Alan Titchmarsh warns gardeners against nuisance garden centre weed

The presenter reveals how you could be bringing weeds into your garden from the garden centre

Flower bed
(Image credit: Colin Poole)

If you’re struggling to get rid of the weeds in your garden, Alan Titchmarsh reveals that you could be bringing weeds in from the garden centre. 

Weeds are the bane of any gardener’s life. In a video for Gardeners' World magazine, Alan Titchmarsh explained that one of the biggest nuisance weeds is the ‘hairy bittercress’, often known as the ‘garden centre weed.’

‘It’s often called the garden centre weed because you’ll find it in pots that you buy in most garden centres,’ explains Alan. ‘Sorry garden centres, but you do. And they will pull up.’

garden centre weed

(Image credit: Getty/ arousa)

The weed itself isn’t huge, but it will keep coming back again if you don’t get rid of it. ‘If you don’t pull them out and you leave them to carry on, their way of perennating themselves is by seed. They will sprinkle seed everywhere,’ warns Alan.

‘There’s a famous old saying, "one year’s seed, seven years’ weed". They really will carry on. Pull them out, pop them on the compost heap before they seed.’

In the clip, Alan explained that there are two main different kinds of weeds in the garden: annuals and perennials. Annuals will come up one year, go to seed and die, while perennials can be a constant nuisance.

‘They come up every year, generally spreading by means of fat underground roots that last for years on end,’ he adds.

close up of dandelion

(Image credit: Future)

While annual weeds can be got rid of quite simply by putting them on the compost heap, disposing of perennial weeds can be more tricky.

‘There are perennials like the dandelion, the nettle and buttercup. Now buttercup spreads not only by thickish roots but also by runners that it sends out a bit like a strawberry plant,’ he explains.

‘That needs to come out completely, and take these roots out because they too might have buds on them. Break that top off, or just hoe it off, and that root will send up another shoot, so it's important with all these thick-rooted weeds that they come out completely.’

‘You don’t compost them because then you put the compost back on the garden, and if it hasn't heated up enough, you're just reintroducing the weeds,’ he adds.

For more tips on how to keep your garden free take a look at our how to weed a garden guide. 

Just remember for annuals get rid of them before they seed. For perennials get those roots right out the ground and your garden will be able to flourish.

For particularly troublesome weeds that you need to remove, head over to our best weed killer guide to find the right product for the job. 

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Rebecca Knight

Rebecca has worked as a homes and interiors journalist for over four years, and is currently the Deputy Editor on Ideal Home online. Previously, she was the News Editor across the Future homes and gardens brands, including She lives in a rented flat in South London where she makes the most of window boxes to create small container gardens. Inside she has a jungle of houseplants in nearly every room which she does her best to keep up with regular watering and repotting.