Garlic Mustard, Hedge Garlic, Jack by the Hedge

Alliaria petiolata

Family: Brassicaceae (brass-ih-KAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Alliaria (al-ee-AR-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: petiolata (pet-ee-oh-LAH-tuh) (Info)
Synonym:Alliaria officinalis
View this plant in a garden



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


Grown for foliage



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


15-18 in. (38-45 cm)


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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Other details:

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:


Propagation Methods:

Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Cos Cob, Connecticut

Algonquin, Illinois

Itasca, Illinois

Valparaiso, Indiana

Iowa City, Iowa

Hebron, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky

Melbourne, Kentucky

Brookeville, Maryland

Cumberland, Maryland

Oakland, Maryland

Roslindale, Massachusetts

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Erie, Michigan

Kalamazoo, Michigan

Royal Oak, Michigan

Saginaw, Michigan

University Center, Michigan

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Dover, New Hampshire

Newport, New Hampshire

Belleville, New Jersey

Neptune, New Jersey

Buffalo, New York

Canaan, New York

Greene, New York

Marcellus, New York

New Lebanon, New York

Staten Island, New York

Syracuse, New York

Wawarsing, New York

Andrews, North Carolina

Cincinnati, Ohio

Cleveland, Ohio

Glouster, Ohio

Lewis Center, Ohio

Massillon, Ohio

Wren, Ohio

Downingtown, Pennsylvania

Greensburg, Pennsylvania

Millersburg, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania(2 reports)

Tioga, Pennsylvania

Wichita Falls, Texas

South Hero, Vermont

Leesburg, Virginia

Roanoke, Virginia

Seattle, Washington

Great Cacapon, West Virginia

Franklin, Wisconsin

Kenosha, Wisconsin

Oostburg, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jul 2, 2018, nonenmac from Marcellus, NY wrote:

Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) is an extremely invasive non-native plant in northeastern North America. Please do not plant garlic mustard here.


On Jul 2, 2018, Jeda13 from Kenosha, WI (Zone 5b) wrote:

This is a non native plant
It is very invasive.
I can not say enough negative things about it.
Absolutely, I keep pulling and pulling and pulling it.
Burn it. Send it back where it came from.
Ha, ha , if you could. :-(


On Aug 17, 2016, somnomania from Wawarsing, NY wrote:

These are a massively invasive weed in the US. Gardeners and people out and about in the wilderness are strongly encouraged to pull the plants up when found, although they should be burned, ideally, to keep the seeds from spreading. Apparently the leaves make a great pesto, but I haven't tried this personally. Additionally, around my yard where I've seen it (Ulster County, NY), it's usually mixed in with jewelweed, which the bees and butterflies like, so care should be taken when pulling garlic mustard up, because the jewelweed is also shallowly rooted and will come up if you look at it wrong.


On Apr 1, 2016, napgrndog from Iowa City, IA wrote:

I was cleaning up a bit, in a small park we take care of, and came in contact with this. I did not recognize it as THE garlic mustard because it hadn't gotten any larger than a quarter inch yet. I had touched it just a bit, with no gloves, and had an almost immediate reaction! My right had felt as though it had a million pins and needles stabbed in it! It lasted almost two days until for some reason I put Icy Hot on it and it went away over night. I have nothing good to say about this plant! It takes over EVERYTHING! It is rapidly taking over all the tiny spring popups. Considering going out at night and spraying. Sorry, just had to vent.................


