DIY Network

Weeds as Warnings

Put these unwelcome guests to work and let them tell you what's wrong with your garden.

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ground ivy is aggressive but attractive
Photo 4 of 4English ivy and violets are shade-loving weeds.

Problem No. 3: Not Enough Sun (4 of 4)

Your plants may not be doing well because they're simply not getting enough sun. If you see these shade-loving weeds next to your geraniums, for example, you've found your problem:

  • Violets (Viola)

  • Ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea)

  • Nightshade (Solanum)

  • Poison ivy (Rhus radicans)

One key thing to remember in this case is: Weeds aren't always the enemy. Some shady-site weeds are actually attractive in the landscape but you want to make sure they don't take away from your other plants. Ground ivy is a very aggressive grower, but it won't crowd out other plants, so you can still enjoy the plants you selected for that area.

If you're not happy with the weeds, simply remove them and make adjustments to that area to allow more sunlight in. For example, thin out tree branches that are blocking the sun.

You may not be able to work around the shade problem, though. If it's an area that will always be in the shade for a good part of the day, transplant your sun lovers to a better spot and replace them with plants that are better suited for that environment. Hostas, ferns and coral bells are popular landscape plants that do well in shady areas.

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