Basket of Gold (Aurinia saxatilis) is a long-lived, low maintenance ground cover for small. Gray, slightly fuzzy leaves are present year round, forming clumps 6 to 18 inches tall and 6 to 12 inches wide. In early Spring the plants are totally covered with masses of tiny cross-shaped flowers. Eye-catching colors range from soft yellow ‘Citrina’ or ‘Dudley Neville’ to the blindingly intense golden yellow of ‘Gold Dust.’ A similar species, Mountain Gold (Aurinia montanum) is more compact, with smaller leaves. Mountain Gold is also a bit harder to find at a garden center.
Easy to grow from seed or transplants, Basket of Gold prefers sandy, infertile soil, but will tolerate any location that is well-drained. Water needs are low to moderate; full sun is a necessity. The plants are hardy to 9,000 feet (USDA zone 2). To keep the clumps from becoming rangy, they should be trimmed back immediately after blooming.
Basket of Gold drapes over boulders and nestles into crevices, making it ideal for small areas along walls or paths, or in rock gardens. Suggested companions include other rock garden plants such as Rock Cress (Aubrieta), Creeping Phlox (Phlox subulata), and the low-growing Veronicas, whose blue flowers provide the perfect contrast.
Article and photos by Leslie Holzmann, Certified Colorado Gardener