What Not to Plant: Invasive Plants for Every Region

Some plants just aren't meant for the garden. Check out this list of plants to avoid in your region.

They may sound like perfect plants: They're quick growing, they tolerate pests and diseases, and a lot of them are really attractive. But invasive species bear a deep, dark secret -- they want to escape from your landscape and take over the world, pushing out native plants that offer food and shelter for wildlife.

While some of these plants are banned for sale in certain areas, you may encounter others at your local garden center. If you do, steer clear!

The Northeast

Annuals, Perennials, and Biennials
Garlic mustard Alliaria petiolata
Animated oat Avena sterilis
Narrowleaf bittercress Cardamine impatiens
Spotted knapweed Centaurea biebersteinii
Leafy spurge Euphorbia esula
Perennial pepperweed Lepidium latifolium
Purple loosestrife Lythrum salicaria
Japanese stiltgrass Microstegium vimineum
Common reed Phragmites australis
Japanese knotweed Polygonum cuspidatum
Coltsfoot Tussilago farfara

Trees and Shrubs
Tree of heaven Ailanthus altissima
Common barberry Berberis vulgaris
Autumn olive Elaeagnus umbellata
Common buckthorn Rhamnus cathartica
Multiflora rose Rosa multiflora

Vines
Oriental bittersweet Celastrus orbiculatus
Black swallow-wort Cynanchum louiseae
Pale swallow-wort Cynanchum rossicum
Japanese honeysuckle Lonicera japonica

Water-Garden Plants
Fanwort Cabomba caroliniana
Royle waterthyme Hydrilla verticillata
Yellow iris Iris pseudacorus
Forget-me-not Myosotis scorpioides
Water milfoil Myriophyllum heterophyllum
Water chestnut Trapa natans

The South

Annuals, Perennials, and Biennials
Garlic mustard Alliaria petiolata
Sessile joyweed Alternanthera sessilis
Onionweed Asphodelus fistulosus
Animated oat Avena sterilis
Wild safflower Carthamus oxyacantha
Pilipiliula Chrysopogon aciculatus
Dayflower Commelina benghalensis
Common crupina Crupina vulgaris
Dodder Cuscuta
African couchgrass Digitaria scalarum
Alfombrilla Drymaria arenarioides
Devil's thorn Emex spinosa
Goatsrue Galega officinalis
Giant hogweed Heracleum mantegazzianum
Cape tulip Homeria collina
Brazilian satintail Imperata brasiliensis
Murain-grass Ischaemum rugosum
Asian sprangletop Leptochloa chinensis
Giant sensitive plant Mimosa invisa
Jointed prickly pear Opuntia aurantiaca
Kodo-millet Paspalum scrobiculatum
Itchgrass Rottboellia cochinchinensis
Wild sugarcane Saccharum spontaneum
Cattailgrass Setaria pallidifusca
Wetland nightshade Solanum tampicense
Borreria Spermacoce alata
Witchweed Striga
Coat buttons Tridax procumbens
Coltsfoot Tussilago farfara
Liverseedgrass Urochloa panicoides

Trees and Shrubs
African boxthorn Lycium ferocissimum
Melaleuca Melaleuca quinquenervia
Mesquite Prosopis
Wild blackberry Rubus moluccanus

Vines
Air-potato Dioscorea bulbifera
Climbing fern Lygodium microphyllum
Mile-a-minute Mikania cordata

Water-Garden Plants
Mosquito fern Azolla pinnata
Anchored waterhyacinth Eichhornia azurea
Royle waterthyme Hydrilla verticillata
Miramar weed Hygrophila polysperma
Chinese waterspinach Ipomoea aquatica
Oxygen weed Lagarosiphon major
Ambulia Limnophila sessiliflora
Pickerel weed Monochoria vaginalis
Parrotfeather, watermilfoil Myriophyllum aquaticum
Red rice Oryza longistaminata
Duck-lettuce Ottelia alismoides
Arrowhead Sagittaria sagittifolia
Giant salvinia Salvinia
Exotic bur-reed Sparganium erectum

