PlantFiles is getting a new look! Just in time for spring, we're rolling out a new look for the best online plants database. It will also work with your smart phones and mobile devices, so now you can take it with you on garden center visits or botanical garden tours. Questions or comments? Please post them here.

Yellow Buttercups, Yellow Alder, Sage Rose
Turnera ulmifolia

Family: Passifloraceae (pas-ih-flor-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Turnera (TER-ner-uh) (Info)
Species: ulmifolia (ul-mif-FOH-lee-uh) (Info)
View this plant in a garden

Category:

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Height:

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

Spacing:

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

Hardiness:

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Danger:

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:

Blooms repeatedly

Foliage:

Evergreen

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

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:

Non-patented

Propagation Methods:

From herbaceous stem cuttings

From softwood cuttings

From semi-hardwood cuttings

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; direct sow after last frost

By air layering

Seed Collecting:

Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Regional

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

Bartow, Florida

Brandon, Florida

Casselberry, Florida

Clearwater, Florida

Delray Beach, Florida

Destin, Florida

Hollywood, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Key West, Florida

Mayo, Florida

Melbourne, Florida

Melbourne Beach, Florida

Miami, Florida (3 reports)

Miami Beach, Florida

Naples, Florida

New Port Richey, Florida

North Palm Beach, Florida

Ocoee, Florida

Orlando, Florida

Palm Bay, Florida

Pompano Beach, Florida (2 reports)

Port Charlotte, Florida

Rockledge, Florida

Saint Cloud, Florida

Saint Petersburg, Florida

Santa Rosa Beach, Florida

Seffner, Florida

Spring Hill, Florida

Tampa, Florida (2 reports)

Umatilla, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida (2 reports)

Williston, Florida

Zephyrhills, Florida

Honomu, Hawaii

Thibodaux, Louisiana

Lincoln Park, Michigan

Ashville, Ohio

Anderson, Texas

Austin, Texas

Deer Park, Texas

Dickinson, Texas

Floresville, Texas

Galveston, Texas

Houston, Texas

Huntsville, Texas

Mc Kinney, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Tyler, Texas

Victoria, Texas

Willis, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:

15
positives
2
neutrals
0
negatives
RatingContent
Positive

On Oct 4, 2013, Nowyousedum from Oklahoma City, OK wrote:

This was a volunteer plant in my garden. A nursery thought it might be allamanda, but that is trumpet-shaped. Found out what it was on this site! So happy to have it in my garden! If it is a little invasive, all the better. I would love to have it again next year.

Positive

On Jun 12, 2013, chuck7701 from McKinney, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Bright yellow flowers and heavy green contrast makes for a wonderful plant as a summer filler and easy to grow.

Easily self seeds, the seedlings like consistent warmth to sprout, so a late starter in Zone 8. Can grow year round for you otherwise. Will freeze easily, transplanting them when large can cause fatal shock. However, seedlings (under 6 inches) transplant very easily.

As mentioned on one review - trim sides occasionally by 1/3 to keep bush structure.

Positive

On Oct 24, 2011, LipLock from Austin, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is another plant that will always have a place in my Central Texas garden. It loves the heat and is covered in flowers from April thru November. Bees, butterflies and hummingbirds love it. It thrives in the sun but will tolerate part shade too. I've had it in my Zone 8B garden for several years but this past spring is the first time it has ever reseeded. It came up everywhere and I couldn't be happier. I have both the yellow and "white" variety (which is my favorite - it's not really white, rather a buttery color with a dark center). Unlike a previous poster, I was able to transplant several of them this past spring when they were about 2" tall. I just spaded them up and moved them. They survived (and thrived in) this worst drought and hottest summer on record in Texas. They... read more

Positive

On Sep 26, 2011, micki33040 from Big Coppitt Key, FL wrote:

This plant is also known as "Yellow Alder" and "Sage Rose." It is tenacious and grows just about anywhere: full sun, shade, dry or moist soil, acidic to alkaline; rich, average, or poor soil; and in the cracks of a sidewalk. It is very drought tolerant.

It does not appear to have many pests, or is not bothered by the ocassional nibble.

