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What plants have you found to be invasive? 2

18 years ago

I have read through the previous thread at least three times, and learned some hints. Lets keep it going shall we?? I'll start with Chinese Lanterns, which I now keep in pots (works MUCH better, and 20x easier to control).

Comments (100)

  • babanna
    18 years ago

    Bittersweet, bittersweet and oh--did I mention....BITTERSWEET!!!!
    Still pulling it out 5 yrs later in some of my beds ...
    it is still lurking and of course it is still growing on some areas of my land and my neighbors land is overwhelmed with it.

    I do make wreaths in the winter with it ...but come on! I can only make so many!!! LOL! I think the birds drop the seeds all over and replant this everywhere when I'm not watching close enough.

  • moliep
    18 years ago

    I laughed all the way through this thread because... well, don't you see, fellow gardeners? It's the plants 20, gardeners 0!

    Herbicides, rototillers, and pull-'er-uppers... we're still losing!

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    My house was built in 1916 as a parsonage for the United Methodist-Episcopal South Church. No real owners - just transient ministers, so nothing interesting garden-wise. The most interesting features are an intricately-designed 15-ft.-deep cistern, and the brickwork of 3 chimneys that serve 6 fireplaces. I tilled most of the flower beds and ran across enough broken dishes and silverware to conclude that many a bad meal was served here over the decades! Also beds of used coal, garbage and antique bottles, even a piece of petrified wood. For reasons unknown to me, I found many old and very small horseshoes. Also found a silver Deutsche Mark minted in nazi Germany (complete with nazi symbol imprinted on front). But my very best find was while tilling up the front yard for sodding. Underneath several inches of soil I discovered a ruby Mason's ring. Many months later I found the owner. He was in his late 70's and had lost it while roofing the house several decades ago. He replaced the ring some time after losing it, but "retired" the replacement after getting the original ring back. He sacked groceries at the local grocery store and always raised his hand to my face to let me know he was wearing the original ring whenever I came in. In short, I love my old home so much that almost everything I have unearthed goes on display!
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  • dmhill
    18 years ago

    Believe it or not, but my Celosia are invasive. I planted 10 or 11 last year. They have trippled in size this year. And they're still coming up. I thought it was an annual? My tallest ones are 24" tall and I have tiny ones that are 2" inches tall. Can someone please advise.

  • Debbie4
    18 years ago

    My 4:00s... even though I offer them in trade, I don't recomend putting them where yu plan on putting alot of other forwers.Not only do they reseed like crazey but they make suck a big tap root that it's hard to dig up.By the way mine are the ones that look like they got splattered with paint yellow/pink splash, don't know the name of them though????

  • meldy_nva
    18 years ago

    dmhill- this year's celosia plants came up from the seed made last year. The size variance is probably because last year's was a hybrid, so this year's plants are throwbacks as well as re-combined hybrids. Cut off the flowering portion *before* it can set seed and you will have fewer plants next year. Some folks dry the flowerheads and use them in arrangements. You now know what the baby plants look like, so next spring, pull up the babies before they get to flowering size.

  • REID1975
    18 years ago

    Burning Bush
    Japanese Barberry
    Norway Maple

    Our state is planning to ban these plants from retail markets.

  • weebus
    18 years ago

    One gardener's invasive is another gardener's challenge.

  • kab121170
    18 years ago

    Chameleon plant
    Rose of Sharon (Yikes!)
    sweet autumn clematis

  • Scott_OR
    17 years ago

    English Ivy (my most hated enemy)
    Any mint or its relative
    Scillia Campanulata
    Grape Hyacinths
    Smaller Bamboo varieties

    Marsh Marigold ( It was a weed where I grew up but I've since seen it sold as a ground cover solution)

    I can't remember its name, but a ground cover with deep green to ruddy purplish leaves that sends a stalk of purple flowers 3-5" above the plant. Spreads primarily with runners (although roots seem to spread too). Annoying thing about it is that it never seems to want to grow where you want it too, but loves growing into lawns (and then spreads as you cut it).

    Only half jokingly the most effective method of removal so far has been giving up -- I've had patches of lemon balm and bamboo shrivel up and die a couple of months after I decided that they had won and could have that bed.

