Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Creeping Charlie, Gill-over-Ground, Ground Ivy, Hedgemaids, Alehoof
Glechoma hederacea

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Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Glechoma (gle-KOH-muh) (Info)
Species: hederacea (hed-er-AYE-see-uh) (Info)

Synonym:Nepeta glechoma
Synonym:Nepeta hederacea

19 members have or want this plant for trade.

Category:
Perennials

Height:
under 6 in. (15 cm)

Spacing:
3-6 in. (7-15 cm)

Hardiness:
USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Danger:
Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
Violet/Lavender

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer

Foliage:
Herbaceous

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:
Non-patented

Propagation Methods:
From herbaceous stem cuttings
By simple layering

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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There are a total of 21 photos.
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Profile:

18 positives
5 neutrals
42 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

RatingAuthorContent
Negative madebydave On May 21, 2014, madebydave from New Ulm, MN wrote:

This thug grows in my backyard where only moss grew before. If it would stay there, I wouldn't have a problem with it. Nothing stops it. It grows over or under all barriers. Nothing remotely organic fazes it. It is growing up into the woods to do battle with another thug, Yellow Archangel. It'll be interesting to see which one wins.

Negative coriaceous On Feb 21, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

Connecticut has banned trading, transporting, or planting this species as a noxious weed and an invasive plant destructive to natural areas.

Negative rosepetal2 On Aug 26, 2013, rosepetal2 from Danvers, MA wrote:

Creeping Charlie serves as a groundcover in areas that are difficult to control erosion. However, once this plant starts sending below ground runners and establishes in lawns and perennial gardens, nearly everything is choked out. I bought a home with virtually no maintenance for years. The entire yard had been invaded with Creeping Charlie and lawn violets. I have been fighting this battle now for several years. It is possible to use for a ground cover to retain moisture, and it is relatively easy to pull the runners to control, but I've now found NO redeeming value to these plants. I now control in spring by spraying with weed control products containing triclopyr. Scotts makes two products one for brush/poison ivy and one for lawns. Use the product for lawns in early spring and I use the brush killer in fall. Now if only my neighbors would control their weed patched lawns and grubs!

Negative OHMasterGrdnr On May 31, 2013, OHMasterGrdnr from Dayton, OH wrote:

I have found that the only way to remove this plant is by using a dethatching rake. I have an antique one with quarter moon tines bolted together about 1" apart, 2 1/2" long on one side and 3" long on the other. Percentage removal depends on the concentration of Alehoof to be removed. With a high concentration, it approaches 100%. There will always be some hand picking to be done, but after running the dethatcher twice at a 90 degree angle, the underground runners have been cut and the plant comes out easily.

A very large area might benefit from a mechanical dethatcher.

RoundUp and Weed-B-Gon don't work. Haven't tried Borax.

Negative plant_it On May 19, 2013, plant_it from Valparaiso, IN wrote:

Negative because for me this is a non-native, extremely invasive plant from Europe. It's taking over my woods, lawn, everywhere and choking out the native plants. On the plus side, it's also choking out the garlic mustard and not many plants can do that. (If you're looking for a native plant that chokes out garlic mustard, wild ginger will do it.)

Positive rustybutterfly On Apr 10, 2013, rustybutterfly from Dwight, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

I really do not mind this little plant of the mint family. It brings along the bees, and has a nice smell when mowed. You can use it medicinally and even bring it to the table. The MAIN reason I love this little plant is that it chokes out the Garlic Mustard which I absolutely cannot stand. Now that my friends is a truly horrid weed that is almost impossible to get rid of. To this day I hate garlic smells and no longer cook with it because I spend so much time smelling it when I am pulling thousands of weeds year after year. Creeping Charlie is SO much easier to pull then Garlic Mustard. So Creeping Charlie will forever be a friend in my garden and beds! You sometimes have to make compromises!

Negative LindaMakela On Mar 11, 2013, LindaMakela from Sudbury
Canada wrote:

Creeping Charlie, or whatever else you may choose to call it, is an awful pest here in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. We are in zone 3. I'm going to try the borax solution and see if that works. I actually don't mind it in the perennial garden, but don't want it in where I plant my impatiens ... and it does choke out other ground covering type plants in the perennial garden. However I find it helps to keep the ground moist in the one contained raised garden. It has totally invaded my front lawn, to the point we hardly have any dandelions. Those, we dig manually with this neat tool we got from the hardware store. I had read that if you lime your lawn and gardens, that will help. I did lime my impatiens garden, and now that I think of it, the Creeping Charlie hasn't invaded except for one corner. The impatiens hasn't grown so well since, however.

Neutral 4plantsonly On Jan 5, 2013, 4plantsonly from (Zone 9b) wrote:

If you find yourself over taken by this plant , put it on the table for dinner.... High in Vit C, use fresh in salad or steam as pot herb, if you make your own home brew you can try it out there , it is said to give more flavor to the beer brew and also clarify and preserve the brew, have the flu , a cold or bad congestion give it is said to help get over it...

Positive grik On Apr 23, 2012, grik from Saint Paul, MN wrote:

OK it wore me down. But you have to admire its toughness. Why fight it in a shady lawn. The bees like it.

This year I planted daffodils in it and it looks great. I shouldn't have to mow until the leaves die back I think.

I would rather have creeping charlie than keep messing with lawn chemicals.

Positive kazen On Mar 13, 2012, kazen from Cherokee, KS wrote:

I know its pretty invasive in lawns but this is the first plant the Bumblebees come to. It is such an important plant for my Bombus pollinators that we have let it take over our back yard. I didnt realise that it is medicinal aswell. I saw on a website that it was called "panacea". Well it is for our bumblebees!!

