How to Reduce the Thickness of a Creeping Charlie


If you have a plant with oval, scalloped-edged leaves that smell like mint, square stems and small purplish funnel-shaped flowers that's invading your lawn or garden, you have creeping Charlie. Also known as ground ivy, creeping Charlie (Glechema heracea) is an invasive plant from the mint family with a deep, extensive root system. Creeping Charlie can quickly and easily take over a lawn or garden, growing in dense mats. Reducing the thickness of creeping Charlie is possible but takes time and perseverance.

Step 1

Pull out the creeping Charlie by hand to reduce its thickness. Remove all the roots when you're pulling the weeds.

Step 2

Adjust your mower and mow your grass higher to help shade out the creeping Charlie. Mow your grass to a height of about 3 inches. Allow the grass clippings to remain on your lawn to feed the grass and strengthen its root system.

Step 3

Over-seed your lawn in the spring and fall. Apply an organic grass fertilizer to your lawn after over-seeding it, following the application instructions on the label. This will help to strengthen your grass and choke out the creeping Charlie.

Step 4

Plant strong, shade-loving plants where the creeping Charlie is growing thick in the shade. Because the grass won't grow strong enough to choke out the creeping Charlie in shady areas, try planting those areas with plants that grow well in the shade.

Step 5

Apply a borax solution to the ground around the creeping Charlie as a last resort, because borax can kill other plants and can make it difficult to grow anything in the soil for a while after applying it. Mix 10 oz. of borax with 4 oz. of warm water, and then dilute this mixture in 2 1/2 gallons of water. Spray the mixture over the area with the creeping Charlie. This formulation covers about 1,000 square feet.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't dispose of the creeping Charlie in a compost heap, unless it's a hot compost pile. Discard the creeping Charlie in the trash so you don't end up inadvertently replanting the seeds.

Things You'll Need

  • Lawnmower
  • Grass seed
  • Organic grass fertilizer
  • Shade-loving plants (optional)
  • Borax (optional)
  • Weeding tools or spade


  • Saskatchewan Environmental Society: Problem Pests--Creeping Charlie

Who Can Help

  • Purdue University Extension: Controlling Ground Ivy (Creeping Charlie)
  • "In the Garden" Recipes with Charlie Nardozzi
Keywords: creeping Charlie weed, reduce creeping Charlie, kill ground ivy

About this Author

Sarah Terry brings 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters, and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.