How to Get Rid of Creeping Charlie in the Garden


Creeping Charlie is a vine from the mint family introduced to North America by early settlers as a ground cover for shady areas. Today, it is a well-known and hated lawn and garden pest. Creeping Charlie will take over once it has established itself in your garden. Getting rid of creeping Charlie in your garden will require diligence and dedication.

Step 1

Learn what creeping Charlie looks like so you can recognize it before it invades your garden. This low-to-the-ground vine has kidney-bean shaped leaves that have scalloped leaf margins and small purplish blue flowers. It spreads slowly, "creeping," as the long stems take root at the leaf nodes.

Step 2

Be diligent in pulling up any creeping Charlie you find in or near your garden. It will get an extensive root system as it grows and spreads, so it is important to catch it before it begins to take over your lawn and garden. Every spring, patrol your garden to catch the creeping Charlie while it is young. Be consistent and thorough with your weeding of it and do not leave the plants you have pulled anywhere near your garden.

Step 3

Remove any favorable conditions you can. Creeping Charlie prefers damp, shady spaces. Make sure your garden is well-drained and not over-watered. If your garden receives a lot of shade from trees, see if you can prune back some branches to allow more sun to reach your garden.

Step 4

Move your garden to a sunnier spot. Then till under your garden of creeping Charlie, over-seed it with grass seed in the fall, and feed it an organic fertilizer so the grass can grow strong and choke out the creeping Charlie. If the area is too shady for grass, plant ground covers that need less sun.

Tips and Warnings

  • Some organic gardeners advise you to use borax to get rid of creeping Charlie. While it is true that borax will kill your creeping Charlie, if too much boron (the ingredient that kills creeping Charlie) gets into your soil, nothing else will grow either. It might take many years for your garden to recover.

Things You'll Need

  • Tiller
  • Grass seed or ground cover plants
  • Organic fertilizer


  • Getting Rid of Creeping Charlie
  • Controlling Creeping Charlie
  • Be Pesticide Free
Keywords: creeping Charlie, weed control, garden pests

About this Author

Em Connell McCarty has been writing for more than 27 years. She studied writing at the University of Iowa and at Hollins University in Virginia. She is continuing her study of English and writing at the University of Wisconsin. She writes fiction, creative nonfiction and essays. McCarty's fiction has been published in "Hip Mama" magazine and "Danse Macabre."