Marsh Marigold, Kingcup

Caltha palustris

Family: Ranunculaceae (ra-nun-kew-LAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Caltha (KAL-tha) (Info)
Species: palustris (pal-US-triss) (Info)
View this plant in a garden



Ponds and Aquatics

Water Requirements:

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Very high moisture needs; suitable for bogs and water gardens

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun




Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


12-18 in. (30-45 cm)


15-18 in. (38-45 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)

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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bright Yellow

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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 seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:

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


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

Clayton, California

Cherry Valley, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois

Hanna City, Illinois

Plainfield, Illinois

Annapolis, Maryland

Bellaire, Michigan (2 reports)

Erie, Michigan

Munising, Michigan

Owosso, Michigan

Saint Helen, Michigan

Isle, Minnesota

Minneapolis, Minnesota (2 reports)

Byhalia, Mississippi

Croton On Hudson, New York

Elmira, New York

Coshocton, Ohio

Willoughby, Ohio

Portland, Oregon

Salem, Oregon

Athens, Pennsylvania

Coopersburg, Pennsylvania

Devon, Pennsylvania

Schwenksville, Pennsylvania

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Essex Junction, Vermont

Sequim, Washington

Racine, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jan 27, 2016, JBtheExplorer from Southeast, WI wrote:

Marsh Marigold is a very nice native if you have a water garden. I have one in my small garden pond and another in my bog filter. They look great in Spring and are one of the only blooming plants around my pond that time of year. They don't look nearly as nice once the heat of Summer begins. The appear to do better in spots that get afternoon shade.


On May 17, 2014, irishlass2 from Boise, ID wrote:

What a surprise this little plant was this spring. Bright yellow flowers covered the plant in our pond. It wintered very well considering the pond froze over and then a cold wet spring. Will definitely divide it so I have more of these cheery plants in our Boise, Id. pond.


On Apr 18, 2014, SallieKr from (Sallie) Cherry Valley, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

I bought this plant 2 years ago for the bog filter I built for my small pond. The roots are very fine and have formed a very dense "ball" about 12" deep and extending outward slightly past the perimeter of the plant. The roots are so dense, in fact, that it was difficult to remove the plant when I re-built the filter this spring due to the amount of gravel they'd "captured". The bright yellow flowers in spring are an added bonus, but the excellent filtering of the water by the root system is the main reason I planted this- and it appears to be doing a great job. The water in the bog filter freezes solid in the winter, but the Marsh Marigold is the first plant to reappear in the spring.


On Jun 22, 2010, genshiro from Whitby,
Canada wrote:

I consider this plant a 'must have' for any water garden. I have had it in my pond for 8 years and found it maintenance free. It really brightens up the pond in the early spring, with a mass of bright yellow blossoms, before any other water plants really show themselves and it brightens up my mood just seeing it in bloom. Maybe this is because It is quite a common plant in the marshes of southern Ontario and I have fond memories of it from my childhood.


On Mar 8, 2008, posyblossom from Athens, PA (Zone 5b) wrote:

Sends out runners and pops up in unexpected places. It can be a bit invasive but is easy to transplant or remove from areas where not wanted. It is a nice alternative to Daffodils for Spring and is able to re bloom numerous times but the blooms get smaller.


On Mar 7, 2006, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

A bright yellow native that can be seen in some small wilderness patches that is wooded and near water in early to mid spring. For me, they tend to last all year round with foliage while the flowers are among the earliest to bloom. They seem to dislike small non draining tubs that is crowded with other speces. I have at least one large speciment in a wooden half wine barrel dug in the ground along with a patch of yellow flag iris (warning- flag iris multiply so need to be divided every three or four years) , a golden alexander, and sensitive fern. The barrel flood for short periods of time, so Marsh Marigold do well in non draining container set in the ground. They will grow in sun or shade, with shade pereferable in hot climates.

In native conditons I have seen them growin... read more


On Apr 15, 2005, Happenstance from Northern California, CA wrote:

An excellent, well behaved pond plant with clear very bright yellow flowers from March - October in Zone 10a. Large beautiful foliage, evergreen through the winter rainy season.


On Jul 17, 2004, vanislegirl from Courtenay,
Canada wrote:

This plant is thriving here in my pond on Vancouver Island, West Coast of Canada (above Washington State). Beautiful, long lasting blooming time (weeks). Last winter it got down to -10 Celcius (14F) for about 5 days, the pond was frozen over and under a foot of snow - the marigold came back beautifully! I see we can't add a Canadian postal code but just wanted to let you know this plant does very well way up here!


On Sep 2, 2001, eltel from Macclesfield, CHESHIRE (Zone 8a) wrote:

Also known as Kingcup, Meadow bright, and May blob. An early spring, bright yellow, buttercup type flower for the bog garden or pool edge to depth of 6 inches. In my pool (which frequently freezes over in Winter) they produce a mass of flower from April/May onwards.


On Nov 2, 2000, jody from MD &, VA (Zone 7b) wrote:

There are about 10 species to this genus. They are all moisture loving plants. Grown best along ponds but are happy in any rich, moist/damp soil in full sun. They grow to about 18" and have the about the same spread. Flowers in early spring to mid summer, flower color is yellow or white. They spread by rhizomes but can also be proagated from seed. Hardy zones 3-8.