Potting Weeds


While I love growing flowers from seeds as much as the next gardener, I also think there’s something special about what grows in the wild–and I like to bring that something special right onto my porch by potting up wild grasses and wildflowers. You know, weeds.

To pot up from the wild, grab some boots and a shovel. Some weeds will pull right up with your hand, particularly if the soil is moist and soft, others will take some good digging to get at all the roots. Bring a teenager with you.

Get the plants in water right away, and potted as soon as possible. Some wild plants transplant easier than others. Some will flower longer than others. You get what you get when you’re stealing from Mother Nature. But then again, you didn’t pay for it, either, so you can’t complain.

I have a major thing for grasses, tall grasses, short grasses. I love them cut and placed in vases, and I love them swaying in pots on the porch.

Weeds in the woods or along roadsides look like….weeds, all jumbled together, but when you separate them out into pots, they shine. It’s almost hard to believe they didn’t come from a garden center sometimes. One of my current favorites is this short, bunchy grass with the delicate purple flowers.

I’m addicted to ferns, too.

Ferns are madly expensive at garden centers, but they’re quite prevalent around here in the woods.

Most wildflowers don’t have a season-long blooming period–the “domesticated” flowers are more dependable that way–but if you don’t mind potting up the latest in Nature’s bouquet periodically, you can keep flowers all spring and summer and into the fall. Or even just for a short-term impact, potting up weeds is a great way to fill up your patio or porch like a garden fantasy right before a party or event–for free, and hey, this is a holiday weekend.

Aren’t you having a barbeque? Is your porch naked? Go pot up some weeds!

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on May 28, 2010  

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18 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 5-28

    I LOVE ferns :)
    Very pretty!

  2. 5-28

    There are some pretty weeds. I always liked Queen Annies Lace. My lil grandaughter picks clover and Dandilions and proudly runs up to give them to me. I love that more than a bouquet of roses! :clover:

  3. 5-28

    I love wildflowers. One year (way before gardening), I threw a handful of mixed wildflower seeds out in the front yard. They were beautiful and I didn’t have to do anything with them! Just let them grow, seed out, and come back next year! It’s been a few years since I tried taking that bed out (to have a garden), but they still pop up everywhere! I’ll pot them up and let them thrive where I WANT them! Thank you!

  4. 5-28

    What a wealth of free beauty you have! I love them all. Yesterday, I had to cut down some tall kinds of grasses that were blooming – surely hated to do that, but they had to go before they seeded. Regarding that short bunching grass with little purple flowers: if the flowers close until the sun gets on them, then opens in the afternoon, you may have Blue-eyed Grass. It isn’t really a grass, and is in the iris family. I have it here and just love it. I can’t tell for sure from the photo.

  5. 5-28

    The difference between a weed and a flower is merely perspective. They’re all flowers to me, even the obnoxious ones like bindweed or the prickly ones like horse thistle and buffalo burr. I probably wouldn’t pot those up for my front porch, though. My favorite garden center plants are the ones that look wild. Next to my front porch now is an Indian blanket and a red yarrow, both of which grow in more modest forms in the wild. Each year I buy red salvia because it reminds me of Indian paintbrush. Every garden center plant can trace its ancestry to some wildflower. The humble dandelion that so many despise is one of my favorite sights with its cheerful, sunny yellow blooms and wispy seedheads. It’s a flower that always takes me back to my happiest memories of childhood and summers spent barefoot and running wild.

  6. 5-28

    I love my daisies growing at the edges of the yard and for some reason the deer leave THEM alone! Nothing says summer like wildflowers. Thanks for reminding us that using what we have at hand is always the best way. Green living gets into your blood, our grandparents lived it everyday!

  7. 5-28

    I would’nt pot up that little three leaved ivy if I were you…LOL

    “Leaves of three let it be”….Poison Ivy….

    I just hate it when the state mowers do their thing and cut all the little daisys, bachelor buttons and chickory along the road side…. just as the wild flowers (“weeds to some”) are beginning to be in full bloom, that remind you of the reason you love the country roads in the first place, when suddenly you meet the mowers whacking them over….so sad…

  8. 5-28

    Hello Suzanne, Great idea! I wish ferns grew in the woods here but they don’t and I LOVE them. Yes we’ll probably be having a BBQ here…I have a rack of ribs to cook so I’ll probably make some potato salad and corn on the cob and some ‘sun’ tea along with something for dessert. Not sure what yet though. I hope you and your family have a wonderful weekend! Maura :)

  9. 5-28

    I LOVE that idea. The wild flowers are my favorite. I’ve seriously entertained the idea of planting wildflower seeds in a few areas of my yard, I should just bite the bullet and do it, but until I convince myself that I have the perfect place for them maybe I’ll find a place to put a pot of them.

  10. 5-28

    Suzanne, I agree with you. Why is a flower less pretty just because it’s indigenous to your area? I love yellow dandelions and wild strawberries and violets. Nothing is more charming.


  11. 5-28

    I have a friend who is a park ranger. She has an incredible knowledge of edible plants. When she comes to visit, she reaches down and starts eating plants that I know as weeds! I know some weeds are actually very pretty, but the ones that crowd out my vegetable plants are just plain criminals!!!!!!!! :purpleflower:

  12. 5-28

    Suzanne, in case you didn’t know, that second picture with the heart-shaped leaves and yellow flowers is what we call Sourgrass. The leaves are edible with a sour-lemon flavor. My kids love it!

  13. 5-28

    A little research just revealed that my Sourgrass is really a variety of Wood Sorrel, specifically Oxalis Grandis, or Large Yellow Wood Sorrel.


    Excerpt: “And when you’re hot and thirsty, wood sorrel is wonderfully thirst quenching and refreshing to eat. The leaves, flowers, and immature green seed pods are all edible, with a sour, lemon like flavor.”

    I had to look it up in case I was inadvertently advising you and all your readers to eat something poisonous! :hungry2:

  14. 5-28

    Thank you! That’s wonderful! I didn’t know that. I just thought the leaves were so pretty.

  15. 5-31

    I have done this many times…

    Michelemomof9 – Growing up, my sisters and I would often lay in patches of sourgrass and chew on the leaves. Good times.

  16. 6-8

    That looks like Blue Eyed grass…that was my Mom’s favorite “weed”

  17. 5-25

    I never understood why dandelions are so hated. I mean they even have a tool made specifically for digging them out of your lawn. They’re a vibrant beautiful yellow color. I guess people don’t want them because they’re free and no matter how often you mow them down they come back up almost overnight.

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