Purple Flower Weed
Purple Flower Weed Identifying and Controlling It
There are a lot of purple flower weed types that can grow on our lawns and turf and some of them are really wonderful to see. Regardless of whether they belong to the mint family, genus Violaceae, or Carnation, they all look amazing with their beautiful flowers. But then most of the time you just want to get rid of them. Why? Because once they grow among your grass and flower beds, they will take their place there and can kill your precious grass or garden plants. So what can we do?
A weed with purple flowers is no doubt a plant that is wonderful to look at. But because it’s a weed, it can be a plant that you don’t want to be among your other plants or grass. For example, we grow grass right in our yards, parks, along the roads, around buildings and other places. And sometimes we decorate these with flowering plants along the edges or in the middle for adornment. But when we see a flowering weed that is not intended to be there, we just want them gone.
The purple flower weed is an umbrella of different families of weeds and they all produce violet/purple flowers though they belong to different weed varieties. But because most of the weeds with purple flowers grow aggressively and reproduce fast while they love to grow on different soil types especially on lawn soil, they can damage the beautiful look of our landscape.
What are the Weeds with Purple Flowers Called?
Some people generally call weeds with purple flowers the “violet weeds” and “purple flower weeds” and the most common of these are growing in our gardens and lawns. Examples are the following:
These purple-bearing weeds can be hard to kill because they can withstand different types of weather and can even go dormant during winter but can become more active growers once spring sets in. Some of them are annual and others are perennial. Annual weeds can only live once a year but their new seeds will germinate during spring. Perennial weeds can live more than a year and can stay alive even under the snow.
Today, we are going to talk about these different kinds of weeds, how to identify them, where they prefer to grow and we will also give you tips on how to control them.
Red Clover Plant (Trifolium pratense)
Type. Biennial plant under the genus Trifolium.
complete their life cycles in 2 years. During the first year, they germinate their seeds, form roots and develop their stems and leaves and become dormant during winter. The next year in spring they become active again and begin to mature and form flowers and then drop their seeds to the ground and the mature plants die.
Growth Characteristic: The Red Clover plant produces a single main root and forms nodules that are loaded with nitrogenous fixing bacteria that it uses for its sustenance. These nodules can help enhance the soil because of its nitrogen content. But because this plant spreads its roots under the grass, it also absorbs the nutrients it produces and can grow up to 2 feet tall.
This plant is endemic in many parts of Europe, Siberia, Northern Africa and the Southwest part of Asia. They love the temperate (chilly) climate but also thrive during mild summer. It can also grow in different types of soil although it grows better on clay loam soil.
Identifying Features. There are a lot of varieties under the clover family but these plants are considered weeds to many because they can grow aggressively given the right soil and environmental conditions. And because they are biennial plants, they can creep fast into pastures, yards, and turf for years in a great mass thus they can be hard to control or kill whenever this tall weed with purple flower occupies large spaces.
The flowers of the Red Clover plant can be bright red or purple with a white combination on the center of the flowers. The unique thing about this weed is it doesn’t drop its flowers even when they develop into seeds. So from the weed with purple flowers, these will turn brown due to its seeds.
How to Kill the Red Clover Plant
Cut them out before they bear flowers or before their stem gets harder by regularly mowing them along with the grass. Hand pulling them also works since only the main plant develops the main root system. The Red Clover plant’s roots are not very deep and these are only tap roots. Herbicides for broadleaf will also work well in controlling them and any herbicide that contains 2,4-D, dicamba, and MPP will kill them. The start of winter is the plant’s most vulnerable stage as it readies for its dormancy.
Wild Violet (Viola sororia)
Type: Winter annual and Perennial under the Violaceae family
The wild violet belongs to the Violaceae family and under this family are about 525 species that generally grow in temperate regions so they cover most of the species of the purple flower family. However, this particular weed is not comparable to tall weeds with hard stems, mode of stem elongation, and style of spreading. Its stems are soft and juicy like mustard and though they don’t elongate much, these can multiply fast and they love the damp, fertile soils and can thrive both in shaded and sunny areas.
