Gardening Expert Advice: 8 Weeds With Benefits

Gardening Expert Advice: 8 Weeds With Benefits

Weeds are great when they’re planted in the right place. When we typically talk about weeds we talk about “invasive plants” and we thought we should flip the coin and look at the many weeds with benefits instead!

Everything you read talks about how to prevent weeds from spreading by mowing or trampling before the seeds form. But did you know they actually help the soil?

This post is a Q&A with one of our experts and nursery department head. if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to stop in and ask our staff about the weeds you can eat!

A Q&A with Granville Goff, Nursery Department Head,
Fang! Pet & Garden Supply


Q 1. How do weeds repair the soil – generally speaking? What do weeds do that’s good?

A 1.  “Weeds” add biomass to the soil and as they die they help create topsoil and available nutrients for other plants not to mention feeding the microorganisms present in the soil. Additionally, they help with moisture retention which keeps the soil alive and provides habitat for beneficial and nonbeneficial insects which encourages birds. Plant-like Comfrey drive down deep taproots that mine minerals and other nutrients thus reinvigorating the nutrient cycle.

Q2. Which of these have culinary potential and can be used in everyday meals? Like Dandelions?

A 2.  Dandelion (root, leaves, flowers), Burdock (roots, stems), Lemon Balm (all aerial growth), Miners Lettuce (shoots, flowers), Chickweed (all aerial growth) can all be used in daily cuisine.

Q 3. Do they really fix nutritional balances in the lawn?

A 3.  Refer to answer for number one! Additionally, Poly-culture, as opposed to monoculture (i.e. lawn), has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt to be more ecologically sound and beneficial for soil health and pest management than any other “method” of cultivation. Let nature lead the way.

Q 4. When removing these weeds – is there a “best practice” or method that should be used?

A 4.  If you are removing non-native, invasive imports from your landscape, garden, or natural area a couple of things to keep in mind: “Weeds” as we term them are very advantageous plants that are more than adept at adapting to changes and capitalizing on beneficial conditions including your removal of them. If a weed has gone to seed, be sure, it will be back- bend stalks into a paper bag before lopping off, to minimize spread, you can burn them later. When digging up a weed, remember that many have deep taproots and if you don’t get the whole thing it will grow back, also bear in mind that when you disturb the soil, other seeds that have been dormant will gain a foothold in the “limelight” and you may see new visitors that were previously unknown to you. BEST PRACTICE: suppression= sod flip, sheet mulch with cardboard or other biodegradable light blockers, cover with bark mulch and straw, in this way you rob the unwanted plants of light and begin building a healthy topsoil layer for yourself.

Q 5. Why do dogs seek out Cleavers? And what’s the benefit of the sticky/velcro leaves?

A 5. Cleavers are one of my all-time favorites. They are very advantageous, have medicinal uses, and are actually very easy to remove once you get unstuck from them, of course. They are a close relative of our native Sweet Woodruff also. The hairs on Cleavers allow them to climb to light they require to spread, also since their structure is very fragile it allows them to hitch a ride on passersby and take root some distance away thus spreading its territory. Dogs are likely eating it for the same reasons humans tincture it. It is noted as a blood builder/cleanser, lymph mover, diuretic, coagulant, and anti-inflammatory, basically a great spring tonic to help clean you out and detox your system. Spring is its prime season and this is a good time to flush the system and our canine friends are innately aware of this.

Eight Weeds with Benefits


The info above in number 5. Can be found in tincture and tea blends.

The Cleavers


Found growing just about everywhere. Broad and Spear leaf varieties abound in lawns, city parks, forest roads, etc. This is not the banana cousin that goes by the same name. Plantain is an antiseptic, astringent, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, nutritive, making it one of the best wound healing herbs out there. Effective when used on insect stings, bites, cuts, scrapes, and even eczema. Fresh leaf is best.


