Identifying Weeds With Purple Flowers – What Are They Called?

Many people take pride in their lawns and gardens, but when weeds begin popping up in your yard it can be frustrating. These small plants may look innocent enough, but they will spread quickly if you don’t treat them properly.

Finding out what kind of weed has invaded your garden or lawn can be tricky, especially for new homeowners who aren’t familiar with local vegetation. While some weeds may be easy to identify by sight or smell alone, sometimes it can be difficult for homeowners to know exactly what type of weed is invading their property.

Identifying the type of weed is the first step to getting rid of it. For example, there are many weeds common throughout North America that are most easily identified by their purple flowers. In this post we’ve accumulated the four main types of weeds with purple flowers commonly found growing in yards and gardens.

If you have spotted unwanted purple flowers growing in your backyard, check out our list below! We’ll show you the best way to identify and get rid of each of these weeds.

Four Common Weeds With Purple Flowers

We all know that pulling weeds is important for our yards, but sometimes it’s hard to identify them. Therefore, we’ve compiled a list of common weeds with purple flowers so you’ll be able to learn exactly which one is creating a nuisance in your garden.

The four weeds are: Creeping Charlie, Wild Violet, Purple Dead-Nettle, and Common Henbit.

Creeping Charlie

Also called Glechoma hederacea, Ground Ivy, or Gill-Over-the-Ground, Creeping Charlie is a perennial, evergreen weed that is a type of plant in the mint family. It is edible, and often eaten in salads the world over, and some gardeners like to cultivate it in their garden or home pots.

However, in the United States it is an invasive, non-native weed, and often chokes native wildflowers, so it is important to eliminate it from your lawn as soon as you discover it.

Creeping Charlie grows prostrate on the ground, meaning it grows into a mat or carpet-like plant on the soil by ‘creeping’ along the ground.

It is a vine, and has green leaves, hairy, green stems, and purple flowers shaped like trumpets or funnels.

The leaves are rounded at the tip and have rounded but toothed edges all around each leaf. The stems have some hairy surfaces and are usually green or red-brown in color. The purple flowers in creeping charlie can look like small funnels, and often grow in clusters of a few flowers.

How Does Creeping Charlie Grow And Where?

Creeping Charlie often grows in moist soil and shady areas, like near ponds and streams; it’s also found in grasslands, wooded areas, and wasteland, and can be found outdoors in fields, hillsides, and around your home. It can grow in sunshine as well, however, so eradicating it is not as easy as giving your lawn more sunlight.

Creeping Charlie is an invasive weed in many areas because it grows quickly to form a dense carpet layer, which may take over the undergrowth of gardens and woodlands.

It typically flowers from April to July, so look out for purple spots during those months. Creeping Charlie spreads rapidly both by seed dispersal and through cloning itself, so if you notice it growing make sure to remove is as soon as you can!

Wild Violet

Wild Violet (also known as Viola Sororia) is a small-flowered annual or perennial weed that is mostly found in temperate northern hemisphere climates, such as the eastern United States as well as parts of Europe and Asia.

You can identify Wild Violets most readily by their purple flowers that appear over the spring and summer months. The flowers have five petals, and are most commonly purple, but can also be white, dark purple, and light blue in color.

Their heart-shaped leaves have wavy edges, and they often grow close to the ground because their stems are not very long.

Where and How do Wild Violets grow?

Wild violets are a common sight in lawns and gardens all over the U.S. They can grow in both sun and shade and a plethora of habitats, such as bogs, prairie plains, hillsides, and woodlands, in addition to altered lands like roadsides and wastelands.

Wild Violet is a weed that spreads by sending out runners along the soil or through wind and animal-aided seed dispersal. Its roots extend far into the soil making it difficult for grasses to successfully compete with it. It can disperse seeds as far as 5 meters away from the original plant.

Their flowers grow throughout the majority of the spring and into the summer, and a single plant can produce a lot of flowers.

Purple Dead-Nettle

Lamium Purpureum, which is more commonly known as Red Dead-Nettle, Purple Archangel, and Purple Dead-Nettle, is another common weed found with purple flowers. It is native to Europe and Asia, but is widely naturalized throughout lawns and gardens in the United States and Canada as well.

The flowers are a bright reddish-purple, and they have small white hairs that grow all over them. Additionally, the leaves at the top of the Purple Dead-Nettle weed are also tinged a dark purple, with heavy veins throughout and hairs on them as well.

How and Where Does Purple Dead-Nettle Grow?