    For soft plants like snow-in-summer (mentioned in the first thread), I've had better luck using boiling water than roundup. Have used it effectively on grasses that won't take the hint too.

  • milwdave
    17 years ago

    I just have to say, I LOVE this Thread!!!

    Here in my garden the problems are:

    Ajuga...only the larger forms though
    Orange daylillies... I just think they're ugly.
    ANY kind of mint you can imagine....and some you can't
    Garden mallow...VERY weedy self seeder
    Snow-On-The-Montain, aka Bishop's Weed, Goutweed, etc.
    and last, but not least:
    Opuntia fragilis....a winter hardy cactus here. This plant breaks easily at the joints and gets spread EVERYWHERE!

    Just my 2 cents worth of plants to avoid.

    zone 5...ish

  • KHampton
    17 years ago

    Bindweed is killing my gardening spirit. Any thoughts from anyone about slowing some of these invaders down?

  • mootgirl
    17 years ago

    I haven't tried it yet, but I read a very intriguing suggestion last year on GW to kill off bindweed. The idea was to carefully dig up some roots without damaging them and to equally carefully bury a jug of roundup close by, where it was safe from being disturbed, then put the roots in the jug, anchor them so they can't get out, and wait. Obviously this isn't an organic trick, but the person who posted it said they saw bindweed dying 2 lots away from their poisoned root!

    In addition to many of the problem children listed in previous posts, one of my personal banes is Horsenettle, or Solanum carolinense. I love to work barefoot and the stickers on this beast always catch me by surprise. I can't seem to eradicate them.

  • becky_jean
    17 years ago

    Although I love my Crepe Myrtles, it's a challenge to keep the volunteers out of the nearby flower bed & their root system from being a danger to house foundation.
    my other invasives:
    purple basil (shows up EVERYWHERE)
    some unnamed succulent that I got in a trade that has shown up in every pot & all along the flower beds!

  • leigh711
    17 years ago

    Drumroll: CREEPING CHARLIE(ARGGGG!!!!!),TRUMPET VINE(why oh why did I plant this?), Liriope, virgina creeper, rose campion, lambs ears, sedum autumn joy, goldenrod, mullien, sunflower maximillian, melissa lemon balm, thistle, evergreen ivy, grape, ditch lily, bronze fennel, moss, PRIVET, barberry, HIBISCUS Rose of Sharon, bachlor's button centeurea, smartweed, pokeweed, mimosa, bramble wild blackberry, morning glory, CREEPING CHARLIE, dandilion, wild violet,smilax vine, sensitive fern, wetland sedge, purple iris, staghorn sumac, black eye susan, wood aster, wild aster, henbit, thistle, queen ann's lace, joe pye weed white flowered, honeysuckle, cleome, lavender buddleia davidii, clover, purslane, nightshade, yarrow, tansy, maple tree seedlings, oak tree seedlings, beech tree suckers, winged euonymus, CREEPING CHARLIE, poison ivy, crabgrass.... Oh, did I mention CREEPING CHARLIE? Some of the aforementioned I actually planted, others invading in from the neighbor's yards (CREEPING CHARLIIE, dandilions, crabgrass, smilax, ditch lily, oak & maple tree seedlings, etc.), & some from the birds/wind. Despite all this, our yard is a beautiful orchestrated wild thing, but A LOT of work, & a Never Ending Battle with these back breaking thugs!!!!

  • Lady_Pennywort
    17 years ago

    Bleeding Hearts and Yarrow. Can't get rid of 'em.


  • murphyl
    17 years ago

    Any of the Lamiaceae (mints, lemon balm, catnip, etc). We had a house where the entire backyard was COVERED with lemon balm. Smelled great when you cut it, but then you'd attract every bee, yellowjacket and hornet in the neighborhood. We finally gave up and let it go (and moved a few months later).

    Loosestrifes. We have horrid problems with purple loosestrife mucking up the local watershed and crowding out cattails.