Negative Greytluv On May 22, 2011, Greytluv from Fairport, NY wrote:

This is a non-native weedy plant. It was introduced from Europe and has taken over. I have it at the edge of the woods and found, like others, that removing it after the rain is the easiest way. Although 'easy' is used loosely. LOL I've replaced it with native creeping phlox and native violets that seem to be able to work their way through it. I help them by removing any 'Charlie' in their way. Hopefully they'll take over in the end!! LOL The violets bloom longer and their leaves are lovely.

Negative BLOSSOMBUDDY On Sep 12, 2010, BLOSSOMBUDDY from (Zone 5a) wrote:

It lives up to its name.. CREEP! And is here to stay unless I chem-nuke the place killing everything it has grown found of growing with.

You either love it, hate it or get used to it..

Positive linneaus On May 12, 2010, linneaus from Cincinnati, OH wrote:

I have Glechoma in a bed in the sun and am planing to put another plant in with it (I was considering a liropee).

Anybody have experience coplanting w/ Glechoma?

I'm concerned with one of the plants dominating the other.

The bed is compleatly surrounded by concreat & I love the fact that I didn't have to buy it.

Too bad it's not zeriscopic.

Neutral FlintMG On Apr 30, 2010, FlintMG from Grand Blanc, MI wrote:

I'm torn here. This plant is beautiful and smells great, especially after mowing. When I moved in several years ago I knew nothing about the garden and very little about lawns and gardening. There were some weeds down and I didn't care much about what I figured were some pretty little wildflowers out in the lawn.

Well, several years later and I've been unable to control the spread. It stays thickest in shady areas of my yard so some of my yard is fine. But in shady patches it is killing everything, from my flower garden to huge patches of my lawn. I tried raking it out with a metal rake and the whole patch of lawn came up, there was nothing left but the weed that could survive lifting the patch of it.

I wish this was more docile. Or, I'd love it if I lived out in the woods. I'd let it take the yard and enjoy it. But in a suburban environment, this is nothing but an unstoppable weed raising the ire of my neighbors.

Positive santafeumber On Jun 20, 2009, santafeumber from Lamy, NM wrote:

here in the Southwest US, where the ground is mostly starved for water , except for where the irrigation drippers are located, there is little problems with creeping/trailing plants of this nature to take over.
Fortunately (at times) Lowes will sell just about anything whether it belongs here or not, so I decided to try this little plant out in a semi-shaded area next to the pond under a pinon tree. the soil is mostly harsh , but it has turned out to be a nice gently spreading plant and adds a nice soft flowering carpet around the pond. I am sure once it hits the parched soil beyond that, it will stop in its tracks.
I do empathize with those of you in wetter , humid climates where I can see this plant getting totally out of control!
works great here however! no complaints.
it even survives the winters quite well here.

Positive TheHebe On May 22, 2009, TheHebe from Jewett, OH wrote:

I love this plant! Yes, it takes over, but much easier to pull up than the crabgrass as she has some shallow roots.

I use the teas and puff on it in a pipe. (hard time quitting smoking - so I smoke from a pipe).

This spring I noticed these mini yet mis-shaped tomato like fruits on the Gill o'the Ground. Can't find any information on it, nor seen it mentioned here. I've posted a photo.

I'm going to try transplanting a few in my driveway as my gravel is getting thin.

I think Gill o'the Ground would be lovely with Bells of Ireland.

Negative gsteinbe On Mar 28, 2009, gsteinbe from Trenton, NJ wrote:

Like almost everyone else, I hate this plant as a horrid weed. It is nearly impossible to control, and in my estimation it stinks terribly. I eradicate it by putting my autumn leaf/compost pile on top of the area of my lawn that is infested the worst each year. I keep it out of beds by putting flat stepping stones around the beds as edging. The roots can't grow the distance of the 6-inch width of the stepping stones to get into the bed below ground, and I can keep pulling back any above-ground runners that try to invade over the stones. But my lawn is at the weed's mercy. The previous owners of my house had a raised bed in the back yard with lots of tilth, and I left it fallow for the entire first year we lived in the house (a big mistake on my part, but I was fairly new to gardening then). The Creeping Charlie took over -- blanketing the entire bed. But this turned out to be a plus. It kept any other weeds from invading, and when, the following spring, I wanted to clear the bed for planting, the Creeping Charlie came up really easily out of the loose soil, leaving absolutely no weeds behind. And the Creeping Charlie didn't come back in that bed at all. So, in loose soil, it has potential as a way to clear out all other weeds.

Neutral inkblot On Mar 1, 2009, inkblot from Buffalo, NY (Zone 6a) wrote:

Wonderful plant if youre looking for a good ground cover. For everyone else, its the scourge of the earth. This plant and Solanum dulcamara have infested my garden, and most of my time gardening is spent keeping them under control.

Negative katsu On Feb 21, 2009, katsu from Columbus, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

I hate this weed. It's very hard to get rid of once it starts up. I don't find it "easy to pull up" as some have said. It does spread quite a bit, so the one good thing is, once it has grown, it chokes out other weeds. Then if you can pull it up, at least it clears a large area.

The best way I've found to pull it: the day after it rains, find one and gather all of the foliage from one central stem (you have to detangle a bit if it's grown together). Using both hands, grab near the central stem and pull steadily. You can get all of the root to pull up this way.