Leaves, flowers, root used. One of the more popular weeds that people will eat and uses as an herbal remedy. Great for detoxing and supporting the liver, however, has some contraindications when used in conjunction with blood-thinners due to its anticoagulant properties. Also useful in helping treat kidney and urinary ailments including infections, due to the magnesium and zinc content it is good for promoting clear skin, can help maintain proper blood sugar. Roasted root is a great coffee substitute.


Leaves and Root used. Demulcent, expectorant, mucilaginous: lung support, wound healing, intestinal support



Attracts bees in the garden. Leaves, flowers, and stems used. Carminative, diaphoretic and febrifuge, antibacterial (internal and external), antiviral. Good for heart and liver, mood improvement.

lemon balm


Postpartum depurative, emmenagogue, galactagogue and circulatory tonic. Helps regulate blood flow generally and specifically in relation to menstruation, increases breast milk production, also help with itchy skin.


Use as a salad green. Miner’s lettuce is pleasingly crunchy, mild-tasting has large leaves, remains tender even when in flower, and is so loaded with vitamins it will cure scurvy. According to a study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 100 grams of miner’s lettuce — about the size of a decent salad — contains a third of your daily requirement of Vitamin C, 22 percent of the Vitamin A, and 10 percent of the iron.


Roots and stalks, young growth is tender and easier to eat and prepare. Keep moist if cooking. Aids in digestion, detoxifying the liver and balancing hormones. It is also good for improving skin quality, reducing inflammation, and lowering blood pressure. Similar to Dandelion Root. Can be found fresh in some health food grocery stores, as a tincture, and dried herb.


I bet you didn’t know this about weeds! Perhaps you’re a chef or you simply didn’t know what to do with your dandelions – but consider serving them up in a meal instead of weeding and throwing them into the compost pile this weekend.

Arbor Day Raffle for Oregon’s Wildlands

Arbor Day Raffle for Oregon’s Wildlands

In celebration of Arbor Day this month, Fang! will be selling raffle tickets from March 26th until April 26th to benefit Oregon Wild and the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. In light of the recent wildfires in the Columbia Gorge, we wanted to recognize our wildlife and the wilderness as this beauty and solitude is what makes where we live so special. And those that work so fiercely to protect it. Keeping our lands pristine is the highest priority.

Oregon Wild was founded in 1974, and has been instrumental in securing permanent legislative protection for some of Oregon’s most precious landscapes, including nearly 1.7 million acres of Wilderness, 95,000 acres of forests in Bull Run/Little Sandy watersheds (to safeguard the quality of Portland’s water supply) and almost 1,800 miles of Wild & Scenic Rivers.

In addition to Oregon Wild, the Wildland Firefighter Foundation will benefit from the event. Wildland Firefighter Foundation’s main focus is to help families of firefighters killed in the line of duty and to assist injured firefighters and their families. The Foundation came together as a group of volunteers in 1994, shortly after the Storm King tragedy.

Thank you to our wonderful sponsors and their donations!  

Kadsura j. “Chirifu”


fessler arborday

Garden & Bloom organic raised bed starter kit

We can answer any questions you have about products found in our garden center. Come celebrate Arbor Day with us! And if you’re interested, here’s a little history about this special day too:

So, What is Arbor Day?  

Arbor Day is an annual observance that celebrates the role of trees in our lives and promotes tree planting and care.

When Is Arbor Day?

For many years, Arbor Day was celebrated on April 22, J. Sterling Morton’s birthday. Today, National Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Friday in April. All fifty states, Puerto Rico, and some U.S. territories have passed legislation adopting Arbor Day, which is celebrated on a date appropriate for tree planting in their region. Visit to learn when Arbor Day is celebrated in your state

More about the Raffle:

Fang! will be selling raffle tickets from March 26th until April 26th to benefit Oregon Wild and the Wildland Firefighter Foundation.

Cost: Tickets are $2 each or 3 for $5.

Prizes: Mounted houseplants, trees, shrubs, soil, gift certificates and more! Winners will be announced on Arbor Day, April 27th.

Who Benefits: Oregon has seen a devastating number of wildfires this year. Oregon Wild works to protect and restore Oregon’s wildlands, wildlife and waters as an enduring legacy for all Oregonians. Wildland Firefighter Foundation‘s main focus is to help families of firefighters killed in the line of duty and to assist injured firefighters and their families.

