You gaze proudly at your newly planted flower bed that you’ve spent weeks creating. Every perfect plant that you selected grows tidily in its carefully planned out location. Then your eyes fall on little sprouts of green weeds popping up between your beautiful plants! Unfortunately, many times when we till the ground for new planting beds, we are also stirring up weed seeds that quickly germinate in regularly watered soil that is exposed to the sun. Now the choice is yours, head back to your local garden center for weed killing chemicals that could harm your wanted plants or purchase more plants to tuck into the open spaces for weed control.
How to Stop Weeds Using Flowers
Farmers have always used cover crops (like peas, beans, soybeans, wheat, and rye) to smother out pesky weeds and replace nutrients, like nitrogen, which can be leached from the soil by rains and waterings. In flower beds and home vegetable gardens, you can also use this method of dense planting for weed control.
In vegetable gardens, herbs can be tucked in the spaces around vegetable plants. Certain herbs can even benefit the flavor of the vegetable. For example, many people plant basil around tomato plants to improve the flavor of the tomatoes.
In flower beds, small plants and groundcovers can be used as eye-pleasing flowering plants that deter weeds. A thick mass planting of plants can control weeds by keeping direct sunlight off the soil, which often causes weed seeds to germinate and can compete with the weeds for water and nutrients. Mass planting of flowering plants can also shade the soil, so less water and moisture is lost from evaporation.
Dense Planting for Weed Control
Perennial groundcovers are often used as flowering plants that deter weeds.
In full sun the following plants are excellent choices for beautiful and efficient groundcover:
For shade to part shade, try some of these:
- Lily of the valley
Plants like hosta and coral bells can be tucked into small areas around trees and shrubs to control weeds.
Low growing, creeping shrubs are also used for dense plantings for weed control. Spreading junipers and mugo pines are often used to fill in large areas. Asian jasmine, Gro-low fragrant sumac, euonymus, and cotoneaster also can cover a large area and suppress weed growth.
Annuals, like impatiens and petunias, can be planted yearly as colorful bedding flowers to keep weeds away. Some research has shown that the allelopathic properties of Tagetes minuta, an annual in the marigold family, can deter weeds. Its roots put a chemical in the soil that repels weeds like couch grass, bindweed, and creeping Charlie. More common varieties of marigolds can also be planted thick as flowering plants that deter weeds and other pests.