University of Maryland Extension

Ground ivy

(More Lawn Weeds)  (Lawn Control Options)  

Ground ivy or creeping Charlie
Glechoma hederacea

closeup of flowering ground ivy
Flowering ground ivy (creeping Charlie)



Growth habit

Low, creeping plant that roots at nodes; distinct odor when crushed; stems square in cross-section; leaves opposite, scalloped, rounded to kidney-shaped and 1/2 to 1 1/2 in. in diameter.


Mostly by creeping stems that root at the node; less commonly by seeds; flowers lipped, purplish-blue in whorls in upper leaf axils.

Conditions that favor growth

Prefers damp, shady areas; can tolerate full sun.


Cultural control: Maintain healthy, dense turf that can compete and prevent weed establishment.
Mechanical control: Hand pulling or using an appropriate weeding tool are the primary means of mechanical weed control in lawns. This is a viable option at the beginning of an infestation and on young weeds. Hand pulling when the soil is moist makes the task easier. Weeds with tap roots like dandelions or have a basal rosette (leaves clustered close to the ground) like plantain are easier to pull than weeds such as Bermudagrass (wiregrass) or creeping Charlie (ground ivy) that spread with stolons or creeping stems that root along the ground.
General chemical control: (lawns) Spot treat weeds with a liquid, selective, postemergent, broadleaf weed killer applied when weeds are actively growing. Look for a combination product with the following active ingredients:
2, 4-DMCPP (mecoprop), Dicamba* or Triclopyr

*Do not spray herbicides containing dicamba over the root zone of trees and shrubs. Roots can absorb the product possibly causing plant damage. Read the product label for precautions. 

Ground ivy can be difficult to control. It often grows at the edge of lawns, near trees and shrubs. Avoid using herbicides containing dicamba near the drip line of trees and shrubs because it can be absorbed by tree and shrub roots. Ground ivy is resistant to several common lawn herbicides. Immature plants are most susceptible to herbicide applications. Mature plants frequently require two or more herbicide treatments at 21 to 28 day intervals, in the spring and/ or fall.

Organic control 

For a glossary of herbicide terms and additional information see: control options     



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