Shepherd's purse weed flowers and seed-pods

Shepherd’s purse

Find how to get rid of shepherd's purse weeds, with our expert help.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
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Shepherd’s purse is a quick-growing, short-lived weed. One plant is able to produce hundreds of seeds which compound the problem. Its lifecycle is approximately three to four weeks from germination to setting seed. It can be introduced into the garden through the compost of new plants purchased from nurseries or garden centres. It spreads from neighbouring gardens and the seed is capable of remaining dormant in the soil to germinate when it’s turned up to the surface by cultivation.



Quick growing, short-lived plants, which can produce many generations in a single season by setting large amounts of seed.

Find it on

freshly cultivated ground, compost in pots, paving, walls, vegetable plots


Pull out young plants individually by hand or hoe off young seedlings and remove them from the soil surface before they get a chance to set seed. Avoid disturbing the soil deeply as this will bring dormant seeds to the surface. Mulch around plants with 5cm layer of garden compost or composted bark mulch.



Spray young plants with a contact weedkiller before they get chance to flower.