On Aug 4, 2015, Tiffit65 from Newport, NH (Zone 5a) wrote:

Garlic Mustard first appeared last year (2014), in my back yard. This year it is everywhere, and choking out many flowers! I once had white, purple & pink flax, raspberries, and Trout lilies, among other flowers i had planted. Now, only this invasive Garlic Mustard grows.
This year i have started a woodland trail that winds through the wood, and comes out at a river. I've been planting all native flowers like, columbine, Jack-in-the-pulpits, trillium's, Blood-root, ostrich ferns, and broad-leaved helleborine. I tried planting some of my day-lilies in the sunny spots, but i have a big Doe who loves eating the flower buds, unfortunately she won't even touch the garlic mustard. I've been pulling up, and cutting down these "weeds', and they just keep coming up! I have to say, i a... read more


On Apr 7, 2014, wonderlandrelic from Shorewood, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

This was showing in February with snow still on the ground and glad I took the time to identify it. I saw a couple of these late last year when we moved in so I am going to get rid of them now before they get any worse. I am giving this a negative as all the stories I have heard from the new neighbors and reading online!


On Feb 6, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

I've had this come in by seed from a neighbor, and have also had to deal with it as a professional gardener. It's an aggressive weed. It also look ugly in summer after it goes to seed, when the whole plant dies.

This plant spreads like wildfire by seed. Seeds can spread by sticking to your boots. Once a stem starts flower, it has enough stored food and water to produce viable seed even if cut down and left on a compost heap. That's why it's important to bag flowering plants and dispose of them in landfill.

Garlic mustard is a biennial, and cannot flower without first going through a cold period. In its second year it will flower and go to seed no matter how small it is, even if only 1" tall.

This plant prefers shade, and will tolerate very deep ... read more


On Jan 15, 2013, RiverNymph from the Mountains, CO (Zone 4a) wrote:

Uhm, WOW. Well, I am reading it's actually a really wonderful plant to eat and is absolutely delicious. Any one want to comment on the flavor?


On Aug 24, 2011, StellaElla from Graham, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:

IF your garden is in Eastern North America, don't even think about it. I have spent literally hundreds of hours eliminating this plant from my 100'x150' suburban lot. The previous owner allowed this to grow because he thought it was 'pretty'. Note home buyers: if you see this growing on a potential property for you, make sure subtract at least a couple thousand dollars from the price to account for the eons of time you'll spend pulling this from your gardens.


On May 26, 2011, plant_it from Valparaiso, IN wrote:

If I lived in an area where this plant was native, I would love it. Unfortunately, here in the U.S. it is non-native, invasive and destroying our forests. I've been battling this like crazy in my woods. It's a biennial plant -rosette first year, flowers & sets seed in second year.

Here is info from Minnesota DNR website:

"Ecological Threat:
- Garlic mustard spreads into high quality woodlands upland and floodplain forests, not just into disturbed areas.
- Invaded sites undergo a decline on native herbaceous cover within 10 years.
- Garlic mustard alters habitat suitability for native insects and thereby birds and mammals.
- This European exotic occurs now in 27 midwestern and northeastern states and in Canada. "
... read more


On May 14, 2011, ebfarm from Mazon, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

WE have renamed these plants to Mustard Mutants. I found one in my yard when I moved in 5 years ago and the battle began. I spend at least an hour or so of my day walking around and pulling these out. I am a green person by nature and do not use any chemicals here. I embrace most wildflowers/weeds like violets and dandelions and just let them do their thing. But THESE plants have torn a black hole in my heart and I feel the urge to buy every chemical known in the garden world, but I doubt it would do any good. I have read that the seeds can sit for 8 years and just chill waiting to pop their ugly heads out of the ground. I really wish that there was a better way to rid them, but for know I am going to roll up my sleeves and keep pulling. If you wait until after a rain they do... read more


On May 1, 2011, laura10801 from Fairfield County, CT (Zone 6b) wrote:

This is one of the worst thugs I know. I didn't know it was edible, but you know what, that does not redeem it in the slightest. It does not matter how much I yank these stinky weeds out, they always return because my neighbors let their take over. If you see this plant growing anywhere at all I urge you to destroy it.


On Apr 22, 2011, nilly from Pittsburgh, PA (Zone 5b) wrote:

I heard on NPR recently that this is the MOST nutritious green ever tested. It is terribly INVASIVE here. I have hated it for years. Yet since I have learned how nutritious it is, I plan to grow it in containers where it can't escape, keep it deadheaded, and chow down! I've been needing to find a food crop that would be prolific and strong here in zone 5.....
Beans and greens, baby. Beans and greens. FREE FOOD!


