Another Perfect Plant: Brass Buttons

If you are looking for a dependable ground cover that will form a low mat, look no further than Leptinella squalida ‘Platt’s Black,’ or, as it’s more commonly known, Brass Buttons. This rhizomatous plant grows no taller than a couple of inches, and will keep spreading until the end of time. We recommend that you plant this in an area with barriers, such as an edged pathway or joint fillers for patios. The leaves are charmingly fern-like in shape and grow about 2 inches long and 0.5 inch wide. The attractive foliage is primarily black in color, and mixed with green and purple tints as the cultivar’s name implies.

Brass Buttons bloom in early summer with dark gold flowers which are then followed by tiny fruit. Easily propagated by division in the spring or the fall, you can add this to other areas of your garden to cover bare ground or plant in containers. Leptinellla tolerates full sun to partial shade. It is considered evergreen in USDA zones 8-10 but tolerate colder temperatures up to zone 5. Preferring moist to well-drained soils, it can tolerate sandy or clay sited. Again, be aware: this plant is tenacious and will spread with abandonment! Leptinella squalida does particularly well here in the Northwest.

Richard Hartlage

Richard Hartlage is the founding principal and CEO of Land Morphology. His award-winning, innovative designs are renowned as emotive, immersive spaces that incorporate sophisticated horticulture, artful detailing, and historical knowledge that heighten the human experience of the natural world. His passion for horticulture, cultivated over fifteen years working public gardens and estates, is applied to each design from the conceptual phase through development of maintenance protocol and beyond.