Hello, I am Dandelion

Botanical Name

Taraxacum Officinale


Everyone knows me from childhood when they blew my dandelion seed heads to make a wish! Although as a gardener you wish I wasn’t in your garden! I am the original broad leaf flatweed, although I have several imitators. I can grow a dense centre that smothers any plants around me. My bright yellow daisy-like flowers turn into a puffball of seeds, and kids love blowing me, helping to disperse my seeds far and wide. I also have a deep taproot which keeps me well grounded. My young leaves can be eaten fresh in salads or lightly steamed as a spinach alternative.


As a weed, I am great in taking advantage of the poor condition of your soil. I like to grow in soils that are acidic with a pH below 6.5. And I really love soils that are deficient in phosphorous, potassium, calcium and iron. I have a really deep tap root, which makes it hard to dig me out of your lawn. This makes Dandelion a much despised weed, despite the good I am doing for your soil and the good I can do in your diet. I have yellow coloured flowers and set lots of seeds from each flower, which I happily disperse throughout your lawn.


I am a medicinal plant and should really be considered a herb. I have high levels of vitamin A, C and E as well as the B vitamins. And I’m high in anti-oxidants so I’m good for your health. My deep root may annoy you, but I’m actually working on breaking up the compaction in your soil.


I am best controlled by listening to what I’m telling you about your soil condition! I love growing in soils that are acidic and that are deficient in potassium, calcium, iron and phosphorous, Try adding dolomite or lime to increase the pH of the soil and I won’t be happy. Otherwise try hand weeding. Just make sure you do this after it has rained, otherwise my deep root will be difficult to dig out. Another method is to use a sharp knife and cut my leaves from my root. This allows the roots to keep working on your impacted soil. Add the leaves, minus flower-heads to your compost heap.

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 and Iron Sulphate which is good for broadleaf weeds. I can also be boiled alive by pouring boiling water on my leaves. However, you are better off picking my leaves for your salad and, if you pick often enough, you’ll starve me!