"I'm a creep...I'm a weirdo...what the hell am I doing here? I don't belong here..." ~Radiohead

If you've noticed plants that look like the picture above, you should know that it's an aggressive, highly-invasive weed that'll kill the plants you want. They're also a pain to get rid of.

Creeping Bellflower foliage (credit: U of MN Extension)
Creeping Bellflower foliage (credit: U of MN Extension)

It's blooming time for the Creeping Bellflower, and that's bad news. According to the University of Minnesota Extension: "creeping bellflower outcompetes other species and requires dedicated removal efforts as it spreads by both seed and roots".

Translation: it'll kill other plants and is a pain to get rid of.

Other telltale signs of a Creeping Bellflower infestation (besides the pics):

  • flowers that have five-pointed lobes and are blue-purple in color with a bell shape
  • heart-shaped leaves at the base, with slightly-hairy lance-shaped leaves moving up the stem
  • green or purple stems with a milky sap when broken

The weed has a high (hello!) adaptability, so it could be in your garden AND your lawn. It's not native to North America (Europe and Asia), and was probably brought here as an ornamental plant. Ab fab.

What To Do If You Fine Creeping Bellflowers

No. NO! (Photo by Tali Despins on Unsplash)
No. NO! (Photo by Tali Despins on Unsplash)

Put the flamethrower away, hoss. Hand removal is suggested by U of M/E, but you need to get all of the root out of the ground. These little jerkfaces can regrow from just a little bit of leftover root.

Burn or bag removed plants.

Chemicals can be effective if used in the spring or fall.

If you're a bit of a sadist you can smother the plants with a tarp or newspaper.

Read more about the little buggers (that grow up to 3 feet tall) on the University of Minnesota Extension's website.

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