Globeflower Care: Growing Globeflowers In The Garden
By: Becca Badgett, Co-author of How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden
If you’re looking for something a little different that not everyone has in the garden, you may want to look at members of the plant genus Trollius. Globeflower plants are not commonly found in the perennial garden, although you may find them growing in bog gardens or near a pond or stream. While they have a reputation for being difficult, growing globeflowers is not complicated if they are planted in the right place and you practice the correct globeflower care.
You may be wondering, “What are globeflowers?” Trollius globeflower plants, members of the Ranunculaceae family, are striking perennial wildflowers that bloom in spring. Shaped like a ball, a goblet or a globe, flowers in the garden bloom on stems rising above the foliage in shades of yellow and orange. Finely textured foliage of growing globeflowers has a mounding habit.
These plants grow happily near a pond or in a damp woodland in USDA plant hardiness zones 3-7. Properly located globeflowers in the garden reach 1 to 3 feet (30 to 91 cm.) in height and spread to 2 feet (61 cm.).
Types of Growing Globeflowers
Several cultivars of globeflowers are available.
- For those without a pond or bog garden, T. europaeus x cultorum, the common globeflower hybrid ‘Superbus’, performs in soils that are less than consistently moist.
- T. ledebourii, or Ledebour globeflower, reaches 3 feet (91 cm.) in height with vigorous, orange blooms.
- T. pumilus, the dwarf globeflower, has yellow blossoms that take on a flat shape and grows to only a foot tall.
- T. chinensis ‘Golden Queen’ has large, ruffled blooms that appear as late as May.
Globeflowers in the garden are best started from cuttings or by purchasing a young plant, as seeds can take up to two years to germinate. Ripe seeds from growing globeflowers germinate best, if you decide to try this method. In the right location, globeflowers may re-seed.
Taking care of Trollius globeflower plants is simple once you provide them with the right location. Globeflowers in the garden need a full sun to part shade location and moist soil. These flowers are suited to rocky areas where soil is fertile and stays moist. Globeflowers perform well as long as they aren’t allowed to dry out and are not subjected to extreme heat from scorching summer temperatures.
Deadhead spent flowers for the possibility of more blooms. Trim back the plant’s foliage when blooming has stopped. Divide in spring as soon as growth begins.
Now that you know, “What are globeflowers” and the simplicity of their care, you may want to add them to that moist, shady area where nothing else will grow. Provide adequate water and you can grow the showy blooms nearly anywhere in your landscape.
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How to Grow Trollius Plants
Trollius are hardy perennials that range from 15 cm to 90 cm (6 to 36 inches) in height.
The blooming time is species dependent, ranging from early spring through to late in the summer.
When in bloom they generally carry multi petalled flowers of orange or yellow.
Foliage is usually of lobed shaped leaves. A commonly grown member of the Trollius in the garden is Globe Flower.
© Copyright: Images: Jouko Lehmuskallio.
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- Name also: European Globeflower, Globe Flower, Globe-flower
- Family: Buttercup Family – Ranunculaceae
- Growing form: Perennial herb.
- Height: 30–60 cm (12–25 in.). Stem unbranched, glabrous.
- Flower: Perianth spherical, yellow, 2–4 cm (0.8–0.16 in.) wide. Petals 5–15, small, inside calyx leaves. Petal-like sepals approx. 15, concave, yellow. Stamens many. Gynoecium separate, with many pistils. Flowers solitary or as 2–3-flower cymes.
- Leaves: Alternate, basal leaves long-stalked, stem leaves short-stalked–stalkless. Basal leaf blades roundish, usually deeply 5-lobed, lobes pinnatifid–large-toothed. Stem leaf blades smaller and with narrower lobes.
- Fruit: Dark brown, creased, keel-backed, sharp-pointed follicle. Several follicles together.
- Habitat: Broad-leaved forests, rich mixed swamps, springs, flood-influenced hedgerows, meadows, fell meadows and snow-bed sites. Also ornamental and an escape from cultivation.
- Flowering time: May–July.
Globeflower grows especially on Lappish meadows, broad-leaved forests and rich swamps. It is common on fell meadows and has also spread to young man-made meadows. Despite its reputation as a northern species, globeflower also grows in the south. Most broad-leaved forests in southern Finland are too dark for it to thrive, but it can even grow abundantly in some rich habitats in southern parts of Häme and Savo.
The first globeflowers flower in May, but in the northern tundra flowers can be found as late as August. Globeflower’s flower has quite a primitive structure: it has many tepals, which are alternate, and they virtually close the spherical flower so that pollinators have difficulties reaching the nectariferous petals. Globeflowers attracts a lot of flies, beetles and burrowing bees, but its most important pollinator is probably the small globeflower fly (Chiastocheta). These hang around the flowers for days sometimes, and as they move from flower to flower they pollinate the plant. The fly has good reason to be thorough: it lays eggs in the pistil’s ovaries and the emerging caterpillars use the flower’s ripening follicles’ seed subject for nutrition. They do not however destroy all the seeds, so both the plant and the insect benefit.
