Friend or foe?

Asked May 6, 2019, 4:22 PM EDT

After dividing my iris plants last fall, was pleased to see healthy growth emerge this spring. Now finding a small fernlike plant with tiny fuscia-colored flowers amongst the iris. Is this a weed? Can they coexist or will the unplanned plants hamper the iris? Nearby (3rd photo) something else is possibly encroaching on my butterfly bush. Remove or let be? Thanks for any guidance you may be able to provide.

Sussex County Delaware

1 Response

Both plants while attractive are considered weeds. Both are aggressive and left alone will spread to other areas including the lawn if it is nearby. Here is some more information a links to other sources.

The plant that you show in the first two pictures is common vetch, an invasive weed. The link https://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/broadleaf-weeds/ will give you more information. Once you get to the site scroll down to Common Vetch. Since the vetch is in the iris bed the broad leaf herbicides mentioned cannot be used. Try control by pulling the vetch before the flowers turn to seed heads. This may have to be done annually until it is under control

The other plant I believe is Doves-foot Cranesbill. The UK link will give you more information. It is in the geranium family. It is fast spreading and considered a weed. Again probably have to pull by hand if you don’t desire it in its present location. https://www.lawnweeds.co.uk/weed-identification/doves-foot-cranesbill.

Thanks for using Ask an Expert


Tony