Aegopodium podagraria 'Variegatum'

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 8 Professionals
Common Name: bishop's weed
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Apiaceae
Zone: 4 to 9
Height: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Colorful
Tolerate: Drought, Heavy Shade, Erosion

Culture

Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in sun or shade. Perhaps best in part shade in the St. Louis area. Foliage will often scorch in hot, dry, full sun conditions. Tolerant of a wide range of soils. Flower heads may be removed to prevent self-seeding and to maintain appearance of the ground cover. Any unvariegated shoots which appear should also be removed as they tend to be more vigorous and can quickly take over a planting. If foliage declines in summer, plantings may be sheared by mowing on a high setting to remove the unsightly leaves and to stimulate new foliage growth. Spreads by underground stems (rhizomes) and can be quite aggressive. If not grown in self-contained areas, mechanical barriers may need to be installed to prevent unwanted spread of plants. Commonly sold by nurseries in flats for covering large areas.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Aegopodium podagraria, commonly called goutweed (in its variegarted form) is one of the most popular ground covers for quickly covering large areas. Will rapidly form a continuous mound of attractive foliage typically growing to 8" tall with an indefinite spread. Unfortunately, once it gets going, it acts like the proverbial snowball going downhill and can be difficult to contain. Individual leaflets (to 3" long) are oval and serrated. Tiny white flowers appear in flat-topped, dill-like inflorescences (umbels) which are typical of the parsley/carrot family. Flowers appear above the foliage in May-June, but are not particularly attractive and are often sheared off by gardeners where practicable.

Genus name comes from the Greek words aix meaning a goat and podion meaning a little foot. Thought to cure gout.

Common name is in reference to a former use of the plant in the treatment of gout. Also commonly called Bishop's weed in reference to the purported resemblance of the leaflet shape to that of a bishop's miter.

'Variegatum' has basal foliage that is light green with creamy white margins. It is less aggressive than the species but plants may revert back to the species with all green leaves and greater vigor. To retain the variegated form, remove any plants that revert.

Problems

Leaf blight is a somewhat common disease which is particularly troublesome in hot and humid summer climates. Foliage often declines by mid-summer to the point where mowing on a high setting is needed to revitalize a planting. Aggressive spreading tendencies must be considered prior to siting this plant in the landscape.

Garden Uses

Avoid use of this plant in any mixed planting with other perennials such as in a rock garden or border. Best in a pure, contained planting (surrounded by natural or installed barriers) where it can be allowed to grow and spread solely as a ground cover. Can be quite effective when grown in the shade of trees or large shrubs.