Our sponsors!

We would like to thank the Plant Kindness Project, Youngblood Nursery Inc. Rare Plants, Exceptional Service., Fessler Nursery and Kellogg Garden for their generous donations and participation in this event.

Juniper con. ‘Blue pacific’

7 Plants That Are Poisonous To Pets

7 Plants That Are Poisonous To Pets

Spring showers make spring flowers! But be mindful of the top plants that are toxic to pets!

Dogs dig under all plants so many of the flowers in your yard may be an issue. You may not even realize it!

You can ask our staff more about each of the below if these are your fave but it’s risky and potentially dangerous if your animals nibble on these.

According to the ASPCA, the list is long – so please visit their site for the complete list (more than 700 plants). Here are the more common plants found that pet parents should be careful around when they have their animals with them:

  • Amaryllis


Vomiting (not horses), depression, diarrhea, abdominal pain, hypersalivation, anorexia, tremors.

  • Apricot – scary pits for dogs to choke on

Stems, leaves, seeds contain cyanide, particularly toxic in the process of wilting: brick red mucous membranes, dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, panting, shock.

  • Alocasia (or Elephant’s Ear)

Oral irritation, pain and swelling of mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting (not horses), difficulty swallowing.

  • Sago Palm

Vomiting, melena, icterus, increased thirst, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, bruising, coagulopathy, liver damage, liver failure, death.

  • Azalea

Vomiting (not in horses), diarrhea, weakness, cardiac failure. 

  • Dieffenbachia (Dumb Cane)

Oral irritation, intense burning and irritation of mouth , tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing.

  • Lily of the Valley

Vomiting, irregular heart beat, low blood pressure, disorientation, coma, seizures.

The ASPCA is your best resource for any animal poison-related emergency, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you think that your pet may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance, call (888) 426-4435. A $65 consultation fee may be applied to your credit card.

Resources: Always have the ASPCA’s site saved and bookmarked.


Hostess Gift Ideas: Plants for Every Personality

Hostess Gift Ideas: Plants for Every Personality

We all know that plants reduce stress. But did you know? “Being around plants helps people concentrate better in the home and workplace. Studies show that tasks performed while under the calming influence of nature are performed better and with greater accuracy. This yields a higher quality result,” explains Floriculture experts. That said, here are some plants which are great hostess gift ideas.

There are four categories that people typically fall into when it comes to plants:

  1. People that only want plants that are super easy to care for like Succulents
  2. The plant lover that has an entire room in their house dedicated to plants like the Bat Flower
  3. Folks that prefer airplants over ALL other plants (that’s me!)
  4. Many of our homes are light-starved, so there are plant lovers that need low light plants

At Fang , we have something for everyone on your list this year and we highly recommend these plants as hostess gift ideas! Given the typical hostess is really stressed these are the MOST thoughtful gifts. Their animals certainly help reduce stress but this should get them through the winter months a little easier! We also sell pruners – combined with the plant is a great gift too!

Be prepared. Pick up several plants for hostess gifts and be ready for your upcoming parties!

hostess gift ideas - plants!

Put Plants Away From Pets:

Remember to put a note on your gift to suggest that your hostess gift is put somewhere safe in the house.

So safety first when it comes to our animals! It is worth noting that all plants are toxic depending on how much of that plant is consumed by your cat or dog. If you’re interested in learning more about the plants you have and which should be moved to a place out of the way of your beloved animals, visit: the ASPCA.

Remember: Our staff at Fang can help answer other questions about any of these plants. Swing by on your way to the next party to pick up one of these plants as a hostess gift idea!

Now let’s look at some of the plants we carry that are great hostess gift ideas.

There are four categories:



These are plants that have some parts that are more than normally thickened and fleshy, usually to retain water in arid climates or soil conditions. These hostess gift ideas are easy to maintain.




Super low maintenance and easy to care for! The Echinopsis cactus flower blooms overnight—and lasts only a  day. So cool!


