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14 Plants Not to Grow In Your Garden (Even If They Are Free)

Many years ago when I first started dabbling in perennial gardening for myself, I was always on the lookout for free perennial plants and people were always willing to give away their extras once they knew I would take them. Talk about gullible!!! There’s a reason why people give plants away. Please learn from my mistakes (yes that’s plural, I wasn’t a fast learner) and don’t make space in your garden for these 14 Plants Not to Grow In Your Garden, even if they are free and even if you have lots of space to fill like I did.

Invasive Ox-Eye Daisies in a garden.

How did these plants make my list? These are plants that I’ve had experience with or my gardening friends have had experience with. Some are considered invasive or aggressive spreaders and some just take up a lot of space when there are more attractive perennials that could be living in your garden instead.

Just a little disclaimer here. We have lots and lots of readers from gardening zones 3 through 10 here at Gingham Gardens. Pretty cool, right? What is considered invasive, aggressive or a vigorous spreader here in my zone 4b/5a garden is not necessarily so in your gardening zone.

See my advice at the end of the post on how to determine the plants you don’t want in your gardens. Be sure to read through the comments section at the end of the post where readers have listed their nuisance garden plants and plants they wish they had never added to their gardens.

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Let’s talk about a few definitions before we begin. Definitions for the terms invasive and aggressive are somewhat intertwined. For purposes of this post, invasive means: “tending to spread prolifically and undesirably or harmfully” taken straight from the Oxford Dictionary.

Aggressive means: a plant that spreads faster than preferred, or into an area of your garden where it’s not wanted (paraphrased from Chicago Botanic Garden website). DNR websites for states have their own definition of what invasive plants and aggressive plants mean.

Native purists will get upset when I refer to some native species as being invasive or aggressive. Again, plants grow differently in different soils and climates. I’m simply referring to my experience.

Plants Not to Grow in Your Garden – Invasive Perennials to Avoid

Snow-on-the-Mountain (aegopodium podagraria) – a/k/a Bishop’s Weed or Gout Weed – Hands Down this plant wins first prize of the Worst Plants to Grow In Your Yard!

Ugh, I came to hate this stuff. I know hate is a pretty strong emotion when we’re talking about plants, but if you’ve ever tried to eradicate this “noxious weed” from your garden, you know exactly what I mean. When someone offered me some, I thought, what a pretty ground cover with its variegated leaves and tiny white flowers. Ground cover indeed and it also covered everything in its path.  

Snow-on-the-Mountain is so invasive and its root system consists of underground runners that will take over a small garden in one growing season. I worked for probably 3 growing seasons eradicating it from my shade garden. Do not let this beauty fool you.

Snow On The Mountain - Plants NOT to Grow In Your Garden

Ostrich Ferns (matteuccia struthiopteris)- I know Ostrich Ferns are gorgeous and oh, those cute little fronds in early spring. And, yes I know they are considered native plants in some regions. But, heed my warning – they will take over! They especially love moist soil.

Ostrich Fern is another plant that spreads by underground runners and is one of those plants not to grow in your shade garden. If you have a damp wooded area where nothing else will grow and you’re never going to plant anything else there, perhaps Ostrich Ferns would be okay. But, proceed with caution! For other shady areas where you would like ferns, try Maidenhair Fern or Japanese Painted Fern.

Ostrich Ferns - Invasive Plants You Don't Want In Your Garden

Tansy (tanacetum vulgare) – is a perennial flowering herb that has a spicy kind of scent and is said to ward off mosquitoes. Long ago it was used for medicinal purposes.

It has ferny type foliage that looks great all summer and the cutest little bright yellow flowers. Don’t be deceived by my charming description. In addition to being invasive, the oils in tansy are highly toxic so be sure to wear gloves when handling it.

Years ago I just couldn’t resist when someone in our garden club was giving it away. It thrived in my full sun garden and spread into the grass and encroached on neighboring plants. What a mess and another pain plant to get rid of.

Honestly, I look at the picture below and think what a pretty plant and it looks so good with the Shasta daisies, I want some. Fight that urge, you crazy woman!

Tansy, with Shasta Daisies and Bee Balm

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Ox-eye Daisies (chrysanthemum leucanthemum)- such a pretty little daisy that can easily be mistaken for shasta daisies (chrysanthemum x superbum).