Negative plantations On Feb 16, 2009, plantations from Ashland, OR wrote:

What a deceptive charmer this plant is! I live in southern Oregon & five years ago it showed up in a portion of my backyard and, not knowing what it was, I let it go thinking it was kind of pretty.... By the next season I realized that it had spread throughout the enitre bed! I am an organic gardener & do not use herbicides so I started eradicating it by hand, ugh! I gave up feeling overwhelmed & frustrated. I mentioned this plant to a young gal who works at a local nursery & she offered to come dig it out for me. I was amazed when she showed up with a bucket & a thin, serrated edged steak knife & spent the next five hours almost completely eradicating this weed from my backyard. The thin knife blade glided smoothly under the roots & she then lifted the mass of ground ivy into her bucket & kept going. That little knife also worked well for teasing out the runners that had invaded the nearby perennials. Afterward, I laid down a clean layer of compost so I could more easily see the remnant populations (makes it easier to get out too) & yes, I still had keep up a vigilance for the next two seasons, but I could not find any evidence of that weed in my yard last year! I paid her $8 an hour & it was worth every penny of the $40 it cost me. Best of luck to anyone who has this wretched weed in their yards! Sharon/Plantations53

Positive Moof On Sep 13, 2008, Moof from Berwick, ME wrote:

Here in Maine, we call those "Robin Runaway" ... and they grow wild all over the place, especially in partly shady areas underneath trees. The bruised leaf smells a little peppery, and we've used it in pomades; I've also heard of people using a bit of it in salads, although it's a bit too strongly flavored for my tastes.

I was surprised to see that the name Robin Runaway wasn't mentioned in the above list, since that's what it's called in at least two herbal books that I have, and also in one of Ewel Gibbon's books, "Wild Edibles", I believe. If I had the books on hand I would gladly list them, but I'm not at home and won't be for a while.

Makes a nice ground cover, is fragrant, and very hardy. I'm in zone 5, and I've seen it as far south as Georgia.

Negative JPride1127 On Jun 11, 2008, JPride1127 from Detroit, MI wrote:

outside everyday with my trowel removing this out of my lawn. neighbors have a bad infestation. hoping my yard will not catch theirs once it's all gone. mines flowers yellow, white and purple. Ugly flowers, very small and look like weeds, nothing ground coverish or attractive about it.

Positive hamptonguy5 On Jun 10, 2008, hamptonguy5 from Southampton, NY wrote:

I tried this 2 years ago in a pot and then took cuttings for around a tree and it has been spreading just as I had hoped it would. I have a half an acre-very wooded with deer. This has provided good coverage in a tough area and the deer stay away from it. Yes, it is invasive, but if you want a natural wooded look-go for it. After all, it certainly isn't Kudzu, nothing that a lawn mower couldn't control.

Negative Malus2006 On Feb 27, 2008, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

At least this species don't seed itself or it would have been everywhere already. Otherwise at least improvement in sod productivity and in grass seed have reduce the chances of new infections.

Negative dddtn On Dec 16, 2007, dddtn from Dayton, OH wrote:

I've been fighing this for years. I tried a commercial, golf course herbicide that managed only to slow the growth of this vicious, noxious, invasive weed. Unfortunately, I felt this was too toxic of a material to use around people and dogs. The best sure fire method I found was when we dug a foundation for an addition of my house. The excavation of the yard managed to kill off all of it and the house was a perfect mulch. BEWARE OF THIS PLANT

Negative distantkin On Nov 3, 2007, distantkin from Saint Cloud, MN (Zone 4b) wrote:

This plant is listed on the Minnesota DNR invasive list
"Ecological Threat:
It is not a threat to healthy native plant communities.
Ground ivy grows best in semi-shaded to shaded moist soils and forms a dense mat, smothering other vegetation.
It is a common urban garden weed and grows mostly in disturbed, degraded places.
Ground ivy is found in most of the world of similar climate. It is known to have medicinal properties. "

Positive scarletwildfire On Aug 7, 2007, scarletwildfire from Park Forest, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

My parents live on abandoned railroad property, and there is NO dirt anywhere except a small patch in the front yard. The fill is called Slag I'm told.. yellow and black patches of grit, no grass will ever grow(we planted a tree once and 3ft below groundlevel was a box car!!!), and a half acre is a lot of land to cover with a layer of dirt. Mom finally stopped pulling the creeping charlie and allowed it to just grow. Voila! Instant low-growing lawn! Now their back yard is green and rarely needs to be mowed!

I don't recommend it to people who live in suburban neighborhoods who want their neighbors to like them, but it works for those of us who have poor soil. I wonder if we could green up Death Valley with it? LOL

Negative Janets_garden On Jul 23, 2007, Janets_garden from Springfield, VA wrote:

This plant has choked out my tomatoe plants. I've been trying to get rid of it for years. It's no use. Moving would be easier.

Negative dkm65 On Jul 4, 2007, dkm65 from Cedar Falls, IA (Zone 4b) wrote:

This plant is real pain in the ***, and as an exotic invasive in the U.S. is irresponsible to plant or encourage. I won't dispute with those rating this plant as a positive that when in flower it is not unattractive, and it certainly does spread as a shady ground cover, but that hardly justifies letting it do so. One person rating this positive said that it didn't invade healthy plantings, but my experience is otherwise. If you could hermetically seal your property, then I'd say knock yourself out. However, you can't and so you need to take responsibility for the impacts of your gardening practices on your neighbors and your locality. G. hederacea can become a problem in wild areas and native plant remnants, and as it spreads by seed you cannot know the impact that encouraging it on your property might have. There are many native, attractive, vigorous ground covers if that is what you want. Wild ginger, some native violets, etc. are much better choices (although they are aggressive too-just a warning if you want a shade garden rather than a monoculture), and better support wildlife that have co-evolved with native plants (e.g., fritillary butterflies and violets).

