Content Detail

Marsh marigold has bright yellow flowers that bloom above dark green, rounded leaves in spring. As the name would suggest, this low-growing perennial is native to swamps, wetlands, and streambanks. Full sun is necessary for the best flower show.

This species is native to the Chicago region according to Swink and Wilhelm’s Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research.

  • Family (English) Buttercup
  • Family (botanic) Ranunculaceae
  • Tree or plant type Perennial
  • Native locale Chicago area
  • Size range Medium plant (12-24 inches)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Wet soil
  • Tolerances Occasional flooding, Wet sites
  • Season of interest early spring, mid spring, late spring
  • Flower color and fragrance Yellow
  • Shape or form Creeping


Marsh marigold grows 12 to 18 inches high and about 1 foot wide, although plants will colonize to form larger clumps.

Native geographic location and habitat:

C-Value: 5. It is native to North American and European marshes, swamps and other wetlands. 

Attracts birds or pollinators:

Bees and flies primarily pollinate this plant, although some butterflies will also pollinate it.

Leaf description:

Leaves are rounded, simple, opposite, have ruffled edges, and grow on hairless hollow stems. The leaves get smaller as they progress up the stem.

Flower description:

Small clusters of bright yellow flowers with five sepals rise above the foliage on long stems. The centers of the flowers have a heavy ring of stamens.

Fruit description:

Small curved seed pods containing several seeds.

Plant care:

Marsh marigold will grow in sun and part-shade, but it flowers best in full sun. It requires constant soil moisture. If located in full sun during hot summers, the plant may go dormant.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:

This perennial is susceptible to rust and powdery mildew but resistant to deer. It is tolerant of wet sites.


Your support is vital to the Arboretum, where the power of trees makes a positive impact on people’s lives.

Make a gift