Gooseneck Loosestrife in the Garden


If you listen closely, you can almost hear it honking.

Gooseneck Loosestrife – a.k.a. Lysimachia clethroides – what a mouthful of a name for such a simple, lovely plant! Sometimes referred to simply as “Gooseneck,” this perennial gets its name from the delicate white blooms whose graceful arches bring to mind the curve of a goose’s head.

Gooseneck loosestrife taught me an important lesson in my journey as a gardener, one that is not easily swallowed by anyone with a fledgling green thumb. And that’s the lesson of how to dig up and throw away a perfectly good plant, for the simple reason that you have way, way, WAY too many of them!

Gooseneck is – shall we say – an extremely easy-to-grow perennial. And when I say easy to grow, I mean that if I hadn’t learned to thin and discard the extras, the yard would look like a massive flock of goosenecks every summer!

Some people love gooseneck loosestrife for this reason, and others hate it. This plant is great for naturalized areas, or for interplanting with other tall, spreading perennials such as bee balm or garden phlox, where it can spread freely in gorgeous drifts without getting in the way of fussy gardeners. It’s perfect for new gardens (or new gardeners) needing a taste of success, and the cut flowers bring grace and beauty indoors, too.

I enjoy it at the back of sunny woodland borders, where it offers a soft transition into the shadows. Gooseneck prefers full sun to part shade and needs average watering and humus-rich soil, although it’s pretty adaptable. Gooseneck is a great addition to the perennial garden, but don’t buy any – I guarantee somebody in your neighborhood will give you as much as you want for free!

12 COMMENTS

  1. I am trying to thin this plant from my perennial garden. What is the best method? I have spent hours loosening the soil so that I can get at the long underground tenacious tendrils. Wondering if I should get my rototil machine out and dig it all up?

  2. an aluminum edging barrier of 4- inches is perfect to surround this perrenial and prevent its spreading

  3. I was on a garden tour where they had a 6foot high plant they called gooseneck loostrife. the leaves looked different but the bloom looked like the gooseneck. Is this correct

  4. Since we’ve had lots of rain in OH this year my Gooseneck are gorgeous. And it seems the Monarchs prefer them to my Bottlebrush Buckeye shrub!

  5. I finally had to dig up my Gooseneck…. Way too invasive. Yes, in their summer glory, they are beautiful, but this plant takes over every inch of your garden. Enjoyed you for 10 plus years, now on to something else.
    Good riddance!

  6. We live in Connecticut-7a region. This plant came out of nowhere-I didn’t plant it-it just appeared. It started out a couple of years ago as a few attractive and innocent looking plants. It increased 10x last year, and this year it grew taller and surrounded and literally covered my irises, which prevented them from flowering. Now it wants to move on to the porch. My husband pulled out about 2 dozen of them, but they quickly recovered. I agree that its an attractive plant, but its obviously very invasive. I asked our landscaper company to remove them. I figure there are at least 75-80 of them!

  7. A friend gave me about 6 of these 2 years ago and now they are taking over. Just beauties Lov how they look with the summer breezes . Well my friend said they were snowdrops (wrong) . Found out today there real name of gooseneck and is weird cause I live on Snowgoose Lane

    • Hi, Lillian,
      Some things you can only determine in person (and this is one of ’em)! We suggest contacting your local Master Gardeners association for a quick visit. Master gardeners train on a range of topics so they can provide advice, at no charge, for people in their area.
      Good luck!

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