The wild violet is mostly seen on wide-open ground like parks, lawns, cemeteries, abandoned lots and also on turf areas. And the way it can spread fast is by forming thick rhizomes on its roots which new plants can sprout from. These rhizomes also serve as food storage for the plants.
During spring, this is the stage where the wild violet grows its stems and leaves followed by the flowers around April or May until these will develop into fruit that bear seeds. This is also the time that the mature seeds drop to the ground and germinate.
You can easily identify the wild violet that belongs to the purple flower weed by its five-petaled flowers of purple-blue colors while some of their varieties have white and yellow flowers. Its leaves are heart-shaped with serrated edges and glossy on the surfaces.
How to Control/Kill the Wild Violet:
This weed with purple flowers is also a hardy plant and quite difficult to control. You can pull them out by hand easily but digging tools will be needed to make sure their rhizomes are also coming out or new growths could grow even from a piece of a rhizome. One effective way of controlling their population is by regularly mowing the grass and replacing with turf grass that can grow thick and tough.
However, when wild violet is already spread in your grass, better to use selective herbicides that kill broadleaf plants and contain triclopyr. You may also need to reapply after a few days to ensure growth prevention. The regular postemergence herbicides may not work on these weeds because of their waxy leaves. Apply the herbicides in spring when these plants are still growing and their leaves are not so waxy.
Purple Deadnettle (Lamium purpureum)
Type: Winter Annual
This weed with purple flowers belongs to the mint plant family. It’s a winter annual weed which means it can live even during winter and will be more alive at the onset of spring but then dies in summer. But because it can leave its seeds on the ground, these will sprout again to begin its new life cycle.
The Purple deadnettle weed is also a fast grower and an aggressive invasive kind of weed. Some people like it because accordingly, it can be used for medicinal purposes. But although there are individuals who propagate these plants, they are still considered weeds by commercial landscapers and also by homeowners who manage lawns and turf.
The Purple deadnettle usually blooms in April and continues to bear flowers until summer. It can grow almost anywhere even on the roadsides and on open wide spaces where all types of weeds grow. It can also be found in many parts of the world like Europe, Britain, Norway, Israel, Western Asia, Africa and the Mediterranean. It can grow as high as 30 cm tall and its sprouts emerge in the fall while it develops its flowers in the early spring. In summer, the mature plants die but before that happens as they have already shed their seeds on the ground and new sprouts will emerge in the fall.
This Purple flower weed can be easily distinguished by its square stem and triangle-shaped leaves that are fuzzy with a tint of reddish-blue color. Its flowers are pinkish and the purple we see on them are actually young leaves that are edible and said to contain lots of vitamins and medicinal properties. But despite the captivating beauty of the Purple deadnettle and the benefits it can offer, this plant is an aggressive growing weed especially on lawns where it can easily branch out its stems.
How to Control or Kill the Purple Deadnettle
The traditional method of pulling out the Purple deadnettle may work if it grows in small areas. Moreover, its whole root system must also be pulled including the branched out stems that have developed roots. But if we’re talking about the massive invasion on the grass, then better use preemergent herbicides during late fall or winter when the seeds are beginning to sprout. Cutting the grass low and fertilizing it to make it grow thicker is also one way of arresting the growth of this weed.
Henbit Weed (Lamium amplexicaule)
Type: Winter Annual
The Henbit is a common winter annual broadleaf weed and a cousin of the Purple deadnettle in the mint family. It is also widely distributed in many parts of Europe and the Northern part of America and is also a fast grower and an aggressive grass crawler. While it is sometimes mistaken to be the Purple deadnettle due to its pink and purple flowers, its stems are shaped four-sided and sparsely hairy so people usually think these are the type of prickly weeds with purple flowers.