Herbicides are not supposed to be very effective. I've only tried some of the organically-approved soap-based herbicides and not had much success. They only thing that seems to work at least for a short time is getting down and pulling it up. It will begin reappearing in a month or less, both from runners from any plants you didn't get and from re-growing from roots at the nodes the runners put down that are difficult to get rid of. If you don't get right back at keeping it in check, it will be back to its original population within a few months during the growing season. The borax treatment is something I've not tried, as its impact on the soil and wildlife isn't known at the levels needed.

Negative kennyso On Jun 3, 2007, kennyso from Markham, ON (Zone 5b) wrote:

As much as I like its nature to be able to fill an area where grass cannot grow, the aftermath is terrible. We just moved into an older house and the furter third of the yard is filled wit hthis. when you mow it, if does get chopped, but I find that it'll root again if you leave the grass cliping and it over your lawn. In the beginning, I dumped some top soil over the patch in a despret attempt to suffocate it, instead, it was able to grow through the gravel and top soil...I now rake up the clippings and dispose of them in the garbage can, I don't want this in my compost bin!

Negative PlantGirl1982 On May 20, 2007, PlantGirl1982 from Cedar Rapids, IA (Zone 5a) wrote:

All you creeping charlie lovers are crazy! This is a noxious weed! It should not be used for anything! Who cares if it is a groundcover, there are a lot nicer plants available for that purpose! It is a disguisting weed that makes its way over from your neighbors yard and creeps into you lawn. Then it finds its way into your flower beds and veggie garden. You think you have pulled it out and miss one little peice and its back in 5 days. Yuck, why would anyone want this!

Neutral mildweather On May 16, 2007, mildweather from Minneapolis, MN wrote:

This plant is indeed taking over large parts of my garden. It has not actually choked anything out, but it requires vigilant pulling. The smell is delightful, and there are supposed medicinal uses, so this balances the negative, so far.

My concern is that the top section states that some parts of the plant are poisonous, yet many "medicinal uses" are listed. What parts are poisonous? Is a tea made from this plant safe to drink? If I add it to my springtime dandeline wine, will there be some ill effect in the final product?

The flowers look somewhat like tiny foxglove flowers. I know that foxglove was the origin of a potent heart drug, digitalis, and that an overdose of that is lethal. Any relation?

Thanks for any thoughts or answers.

Neutral swissAlex On Mar 22, 2007, swissAlex from (Zone 7a) wrote:

Too bad people here didn't have lawns 300 years ago, or they wouldn't have brought it to the U.S.. It is a nasty lawn weed, even here in it's native range. I'm surprised to read here that there is actually a use for it.

Negative dayli On Dec 30, 2006, dayli from Vienna, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

Whenever I'm overcome with the frustration that comes from trying to keep this plant in check, I think of the early European settlers nearly three hundred years ago, crossing the ocean in tiny fragile crowded ships. They could bring so little with them from home to start life over in this new world. I think of them planting it with so much care--hoping it would survive. Hahahahahahahaha!

Negative Dedda On Oct 19, 2006, Dedda from Petersburg, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

creepy chuck weed is a better name for the demon spawn,

Positive chicagojjeff On Oct 2, 2006, chicagojjeff from Chicago, IL wrote:

Creeping charlie is a great groundcover. It is attractive and chokes out other weeds. If you want a semi-wild garden; if you would like to never have to mow lawn again in a shady to part sunny area this is the greatest thing since sliced bread. I have allowed it to provide a gentle cover even in some of my flower beds to keep other weeds out! i love it!

Positive SpitfireKaty On Aug 17, 2006, SpitfireKaty from Trinway, OH wrote:

I absolutely LOVE this plant - but I will admit in the vegetable garden it is not quite so lovable :). The delicate flowers are lovely, and it's wonderful as a ground cover in shady areas and those places where nothing else will grow. But the real reason I love this plant is I suffer from chronic bronchitis and asthma, and a tea made from ground ivy (1 tsp. ivy to 1 cup boiling water; steep 15 minutes; strain and drink) is one of the best expectorants and antispasmatics I've tried. I consider it simply a misplaced herb -- I know, I'm wierd -- I also love chickweed and plantain.

Cute story about ground ivy. Last summer I was teaching 2 of my grandkids about different natural "herbs", and when we came to the ground ivy, I told them it was also called creeping Charlie -- to which Charlie, then age 4, asked "where's the creeping Salina (his big sister) -- it was just too cute :)

Happy gardening everyone - and try to be kind not only to each other, but also to God's natural herbs.

Negative Jaimee On Aug 12, 2006, Jaimee from Farmington, MI wrote:

This weed is neck-and-neck with Bermuda Grass as the most evil weed in the world.

It's prettier than Bermuda Grass, but it grows out of control. It covers everything in its path...growing all over the lawn, thoughout bushes, everywhere. It's impossible to get rid of.

Someone said if you plant this plant be sure you like it because you'll never get rid of it. It's true. I didn't plant it, but it has plagued me in two homes now. I can't imagine anyone planting it on purpose. It won't stay where you plant it...it will spread all over your yard, into the neighbor's yards...and across state lines and country borders! (Possibly, it will even cross the ocean....it's that bad.)

