How does your garden grow? Hopefully without interference from invasive plants! Gardeners can unknowingly buy and tend to plants that can harm others in a garden or ecosystem.

Invasive species bully native plants and take sunshine, nutrients, and water while crowding them out of their homes. In some cases, they kill. Find out some of the most common aggressive types that you’ll want to keep out of your green space.

  1. Butterfly Bush

    This bush hails from Asia, and with that being the case, its pollination is not conducive to the native population of insects and plants. Caterpillars can’t feed off these, so they’re unable to turn into the beautiful butterflies they’re supposed to attract.

    The butterfly bush is also known to spread, bogart native plants, and destroy food systems for wildlife. Instead, try planting aster or milkweed.

  2. Kudzu

    First introduced to the United States in the late 1800s, kudzu was used as an ornamental plant and as a form of control for soil erosion. Millions of acres of kudzu were planted as part of soil conservation efforts, but it was learned soon after that it is invasive.

    It grows and overflows quickly throughout the Southeast, taking over houses, fields, and trees.

  3. Japanese Honeysuckle

    Japanese Honeysuckle has become a nuisance weed in much of North and South America as well as New Zealand. When the vines wrap around trees or shrubs and weigh them down, they pose a threat.

  4. Burning Bush

    Don’t be seduced by the bright autumn red of this shrub. People love to plant burning bushes as part of their landscaping, but it has no problem outgrowing its personal space and getting out of control. Banned throughout New England, the bush is best left out the mix or pruned regularly if you simply must have it.

  5. Ice Plant

    These pretty succulents are hardy and do well in drought conditions, but they can get out of control in the western US. They displace native plant species and depending on where they grow, can cause soil erosion issues too. Californians: stay away.

  6. Bamboo

    It is lovely to look at but unless you have a panda to feed, it’s advised not to plant certain species of bamboo. The tall grass can grow fast – up to a foot per day – annoying you and your neighbors. Avoid planting species like Golden Bamboo, Sasa, or Indocalamus.

  7. Chinese Wisteria

    Pretty but dangerous, wisteria is known to choke trees and other plants that are in your yard. After it climbs and claims one victim, it moves on to the next one.

  8. Purple Loosestrife

    Nicknamed the “Beautiful Killer”, this plant tears up wetlands and home gardens. Its dense roots make it hard for other plants to grow and receive water. If you have any in your garden, remove and destroy it, or toss some beetles and weevils on it as a form of weed control. And make sure to kill the seeds too or it will reproduce!

  9. English Ivy

    It may sound like a compliment to hear someone say something is growing like ivy, but English Ivy is not your new BFF. It can look quite attractive when it adorns structures, but in the states, it causes problems by blocking light for trees, eventually killing them. Skip over it at the nursery and pull it up in the spring!

To combat sprawling, crawling, nuisance plants, go for seedless varieties or native plants. It’s also a good idea to check with your local cooperative extension or state wildlife office to find out which plants are considered invasive for your area.

Are you contending with invader plants in your garden? Do you love some of these plants even though they could be troublesome? Which of these have you had to remove?


Epic Gardening

Smithsonian Insider