Since perennial plants have to be divided from time to time to keep them looking their best, the extra plants resulting from the division make easy gifts to pass along to friends or neighbors. While most of such gifts would be welcomed with open arms, there are some that should be regarded with extreme caution. The five plants described below are regarded as invasives which will tend to spread out of control and be almost impossible to remove once established. These pass along plants are described in an article by Donna Mack which I found on Dave’s Garden website.
There are many plants that are tagged as “pass-along”, meaning that they are passed from one gardener to another as a friendly gesture. Some of these plants are wonderful. Baptisia, Abyssinian gladioli, and hardy geraniums are some of the wonderful plants I have personally received.
I first experienced problematical gift plants when I worked with a client who had been given a large volume of daylilies by a friend. They were rejects from her garden – the orange ones often referred to as ditchlilies. By the time I arrived in her garden, she had over two hundred of this dreaded plant, which meant that she had at least 2,000 individual bulbs. She had tried Roundup, but of course it only burned the foliage on the top. In one of the most backbreaking projects of my life, I dug them all out. It took a month, and thereafter we had to watch for the stray bulb or two that escaped. I have these delightful things in three surrounding yards. I actually reach under the fences to rip them out. There is a quarter acre garden about a mile from my home that has nothing else. And my neighbor’s ditchlilies have gone under his fence to establish a two foot border in another another neighbor’s yard.
Goutweed, also known as bishops weed, ground elder, and by the dignified moniker of aegopodium podagraria, is another very invasive plant. I see this in almost every yard in gardens with part to full shade. If you go to the dictionary and look up pernicious, you will surely see the smiling face of goutweed as an illustration. Since it loves to curl up with ivy and vinca, eliminating it with chemical applications would damage or destroy the other plants, which are far more desirable to many gardeners. So the gardener ends up pulling out the individual plants – for the rest of his or her gardening existence. It is unkillable, and it invades everything, including the lawn. It’s for sale in garden centers. And to add insult to injury, its favorite location, in my experience, is among the desirable groundcovers I noted above. So spraying is out of the question.
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Feature photo: Hectonichus