Mind-your-own-business

Mind-your-own-business or baby’s tears, Soleirolia soleirolii (syn. Helxine soleirolii) is a creeping perennial with tiny rounded leaves. Despite looking pretty in cracks in paving, it re-grows from the smallest stem sections and can soon get out of control. It is especially difficult to control in the lawn.

Mind-your-own-business is often a weed. Credit: RHS Herbarium.

Quick facts

Common name Mind-your-own-business, baby’s tears 
Botanical name Soleirolia soleirolii (syn. Helxine soleirolii)
Areas affected Beds, borders and lawns
Timing Seen year round; treat from spring to late summer

What is mind-your-own-business?

This plant is a native of Corsica and Sardinia and is occasionally grown in rock gardens and in greenhouses. It readily colonises crevices in dry stonewalls but can be a nuisance in borders and lawns, where it is regarded as a weed.

Appearance

Mind-your-own-business forms dense, slowly spreading mats of bright green foliage. The golden-leaved form, ‘Aurea’, is the most commonly sold. It bears minute white flowers in summer.

The overall height is a mere 5cm (2in) but spread is indefinite.

Why is mind-your-own-business a problem?

Although many gardeners like to encourage mind-your-own-business between cracks in patios, it can get out of hand and spread to borders and lawns.

The thin, fleshy, much-branched stems root as they slowly spread. This is a difficult plant to control, as it regenerates easily from any small sections of stem over-looked when weeding or hoeing.

Grass clippings that contain stem sections may survive the composting process, causing the weed to be further spread around the garden.

Control

As mentioned, many gardeners like mind-your-own-business in the garden. But if you find it getting out of control, try the following:

Non-chemical control

Begin with cultural control options;

  • In borders and other parts of the garden, mind-your-own-business should be eradicated as thoroughly as possible by burying it deeply with mulch, or hoeing it off repeatedly in dry weather
  • Patches of mind-your-own-business in lawns are best carefully removed with a trowel or hand fork, in April or September. After removal, re-establish the soil level and re-sow bare patches with grass seed, or lay a patch of turf taken from elsewhere in the garden
  • Where mind-your-own-business is widespread in lawns, lightly scarify several times during March and April and again during September to weaken it. Feed the lawn regularly to encourage turf vigour and density

Chemical controls

Lawn weedkillers

Mind-your-own-business is resistant to all lawn weedkillers approved for garden use.

Glyphosate

Glyphosate (e.g. Scotts Roundup, Bayer Garden Rootkill Weedkiller or Doff Glyphosate Weedkiller) can be used successfully to treat mind-your-own-business, best applied as a spot treatment (Scotts Roundup Gel) directly to the weed. For best results follow these tips:

  • Lightly bruise the foliage with the back of a rake or by crushing it underfoot before applying glyphosate, as this will improve effectiveness
  • Shield low-growing shrubs and perennials from the spray until it has dried onto the weed, or use a ready-to-use spray because it is easier to target directly onto the weed
  • In lawns, spot-treat patches with a ready-to-use spray to limit turf damage; a gel formulation (Scotts Roundup Gel) may be particularly useful 
  • Weedkillers containing glyphosate can also be used on paths and drives (e.g. Doff Path & Patio Weedkiller Ready to Use or Westland Deadfast Path & Patio Weedkiller Ready to Use)

Inclusion of a weedkiller product does not indicate a recommendation or endorsement by the RHS. It is a list of products currently available to the home gardener.

Download

Weedkillers for gardeners (Adobe Acrobat pdf document outlining weedkillers available to gardeners; see section 4)

Links

Chemicals: using a sprayer
Chemicals: using safely and effectively
Chemicals: using spot and broad-scale weedkillers
Weeds: non-chemical control

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