This is a very large and diverse genus of flowering plants, commonly called spurge, in the spurge family (Euphorbiaceae). Note that many cultivars are often misidentified as cacti. Important to note that they secrete a  milky latex when broken or cut and that all varieties will produce specialized leaves. What we carry is different from the common euphorbia found in landscaping in the Portland area.


Philodendron is a large genus of flowering plants in the Araceae family. Even inexperienced houseplant owners will have no trouble growing philodendron plants because they adapt readily to the conditions inside the home.

Read more at Gardening Know How: Philodendron Houseplants: How To Care For A Philodendron Plant


Arguably the easiest houseplant to grow. It’s a long-growing, leafy vine that can reach 40 feet or more in tropical jungles. It usually confines itself to about 6-10 feet in containers, but may just keep on growing.

ZZ (Zamioculcas Zamifolia) Zanzibar Gem

Zamioculcas is a genus of flowering plant in the family Araceae, containing the single species Zamioculcas zamiifolia. It is a tropical perennial plant native to eastern Africa, from Kenya south to northeastern South Africa.

Sansevieria (all varieties) or Snake Plant

Most people know it by this name or as Mother in Law’s Tongue.

Sansevieria is always at the top of any list as being one of the most tolerant of all decorative plants to survive the most unsuitable growing conditions.


Easy to care for but exotic in appearance, hoya plants are the ideal houseplant for those who crave tropical blooms.



Euphorbia is a very large and diverse genus of flowering plants, commonly called spurge, in the spurge family (Euphorbiaceae). There are various types you can explore these euphorbias’ at the store which are also wonderful hostess gift ideas.


  • Trigona^
  • Pachypodium^
  • Ammak
  • Lactae
  • Flanganii (Medusa Head proxy).
Large Crassula Jade

Large Crassula Jade

Large Crassula Jade

The LARGE Crassula Jade^ (Crassula is in the Succulent designation, we have a large sculpted specimen which makes it a collectible, otherwise it is very very common).

Crassula (KRAS-ew-la) & Jade Plants: The Crassula family presents an incredible range of forms, from large tree-like shrubs to plants with trailing stems ideal for hanging baskets. Most have waxy surfaces with beautiful markings and brilliant color.

Cylindropuntia Subulata (more cacti!)

Austrocylindropuntia subulata is a species of cactus native to the Peruvian Andes. The name subulata comes from the Latin subulate, for awl-like, referring to the shape of the rudimentary leaves.

Monstera Deliciosa (Split Leaf Philodendron)^

The Split Leaf Philodendron or Monstera deliciosa is a large popular easy-care houseplant that is not really a Philodendron at all. There is a great deal of confusion about what to call this plant because the variable names have become interchangeable.

Monstera Adonsonii (Swiss Cheese Plant)

Monstera Friedrichsthalii (synonymous with Adansonii) is a glossy, evergreen, tropical vine native to regions of Peru, Ecuador, and Brazil. It is also called “Swiss Cheese Plant” or “Swiss Cheese Vine” because of the ever-present holes in its leaves.

Phiodendron Bipinnatifidum

Philodendron bipinnatifidum is a plant that belongs to the family Araceae and subgenus Meconostigma, one of three subgenera within the genus Philodendron. This plant is native to South America, namely to Brazil, Bolivia, and Argentina.

Sansevieria Gracilis

This plant is a caulescent, herbaceous species slightly ascending to spreading or trailing in cultivation. It forms rosettes of up to twelve conical, in-rolled, light green leaves arranged spirally.

Sansevieria Moonlight

A member of the Sansevieria Family and also known as the Mother in Law Tongue. It has thick silvery green blades. The blades then slowly mature to a soft green. Very attractive and excellent for indoors.

Ginseng Ficus^ (do you know a bonsai lover?)

Native to Malaysia, Taiwan, and other Southeast and East Asian countries, the Ginseng Ficus is an excellent choice for bonsai tree growers. Sometimes known as the Taiwan Ficus, Banyan Fig or Indian Laurel Fig, the Ginseng Ficus is characterized by the shape of its strong roots and stems.

