Backyard Escapes 01.25.14

Invasive plant horror stories

Hometalk member and gardener extraordinaire Barb Rosen recently wrote of her nightmare experience with chameleon plant, Houttuynia cordata, and what may be her life-long project of getting rid of it. But Barb surely isn't alone in having planted something she regretted. For me, my biggest mistake was planting gooseneck loosestrife, Lysimachia clethroides. I'd heard how "rambunctious" the plant could be, but I had a dry, shady spot where I couldn't get anything else to take hold and bloom. Well, the lysimachia did, and soon started looking for territory to annex. I've since sold the house and it may have taken over the entire property by now for all I know. Here's your chance to sound off and put up the warning flag about plants that belong on a "do not plant" list. Please post a photo if you have one, and let us know what zone you're in.
192 Comments Displaying 16 of 192 comments | See Previous
  • Trumpet vine and sweet pea are proving to be more rigorous than I am. They plant themselves EVERYWHERE even in tiny little spaces between patio stones and wall. The roots seem to go all the way to China so yanking doesn't help because they just come
    • Cp C Brunswick, GA
      Brenda De Lair Maybe try some salt... even chlorine water in patio stones... CAREFULLY, of course... But much safer than many things. Often patio stones need a little chlorine to clean them, anyway!
  • Good luck Bernice! I don't know why there isn't a warning sticker on those plants when you buy them.
  • Elaine Simmons Florence, AZ
    Another plant that I have that is invasive but love it is "Creeping Jenny" or "lysimachia". I didn't know until about two years ago that it is a perennial. This year, on the north side of the house, it gets little yellow flowers on it and I didn't know
  • Bernice H Yakima, WA
    Barb Rosen Brenda De Lair Well , I am keeping an eye on it, until I can get hubs out there to dig and sift. If I just pull it, that won't accomplish anything. And it is sooo hot!
  • I have never tried sifting my weeds out Bernice. It sounds like a good idea that I will definitely try.
  • Brenda Neill San Angelo, TX
    Linda Haney in San Angelo...It could be dichondria. low ground cover. I live right outside San Angelo and have dichondria under my pecan trees. It hasn't killed or crowded any thing yet. just covered the shady grassless ground.
  • Marilyn Miller Kennerdell, PA
    I bought a house years ago that had bamboo as a fence border. I found out quicklythat it sends out runner and spreads. I started one year and dug up a 4' x 4' space, sifted all the dirt to get all the roots etc. The next year it came up as bad as before.
    • Cp C Brunswick, GA
      Marilyn Miller Maybe use some stump remover there, Marilyn!? Worth a try when it starts back up!
  • periwinkle, violets are my nightmare!
  • Mary Emery Crossville, TN
    hey all if anyone has a box of gooseneck loosestrife the want to send my way I will gladly pay postage for your nightmare!! thanks maw
  • Luis East Haven, CT
    They are as bad as bamboo you just can't kill them, I know I had them OMG what a pain
  • Mint. And more mint.
  • Bonny McDaniel Paradise, CA
    Chinese Sumac trees...destroy your foundation and take over everything. I don't know why anyone would actually plant these. The neighbor had to replace his whole septic system because of one tree. These are also known as Tree of Heaven but I would
  • Janice Carey San Jose, CA
    Pink Mexican Primrose - Oenothera, this one is Bermuda Grass with pink flowers, more invasive than mint. Planted it 4 days, I decided it would be pretty in the curb strip. Dug it up 2 times, it kept growing back in the original spot! Lovely in
  • Sondra A Janesville, WI
    Yes, Janice, I wish they came with warning labels also! There are times when we may want an active (invasive) plant somewhere just because its on a hill or can't get anything else to grow there, etc. But if I knew it was invasive and still want it at