The Henbit weed commonly germinates in the fall and can survive even the coldest winter while it goes dormant. However, in the early spring, the newly sprouted seedlings begin to grow vigorously until they bear flowers and seeds. When summer comes, the Henbit weed will cast off its seed on the ground and the mature plants die due to exposure to the sun. But as the season gets colder like during fall (autumn) the seeds will begin to germinate and when winter comes , the newly sprouted seeds will still undergo their vegetative stage in its dormancy period.
Other than Henbit weed’s characteristic of having a four-sided stem, its upper leaves have deep lobes or are rounded and grow on the main stem. So this weed doesn’t produce branches but grows stems from the roots. Its flowers are small with a pinkish-purple tint and the color darkens as it nears the edges of the petals. The flowers are also tubular like miniature trumpets.
How to Control or Kill the Henbit Weed
This weed with purple flowers (purple flower weed) an attract pollinators from afar. However, you should not leave it alone because, in no time, it can cover a large space in your lawn and will compete with your grass. To effectively control it, you can rely on preemergent herbicides and apply them during the early spring when the newly sprouted seedlings are beginning to recover from winter. You can also manually pull them out because unlike with other purple flower weed types that have rhizomes, the Henbit weed’s roots are only fibrous like ordinary grassroots.
Violet Wood Sorrel (Oxalis Violacea)
This herb also produces some of the most beautiful flowers among the common purple flowering weeds. It also covers different species and produces flowers of different colors. It’s a perennial herb which means it can live more than a year and undergoes a resting period after its active reproductive stage usually during winter. Typically mistaken as clover whereas the clover has 3 petals, this weed’s flowers have five. The leaves of the clover are oval while the Wood Sorrel’s leaves are heart-shaped.
The Violet Wood Sorrel can grow up to 6 inches tall and can both thrive in shades and under full sunny areas. And one of the unique characteristics of this weed is it folded its leaves once darkness sets in and unfolds it when the sun comes up to catch up the heat.
This weed also has a unique way of dispersing its seeds. Once the fruit matures, a slight touch would trigger the fruit to explode and disperses its seeds right underneath it and a few inches away from its stem. Usually, they can easily invade lawns with small and weak grasses. It can be found in many parts of the U.S. and Canada. It grows better on moist soil and under partial shades like on forest floors. They also grow among the purple flower weeds like wild violets and this plant is edible you can eat its leaves, flowers and seeds. All plants that are under the Oxalis family are generally edible and also called the “sour weeds”.
This weed grows close to the ground. It has bell-shaped purple flowers that turn to white and have greenish tint lines near the flower’s throat. When the sun comes up, both the leaves and its flowers open up and it will expose its yellow anthers to attract pollinators. When the Violet Wood Sorrel grows under shade its flowers won’t unfold but once it branches out to sunny areas, it grows rapidly and aggressively. Its way of reproduction is by spreading its bulb offshoots from under its stems and new growths will sprout from these bulbs.
How to Control or Kill the Violet Wood Sorrel
You can uproot the Violet Wood Sorrel from the ground but you better use digging tools like a spade or a hoe to gather up the tubular roots. These roots can easily break and a piece left under the soil can grow into a new plant again. If you’re keen on hand pulling, do it while the plant is still at its developing stage to prevent it from bearing flowers and seeds. Herbicides for broadleaf will also work fine but better check the type of grass you have before purchasing the chemical because certain grass types can react negatively to certain chemicals even though they are not of broadleaf varieties.
Creeping Charlie (Glecoma hederacea)
The Creeping Charlie weed is also a member of the mint family like the Purple deadnettle and the Henbit weed. But in spite of being a weed with purple flowers that can be nice to see growing near the roads, this kind of weed is an invasive one and can cover your lawn if you let it grow. It loves to grow in cooler soil with shade but it is also a hardy weed that can tolerate sunlight.