    Pachysandra/Japanese spurge. Most of you will be laughing because it's marketed as a great shade-loving groundcover and hence expensive as Hades, but around here the honeymoon is about three years and then the stuff starts barging into every nook and cranny of your garden. It even started poking through cracks in our driveway - you'd come home from work and drive over a fresh stand of pachysandra. It laughed off vinegar, salt, boiling water, you name it. Dog peed on it every day for a week - no effect. Neighbors tried Roundup on theirs - no effect. Tried to dig it out - it re-spawns from any broken rootlet. We threw dead, sun-shriveled plants in the compost and found live pachysandra growing out of the bin a month later.

    Smoke tree/smoke bush. They said at the nursery that it would get 4' tall, max. When it grew 17' tall and broke through the foundation, we knew we had problems...

    English ivy and most other vining plants. If I want to see ivy-covered walls, I'll watch a Cubs game.

    Vinca species/periwinkle. For some incomprehensible reason, old-time MI gardeners call it myrtle. We called it "pain in the butt plant" after grubbing out two huge patches of the stuff where it was killing our flowering crab trees. It came back and broke through a brick patio wall in revenge.

  • ademink
    17 years ago

    I'd loooooove self-seeding pulmonaria!!! I also love Sweet Woodruff - no problems here w/ it!

    HATRED IN MY HEART for the Indian mock strawberries...ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!! LOL
    Creeping Charlie - 3 years and I'm the one w/ the most battlewounds
    Redbud babies
    Pink primrose
    Wild lamium (the weed)

    And higher on the hatred list than the mock strawberries...sitting at the foot of satan....BURDOCK.

  • lbonion
    17 years ago

    Onions --wild? No idea they were there when I moved in

    This thread has been quite humerous and enlightening. I have been living in my house for 2 years and working on the third spring/summer. The battle begins again with onions/onion bulbs. I tried to put down landscape mesh and then mulch over it. The onions..laughed in my face and came right through. So then I spent over four hours lifting the mulch and mesh, digging up every rotten little onion and bulb I could find. Then next week there they were again as if I had done nothing. I have used chemicals but apparently the onions feel that they are not weeds so the chemicals will not even slow them down. So here I am, another spring and there are my enemies filling up my rose bed. On the upside of things, reading about the endless battles occuring around the country i know i am not alone in this AND i shouldn't feel discouraged because all plants are winning. The downside I am better at killing the plants I want than the ones I don't. No green thumb here.

  • tuanh
    17 years ago

    wild onion? i pull out every one of them and now they are gone!

  • Fledgeling_
    17 years ago

    The names CREEPING CHARLIE and BLINDWEED around here (my local area) are used to refer to the same plant. I cant get rid of them .auful plant. Japanese barberry in the feild and KNAPWEED! EEEEEEE! its pure evil, along with russian olives and fescuse have completely overun my feild. Im just gonna PLOW the suckers in the feild and begin anew because theres almost no natives left.

  • Mary_in_CA
    17 years ago

    Chameleon Plant, AKA Houttuynia (sp?)-- THE WORST!!!!

    This plant is beautiful and appealing, I love the leaf shape & color, but it is the MOST invasive plant I have ever seen. Mint and bamboo don't hold a candle to this.

    One tiny plant broke thru the bottom of my bog liner, crept under my 2 foot wide, 2 foot deep stream that recycles our small pond water and is lined with big rocks, and came up on the other side.

    I am desperate, short of removing the entire pond what can I do? It is at my neighbor's fence now, but ...

    PS it likes sun, shade, water, no water, you name it. Blessedly it dies back temporarily, below 32 degrees.

  • Eliza_ann_ca
    17 years ago

    Any kind of mint(never..never plant it in the ground,only in containers)
    Forget-me-knots..will take over the garden.Oldfashioned orange day-lilies..will pop up everywhere for years,also hard to pull once they get a hold.
    Creeping charlie...wanders everywhere and has the toughest roots I've ever seen.

    Eliza Ann

  • smom40
    17 years ago

    Four o'clocks! When I used to take care of my mother's yards, damn four o'clocks reseeding everywhere! Used to be a patch right near the edge of her driveway. It looked pretty, so I left it. Brother drove over it with his truck. Half perky, half slime. I cut it down. It came back. Brother drove over it completely. I cut it down and MOWED over the damn thing. A month later? Beautiful perfect bush. @@ So I just spent the summer mowing the damn thing down...She finally came back to town, dug to China and put a raised bed there.

