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Creeping Charlie- underutilized ground cover or weed?

When I hear the word mint the first thing that comes to mind is my parents’ lawn. Growing up, one of my jobs was to mow the lawn. One area of our lawn had more mint than grass. The mint plant was creeping Charlie, Glechoma hederacea. Every time I mowed, a fresh mint smell was released into the air. I also enjoyed the beautiful purple flower spikes that arose from the creeping stems.

Plants in the mint family are easy to identify because of their square stem and strong fragrance that is released when the leaf is damaged. Mints grow well in both sun and shade and are adapted to many soil types. Several kinds of mints are grown for culinary use and they serve as sources of nectar for our pollinators.

Anyone that has experience growing mints or trying to eradicate them know they are aggressive plants. I remember watching the area colonized by creeping Charlie at my parents’ house grow in size each year. I did not mind the expanding patch because that meant I was able to mow less frequently. It also did a great job of covering the soil and preventing erosion.

If you view creeping Charlie as a weed and not an alternative to grass, you may want to try and control its spread. The first step in control is to identify why it is growing in your lawn instead of grass. Some possible reasons include too much shade, low mowing heights, and low fertility. Once the issue or issues are identified and corrected it is time to remove the weed. Small patches may be controlled by repeated hand pulling or raking. If choosing this control method it is important to be persistent otherwise creeping Charlie will win the battle. Another control option is herbicide. Products containing triclopyr alone or in combination with 2,4-D, 2,4-DP, MCPP, MCPA, dicamba, carfentrazone, sulfentrazone, or quinclorac should be effective. Source: Control Options for Common Minnesota Lawn and Landscape Weeds. This publication can be found at:



Randy Nelson
Extension Educator, Home Hort & Ag Production Systems
(218) 299-5020
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