What are all these purple weeds growing in your yard?

Have you noticed the abundance of a small purple flower all around Shreveport and in everyone’s lawn this year? Some have small patches while other yards have been overrun with the pesky weed, so what is it. Well it is a combination of 2 plants – henbit, and purple dead nettle. In this article I will give you all the information you need to know about these two weeds and everything you need to know to prevent them.

Henbit in Louisiana crop
This photo was taken shortly after I wrote this blog. Henbit in a Natchitoches crop.


-Also called “Giraffe head.”

-Germinates in the fall and grows throughout the fall and winter time. In Louisiana it is usually visible by December or January in most residential lawns.

-Look similar to an orchid. Purple colored flowers bloom. No hair, looks glossy.

-Leaves and flowers grow in whirls around the stem.

-Henbit’s flower has a long tube portion when fully open.

-The stem is purple throughout.

-Often confused with the henbit.

Weed control in Shreveport

Purple Dead Nettle

-Germinates in the fall and grows throughout the fall and winter time. In Louisiana it is usually visible by December or January in most residential lawns.

-Has a heart shaped leaf.

-The upper leaves turn to a purplish / maroon color.

-Has a signature square stem.

-Has a hairy stem and leaves.

-These two plants like to intermingle so you may have them both in your lawn.

*Both plants are members of the mint family though they don’t smell minty. These are completely edible for humans and don’t have any toxic look alike plants so go ahead and eat it! It does give horses, sheep and cattle the “staggers” though. Eating can promote healthy joints and muscles, and can encourage detox. These can also be used as fever reducers!

Weed control compsny in shreveport
Purple Dead Nettle in a Broadmoor Lawn.

Henbit & Dead Nettle Prevention

-To quickly improve the look of the Lawn simply mow regularly even through the winter to cut the weeds back making it less visible.

-Crowd out the weed by regularly feeding your lawn, and re-seeding.

-Mow your lawn at proper height. Cut the grass as high as possible during the grow season to allow a deeper root system to promote a healthier lawn and further smother out, not just henbit, but most other weeds also.

-Use pre-emergents in the fall to eliminate the weed before it germinates. We usually do this in October-November.

-If have a small patch in your yard and prefer not to use chemicals it is possible to pull these weeds by hand, just make sure you pull the entire root out as well!

Weed control shreveport

Read further: Henbit is also making it difficult for corn, soybean, and cotton farmers in Louisiana during this time of the year. Farmers have been using glysophate to kill the weeds on the past but in the later years the weed has become more and more resistant to the poison, resulting in the use of more toxic chemicals such as 2,4-D to kill these winter weeds before the crop is planted in spring. See the interesting LSU Agg article here.


Now that the plant has flowered it is harder to get rid of but the good news is this weed will be gone as soon as the temperatures start to to rise in the Spring and Summer season. The bad news is that it will then have even more seeds in the ground underneath ready to begin the process all over again next year. If you would like to start a plan to get rid of it before next year contact us today and we will begin a personalized treatment for your lawn!