Aegopodium Plant Growing & Care Guide for Gardeners

In this Gardener's HQ guide, we'll explore cultivating Aegopodium plants in your garden, indoor spaces, and other settings.

Bishop's Weed, Ground Elder, & Goutweed: Cultivation & Garden Use

Common names for the Hardy perennial Aegopodium plant include Bishops weed, Cow Parsley, Ground elder, and Goutweed.

These plants typically flower in June.

Bishop's weed
USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. Illustrated flora of the northern states and Canada. Vol. 2: 654.

Description of Aegopodium

Aegopodium are low growing rhizomatous plants, unfortunately that often become weeds.

Bishop's Weed has white flower that grow on stalks. Although they are usually weeds, they can make a useful plant for wild ground coverage, in areas where they are native. Plants are very invasive in areas where they are not native.

Aegopodium Plant Species

Aegopodium podagraria (Ground Elder)

The Aegopodium podagraria is a perennial plant, growing up to 24 inches (60 cm) in height. It is characterized by its creeping rhizomes, serrated leaves, and small, white, umbrella-like flowers. It's known as Ground Elder.

Aegopodium podagraria Photograph by Colorline. CC

Ground Elder is often cultivated in gardens as ground cover, although you need to be aware that it can be quite invasive. It thrives in a location with full sun to part shade, and prefers moist, well-drained soils. Due to its fast growth, it is usually used in areas where rapid coverage is needed.

Aegopodium handelii

Aegopodium handelii is a perennial plant. It typically grows up to 24 inches (60 cm). This plant features green, lobed leaves, and clusters of white flowers.

Aegopodium handelii prefers a full sun to partial shade location, and requires a well-drained soil. Despite not being a typical garden choice, it can be used as ground cover in challenging growing conditions, where other plants may struggle.

Aegopodium alpestre

Aegopodium alpestre is a perennial that reaches up to about 18 inches (45 cm) in height. It features lobed, green leaves, and clusters of white, umbrella-like flowers.

Like other Aegopodium species, it can serve as ground cover in garden areas that have full sun to partial shade. It requires well-drained soil and is usually only used in areas where other plants struggle to grow.

How to Grow Bishop's weed and other Aegopodium

It is best to buy Bishop's weed and similar Aegopodium plants from a Garden Center or from plants propagated by division.

They should be planted with a spacing of 20 to 30 cm (8 to 12 inches), in spring or in the autumn. Plant in an area that can be controlled.

Aegopodium prefers partly shady conditions, but can be grown in full sunlight as long as kept moist.

The soil type does not matter, as the plants can tolerate, dry, wet and poor soils.

Caring for Aegopodium

Aegopodium are very easy pants to look after, requiring little attention, in fact it is moe tahb possible that they may take over the garden.

To prevent this, remove flowers from the plant before they have chance to set seed. As they produce extensive roots, it is best to grow in containers, or a sealed off area.

Aegopodium Growing and Care Guide

  • Common Names: Bishop's weed, Goutweed, Ground elder, Snow-on-the-mountain.
  • Life Cycle: Hardy perennial.
  • Height: 8 inches (20 cm). Spreads indefinitely.
  • Native: Europe, West Asia.
  • Growing Region: Zones 4 to 9.
  • Flowers: Late spring through early summer.
  • Flower Details: White. Small. Five-petals. Flat-topped clusters. Umbels similar to Dill/ Carrot plants. Compound. Insignificant.
  • Foliage: Herbaceous. Oval. Serrated. Variegated cultivars are available and should be grown as they are less aggressive. Variegated plants have light green leaves with cream margins.
  • Grow Outside: As only the variegated forms of Aegopodium should be grown, use only purchased plants. Space at about 12 inches (30 cm) in spring or autumn.
  • Requirements and care: Grows well in all light conditions including heavy shade. Only grow in controlled areas as rapidly gets out of control. Tolerant of most soil types. Deadhead to prevent self-seeding. Also spreads from rhizomes, grow in a confined area to help with soil erosion and for ground coverage where no other plants will grow, or preferably grow it in a container. Propagate: by dividing, from seed or from rhizomes. Deadhead to prevent seed-set. Spray offshoots with weed killer to help control of the plant. Remove any un-variegated shoots immediately as they will spread like wildfire. If leaves die back then mowing can revitalize them.
  • Family: Apiaceae
  • Closely Related Species: Carrots, Parsley, and Celery.
  • Miscellaneous: Used as a food plant similar to Spinach in Roman times. Invasive. Threat to ecological environments due to its aggressive nature. Difficult to get rid of. Can be used to help areas with heavy erosion. The most effective method of Aegopodium control and eradication is to hand pull plants, followed by complete and deep raking of the soil and removal of any rhizome/root material. The area should be watched carefully and the process repeated upon any sign of return. Removing leaves in the spring can also help to eradicate Aegopodium as starch reserves have been spent at this time-point. Any sign of new shoots should be dug up and destroyed immediately.

Common Questions

How many members does the Aegopodium genus have?

The Aegopodium genus consists of twelve species, depending on classifiications. The main one being Aegopodium podagraria, which is commonly known as the Ground elder or Bishop's weed.

Do members of Aegopodium make for a good garden or landscaping plant?

Aegopodium can be a good ground cover in difficult areas due to its strong growth, But, it can be very invasive and easily get out of control.

Which Aegopodium species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

There is only one species: Aegopodium podagraria (Ground Elder). This should not be grown by gardeners in most parts of the USA.

Are members of the Aegopodium fragrant?

Aegopodium podagraria flowers have a slight, herby fragrance.

What is the perfect location to grow Aegopodium?

Aegopodium thrives in a variety of light conditions and soil types, but can become invasive, so choose location carefully.

Is Aegopodium invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

Yes, Aegopodium is considered invasive in many parts of the USA, including the Northeast, the Midwest, and the Pacific Northwest.

How do I remove Aegopodium from my garden?

Removal involves persistent digging and removing of the extensive root system. Herbicides may be required.


The Aegopodium genus consists of perennial plants with attractive foliage and small white flowers. Native to Europe and western Asia, Aegopodium plants are used as ground cover where native, but should not really be grown elsewhere as they are difficult to control and have an invasive nature.

They are adaptable and can thrive in different soil types. Aegopodium plants prefer partial shade but can grow in full sun. Regular watering is necessary. Due to their spreading nature, they require monitoring to prevent invasiveness. Aegopodium is popular for shaded areas, adding a lush green carpet-like appearance.

Aegopodium's dense growth makes it excellent for suppressing non-native weeds and adding visual interest. Its foliage creates a lush cover that fills in bare spots, making it valuable in garden designs. The small white flowers add delicate charm. Whether as ground cover or border plants, Aegopodium transforms areas into vibrant and visually appealing spaces.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Aegopodium. You may also enjoy the following carrot family (Apiaceae) growing guides:

How to grow Fennel and Cenolophium denudatum.