weeds with purple flowers

14 Weeds with Purple Flowers To Help Identify Plants In Your Garden

There are many varieties of weeds with purple flowers that you may or may not know about. You are likely to find all kinds of weeds growing in your garden, and surprisingly, many of them can have many benefits if you so wished to adopt them. In this article, we will explore different weeds with purple flowers to help identify plants in your garden, and whether they are worth keeping or should be destroyed. Additionally, we will look at their potential uses for medicinal or culinary applications.

Weeds with Purple Flowers

Whilst weeds come in different forms, one of the most prominent features of weed plants is for them to have purple flowers. It is hard enough to keep up to date with your weeding practices, some people may find it tolerable whilst others it is frustrating. You may consider keeping attractive weeds in your garden due to their flowers, but this article will help you to distinguish which ones to keep or to throw away.

1.   Wild Violets

weeds with purple flowers wild violet

Wild violets are a common form of weed and properties include being a fast creeper and are appealing on the eyes due to their heart-shaped petals.

However, they can quickly take over your garden if not properly controlled. Wild violets use rhizomes to propogate, making them challenging to deal with. They come in different colours, including purple, white, yellow, and blue.

Wild violets can be used for culinary uses such as candying flowers for cakes and cookies, garnishes for salads and teas. They also possess medicinal properties, serving as an anti-inflammatory agent and being beneficial for dry, chafed skin, eczema, and insect bites, and are rich in vitamins A and C.

Scientific nameViola sororia
Growth speedSlow-spread
Native inhabitantNorth America
Hardiness zone3-8
Sun tolerancePartial shade/partial sun
SoilMoist, well-drained
ToleratesShade
Fertilising needsLow
PruningNone
WaterRegular
DangersNon-toxic

2.   Creeping Charlie/Ground Ivy

creeping charlie purple flowered weeds

The Creeping Charlie or Ground Ivy is another weed for you to consider within these weeds with purple flowers. It can survive in different weather conditions and are challenging to kill. Identifiable by its small, lobe-shaped, purple petals, it propagates via rhizomes, making it resilient against pests and diseases.

Creeping Charlie can be used in cooking, especially spinach, and its leaves and flowers are suitable for salads. It can also be used in ale and has some medicinal uses, such as first aid purposes and astringent effects.

Scientific nameGlechoma hederacea
Growth speedRapid
Native inhabitantEurope, Asia
Hardiness zone4-9
Sun tolerancePartial shade
SoilMoist
ToleratesFoot traffic
Fertilising needsLow
PruningRegular
WaterHigh
DangersNon-toxic

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3.   Forget Me Nots

weed forget me nots

Another weed with purple flowers that you will likely find in your garden is Forget Me Nots. These are recognised for their yellow centres, and blue flowers, although these can also be purple. While they can quickly spread and take nourishment from other plants if not carefully maintained, their beauty makes them irresistible to keep. You can collect the flowers and use them in salads and teas, as well as drying them out for tinctures which are common culinary applications.

However, Forget Me Nots do not have many medicinal benefits, and preventing seed dispersal by deadheading is crucial to control their growth.

Scientific nameMyosotis sylvatica
Growth speedRapid
Native inhabitantWest America
Hardiness zone3-8
Sun toleranceFull sun to partial shade
SoilOrganically rich soil
ToleratesDamp, shady areas; can adapt to full sun.
Fertilising needsOnce a year with slow release 10-10-10 fertiliser.
PruningDeadhead twice a week.
Water3-4 times a week
DangersCan be toxic when grown in certain regions.

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4.    Black nightshade

black nightshade weed

Black Nightshade is distinguishable by its purplish stem and can grow in gardens with rich soil, in both sun and shade, hence why it is on this list of weeds with purple flowers. While it is not as poisonous as deadly nightshade, caution is advised, as every part of the plant can be toxic.

It is best to avoid ingestion altogether, although historically it has been used medicinally with varying degrees of success.

Scientific nameSolanum dulcamara
Growth speedFast
Native inhabitantEurope, Asia
Hardiness zone3-9
Sun toleranceFull sun to partial shade
SoilMoist, well-drained
ToleratesPoor soil tolerant
Fertilising needsLow
PruningNone
WaterModerate
DangersPoisonous

5.    Canada Thistle/Creeping Thistle

creeping thistle weed

Canada Thistle or Creeping Thistle is notorious for being difficult to eradicate due to its extensive root system. While the fluffy white flowers resemble dandelions, Canada thistles have spear-shaped leaves with sharp spines.

They grow best in low-fertility soil, and increasing soil fertility can aid in their control. The leaves can be eaten raw or cooked, young shoots can be consumed after peeling, and the plant has been used medicinally by Indigenous Americans to soothe vomiting and stomach cramps.

