Growing on the High Plains: Henbit—Weed or Wildflower?

Apr 26, 2018

Henbit sure is pretty, but some gardeners think it a headache.

There’s a particular square-stemmed annual with fragrant leaves and tubular purple blooms that often polarizes High Plains gardeners. Some say it’s a nuisance. Some consider it a colorful harbinger of spring after a long, drab winter.

On today’s Growing on the High Plains, we’re talking about the divisive henbit, a member of the mint family that establishes itself in the fall, matures to thick foliage, and then blossoms in the spring but generally disappears with the first hot spell of summer.

Henbit spreads by seed, rather than roots or runners. So if you side with the camp that considers henbit a hassle, maintaining a healthy lawn with heavy mulch in your flower beds should do the trick. But I recommend trying a little tolerance. Even those chomping at the henbit to rid their garden of the intruder will likely see it resurface from seeds blown in from neighboring spaces.