Ox-eye daisies are weeds. Sorry, they’re not, they’re wildflowers that look pretty on roadsides and ditches right where they belong. They do not belong in a home garden flower bed, because they will take over. If someone offers you some cute little Ox-eye Daisies, simply say, “no thank-you.” Check your state’s DNR website, ox-eye daisies are considered invasive in many states.

Ox-eye Daisies - Plants You Don't Want In Your Gardens

Creeping Bellflower (campanula rapunculoides) –

There are many, many varieties of campanula and lots of them are very well-behaved.  Creeping Bellflower is not one of them and is listed in many regions as an invasive species. It is like the thug of a perennial garden. It has pretty little bell shaped, purple flowers and that’s why many gardeners are fooled by it.

I inherited some Creeping Bellflower with our current home and I cannot get rid of it. I even went so far as to dig up the entire small area where it was growing and by the end of summer, it was back. It has an evil long tap root that breaks off with a sneeze. I’m stubborn though, so I’ll keep at it.

Other varieties of campanula are quite aggressive too, so just be careful and do your research before you purchase campanula.

There are many, many varieties of campanula and lots of them are very well behaved.  Creeping Bellflower is not one of them. It is like the thug of a flower garden.

I inherited some Creeping Bellflower with our current home and I cannot get rid of it. I even went so far as to dig up the entire small area where it was growing and by the end of summer it was back and even growing into the lawn. They have this evil long tap root that breaks off with a sneeze. I’m stubborn though, so I’ll keep at it.

There are other varieties of campanula that are quite aggressive too, so just be careful and do your research before you purchase campanula.

Creeping Bellflower - Invasive Plants You Don't Want In Your Garden

Ribbon Grass (phalaris arundinacea  ‘Picta’) – Oh, how I loved this variegated ornamental grass when I first saw it in my friend’s garden. She told me it was naughty, but I had to have it anyway. I had to work to keep it contained.

Please take a look at how well-behaved it looks in the picture below. Sorry, it is an illusion! When we moved to our current home, there was tons of ribbon grass and I set out right away to get rid of every last blade of it. This one is listed as invasive in some areas.

Ribbon Grass in a Garden

Blackberry Lily (Belamcanda chinensis) – Ugh, definitely not a favorite of mine. When we moved into our current home, there were blackberry lily plants everywhere! I dug so much of this stuff out and I’m still dealing with it popping up several years later.

I think this is another flowering plant that just takes up so much space and doesn’t bloom long enough to be worth the effort of trying to clean up after it. The blooms are interesting, but mostly just meh. Again, there are so many other perennials that are prettier and bloom longer. They spread by seeds and are invasive in many areas of the US.

Blackberry lily flower

Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) – not to be confused with gooseneck loosestrife because they are in completely different families. Purple loosestrife is a beautiful plant with long plumes or spikes of small purple flowers that thrives in wet soil. I’m adding this one because every summer when this plant is blooming along ponds and drainage ditches, I see unsuspecting gardeners in Facebook gardening groups wanting to know what it is, so they can dig it up and add it to their gardens. Just don’t!  Not that we’re the gardening police here, but it’s illegal in many states to transplant invasive species.

Purple loosestrife by a river.

Perennials Not to Grow in Your Garden – Plants That Are Aggressive

These perennials are not necessarily invasive, but they are definitely aggressive, and most gardeners would be better off not bothering with them.

Lily-of-the-Valley (Convallaria majalis) – The flowers on lily of the valley are so sweet and their fragrance is heady. I love to pick bouquets of them and bring them indoors. That being said, if they weren’t already in my gardens from the previous owners, I would not add them.

Lily-of-the-Valley bloom for such a short time, that I don’t think they are worth their trouble. They have an invasive nature and do not stay where you put them despite efforts to contain them. Don’t be swayed by this picture, or their fragrance – stay strong!

Lily-of-the-Valley - Very Aggressive Perennial

Common Orange Ditch Lilies (hemerocallis vulva) – I think these are my least favorite flowers. Now, wait a minute, I don’t want to offend anyone, because I know probably many of my readers have these in their gardens because they consider them low-maintenance perennials. They are only low maintenance until you have to dig them out.