Scientific nameCirsium Arvense
Growth speedFast-spreading
Native inhabitantEurasisa
Hardiness zone3-9
Sun toleranceFull sun
SoilAny
ToleratesDrought tolerant
Fertilising needsNone
PruningCut back to form
WaterLow
DangersNone

6.    Musk Thistle/Nodding Thistle

musk thistle weed

Musk Thistle or Nodding Thistle is identifiable by its leaves, which can grow up to 15 inches. They have wavy edges with barbs and spiny wings on the stems. These weeds can be difficult to eliminate and are aggressive growers if left unmaintained in your garden.

While edible, the thistles require careful handling to remove the spines. Additionally, their ability to attract bees and goldfinches may make them worth keeping for some, but controlling their growth remains a challenge.

Scientific nameCarduus nutans
Growth speedBiennial, grows up to 2.1 metres
Native inhabitantEurope, North America, Mediterranean
Hardiness zone3-9
Sun toleranceFull sun; partial shade
SoilWell-drained, moist conditions
ToleratesDrought, wide pH range soil
Fertilising needsNone
PruningRemove flower heads before they mature.
WaterAverage rainfall; occasional watering
DangersThreat to livestock and wildlife.

7.    Common Thistle/Spear Thistle/Bull Thistle

weed common thistle

To prevent the emergence of flowers, it is crucial to diligently mow down this weed. Alternatively, you can manually extract individual plants to control the issue. Effective control is necessary because the flowers can disperse seeds through wind dispersal. It’s worth noting that this weed attracts goldfinches and certain butterfly species. However, due to their invasive nature, we highly recommend promptly eliminating them from your garden.

Common thistles are edible, although they do not provide significant nutritional value. The flower buds can be cooked and consumed similarly to artichoke hearts, albeit smaller in size, measuring only around an inch in diameter. The leaves and stems can also be used in salads after removing the spines.

When handling any part of the thistle, ensure to wear gloves and eye protection for spine removal. Additionally, the common thistle is utilized as a medicinal tea to alleviate stomach cramps and nausea. The steam can be added into tea and when consumed can treat muscle soreness.

Scientific nameCirsium vulgare
Growth speedModerate growth
Native inhabitantEurope, Asia, North America
Hardiness zone3-9
Sun toleranceFull sun
SoilWell-drained
ToleratesDifferent environments; dry and moderate drought
Fertilising needsNone
PruningMow; remove stems
WaterIrregular
DangersHazardous to touch

8.    Purple Dead Nettle

purple dead nettle weed

This particular weed with purple flowers demonstrates remarkable resilience, capable of withstanding disease, pests, and challenging environmental conditions. It thrives in moisture-rich habitats, such as drainage ditches or the outskirts of woodlands. If your garden retains significant moisture or if you reside near an area affected by a purple dead nettle infestation, there is a possibility of your yard becoming infested as well. Purple dead-nettles possess undeniable beauty, but if given an opportunity, they can swiftly overrun your entire yard.

Gardeners often choose to retain purple dead nettle due to its ability to attract bees and various pollinators. While this remains a noteworthy reason to embrace this weed, it is not the sole factor. Purple dead nettle is edible and offers numerous culinary applications.

It can be incorporated into smoothies, salads, and soups. Furthermore, it can be brewed as a medicinal tea, like stinging nettle, known for its anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties.

Scientific nameLamium purpureum
Growth speedFast
Native inhabitantEurope, Asia
Hardiness zone4-8
Sun toleranceFull sun; partial shade
SoilMoist
ToleratesDrought
Fertilising needsLow
PruningNone
WaterModerate
DangersNon-toxic

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9.    Henbit

weeds with purple flowers henbit

Henbit has a relatively modest presence and does not possess the same invasive tendencies as other weeds with purple flowers. Their name originates from the seeds they produce, which happen to be a delightful treat for chickens —and surprisingly, turtles as well! However, if you have no use for the seeds, it is advisable to promptly eliminate this weed from your garden.

Henbit, apart from being a weed, also holds culinary value and finds its way into various recipes. The leaves can be utilized as a substitute for spinach, making them an excellent addition to salads.

Additionally, the flowers can be incorporated into both salads and teas, with the latter benefiting from prior drying. Furthermore, henbit exhibits medicinal properties. The plant’s tea can serve as a natural laxative, aid in reducing fever, and provide relief from rheumatoid arthritis.

Scientific nameLamium aplexicaule
Growth speedFast
Native inhabitantEurope, Asia
Hardiness zone3-8
Sun toleranceFull to partial shade
SoilMoist
ToleratesDrought
Fertilising needsLow
PruningNone
WaterModerate
DangersNon-toxic

Is Henbit edible?