This plants deserves a strong negative. If you're wise, you won't plant it.

Negative kathy1955 On Aug 1, 2006, kathy1955 from Mchenry, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

I absolutely hate this horrid weed!. When I first moved in to my new hjouse I planted beautiful sod around my raised beds My neighbors on both sides do not maintain their yards . The elderly ones have a kid who mows (and just my luck) he lets the mower expell all the creeping charlie he mows right into my yard. Its in every raised bed and every grassy area.
I have tried everything to kill it. It loves mulch, shade, sun, whatever, it grows anywhere, and its the first weed to arrive in the spring. I WOULD NEVER PLANT THIS STUFF! I know a landscaper who has to wash his mower blades with bleach before moving to another lawn after mowing over this stuff.. It seems to be the major complaint of everyone in my area.

Negative northgrass On Jul 27, 2006, northgrass from West Chazy, NY (Zone 4b) wrote:

I never though anyone actually bought this plant as a ground cover, here it grows everywhere. I am no longer trying to eliminate it, as it is a futile endeavor, instead I pull out what I can and try to keep the edges clean to prevent it from crawling into the flower beds. Later in the summer, I find that I can pull large amount of it with a 3-prong rake. I read somewhere that it contains large amount of iron so it is desirable to add it to your mulch.

Negative itch On Jun 28, 2006, itch from Cortland, NY wrote:

We have Creeping Charlie in our yards. Like others on this site, I have tried to remove it, strand by strand. This year, we read about using Borax. We marked a 4' x 4' area, and sprayed the mixture, according to a website's directions. But, no luck. Perhaps we did not use enough... but if you do use Borax, it's important to read that it can severely damage other plants that are NOT pests. I am not content to let the plant lie -- sometimes I feel like Bill Murray in "Caddyshack", trying to get rid of my lawn pest (or in his case, the pesty animal).

Positive Sherlock_Holmes On Jun 26, 2006, Sherlock_Holmes from Millersburg, PA (Zone 6a) wrote:

This plant is always welcome to thrive around me. I love its tiny purple flowers and the wonderful minty scent it gives off when you mow over it. I'd take a natural yard with some Gill-over-the-ground in it any day over an unnatural yard of just plain grass. But then again, I prefer Edible Wild Plants and Wildflowers over the prettiest of tame flowers.

As for its edibility, The Encyclopedia of Edible Plants of North America by Francois Couplan, Ph.D. has this to say.

"The leaves have a peculiar, aromatic smell (reminiscent of mint, of lemon, and the back of the woods) and a slightly bitter taste. They make a pleasant tea and were used to flavor beer in Europe up until the 17th century. They can be added raw to salads or made into aromatic sauces.

Ground ivy contains tannin, an essential oil, a bitter principle, and Vitamin C. It is expectorant, tonic and astringent, and has been used medicinally since Antiquity."

Its many other uses are praised in The Handbook of Native American Herbs by Alma R. Hutchens.

Negative gloriabythelake On Jun 19, 2006, gloriabythelake from Buffalo, NY (Zone 6a) wrote:

This plant is a curse. I have tried to eradicate it for years. Pulling doesn't work. It survives the coldest winters and will spread on bare concrete. What I have noticed is that although it will creep into my beds, it doesn't take hold in my shade gardens. Won't grow under Hostas, Ferns etc. But in the barest of sun it runs amok. It thrives in moist but sunny areas. After a summer rain it is a nightmare. It may be enjoyable to some areas but not here. Oh, and it loves mulch.

Negative FloweryHeart On Jun 7, 2006, FloweryHeart from Williamston, MI (Zone 5b) wrote:

I, too, have been working to rid myself of Creeping Charlie, which was in the yard and garden when I bought my house. The first spring here, I admired its blue flowers, but by the end of summer it was a monster a foot deep and was invading my new perennial bed. By the next spring, I was amazed at its expansion, and I knew I had to get rid of it.

RECOMMENDATION FOR REMOVING IT: my experience is that trying to pull it out by had doesn't work, since parts of it are still rooted and they just start the next round of invasion...
BUT I HAVE HAD GOOD SUCCESS USING A SPADING FORK . I sink the fork in next to the plant and LIFT and LOOSEN ALL THE SOIL UNDER THE CREEPING CHARLIE , then am able to carefully lift it out -- runners, roots and all... The best time for me to do this has been when the soil is moist and very workable.
By this method, I have been able to clear it from areas of my perennial bed and -- with a watchful eye for small starts -- keep them from being reinfested.
Sometimes this method has meant lifting perennials, such as irises, which have become tangled with Creeping Charlie -- so I use it as an occasion to lift and divide the plant.
Using the spading fork has been a good method for me, and I think that the time it takes to do the spading, lifting and perennial dividing is probably less than the time I would spend, in the long run, in (unsuccessful) hand weeding...
I also use my spading fork method on other weeds -- not only those that spread by rooting runners, but those which have brittle stems which break when you try to pull them, and those which make shallow clumps. It is also good for loosening the soil around tree seedlings to make them easier to remove root and all...

Positive lereau On May 30, 2006, lereau from Saint Paul, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

50 years ago my mother bought home this plant as ground cover for the family yard. The greenhouse owner thought she was craxy to want to buy it and told her so. She wasn't. It covers shady ground beautifully, and when it grows into the lawn, it is an interesting addition that brings the light smell of mint to the chore of mowing. We've transplanted it into all our family yards over the last 30 years because it always feels like home.

