Henbit (Lamium amplexicaule) is a winter annual, broadleaf weed. It germinates in the fall and actively starts to grow in the cool spring weather when adequate soil moisture is present. Henbit is related to ornamental Lamium and is a member of the mint family. Its purple flowers serve as an early source of nectar and pollen for honeybees and bumblebees.
Individual henbit plants can produce up to 200 seeds per plant, and seeds can remain viable in the soil for five years. The weed has a shallow taproot and when small, can be easily pulled up by hand. As henbit matures, it can develop a fibrous root system that can make physical removal more difficult. Henbit produces stems that can either grow upright or stay low to the ground, making it difficult to control this weed by mowing.
Henbit seeds need light to germinate, and the plant often invades areas where turf has thinned. In landscape beds, a three-inch layer of mulch can limit germination. Herbicides can be used to control henbit, but are most effective when applied in the fall and early spring while weeds are small. For more information on controlling henbit, please see HGIC 2321, Henbit.
Follow recommended cultural practices to develop a dense lawn. Choose a turfgrass that is well suited to your site-specific conditions. For more information on turfgrass options, please see HGIC 1214, Selecting a Lawn Grass.