Plants that Help Control Weeds in the Garden

Plants that Help Control Weeds in the Garden

A Closer Look at Creeping Phlox, Bugleweed, Periwinkle, and Hostas

Maintaining a weed-free garden can be a difficult task for any gardener. Weeds not only compete with desirable plants for resources but also detract from the overall aesthetics of the park. While chemical weed control methods exist, many gardeners prefer a more natural approach by introducing plants that can suppress weeds. This article explores four plants that excel at weed control: Creeping Phlox, Bugleweed, Periwinkle, and Hostas.

Creeping Phlox (Phlox subulata)

Creeping Phlox, scientifically known as Phlox subulata, is a low-growing perennial plant renowned for its lush carpet of colorful flowers and excellent weed-suppressing capabilities. Native to North America, this hardy ground cover is a favorite among gardeners because it can choke out weeds while providing an enchanting burst of spring color.

  • Characteristics:

Creeping phlox features dense, mat-like foliage that forms a thick cover over the soil, preventing weed growth by shading and outcompeting them for nutrients.

Its needle-like leaves are evergreen, providing year-round interest and maintaining weed control throughout the seasons.

In early spring, creeping phlox produces many star-shaped flowers in various shades, including pink, purple, white, and blue.

This plant thrives in well-drained, sunny locations, making it a valuable addition to rock gardens, slopes, or ground cover in open spaces.

  • Weed Control Benefits:

Creeping phlox's spreading nature and low-growth habit create an effective barrier against weed establishment. Its dense foliage reduces the available space and sunlight for weed growth, making it a natural weed suppressor.

Bugleweed (Ajuga reptans)

Bugleweed, scientifically known as Ajuga reptans, is another remarkable weed-controlling plant often chosen for its striking foliage and vibrant spring blooms. Native to Europe, it has become a popular choice for gardeners worldwide for its versatility and ability to thrive in various conditions.

  • Characteristics:

Bugleweed boasts glossy, deep green leaves that form dense, ground-hugging rosettes.

In spring, it produces short spikes of tubular, blue, purple, or white flowers, attracting pollinators and adding color to the garden.

Bugleweed adapts well to sunny and shady locations, making it suitable for various garden settings.

This plant spreads via stolons (above-ground runners), quickly forming a dense mat that effectively crowds out weeds.

  • Weed Control Benefits:

Bugleweed's vigorous growth habit and mat-forming nature create a natural weed barrier. As it spreads, it shades the soil and prevents weed seeds from germinating, making it an excellent choice for suppressing weeds in flower beds and beneath trees.

Periwinkle (Vinca minor)

Periwinkle, scientifically known as Vinca minor, is a charming evergreen ground cover that has long been cherished for its attractive, trailing foliage and delicate blue or purple flowers. Native to Europe, this plant is a reliable and low-maintenance option for gardeners seeking to combat weeds.

  • Characteristics:

Periwinkle features glossy, elliptical leaves and produces single, five-petaled flowers in shades of blue and purple.

Its trailing stems can quickly form a dense carpet, making it ideal for covering large areas and suppressing weeds.

Periwinkle is adaptable to sunny and shady conditions, thriving in various soils.

  • Weed Control Benefits:

Periwinkle's ability to create a thick, sprawling ground cover effectively chokes out weeds by limiting their access to sunlight. Its dense foliage and fast growth rate help maintain weed control in complex areas of the garden.

Hostas (Hosta spp.)

Hostas are shade-loving perennial plants celebrated for their striking foliage and elegant appearance. While primarily known for their ornamental value, hostas can also play a role in weed control in the garden.

  • Characteristics:

Hostas come in various sizes and leaf colors, ranging from small, compact varieties to large, dramatic ones.

They produce tall spikes of funnel-shaped flowers in summer, but their lush foliage steals the show.

Hostas are shade-tolerant and thrive in moist, well-drained soils, making them suitable for planting under trees or in shaded areas.

