When you visit a garden center the plants for sale always look their best and tempt you to make an impulse purchase. While that small flower in its pot looks innocent enough you can sometimes get more than you bargained for. Not all plants are created equal and while some may be delicate specimens others can turn out to be real thugs. This article which I found on the Hometalk website warns you about seven of these unruly characters.
Not every plant that you find in the garden center or nursery this spring is a good choice for your garden. Garden retailers often sell plants that many consider problematic or invasive.
Why do they sell them then? Well, gardeners often disagree on what constitutes a ?problem?. I happen to think that Goutweed is pure evil, but I know at least one friend who thinks it has nice variegated foliage and likes to have it in his garden.
For me a problem plant is not just invasive, it is also one that is hard to remove where unwanted. Aggressive spreaders like Goutweed send out roots that spread underground. Eradicating it is next to impossible. Any of the white root segments that remain in the soil after you remove the surface plant are capable of producing a new plant.
Other plants like the False Lamium (see below) send out runners above the ground that take root and create offshoot plants.The runners shoot off in all directions and it too is hard to get rid of.
To avoid issues with invasive plants, here are a few suggestions:
Generally, it is a good idea to be suspicious of plants with the word ?weed? incorporated in their common name. ?Goutweed? would be one of them.
Ask nursery or garden centre staff for a reference. If you are considering an unfamiliar plant, ask staff if the plant is in any way aggressive or invasive. Most well-trained staff will warn you off problem plants.
- Lily of the Valley! Yes, the flowers are sweet and the fragrance is divine, but it spreads like wild fire. I have it in the back garden in a shady flowerbed under a tree. It can only go so far in this particular bed and is not a concern. On the other hand, it is a huge problem elsewhere. It was in the front garden when we bought the house and spreads by an underground root system. Lily of the Valley crowds my other plants into extinction. Getting rid of Lily of the Valley, where unwanted, has proven to be next to impossible!
- Goutweed, Aegopdium podagraria can really take over. I would put it to the top of my list of unwanted, invasive plants.
- The False Lamium ‘Variegatum’ in my garden isn’t my own. It’s my neighbour’s. Each spring it creeps under our shared fence and then spreads like wildfire through the back of my flowerbeds. I tear it out, but it always comes back the moment my back is turned. Despite its attractive variegated leaves, I’ve grown to hate it on sight !