On Apr 21, 2011, PlantsAreNo1 from Aurora, CO wrote:

So... I see that many people regard this plant as a nuisance. I think it interesting that the same plant will behave differently, even in nearby locations.

I used to live in Laramie, WY at 7200 feet elevation. There, dandelions grew 2 feet tall overnight and looked like something from another planet. I also struggled with bellflower, a pretty blue flowered plant I thought at first, that reproduces from millions of hair thin roots that I could not get it out of my lawn after years of trying. The Ag Extension recommended a very powerful herbicide not normally available to home gardeners since bellflower regards any herbicide available at the hardware store as fertilizer.

Here in Denver, a few hours drive away, I have never seen bellflower except in nurseries, an... read more


On Apr 17, 2011, DMersh from Perth,
United Kingdom (Zone 7b) wrote:

This seems to be a problem plant outside its native area (Europe), in Europe it grows in balance with other plants and is not a dominant species anywhere, things like stinging nettle (Urtica), hogweed and other parsley plants and various thistles are far more prolific. In England stinging nettle is about as dominant and widespread a plant as you'll find anywhere.


On Jan 10, 2010, theNobody14161 from Mahtowa, MN wrote:

It took this plant 5 years to go from three plants to absolute domination over poison ivy, virginia creeper, myrtle, wild raspberry, herb robert and all the other plants in a 3 acre section of forest. in a shaded, non-waterlogged forest, it will conquer ANYTHING.


On May 24, 2009, magicfrizbees from Lewis Center, OH wrote:

You've got to be kidding - this stuff spreads like mad. Google "garlic mustard pulls" and help out at a park or preserve near you. You can't have any of mine! I'm still working on eradicating it from the edge of the woods behind me - pulling the tall second-year plants when they begin to bloom. Within a limited area, it is possible. Some native woodland plants are returning as a result, like the mayapples.


On May 2, 2009, RosemaryA from Toronto, ON (Zone 5b) wrote:

Here in Toronto garlic mustard is extremely invasive. Canadian wildlife will not eat it, it seeds prolifically, and it even damages the mycorrhizal fungi that Canadian native plants need to grow properly. The result is that it takes over Canadian woodlands, devastating populations of Canadian native plants and the wild animals who depend on them. If you live in North America, please please please remove this weed if you find it on your property, lest it escape and destroy more wilderness.


On Apr 22, 2009, bonitin from Gent,
Belgium (Zone 8a) wrote:

I love this plant too! It's sooo beautiful in spring with its lovely white flowers and beautiful heart-shaped light green foliage!


On Mar 23, 2009, Invasive from Jamestown, KY wrote:

I don't know why so many negatives, I can't say ENOUGH GREAT things about this plant!!!! Its flowers are very aroma and the leaves can be put In other foods and adds a taste of spice to any dish you care to cook up. It Is such a beautiful plant when In bloom and the bright green foliage Is breath taking to say the least, This plant should be encouraged to grow in EVERY yard. If you have this plant be sure to give friends and family some seeds so they can have It a growing on there property to love and admirer. This Is among some of the nicest plants that you can grow. A+ plant with nothing but GREAT qualities to have!! And once you have It before long you have MORE great plants to love and enjoy. It believes In giving more of its self with greater numbers every year so that the love and b... read more


On Jul 16, 2008, daylilyfanatic wrote:

I can't understand why anyone would want to grow this plant. first of all I find it ugly, but that might just be because it's the number one weed in my garden! I'ts on New York state's invasive list and crews of voulnteers gather each year to help destroy it. although edible (i think it tastes horrible) it causes irritations on your skin and the pollen gives lots of people alergies. If anyone is even considering leting this palnt grow in the back area of there lot I would STRONGLY advise them to destroy the plant asap, not to mention planting it in there garden.


