How to Cultivate Chickweed

Overview

Chickweed is a small herb native to many parts of North America. It is also called Stellaria media and starweed. It is often considered a lawn weed. The fleshy stems grow close to the ground in winter, with small light green leaves ranging from ½-inch to 1 1/4 inches in length. Flowers and seeds are small. Herbalists often make this plant into a topical ointment they say is useful for inflammations, abscesses and skin ulcers. The leaves are also edible and high in Vitamins A, C and calcium. It's easy to grow chickweed in most garden soils.

Step 1

Select an area where your chickweed can spread without interfering with other plants. Under a tree or other taller perennial is a good spot, especially if the soil is moist.

Step 2

Rake the planting area to flatten the soil and remove any weeds several months before you plant chickweed seeds.

Step 3

Dig in any type of compost or manure several months before you plant. For fall planting, prepare the planting area the previous spring. Horizon Herbs recommends planting chickweed in an area where you grew vegetables the previous summer, if possible.

Step 4

Water the planting area thoroughly before you scatter chickweed seeds. After you lightly scatter seeds, press them into the soil gently, using your palm. Keep the soil moist until the seeds begin to germinate.

Step 5

Thin young plants to stand about inches apart. You can use the thinned plants in a salad, and then when the remaining plants grow larger, pinch them off to keep them contained to the planting area and then add them to your salads.

Things You'll Need

  • Shady, moist area
  • Rake
  • Compost
  • Manure

References

  • Virginia Tech: Weed identification guide
  • Botanical.com: Chickweed
  • Herbal Cuisine: Chickweed
  • Green Prophet: Foraging the Wild weeds on your windowsill

Who Can Help

  • Horizon Herbs: Chickweed seeds
Keywords: chickweed herbs, growing groundcover, plants edible

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens," and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to Big Island Weekly, Ke Ola magazine, GardenGuides and eHow. She earned her B.A. at UCSB and her M.A. from San Jose State University.