The Dark Side

This post is more of a warning than the usual celebration of a plant.  Aegopodium variegatum, alias goutweed, bishop’s weed, snow on the mountain or ground elder, has refreshing green and white foliage that can be inviting without knowing its dark side.  This is one of the most invasive plants I have dealt with in my garden.  I inherited several pre-existing beds, of which all but one has been dug up and removed – and yes, where wee bits of root were left in the ground, goutweed returned.  The single purpose I have found for goutweed is to fill a confined troubled area – a steep bank, an isolated strip along concrete, a dry shade bed under a tree – with the caveat that it must be contained, with definite barriers to stop its constant aggressive ability to advance and bully.  Please do not plant goutweed in a mixed perennial bed!  Goutweed spreads by rhizomes, which are fleshy underground roots that shoot up new plants.  The creamy green foliage with snowy edges and lacy white summer blooms can be tempting, especially since goutweed thrives on neglect.  But beware the bedraggled, seemingly fragile, green and white plant, with any of these common names, at the greenhouse.  When I see an unsuspecting customer picking it up, I am incapable of not offering a warning!         

Technical stuff – Goutweed/Aegopodium variegatum, hardy perennial to zone 3, height of about 8-10” with bloom stems up to 18”, spreads forever, full sun to full shade, survives poor soil, drought tolerant, white blooms in summer.    

Posted on February 23, 2015 and filed under Groundcover, Perennials.