How to Grow Bishop’s Weed — Aegopodium

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Aegopodium–commonly called bishop’s weed–is a ground-covering perennial that will grow where many other plants will not. It can be used as spreading ground cover but should be grown apart from most other plants; it spreads via rhizomes and can be invasive when grown near other plants.

Aegopodium bears deep green leaves; each leaf consists of three ovate leaflets. Many rayed umbels of white flowers are borne on branching, hairless stems.

Aeogopodium grows best in partial to full shade. It will thrive in any soil, even poor, dry soil. Aeogopodium puts down deep roots so it is best to plant it where it can grow undisturbed for a long time; it is difficult to eradicate. It is a good choice for shaded urban situations where little else will grow and its spread is controlled by sideways or roadways.

Aeogopodium is a genus of 5 species of perennials with invasive rhizomes. Aeogodium is native to woodlands in Northern and Central Europe.

Get to know Aegopodium

  • Plant type: Rhizomatous perennial
  • Growing zones and range: Zones 4-9
  • Hardiness: Hardy to Zone 4
  • Height and width: 12 to 24 inches (30-60cm) tall, indefinite width
  • Foliage: Each leaf is made up of three ovate leaflets
  • Flowers: Many-rayed umbels of white flowers on hairless stems
  • Bloom time: Early summer
  • Uses: Groundcover, container plant
  • Common name: Bishop’s weed, ground elder, goutweed
  • Botanical name: Aegopodium
  • Family name: Apiaceae
  • Origin: North and Central Europe
Aegopodium podagraria

Where to plant Aegopodium

  • Grow Aegopodium in partial or full shade.
  • Aegopodium will grow in any soil.

When to plant Aegopodium

  • Plant Aegopoiun rhizomes in autumn or spring.

Planting and spacing Aegopodium

  • Space Aegopodium 12 to 24 inches apart; it will quickly spread via rhizomes.

How to water and feed Aegopodium

  • Water Aegopodium moderately.
  • Aegopodium does not need feeding.

Aegopodium care

  • To prevent Aegopoium from self-seeding, remove flowers as they fade.
  • To prevent seeding, mow the foliage to the ground in ealry summer.

Aegopodium pests and diseases

  • Leaf blight may brown foliage in summer.

Aegopodium propagation

  • Propagate Aegopodium by division of rhizomes in spring or fall.

Aegopodium varieties to grow

  • Aegopodium podagraria, bishop’s weed. Ground covering perennial grows 12 to 18 inches tall; bears 2 ternate, toothed, deep green leaves. Leaves of cultivar ‘Variegatum’ are splashed with creamy white and is more commonly grown than the species.

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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