Plants that look like ragwort are ones that are much safer to grow and see them thriving, because these, can be seriously invasive if uncontrolled for longer periods. It can also be found extremely poisonous if ingested in large amounts because of the toxic chemicals on its leaves.

A List of Similar Looking Blooms

So, if you like the way it looks but don’t want to risk growing it, why not try other lookalikes that give off the same vibe? Here are our top favorite substitutes that look just like ragwort.

List of Plants Similar To Ragwort

1. Mexican Fleabane

Several distinct plants are referred to as fleabane, as the latter is most frequently one that would go hand in hand with the genus Erigeron, which belongs to the Aster or Daisy family. Over 200 different species of Erigeron exist, and many of them contain fleabane in their common names. 

The Dainty Mexican Fleabane

The Mexican fleabane, is one of these species that is possibly the most extensively available and well-known. It looks similar to the tansy ragwort as they both produce little flowers at the top of their tip, which is also known as the Jacobaea Vulgaris

– Characteristics

This noxious weed has a strong resemblance to a standard daisy, however these flowers are ones that have a number of appealing qualities, including being simple to grow, adaptable, and abundant tiny flowers throughout the spring, summer, and even fall. The blossoms are white when they first bloom, but surely they will start changing to gentle pink and then purple tones. Additionally, they are favored by pollinators like bees and butterflies.

Alternately placed, downy, lanceolate leaves with wavy edges clasp the stem, which is filled with a salty, astringent juice. This plant has short, velvety-feeling glandular hairs that cover its stems and leaves. On the other hand, when it comes to the flowers, they are ones that resemble the daisy-like flower due to their petal arrangements, and are bright yellow and have a core composed of 40 to even 100 disc florets surrounded by 20 to 30 slender ray florets.

– Care Requirements

Once it has taken root, Mexican fleabane is a tough plant with a long lifespan and a reputation for tolerating drought. It enjoys lots of sunlight and nutrient-rich, well-drained soil; under these ideal circumstances, it can increase widely.

These beautiful flowers are renowned for withstanding drought once established, this notion is one of their significant qualities, as a result, when you are watering it frequently helps it grow best while it’s establishing. This is particularly crucial in the summer when it’s vital to take precautions to prevent the soil from drying out too much. 

On another note, remember that the finest results are obtained when Mexican fleabane is planted in rich, well-drained soil. But due to their hardy characteristic, they are still prone to thrive growing in rock gardens and paving cracks. Lastly, remember that they can grow in partial shade; however, it might not flower as profusely, because the key reason being, these Mexican flowers enjoy a sunny location.

2. Meadow Hawkweed

This noxious weed plant, Meadow Hawkweed which is known as the Hieracium caespitosum, in botany, and this plant is one that belongs to the Asteraceae family. It can reach a height of three feet when upright and produces 10 to 30 flower stems per plant, very much like the features of a ragwort. 

The Vibrant Meadow Hawkweed

To elaborate further, this plant is one that would have a flower resembling the ragwort due to its bright yellow flower head in a small, flat-topped cluster. The leaves are similar to ragwort in that they are long and narrow. 

– Characteristics

One of the distinguished characteristics that it has is that a milky liquid is present throughout the entire plant. Meadow Hawkweeds have a few underground creeping stems called rhizomes and a shallow root stem that can bear plants. 

Moreover, the Meadow Hawkweed plant can quickly spread and smother other plants since it reproduces by seeds and its roots. On the other hand, remember that these are aggressive plants which are invaders of meadows and forests and are commonly found near roadsides, gravel pits, and pastures.

– Care Requirements

Hawkweed should be planted in a sunny area with well-draining soil. Keep in mind that some hawkweed varieties can spread freely and become invasive. Moreover, this plant is one that is a powerful self-seeder and will disperse seed widely once established. 

Its removal might prove to be more difficult than encouraging it to procreate. It can, however, be grown from seed in the spring if desired. To do this, distribute the seed in the chosen location, on free-draining soil, in full sun, or part shade.

