Chinese Lantern Control – How To Get Rid Of Chinese Lantern Plants

Pretty Chinese lanterns can become noxious weeds, choking out the plants you really love. Learn to control them.

Orange Chinese Lantern Plants
chinese lantern
(Image credit: Andreas Steidlinger)

Chinese lanterns used to fascinate me as a child. They can be pretty charming and work great in crafts, but are Chinese lanterns invasive? In some regions, gardeners call them Chinese lantern weeds because they spread abundantly. If you mixed them in with your perennials, you may find the lanterns crowding out all your other plants. Keep reading to learn how to get rid of Chinese lantern plants.

Removing Chinese Lantern Weeds

Despite their whimsical appeal, Chinese lantern control can at best be challenging and even frustrating. This is because the plant grows from rhizomes. Trying to manually remove it may leave behind even a tiny piece of root which is all this plant needs to regrow.

Rather than resorting to harmful chemicals to manage Chinese lantern weeds, consider other non-chemical methods you can use to conquer this persistent plant.

Digging to Remove Chinese Lantern Weeds

As back breaking as it sounds, digging out all the rhizomes is a safe, often effective method of Chinese lantern control. You must dig well around the plants and follow each rhizome and root for complete removal. It has been suggested that you also sift the soil because even tiny bits of rhizome can sprout.

Solarizing should work just as well. Use rocks or stakes to hold down a piece of black plastic. The plastic will have to stay in place for many months during the hottest part of the year to kill any rhizome pieces.

Managing Chinese Lanterns by Mowing

You can also achieve some control by starving the rhizomes. Essentially, you have to prevent the formation of leaves which photosynthesize and create plant starches. Keeping stems from forming will, over several seasons, finally kill the rhizomes.

For convenience, use a line trimmer or even a mower and consistently remove any developing shoots. It will take some time, but if you were already going to mow or trim the lawn, hit the lantern site as well.

Consult with your local extension service agent or local garden center to learn about the safest applications if you choose to use chemical controls.

Note: Chemical control should only be used as a last resort, as organic approaches are safer and more environmentally friendly.

Bonnie L. Grant

Bonnie Grant is a professional landscaper with a Certification in Urban Gardening. She has been gardening and writing for 15 years. A former professional chef, she has a passion for edible landscaping.