Raising Weeds


Weeds are certain plants designated as weedy or invasive, or with the potential to become weedy or invasive. Some weeds are even identified as noxious. The term weed is subjective in that a weed is often classified as such by its context–unwanted in its location. (It may be a weed in a flower bed, a wildflower in a meadow.) Weeds are easy to grow if you’ll just stop fighting them.

Weeds generally possess advantageous adaptations that allow them to grow in the face of neglect, abuse, drought, and hoeing. This doesn’t mean you can’t kill weeds, though, so be careful! Weeds make easy, no-maintenance ground covers to hold top soil. They also send down long tap roots to bring up water and nutrients, and break up hard ground. They’re used in many natural remedies, and also make beautiful cutting arrangements. The main trouble with weeds is attitude–yours! How does your weed garden grow? Mine’s doing fantastic, so I thought I’d share my secrets.

6 Tips for Growing Great Weeds

1. For God’s sake, leave them alone! And whatever you do, don’t squirt with them with that weedkiller stuff. It’s called WEEDKILLER for a reason.

2. Don’t water them. They don’t need it. Weeds are the Earth’s most efficient plants. Why conservation and going-green groups don’t take up for them more, I don’t know. They are the kings of preserving our planet’s water resources.

3. Encourage a variety of weeds for color and texture. Weeds look fantastic in groupings.

4. Allow weeds to grow as big as they want to grow. They actually start to look more on-purpose that way.

5. Grow weeds interspersed with cultivated plants such as roses. This lends a special charm to garden beds.

6. Weeds make great filler in incomplete beds. I found, in particular, that they spread well in my side garden by the studio. Next year, I’ll divide my hostas, which also grow well here, to fill in blank areas of the garden. This year, the weeds did a stupendous job on their own. To grow weeds as filler, it’s important to stop mulching.

Garden statuary lends credence even to dead, dried weeds.

I’ve been very successful this year with my weeds, and I’m enjoying the bounty now as I bring in armfuls of cuttings for arrangements in my house. I decorated my house for a party last weekend for free–with weeds! Now is the perfect time to harvest weeds as fall-blooming weeds are coming into season.

And the best thing about weeds? If you forgot to grow any of your own, take a drive down any country road and they are free for the picking!

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on September 22, 2012  

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12 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 9-22

    Love it! I will have to take your advice to heart. Fall weeds are beautiful!

  2. 9-22

    I’ve been growing weeds for years and getting a more natural look each season. At first my yard was referred to as an English Country Cottage look. This year the yard of the month club said something about the Tangled African Jungle look. You should hear the rave reviews…”Oh my!”…”I’ve never seen anything like that!”…My favorite was “How did you ever let it look like this?” Well, it takes a lot of patience to accomplish the Back to Nature look …but I think this year the environmentalists and wild animals are proud of the natural habitat!

  3. 9-22

    Here, in the city, there is extreme prejudice against weeds. Streets and Sanitation (the garbage collection folks) go so far as to ticket property owners who raise even moderately impressive crops of weeds. It’s such a shame!

  4. 9-22

    You’re my kind of girl, Suzanne! I’ve grown an impressive crop of weeds myself this year! At my 29-acres in the country no one tells me I can’t grow them so I consider myself blessed. LOL

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful weeds with me!

  5. 9-22

    I am a floral designer in a retail floral shop, and those weeds go for top dollar! Having learned my “skills” in the barn of a good friend, putting together bouquets for the farmers markets, it was a shock to start working in a retail shop where solidago (goldenrod) was selling for $3.25 per stem my first week! For weeds! The little white asters in your photos (montecasino) are another “filler” flower in the $3.00 range. You’ve got a goldmine there in your “weed” patch! Fall is the highlight of the year for me, when the “weeds” are in their glory! :)


  6. 9-22

    Tired of being a, ‘grass farmer’, two years ago I spread chamomile seeds all over part of the backyard as an experiment. When they popped up, it was a beautiful sight. Little. ‘baby daisies’ covered the yard in a sweet, fragrant carpet of something far more useful should I wish to pick it for herbal tisane brewing. Some weeds are even medicinal herbs and great for healing assorted ailments. Great post, gal.

  7. 9-22

    Not to mention some of those beautiful butterflies NEED a certain type of weed to reproduce. Milkweed for the monarchs, queen Ann’s lace for a variety of swallow-tailed, etc. A highly manicured lawn does nothing for our winged beauties… among other wildlife…. always something to keep in mind when you’re removing Nature’s own. :)

  8. 9-22

    It has taken me quite a few years of seeding – but this year I had my explosion of Queen Anne’s Lace and I loved it! It looked like white doilies all over the back yard. I also have your bottom flower – except mine are purple. I never tried to look it up (I dug mine years ago in the Black Forest) but I thought they were like wild asters.

  9. 9-22

    I never called those beautiful wild flowers anything but wild flowers. Many are that were once abundant in road side right-of-ways are now so rare.

    I always enjoy watching the seasons change as the various wild flowers bloom.

  10. 9-22

    I lived on a farm all my life until Dec. Now I’m in an apartment. All summer I have gone for drives in the country, looking for wild flowers in ditches. I have enjoyed some really pretty bouquets.
    MN Mona

  11. 9-22

    My, you certainly have a quite a variety. I’m not that blessed…yet.

  12. 9-28

    And you can eat some as well! Cooked of course, such like Purslane. ;)

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