Although globeflower is a well-liked ornamental in the flower bed, some Laplanders despised its habit of growing on waste ground in the 1982 vote for the flower to represent the province. Many had hoped that they would be represented by the cloudberry, but globeflower won the day.
→ Distribution map (Kasviatlas, University of Helsinki)
Trollius chinensis, the Chinese globeflower, is a species of flowering plant in the family Ranunculaceae, found from southern Siberia to the southern Russian Far East, Sakhalin, the Kurils, Mongolia, Korea, and northern China (to north Henan).   Its cultivar 'Golden Queen' has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. 
- Trollius chinensis subsp. macropetalus(Regel) Luferov
- Trollius macropetalus(Regel) F.Schmidt ex W.T.Wang
- Trollius vitaliiStepanov
- Trollius vitalii f. asiaticifoliusStepanov
- Trollius vitalii var. forficuloidesStepanov
- Trollius vitalii var. nadeshdaeStepanov
Flower, flowerbuds and foliage
Flower and developing ovary
- ^ ab"Trollius chinensis Bunge". Plants of the World Online. Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew . Retrieved 28 March 2021 .
- "Trollius chinensis Chinese globeflower". The Royal Horticultural Society . Retrieved 28 March 2021 . Synonyms Trollius ledebourii
- "Trollius chinensis 'Golden Queen' globeflower 'Golden Queen ' ". The Royal Horticultural Society . Retrieved 28 March 2021 . Synonyms Trollius × cultorum 'Golden Queen'
This Ranunculales article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.
American globeflower (Trollius laxus)
American globeflower is in the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae) and it has typical buttercup-like flowers. Within the buttercup family, it is most similar to anemone (Anemone spp.).
American globeflower grows in the Northeast and in the Rocky Mountain West. The two areas are widely separated and the plants of each region have been assigned to their own subspecies plants in the West have white flowers and are called subspecies albiflorus, plants in the Northeast have yellow flowers and are called subspecies laxus. Some botanists think the differences are great enough to treat the eastern and western plants as two separate species.
American globeflower grows in swamps and bogs in the east and in high-mountain to subalpine bogs in the west. It is a perennial herb that often emerges and flowers in the spring well before most of the other bog plants begin to grow. American globeflowers are among the first wildflowers to emerge after spring snowmelt in the boggy parts of western subalpine meadows.
If there's one thing you need to know before you plant globeflowers, it's that these charmers need moist soil to thrive. Be sure to plant them in a spot that has moist or even wet soil, including bogs, ditches, rain gardens, and along the edges of ponds and water gardens.
Different globeflower varieties have different sun requirements, so be sure to do your research before planting. Shade-loving types will melt in the hot summer sun. Sun-loving types can tolerate partial shade, especially if they're in soil that tends to dry out a little during the summer.
Like most perennials, all globeflowers appreciate a good layer of mulch over their roots during the growing season. It's best to spread a good 2 to 3 inches of an organic mulch (such as shredded wood, pine needles, or cocoa hulls) around them after the soil warms in spring.
Most globeflowers are native to areas of Europe that experience cold winters and cool summers. As such, globeflowers aren't well suited to hot, humid gardens in Southern regions, or dry Western areas. If you're in an area with hot summers, or the plants start to decline after unseasonably hot weather, cut the foliage back after they finish blooming.
'Glorified' Buttercups: Globeflowers and Marsh Marigolds
The buttercup family is among the most important for their many 'ornamental' plants, but only a few members actually look like a buttercup. Perhaps the closest look-alikes are the globeflowers and marsh marigold. Long believed best for bog garden settings, these two plants can lend their early-season beauty to any reasonably moist border.
(Editor's Note: This article was originally published on April 17, 2008. Your comments are welcome, but please be aware that authors of previously published articles may not be able to promptly respond to new questions or comments.)
There are many perennial standards in our gardens that are members of the Buttercup Family. Examples include delphinium, monkshood, pasqueflower, columbine, anemone, clematis and hellebores. However, few of these ‘look' like a buttercup. But there are two buttercup relatives that do indeed look like their close cousin the globeflowers (Trollius spp.) and marsh marigold (Caltha spp.). These two genera are quite closely related and have similar cultural requirements. Marsh marigolds bloom in mid-spring while globeflowers bloom from late spring-early summer. Both are found in cool temperate regions, usually growing in sunny to partly shaded damp meadows or streamsides, often in quite heavy, organic-rich soil. Hence, these are the conditions we must strive to duplicate in our gardens if we wish to grow these glorified buttercups. Perhaps the best area to grow these would be a bog garden or on the fringes of a water feature. However, we don't all have the luxury of such specialty garden features. Not to worry, they can also be grown in the standard perennial border as long as the soil is reasonable moist. On the whole, globeflowers will tolerate slightly drier conditions than marsh marigolds.
