Love For Dandelion “Weeds” – Dandelion Flowers Belong In The Garden

By Nikki Tilley | March 28, 2021
Image by AlinaMD
by Nikki Tilley
March 28, 2021

Ahh, the dandy dandelion! This European native is probably one of the most well-known weeds to have a love-hate relationship with gardeners everywhere. Some love the plant. Others hate it. For me, seeing those first yellow blooms popping up across the lawn (and in the garden) each spring brings happiness.

Reasons For Keeping and Growing Dandelions

In a world filled with “weeds,” be a dandelion! Why would I suggest such a thing? Let me count the ways”¦

Okay, I get it. Dandelions can be problematic for people that enjoy perfect green lawns and just-so gardens. Maybe you see these broadleaf perennials as an army of yellow intruders that quickly invade your landscape, their deep penetrating taproots steadfastly anchoring them in place. I will not lie — dandelion weeds can be notoriously difficult to get rid of. And, yes, they do easily propagate through seeds via the wind, which can “potentially” carry them up to 60 miles. BUT in spite of these faults, dandelion plants have a wealth of benefits too. And if I’m being painfully honest, don’t we all have faults? I can be just as stubborn, for example.

Dandelions are resilient

One of the many things I admire about dandelion plants is their adaptability. I mean how can you not appreciate a plant that can literally pop up in a sidewalk crack or other less than ideal location and still thrive? This ability to adapt and overcome is certainly something I can relate to, as I have done my fair share of that too. Regardless of the obstacles life may throw at you, one must strive to persevere. Dandelions do this well. They don’t give up easily, and neither should you.

Dandelions are healthy

These daring travelers have seen it all. In fact, it’s thought that dandelions may have found their way to the US on the Mayflower. What a voyage. It wasn’t by accident either. After all, these plants have been used herbally for centuries to treat numerous maladies.

And the best part – drum roll – dandelion plants are edible and highly nutritious. That’s right! All parts of the plant can be eaten and have a number of health benefits associated with them. They’re packed with vitamins and antioxidants. You can get take full advantage of this “free” medicine by growing dandelions instead of doing away with them. For instance, harvest the dandelion greens and toss them in a salad (blooms too). Dandelion tea is popular but the root works as a substitute for coffee as well.

Dandelions attract pollinators and provide nutrients

My husband is one of the dandelion haters out there, and we constantly disagree about my inclusion of these cheery yellow blooms in the yard. I’m happy to say we’ve come to a compromise – he can have his weed-free lawn, but the dandelions are welcome out back in the wildlife area, with the white clover. And if some of their seeds happen to find their way to the front, I won’t tell. Dandelion flowers are actually important to have around. They attract beneficial insects and pollinators. As if this wasn’t enough, did you know that dandelion plants, with those long taproots, can also help aerate the soil and provide much-needed nutrients to other surrounding plants? 

Dandelions are just plain fun

Still not sold? Well, here’s just one more great thing about the so-called dandelion weeds in your lawn and garden. They can bring out the child in us. Life is short so why not live a little? Take a step back in time for a moment. I’m sure many of you can remember the joy of blowing those white fluffy seed heads as children. I still do it (don’t tell hubby).

While many of us did this purely out of fun just to watch the seeds float through the air, there were other reasons for doing this further back in time. Dandelion seeds were a way to foretell the future or keep up with the time. Also called “fairy clocks,” dandelion flowers turn towards the sun throughout the day, helping tell the time. Blowing those seed heads would also give you the “fairy” time (an hour per puff) by counting the number of puffs until all the seeds were gone. And if you’re feeling especially nostalgic, make a wish when blowing the seeds!

For me, dandelions are beautiful and belong in the garden.

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  • Lois
    Comment added March 3, 2022Reply

    I am 88 years old and am living in a nursing home. I love to eat the yellow flowers when walking in the court yard BUT I have a little competition. We have a beautiful bunny that lives there too and she loves the greens like I do. I also eat the chick weed, hen bit and other greens that grow there. This is the first time I've seen your site. Very interesting. We really need to educate our children and grand children about what God provides. Sure it will come in handy in the future.

  • Anthony
    Comment added May 26, 2021Reply

    I have been enjoying delicious dandelion salads every spring since I was a.child. I’ve never known if they are eaten through summer and fall through. Could someone inform me? Thanks!.

  • Kim
    Comment added May 26, 2021Reply

    I just learned a few weeks ago that Dandelions are really really hard workers! They show up when the ground is hard so that their roots can aerate the soil! The roots go so far down and put nutrients back into the soil. When they aren't needed anymore, after a few years, they'll stop growing. Cool huh? Leave them where they are. Wait for them to go to seed before you mow. Tell your husbands!

  • Ade Holmes
    Comment added May 24, 2021Reply

    My Mum told us that when she was a kid, she was admiring a dandelion and a boy rather cruelly told her that it was a "Piddle-a-Bed" and she would wet herself after touching the plant. Lo and behold there and then she did just that. Poor Mum!

  • H Dunn
    Comment added May 23, 2021Reply

    I love my dandelions, and appreciate all my multicultural garden visitors- though 'farmer's friend's' may need work on my part, and lantana and privet a bit of a stretch. As for'lawn the more diverse, the happier the soil seems to be.

