White marsh marigold Caltha palustris var. alba

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


The plant known as white marsh marigold is a perennial herbaceous variety with a distinct appearance characterized by its radiant white flowers. These blooms resemble buttercups and are a unique variation from the common yellow of its species. The flowers are set atop dark green, heart-shaped leaves that have a glossy texture. This plant typically grows in wet, marshy environments like the edges of ponds and streams or in damp woodlands where its striking white flowers provide a sharp contrast to the surrounding greenery. The foliage remains close to the ground and creates a lush mat, while the flowers rise just above it on stout stems during the blooming period, which is primarily in the spring months. The overall visual appeal of the white marsh marigold lies in its showy flowers and attractive foliage, which together contribute to its popularity in water gardens and other moisture-rich planting areas.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      White Marsh Marigold, White Kingcup

    • Common names

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

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Marsh Marigold is known to contain toxic components. If any part of the plant is ingested by humans, it can lead to irritation of the mouth and gastrointestinal tract. Symptoms of poisoning may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. In severe cases, it could potentially cause convulsions or muscular paralysis. It's important to seek medical advice if ingestion occurs.

    • To pets

      Marsh Marigold is also poisonous to pets, such as dogs and cats. Ingesting this plant can lead to symptoms similar to those experienced by humans, such as gastrointestinal upset, including excessive drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea. In more severe cases, ingestion could lead to convulsions or paralysis. If you suspect your pet has ingested this plant, contact a veterinarian immediately.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      1-1.5 feet (30-45 cm)

    • Spread

      1-1.5 feet (30-45 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Aesthetic Value: Caltha palustris var. alba, commonly known as White Marsh Marigold, bears attractive white flowers that can enhance the beauty of garden settings, particularly in wet areas.
    • Wildlife Habitat: The White Marsh Marigold provides nectar for early spring pollinators such as bees and butterflies, supporting local biodiversity.
    • Wetland Indicator: As a native wetland plant, it can be used in bioengineering and conservation efforts to indicate the health of wetland ecosystems.
    • Erosion Control: This plant's dense root system helps stabilize soil in wet areas, reducing erosion and improving water quality.
    • Garden Variety: White Marsh Marigold adds variety to a garden with its distinctive white blooms, offering a contrast to the more common yellow-flowered variety.
    • Low Maintenance: Once established in an appropriate wet environment, Caltha palustris var. alba typically requires minimal maintenance.
    • Education and Research: As part of a native plant garden, it can be used to educate people about native flora and their role in local ecosystems.
    • Climate Resilience: Being native to marshy areas, the plant is adapted to varying water levels and can withstand flooding, contributing to the resilience of planted areas against climate change impacts.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris var. alba) has traditional use in herbal medicine to treat warts due to its caustic sap.
    • The plant has been historically used as a diuretic.
    • The roots and leaves have been used for their potential analgesic properties.
    • Some historical texts cite its use as an expectorant.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Photography subject: The unique white flowers of Caltha palustris var. alba, commonly known as marsh marigold, make it an attractive subject for photographers, particularly those interested in plant and nature photography.
    • Pondscaping: Marsh marigold can be used to add aesthetic value to water features and ponds, creating a naturalistic look and providing a habitat for aquatic wildlife.
    • Educational tool: This plant species can be used in educational settings to teach about wetland ecosystems and plant biology due to its specific growing conditions.
    • Artistic inspiration: Artists may use the marsh marigold as a muse for paintings, drawings, and other forms of art due to its striking appearance.
    • Biological indicator: As marsh marigold thrives in wet environments, its presence can indicate the health of a wetland area and serve as a marker for environmental changes or pollution.
    • Culinary decoration: The flowers of the marsh marigold can be used to decorate food platters or as an adornment on dishes in upscale culinary presentations, though they are not edible.
    • Dye production: Historically, some species in the Caltha genus have been used to make dyes, and marsh marigold may also have potential for creating natural yellow dyes.
    • Garden biodiversity: Planting marsh marigold can increase floral diversity in gardens, especially those with wet soil conditions, supporting a variety of pollinators.
    • Floristry: Marsh marigold can be used in floral arrangements, particularly for occasions that call for wildflower themes or springtime decorations.
    • Craft projects: The distinct shapes and colors of marsh marigold flowers and leaves can be incorporated into craft activities, such as pressing for bookmarks or botanical prints.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The plant Marsh Marigold is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The plant Marsh Marigold is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Renewal: Because Caltha palustris var. alba, commonly known as white marsh marigold, blooms in early spring, it can symbolize the renewal and rebirth that comes with the season.
    • Purity: The color white often represents purity and innocence, and as such, the white blossoms of the marsh marigold can carry this symbolic meaning.
    • Transience: Marsh marigolds typically bloom for a short period, which can symbolize the transient nature of life and beauty.
    • Adaptation: As a plant that thrives in marshy, wet environments, the marsh marigold can symbolize the ability to adapt and flourish in various conditions, signifying versatility and resilience.

