Basket-of-gold plants are named that way because of their bright golden blooms that cover the plant. They grow to about 1 ′ tall and about 2 ′ wide. They can be grown as perennials or annuals, depending on your climate and temperature. They are hardy in zones 3 to 7. The flowers themselves are tiny but they grow in larger clusters that are spectacular. It is a fragrant flower that generally blooms in May.
Light and Temperature Requirements
The exact sunlight requirements depend a little on your area’s average temperatures. While they generally like full sun, if your area is particularly hot, they may need partial shade to avoid too much sun and heat. Having full sun results in more flowers when it blooms. When a location is too hot and humid, however, the plant doesn’t tend to do well.
Basket-of-gold plants love dry soil and dry conditions. It’s highly drought-tolerant and rarely if ever needs to be watered. Only after it if your region is having an excessively dry season. When you’re growing this plant for seeds, you will need to keep the soil moist in the seedlings’ first few weeks. Once the plant has become established, too much water will cause root rot to develop.
Soil and Fertilizing
The soil that you plant it in should have very good drainage. Because this plant likes dry conditions so much, the soil should not hold onto too much moisture. The soil should be of average quality and not too rich. It doesn’t grow well in rich soil that is full of nutrients. Some people use a thin mulch layer on top to keep weeds away and to keep the soil cool. However, it is likely better to use gravel or another substance that won’t hold moisture in the soil. This plant does not need to be fertilized. Fertilizing it will make the plants become too leggy and won’t have the low mound shape that covers itself in flowers.
Deadheading and Pruning
Deadhead these flowers after they have bloomed can be helpful. But, it’s better to prune away half of the plant after the flowers have faded and no new ones are blooming. Shearing that amount of the plant away can actually make it bloom again. Throughout the growing season, it removes any dead stems and leaves for a healthier plant that also looks better. After the second round of blooms, you can sheer away the flowers and new foliage growth if you want to avoid having it reseed itself. If you want it to spread, leave these flowers to reseed. You can also prune away any damaged-looking pieces of the plant the next spring after winter is over to encourage more blooming.
As mentioned, the basket-of-gold plant reseeds itself automatically. However, you can also collect those seeds and start them somewhere else. Plant them in a sunny area about 4 ″ apart. Lay them on top of the soil to get them started, as the dormancy of the seeds requires light to break it. Or, they can be started indoors and planted outside when they are about 10 weeks old.