Henbit possesses edibility, with both its flowers and leaves suitable for consumption in salads, soups, and teas. However, it is crucial to exercise caution and avoid consuming henbit that has been subjected to pesticide spraying or grown in soil contaminated with harmful substances. Ingesting substantial quantities of henbit may result in digestive complications.

10. Dove’s-Foot Crane’s Bill

weeds with purple flowers doves foot cranes bill

Otherwise known as Geranium Molle, this weed with purple flowers has jagged edges. Some gardeners regard it as a purple ornamental plant. Its leaves typically feature 5 to 7 points. Dove’s Foot Crane’s Bill favors arid conditions and well-drained soil for optimal growth.

If your garden hosts only a few of these plants, manually uprooting them can yield successful results. To prevent the recurrence of this weed, it is advisable to maintain a well-nourished, moist lawn. Implementing a comprehensive lawn care program can help achieve this objective.

Although culinary applications for this weed are limited, it has a rich historical background in medicinal usage. Traditionally, it has been employed to alleviate gout, colic, as well as joint and muscle pain. It has also been used to soothe bruises and staunch bleeding. Whether or not you utilize this plant for medicinal purposes, it is still recommended to eliminate it from your lawn to prevent competition for nutrients among your other plants.

Scientific nameGeranium molle
Growth speedModerate
Native inhabitantEurope, Asia, North America
Hardiness zone3-8
Sun toleranceFull to partial shade
SoilWell-drained
ToleratesDrought, deer tolerant
Fertilising needsLow
PruningMinimal
WaterModerate
DangersNon-toxic

11. Selfheal/Healall

weeds with purple flowers selfheal

The presence of weeds with purple flowers such as Prunella vulgaris can bring many benefits for you and your garden since it is a member of the mint family. Its modest height allows it to withstand mowing, making it necessary to eliminate as it hampers the growth of your grass.

 Fortunately, this weed usually responds well to repeated pruning, and it is crucial to maintain a clean area where it has emerged. It can grow in many dense environments including grasslands, meadows, wood clearings, and of course, traditional garden lawns.

With a name that hints at its capabilities, selfheal possesses numerous medicinal properties. It has been well-known to treat wounds, burns, and stop bleeding. Additionally, the plant’s tannins provide an anti-inflammatory effect, and it has been utilised in tea to alleviate sore throats.

Its applications extend to relieving diarrhea, stomach cramps, and inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Moreover, selfheal has been employed in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, and intriguingly, it has also been explored as a potential remedy for heart disease.

Scientific namePrunella vulgaris
Growth speedModerate
Native inhabitantEurope, Asia
Hardiness zone4-8
Sun toleranceFull to partial shade
SoilWell-drained
ToleratesPoor soil
Fertilising needsLow
PruningNone
WaterLow
DangersNon-toxic

12. Common Burdock

weeds with purple flowers common burdock

Among these weed with purple flowers, there is one that we cannot forget about, which is the common burdock (Arctium minus). It is a biennial plant characterised by prominent features including heart-shaped leaves and flowers that transform into burrs with hook-like bracts.

Burdock roots have been used in traditional medicines for centuries, whilst the leaves and stems can be used in cooking. However, the plant can quickly become invasive on the rest of your garden and can spiral out of control.

Scientific nameArctium minus
Growth speedFast
Native inhabitantEurasia, Africa
Hardiness zone3-9
Sun toleranceFull sun, partial shade
SoilWell-drained
ToleratesPoor soil tolerance
Fertilising needsLow
PruningNone
WaterModerate
DangersNon-toxic

13. Bird Vetch

weeds with purple flowers bird vetch

This weed with purple flowers is perennial and is part of the pea family (Fabaceae). It can climb along trellises and is a trailing vine that can measure up to 1-2 metres in length. Bird vetch produces 10-12 pairs of small leaflets which sprout purple-blue flowers. These will appear in clusters along the stem and are very prominent during the summer months. It can be used as forage for stock or as a nitrogen-fixer for cover crops.

Scientific nameVicia cracca
Growth speedFast
Native inhabitantEurasia, Africa
Hardiness zone3-8
Sun toleranceFull sun, partial shade
SoilWell-drained
ToleratesDrought, poor soil tolerant
Fertilising needsLow
PruningNone
WaterLow
DangersNon-toxic

14. Purple Clover

weeds with purple flowers purple clover

Dalea purpurea, commonly referred to as Purple Clover, is an enduring plant species indigenous to the central and southwestern regions of the United States. Belonging to the legume family, this remarkable weed with purple flowers is recognised for its vivid purple blossoms that populates grasslands during late spring and summer.

Typically thriving in expansive, sunlit spaces like prairies, meadows, and roadsides, Purple Clover plays a vital role for pollinators such as bees and butterflies. Moreover, it serves as a valuable food source for grazing animals such as deer and cattle. Additionally, this plant holds significance in traditional medicine due to its medicinal attributes, which include its application as a remedy for respiratory and digestive ailments.