Every day
500 - 2500 Lux
Every year
Not needed
  • water dropWater

    The White Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris var. alba) enjoys consistently moist soil and should be watered regularly to maintain these conditions, especially during dry periods. This plant thrives in wet environments, so it can be watered several times a week, ensuring that the soil does not dry out completely. Depending on the heat and dryness of your climate, aim to provide about 1 gallon of water per square foot every week. During particularly hot spells, increase the frequency to keep the soil damp. Overwatering is not as much of a concern with this plant, as long as the soil is well-draining.

  • sunLight

    White Marsh Marigold should be placed in an area where it will receive partial shade to full sunlight. Ideal locations are spots that receive morning sunlight and are protected from the intense afternoon sun, or dappled sunlight conditions under open trees or shrubs. Too much shade may result in fewer blooms, while too much direct sunlight can stress the plant, especially in hotter climates.

  • thermometerTemperature

    White Marsh Marigold is hardy under a wide range of temperatures, but it thrives in temperatures between 50°F and 70°F, which are ideal for its growth. It can survive minimum temperatures down to about -40°F and maximum temperatures up to approximately 80°F. It is important to protect the plant from extreme heat, as it prefers cooler conditions and adequate moisture to prevent wilting.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning White Marsh Marigold is mostly to remove spent flowers and any yellowing leaves to encourage more blooms and maintain a tidy appearance. Light pruning can be done throughout the blooming season, spring to early summer, as needed. After blooming has finished, cut back the foliage if it becomes unsightly. This is typically the only pruning required for this plant.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    White marsh marigold thrives in wet, boggy soils with high organic matter content. The best soil mix is one that mimics a marshy environment, composed of equal parts peat, loam, and sand to ensure good moisture retention and drainage. Maintain a soil pH between 5.5 and 7.5 to meet the plant's needs.

  • plantRepotting

    White marsh marigold should be repotted every 1-2 years to refresh the soil and accommodate root growth. It's essential to repot in the early spring before the plant begins its active growth season.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    White marsh marigold prefers high humidity levels similar to its natural boggy habitat. Aim to maintain a humidity level of around 60-80% for optimal plant health, ensuring the environment is consistently moist but not waterlogged.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Grow in moist soil, bright indirect light.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in wet ground, partial shade, keep soil moist.

    • Hardiness zone

      3-7 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    The White Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris var. alba) begins its life cycle as a seed, which germinates in moist to wet soil conditions, typically in spring. Upon germination, seedlings emerge and develop into juvenile plants, forming a rosette of round to heart-shaped leaves. As the plant matures, it produces stems and larger leaves, and in the spring to early summer, it blooms with distinctive waxy white flowers. After pollination, often by insects, the flowers develop into follicles containing numerous seeds. The plant dies back to its rhizomes in the autumn, which overwinter and regrow the following spring. This perennial herb can also spread vegetatively through its rhizomes, creating larger colonies over time.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time


    • The most popular method for propagating Marsh Marigold, specifically the Caltha palustris var. alba, is by division. The best time for this is in the late fall or early spring when the plant is not in active growth. Gardeners should gently lift the plant from the soil, making sure to keep a good amount of the root system intact. Once lifted, the clump can be divided into smaller sections using a sharp knife or spade, ensuring that each new section has at least one growing point or bud. These divisions can then be replanted immediately at the same soil depth they were originally growing, spaced about 12 inches (about 30 centimeters) apart to allow for growth. Regular watering is essential until the new plants have established themselves.