I know it's hard to identify plants just from the seedlings but I get these weeds every year throughout my garden in Northern New Jersey and I pull them before they grow.

They start to germinate around early May and continue to popup at other times of the year but I think it's mainly in early spring and late summer/fall.

My raised bed was covered with black plastic. When I removed it to prepare my raised bed a few days ago there were hundreds of them underneath the plastic. Most were starting to die off from lack of light.Never really had that bad of a problem with them in the raised bed but I guess the plastic made conditions ideal for germination.

The seed leaves are round and smooth but the true leaves appear to be serrated.

enter image description here

Here are some photos with their first true leaves. As the plants mature the stems get woody and hard.

enter image description here

  • Leave one as a specimen and it should be come clear. Not one I recognize at that stage. I have gotten good at ID-ing certain "weeds" that are really "self-seeding plants I want in some places, but not everywhere they sow themselves" in my own gardens, as well as some of my actual weeds.
    – Ecnerwal
    May 15, 2015 at 16:35
  • I'm going to try to remember to find a pot to grow it in and see what happens but this year I'm having some issues with weeds in the backyard do to issues with a couple of neighbors letting their weeds grow unchecked. May 15, 2015 at 22:27
  • I really feel like I should recognize this plant. If you can get a picture of a fully opened true leaf I might recognize it.
    – GardenerJ
    Jun 3, 2015 at 2:52
  • @Ecnerwal added some photos with the true leaves Jun 3, 2015 at 17:18
  • @GardenerJ pinging you too now that I added pictures with the true leaves. Jun 3, 2015 at 17:18

1 Answer 1


After feeling the stems get woody I started looking at possible trees it could be and I believe these seedlings are hibiscus syriacus L. aka rose of Sharon, althea, althea rose, shrub althea, shrubby Althea, Syrian rose. They're also in the area where I see the most of these seedlings. They are in the mallow family

They're a popular ornamental tree/shrub in my area but they are self seeders. They are fairly easy to control. The seedlings pull up easily and can be controlled with herbicides (distilled vinegar on a hot sunny day also does the trick) but boy do they love the Mel's Mix in my square foot garden bed. Especially when the mix was kept moist with plastic mulch over it.

Some pictures:

Early seedlings:

enter image description here

source: https://nefp.wordpress.com/2009/02/16/this-and-that/007-2-2/

Seedlings which match what my photos:

hibiscus seedlings

source: http://www.invasive.org/browse/detail.cfm?imgnum=5399776


enter image description here

source: https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/all/hibiscus-syriacus/

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