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Jul 2, 2009 12:05 PM

Is this a weed? Flower?

Hello Chow Gardeners,

I have many of this plant growing in a couple of pots where I added some flower seeds two years ago. I decided to leave them to see what they grew into, but so far, nothing is giving away their identity. Now, they are growing quite tall (1 1/2 feet), and are starting to take over. I think I planted dianthus and poppy seeds in those pots, but may have planted something else and threw away the seed packet. There are also a couple other flowers growing in the pots, but they are nothing like these plants. I have checked photos of both online to see if any variations of these flowers resembled the plants in question. Unfortunately, I can't figure out what they are. Does anyone know?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


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  1. Dont know what it's called, but it's defintely a weed, i see it growing wild fairly often. It has no flowers to speak of. about the only semit useful thing I cans ay about it is that, for some reason, ladybug larvae seem to like living and pupating on it (I think it attacts a lot of aphids which the ladybugs like to eat) I'd just pull it I I was you.

    1. This looks like a weed called Marestail or Horsetail to me. It is an irritant to horses. Pull it don't want it eating up your valuable garden soil nutrients.

      1. That is not a dianthus, a poppy or a horsetail. It is a weed. But sometimes weeds are pretty... until they spread all over your garden because you left them there because they were pretty and could not decide whether it was a weed or a poppy or a dianthus! Welcome to my world. I am always asking myself "Did I plant something there?" "Is that a weed or a wild flower?" I call them uninvited guests, tolerate them for a while and then like every over staying guest, rip them out in a fit of fury and fling them into the trash heap.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Sal Vanilla

          Definitely not horsetail, poppy or dianthus or marestail. I have seen similar looking weeds as that, but I can't swear it is a weed.

          But it they are taking over which it looks like they have, I would pull them. I did buy a pack of seeds once and many of the seeds I planted came up but they were not what I bought. I planted sunflowers last year and got 10 or 12 very pretty flowers but they sure were not sunflowers. That can happen.

        2. Wow!! Thanks everyone. I can't believe I waited this long to ask. There are quite a few of them and now I am so annoyed that I let them stay. They are pushing everything else out of the way. They are out of here tomorrow morning. Wonder what happened to my poppy plants...?

          4 Replies
          1. re: doughreme

            What sort of poppy did you seed for? I seeded from dried pods of oriental poppies a couple years ago. Admittedly, I did it the laziest way possible - by cutting the tops off the pods, dumping the seeds in the garden and forgetting them. They emerged this year. I did the "Is that a weed?" self talk... and then walked away to go pick what I KNEW were weeds.

            Cali poppies come up the season you seed them. There are those little icelandics - I think that is the name. Sort of a mini oriental. They take a whole season (like they will come up the following year). At least in my area (z6 ish).

            Also, if you had really cold weather this winter, your seedlings may have died before you even knew them. We had a prolonged freeze and - oddly enough - the ICELANDICS died.

            Is that irony?

            1. re: Sal Vanilla

              They may have died, like your icelandics. Not as hardy as they sound. Two years ago I planted bright red oriental poppies (dumping the seeds into the dirt, like you) and knew I would be waiting through an entire season sans poppies. This was the year!! I let everything in the two pots grow because when they are small, its hard to tell them apart. All of the flowers that should be there came up, except the poppies. Now that I got rid of those #@$% weeds, I can see a few things coming up underneath, but I doubt they're poppies. Is it better to buy the poppy plants fully grown? I haven't seen them at the market or nursery, but I imagine I can get them online. I have visions of that gorgeous red coming up year after year.

              BTW: Yesterday after I pulled the weeds, I took a bike ride past an empty lot that had tons of the very same weeds growing everywhere. I'll probably see them every day now.

              1. re: doughreme

                Here in SE Pennsylvania, I've never had any luck starting poppies from seed. I gave up and bought a second year root. Even that took two years to establish itself, but it's finally going great.

                1. re: doughreme

                  I think the leaves from an oriental poppy look strikingly similar to a weed that grows prolifically in my yard. When I see a stray one near my other poppies I always hold out hope that it is a poppy and warn all humans and animals that death will befall them should they pluck or eat it. it is always a weed.

                  About the seeds. Wait until the pod is brown before you pluck it off the stem and then cut off the crown and dump the seeds into a baggie (or something else) and mix with peat moss or other lite medium then dump. I had better luck doing it that way... or maybe it is because I had a ton of seeds.

                  Better yet, bike around, find some pretty poppies in someone's yard and the stalk their house until someone emerges to water the yard and then pounce - hand shovel and bag in hand - asking for a piece of theirs. I intend to do that very soon with the lady who has chocolate poppies in her side yard. Maybe I will ply her with poppyseed cake...

            2. I have that growing in my vegetable beds. It's annoying because when it first comes up it looks like it might be something you planted. But no. It's not edible and it doesn't flower, which makes it a weed. Actually, I define a weed as any plant that comes up some place other than where it's wanted, so this definitely qualifies.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                You need ducks. They are not only happy little weed eaters, they eat slugs.

                1. re: Sal Vanilla

                  Ah, but can you:

                  1) Train them to *only* eat weeds, and
                  2) Train my dog to leave them alone

                  The dog keeps the squirrels and the gophers (and most of the birds) out, so I'm willing to pull the weeds myself.