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How to Get Rid of Creeping Charlie Organically

Updated on May 19, 2012

Kill Creeping Charlie

Our obsession with the well-manicured lawn has created an environment that is open to invasion by a number of plant pests and foes. One is a plant that looks like a great ground cover, at first.

Creeping Charlie (Glechoma hederacea), is a low-growing perennial weed. Also known as also known as ground ivy and creeping jenny, Creeping Charlie loves moist, shady areas of the lawn and garden, but will invade sunny areas, too, if the lawn is thin.

If you have wondered why using Latin names to understand plants is important consider Creeping Charlie. Some call Creeping Charlie, Creeping jenny; however, creeping jenny (Lysimachia nummularia) is a different plant, often used as a ground cover.

One, Creeping Charlie you may want to get rid of the other could solve a landscaping problem.

You can recognize Creeping Charlie by its four-sided stems that grow to lengths of 15-30 inches. The roots form the nodes, where leaves join the stem.

Creeping Charlie looks a lot like the leaves of a more welcome plant, the common geranium. The leaves are round and scalloped, however, the Creeping Charlie’s leaves are considerably smaller than the leaves of the geranium.

The plant is early to flower and this may be one reason people accept it as a ground cover until it is threatening to take over. The lavender to blue flowers appear on 2 or 3-inch spikes.

If Creeping Charlie has invaded you lawn and you are look for a way to kill it, then before taking any drastic measures, develop a lawn maintenance regime.

Mowing, watering, aerating and dethatching will help. If possible and because Charlie likes shade keep shaded areas to a minimum. In general these measurements will give you a healthier lawn organically as they all encourage the production of a thicker grass which is then less threaten by invaders.

In the early stages, pulling Charlie out by the roots may help but do this as soon as you notice its arrival in your lawn. This brings us to one organic technique that helps in all cases, paying close attention to your lawn and garden. Noticing changes and identifying them before they spread will reduce problems later on.

Borax has been used as a spray to get rid of this persistent plant. To make a borax spray dissolve 10 ox of borax in 1.2 cup (4 oz) of warm water then dilute that solution is 2.5 gallons of water, will spray 1,000 square feet.

Proper lawn maintenance, paying attention to what is taking place in your lawn and removing invaders by hand as soon as they are spot are the first line in an organic program to kill Creeping Charlie.


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  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

    You are welcome.

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

    Thank you for another great help.

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

    There are times when knowing the proper name is absolutely essential, happy gardening.

  • rpalulis profile image

    rpalulis 7 years ago from NY

    Yes it is good to know the Latin names. I use to hate always being corrected as a kid and forced to use the Latin name, but now I am very thankful.

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

    Enlydia, spending time in the garden and seeing what is there allows the opportunity to gather the herb, thanks for your input.

    LG, thanks for your comment.

  • Lady Guinevere profile image

    Debra Allen 7 years ago from West By God

    Thaks for the information. I have a few ground covers/vine type plants in my yard. Of course we live in the woods and on the west side of a low mountain so we are privy to these. So I am just looking around at all your vine type plant hubs right now.

  • Enlydia Listener profile image

    Enlydia Listener 7 years ago from trailer in the country

    Hi Bob, I call that same plant/herb "ground ivy"...I have used it as an herbal tea for about 5 has a lovely evergreen/woodsy flavor and goes well with other herbs for tea...and it is basically a cure-all...I hope you don't get rid of all of it. Blessings.