Ideally, it is important to control this plant because it is known for its invading abilities. The plant can steal large spaces and cover other plants in your gardens like a ninja while spreading rapidly enough to cover any greenery left behind. 

Moreover, weed control will become a necessary component when dealing with this plant. Most gardeners will suggest chemicals for extremely serious infestations of Hawkweed. However, if your case is slightly easier, you can get away with easy pruning, as they would be calmer.

3. Common Groundsel

Senecio vulgaris, a plant in the Asteraceae family, is categorized as an annual weed. Given how quickly this weed spreads, the plant is known by the appropriate nickname, “ground swallower.”

A Versatile and Adaptable Plant

– Characteristics

This plant has a 23-inch tall, upright stem that makes it stand out. The leaves are oriented alternately on the stem and have deep, irregular lobes, coarsely serrated margins, and black tips.

Bright yellow groundsel blossoms mature to expose a ball of white-tufted seeds carried away by the wind. Additionally, ragwort seeds include a pappus of hair to help with long-distance dissemination. As in some places we can find them include along the roadside, landscaped areas, fields, orchards, and vineyards like the usual ragwort.

When Common Groundsel is consumed in high quantities over several weeks or months, it contains poisonous chemicals that are dangerous to humans and animals. In addition, certain alkaloids in this plant are also present in ragwort. These two closely related plants also provide food for various beetles, flies, and the Cinnabar Moth and Ragwort.

– Care Requirements

Senecio plants may typically be cultivated outside in warm climes in comparable conditions to potted plants. Established plants require little maintenance and are quite resistant to drought.

These succulents have a high level of drought resistance. Allow the roots to dry out in between watering sessions for most types. The roots and plants will get mushy if they are submerged in water.

While plants need full daylight in cooler climes, they prefer brilliant indirect light in hotter climates. So, you will need a place that covers both direct and indirect sunlight to provide it with the best possible care! The pH of the soil is not important to the plants; they thrive in the neutral zone, which is what makes them easy to cultivate.

On the other hand, it is more influential that you make sure that the ground is sandy and has good drainage. Use a quick-draining succulent or cactus soil blend for potted plants. 

4. Yellow Loosestrife

The yellow Loosestrife is also known as the Lysimachia vulgaris, and it is a perennial herbaceous plant in the Primulaceae family that reaches a height of three feet, very similar to the yellow growing ragwort. 

The Radiant Yellow Loosestrife

Plants known as yellow loosestrife are indigenous to wetlands throughout Asia and Europe, as interesting as it is, this plant was introduced to North America as a garden decorative during the beginning of the 20th century. 

The plant has become naturalized in moist environments, including marshes, wet forests, ponds, roadside ditches, and waste areas.

– Characteristics

The Yellow Loosestrife has a tall, straight stem covered in three or four whorls of ovate and lanceolate-shaped leaflets. The flower is made up of five cup-shaped, bright yellow petals with a reddish-brown tint at the base. 

When ripe, a large seed capsule on the flower splits open, dispersing the seeds. Additionally, this plant develops offspring via underground rhizomes. Therefore, it is a must to keep an eye on the Loosestrife to prevent it from spreading, and caution must be used to avoid allergic reactions or skin irritations.

On another note, a number of pollinators are drawn to the gorgeous yellow blossoms with orange centers that yellow loosestrife produces. In its natural habitats, this species can make a lovely addition to a wetland or pond garden. Still, it has since earned a bad reputation as an aggressive invasive species that degrades wetland environments by displacing native flora.

– Care Requirements

Although yellow loosestrife may tolerate a small amount of shade if necessary, it thrives in full to partial sun. Your plant will produce the most flowers if it has access to full sun and wet soil. 

As long as it is planted in an area with adequate access to water, yellow loosestrife is incredibly low maintenance and requires very little upkeep. If you want to cultivate yellow loosestrife from an already established plant, simply bury the roots in rich soil up to the stem’s top, additionally when placed in moist, well-drained soils, this plant thrives.

Although it can be a lovely addition to some gardens, yellow loosestrife can be troublesome because it is invasive outside its natural habitats. This flower is the name of another species, Lysimachia punctata, which is considered somewhat less invasive. 

