Billygoat weed

Hello, I’m Billygoat weed

Botanical Name

Ageratum conyzoides


I am an annual or short-lived perennial originally from tropical South America. My common name, Billygoat weed, was given to me as my leaves smell like a male goat when they are crushed. And these leaves have fine hairs which make my leaves furry. I have mauve-coloured flowers that some people find quite attractive. Through selective breeding I have been bred into an annual you can choose to grow in your garden for spring and summer colour. I set lots of seeds from each flower, which I happily disperse across your garden and into your neighbours.


As a weed, I am great in taking advantage of the poor condition of your soil. I like to grow in soils that have been over-grazed or over-fertilised. And I really love soils that are deficient in nutrients including available carbon and nitrogen. Soils where I have grown for some time show significant improvements in these nutrients!


My leaves contain anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic properties. So, if you rub my leaves on insect bites and stings, I quickly relieve the itch and sting. I’m also great for attracting beneficial pollinators like bees, native bees and wasps, so you might like to keep me around. Just dead-head me before I spread my seeds..


I am best controlled by listening to what I’m telling you about your soil condition! I love growing in soils that have been over-fertilised, but that are low in available carbon and nitrogen. And I really love are soils that are low in humates. This means you haven’t been adding enough organic matter to your soils. Try adding lots of compost! You can also buy liquid humates to add to your soil. Otherwise try hand weeding. Just make sure you do this before I set seed.

I can also be controlled by using a biodynamic pepper ( see Biodynamic Peppers) However, weed peppers work best when combined with a weed tea. Weed teas take the nutrients I have accumulated in my leaves and feed them back to the soil.

If you must spray, use an organic weed killer comprised of vinegar, salt and soap. Other ways of controlling me include using organic herbicides like Slasher. I can also be boiled alive by pouring boiling water on my leaves. All these actions should be taken before I flower and set seed!