Why Weeds Grow Better Than Flowers

There’s something about gardening that’s good for the soul.

It’s one of those things where we participate in the process, but can’t force the results. 

We plant the seeds, provide the water and nutrients, trim, prune and protect.  We provide the right conditions.

But the plant does the growing.

Somebody said, “Gardening is cheaper than therapy, and you get tomatoes.”

If we’re good at our part, we have a “green thumb” (because everything turns green).  If we’re not very good, we have a “brown thumb” (because everything turns brown).

I’m a little of both.

Over the years, I’ve had some success with a few plants.  A lot of others, not so much.

But there’s one thing I’m really good at growing:


I must have a green thumb, because they grow so well.  Evidently, I’m providing just the right amount of water and nutrients and putting in just the right amount of effort, because my weeds grow fast and multiply like crazy.  They’re full; they’re lush; they’re healthy.

My daughter sent me this definition of a weed (I’m a little uncertain what prompted her to look it up . . . )

Weed: A plant that is not valued where it is growing, and is usually of vigorous growth.

That got me thinking. 

A weed is a plant, just like any other plant.  It grows “vigorously,” which is just what we want plants to do.

It’s just in the wrong place.

If we’ve worked hard to have a perfectly-manicured green lawn, we wouldn’t want flowers growing in the middle of the yard.  Flowers are beautiful, and they might grow vigorously.  But they belong in a flower bed.

In the lawn, those flowers would be considered weeds.  They’d be in the wrong place.

If grass was growing in our flower beds, it would be considered a weed, too.  It’s in the wrong place.

We plant our yards with things that surround us with beauty and symmetry.  We select our plants carefully, choosing the ones that are appealing to us, and ignoring the ones we dislike.

Weeds are plants that aren’t appealing to us, and they show up where we don’t want them to.  And they grow vigorously. 

It’s the context that determines whether they’re flowers or weeds.

Green hillsWhen we drive through the hills near our house in the spring, they’re vibrant green.  We’re speechless at the beauty.  But when we stop and hike through those hills, we realize why:

They’re covered with weeds.  The same weeds we work so hard to get out of our gardens and lawns.

But those weeds are exactly where they need to be, serving a critical purpose: they’re preventing erosion, keeping the topsoil from washing away.

Is there a life lesson?  Not much – it’s more of an observation. I don’t want to take everything I find interesting and force it into a teaching point.

Sometimes it’s just nice to notice. 

Today, I’m noticing weeds.  And appreciating them.

I appreciate them when they’re busy holding the hills up.

If they show up in my garden, they’re toast.



Senior Consultant at FranklinCovey; Speaker, Author of 5 books – including “People Can’t Drive You Crazy If You Don’t Give Them the Keys,” “I Wish He Had Come With Instructions,” and “Dealing With the Elephant in the Room.” (See Book page)

  • Tammy

    Dude are you stoned?

  • Terri

    Great article. Thanks for the insights.

  • Arv

    What a lovely article. I think you just added a dimension of ease and grace to my gardening.

  • Amisha Ekaant

    Great Article!

  • Lynn Simonson

    Wait….”no life lesson”? REALLY? Nothing about “bloom where you are planted” or anything like that? Hmmmm….then to you, Mike Bechtle, I will all my weeds!