    Nastursums. My God when I heard a friend say "they're so pretty, I planted them ALL ALONG ONE SIDE OF MY HOUSE" I couldn't say a word as it was already a done deal. Nastursums are as bad as four o'clocks. @@

    Honeysuckle. Used to grow in a partially sunny place, up and OVER my back fence. I'd prune prune prune. Finally got sick of it and cut it down to about 18 inches, and waited for my DH to pull the stump.

    IT CAME BACK! :p

    Those plants were in zone 9.

    Wisteria, but I love it.
    Ivy, I hate chasing it.
    Mint, pretty, smells good, hope you like it because you'll get a LOT of it! @@

  • californian
    17 years ago

    Chinese elm (seedlings everywhere, even from cracks in the sidewalk), bermuda grass, four o'clocks, ivy, swiss chard.

  • joycevallee
    17 years ago

    Michaelmous Daisies just everywhere. I have been pulling 4 o'clocks out for a month already and wisteria getting out of control.

  • flgirl
    17 years ago

    Virginia Creeper

    Cats Claw (ARGGGGGHHH!!!)

    Clerodendrum bungei aka Rose Glorybower This stuff is taking over!

    Wisteria, although I love it and have it a great distance from any beds.

  • Katrinawitch
    17 years ago

    vinca, Vinca, VINCA!!!!! I guess it would be vinca minor, or periwinkle (although my mom calls it creeping myrtle...go figure!). It's going to take over the planet!

    When we bought our house, the previous owner had huge, unsightly juniper bushes, with vinca as ground cover around the bottom, in our driveway border. We ended up taking the ugly juniper out (needed a tree service to do it!), and the vinca has since spread like wildfire. We planted some gorgeous lavender, rudbeckia, several hydrangeas, a Miss Kim Lilac, and a few other nice perennials and some ground cover in that bed, and the vinca is winding in and over and around all of it! I try to keep it under control and rip it up when I can, but it's everywhere. My husband and I are taking bets as to how long it will take before the vinca winds its way down the side beds and into the backyard. My guess is 3 more years!

  • foofna
    17 years ago

    Lady's mantle - If you don't snip the blooms before it goes to seed, you will have tiny, little lady's mantles growing everywhere! Also, I planted feverfew about 10 years ago and I'm STILL pulling up seedlings every year! Luckily, their easy to pull.

  • anne711
    17 years ago

    Gooseneck loosestrife: the worst of all! Fleshy roots grow all winter; not even pretty (leaves have turned an awful brozy yellow, attracts cucmber beetles which spread a virus that stunts the flowers)
    Rose of Sharon
    Silver Maple
    Asters (self seed all over the place)
    sweet cecily
    lemon balm

  • Farseashore
    17 years ago

    I need to chime in on the Norway Maple. These trees border us on two sides (in 3 other people's yards), creating shade on 2/3's of our yard. Right now those wretched keys are bombarding us; last year's are now seedlings popping up right, left and centre. DH & I were talking to the lady next door (owner of most of the trees), about trimming the branches overhanging our house. She said, "you know, 50 years ago someone gave my little son a 2' maple, and that tree produced all of these". Aurgh! One of the big ones has already consumed some of the chain link fence.

  • pennycp
    17 years ago

    Mimosa trees are the worst! We cut one down about 6 years ago and little ones are still sprouting up everywhere!

    Ajuga is another bad one - just the bane of my existance!

    And mint - although I don't mind that so much. It's crept into the lawn a bit and smells good when I mow....

  • Deb__H
    17 years ago

    Gee Penny, seeing your list I thought I'd written it. Then I saw where you were from. Guess that's why it all sounded familiar, I'm in SE PA too! My grandmother gave me ajuga for my garden when I was a teenager. Before long it was all over my dad's yard and he was none to happy about it. I laugh every time I see it for sale in a garden center. Who would actually BUY that stuff!!!!

    I just spent a long time pulling out my mint. I know I didn't get all the runners, but at least I've started to work on the mess out there.

    And guess what...I have a mimosa tree in my yard! And babies all over. I didn't put it there, but I don't have the heart to get rid of it. It's none too healthy, so it may die and then I can feel better about hacking it down.

    Bad invasive here is the false strawberries. Anyone have a cure for that???