  • Judy
    Comment added May 22, 2021Reply

    Lovely

  • Jennifer Richards
    Comment added May 21, 2021Reply

    I let Dandelions grow and flower but take the flower off before they become clocks. Yesterday, I had a handful of plants and thought how wonderful the leaves looked. I shall stop plucking up and start eating the leave. Thank you.

  • EdithWright
    Comment added May 16, 2021Reply

    My mother had us out picking the dandelion flowers to make dandelion jelly and she was known to make up a batch of dandelion wine.

  • Bruce Hadfield
    Comment added May 11, 2021Reply

    I love wine and tea and the dandy-lion does just that bees love the flower although the nectar is high ,Im' told in a type of sugar that crystallizes easily and therefore cannot be extracted from the comb but the bees can get it for winter food love the yellow a nice garden mellow fellow.

  • karen russo
    Comment added May 10, 2021Reply

    Any way to make their very pretty blooms last more than one day in a vase?

  • cam mcculloch
    Comment added May 9, 2021Reply

    Just...no.
    I admire people who eat them in salads or make wine. But please, don't encourage people to let them proliferate. Frankly, it's irresponsible.
    They are invasive x 1000, choking out everything else if not plucked before the seeds blow around. Their taproot reaches the centre of the Earth. And as beautiful as the flower is, the leaves are nasty ugly.
    I am not in favor of chemical bombing them. I dig them out. The people who leave them to mature and blow around are rightly regarded as lazy and completely disrespectful of their neighbours.

  • Susan A Rotondi
    Comment added May 8, 2021Reply

    So good to see your positive article on Dandelions.

    Dandelions are TRADITION in our Italian family. Grandparents immigrated from Italy late 1800s, early 1900s, and had 13 children, all of whom have died now. The rich earth provided much for them. They planted vegetables, herbs, fruit trees, and made wine each year. Every spring the field was adorned with beautiful yellow Dandelion flowers, and each year my aunts, uncles, grandchildren, friends and neighbors were out picking the dandelions for fresh salads, seasoned with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The children enjoyed picking the yellow flowers to give to their Moms. Dandelion greens are probably one of the most nutritious greens on the planet. Some who are unfamiliar with dandelions complain of their bitter taste. However, if you're into fresh, fresh, fresh, and bright green healthy chlorophyll, you'll love and appreciate the Dandelion.

    If you don't have a field of Dandelions or even a few popping up through cracks, some supermarkets sell them.

    Thank you.

  • Patricia
    Comment added May 4, 2021Reply

    Take the beautiful golden head and peel off the green part on the back. Dip it into batter and deep fry. They taste just like mushrooms! I see the American goldfinch eating the seed heads every spring. I love a spring lawn filled with dandelions and violets. Now THATS a happy place!

  • David Boden
    Comment added May 3, 2021Reply

    A beautiful golden flower that has SO MUCH to offer !!
    Leave them alone and enjoy them !

  • Song
    Comment added May 1, 2021Reply

    Dandelions make wishes come true when you blow the seed heads! Just ask my kidlets. They're also Nature's favorite flower or they wouldn't be everywhere.

  • Andrew Jackson
    Comment added April 9, 2021Reply

    Fabulous speech, Im sold and I'm against all those tidy weed free fusspots from this day forward! Life is easier now.

  • Cathy
    Comment added April 1, 2021Reply

    Definitely agree! I'm deliberately planting some in my new borders, as a part of turning half of my organic garden over to new wildlife habitats. They're beautiful. A weed is only a plant growing in the wrong place.

  • Cathy
    Comment added April 1, 2021Reply

    Definitely agree! I'm deliberately planting and including some in my new borders, as a part of turning half of my organic garden over to new wildlife habitats. They're beautiful.

  • Me
    Comment added March 31, 2021Reply

    Really love your comment!

  • David Woods
    Comment added March 31, 2021Reply

    I agree to a certain extent altho too many digested dandelions will bring on diorhea as the yellow pigment helps the liver to produce bile

  • Robert curno
    Comment added March 31, 2021Reply

    The pleasure at the first sight of that very pleasing yellow flower is a joy to behold . It takes me back seventy five years to my first forays into my local park as a boy to see that carpet of flowers and to play and rollin the shear joy in those now far of days.

  • William McDaniel
    Comment added March 30, 2021Reply

    Last fall or early winter I noticed an exceptionally bright dandelion had established itself near my back door. I thought just for the fun of it I would dig it up and pot it and bring it in to my enclosed back porch just to observe it. Well, like the saying goes “The best laid plans of mice and men”, spring has sprung and the dandelion is still in the ground. Back in January and February it appeared to have died and I scolded myself for procrastinating on rehoming it. Behold, in early March it seemed to awaken and by the first day of spring it was raring to go. One week later it now has a crown of beautiful yellow flowers. I think I will wait for it to seed then I will go back to my original plan to try to pot it and try to tame that wild Dan de lion.

  • Kathyrn Klauda
    Comment added March 30, 2021Reply

    Honey Bees like the pollen of these early bloomers.

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