Bishop's weed, also called goutweed, is an extremely vigorous ground cover with deep green leaves divided into three leaflets. Tiny white flowers appear in summer on flat, umbrella-like heads. This plant spreads rapidly in the right conditions.
- Common name: Bishop's weed or goutweed
- Botanical name: Aegopodium podagraria
- Zones: 4 to 9
- Height: To 24 inches tall
- From: Areas of Europe
- Family: Umbelliferae (carrot family)
- Sun: Partial to full shade.
- Soil: Because it's so invasive, it's best to plant it in shade in average or poor soil.
- Moisture: Drought tolerant, though dry conditions will cause its leaves to brown.
- Mulch: A layer of mulch in the summer will help conserve moisture and keep soil temperatures from rising too much.
- Pruning: Cut plants back after they freeze in autumn or before they grow in spring. To prevent self-sown seedlings, shear flowers before they produce seeds.
- Fertilizer: Fertilizer is unnecessary.
- Division: Divide any time, although early spring is best.
- Aphids: These small insects often appear in large numbers on new growth. Spray them off daily with a stream of water; they will not attack a plant after being knocked off. Use an insecticidal soap or neem-oil spray for severe infestations.
- Rot: Rot can be a problem if there's too much moisture in the soil. Increase soil drainage to correct the problem.
- By the end of the season, leaves may become brown. Shear the foliage back in summer and bishop's weed will produce new leaves that continue to look fresh through the end of the season. Mulch the soil around the plants to help conserve moisture and prevent the foliage from turning brown. The foliage will burn if planted in full sun.
- This plant is a fast spreader in some conditions, and can be invasive in the garden.
- Aegopodium podagraria ‘Variegatum' has leaves edged in white or cream and the same white flowers as the species. It's slightly less invasive. Zones 4 to 9.