Bat Flower

Growing Tacca bat flowers is a great way to have an unusual flower or novelty plant, both indoors and out. Bat flower info indicates the plant is actually an orchid!

Staghorn Fern^

They are Old World tropics native to Africa, northern Australia, and Southeast Asia. This large gorgeous fern looks great in a hanging basket but can also be hung against a wall because all the leaves are on one side.

^Often Available 


We carry a lot of the popular varieties. We have some in bloom, others just budding, the rest are un-bloomed. These plants are very low maintenance and are also great hostess gift ideas.

The King of Airplants

The King of Airplants


Known as the king of air plants! A beautiful silvery green with some pink highlights. Their bloom can grow to 4 times the height of the plant. They make a beautiful centerpiece.

Caput Medusae

Added to the unusual plant section for its obvious bizarre look is the Tillandsia Caput Medusae. An air-plant also known as the Medusa’s Head Plant (different from the Euphorbia Medusa’s Head) for its similarities with the Greek mythological character Medusa.


Tillandsia brachycaulos is a species in the genus Tillandsia. It is native to Mexico, Central America, and Venezuela


Tillandsia oaxacana is a species in the genus Tillandsia. This species is endemic to Mexico.


The Zamioculcas

The Zamioculcas

ZZ (Zamioculcas Zamifolia) Zanzibar Gem*

Zamioculcas is a genus of flowering plant in the family Araceae, containing the single species Zamioculcas zamiifolia. It is a tropical perennial plant native to eastern Africa, from Kenya south to northeastern South Africa.

Jewel Orchid

Jewel Orchids do well as house plants. The Jewel Orchid or Ludisia discolor is a terrestrial orchid unlike other Orchids. Known for its foliage rather than its flowers, it is simple and easy to care for and produces lovely little white flowers.

Philodendron Cordatum*

The most common indoor philodendron is the Philodendron Cordatum, sometimes called Sweetheart Vine or Heart Leaf Philodendron. This Philodendron has heart-shaped, green leaves that are typically about 2-3 inches across and can grow much larger.

Monstera Deliciosa (Split Leaf Philodendron)*+

The Split Leaf Philodendron or Monstera deliciosa is a large popular upright growing easy-care houseplant that is not really a Philodendron at all!

Japonica Farfugium (Giant Leopard Plant)

Farfugium japonicum Giganteum aka Giant Leopard Plant. Grows in Sun to Part Sun ( It thrives in Full to Mostly Shaded conditions, does not like full sun.) Flower Color is Yellow/Gold and blooms in Fall.

Bat Flower

Growing Tacca bat flowers is a great way to have an unusual flower or novelty plant, both indoors and out. The Bat flower is actually an orchid.

Sansevieria all varieties* (see above for two)

African Mask*

The African mask plant (some think the plant looks like one) or Kris plant have veins with contrasting colors.

Ferns: (except Asparagus Fern, Bird’s Nest, and Staghorn)

A fern is a member of a group of vascular plants that reproduce via spores and have neither seeds nor flowers. (Ferns require more vigilance in terms of watering habits, place a tray of water under a fern to help minimize how often you need to water, daily misting is recommended to keep it looking full and happy).

Xerographica can do well in a North facing window

Xerographica (zero-grafika) are also great low light plants.


*easy to care for

*+ easy and more attention needed

General Rule:

Dark foliage tolerates less light due to the higher levels of chlorophyll present in the leaves and variegated varieties cannot photosynthesize as readily as dark leaf varieties and thus need a little more light.

Plants to Help You Sleep even with Your Pet

Plants to Help You Sleep even with Your Pet

Did you know?

Half of American households own pets and half of those pets sleep either right in the bed or somewhere in the bedroom. Some studies say sleeping with pets is beneficial because people feel more secure. Other studies say people found sleeping with pets very disruptive. With that in mind, if half of the pets are sleeping with their owners then what can you do to decrease the tossing and turning! Whether you feel secure or “exhausted” is there anything proactive you can do to help?