It can be grown from seeds and cuttings, but does not transplant well. It does not like having it's feet tickled. The most effective way to transplant is to start it in a peat pot and, if you are going to plant it into the ground, put it in the spot you want it in and leave it alone. I tried to transplant a 2' tall specimen keeping a generous amount of dirt around the root ball, but it went into transplant shock and died a... read more

Positive

On Aug 14, 2011, rntx22 from Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Growing mine in a pot. It died back in the winter but slowly came back from the roots. Also self seeded around the garden so I have several now! Just pulled up the ones I don't want. Stays loaded with blooms, bees & butterflies love it.

Positive

On Jun 17, 2009, Artistic1 from Dickinson, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Bought this plant at the Mercer Arboretum Sale in Houston,TX as Yellow Alder. Has been great. I have it in both pots and in beds. Have rooted it in water. Keep clippings which root in opaque vase on my desk at work and they keep blooming. Blooms all year in this climate.

Neutral

On Mar 28, 2009, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have not grown this plant. Yellow Buttercups, Yellow Alder, Sage Rose (Turnera ulmifolia) is native to Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. It was introduced to Hawaii and has naturalized.

Positive

On Apr 15, 2008, easter794 from Seffner, FL wrote:

This plant roots very easily. I saw this growing and had been admiring it for a while. I took a cutting and rooted it in water. It grew roots in a matter of days and I planted it in a pot.

Neutral

On Jul 23, 2007, Islandshari from Kwajalein
Marshall Islands (Zone 11) wrote:

This plant is quite lovely to my DH and I. We had several cuttings, and then noticed that it was popping up everywhere. On our last EarthDay we picked up lots of paperwork - and here was Tunera ulmifolia on the "invasive weed" list with a request not to plant it! Luckily we only plant in containers here, so we have kept it under control...but just wanted to post the warning.

Positive

On Aug 14, 2006, Janey from Deltona, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I bought two yellow Buttercup plants at Home Depot in Orange City, Fla., and liked them so well, went back for two white ones. I have them in my yard in Deltona, Fla. They are doing well.

Positive

On Jan 28, 2006, cyndit from Ocoee, FL wrote:

I bought this plant at a local Lowe's hardware store. But, about a year after planting, it moved from it's original place in my garden to replant itself in 2 differnent places in a different flower bed around the corner of my house! I'm sure the birds, or wind, spread the seeds. But, I was pleasingly surprised to find it offering up those marvelous yellow blossoms the next summer. The butterflies definitely enjoy the blossoms. It is easy to prune when necessary and it will readily bush back out with new growth.

Positive

On Aug 19, 2005, MotherNature4 from Bartow, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I love this plant, but never knew of the connection between it and papayas. I'm going to take action on that one right away. Thanks for the great hint, Foodiesleuth.

Positive

On Jun 13, 2004, foodiesleuth from Honomu, HI (Zone 11) wrote:

smfiol says:
Turnera ulmifolia (Cuban Buttercup) is the official flower of Cienfuegos, Cuba

I brought some from Miami to Hawaii (illegally, I might add) thinking to have a little bit of my home town in a new setting......imagine my surprise when I found this plant growing everywhere on the Big Island.

Grows easily from cuttings. Makes a wonderful filler and if planted near papaya trees, fruit flies will sting the bloom and not the papayas.

Positive

On Jun 10, 2004, elcee2 from Fort Lauderdale, FL wrote:

This plant is easily propagated from stem cuttings. Leafminers are sometimes a problem, taking away from the attractiveness of the foilage. Pinch off damaged leaves, or if serious infestation, cut plant down to woody stems. It will bush back out in no time.

Positive

On Jun 10, 2004, smfiol from Miami, FL wrote:

Turnera ulmifolia (Cuban Buttercup) is the official flower of Cienfuegos, Cuba

Positive

On Oct 21, 2003, kimkaygirl from Mobile, AL wrote:

This plant grows very well in Mobile Alabama. I've had a lot of success with this plant in both full sun and partial shade. Blooms stay open most of the day.

Positive

On Nov 24, 2002, butterflypea wrote:

In Hawaii, Turnera ulmifolia is known as "Sundrops". It is a perennial and blooms year round, growng into a four-foot bush. The two-inch wide, bright yellow flowers open in the morning and are closed by noon. It has tiny seeds that sow prolifically. It will often grow out of a crack in the sidewalk after a seed germinates there.