Negative ladygardener1 On May 15, 2006, ladygardener1 from Near Lake Erie, NW, PA (Zone 5a) wrote:

Totally invasive! Fighting it all the way. Grows through everything.

Negative SW_gardener On May 15, 2006, SW_gardener from (Zone 6a) wrote:

We unfortunately have this plant in our lawn and it somehow secretly creeped into the back of one of my beds without me noticing, now I have it back there too. DO NOT PLANT THIS!!!

Negative herbmoxie On May 14, 2006, herbmoxie from Annandale, NJ (Zone 6b) wrote:

...from mid-central New Jersey

I have fought this plant for 18 years, and still spend hours to pull it out of the garden. I cannot embrace it as I do nearly all beneficial plants because if I didn't remove it, it would remove (by choking) all other beneficial plants in my gardens. I can pull out every scrap I find and within a week will have enough springing back to make gallons of infusion. HM

Positive WildMouse On May 10, 2006, WildMouse from Mooresville, IN (Zone 5a) wrote:

I live in a rural woodland area with much shade so my lawn will never look like the picture on the bag of grass seed and there is little point in trying to achieve that. Maybe that is why I don't mind the Gill-over-the-Ground at my place. The flowers are very pretty and it will grow where the grass won't, so it's win-win for me. It isn't a threat to healthy plants or lawns and it pulls up very easily. I tend to leave it alone unless it gets in my way as it will cover the foxtails and dandelions - which I think look much worse in a lawn. It is also medicinal. In England it was known as "painters tea" because workers using lead house paint often used to detox from the lead. I have collected and dried some for my herb cabinet but have yet to make a tea or tincture from it. I will be doing that soon though and will report my results if desired. I guess my point here is to say don't worry, be happy! Gill-over-the-ground is pretty, it's edible and has nice flowers. What more could one ask for a plant most of us didn't purchase and didn't have to plant! ;-) Spending time, energy and money to eradicate it seem wasted to me... why not embrace this lovely little plant for what it is and try to enjoy it?

Here is what one website said about it: Medicinal and edible, a light taste very agreeable in salads. Ground ivy is used in alternative medicine and is an excellent spring tonic, it is an appetite stimulant. It contains a volatile oil which aids in relieving congestion and inflammation of mucous membranes associated with colds, flu, and sinusitis. It is Anti-allergenic, Antibacterial, Anti-flu, Antihistaminic, Anti-inflammatory, Antioxidant, Antiseptic, Antispasmodic, Antiviral, Cancer-Preventive, Expectorant, Immuno-stimulant, and Sedative.

Ground ivy tea or juice is well tolerated and can be given to small children. Some of the most valuable plant constituents are 1,8-cineole, alpha-pinene, apigenin, beta-sitosterol, borneol, caffeic-acid, ferulic-acid, hyperoside, iodine, luteolin, menthol, oleanolic-acid, rosmarinic-acid, rutin, ursolic-acid.

Ground-Ivy is being studied for use in preventing Leukemia, Bronchitis, Hepatitis, many kinds of cancer, and HIV. The fresh juice or a medicinal tea is used to treat digestive disorders, gastritis, acid indigestion, and diarrhea. It is also beneficial for liver and kidney function, said to relieve gravel and stones. Although results are not conclusive it is being used as an antidote for lead poisoning. Added to bath as an emollient to soften skin and has a sedative effect.

Ground ivy has a long history of use in alternative medicine and as an edible herb, dating back to the first century A.D. it was long considered a panacea (cure-all). Known for its hi vitamin C content it is said to be one of the first herb and edible plants brought to the North American continent by early settlers.

Spring Tonic: Steep 2 tsp. of fresh or dried herb in 1 cup water for 10 min. flavor with peppermint or honey to taste take in 1/2 cup doses twice a day.

Colds and flu: Express fresh juice with press. Take in 1 tsp. doses 3 times a day, 1/2 tsp. for children. Use 2 or 3 drops in nose twice a day for sinusitis.

Negative CaptMicha On May 3, 2006, CaptMicha from Brookeville, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

Yes this plant is enticing with it's orchid like little blue flowers but once planted, you'll have it taking over, and over and over and over.

I would highly recommend thinking this over before you decide to plant or buy this.

Negative lovinlilys On Apr 16, 2006, lovinlilys from St-Paul-de-L'Ile-Aux-Noix
Canada wrote:

I live just North of the NY border in Canada, South of Montreal. I assure you that it also grows here, and is very invasive. It tries to take over my whole lawn which is quite large. Hopeless to try and pull it out. Even killing it does not seem to work. It just finds a way to get back to the same areas.

Negative Sarahskeeper On Apr 15, 2006, Sarahskeeper from Brockton, MA (Zone 6a) wrote:

At first I liked it, now I hate it. It takes over....

Negative brendascameos On Apr 13, 2006, brendascameos from Newfane, VT wrote:

An invasive plant that is now in every bed in the garden. Very easy to initially get lured into letting it go as it has attractive bloom and foliage. Do yourself a favor and ignore these qualities unless you live in a sand pit and have no interest in having other plants. If we wanted to terraform Mars this would be a good plant to send. In about a year it would no longer be called the red planet. Keep it out of your garden at all costs

Negative Katze On Apr 9, 2006, Katze from Minneapolis, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

I agree completely with everyone who says this plant is evil. We bought our house nearly two years ago. Most of our neighborhood (probably the former owners of our house too) use those chemical spraying places and they don't seem to have it. I'm really not keen on that junk, so this stuff has pretty much taken over our yard.

