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

Garlic mustard

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

Bloodgrass

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

Velvetleaf

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

Canada thistle

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

Hawkweed

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

Perennial sweet pea

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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