Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Purple Gooseneck Loosestrife
Lysimachia atropurpurea

Family: Primulaceae
Genus: Lysimachia (ly-si-MAK-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: atropurpurea (at-ro-pur-PURR-ee-uh) (Info)

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

9 members have or want this plant for trade.


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Maroon (Purple-Brown)

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings
May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
From herbaceous stem cuttings
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
From seed; direct sow after last frost
By simple layering

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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3 positives
4 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive coriaceous On Jun 25, 2013, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This species is not to be confused with either the widely invasive purple loosestrife or the thuggish gooseneck loosestrife.

Burgundy loosestrife is a plant of quiet beauty with beautiful silvery bluish foliage and a very long season of bloom.

The leaves have a silver stripe down the middle, and a subtle silvery tone over all.

The flowers are not purple but a very deep burgundy red that's almost black. Bloom proceeds on the flower spikes from the bottom upwards, and the spikes continue to lengthen and produce new buds at the tip for month after month. No deadheading is necessary. If you cut the flower spike at the base, multiple secondary spikes will form.

Prefers full sun and well drained soil. It is reasonably drought tolerant. It does not prosper where summer night temperatures often remain above 70F---it performs much better in northern North America than in the southeast.

This is a well-behaved clump-former, and does not spread underground like Lysimachia clethroides (gooseneck loosestrife). I'm trying it a second time---lost it once during the winter, after planting it in too much shade. It is said to be a short-lived perennial (or perhaps a biennial) that---like purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) or feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium)---maintains itself (where happy) by self-sowing.

Unlike some of its congeners, this is not weedy or aggressive in the garden, nor has it been reported to naturalize anywhere in North America. The USDA maintains a huge database of plants that have naturalized in North America, and this species is conspicuously absent. It is also absent from the definitive and exhaustive BONAP atlas.

The common name that heads this listing ("purple gooseneck loosestrife") is not widely used, and it invites confusion with both gooseneck loosestrife (Lysimachia clethroides) and purple loosestrife (Lythrum virgatum and Lythrum salicaria), which are famously invasive. This plant is more commonly (and less confusingly) called burgundy loosestrife.

Update June 2014: The plant I planted last year did not survive the winter, but I see a small cluster of seedlings where it grew!

July 2014 Seedlings transplanted to full sun are doing much better (and growing much faster) than those in partial shade---the latter are hardly growing at all.

Positive MTVineman On Aug 3, 2012, MTVineman from Helena, MT (Zone 5a) wrote:

Absolutely love this plant! What a beautiful plant she is. I am in love with the silvery bluish leaves and the spikes of flowers? WOW! They are just gorgeous. I seem to be the only person around this part of Montana ( maybe all of Montana? ) that grows this and/or knows what it is. Mine has stayed right where I planted it and it is in full bloom as we type and has been for sometime now. I purchased my plant from Annie's Annuals in Richmond, California via mail order along with a number of other plants. They have all done splendidly well and this one is all I hoped for and more. I was attracted by the photo and description of the plants leaves, growth habit and especially those fabulously beautiful reddish purple flowers that grow like Gooseneck Loosetrife or Looseneck Goosetrife as I like to say, which I'm fairly sure they are in the same family as ( Lysimachia! Not Lythrum! ). The photos that people have posted are beautiful but just don't do the plant justice, nor do a lot of the comments. I guess it really depends on where you live and what your definition of beauty is, perhaps. But seriously, if you get one of these, I am sure you'll be quite pleased and very happy with it. It's a total hummer and butterfly magnet. It also attracts all other manner of insects, some or most beneficial and some not so much so. Hope I never lose this plant and if I do, you can bet I'll be buying not just one but a few next time. If there ever has to be a next time!

Neutral rcn48 On Jun 16, 2005, rcn48 from Lexington, VA (Zone 6a) wrote:

We've grown Lysimachia atropurpurea 'Beaujolais' for two years. Last year we planted it in full sun in heavy, sticky clay soil - it succumbed in the summer heat. This year we planted it in several spots with different light conditions (full sun to light shade) in much better soil and so far it seems to be thriving. It does, however, appear to be a finicky plant - not too wet, not too dry, but we still love the burgundy flowers and the gray-green foliage and are hoping for success this year. This is NOT an invasive species and should not be confused with the invasive tendencies of the other species in this genus. At summer's end we'll report how the plant survived the hot summer heat of Virginia . Hopefully we'll be able to replace the neutral rating with a positive!

Neutral RubyStar On Jun 13, 2003, RubyStar from Madison, WI (Zone 5a) wrote:

I'm giving this burgundy-colored "Gooseneck Loosestrife" a neutral rating because I just added it this year, but I was drawn to those interesting hooked flowers. This plant reportedly spreads in a manner similar to the white gooseneck, but I don't mind that and have instead planted it in a spot where it can roam.

While Lythrum salicaria (Purple Loosestrife) should be avoided like the plague, Lysimachia atropurpurea (purple Gooseneck Loosestrife) is a different plant.

Neutral feministg On Apr 19, 2003, feministg from Iowa City, IA wrote:

I believe that the invasive loosestrife is Lythrum, not Lysimachia. Lysimachia is in some cultivars and/or species invasive, but not in the same way. I grow one Lysimachia in a pot sunk in the ground, and it's stayed there for years.

Positive M_Bond On Apr 13, 2003, M_Bond from Belmont, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

I grow this in the San Francisco Bay Area of California in full sun with Scabiosa atropurpurea, Berberis 'Hellmond's Pillar' and Carex buchananii in my "black" garden. It appears to have no invasive tendencies here because it is rather dry; it begins blooming very early here.

Neutral KatBaxter On Aug 25, 2001, KatBaxter from Feeding Hills, MA (Zone 5a) wrote:

Wine red flowers in spikes with wavy blue gray foliage. Growth habit is much like Liatris. Use for backgrounds, naturalizing. Not recommended for wet soils, as it may be invasive. Should be okay in moist soil as a spreader.

Not to be confused with Lythrum virgatum aka "Purple Loosestrife"


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Bodega Bay, California
Calistoga, California
Redwood City, California
Richmond, California
Danielson, Connecticut
Old Lyme, Connecticut
Greenville, Indiana
Davenport, Iowa
Dixfield, Maine
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Helena, Montana
Corvallis, Oregon
San Antonio, Texas
Lexington, Virginia
Kalama, Washington
Langley, Washington
Port Angeles, Washington
Vancouver, Washington

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