It's honestly not a controllable plant. It sends out tangled runners all over the place and easily grows in mulch without rooting into the soil. If you rip a bunch out by hand, it will come back almost immediately. In our yard, it seems to prefer the shady, moist areas (it's most heavy there), but it will grow like crazy in full sun areas too.

We're going to try borax or a local company that claims they can control it through organic means. If either of these work well for us, I'll post again.

Hey again. When we were at our local nursery, we spoke to a master gardener from our local extension service about creeping charlie. She said part of the reason most pesticides don't work on it is because the plant coats itself in some sort of substances that basically resists the actual pesticide.

She pointed out a newer pesticide called Weed Free Zone. The company that makes it is Ferti-lome and it's distributed by Voluntary Purchasing Groups http://www.v-p-g.com . She said to spray it once it blooms in the spring and repeat a week or two later; spray again after the first hard frost in the fall. She also said that this plant is so incredibly invasive, it will take awhile to completely get rid of it because of its ability to re-seed itself.

My husband sprayed last Saturday. He checked a day or so ago and some of the creeping charlie is starting to die off! Woohoo!

Positive ansonfan On Jan 9, 2006, ansonfan from Polkton, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:

This plant came compliments of a rose bush given me by a family member. I have lived here for 2 years now, and I find that the plant has some very good qualities. It will quickly cover any bare ground that needs to be "greened up" and it is easy enough to control by pulling it up. It will also grow almost anywhere you need it to - shade or sun and needs no feeding or watering. It can be aggresive, but I can keep it in check by pulling up unwanted growth once or twice a year. Its easy to pull up.

Negative Phrederica_VA On Jan 4, 2006, Phrederica_VA from Montpelier, VA wrote:

This plant is completely evil. It cannot be killed with Roundup from what I've read. The only treatment, which has given me limited success in control, is using Boron in the form of Borax (the laundry additive). This plant is sensitive to it and will die from an overdose before your lawn will (hopefully). I don't know about your favorite flowers; I have only tried it in lawn areas. It grows in full sun to full shade and I may never rid myself of it. Sure it's got pretty, miniscule flowers and an interesting scent, but poison ivy is a pretty plant, too.

Negative jovotanar On Aug 13, 2005, jovotanar from Chicago, IL wrote:

The woman who owned our house before my parents bought it (1938), planted creeping charlie. My parents, nor I, have been able to get rid of it. It grows in the worst possible conditions. It doesn't even need soil to grow; it was crawling on the cement patio. After it reached about 5ft I ripped it out. It's extremely invasive; no other plants have a prayer when it's around. I can not caution you enough, once you have it, just know that you will have it forever.

Negative HarryNJ On Jul 21, 2005, HarryNJ from Neptune, NJ (Zone 7b) wrote:

This plant seems bent on world domination. It has invaded my entire yard, and adjacent yards. It's no exaggeration when I say that at least 50% of the time I spend tending to my yard and garden is devoted to pulling this insidious weed. And it is not easy to pull either, rooting at every leaf node and tangling with any other vegetation around. It seems to grow back overnight. Even seems to spread during the dead of winter. Puts on phenomenal growth in the spring, I have pulled runners as long as 4'. Slows down just a bit in the heat of summer, unless there are frequent rains in which case it just keeps going. In the lawn weed killers only seem to set it back temporarily and mowing only thickens it up. Mowing it also releases its somewhat unpleasant moldy-minty scent. Large patches of my lawn are dominated by it. Seems to have eyes and heads straight for any beds adjoining the lawn. Equally happy in dense shade as in full sun. The only plant I have found that is capable of pretty much choking it out is Creeping Jenny - Lysimachia mummularia (which itself is becoming somewhat of a problem) but even there it needs pulling until "Jenny" fills in. Definitely at the very top of my worst weeds list! If you plant this you are in for a world of regret. (I never planted it, it seems firmly established as a naturalized invasive in this area.)

Positive gregoriuspax On Aug 14, 2004, gregoriuspax from Garland, TX wrote:

I love this stuff! I've never seen mine bloom though. It has a very unique smell when the leaves are bruised, almost sage-like. I use it to fill in a bed where I have a few shrubby plants going on the side of my house. This side of the house takes in a full afternoon of direct, 95+ degree heat most of the summer. It does fine here as long as I keep it moist. I like its wild nature and I just let it go. Positives? -fills gaps quickly -low maintenance -herby smell (when close up) -luscious, rich green foliage

Negative jhall1245 On Jul 10, 2004, jhall1245 from Islip, NY wrote:

This plant took over my compost heap and a substantial portion of the back yard. It resists lawn chemicals and invades quickly when it reaches a border. Its habit of creeping under under whatever foliage is around and popping up a few inches away makes it a challenge to control. (And the new shoots put down their own roots.) It even sneaks under the english ivy. I make a habit of removing it by hand whenever I'm in the yard, and never put it into the compost. However, just when I think I have pulled the last rhizome, it reappears. While the late spring blooms are delicate and attractive, this ivy is too invasive for most gardeners to control. It will quickly smother anything around it if not constantly checked by pulling. An established bed has an unbelievable web of roots that can be very difficult to remove or eradicate.

Negative eberney On May 1, 2004, eberney from Knoxville, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

I hate this plant! When we moved into our house 2 years ago all the existing flower beds were covered with this stuff. With gallons of Roundup and hours and hours of weeding I still have multiple beds to clear and the entire grass to regrow. As soon as a bed is cleared this junk comes right in. Anyone would be complete insane to intentionally plant this unless it is in a large area where you want dense groundcover with lots of room to grow.

