Weeds seem to win every battle in our yards and will occupy every inch if you don’t do anything. The main problem is that weeds aren’t only visually unappealing, but they significantly impact soil structure.
They pose a threat to surrounding flora and the key lies in prevention. All you need is to fight fire with fire!
No, you won’t set your yard ablaze to discourage growth but rather grow plants that prevent weeds.
Here are my top picks!
If you want to add a special touch to your garden, hostas will do the perfect job with their spectacular large foliage.
As well as their appearance, these plants have more benefits for the garden. They’ll attract hummingbirds and create shade over the soil.
The latter feature is actually the one that can help you with weeds. Light is crucial for weed seeds to germinate, and hostas will completely block light due to their large and dense leaves.
You’ll frequently notice hostas grown as ground-cover plants in shady gardens in USDA hardiness zones 3 through 8.
Hostas aren’t finicky over growing conditions; you can encourage healthy root development by giving them about an inch of water weekly.
Mint is one of the most commonly grown herbs and its primary use is in the kitchen. However, that’s not its only use. Their strong fragrance repels many pests, such as roaches, wasps, and fruit flies.
The massive and thick mint leaves will form a mat and prevent light from reaching the soil. Again, weed seeds won’t germinate due to lack of light. And even if they do and there’s some growth above the soil surface, they’ll fail to develop into robust and mature plants.
Mint is a pretty troublesome plant and easily steals nutrients from the soil so surrounding plants can’t grow well. That’s another reason why you should grow it for weed prevention.
The only problem with this herb is its invasive nature (1) but you can fix the issue by removing the bottom of a container and placing the container around the mint plant to control root growth.
Sunny and partially shaded spots both work well for this plant; make sure to give your mint enough water, especially during hot summer days.
3. Creeping Phlox
Gardeners often choose creeping phlox as a ground cover plant or train it to climb on a trellis, fence, or wall.
This is a low-growing plant that will form into a mat and, similarly to the plants above, will prevent light from reaching the soil and consequently prevent weed growth.
If you live in hardiness zones 3 through 9, creeping phlox is a perfect choice for you. Even though these plant species show excellent resistance to drought, they will benefit from an inch of water weekly during hot summer days.
Creeping phlox care during winter includes protection to avoid severe frost damage.
I know what you are thinking, bugleweed is a weed species so why plant it? I guess this is the lesser of two evils method.
The reason to plant bugleweed is that it will prevent the development of other weeds; when compared to other species, it looks way prettier. It generates lovely trumpet-shaped blossoms that will add a splash of color to your garden from spring to fall.
Of course, you’ll need to check if bugleweed is invasive in your area (2) and if it is, you should either choose a non-invasive variety or plant some native plants.
You can control bugleweed growth through regular inspection and pruning; simply remove any runners and don’t worry about aggressive spreading.
As far as other aspects of maintenance are concerned, bugleweed can perform well on a bit of neglect. A little rainwater and a sunny spot will ensure healthy growth and encourage the production of an abundance of spectacular purple blossoms.
5. Lamb’s Ear
The silverish tones of lamb’s ear’s fuzzy foliage make this plant the first choice of many gardeners.
Densely packed leaves will block sunlight and weeds don’t stand a chance in this case. This is a low-maintenance plant that can survive the summer heat, making it perfect for warmer climates.
If all its requirements are met, lamb’s ear may grow uncontrollably and become invasive in some parts of the country. (3)
This plant performs well in partial shade and full sun and even long periods of drought won’t inhibit its growth. However, I wouldn’t recommend it to beginners because of its aggressive growth.
If the drought period was extremely long and you want to add water, avoid wetting the foliage since it increases susceptibility to fungal diseases.
6. Hardy Plumbago
If you’re a beginner gardener and afraid of weed growth in your yard, hardy plumbago is the best choice.
It reaches approximately 10 feet in diameter and will form a dense mat over the soil. Additionally, delicate blue blossoms will add a touch of elegance to your outdoor space.
Hardy plumbago spreads via rhizomes and even though it’s not considered invasive, you should monitor growth, especially if you live in warmer climates, i.e. USDA hardiness zones 9 through 11.
Regarding care requirements, the name says it all; this plant species is very hardy and will grow well in full sun and partial shade and drought won’t affect its growth.
It’s a perfect plant for rocky gardens and additional feeding is typically not required.
7. Sweet Woodruff
Tiny white blossoms of sweet woodruff will adorn your garden and prevent weed growth at the same time.
Each plant can reach 12 inches tall and may spread up to 18 inches, which means it will cover a lot of space.
If you decide on sweet woodruff, I recommend adding a layer of mulch to the soil to aid moisture retention and boost nutrient levels below the soil surface.
This plant thrives in USDA hardiness zones 4 through 8 and apart from moist soil, you also need to ensure some shade.
Sweet woodruff is another plant that can spread fast and become invasive if you don’t monitor its growth.
Weeds are the most common problem in yards but we should avoid removing them using store-bought chemical products. You can make your own weed killers but prevention is the best medicine. Plants from this list will definitely help you fight these nuisances!
1. Utah State University. (2022, August 2). Mint in the Garden. USU. https://extension.usu.edu/yardandgarden/research/mint-in-the-garden#:~:text=Mint%20is%20a%20rapid%20growing,hardy%20to%20%2D20%C2%B0%20F.
2. carpet bugle: Ajuga reptans (Lamiales: Lamiaceae): Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States. (n.d.). https://www.invasiveplantatlas.org/subject.html?sub=10094
3. Lamb’s Ear, Fall Rock Garden, Garden Adventures, MU IPM Program, Columbia, Mo., University of Missouri. (n.d.). https://ipm.missouri.edu/garden/rock_F6.cfm