    Deb in PA

  • DaisyLover
    17 years ago

    This was funny reading! Most of the things you all mentioned we would kill for up here. So...if you want to get rid of them...move to the far upper northeast part of the country. :) Each year we pamper and nurture our four-o-clocks, ladies mantle, lily of the valley, and bleeding hearts...then we either lose them or they never grow larger. I love my ajuga especially surrounding my narcissus. It isn't terribly invasive, looks pretty and is shallow rooted. Love my old-fashioned hollyhocks and they don't take over if I remember to cut the flower stalks before they go to seed. Would love some Clara Curtis Daisies and I want every variety of sedums that will survive here! And I can't get morning glory to grow at all nevermind re-seed.

    But some things that even -40F weather can't kill or slow down:

    Lemon Balm
    Chinese Lantern (it may take 365 days to grow...but then it takes off running!)
    Black-Eyed Susan
    Wild Strawberries
    Dandelions (and all the lawn weeds that either have 20foot long roots or they root everytime a stem touches ground!)
    Annual Cosmos (it even sprouts out of tiny cracks in a huge boulder in my flower bed!)
    A small-leafed, purple-flowering wild ground cover thingy (don't know what it is)...was calling it wild ajuga but maybe it is what you are all calling wild lamium...come to think of it the leaves do look like silver lamium without the silver.
    Asparagus! (I never would plant this stuff or eat it!)
    Rhubarb! (same as the asparagus!)
    Wild Roses
    Wild Mallow (the soft pink kind)...but I love them so I don't mind)

    Reid mentioned Japanese Barberry in NH which I believe has been put on a forbidden list but... I still don't understand this!? My barberry has been in my perennial bed for five years and is hardly bigger than the 1-gallon size I bought!?? Becoming invasive is the last thing on it's mind! I had barberry when I was in the southern part of the state and it too never multiplied and was rather slow growing. I guess I have to ask the co-op agent about this and find out if it includes all barberrys cause there were two new ones I wanted. :(

    The real bummer is when you work hard on eliminating weeds in your lawn and beds...then the state widens the road, repairs and reshapes your yard (whether you like it or not) and plants a "grass-free weed mix". :( start all over again...

    I find it so interesting how much our different climates affect our "most wanted" and "most invasive" lists!

  • gabrielledeveau
    17 years ago

    Gunnera ... which is huge,morning glories,rose of sharon, creeping charlie,norway maples ...have been pulling these out for many years!!!

  • Yasmine
    17 years ago

    I LOVE this thread. Im new to this forum but Im learning so much!
    Id love to have RedBud babies, I just planted ajuga, a rose of sharon and creeping Jenny. Sounds like I'll need to watch closely!
    When I was new to gardening 3 years ago, I planted spearmint. God help me! Im in the garden everyday, pulling up the leftovers.
    Im fast learning that catmint was NOT going to stay nice and compact! My cats love it and its gorgeous right now, but in the span of a month, its spread from about 6" across to 2' across! (shades of spearmint!)
    Thank you for sharing your spreading stories, they help so much for us relative newbies :)

  • adirondackgardener
    17 years ago

    Like this thread that won't die, rosa rugosa has been taking over the creek-side cliff that I have plans to restore to native plants. Planted long ago along the edge of the lawn at the top, it is working its way down towards the water. Once I finish building some stable paths to stand on, I'll begin beating it back.

    In the lake, the invasive plant is Eurasian Milfoil. (My daughter spent a summer doing an invasive survey of the entire 7 mile-long lake.)

    In the non-plant category, Zebra Mussels, though our own lake seems to have so-far escaped any noticable infestation.

    On the road alongside the garden, the most offensive pests are motorcyclists with ear-splitting machines. I'd put up with all the other pests in this thread if this particular infestation could be eradicated.

    Wayne in the Adks.

  • vmarcos68
    17 years ago

    Wonder if this would be a good spot to ask if anyone has had troubling starting sweet pea. They were most reliable in my previous location. Im starting to think I might need to start them indoors. Its possible Ive sowed them too early in the past, since Ive recently heard peas should not be sown with the soil below 16C.

