and richness, reflecting the plant's potential symbolism of wealth and prosperity.

Keep soil consistently moist
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Not needed
  • water dropWater

    Marsh marigold should be watered thoroughly whenever the soil feels dry to the touch, allowing the soil to slightly dry between waterings. Since they thrive in wet environments, they may need to be watered several times a week, especially during hot or dry periods. Provide them with about 1-2 gallons of water per week to maintain consistent moisture, but adjust the amount depending on rainfall and temperature conditions. Overhead watering is suitable for marsh marigold, as it mimics their natural habitat of marshy areas and wetland conditions.

  • sunLight

    Marsh marigold prefers a spot that receives partial shade to full sun. The best light conditions would be dappled sunlight under trees or a place where it receives morning sun and afternoon shade. They can tolerate full sun in cooler climates, but in warmer areas, they need protection from the harsh midday sun.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Marsh marigold is hardy and can withstand cold temperatures, surviving in zones as cool as 3. They can survive in temperatures as low as -40°F and can tolerate up to 75°F during their active growing season. Ideally, they prosper in cooler conditions and do best in temperatures ranging between 50°F and 70°F.

  • scissorsPruning

    Marsh marigold typically requires little pruning, but deadheading spent flowers can encourage additional blooming. Trimming back dead foliage at the end of the growing season in late fall or early winter is beneficial. Pruning is generally done for aesthetic reasons, and the best time to do this is after the flowers have faded, or when the leaves begin to yellow.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    The best soil mix for Marsh Marigold is rich, loamy soil with consistent moisture. It thrives in wet environments, so a mix that retains water well, such as a blend of peat, loam, and organic matter, is ideal. The pH should be neutral to slightly acidic, ranging from 6.0 to 7.0.

  • plantRepotting

    Marsh Marigold rarely needs repotting as it's typically grown as a marginal aquatic plant. Generally, it can be divided or repotted every 2-3 years to prevent overcrowding and to maintain vigor.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Marsh Marigold prefers high humidity levels, which are naturally provided by its typical wetland habitat. Strive for a consistently high humidity environment, particularly if grown indoor or in a less moist environment.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Keep in moisture-rich pot, partial sun, cool temps.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in moist soil, partial sunlight, near water features.

    • Hardiness zone

      3-7 USDA.

  • circleLife cycle

    Caltha palustris var. palustris 'Plena', commonly known as Double Marsh Marigold, begins its life cycle as a seed that germinates in the early spring in wet, marshy soil. As the seedling emerges, it develops into a rosette of rounded, dark green leaves. By late spring, the plant produces its distinctive double, globe-shaped yellow flowers, which lack true petals and instead have petal-like sepals. After pollination, typically by insects, the flowers develop into follicles containing numerous small seeds. The plant dies back to its root system in late autumn as temperatures drop and the growing season concludes. The perennial root system remains dormant through the winter, ready to regenerate the plant's above-ground parts once conditions become favorable again in the following spring.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time


    • The Caltha palustris var. palustris 'Plena', also commonly known as the Double Marsh Marigold, is typically propagated by division. This method involves separating mature plants into smaller sections, ensuring that each new section has a part of the root system. The best time to propagate Double Marsh Marigolds via division is in the early spring or autumn when the plant is not in full bloom, as this allows the divided plants to establish their root system in temperate conditions. To propagate, gently lift the entire plant from the ground, use a sharp spade or knife to divide the root clump into smaller pieces, and then replant each section at the same depth it was growing at before. The divisions should be spaced about 12 inches (approximately 30 centimeters) apart to give them ample room to grow. After planting, water the divisions well to help them settle into their new locations.