On May 17, 2008, Jsorens from Buffalo, NY (Zone 6a) wrote:

I'm sure garlic mustard is a nice enough plant in its native range, which is Eurasia and North Africa, but for some reason it simply takes over the forest in North America. There are "nature preserves" in my area of New York that are completely infested with garlic mustard. Needless to say, native spring forbs like trillium are nowhere to be found.

On the plus side, the flowers are aromatic, and the leaves are edible. But no responsible North American gardener should be growing it, and state officials need to start doing a better job of controlling it on public lands.


On Mar 21, 2008, oscarkat01 from Rochester, NY (Zone 6a) wrote:

In upstate NY this plant is invading everywhere rapidly. I pull huge amounts every spring and it is beginning to make some impact. Christmas and other ferns are coming back strongly where I have greatly reduced the garlic mustard but it is very tough to get rid of on 4 acres. Hand pulling seems to cause less seed dispersal then tools or machinery but it is harder work. Cornell is researching bio control methods of this unrelenting invasive ( invasive ) is their page for Cornell cooperative extension invasive sight.


On Jan 12, 2008, Fledgeling from Huron, SD wrote:

This plant crowds out wildflowers, there is no good aspect to this plant whatsoever. It is a weed by every definition.


On Jan 9, 2008, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

Have appear in small numbers in my yard even thought there were no plants for thousands of feet. Very ugly with dried seedheads through late summer to fall, making woodland area look more weedy than it used to be.


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

Listed as invasive on Minnesota DNR website
"Ecological Threat:
Garlic mustard spreads into high quality woodlands upland and floodplain forests, not just into disturbed areas.
Invaded sites undergo a decline on native herbaceous cover within 10 years.
Garlic mustard alters habitat suitability for native insects and thereby birds and mammals.
This European exotic occurs now in 27 midwestern and northeastern states and in Canada.
Garlic mustard is on the MDA Prohibited noxious weeds list in Minnesota"


On Jul 14, 2007, Sherlock_Holmes from Rife, PA (Zone 6a) wrote:

This is one of the worst plants I have ever come across. I would prefer to call it Hitler-Weed, because it invades anywhere and everywhere it can. When it first starts to grow in an area, it only takes a few years to explode in numbers until a sea of white can be seen everywhere. Around here, it seems to grow everywhere and it is quickly wiping out many of the native species of plants.

I will list its uses as an edible wild plant, but I refuse to ever recommend it for planting in the home garden.

"The Encyclopedia of Edible Plants of North America: Nature's Green Feast" by Francois Couplan, Ph.D. says...

"The leaves have a very definite smell and taste of garlic. They are slightly bitter, with a sweetish aftertaste and make an excellent addi... read more


On May 27, 2007, EloiseH from South Hero, VT (Zone 5a) wrote:

This is an exotic and VERY invasive plant. Never saw it around here until maybe three years ago - last year it was widespread in woods and gardens. Have been pulling it agressively from gardens but with acres of woods it is impossible to eradicate it. Plus it is quite irritating to the skin. Shade, sun, it does not care. It spreads everywhere! Horrible! Yet another lesson of why we should not introduce exotics.


On May 6, 2007, tcs1366 from Leesburg, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

It's extremely invasive here too. Though it pulls up easily... it's just everywhere.

I have found that spraying in the spring (with round-up or weed killer) it helps keep it at bay.


On Apr 1, 2007, Joan from Belfield, ND (Zone 4a) wrote:

This plant is listed on the North Dakota invasive/troublesome list and this information is being distributed in a guide developed by the ND Weed Control Association and other agencies.

Plant Features
Biennial, up to 3 feet tall
First year leaves kidney shaped, plants short
Second year, blooms early spring
White flowers with 4 petals
Leaves heart-shaped to triangular-shaped
Leaf edges irregular
Garlic odor when crushed
White slender taproot, S-shaped at the top
May form large patches
Long thin seed capsules, slightly bent at base

Documented in a few areas. Very aggressive, shade tolerant, grows (understory) in wooded areas.

