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Lithrum salicaria - Purple Loosestrife

yarrow2yarrow2 Posts: 782
Bought one of these on a whim because I liked the look and hadn't realised its natural environment is wetlands, bog etc.  I have clay soil but it's in a bed where the soil has been regularly improved over the years and just about anything has grown there so far!   It only gets 'full' sun from early afternoon to the end of the day so whilst I wouldn't say it is permanently 'damp', astrantias, roses, peony, thalictrum, aquilegia, hellenium and all sorts are happy there.   I have cleared the centre of the bed this Spring and will be planting other perennials to take up the space - so I think the soil is going to be pretty well shaded by plants and it doesn't get noticeably dry to the point where any plant has needed special attention.

For those of you who maybe grow Purple Loosestrife - do you have it in 'bog' conditions or have people found that it can cope with non bog/wet conditions?  I've also read it can be a bit of a thug but I'd be keeping an eye on it over time to make sure it doesn't become one.

Any advice from you experienced folks would be gratefully received, especially if you think it will be a dead loss if not in permanently wet ground.  I also don't know if it's a particular 'type' of loosestrife as the label only said 'purple loosestrife' and did say 'suitable for sun or partial shade in moist or wet soils' and that it will have 'magenta' flowers.


  • yarrow2yarrow2 Posts: 782
    And I goofed with my spelling - it should be 'Lythrum' and not 'Lithrum'.
  • edited July 2021
    I grow it in clay soil which is not boggy, in full sun. It is perfectly happy there, but not a thug.

    Apparently it is extremely invasive in the USA, where it has been introduced, and it is illegal to import the seeds into the USA, but here in Europe it is not a problem.
  • yarrow2yarrow2 Posts: 782
    Thanks Alan for quick response with good news.  Appreciated.
  • Victoria SpongeVictoria Sponge Posts: 3,502
    I have a couple in the beach areas of the pond which are flooded in winter and possibly still damp in summer although the water drops below this level.  I also have one in normal heavy soil which I think probably dries out in summer as I don't water it. 

    I've noticed a couple of seedlings in the normal beds - I don't expect them to grow as big as the pond ones but who knows.  I wouldn't say they are thuggish, they certainly don't swamp any other plants and I've had only a handful of seedlings.  Hope that helps :)
    Wearside, England.
  • I planted one in a normal area of hilltop soil improved with lots of manure about three years back in part of the garden where there are lots of plants already growing so it does dry out at times and it has grown fine. It has not got too vigorous and is maybe overshadowed by a couple of its neighbours so maybe it might be more successful in a damper part of the garden but I did not know about its preference for damp sites when I was planting it and it seems to be doing OK so I'll probably leave it where it is.
  • BenCottoBenCotto Posts: 4,501
    edited July 2021
    Here’s mine in a slightly raised bed, south facing and backed by the brick shed. The soil is a loamy clay. It clearly did not read the memo about favouring damp conditions. That said, just in case, I do run the hose over it when the weather is hot and dry. Our average annual precipitation is 610mm.

    Rutland, England
  • yarrow2yarrow2 Posts: 782
    Many many thanks everybody for your replies and the photos are great to see these plants in situ and it sounds as if it's a pretty versatile plant.
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