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Fat hen


Fat hen is a weed that will quickly spread and colonise any open ground, competing with your other plants for nutrients.

Find it on: all over the garden
Time to act: late-spring to autumn


Fat hen, Chenopodium album, is an annual weed loved by butterflies, and whose young leaves are delicious in salads or cooked like spinach. However, it will also quickly colonise open ground and spread through your garden if left unchecked - a single plant can produce 20,000 seeds in its short lifetime.


Fat hen is a weed that will quickly spread and colonise any open ground, competing with your other plants for nutrients.


Hand weed or hoe out seedlings as they appear, or smother them with a good layer of compost or mulch. Try to remove plants before they flower and seed to slow its spread.


Use a total weedkiller, such as glyphosate. Avoid spraying on a windy day and near other desirable plants.

Discuss this problem

Talkback: Fat hen
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mo smithso50 02/02/2013 at 13:20

my"lawn"is being overgrown by a weed which by looking at pictures i think is neighbour thinks it used to be called "vinegar weed".any suggestions on removal would be appreciated .thank you from an elderly computer novice.

sotongeoff 02/02/2013 at 13:49

Use a selective lawn weedkiller for broad leaved weeds -like dandelion-that, and regular mowing should help

But not yet -wait till everything starts growing

Gardening Grandma 02/02/2013 at 21:15

Vinegar weed is trichostema lanceolatum and you can look that up in wikipedia. It has blue flowers. I've never heard of fatweed, though there is a weed called fat hen, which is different from vinegar weed. I should have thought that raking your lawn regularly would pull out seedlings and that using a product like Weed and Feed would help a lot. You probably know this already and I'm wondering what it is about the weed that makes it a particular problem?

nutcutlet 02/02/2013 at 21:37

The Trichostema and fat hen, (as thread title) are both annuals, soon mown out of existance on a lawn.  googled trichostema and saw the blue flowers. now wondering about lawn weeds like speedwell

Jenny Barnes2 23/10/2015 at 09:24

Permaculture solution: eat them!
The leaves are edible as a vegetable like spinach or sorrel. Fat hen is related to quinoa, and the thousands of seeds are similarly high in protein.

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