Scientific nameDalea purpurea
Growth speedModerate
Native inhabitantNorth America, USA and Mexico
Hardiness zone4-9
Sun toleranceFull sun
SoilWell-drained
ToleratesDrought, heat tolerant
Fertilising needsLow
PruningMinimal
WaterLow
DangersNon-toxic

Choose which Weeds with Purple Flowers are right for you

As a homeowner, you may perceive weeds with purple flowers to be unwelcome intruders in your garden. However, it is crucial to shift our perspectives and recognise the inherent beauty, importance tand ecological value that these plants possess. From the striking purple tones exhibited by the Henbit plant to the intricately delicate flowers of ground ivy, each of these weeds with purple flowers boasts their own distinctive attributes and advantages.

By investing time in familiarising yourself with these plants, we can cultivate a deeper understanding and appreciation of garden weeds. Instead of dismissing them as mere nuisances, embrace the opportunity to marvel at the diversity and wonder of weeds with purple flowers!

FAQs

What are weeds with purple flowers called?

Numerous varieties of weeds exhibit purple flowers, necessitating the identification of the specific weed in question to determine its name. To acquire this knowledge, refer to the aforementioned guide, which provides detailed information regarding the distinguishing features and attributes of the prevalent weeds with purple blossoms.

Are little purple flowers weeds?

Not all purple-flowered plants that emerge in your garden should be considered weeds. Certain plants with purple blossoms serve as attractive magnets for beneficial insects and may offer valuable benefits to your garden ecosystem. Therefore, it is advisable to first identify and familiarize yourself with the purple-flowered plants that appear in your garden before hastily removing them. By doing so, you can make informed decisions about whether to retain or remove these plants from your garden.

What are some common weeds with purple flowers?

Some common weeds with purple flowers include purple dead nettle (Lamium purpureum), henbit (Lamium amplexicaule), creeping Charlie (Glechoma hederacea), and violets (Viola spp.).

Are weeds with purple flowers harmful to my garden?

It depends on the specific weed and your garden’s needs. Some weeds with purple flowers can be invasive and compete with desired plants for resources. Others may not cause significant harm but can still be considered unsightly.

How do I identify and differentiate weeds with purple flowers from other plants?

Pay attention to the plant’s overall growth habit, leaves, and flowers. Weeds tend to grow vigorously and may have a different leaf shape or growth pattern compared to cultivated plants. Refer to plant identification resources or consult with a local horticulturist for accurate identification.

How can I control weeds with purple flowers in my garden?

Weed control methods can vary depending on the specific weed and your preferences. Some common methods include hand-pulling, hoeing, mulching, and applying herbicides. For a more targeted approach, identify the weed correctly and choose a control method that suits your garden’s needs.

Can I use organic methods to control weeds with purple flowers?

Yes, several organic methods can help control weeds. These include hand-weeding, smothering weeds with mulch or newspaper, using vinegar or boiling water as a herbicide, and improving overall garden health to minimize weed competition.

Are there any cultural practices that can prevent weeds with purple flowers?

Yes, maintaining a healthy garden can help prevent weed growth. Practices such as proper watering, regular mulching, appropriate spacing between plants, and removing weeds before they set seeds can reduce weed infestations.

Are there any purple-flowered weeds that are edible or have medicinal properties?

Yes, some purple-flowered weeds have culinary or medicinal uses. For example, purple deadnettle leaves can be used in salads or herbal teas. However, it’s crucial to research and properly identify the plant and understand its potential benefits or risks before using it.

How can I prevent purple-flowered weeds from spreading in my garden?

Regular monitoring and prompt removal of weeds before they set seeds is essential to prevent their spread. Additionally, maintaining a healthy and dense garden can help minimize available space for weeds to establish themselves.

Sources

Sefton Meadows. (2023). 6 Garden Pub Ideas. [Accessed 22/05/23] Retrieved from: https://blog.seftonmeadows.co.uk/in-the-garden/6-garden-pub-ideas

What’s that purple weed? | Integrated Crop Management. (2022). [Accessed 22/05/23], from https://crops.extension.iastate.edu/blog/rebecca-vittetoe/whats-purple-weed

Purple deadnettle and henbit: Two common garden spring weeds. (2016). [Accessed 22/05/23], from https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/purple_deadnettle_and_henbit_two_common_garden_spring_weeds

Gardening Tips: Asparagus Patch Weeds and Purple Roadside Flowers. (2019). [Accessed 22/05/23], from https://milwaukee.extension.wisc.edu/2019/06/19/gardening-tips-asparagus-patch-weeds-and-purple-roadside-flowers/

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