Caltha Plant Growing & Care Guide for Gardeners

In this Gardener's HQ guide, we'll explore cultivating Caltha plants in your garden, indoor spaces, and other settings.

Cowslip, Kingcup, & Marsh Marigold: Cultivation & Garden Use

Caltha plants are hardy perennials that reach a maximum height of about one foot (30 cm).

They are also known as Cowslip or Marsh Marigold.

They have buttercup-like flowers of yellow, pink or white and flower in the spring time.

Caltha palustris
Caltha palustris (Yellow Marsh Marigold) by Blumenbiene.

Caltha leptosepala
Caltha leptosepala (White Marsh Mallow) by Brewbooks.

How to Grow Caltha

Caltha Growing Guide and Facts

Common Names: Marsh Marigold, Cowslip, Kingcup.
Family: Ranunculaceae.
Life Cycle: Hardy perennial.
Height: 10 to 30 inches (25 to 75 cm).
Native: Wet and temperate regions of both hemispheres.
Growing Region: Zones 4 to 10.
Flowers: Spring.
Flower Details: Yellow, white, pink. Buttercup-like.
Foliage: Herbaceous. Heart-shaped. Kidney-shaped. Waxy. Smooth, winkled or toothed edges. Green.
Sow Outside: Cover seed. Early summer from fresh seed. Use Peat pots atop a saucer of water. Germination time: one to three months. Transplant peat pots into the garden proper in the middle of the summer. Spacing: Small species, 8 to 10 inches (20 to 25 cm); Mid-sized 18 inches (45 cm); Larger species 24 to 40 inches (60 to 100 cm).
Sow Inside: No.
Requirements: Full sunlight or partial shade. Soil pH 5.0 to 7.0. Clay, moist soil, wet soil. Regular watering to ensure that soil is always damp. Propagate: by dividing in the autumn, or following flowering in cooler areas.

How to Grow Cowslip (Caltha)

Caltha should be grown outdoors in peat pots from fresh seed in the summer.

The seed of cowslip should be lightly covered and germination will take anywhere from between one to three months.

Once seedlings have grown in the peat pots they should be transplanted in the middle of summer, with a spacing of about 50 cm (20 inches).

As they prefer sun and shade at different times of the growing season, it is probably best to grow them in areas of partial shade. They prefer a moist to wet clay soil of pH 5 to 7.

Caring for Cowslip - Caltha

It is important to keep the soil where Caltha grows very moist throughout the year.

Common Questions

How many members does the Caltha genus have?

The Caltha genus comprises around 20 species, renowned for their bright yellow, buttercup-like flowers.

Do members of Caltha make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Yes, Caltha species, such as Marsh Marigold, are fantastic plants for wet areas, water edges, or bog gardens.

Which Caltha species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

Caltha palustris (Marsh Marigold) is frequently grown for its cheerful, early-spring blooms.

Are members of the Caltha plant genus fragrant?

Caltha plants are not generally noted for their fragrance but for their vibrant yellow flowers that brighten up damp areas.

What is the perfect location to grow Caltha?

Caltha plants love wet, marshy locations. They're excellent for pond edges, stream banks, or wet woodland gardens.

Is Caltha invasive in the USA?

Presently, Caltha is not considered invasive in the USA. It's a native species often used in water and bog gardens.

How do I remove Caltha plants from my garden?

To remove Caltha, dig up the entire plant, ensuring you've removed all the roots. Be mindful that it can self-seed in favorable conditions.


The Caltha genus, part of the Ranunculaceae family, is native to temperate and cold regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Commonly known as marsh marigold, these perennial plants are admired for their glossy foliage and vibrant yellow, buttercup-like flowers that bloom in spring.

To grow Caltha, plant them in a sunny to partially shaded location with consistently moist to wet soil. They can be grown from seeds or divisions. Regular watering is necessary, as they prefer marshy conditions. They're often used in water gardens, pond margins, or wet woodland areas for their early spring color.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on Caltha. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ growing guides: How to grow Thalictrum, the water feature plant Japanese Water Iris, and Pulsatilla plants.