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Readers Respond: Which of Common Plant Pests Most Deserve to Be Called Beneficial Weeds?

Responses: 34

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From the article: Goldenrod

Many weeds commonly found in the yard are considered beneficial. What constitutes a "beneficial weed" is a matter of opinion, and that's just what I'm asking you to type in below: an example of a common weed that merits the "beneficial" label, in your view.

Beneficial common weeds are grouped into a number of categories. For example, a weed may be judged to have some benefit because:

Do you have an example of a weed you allow to grow on your land because it's pretty or useful? Let us know!

Nominate a Deserving Weed

Creeping Charlie in Naturalized Lawn

Wow. Another creeping Charlie aficionado :) I’m rather partial to creeping charlie. It adds nice texture to my ‘lawn’. A few other ‘weeds’ I have and don’t mind are common purslane (edible), creeping speedwell (nice little purple flower)and field bindweed (morning glory like flower but on a miniature scale). I even like white clover. I’ve always thought that dandelions look like little mums. What’s wrong with that? You can make a killer wine from them and the tender young leaves are nice in a salad. But don’t get me started on Lily of the Valley. Vile weed. I wont tolerate broad leaf plantain either. The leaves are not very attractive and like all perennials, they will eventually die out and when they do, they can leave a bare patch. They should not be confused with plantain lily (hosta). The many hosta cultivars have been bred for their beautiful leaves. Well, I just let the lawn naturalize with various bulb plants and so called ‘weeds’. To each his/her own.
—Guest scottyblue

Nothing Creepy About Creeping Charlie

I am thinking of purposefully transplanting some to a lawn area, where I just cannot grow grass. I give up on grass in that part of my lawn. Some of you have affirmed my belief that creeping Charlie is rather pleasant. I also have clover growing in my lawn. Grubs don’t care for it, but honey bees do!
—Guest Mary

Another Creeping Charlie Fan

I love creeping charlie! I feel guilty pulling it out of flower beds because it looks nice filling in empty spots. Since I don’t know if it will choke out what I have deliberately planted I pull it from most places, although I’ve a healthy crop of it that I keep corralled around the Lilac bush and rambling over spent bulbs. Does anyone know if it will choke out other plants or if it will happily coexist? [Editor's response: My guess is that ground ivy could choke out small plants that are not, themselves especially vigorous. -DB]
—Guest Deborah

Creeping Charlie

After my dogs killed most of the grass in the back yard, a patch of creeping charlie started overtaking a shady area back there and just kept on going. And you know what? I LIKE it! It’s got an explosion of purple flowers right now, it’s “walkable”, it’s mowable, it’s indestructible, and it’s pretty! IMHO, you couldn’t ask for a better groundcover. To heck with the grass, lol. I’ll take the creeping charlie any day.
—Guest chikkie

Drummond's Rockcress a Beneficial Weed

Turitis stricta (also known as Boechera stricta, common name "Drummond's rockcress" -- ed.) would be my choice, because it feeds an orange type of butterfly. Some few other plants feed this beauty also, but they prefer this species of plant.
—Guest vrana

Weeds With a Purpose

I allow henbit to grow in my yard. Like clover, it seems to help with nitrogen and gives spectacular purple mounds of flowers in spring. The bonus is, in zone 7, as soon as it gets hot, it dies off and you would never know it was there!
—Guest damon

Lyre-Leaf Salvia

It looks great in a woodland garden planted around tree trunks or near yellow-green and dark-green ferns.
—DeanaBaker

Dandelion My Favorite Common Weed

My first bouquet of flowers I received from my son was a handful of dandelions. He picked them everyday on his walk home from school and proudly gave them to me. He is 39 now and always brings me a bouquet of flowers on my birthday and Valentines Day!
—Guest Floy Calo

Creeping Charlie

Creeping charlie grows in my yard and in my meditation garden where grass will not grow. I want to transplant it to a hill side and am hoping it transplants well.
—Guest Ms. Cheryl Draeger

Plantago Major

This common weed is excellent for treatment of stinging nettle. I received my share of contact with a stinging nettle, I tore a Plantago major leaf and wrapped it around my sting, and within 5 minutes the stinging sensation was gone!
—Guest ptomim

Clover Beats All

Clover is such a useful "weed" that it used to be included in bags of grass seed. Clover is a legume, like beans. It fixes nitrogen into the soil, fertilizing it for other plants. Before people killed off weeds and tried to raise monocultural grass yards, they didn't have to worry about fertilization, and clover was one of the main reasons. But wait, there's more! Clover is a useful companion plant. If you are raising brassica (cabbage, broccoli, et cetera), cucurbits (cucumbers, squash, melons, et cetera), or a great many other plants, allow clover to grow among it as "green mulch". It will create a humid microclimate, keeping moisture in the soil and around the plant more stable. But, more importantly, it protects the plants from insect pests: Insects zoom in on crops surrounded by bare dirt, while the clover camouflages them. For example, a study says that clover nearby reduced cabbage moth success at finding a given plant from 36% to 7%.
—Guest Kaz

Achillea

Achillea has delicate fern-like leaves and white, heavily clustered florets. Although it's a prolific self-seeder, it doesn't spread by root shoots and it gives up easily if it's growing someplace you don't want it to be. With the right conditions, it can flower for a long time. I had one "volunteer" that bloomed all summer long.
—Guest Susan

Medical Cannabis

Finally legal in NJ for medical purposes as treatment of multiple sclerosis and depression. It cheers you up and has been so vilified because people abuse it. Should be legalized everywhere. Get stones to plant around the young shoots otherwise, may invade your garden.
—Guest Mohamed

Dandelions Vilified As "Common Weed"

Why do so many hate this incredible plant? Nice looking flower, leaves rich in vitamin c and the wine you can make!!Oh boy!!
—scottyblue

Black Eyed Susan As "Common Weeds"

I just love to see black eyed susan blooming in the tree lines or by the roadside. A lovely splash of color and great for cut flowers.
—Guest h in MS

Nominate a Deserving Weed

Which of Common Plant Pests Most Deserve to Be Called Beneficial Weeds?

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