Negative xyris On Apr 10, 2004, xyris from Sebring, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I can also attest to how invasive Glechoma hederacea can be in central Tennessee. Once it gets into a vegetable garden it is a weed that is almost impossible to eradicate. I can see how it could be nice as a groundcover for shade, but be careful where you plant it. It may not be this invasive in all locations.

Positive JenniesWorld On Apr 5, 2004, JenniesWorld from Spencer, WV wrote:

We were introduces to this gorgeous little Orchid-like flower ground cover when we moved to South-Central Pennsylvania. it is a hardy ground cover that few appreciate, possibly because of it's small flower, but mostly because people consider it invasive. We found it a delight! The tiny flowers are exquisite when view up close, and the abundance of leaves creates a cushioned walk during the part of the summer when the ground literally "bakes". We were lucky to find it again in West Virginia as an excellent ground cover for heavily shaded very damp areas, particularly under trees. We use it to fill in at the base of bushes and leggy plants, instead of mulch.
We read some where that it is high in vitamin C, but the same book advised against letting horses graze on it. However, our Hackney Pony and our registered Alpine and Toggenburg Dairy Goats ate it with no ill effects.
The only problem we noted was that it was very difficult to mow the grass without the Gill getting tangled in the mower. If the gill is mowed, it gets ripped out by the roos and can leave giant bare patches in your yard. Jennie

Positive carolg52 On Jun 1, 2003, carolg52 from Morris, IL wrote:

I have used this sucessfully as a groundcover for shady areas where grass didn't do well, e.g., under maple trees, and as a filler for flower beds. I especially enjoy the tiny lavender flowers in the spring.
My Mom didn't appreciate it in her lawn, as it can be invasive, and she was glad to let me have it.

Negative Terry On Apr 12, 2002, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

A pretty plant in bloom, it is a member of the Mint family, and can be quite invasive. Many sources list it as a weed; others are more kindly and describe it as an invasive groundcover. Few nurseries still sell it; if you succumb to its charm, be sure to contain it, and/or plant it among plants that can hold their own with it.

Regional...

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

, (3 reports)
Athens, Alabama
Clanton, Alabama
Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas
Oxnard, California
West Covina, California
Ormond Beach, Florida
Belleville, Illinois
Champaign, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois (2 reports)
Dolton, Illinois
Dwight, Illinois
Elk Grove Village, Illinois
Forrest, Illinois
Godfrey, Illinois
Hinsdale, Illinois
Moline, Illinois
Monmouth, Illinois
Morris, Illinois
Oak Lawn, Illinois
Park Forest, Illinois
Flora, Indiana
Indianapolis, Indiana
Mooresville, Indiana
Valparaiso, Indiana
Bloomfield, Iowa
Cedar Falls, Iowa
Cedar Rapids, Iowa (2 reports)
Des Moines, Iowa
Hornick, Iowa
Hebron, Kentucky
Hi Hat, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky (2 reports)
Mc Dowell, Kentucky
Salvisa, Kentucky
Taylorsville, Kentucky
Weeksbury, Kentucky
Mexico, Maine
Brookeville, Maryland
Cumberland, Maryland
Takoma Park, Maryland
Danvers, Massachusetts
Farmington, Michigan
Grand Blanc, Michigan
Pinconning, Michigan
Port Huron, Michigan
Saint Clair Shores, Michigan
Sanford, Michigan
Southfield, Michigan
Stephenson, Michigan
Braham, Minnesota
Isle, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota (2 reports)
Moorhead, Minnesota
New Ulm, Minnesota
Saint Paul, Minnesota (4 reports)
Mathiston, Mississippi
Kansas City, Missouri
Sedalia, Missouri
Sullivan, Missouri
Lincoln, Nebraska
Burlington, New Jersey
Franklin, New Jersey
Mount Laurel, New Jersey
Neptune, New Jersey
Princeton, New Jersey
Trenton, New Jersey
Whitehouse Station, New Jersey
Lamy, New Mexico
Buffalo, New York (4 reports)
Cambridge, New York
Cortland, New York
Deer Park, New York
Deposit, New York
Fairport, New York
Islip, New York
Niagara Falls, New York
Ogdensburg, New York
Pittsford, New York
Southampton, New York
Greensboro, North Carolina
Norlina, North Carolina
Snow Hill, North Carolina
Fargo, North Dakota
Ashtabula, Ohio
Bucyrus, Ohio
Cincinnati, Ohio
Dayton, Ohio (2 reports)
Glouster, Ohio
Heath, Ohio
Jewett, Ohio
Lebanon, Ohio
Painesville, Ohio
Portsmouth, Ohio
Trinway, Ohio
Uniontown, Ohio
Woodstock, Ontario
Ashland, Oregon
South Beach, Oregon
Albion, Pennsylvania
Hershey, Pennsylvania
Millersburg, Pennsylvania
Norristown, Pennsylvania
West Warwick, Rhode Island
Knoxville, Tennessee
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Viola, Tennessee
Garland, Texas
Lumberton, Texas
Wylie, Texas
Newfane, Vermont
West Dummerston, Vermont
Coeburn, Virginia
Petersburg, Virginia
Richlands, Virginia
Springfield, Virginia
Bellevue, Washington
Charleston, West Virginia
Augusta, Wisconsin
Ellsworth, Wisconsin
Milwaukee, Wisconsin (2 reports)
River Falls, Wisconsin



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