There are about 30 species of globeflower (Trollius), most being distributed in eastern Asia.. In our gardens, we grow only a few of these and some hybrids. The most important species are T. europaeus, T. asiaticus, T. chinensis and T. ledebourii along with hybrids derived form these. The European globeflower, T. europaeus is widely distributed throughout Europe, extending north of the Arctic circle. As such, it is one of the hardiest globeflowers, being rated for zone 3. Plants grow to about 1 m with palmate, deeply divided leaves. The flowers are lemon-yellow, about 3.5-5 cm in diameter with 10-20 petaloid sepals (as a rule, the buttercup family ‘flowers' are composed of sepals which are modified to look like petals their real petals are often very reduced and insignificant). The actual species is rare in our gardens but the cultivar ‘Superbus' (shown left) is reasonably common. That cultivar is more compact (to 60 cm) with fuller flowers that are pale lemon-yellow.
Much confusion surrounds the identification of the east Asian species T. chinensis vs. T. ledebourii. Suffice it to say, the two are very similar. Both reach about 1 m with deep orange, 3.5-5 cm diameter flowers with 5-10 sepals. The flowers are not as ‘full' as T. europaeus or many of the hybrids, but the thickened, upright, stamen-like petals make these two species unmistakable. It is the latest-blooming globeflower. Most popular is the hybrid ‘Golden Queen' (introductory photo) which may well be a hybrid between the two species. These are hardy to zone 4.
Most of our garden hybrid globeflowers have quite full flowers (15-20 sepals) on bushier, more compact plants than the species. Popular hybrids include ‘Alabaster' (pale cream-yellow), ‘Cheddar' (I can't tell it from ‘Alabaster'), ‘Goldquelle' (bright yellow), ‘Orange Princess' (medium orange, shown left), ‘Earliest of All' (golden yellow), ‘Lemon Queen' (very similar to ‘Superbus' but taller) and ‘Fire Globe' (deep orange). Rated for zone 3-4.
For the rock garden there are two main species T. acaulis and T. pumilus, both Himalayan species. The two are quite similar but T. pumilus has 2-3.5 cm flowers and basal leaves while T. acaulis (shown right) has 3.5-5 cm flowers without basal leaves. Both have single, 5-sepalled yellow flowers on plants 15-25 cm tall. They are rated for zone 5, but can survive zone 4 if there is reliable snow cover.
There are only 10 species of marsh marigold (Caltha) and really, only one is a popular garden plant the common marsh marigold, C. palustris. Marsh marigolds generally have shiny, rounded, somewhat fleshy leaves and single ‘buttercup-like' flowers with 5-9 sepals that are either white or yellow. Contrary to popular belief, marsh marigolds do not have to be grown as a shallow aquatic plant. I have grown them for years in my regular perennial border. However, they do require a reasonably moist soil, so I do water them regularly. Certainly, the ‘wild' species is more difficult in a regular garden setting than its varieties. The straight species is variable in size from 45-80 cm. The most important ornamental variety is ‘Flore-pleno' or ‘Multiplex' (shown right) which has fully double, pom-pom like flowers on a more compact plant. The cultivar ‘Alba' has deeper green leaves and bright white flowers with contrasting yellow stamens. These two are more adaptable to garden cultivation. For moist spots in a rock garden, you can grow the Rocky Mountain species C. leptosepala (aka C. biflora or C. howellii) which grows 20-30 cm with white blooms. The above Caltha species are rated to zone 3.
Above are pictures of Caltha palustris 'Alba' and C. leptosepala
Globeflowers and in particular, marsh marigold, do have one main drawback in the garden. If the weather becomes too hot or the ground too dry, they will go summer-dormant which means you may have a gap in the border for several months, so plan accordingly. I plan ahead by planting some annuals near them to help hide the late summer gap.
Lush-looking meadow plants that form clumps of finely cut, shiny dark green leaves topped by 2- to 3 feet-tall stems bearing yellow to orange flowers typically shaped like globes or rounded cups. Excellent cut flowers.
- From China, Siberia.
- To 3 feet tall, 112 feet wide.
- Light orange-yellow, 2 inches flowers with open bowl shape summer bloom.
- Golden Queen has semidouble, golden yellow blooms with a deep orange center.
Trollius x cultorum
- Group of hybrids between Trollius europaeus and two Asian species.
- Plants grow to 23 feet tall and resemble Trollius europaeus in most details.
- Bloom comes at some time from spring into summer, depending on hybrid.
- Choices include primrose yellow 'Alabaster', creamy yellow 'Cheddar', and golden orange 'Orange Princess'.
- Compact growers (12 feet.) include pale orange-yellow 'Earliest of All', lemon-yellow 'Lemon Queen', and creamy yellow 'New Moon'.
- From Europe, the Caucasus, and North America.
- To 1122 feet tall, 112 feet wide.
- Globular, lemon-yellow or orange flowers, 12 inches across, in spring.
- Somewhat more tolerant of dry soil than other species.
Remove faded flowers to prolong bloom period. Cannot take drought or extreme heat constantly damp area near a pond or stream is an ideal planting site. If you are growing globeflowers in a regular garden bed, liberally amend soil with organic matter and keep well watered. Divide clumps only when they thin out in center.