How to Identify and Remove Bindweed

Bindweed plant with small pink and white cup-shaped flowers surrounded by arrow-shaped leaves

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Bindweed, which is native to Europe and Asia, is the bane of many a gardener's life. It came to the United States with contaminated seeds in the mid-1700s. At first glance, it could be mistaken for a morning glory with its green, arrow-shaped leaves and white-pinkish flowers and the two plants are indeed related. Bindweed, however, is an invasive plant that thrives in open, cultivated ground and soil that is rich in nitrogen, such as that found in gardens and farms. The seeds remain viable for up to 50 years in the soil and the vine grows easily from underground roots and rhizomes. This is typically why you'll see bindweed popping up everywhere, even if you've never let it go to seed. Even a tiny section of root in the soil is enough to allow bindweed to grow and spread in the garden. Because of its highly persistent nature, it is important to remove it as soon as possible before it gets a chance to spread.

All parts of the plant are toxic to horses.

 Common Name  Bindweed, field bindweed, devil's guts, creeping Jenny
 Botanical Name  Convolvulus arvensis
 Plant Type  Perennial, vine
 Mature Size  3-6 in. tall, 2-15 ft. wide
 Soil Type  Loamy, sandy, clay, silt, moist
 Bloom Time  Summer
 Flower Color  White. pink
 Hardiness Zones  2-10 (USDA)
 Native Area  Europe, Asia
Toxicity Toxic to animals

Bindweed Invasiveness


Bindweed is classified as a noxious invasive weed in 35 states in the United States. It forms dense mats and takes over roadsides, grasslands, fields, lawns, and streambanks, displacing native plants.

Because of its pretty flowers, bindweed has sometimes been used in hanging baskets. Since it is such an aggressive grower that easily escapes cultivation, however, it is not recommended planting it even in containers.

This is a highly adaptable plant that thrives in a wide range of climates. It overgrows everything around it by twining tightly around the stems of other plants. When it finds no other plants to latch onto, it sprawls on the ground, taking over lawns and meadows.

Bindweed can spread up to 15 feet and develop deep, strong roots. After being removed, there are likely small bits of roots left. Bindweed has the ability to regrow its shoot system within three weeks.

What Does Bindweed Look Like

Bindweed is a perennial vining plant that snakes its way across the ground and over fences, plants, or any other stationary thing in its path. It has medium-green, arrow-shaped leaves and white-pinkish flowers that look like those of morning glories. The leaves and flowers are small and don't always stand out so it can be easily overlooked in a border or lawn until it has established itself.

There are two forms of the plant: Convolvulus arvensis var. arvensis (with broader leaves) and Convolvulus arvensis var. linearfolius (with narrower leaves). 

Bindweed plant with vines of arrow-shaped leaves and small pink flowers in sunlight

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Bindweed plant with light pink and white cup-shaped flowers surrounded by leaves in sunlight closeup

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

How to Get Rid of Bindweed

Vigilance and persistence are the two most useful weapons in your arsenal against bindweed. Watch for signs of this vine, and remove it as quickly as possible. The best way to get rid of bindweed is to cut it off at soil level. Don't bother pulling it up; it will just sprout wherever you tore the roots, and it is virtually impossible to get all the roots out. By continually cutting it off at ground level, and doing it as soon as you possibly can, you will eventually starve the plant (since it will be unable to photosynthesize), and it will die. Be patient! You may have to do this many times, but it will eventually do the trick.

If bindweed has invaded your lawn, make sure to practice good lawn care with proper nitrogen fertilizer, as bindweed does not compete well with healthy grass. If the infestation persists, additionally use a post-emergent herbicide containing Quinclorac as the active ingredient.

How to Prevent Bindweed From Spreading

Since bindweed has such an extensive root system, it is often impossible to remove all the plants when you have a large infestation. The least you can do to control its spread is not letting it set seed after it flowers.

Do not throw any bindweed, with flowers or without, on the compost pile, as bindweed regrows from cuttings. Instead, dispose of it in the trash.

  • Is bindweed a parasitic plant?

    It is not parasitic because it performs photosynthesis and thus produces its own food. However, bindweed is a noxious weed that endangers other vegetation by overgrowing it, as it names indicates.

  • Can't I just spray bindweed with glyphosate?

    Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum herbicide that kills any plant so you need to use is in a highly targeted manner and prevent any drifting. Getting rid of bindweed will likely require more than one application because the leaf and stem surface of the plant does not absorb herbicides well, and if the infestation is large, the herbicide won't reach all parts of the extensive root system.

  • Does shade prevent bindweed from growing?

    Some gardeners find that plants or mulches that shade the ground may prevent bindweed from sprouting. Tough stemmed plants like pumpkins are not damaged by bindweed and shade the ground in a manner that keeps bindweed from sprouting.

Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Field Bindweed. Washington State University Extension.

  2. Guide to Poisonous Plants: Bindweed. Colorado State University.

  3. Convolvulus arvensis. North Carolina Cooperative Extension.

  4. Bindweed. University of Maryland Extension

  5. Bidding Farewell to the dreaded bindweed. Oregon State University Extension

  6. Bindweed Control in Lawns. Colorado State University.

  7. Field Bindweed Management Guidelines--UC Extension

  8. Controlling Perennial Bindweed Takes Persistence. Oregon State University.