ground ivy

Flowering ground ivy or creeping Charlie (Glechoma hederacea). Photo: Betty Marose

Updated: May 11, 2022

Life cycle 

Perennial

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.

Reproduction

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.

Ground ivy foliage
Photo: Chris Evans, University of Illinois, Bugwood.org

 

Ground ivy square stem
Photo: Theodore Webster, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org

Flowering ground ivy

Photo: Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org

Management in lawns

Lawn care practices

Maintain healthy, dense turf that can compete and prevent weed establishment.

Lawn Care

Mechanical management

Hand pulling or using an appropriate weeding tool will suppress ground ivy but because it spreads by creeping stems that root easily along the ground it is not practical to control it this way. It is an option at the beginning of an infestation and on young weeds. Hand pulling when the soil is moist makes the task easier. 

Manage Weeds Without Chemicals

Chemical treatment in lawns

If you choose this option, spot treat weeds with a liquid, selective, postemergent, broadleaf weed killer applied when weeds are actively growing. Look for a product with one or more of the following active ingredients: 2, 4-D, MCPP (mecoprop), Dicamba*, or Triclopyr. More than one application will be necessary. Read an follow the label directions.  

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

Lawn Herbicides for Weed Management