Some people who own vacant properties dont mind Creeping Charlie getting on their ground because aside from it those wonderful purple flowers, the weeds can also serve as ground cover for soil erosion protection and drought. But if it invades your lawn, you have to act as soon as possible as they tend to spread fast and merge with your grass and can make it look bad.
Creeping Charlie is quite difficult to control by using only mechanical means like hand- pulling or cutting them down. This is because they grow rhizomes right under their stems. And if some parts of the rhizome have been left out on the ground, another plant will grow from it.
In spring, they become mature and bear flowers that are small and purple-bluish in color. They are also distinguishable by their funnel shapes. This weed can go long distances by creeping slowly and can produce lots of branches. And when each stem come in contact with the soil, it can also form new roots while the main stem continues to grow its rhizomes to support the whole plant with nutrition. You know that this weed is mature based on the size of its rhizomes.
The leaves of the Creeping Charlie can be distinguished by their kidney-shaped leaves and have round-tooth edges. These also grow opposite each other and sometimes form a square growth around the stem.
This weed grows like a vine that’s why some people also call it the “ground ivy”. When its vine branches out and covers the ground, they look like a green carpet. But unknown to us, these vines can grow roots on their branches thus this weed can be hard to kill even if you cut out its main stem.
How to Control or Kill Creeping Charlie Weed
You can do hand pulling of the main stem but you also have to pull out its branches that have formed roots. But this is only convenient for small areas affected by this weed. So if this weed has already taken up a large space, better hit it with herbicides that contain dicamba. We are very particular with the dicamba herbicide because according to several tests, most of the herbicides that can kill many varieties of broadleaf weeds won’t effectively work with the Creeping Charlie.
Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum Salicaria)
The Lythrum salicaria or Purple Loosestrife has a characteristic of clumping together its stems especially when it matures so you can see their purple flowers appear in bunches. This weed is one of the prickly weeds with purple flowers that can grow as high as 6 feet. Its leaves grow opposite each other and they are heart-shaped and whorled.
The Purple Loosestrife is also a fast grower weed and known for its beautiful flowers and medicinal benefits but can be invasive on lawns because of its very productive life cycle that a single plant can release millions of seeds each year. The danger it can do on grasslands can be severe because it can choke other grasses and rob them of their nutrients and kill them. In this case, the animals relying on grass are also affected.
This weed loves to grow on wetlands and thrives in North American soil like on lakes and rivers. Though it originates from Asia and Europe, it blooms from June to September. And because it blooms for four months, it’s capable of shedding a lot of seeds that grow almost all year round. Other than that, it can also grow stems which can reach up to 7 feet high.
It can also reproduce vegetatively through shoot growths and these shoots can grow up to 12 inches a year. With its ability to produce millions of seeds and having an active rooting system, this weed should not be taken for granted once it grows on our yards and lawns.
The Purple loosestrife (purple flower weed) has woody stalks that can grow tall and its leaves are heart-shaped or lanced, while its flowers are spike-like and can have 5 to 7 petals. Its stems are square and smooth with very fine hairs. The seeds or pods are rather small and can be carried in different directions when it gets windy.
How to Control or Kill the Purple Loosestri
If the Purple Loosestrife grows only on small patches, they can be controlled by pulling them out and spraying preemergent herbicides on where they are growing to ensure that the new growth can also be killed. Also, mowing them low before they produce flowers and burning their waste to ensure that their roots are destroyed. In terms of chemical herbicidal control, a glyphosate-based herbicide can work and the best months to spray this weed with herbicides are from June to August when they are about to bloom.
Now that you can identify what the weeds with purple flowers are called, it’s better that you watch out for these weeds in your garden, backyard, turf or ranches because whenever they manage to creep in and spread, they can be hard to control although there are still ways to control them.
When buying herbicides, don’t hesitate to ask the seller about the potential of the product although in most products the weeds it can kill are indicated on the label. Don’t let purple flower weed ruin your garden.