I’ve been on many garden tours and seen many of these, even in master gardener’s yards. I really don’t get it. They are prolific spreaders and they are the devil to get out of your gardens. These probably belong in the invasive section, because they crowd out other plants.

Plus, ditch lilies take up so much space and there are so many other beautiful, cultivar and hybrid daylilies that you could use in place of ditch lilies. In my first garden makeover at our current home, I dug dozens of ditch lilies out of most all the flower beds that I made over.

They are fine along roadsides in ditches, just not in a residential setting. Just my opinion, but I’m curious if you share it.

Common Orange Ditch Lilies - Plants Not To Grow In Your Garden


Anemone (anemone sylvestris) – Again there are many different varieties of Anemone, some of them well mannered, but this particular spring blooming Anemone Sylvestris, not so much. These pretty little white wind flowers spread like wildfire. I would not add this variety to my gardens again.

Japanese Anemone - Plants Not To Grow In Your Garden

Obedient Plant – It’s called “obedient” because you can bend the stems to face the direction you want them to face. When I first saw this plant in a catalog, I fell in love, it’s so pretty.  Holy cow, I quickly fell out of love. This was not the plant for my tidy flower garden. It spread by underground rhizomes and was anything but obedient. It even spread to the neighbor’s yard.

If you can’t resist obedient plant, look for the Miss Manners series. They are not supposed to be spreaders. I purchased one a few years ago and it has remained a nice, tidy clump. 

Obedient Plant - Beautiful Flowers You Don't Want In Your Gardens

Royal Standard Hosta – I’ll bet you didn’t expect this one on the list and I know I’ll take some heat for including it. First of all, I’m not bashing all hostas, Hostas are quintessential low-maintenance plants for shade gardens. And, I have many beautiful varieties of hosta in my shade gardens. 

Beginner gardeners  or new home owners are so excited to get free plants that they don’t stop to think about how these freebies are going to look in their gardens in 2 or 3 years. In my opinion, royal standard hostas (the very common plain green hostas) just aren’t all that pretty.  And, they are definitely the most prolific hosta out there. After all, that’s why they are free. Plus, slugs are so happy when you add royal standard hostas to your garden. 

Just so you don’t think I’m being unfair, I actually have more royal standard hosta plants, than I care to count, in my current shade garden. And, they will be at the curb this spring with a ‘free’ sign on them. Lol!

Royal Standard Hosta - Ugly Plants Not to Plant in Your Garden

Lamb’s Ear (stachys byzantina) – Lots of gardeners have Lamb’s Ear because it spreads like crazy and gardeners just keep giving it away and that is why it made the list of plants not to grow in your garden.

The foliage on Lamb’s Ear is pretty and it adds a cool texture element to a flower bed. That being said, once it starts flowering, it gets sort of ratty looking, and the flower heads are not all that attractive.

It just takes up too much real estate in the flower garden and has even spread to our lawn. Lambs Ear is a known bee magnet which is good, but there are tons of other prettier flowers that are bee magnets too. I say, pass on the lamb’s ear.

Lambs Ear - An Ugly Plant You Don't Want In Your Garden

Blue Lobelia (lobelia siphilitica) – Not to be confused with the annual lobelia variety or the red perennial Cardinal Flower (lobelia cardinalis). Blue Lobelia is a native wildflower that is very pretty when it is blooming (for maybe 2 weeks), but it spreads by seed and the following spring there are lobelia seedlings everywhere.

Although this is considered a short-lived perennial, it lives on and on and everywhere by reseeding. This is one flower that I think needs to stay in a wild prairie or meadow setting and not in home gardens. Just my opinion.

Blue Lobelia

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How to Avoid Getting Invasive Perennials

The good news is that you can avoid adding these bad plants to your garden beds.

I love going to other gardener’s plant sales, but unfortunately, that’s where I’ve gotten a lot my worst offenders on the Plants Not To Grow In Your Garden list.

Most of the plants that made my list are also readily available at local garden centers too. So how on earth is a beginner gardener, or even a seasoned gardener like me, supposed to avoid ending up with perennials that will take over your garden? My best advice is just to read up and ask questions.

Now, if I see a plant that I don’t have and I’m curious about, I will ask the gardener these questions:

  • Is this plant a vigorous spreader or aggressive? If so, is it easy to weed out?
  • Does this plant spread by underground runners?
  • Is this plant invasive?
  • If you’re shopping in a garden center, be sure to read plant tags and look for the word “aggressive” or “fast grower.”