  • Weed Control Benefits:

While hostas may not be as aggressive at suppressing weeds as other ground covers, their dense foliage, and ground-covering habit help reduce weed growth in shaded areas. They create competition for weeds by occupying space and resources, which can aid in keeping weeds at bay.

Maintaining a weed-free garden is a constant battle, but choosing the right plants can significantly ease the challenge. Creeping Phlox, Bugleweed, Periwinkle, and Hostas are excellent choices for gardeners looking to control weeds naturally while enhancing the beauty of their outdoor spaces. These plants provide aesthetic appeal and create a robust defense against weed encroachment through their vigorous growth, mat-forming habits, and shading capabilities. You can enjoy a more beautiful and weed-free landscape by incorporating these weed-suppressing plants into your garden design.

Periwinkle - Vinca minor

Periwinkle Plant

The Periwinkle is a small, somewhat dainty, plant that grows over the ground. It's an ideal plant to consider if you're looking for something to fill in spaces in your flower beds while adding a little bit of color as well as the plant has a light purple appearance. The underside of the flower is usually a bit darker with the center of the flower typically being white. Leaves on the plant grow to about two inches in length when fully mature. The leaves are usually dark green and shiny, making them stand out among other plants you might have. The plant itself can reach heights of about six inches, making it a good option to have with plants like daffodils or tulips so that there is a range of height in your garden. Growing Periwinkle Plant You'll find that it blooms in the spring months of March and April. They can also bloom again during the early fall months. The plant grows in various directions with long trailing as well as shoots that take root in the ground, leading to the plant covering a larger area of space. There are larger types of the plants that grow faster. They typically have leaves that are about three inches long with the petals being about two inches across. Benefits Of Planting The Perennial A benefit of Periwinkle is that it doesn't require a lot of care for it to spread and grow. When the tip of the stem touches the ground, it usually begins to take root in that area. Aside from filling empty spaces in your flower gardens, it can help with controlling erosion, especially on banks in your yard. It's also a plant that is beautiful as it cascades over flower boxes or as it hangs from flower baskets. The plant enjoys being in shady areas, but it can grow in those that are sunny, making it a plant that's ideal for almost any area. The plant is one that doesn't need to be divided as often as others, which means that you can keep it in your garden over a longer period of time. Shop Today At Garden Plant Nursery

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Ajuga Reptans

Ajuga Reptans

Ajuga Reptans is a fast-growing member of the mint family, plants that are known to spread quick enough via runners to become invasive in some areas. In fact, the reptans part of its Latin name means "to creep." It is a naturalized North American plant that was introduced from several places in Europe and Asia. The Plants Care And Maintenance The plants grow well in Hardiness Zones 3 through 10. They are susceptible of most any dirt kind, though they prefer slightly acidic. Fully grown plants generally stand 6" to 8" high; flower stalks can grow to 12". Each plant may extend up to 12", they quickly form mats, especially in shaded areas beneath other trees and shrubs. The plant is hardy enough to grow beneath black walnut trees. Where To Plant The Perennial The growth speed of the plant can be controlled by where they are planted. Plants in shadier areas tend to grow faster than those in sunnier areas. The plant is best planted in rock gardens, containers, edged beds, or in wide-open areas that need ground cover fast. They lend themselves well to erosion control. At home, they should not be planted near any less hardy flowers as they may choke them out. Dividing Ajuga Reptans They should be periodically divided and thinned, at minimum every third year. They flower through the spring and summer, generally beginning in May or June. Pinching off runners helps with this, too. The flowers are blue, purple, or white, though there is at least one cultivar with pink flowers. Other cultivar strains have leaves that are multi-colored or variegated. Beyond thinning, the Ajuga Reptans is relatively low-maintenance. It needs no extra fertilizer and is worry-free against most garden pests. In areas of high humidity, however, care should be taken to ensure properly drained soil to prevent southern rot. It is deer and rabbit-resistant. Shop Today At Garden Plant Nursery

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