Interesting Fact... read more
Escaped garden plant
Very invasive, releases toxins that inhibits other plant growth (allelopathic)
Ballistic seed dispersal, seed capsules erupt dispersing tiny black seeds over 10 feet


On May 1, 2006, pineapplesage from Pewaukee, WI wrote:

This is one of the most invasive plants in Wisconsin. I am pretty sure it is illegal to plant it. The field behind my house is over run with it and it keeps spring up in my yard. An awful invasive plant.


On Jan 5, 2005, CaptMicha from Brookeville, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

A very, very bad plant. It'll escape from you and form mass colonies wherever they can. I had the misfortune of moving onto a property that was already established with them.

The only good thing about this plant is that it pulls up easily, but the tiny seed spread like crazy and even worse, the plant attracts ants like a magnet.

It crowds out native plants and everything else and therefor I would highly encourage killing any plants on site.

4/11/08: I've remained stringent with mowing them before they flower so they don't set seed. I get the rest with a weed whacker, where I can't mow. It has done WONDERS. You have to keep it up for the next few years to completely knock it out. Unless... You have neighbors who let it thrive and you'll probably... read more


On Dec 4, 2004, Equilibrium wrote:

Horribly invasive. Nasty plant. Creates a seedbank that goes on giving for years to come. Very easy to pull out by hand so requires no chemicals what so ever to eradicate. You can easily get about 90% the first year in a very short period of time and in year two you get the rest. This is a non-native biennial so the next few years you will need to look for the newly emerging rosettes.

Burn or bag and toss in your garbage as the tiny black seeds will come back to get you if you add this to your composter.


On May 9, 2004, jesup from Malvern, PA (Zone 7a) wrote:

Evil plant.

In my area of chester county, PA, it runs rampant in fields and along roads and spreads into the woods.

When I bought this property, it was covered by them. Fairly serious weeding before seed sets (preferably during bloom, when they're easy to pick out) does make a big dent in a year, and a massive dent in two. But it will be a bunch of years before I have it under control in the area around the house. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to fully control it in the woods nearby, but I believe it can be controlled to a large degree with work every spring.

Note: it forms deep taproots in the summer/fall, and the next year it comes up in big clumps. If you can make a pass weeding in the fall you might cut into that. Also, in this area th... read more


On Apr 27, 2004, garyon from Syracuse, NY wrote:

Three years ago there were only a few plants on our one-acre garden area. I should have erridicated it then, for it has now taken over. It overran and killed our large bloodroot patch, and has threatened other areas as well.
We are attempting to pull every plant we can before it goes to seed this year, and cut down every plant we cannot pull. We understand that the seed is viable for up to 7 years, and that erridication will be a long-term undertaking.


On Mar 10, 2004, PurplePansies from Deal, NJ (Zone 7a) wrote:

This is an evil evil plant...... if you want mustard flavor plant mustard or arugula..... garlic chives and of course garlic also work..... spreads through runners and seeds....... mostly seeds...... can eradicate by pulling before plants flower or at least set their seeds in spring.... this is a noxious weed in many places..... banned in many places...... do not grow..... it chokes out our native forests and meadows...... not worth the trouble.......


On Jan 10, 2002, Baa wrote:

Before I begin the description I would like to say that this particular plant will, without a doubt, escape into the wild. It is native to Europe ONLY, anywhere else it is an introduced, invasive, undesirable weed which displaces native flora and rapidly takes over a large area. It is also difficult and expensive to erradicate.

If you are considering growing this plant outside of Europe, I would respectfully suggest further reading.

It has heart shaped, toothed, mid green, deeply veined leaves with a distinct garlic smell when crushed. It bears tiny, white, 4 petalled flowers borne in a ring on the end of the stems. It is a biennial which only flowers in its 2nd year.

Flowers April - July

Will run rampant on well ... read more