Six Plants to help you sleep


Three of the six plants you can purchase at Fang :
#1 – Spider Plant, #2 – Aloe Vera, #3 – ZZ plant

Did you ever consider plants to help you sleep even with your pet in the room? Flowers too! Yes, ordering a bed for your pet to sleep in is a smart idea but just in case you fall into the category of people that like their dogs in their beds at night, consider these six plants:

  1. Jasmine: It’s proven to reduce anxiety levels
  2. Lavender: Has many benefits but research shows it helps with stress
  3. Aloe-Vera: Emits oxygen at night, making for a more restful slumber. These are also super low-maintenance plants. (Above: #2 in the image) 
  4. Bamboo Palm: This plant is known for being a great air purifier and it provides a tropical feeling in your bedroom.
  5. The Spider Plant: The NASA tests showed it to remove around 90% of the potentially cancer-causing chemical formaldehyde from the air.  (Above: #1 in the image) 
  6. The ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia): The ZZ plant is capable of  “cleaning” the indoor air and making it healthier for humans to breathe. (Above: #3 in the image) 

And if you don’t believe us – NASA did a study! If these ideas work for astronauts you should at least try adding one of the above.

The staff at Fang can answer any questions you have about plants to help you sleep and show you around the garden center. Come check it out today!

Eight Fall Garden and Houseplant Tips

Eight Fall Garden and Houseplant Tips

What are your favorite fall activities?

Outside of pumpkin carving, you’re probably making hearty recipes that call for mustard greens and garlic and what about shallots? All of these veggies are perfect for your fall garden!

The Fang garden center made the transition from summer to fall over the past few weeks. We’re ready to talk about veggie starts for fall and what winter cover crops are appropriate for the season.

The advice we’re giving to customers?

This is a great time to plant out natives, adding worm castings and compost to the holes for trees and shrubs. Give them a good mulching once planted to help retain moisture and warmth.

We’re hosting an event in October!

Dug and Cover: An Introduction to Autumn Gardening. The Fang staff will host a free seminar/demo on October 14 & 15 from 12-1:30 p.m. covering Autumn Gardening.


Eight Fall Garden and Houseplant Tips:

#1. Veggie starts that experts recommend for fall gardens include:

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Arugula
  • Mustard Greens
  • Beets
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Endive
  • Radishes
  • Spinach
  • Chard
  • Lettuce
  • Garlic, and Shallots.

These are crops to plant now and the seedlings will overwinter.

#2. According to Fine Gardening Magazine, “Bring particularly rare or expensive plants inside. Some can go dormant in a dark basement, while others will overwinter happily in a sunny room.”

#3. Put a Succulent in it – a great fall project: Fang has a large variety of succulents that you can add to vessels. You can even place them on the top of a birdhouse. Or check out these tips on how to make a succulent wall garden!

#4. Houseplants like air plants are perfect for fall and super low-maintenance.

#5. Winter Cover Crops: It’s a good time to be working on soil improvement. By planting a cover crop in summer or fall and letting it overwinter, you can:

  • improve soil organic matter and soil fertility,
  • suppress cool-season weeds, prevent soil erosion,
  • and create a better seedbed for spring planting.

We will have Rye, Peas, Wheat, and Crimson Clover available this fall for your Northwest garden.

#6. Worm castings are a great option for fall gardening. They stimulate plant growth more than any other natural product available. Worm castings are absorbed easily and immediately by plants. They also inhibit root diseases. (Also Worm tea is a thing! It is made with the worm castings, not the worms. If you’re interested in learning more, check this article out.)

#7. Herbal advice: Cilantro can be seeded now through the beginning of October. And chives in the ground can stay or starts can be planted. Transplanting shrub herbs like rosemary, lavender, and sage can happen now. They may try to flower quickly but the growing period is pretty much done and this can help minimize transplant shock.

#8. Natives like Oregon Grape, Mountain Currant, Oregon Stonecrop, and Nookta Rose are top performers and superheroes of fall plants

Come see what’s available at Fang and get more fall garden and houseplant tips.

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