How to kill weeds in flower beds (without killing your flowers).


By Nicki Escudero

When you've worked hard to grow beautiful flower beds in your yard, the last thing you want is invasive weeds crowding the space and disrupting the aesthetic. 

Weeds can wreak havoc on flower growth, but there are ways to remove them and prevent them from popping up again. Keep reading to find out how to kill weeds in flower beds.

Can weeds harm flower beds?

Weeds are any plants that grow in an area you didn't intend them to. When left in your flower beds, they can definitely harm (and ruin) them. They compete with the flowers for essential nutrients, water, and sunlight, hindering their growth and development. If left unchecked, weeds can eventually take over the entire bed, suffocating and killing the desired plants.

Weeds that threaten your flowers.

bindweed in flower bedSeveral common weed species pose a particular threat to flower beds. Some of the most common types of weeds include:

  • Bindweed
  • Buckhorn plantain
  • Canada thistle
  • Chickweed
  • Crabgrass
  • Creeping Charlie
  • Dandelion
  • Lambsquarters
  • Nutsedge
  • Pigweed
  • Purslane
  • Quackgrass
  • Shepherd's purse

One of the most notorious weed species is the dandelion. It spreads rapidly and has deep roots, making it difficult to remove altogether. Another common weed, crabgrass, is known for its ability to invade and overtake large areas of a flower bed quickly. Other invasive weeds, such as bindweed and chickweed, can also cause significant damage if not promptly addressed.

Signs of weed damage in your flower beds.

Recognizing the signs of weed damage in flower beds is crucial for effective weed control. Some common indicators include:

  • Stunted growth 
  • Yellowing of flowers
  • Wilting or drooping leaves
  • Reduced flower production
  • Weak and spindly growth in flowers
  • Pests and diseases that are attracted to the weeds
Find a top-rated weeding professional near you.

Methods to kill and remove weeds from flower beds. 

There are several ways you can kill or remove weeds from your garden before they damage your flowers. For example, you may opt for:

Post-emergent herbicides. 
killing weeds in flower bed garden pavers with post emergent herbicide

These herbicides (like glyphosate) are used to kill weeds after they've appeared. Spray it on existing weeds, but avoid spraying the surrounding vegetation. Follow the directions and read the product label thoroughly. Check if you should spray it near the specific flowers, plants, and trees in and around your flower beds. 

Natural weed killers. 

Some gardeners prefer to use vinegar, boiling water, and other DIY solutions to kill existing weeds. For example:

  • Spray vinegar and soap. Vinegar is a popular natural weed-killer ingredient. Its high acidity levels effectively kill weeds by drying them out. Mix 1 gallon of vinegar with 1 cup of castile soap, and spray. However, be careful not to spray nearby plants; you could risk killing them unintentionally. 
  • Boiling water. If you have young, newly emerged weeds, this method can work. Put boiling water in a tea kettle and pour it on the weeds in your flower beds. However, be extremely careful. Boiling water will kill whatever it contacts. If you're worried the water will splash on nearby flowers, skip this method. 
  • Salt mixtures. You can also spray your weeds' base with a mixture of 1 part salt and 3 parts water. Although this is an effective weed-killing method, salt can potentially harm your soil and other nearby plants.

If you can’t decide which method to use to remove weeds in your flower beds, hire a professional.

Manual hand pulling. 

hand pulling weeds out of flower gardenDepending on how strong the weeds' roots are, you can pull out the weeds by hand. Start by pulling weeds gently from the base, ensuring you remove the entire root system. This will prevent regrowth and minimize the chances of weed seeds spreading. It's also important to avoid disturbing the roots of your flowers while removing weeds.

Consider using a weeding tool if you're having trouble pulling out the roots. Using the right tools and techniques can make weed removal more efficient. Hand tools like a trowel or hand fork are ideal for removing small weeds with shallow roots. A long-handled weeding tool or a weed puller can be more effective for larger weeds or those with deep roots. When using these tools, work slowly and carefully to avoid damaging your flowers.

Use a hoe (such as a small hand hoe, a stirrup hoe, a tall solid-blade, or a short-handled hoe) to scrape around plants and get weed seedlings that are too small to pull by hand. Scrape lightly so you don't harm the roots of your other plants.

How can you prevent weeds from growing in flower beds?

Keeping your flower beds weed-free enhances the aesthetic appeal of your garden and promotes the healthy growth of your beloved plants. By implementing these proactive measures, you can effectively prevent weed growth in your flower beds:

  • Suppress weeds with ground cover. Ground cover plants can help prevent the germination of weed seeds. Consider planting creeping phlox, red creeping thyme, mazus, or other varieties.
  • Add mulch to your garden. Mulch made of leaves, lawn clippings, bark, etc., can help prevent weeds from emerging. Lay down 2 or 3 inches of mulch over your soil to suppress weed seedlings.
  • Use a weed preventer. There are weed-preventer products (also called pre-emergent herbicides) on the market that you can spray in your flower beds. If you're unsure how to use these chemicals, consult a professional. 
  • Make it a routine. Regularly pulling existing weeds can also help prevent their spread. Make weeding your flower beds a ritual in your gardening techniques.
Compare prices from weeding professionals near you.

How often should you remove weeds from flower beds?

The frequency of weed removal largely depends on the size and condition of your flower bed and the types of weeds present. As a general rule of thumb, inspecting your flower beds once a week during the growing season is recommended. This will allow you to catch any emerging weeds early on and prevent them from spreading.

Related: Effective methods for killing weeds in your lawn.

Hire a professional to remove weeds and grow your garden.

If you're short on time or want to ensure your flower beds stay in optimal condition, a professional can help. A pro will know how to identify weeds in your flower bed, apply materials like mulch to prevent weed growth, and recommend a weed removal method that doesn't harm the other plants in your garden.

To find a professional near you, download the Thumbtack app. On the app, you can compare top-rated professionals, read their reviews, check out photos of their past projects, and request free price quotes. Start searching for the following professionals to help care for your yard:

Find local pros for your project

Tell us what you’re looking for and we’ll show you pros right for the job, with prices.