Also known as ground ivy, Creeping Charlie (glechoma hederacea), is a fast-spreading and resilient weed capable of growing in either sun or shade. Because of its ability to spread quickly and crowd out other vegetation, This plant can turn your garden into a weed-infested garden. This is exactly why it is necessary to get rid of these common weeds.

Creeping Charlie is member of the mint family and has small, scallop-edged, green leaves that grow low to the ground like ivy. In the spring, it grows small, blue flowers. This plant can grow in many conditions but prefers moist and shaded areas. Though pretty at times, it’s a menace to deal with when it takes over your landscaping. If you want to know how to kill Creeping Charlie, these are some common ways to get rid of your infestation.

1. Hand Weeding

Hand-removing Creeping Charlie is hard work, but not impossible. Here are a few guidelines to help make the project go smoothly.


  • Gardening gloves
  • Gardening fork
  • Garbage bag
  • Lawn cultivator
  • Rake or pitchfork
  1. Before getting started, slip on a pair of gardening gloves.
  2. Grab the plant near the roots and pull firmly to remove it from the ground. If the soil is tightly packed, you’ll want to loosen it with a gardening fork first.
  3. Throw the plants in a garbage bag — do not add them to a compost pile or you’re likely to face a lot of aggravation and work when the plants re-root.
  4. Use a lawn cultivator or rake to make sure you’ve removed all pieces of the root system. Roots will reseed and regenerate if left behind in the soil.

Read also: How to compost at home

2. Herbicide

Herbicide involves the least amount of physical work and might make the most sense if the plant has seriously taken over your lawn. However, the herbicide is strong and kills most vegetation, so be sure to use it with care and follow directions. Herbicides with the active ingredients dicamba and triclopyr are the most common and effective options for treating Creeping Charlie.

There are 2 types of herbicides namely pre-emergent weedkillers and post-emergence weed killers

The best time to apply herbicide is in the fall before first frost, when Creeping Charlie goes dormant, or in the spring when it’s flowering.


  • Long gloves
  • Long-sleeved clothing
  • Protective eyewear
  • Garden sprayer
  • Herbicide
  1. When applying herbicide, it’s very important to wear gloves, protective clothing, and protective eyewear.
  2. Use a garden sprayer to apply the herbicide to the leaves, making sure to soak them thoroughly, and steer clear of other plants. Let the herbicide soak into the plant for a few days.
  3. Once the plant has turned brown, remove it from the ground and throw it in the trash.
  4. If you have herbicide spray left over after your herbicide application, be careful to get rid of the bottle according to the product directions.

3. Smothering

Creeping Charlie can also be smothered with a layer of cardboard or newspaper. Though the plant grows well in low light, it will die if all light is blocked.


  • Cardboard or newspaper
  1. First, cover Creeping Charlie entirely, extending your covering of choice about a foot beyond all edges of the plant.
  2. After about a week, check to see if the plant has turned brown or if any green patches remain. If green leaves are present, replace the cover and leave for another few days.
  3. Once Creeping Charlie has turned fully brown, the plant should be fairly easy to remove. Once you remove it from the ground, toss it in the garbage (remember, no compost).

4. Dawn Dish Soap, Vinegar, and Epsom Salt

Another way to get rid of Creeping Charlie is to mix an even combination of Dawn dish soap, vinegar, and epsom salt into a spray bottle. The acid in the vinegar sucks out the water from the weeds, drying it up, and the dish soap helps break down the outer coat of the plant. The Epsom salt helps to further dehydrate the plant.


  • Dawn dish soap
  • Vinegar
  • Epsom salt
  • Spray bottle
  1. Combine an equal parts of Dawn, Epsom salt, and vinegar.
  2. Mix the three ingredients.
  3. Pour them into a spray bottle.
  4. Spray over Creeping Charlie.
  5. Do this at least once daily, and combine weed-pulling for best results.

How to Keep Creeping Charlie from Creeping Back

If you have Creeping Charlie, you likely need to address your lawn’s growing conditions. Some reasons that you are struggling with this weed include too much shade, poor fertility, or your soil is too wet. With proper lawn care, Creeping Charlie has a hard time coming back.

Additionally, Creeping Charlie loves open areas, like flower beds. Applying mulch to certain sections of your lawn and around planting beds can help reduce the chances of Creeping Charlie from growing back. Here are some other ways to keep Creeping Charlie from growing back year after year:

  • Prune your bushes and trees to allow more light to shine on your lawn
  • Seed your lawn with grass seeds that do best in the shade
  • Don’t let your turfgrass grow taller than 8cm, and when mowing your grass, don’t cut more than a third off the top of the blades
  • Use a high quality fertilizer to feed your grass
  • Aerate your lawn to loosen any compacted soil


What Is Creeping Charlie?

Creeping Charlie is a lawn weed that is difficult to control, but it can be killed by using broadleaf herbicides, hand-weeding, or smothering.

This weed was originally introduced to North America from Europe, whose early settlers thought it would be a good groundcover to produce shade. Creeping Charlie plants, also known as ground ivy, are a perennial that thrive in shady areas.

Sometimes Creeping Charlie is confused with Creeping Jenny, which has small, bright yellow flowers instead of blue flowers.

What kills Creeping Charlie but not grass?

The best way for homeowners to control this invasive weed, and not kill grass, is to use a postemergent broadleaf weed herbicide. Using a herbicide that contains salt of dicamba or triclopyr is the best choice to keep the Creeping Charlie under control without killing your grass.

Will Dawn dish soap kill Creeping Charlie?

There is another natural way to kill Creeping Charlie, and that is by using a mixture of Dawn dish soap, Epsom salts, and vinegar. This mixture helps cause the foliage to die, but you will need to continuously apply this to your weeds along with hand-pulling, to keep Creeping Charlie from growing back. I have used this method before, but I find it to be too much effort and time-consuming.

What does Creeping Charlie look like?

Creeping Charlie are bright green, round or kidney shaped leaves that have scalloped edges. These leaves are opposite of eachother on square creeping stems, rooting at the nodes. When Creeping Charlie starts to grow in the spring, it is small, funnel-shaped, and has blue/purple flowers.


While getting rid of Creeping Charlie is a chore, it can be done by using herbicides, hand-weeding, or smothering for weed control. If you are looking for a DIY approach, a mixture of Dawn dish soap, vinegar, and Epsom salts will do the trick.

Be sure to have all of your materials on hand before starting to remove the weeds, as it is important to be prepared and protect yourself from rough edges, or weed killer chemicals.

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Reviewed for accuracy, cost data, industry best practices, and expert advice by Coty Perry.
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Elisabeth Beauchamp

Senior Staff Writer

Elisabeth Beauchamp is a content producer for Today’s Homeowner’s Lawn and Windows categories. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with degrees in Journalism and Linguistics. When Elisabeth isn’t writing about flowers, foliage, and fertilizer, she’s researching landscaping trends and current events in the agricultural space. Elisabeth aims to educate and equip readers with the tools they need to create a home they love.

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Coty Perry

Expert Writer & Reviewer

Coty Perry is a lawn and garden writer for Today’s Homeowner. He focuses on providing homeowners with actionable tips that relate to the “Average Joe” who is looking to achieve a healthier and greener lawn. When he isn’t writing he can almost always be found coaching youth football or on some trail in Pennsylvania in search of the next greatest fishing hole.

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