Bishop's weed was sold as a fast growing ground cover for many years (and is still available in some areas), but it is a plant of concern and should only be used after careful consideration of the planting site. It is an aggressive grower and often considered a weed. In some Eastern states it is considered a noxious weed and is banned or prohibited.
This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.
All Common Names:
Tree or Plant Type:
- Ground cover,
- Small plant (6-12 inches)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
- Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily),
- Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)
- Zone 4,
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7,
- Zone 8,
- Zone 9
- Acid soil,
- Alkaline soil,
- Moist, well-drained soil
Season of Interest:
- Late spring,
- Early summer,
- Mid summer,
- Late summer,
- Early fall,
- Mid fall
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
Size and Method of spreading
Bishop's weed grows up to one foot high and is a colonizing ground cover. Colonizing ground covers produce underground stems that spread out horizontally and shallowly, produce roots and then send up new shoots. These plants are strong growers and may have the potential to grow aggressively. Bishop's weed is definitely an aggressive grower.
Bishop's weed can adapt to a wide range of conditions and this partially explains its aggressive nature. The plant may wilt or scorch in full sun under dry conditions.
Disease, pests, and problems
The biggest problem with this ground cover will be controlling it. It not only spreads aggressively through rhizomes, but it also goes to seed readily.
Native geographic location and habitat
Native to Europe.
The leaves are compound, divided into three sets of three leaflets each. Leaflets are coarsely serrate. Leaves of the species are green, but a cultivar with more attractive variegated leaves is the form most commonly sold.
Small white flowers are produced in compound umbels in early to mid-summer. Flower stalks usually extend above the foliage about six inches. They are not excessively showy and deadheading them can reduce the number of seeds formed.
The small, dry fruit (schizocarps) are not ornamentally important. Removing them before they ripen will help reduce the spread of this plant.
Cultivars and their differences
Variegated Bishop's weed (Aegopodium podagraria 'Variegatum'): This cultivar is considered less aggressive, but that does not mean this plant will stay put. The leaves are edged in creamy white.