5. Tansy

Tanacetum vulgare, a perennial herbaceous flowering plant belonging to the Asteraceae family, is also known as the tansy ragwort plant. Common tansy, bitter buttons, cow bitter, and golden buttons are additional names for tansy. 

An Herb with a Rich History

The difference between the tansy ragwort and common ragwort is their count of petals, because the tansy looks like button flowers, whereas the ragwort looks more like daisies. However, note that these flowers have very similar colors produced by their petals.

– Characteristics

The plant has a robust, upright, reddish, typically smooth stem that forks towards the top and can grow to a height of 1.6 to almost five feet tall. The stem has compound leaves that are alternate, finely split, pinnately lobed, and have saw-toothed margins. These leaves resemble ragwort in appearance, and their shape.

The mid to late-summer flowers are roundish, flat-topped, and button-shaped. The plant has a camphor-and-rosemary-like scent. In addition, they even have leaves and blooms are poisonous if taken in big numbers, just as ragwort does, which is a characteristic that they share. However, some insects, such as the Tansy beetle, virtually exclusively found on this plants, are resistant to the toxins, and it would even come and lay eggs there.

– Care Requirement

This plant is one that will flourish in conditions with full sun, which means that it wouldn’t be hidden in another plant’s shadow. It also prefers well-drained and fertile soil, on the other hand, it doesn’t need to be frequently watered to flourish as they are quite drought-tolerant.

Common varieties may thrive in various soil types, including dry, poor, and disturbed soils, even though it prefers moist, humus-rich soils. It quickly spreads by seeds and rhizomatous roots. 

As it establishes, it creates a dense canopy that suffocates natural flora, reducing the variety of species by denying native animals food and shelter. More than 2,000 seeds are produced by one plant. Most seeds fall close to the plant, although wind and water can disseminate them.

Common ones can choke drainage ditches because it grows in large clumps. You can avoid that by doing proper drainage ditch landscaping. Additionally, because the typical plant is toxic to horses and cows, it hurts grasslands, rendering them unsuitable for animals. Finally, it produces very few forage plants that animals can eat because of how thick it grows.

6. St. John’s Wort

Immigrants imported Common St. John’s wort to the New World because it was so highly prized for its medical properties in its native Europe. However, if herbalism is not your thing, relatives of the same genus will probably be more valuable to you. 

Medicinal Herb with Bright Blooms

– Characteristics

These flowers are ones which have features that would be including beautiful berries and two-toned leaves, distinguish these St. John’s wort varieties. The leaves are typically oblong, slender, yellow-green, and 0.1 inch to almost 1.1 inch long by 0.05 to 0.1 inches, in other words, the leaves are very tiny. 

They are signified by translucent glands that look like pinpricks when held up to the light. The five-petaled yellow blossoms resembling the ragwort flower contain sticky sepals that tear open when ripe to release the seeds.

– Care Requirements

When you are first trying to establish this perennial, keep it well-irrigated. Once fully grown, it can tolerate droughts to some extent. The plant can endure compacted soil even though it likes well-drained soil. For optimal flower production, grow St. John’s wort in the North in full light. However, in the South, the plant benefits from some shade.

St. John’s wort is a simple plant to grow because it can withstand a variety of difficult circumstances. As a result, many gardeners consider it to be a weed. The soil of the plant is too damp if it has any Achilles heel at all. On the other hand, it also needs to be nurtured for a while when they are young, but once they are established, it can survive independently. In actuality, controlling established plants will be your primary maintenance task.


So, if you liked the look of ragwort but can’t keep up with its toxicity levels, here are some of the best substitutes you can grow instead of them.

Just remember:

  • Mexican fleabanes are excellent if you’re looking for plants that don’t need water all the time.
  • Tansy plants will thrive in full sunlight. So, if you have access to a lot of natural light, try growing this plant.
  • Yellow loosestrife is one of the best flowers to bring colour to your gardens and add a bit of vibrancy to your space.

Not only will you achieve a similar look and feel, but most of these plants are relatively easy to maintain. So, which ragowort lookalike will you grow?


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