In addition to gardens and lawns, Purple Dead-Nettle is found often on hillsides and forest edges, and it also likes to grow alongside roadsides so watch out for this weed when driving!

This weed produces flowers throughout the year, even in the winter, and it is often found growing alongside the next weed on this list, Henbit.

Common Henbit

Common Henbit, or Lamium Amplexicaule, is a similar species of nettle to Purple Dead-Nettle, and grows in similar habitats. In fact, it is often called Henbit Dead-Nettle. It is native to the Mediterranean region, but is widely naturalized in the eastern United States and other countries, and its flowers bloom year-round in warmer climates, and very early in the Spring even in more northern areas.

Common Henbit and Purple Dead-Nettle often get confused for each other because they are often found growing near the other, and both of their top bouquet of purple flowers look similar. However, you can tell them apart in a few ways.

The flower of the Henbit is more pinkish-purple, and they are not ringed by hairy, purple flowers but rather stand out by themselves. The flowers are also larger on the Henbit, and henbit grows about twice as high as Purple Dead-Nettle.

Where Does Common Henbit Grow and How?

Common Henbit is often found growing in open spaces, such as fields and meadows, in addition to your lawn or garden.

It reproduces by seed dispersal through air and animal transport, which is how it can become a large part of a meadow’s ecosystem. Sometimes entire meadows will appear pink-purple due to its flowers in the springtime.

How Do You Get Rid Of These Weeds?

The best way to get rid of any of these weeds is by spraying the area where you see them growing with an herbicide containing glyphosate or triclopyr. You can buy these from a nearby home garden center in the form of liquid sprays, granules, or pellets.

These products work for killing almost all weeds because they are often non-selective, meaning they kill anything they come into contact with. However, a non-selective herbicide can also kill healthy plants, so you need to be careful when using it.

An effective weed killer that uses both glyphosate and triclopyr is RoundUp Poison Ivy Plus Weed Killer. Another option which uses triclopyr and 2,4-D together is the Souther Ag Crossbow Herbicide.

A great glyphosate-based herbicide and another effective option is this Compare-N-Save Concentrate. When using weed killers, always practice safe gardening methods and always read labels and the directions.

However, if you don’t want to use chemical herbicides, you can try pulling these weeds out by hand. This method is incredibly difficult, especially for Creeping Charlie, which is perhaps the hardest weed to eliminate simply through hand pulling. But there are some tricks you can try to have a higher chance of success.

The first thing you have to do when controlling and getting rid of these weeds from your yard is to cut them right down at ground level with a pair of garden shears. Then, water the soil and ground around the weeds and loosen it with a pitchfork or garden hoe. This will expose the roots and make them pull out easier, so you should then remove as much of them as possible. If you leave the smallest bits of root, any of these weeds can and will grow back in little time.

This process is more effective on a small infestation, and will have to be done multiple times to full work.

How To Prevent Weeds From Growing In Your Garden

Practicing good lawn care is the best way to prevent any weeds at all springing up in your garden. You should mow your lawn regularly, on as high a deck setting as possible, and leave the clippings on the grass to compost. This will provide nutrition for your lawn as well as stimulate new grass growth.

If you’re aiming for a weed-free lawn, it is helpful to lay down a good grass fertilizer during the autumn. This will give your lawn and the grass in it the nutrients it needs over the winter to come back lush and green in the spring and summer seasons. Mulching is also beneficial, partciualry if you do it a day or two after hand weeding.

Additionally, regularly aerating and de-thatching your yard and garden could keep weeds at bay.

Other Weeds With Purple Flowers

Other, less common weeds that you might find in your lawn or garden, or just in any green areas in your neighborhood, include Cornflower, Scabious (Pincushion), Smartweed/Knotweed, Bluebonnets, Vicia tenuifolia (Cow Vetch), Vipers Bugloss, Spear Thistle, and Pickerelweed.

If none of the four common weeds described above fit the description for what is in your yard, try to look up one of these weeds and see if they fit!

Final Thoughts

If you are a homeowner who loves to garden, you most likely have had an experience with weeds. If you see purple flowers growing on these weeds, you most likely have either Creeping Charlie, Wild Violets, Purple Dead-Nettle, or Common Henbit.

Weeds with purple flowers can look beautiful in the garden or yard, or in the cracks of sidewalks and driveways, but you should not let them take over your property! It’s time to take action on these weeds that are growing in your yard. First, identify exactly which plant type it is. Then, work on getting rid of it with either a chemical or organic weed killing method. We wish you all the best in your gardening endeavors!