Gardens could be a tricky place, mainly if you are new to the gardening world. Identifying a significant challenge when you’re a newbie, but there’s no harm in it, as long as you’re ready to learn. Out of the many misconceptions that exist in the mind of a beginner gardener, the most common one happens to be the confusion between weeds and plants.
Both plants and weeds can thrive in places like lawns and gardens, making its identification which makes its identification a bit challenging. However, little knowledge about the appearance, growth pattern, and other factors about the two can help you understand your garden better. So, to help you through it, here’s a guide with a list of weeds that people often confuse with plants. Let’s get started!
Before Anything Else, What Are Weeds?
In simple words, we can also say that weeds are that part of the garden which you have now intentionally grown. Garden weeds are those that grow in unwanted spaces, which may be subjective for each plant. For instance, in a vegetable garden, a rose plant can be considered a weed because it hampers the growth of vegetables. This means that weed grows in any garden, and it does not have one particular appearance. This is why its identification is complex, and most beginner gardeners get confused.
Nevertheless, a few critical differences between weeds and plants can help you distinguish among them with ease. Let’s have a look.
The Primary Differences Between Weeds And Plants:
Before we begin with the differences, let’s establish that any plant can be a weed. It all depends on where it is growing.
Coming to the difference, plants generally take a longer time to grow, whereas weeds grow way too fast and often in an uncontrollable manner. This makes the situation a little messy, majorly because the trouble caused to your garden plants doubles and multiplies quickly due to the rapidly growing behavior of the weeds.
Another critical characteristic is that plants usually do not grow randomly until and unless the seed has been sown. On the contrary, weeds can grow anywhere and everywhere; but are typically seen in unexpected places such as in the gutters, between bricks, or even along the pavement.
Additionally, plants demand a specific living condition for growing. This includes adequate water, sunlight, soil conditions like moist soil, dry soil, and even some external support such as fertilizers, pest control, etc. In the absence of these facilities, we can barely see a plant growing, and eventually, they die. Weeds, on the other hand, tend to survive irrespective of the conditions around them. This is why destroying them is also a challenge.
Now that we know the fundamental differences between weeds and plants, let’s get to the list of weeds that people think are plants.
Mint? How can mint not be a plant? Indeed, you have this question in your mind. But to your surprise, mint is a weed because it has the tendency to multiply and gives the gardener no control of its growth. Mint can practically cover the space of two plants in half the time. So when you have a weed-like mint in your garden, other plants won’t have their space to grow. This is why it is most advisable to grow mint in a container with growth restrictions and avoid planting it directly on the ground. Otherwise, its aggressively spreading root system will slowly take up the entire garden.
A lot of people think that bermudagrass is intentionally planted, but that is hardly the case. Bermuda grass takes up almost any piece of land entirely with very little time. Bermuda grass doesn’t even grow two feet tall, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a problem. Its growth is majorly in a horizontal form all over the landscape due to its rapidly spreading roots. Besides, getting rid of this weed is almost impossible because every time you cut it off, the remaining portion of it gives rise to a whole new weed, with a potentially more significant spread of the root system. This is why you will always see lawns and gardens full of Bermuda grass.
Bamboo, one of the most commonly gifted “plants,” is surprisingly not a plant. There are two categories of bamboo- clumping and running. The clumping bamboo will typically not grow beyond its designated space and is quite manageable. However, the running bamboos tend to be more aggressive in terms of growth. They can grow away quickly and take up a significant portion of land just like that. In this case, too, stopping the weed from growing is challenging and cannot be done without the help of a weed killer.
Indeed, the purple, blue flowers are beautiful and seem pretty delicate. But that’s only a disguise for all the destructive roots present underneath. The roots of periwinkle tend to be quite thick, which makes it impossible for the roots of the surrounding plants to sustain. Besides that, periwinkle, a form of a weed, can grow irrespective of environmental conditions. It can grow in excessive sunlight or minimal sunlight too. And it doesn’t get affected by the type of soil either. So be it moist soil or dry soil, periwinkle will thrive.
This is yet another example of a seemingly “flowering plant,” which, in reality, is a weed. Chinese Privet looks gorgeous with its tiny, white flowers. However, they are an invitation for bees, insects, and birds too. Since the Chinese Privet contains an impressive amount of nectar and pollen, bees and insects often land on them. In addition to that, the Chinese Privet also bears small berries, which are a typical meal for birds. However, the sad part is that birds often leave the berry’s seed somewhere in the same landscape, which causes the growth of many unwanted Chinese Privets.
The English Ivy is commonly used as a home decor agent but turns out to be a complete disaster. The reason? Its aggressive and uncontrollable growth. It requires consistent attention because if the ends of the English Ivy are not trimmed regularly, it can quickly leave its space and take over that of other plants in your garden.
Additionally, special care has to be taken as you trim the English Ivy. Because it is quite possible that the trimmed-off part falls on the ground and turns into a new English Ivy altogether, if you don’t take care of the trimmed ends of the English Ivy, you will have yet another messy weed to manage.
Heavenly Bamboo is another name given to Nandina Domestica, which is usually assumed to be a plant. However, this weed grows tremendously and often finds its way into the wilderness. Being an aggressive one, it can easily outcompete the surrounding plants and can practically damage your entire garden, leaving you only with the heavenly bamboo all over the place. Additionally, this weed bears small-sized red berries. Due to its bright red color, birds and insects are highly attracted to this plant. But unfortunately, these berries are toxic and should not be consumed by any animal.
All in all, there are quite some weeds that appear to be plants. But considering their behavior pattern and speed of growth, these weeds can genuinely destroy the other plants in your garden. Managing the growth of weeds is a challenge, but it’s not impossible. You can always opt for professional help or make use of weed killer. But for that, too, you would still need to understand and identify whether makingyou have in the garden is a weed or a plant. Luckily, with this guide, you are now more aware and can take care of your garden in a much better way.