Invasive plants can be a gardener’s worst nightmare. They can grow super-fast, choke out other plants and cost you time and energy getting rid of them.
I had someone gift me a licorice mint plant, it smelled great and grew so well! I was very impressed.
Then I noticed mint growing in another pot, and another, and another, and then on the ground… it was then I read that mint plants are invasive and should only grow in pots. Well, good to know, but I WAS growing mine in pots.
Invasive Garden Plants That Should Be Grown In Pots And Containers
The following year I decided to add basil to my garden, specifically Holy Basil. I didn’t research that much either because it wasn’t the Italian large leaf I now love and grow. But I saw it at a nursery, and it was COVERED in bees, so i thought it would be a great choice for attracting pollinators if nothing else.
That was one year, many ago and even today I have Holy Basil almost everywhere and I have never planted it or bought it again. It’s in other pots, growing from my mulched walkways, growing in my weed infested lawn, it truly grows like a weed, I find it EVERYWHERE and I never worry about puling it out and throwing it in the compost because if I didn’t, I would have a Holy Basil farm!
I later found out that basil is actually a member of the mint family. However, I have grown many other types and not had the same results. The flowers from the Holy basil spread and the bees spread it, too.
Invasive plants spread through the air, by insects, pollinators, birds. They just ‘get around”, lol.
There are many plant varieties that are considered invasive and should be avoided. Today I thought we’d explore a few:
Wisteria is a flowering vine that was brought to the US from China. Flowering vine what can be so bad about that, right? Well, it is pretty and that’s why it’s become one of the most popular yard additions.
In areas of the US with growing conditions close to those of it’s native habitat: China, it can become invasive. It can actually shade out other plants, and vine around full grown trees to the point of killing them.
People have even had to take entire fences down due to it being so intertwined and damaging to the fence it had to be replaced.
Bamboo s actually just grass, but it is so invasive that it is super tough to get rid of it once it takes hold. Hold on to your hats as you won’t believe that you can actually watch grass grow – but you CAN – Bamboo can grow as much as 12 inches in just one day!
Bamboo is so prolific that it can actually grow as tall as 15 feet and spread more than 20 feet from where it was planted. Many times, people plant Bamboo so block the view of something, the problem is that before you know it, it’s blocking everything as it begins to “walk” across your yard. Getting rid of Bamboo and keeping it gone is a HUGE chore,
English ivy is a “2fer”, this plant not only can grow as a vine but also as a ground cover creeping across the lawn from tree to tree. It’s “clingyness” kills the trees it chooses as prey as it blocks the light from the tree and keeps it all for itself.
An even more dangerous part to this plant’s invasiveness is that can weaken the tree to the point it can fall during a storm causing damage to anything in its path.
I have always loved to see Honeysuckle and smell it, and even taste it when I was a kid. But did you know it can be highly invasive?
Japanese honeysuckle is an evergreen climbing vine, that just like other invasive vines can kill bushes and trees if it “invades their space”.
This vine can squeeze out the light and water that plants need to survive. Its root system is also aggressive which allows it to spread, as well.
Nandina roots spread so widely underground that it can take hold as a seedling before you even notice it. The berries it produces are another way it spreads as animals can carry them and drop them and there you have a new one sprout up.
The Bradford pear is one that you will find sold in many nurseries. They know it’s invasive, but they are out to make a sale, so if we don’t do our homework, something like this can cost us more down the road. I once asked a man who owned a nursery why he was selling a seedling out of season, he said “To make money”, just remember that – I always have.
Although it can be quite beautiful with its blooms, it also has an odor often referred to as “rotting fish”, they can grow 30 feet tall and shade out the sun for any plants or trees that may be beneath it causing them to die.
Vinca is also a “2fer” as it can grow as groundcover and vine. With thick leaves and lavender flowers, it can entice you to plant it. If you choose to do so just keep it container in a pot or container and don’t let the runners get loose!
As with most of these invasive species it chokes out natural habitat as well as anything you may have planted intentionally. We should just call all these invasive plants selfish! lol
Clematis grows quickly and strongly over other vegetation, making thick blankets that block out the sun to any plants below. You’ll be able to easily spot it in its flowering stage with its showy white flowers.
Japonica can definitely quickly take over in a hurry. Growing populations creep into meadows, forest openings, and other sites.
Like many we have already mentioned it grows thick and fast and blocks out sunlight for other plants thereby killing them and taking over.
One difference though is that its seeds can last for many years in the soil, so it’s hard to remove it, as another one could pop up next year or a few years down the road.