Growing Goutweed or Aegopodium (also known as Bishops Weed) is one of the most popular plants in our North American gardens if you go by the number of plants sold.
It is also one of the biggest garden thugs in our gardens and unsuspecting gardeners are lulled and drawn in by the lovely variegated foliage.
It is only when the plant is firmly established and eating everything in the garden do they realize they have let loose a monster. 🙂
It took me 4 years to get it out of our gardens when we moved into this house and I went at it regularly.
I note several U.S. states have banned this plant – which should tell everybody else how invasive it is.
How To Use This Plant
- This is a ground cover as it is a fast spreading plant and able to shrug off most difficult growing conditions.
- Goutweed is best planted where few other plants exist as it will smother out nearby plants quite effectively.
- Fast growing goutweed will effectively colonize hillsides or other difficult locations where other plants will not live.
- Do not plant it in a good garden with other good perennial flowers. I have seen more gardeners swearing at this plant as they tried to remove it than almost any other.
It is extremely invasive.
Where To Use This Plant
This is a groundcover. Some garden snobs will tell you this plant is overused but if you have a waste space where nothing else will grow – this might be the answer.
Plant almost anywhere – from full sun to shade. In deep shade, the plant will fall over very quickly and look ugly.
How To Care For Goutweed
Water it if you plant in full sun. Regular waterings will keep the leaves looking fresh and not ragged from over-exposure.
It may develop fungal spots (brownish leaves) in mid-summer but this isn’t a problem.
To freshen this plant, cut it to the ground as soon as it flops over (it will flop over) in early summer. It will quickly regrow and look quite lovely. I’ve seen gardeners using a lawn mower to prune it – this works well.
Don’t worry about the small white flowers. They aren’t really all that good looking and can be ignored or pruned off.
How To Propagate Goutweed or Bishops Weed
It will spread quickly but if you need to help it along, simply dig up a chunk in the early spring. Replant and you now have two plants. Propagating goutweed is that simple.
Goutweed or Bishops Weed is almost indestructible.
In summary – this is a good plant where nothing else will grow or you want a ground cover for a difficult place.
It is not a plant for the average home garden and will turn into an invasive thug. I have spent four years digging it from the garden in the house we purchased. And spraying it with vinegar-based herbicide several times a year.