  • choirmom
    17 years ago

    In the front yard chameleon has taken over. I bought 6 plants 5 years ago. Now it has overtaken everything else I planted except the 6 foot shrubs. Back: it's the hardy Rose of Sharon. Boy if you don't get those early shoots out, the plant root is solid in the ground. Today I am going to use my weedhacker and cut down the chamelon. I hate to use Round-up because of the beautiful bulbs.

    Here is a link that might be useful: My Page

  • lydon71
    17 years ago

    Chameleon plant is the DEVIL. The people who owned the house before me let it take over every flower bed in the yard.

    For 2 summers I have been trying to eradicate it. I have pulled it up, smashed it leaves, jumped up and down on it, burnt it, put over 5 gallons of Round Up and some other brand on it (3 of those I mixed it double strength).

    What does it do? It laughs and comes back up like I had done nothing to it.

  • Gwyn
    17 years ago

    Perilla frutescens
    Obedience Plant
    Lavendar datura

  • tntpark
    15 years ago


  • tsmith2579
    15 years ago

    Giant Reed Grass - Arundo Donax. Spreads like Kudzu, well nothing spreads like kudzu, roots are tough, fibrous and as big as a childs arm.

  • gin3
    13 years ago

    This interesting thread seems to have petered out - unlike all the invasives listed! It's true, what's invasive in one area is desperately wanted in another. It also takes years sometimes for some plants to get a grip and start invading.

    Here in VA, its the trumpet vine that is eating my whole garden. It crawled under a neighbor's fence and has huge underground roots spreading everywhere, sending up shoots. RoundUp and such are no use. Even if you think you can keep it only growing up a tree or arbor, you can't, and it will take big structures down just like wisteria. You will be very sorry!

    Has anyone conquered this stuff?

  • carlisa (CO-5a)
    13 years ago

    Bindweed. And one that I don't see listed above: Mahonia Repens - Creeping Mahonia. Plant that spreads by underground runners and hard to pull up.

  • marietd
    13 years ago

    Verbena bonariensis, jewels of opar, lavatera

  • vjrnts
    13 years ago

    Wild raspberries, or dewberries, or whatever they are. Those spiny canes, they are everywhere and I can't get to the roots without decimating the desireable plants, that I DO want in that area.

    I hate hate hate them!

  • growlove
    13 years ago

    Planted seeds of Jewels Of Opal one year and now have to hoe them in every flower bed. We live in cold Iowa, so many of the invasives freeze out in the winter like the verbena boneriensis which I really like for fall color. After a mild winter, it does come back, but is listed as not hardy here. Kiss Me Over The Garden Gate is one of my favorite annuals but reseeds like crazy. I hoe out all but a few. Anyone ever planted a polygonum or fleece flower? Lovely if contained but roots grow to China, well, not quite!!! Mary

  • laurastheme
    13 years ago

    I had Rose of Sharon for several years at the house that we moved out of a couple years ago. No problem. My brother recently sent me some ajuga starts. I hope I won't be sorry I planted them. I would love to have a butterfly bush, but have heard they're invasive so haven't purchased one yet. The lambs ears that I planted last year are growing and spreading like crazy, but I love them. I'm sure I'll need to divide them soon. A friend has offered to give me some chinese lantern seeds. Does anyone here know if they would be OK in pots?

  • Padawan_Warrior
    10 years ago

    Scientific name: Cytisus scoparius. Common names: Scotch broom, broomtops, common broom, European broom, Irish broom, English.
    Native Origin: British Isles, central and southern Europe
    Ecological Impacts: This aggressive, rapid spreading plant can grow 3 feet in the first year. It can form dense impenetrable stands that degrade rangeland, prevent forest regeneration, and create fire hazards. It invades rapidly following logging, land clearing, and burning. It can form pure dense stands for miles along highway and country roads to crowd out native species and destroy wildlife habitat.
    Toxicity: Mild poisoning can occur from this shrub. Large amounts are required to cause symptoms in animals such as horses. Alkaloids have been identified as being the toxic principle. Cytisin, sparteine and isosparteine are found in the twigs, leaves and seeds in small amounts. The seeds of the plant can stay dormate for 160 years.

  • rubyhum
    8 years ago

    Ailanthus altissima the stink tree aka tree of heaven. I'd trade all our stink trees for mimosas. Stink trees are everywhere here.