The Midwest

Annuals, Perennials, and Biennials
Velvetleaf Abutilon theophrasti
Russian knapweed Centaurea repens
Perennial pepper-grass Lepidium draba
Canada thistle Cirsium arvense
Bull thistle Cirsium lanceolatum
Quackgrass Agropyron repens
Leafy spurge Euphorbia esula
Wild mustard Brassica arvensis
Horse nettle Solanum carolinense

Trees and Shrubs
Buckthorn Rhamnus
Multiflora rose Rosa multiflora

Vines
Bindweed Convolvulus arvensi

The Southwest

Annuals, Perennials, and Biennials
Punagrass Stipa brachychaeta
Alligatorweed Alternanthera philoxeroides
Lens podded hoary cress Cardaria chalapensis
Plumeless thistle Carduus acanthoides
Purple starthistle Centaurea calcitrapa
Rush skeletonweed Chondrilla juncea
Canada thistle Cirsium arvense
Creeping wartcress, coronopus Coronopus squamatus
Alfombrilla, lightning weed Drymaria arenarioides
Leafy spurge Euphorbia esula
Dyers woad Isatis tinctoria
Purple loosestrife Lythrum salicaria
Serrated tussock Nassella trichotoma
Branched broomrape Orobanche ramosa
Torpedograss Panicum repens
African rue Peganum harmala
Austrian fieldcress Rorippa austriaca
Tansy ragwort Senecio jacobaea
Carolina horsenettle Solanum carolinense
Perennial sowthistle Sonchus arvensis
Witchweed Striga

Trees and Shrubs
Queen Anne's melon Cucumis melo

Vines
Morning glory Ipomoea

Water-Garden Plants
Anchored water hyacinth Eichhornia azurea
Royle waterthyme Hydrilla verticillata
Water-chestnut

The Mountain West and High Plains

Annuals, Perennials, and Biennials
Camelthorn Alhagi pseudalhagi
Meadow knapweed Centaurea solstitialis
Rush skeletonweed Chondrilla juncea
Common crupina Crupina vulgaris
Cypress spurge Euphorbia cyparissias
Myrtle spurge Euphorbia myrsinites
Orange hawkweed Hieracium aurantiacum
Dyer' woad Isatis tinctoria
Sericea lespedeza Lespedeza cuneata
Purple loosestrife Lythrum salicaria
African rue Peganum harmala
Giant salvinia Salvinia molesta
Tansy ragwort Senecio jacobaea
Medusahead rye Taeniatherum caput-medusae

Water-Garden Plants
Royle Waterthyme Hydrilla verticillata

The Northwest

Annuals, Perennials, and Biennials
Velvetleaf Abutilon theophrasti
Camelthorn Alhagi pseudalhagi
Garlic mustard Alliaria petiolata
Italian thistle Carduus pycnocephalus
Purple starthistle Centaurea calcitrapa
Bighead knapweed Centaurea macrocephala
Leafy spurge Euphorbia esula
Goatsrue Galega officinalis
Giant hogweed Heracleum mantegazzianum
Hawkweed Hieracium Yellow iris Iris pseudacorus
Purple loosestrife Lythrum salicaria
Wild four o'clock Mirabilis nyctaginea
Japanese knotweed Polygonum cuspidatum
Mediterranean sage Salvia aethiopis
Meadow clary Salvia pratensis
Silverleaf nightshade Solanum elaeagnifolium
Buffalobur, buffaloburr Solanum rostratum
Dense-flowered cordgrass, denseflower cordgrass Spartina densiflora
Salt meadow cordgrass Spartina patens
Coltsfoot Tussilago farfara

Trees and Shrubs
Butterfly bush Buddleja davidii
Broom Cytisus scoparius
Cherry laurel Prunus laurocerasus
Tamarisk Tamarix ramossima

Vines
Bindweed Convolvulus arvensi
English ivy Hedera helix
Perennial sweet pea Lathyrus latifolium

Water-Garden Plants
Royle waterthyme Hydrilla verticillata
Water milfoil Myriophyllum heterophyllum

 


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