Q: Recently, a pretty little groundcover has sprung up among my bulbs and I can’t identify it.
It’s low-growing (about 3-4″ at its highest), with spade-shaped leaves about 1/2″ long and tiny white flowers about 1/8″ in diameter. It seems to be thriving in full shade with no help from me.
A: The bright green leaves and tiny flowers are attractive but what you have is plain, common chickweed. It’s generally considered a weed because it smothers nearby small plants in spring. It also dies quickly when summer heat arrives, leaving a spaghetti-like mat of stems where it once thrived.
Like many fast-growing spring annual plants, chickweed is edible. I’ve seen recipes for teas and salads made from the leaves.
Most folks don’t appreciate its culinary appeal – they just pull it out where seen and toss it on a compost pile. You can prevent its appearance in your bulb bed by sprinkling a pre-emergent like Preen on the bed in September each year.