Justin W. Hancock

About Invasive Plants

Talking about invasive plants a serious subject. As gardeners in my home state of Minnesota know, purple loosestrife can be a horrific problem to native plant and animal species in waterways. The same goes for folks in the South who have seen kudzu smother acre after acre. Invasive plants cause harm to our environments and expense as we try to repair that harm.

Unfortunately, invasive plants (as with many things in gardening) aren’t always so easy to deal with. From time to time I receive angry comments from readers because we’ve highlighted an invasive plant. And that’s where things get a little tricky.

It seems a bit extreme to position ourselves and not write about any invasive plant that shows invasive tendencies, though that would mean no more burning bush (a problem in Connecticut), butterfly bush (Oregon), mimosa (Georgia), Norway maple (Connecticut), perennial sweet pea (Oregon), and wisteria (Georgia), among others (including lantana, for our Australian readers).

So instead, we do our best to make note that a plant may be invasive in some areas and to suggest you check with your local authorities about whether a particular plant is a good choice for your area (especially since lists are updated regularly).

What do you think? Would you like to see more emphasis put on the fact that some of the common garden plants we know and love may be aggressive invaders in other regions?

Categories: Gardening | Tags:
10 Comments

10 Responses to “ About Invasive Plants ”

  1. i THINK HIGHLIGHTING IT IS THE BEST WAY TO GO. TOO MANY PEOPLE WANT EVERYONE ELSE TO PROTECT THEM FORM THEIR OWN CONDUCT, OR LAZINESS. IF SOMEONE INTENDS TO PLANT SOMETHING IN THEIR YARD, THEY NEED TO DO SOME READING ABOUT IT.

  2. Hi: I would like to know more about the soil/climate/latitude in which a plant may be invasive, but I would like to continue to learn about these “sometimes” invasive plants. Thanks for asking.

  3. Yes, continue to note that a plant might be invasive. Perhaps some education on what it means to be “invasive” and how they invade, how to keep them under control if you plant them, and maybe a series of articles on which plants can be invasive in which regions. Thanks for all your great articles!

  4. I agree with previous posters: to be informed is the best way to garden. Continue with the information.

  5. I need to know how to get RID of them. Invasive honeysuckle bushes that i never invited are taking over my yard. Cutting them does not get rid of them and they are multiplying.

  6. Absolutely, keep noting which plants are invasive; it would also be helpful to note native substitutes, which are often just as beautiful and provide wildlife value (e.g., highbush blueberry for burning bush; native wisteria in place of the Asian species). Thanks!

  7. Please note if the plants are invasive, where and under what conditions. Not only would I like to see a list of native alternatives but also more articles specific to natives. Instead of the occasional article, I’d like to see more balance. Thank you for asking!

  8. I agree with ‘PITCHFORK’ 100%….WHY would any gardener plant something, be it flowers, trees,vegetables, etc., on THEIR property and not research it for themselves ?!
    BHG, you do a good job with all the plant articles you publish, thank you.

  9. Although I really appreciate BHG openly discussing this issue with readers, I think your intro isn’t capturing the gravity of the situation. For example, Chinese wisteria – a tree killer – isn’t just invasive in Georgia – it’s been officially declared invasive in 16 states (Japanese is invasive in 7). And once a plant has proven to be invasive in one location, it’s likely to be invasive in another – it’s not like these exotic plants respect state borders.

    Please do prominently note when a plant is invasive and reconsider promoting some of the most damaging offenders at all. Also, would be wonderful if BHG writers would learn more about our native flora and promote them alongside the exotics. Just finished looking at your top picks for ornamental grasses – no prairie dropseed! No pink muhly! No Appalachian sedge! Would love to see our wonderful natives get a bit more of the spotlight.

  10. Thanks for your notes, everyone! We’ll continue to do our best to make mention of plants that may become ecologically invasive. —Justin, Senior Garden Editor, Better Homes and Gardens