For those who want to keep their home gardens lush, the
best weed killers for flower beds are all pre-mixed herbicides, but choosing the right one comes down to a surprising number of factors: selective or non-selective; pre-emergent versus post-emergent; and chemical as opposed to organic. Since these options depend greatly on your situation — and the types of weeds you want to eliminate— I’ve rounded up the best from every category.
First, here are the key things to consider when shopping:
Selective Vs. Non-Selective
One of the challenges of using herbicides in gardens is that weeds may be growing side-by-side with your beloved flowers. For that reason, you may first want to try a "selective" formula, which will eliminate certain types of weeds or grasses while sparing your ornamentals from damage. If you want immediate, fast-acting control, however, a "non-selective" herbicide — which kills
everything it touches— can still be used near flowers, you'll just want to look for one with a targeted spray nozzle so you can zero in on bothersome weeds. Pre-Emergent Vs. Post-Emergent
Most weed killers are designed to eliminate "post-emergent" weeds that have already come to the surface. But if you time it right, using a "pre-emergent" version can save you trouble by preventing weeds
before they sprout. The catch is that some of the pre-emergent herbicides need to be applied in late spring, which is the climate when weeds typically begin to germinate. Weed Killer Safety & Precautions
You'll notice that weed-controllers typically include chemicals as their main ingredient (
glyphosate is the most common) because they are the most effective. However, if the uncertainty surrounding potential health risks of a chemical herbicide makes you uneasy, you can instead opt for an organic, vinegar-based option, just note that most are non-selective.
And no matter which type you choose, you should
take precautions when applying: Wear goggles, gloves, and protective clothing to limit exposure. And check the label before spraying anywhere where pets and children may linger.
With that said, keeping scrolling to find a list of the best products to use to
kill weeds and grass in your flower beds. We only recommend products we love and that we think you will, too. We may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was written by our Commerce team.
The Best Selective Weed Killer For Flower Beds
If you're looking for a great selective herbicide, this one by
Ortho Grass B Gon garden grass killer is a fantastic option. Its active ingredient Fluazifop-P-butyl kills crabgrass, fescues, bermuda, and other weedy grasses without hurting landscape flowers or other plants. While this spray "doesn't provide that immediate gratification of glyphosate," as one Amazon fan pointed out, it still gets the job done well. Just note that it requires two applications, at least seven days apart, in sunny, warm weather for maximum effectiveness. Helpful review: "This took longer to kill out the crabgrass than Roundup does, but after a couple of weeks, my wildflowers were up to about 5 inches and the crabgrass seems to all be dead. It was a bit pricey, but considering the time, money, and effort I already had into this project, it was worth the price to save it. Will be buying another bottle in the near future!"
The Best Non-Selective Weed Killer For Flower Beds
Described by one reviewer as "liquid death," this
Roundup ready-to-use weed and grass killer is guaranteed to eliminate and kills weeds at their roots. The active ingredient is glyphosate, which, as a non-selective herbicide, will take out any plant it comes into contact with. However, this weed killer comes with a precision "Sure Shot" wand applicator designed with a shield so that you can target weeds without spraying your beautiful flowers. Roundup is also quick-working and kills weeds in as little as three hours (which. means you can replant flowers only one day after application). In addition, it becomes rainproof in about 10 minutes after spraying. Helpful review: “I had some weeds that were growing through the rock bed around my outdoor fire pit and in my flower beds. Poor landscaping prep on my part. One treatment with Round up got rid of them and they haven't returned. I was very concerned about getting the weeds in my flower bed without damaging or killing my flowers, in the process but, this product has a pinpoint sprayer nozzle which allowed me to take a bit of extra care so as to spray only the weeds and not my flowers."
The Best Pre-Emergent Blocker: A Weed & Feed For Flower Beds
Although it won't get rid of existing weeds (you'll need to remove those first), this
Preen weed preventer will help stop new weeds from cropping up in flower beds and lasts up to three months once applied, thanks to its active ingredient, trifluralin. Unlike the picks above, it comes in a granular form, and for best results, the brand suggests using it in spring after spreading mulch on your flower and shrubs. However, one Amazon user provided this tip for prolonging its effectiveness: "If you live in areas with extended seasons or warm weather, just keep applying every three months."
This Preen product will prevent the sprouting of common weeds like chickweed, knotweed, purslane, and thistle, as well as weedy grasses. As a bonus, it also contains a plant food fertilizer to keep flowers healthy and strong. Please note that while it is safe for use on flowers and edible plants, you will want to keep it away from your lawn as it will also prohibit the growth of grass.
Helpful review: “We have been using Preen Weed Preventer for many years and overall have been very satisfied. Our flowers look great, grow well and there have been very few weeds. I don't think any product will prevent weeds 100% but this Preen does a very good job of minimizing how many weeds you will get. The key to making this product work is applying the right amount, too little and you are wasting it, too much and hurts the flowers”
The Best Organic Weed Killer: A Non-Selective Spray That's Chemical Free
For an all-natural, organic weed killer, this
pick by Natural Armor is the best option and has the advantage of being labeled as pet-safe. It contains "amazingly safe and simple" ingredients per one Amazon fan: vinegar, a blend of citrus and sodium ingredients, essential oils, and glycerine. Best of all, several users also report that it still works quite fast. "Worked in 2 hours," writes one. "Am still shocked how fast it dried the weeds."
Keep in mind that it's still a non-selective formula and will kill any greenery it's applied on. So it's important to target
only weeds with the built-in bottle sprayer and to reapply every three months to keep it working. Per the manufacturer, it's also best to use when rain is not expected on "calm sunny days," which they deem as being 65 degrees Fahrenheit and warmer.
This weed killer is also available in a smaller 32-ounce spray bottle or bulk-size 2.5-gallon size and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee if you're not satisfied.
Helpful review: “I own a small gardening business with the slogan 'Good For The Earth Gardening' so Roundup or chemicals of ANY kind are absolutely out of the question. Being in Florida, weeds are prevalent through ALL of our seasons so hand pulling can be incredibly time-consuming for larger properties. As we have expanded, we have been searching for a product that not only is natural and safe but that ACTUALLY WORKS. We found it and we couldn't be happier.”
You May Also Like: This Ergonomic Tool To Weed By Hand
For those occasions when hand-weeding is unavoidable, consider this
Ganchun weeder tool, which helps makes the work of yanking up weeds manually far easier. Made of sturdy aluminum, this weeder has a curved design to provide more leverage and has a large ergonomic handle with a non-slip rubber coating for you to hold as you weed. Helpful review: "My new flower bed is home to way too many weeds. I pull them when I can, but some of the roots are too deep to pull by hand. This tool works perfectly to get under the roots and pull the weeds easily."