Limnanthes douglasii

Limnanthes douglasii

These bright and colourfully, low-growing annuals, which reach just 6in (15cm) in height, are ideal for brightening-up the front of the border. Tough and reliable and very easy to grow outdoors from seed. The single open flowers are highly attractive to pollinators and other benificial insects.

Family: Limnanthaceae
Botanical Name: Limnanthes douglasii
Common Names: fried egg, poached egg plant, meadow foam, butter and eggs.

Foliage: Deciduous, pale green, finely divided leaves.

Flowers: Small cup-shaped yellow flowers, with white-edged petals. Slight sweet fragrance.

Flowering Period: June to September.

Soil: Any moist but well-drained garden soil. Chalk, clay, sand or loam, any pH.

Conditions: Best grown in full sun. South or west facing, in a sheltered or exposed location.

Habit: Spreading low growing.

Type: Hardy Annual.

Origin: Native to America.

Hardiness: H5. Hardy in most areas of UK (down to -15). Usually dies after flowering at the end of the season.

Planting and Growing Limnanthes douglasii

Good hardy annuals for early summer colour. Easy to grow from seed. Needs very little care and attention and attracts many beneficial insects to the garden.

Suitable for town, city, cottage or courtyard gardens. Ideal at the front of beds and borders, as path edging or planted in containers. They also make good winter/early spring flowering pot plants in a cool greenhouse or conservatory.

These fun little fast growing annuals are ideal plants for beginners or children to grow.

Another use for this plant is as a green manure in the vegetable garden. It is not edible, but very effective and easy to dig in.

Taking Care of Limnanthes douglasii


Cut back after flowering.

Pests and Diseases

Generally pest and disease free.

Propagating Limnanthes douglasii

Sow seed in situ, in spring for early summer colour or in the autumn for late spring blooms. Thin out seedlings to 4in (10cm) apart. Protect autumn sowings from frost.

Popular Varieties Grown in the UK

The main variety available in the UK is L. douglasii (California). Height 6in (15cm), spacing 4-8in (10 to 20cm).