If there isn’t anyone available to help me, I will pull out my cellphone, google the plant name, and quickly read up on it. Check our list of classic perennials and add those to your gardens instead. [ADD LINK] 

Image of wildflowers included in article - 14 Plants Not to Grow in Your Garden

Other Tips for Avoiding Plants Not to Grow In Your Gardens

Another good rule of thumb to follow is if a plant’s description references “wildflower,” or has “weed” in the name, just beware. Also watch for the words: “vigorous spreader” or “aggressive.”  Do your research and ask lots of questions.

Even if you’re okay with having vigorous spreaders in your gardens, just know they can easily take over an entire flower bed and smother out other less vigorous flowers.

If you’re not planning on staying in your current home forever, please don’t plant any of these plants. I happen to be one of the unlucky ones that lots of these naughty plants came with the house we purchased.

Just because one variety of a certain perennial is considered invasive or a vigorous spreader, doesn’t mean all varieties or species are invasive or overly vigorous spreaders.

It’s interesting to see what’s considered invasive or aggressive in different areas of the country or different gardening zones. I recommend doing your homework up front and planning what plants you want to purchase for your gardens.

Google invasive plants in your state and see what comes up and make sure you don’t include those. Also, be sure to read the comments section below to see what other plants readers have listed as plants not to grow in your garden.


There are several perennials that others would call invasive or aggressive, but I did not include them on my list because I don’t have a problem with weeding them out and I like them enough that they are worth the trouble. These plants include bee balm, cherry bell campanula (and a few other varieties) and agastache. There are many low-growing perennials, or ground covers that some would consider too aggressive for their gardens. Some of those are creeping Jenny, lamium, ajuga and more. Remember the point of a ground cover is to cover the ground. Other perennials that reseed, like black-eyed Susan (rudbeckia hirta), balloon flower (platycondon) and coneflower (echinacea purpurea) can also be considered a nuisance to many gardeners.

Have you ever planted a perennial that you regret planting, or any on my list of plants not to grow in your garden? Please leave a comment and let me know (the easy-to-use form is at the bottom of the page). 

Happy gardening,

Other Related Posts on Gingham Gardens that You Will Enjoy: 

Classic Perennials (That Every Flower Garden Needs)
Creating & Caring For A Low Maintenance Flower Garden
Flower Gardening 101
Made in the Shade Gardens
Flower Garden Design
Flower Garden Maintenance


p.s. Please help me out by pinning some of the pictures in this post. If you hover in the upper left-hand corner of the picture, you’ll see the Pin icon. There are more pins to share at the bottom of this post. Thanks so much!

p.p.s. For more awesome gardening ideas and some beautiful gardening eye candy, follow Gingham Gardens on Pinterest.

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Image of Bishop's Weed with Text Overlay - 14 Awful Perennial Plants


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  1. Hi Joanna, thanks for your article– and being such a great steward of all of your comments. I happened upon your post because I read conflicting things about Mexican evening primrose (Oenothera speciosa ‘Siskiyou’). I am in inland California (zone 9b) and it is hot and dry all summer long. I have a strip of dry rocky ground between my neighbor’s driveway and our sidewalk that needs love; it is home to my neighbor’s collapsed & shattered basketball hoop (the child is now in college). I was hoping to plant Mexican primrose and let it run wild since the spot is bounded by concrete. However, a post I read on a different forum mentioned Mexican primrose can jump sidewalks! Having fought bindweed in the past, I know how awful rhisome-spreading plants can be. I had major problems with bindweed and rose of sharon at my old house in PA (zone 6b). I was able to get both under control (not completely eradicated) with constant pulling/digging. Anyway, I know this is an old post, but I feel like it would have been so helpful for all commenters to list their zone so that you could track which plants are invasive/aggressive in which areas. For example, I am wondering if the Mexican primrose might only be invasive in areas that receive a lot of rain? Thanks for sharing your advice.

    1. Hi Shar – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. Yes, I agree knowing gardening zones and even the state you live in when commenting would be so helpful. However, there’s just no way to ask for that. Here in my zone 4 garden I have the Siskiyou variety of Mexican primrose and it can be very weedy as it spreads by seed. I find that it is easy to pull though. I think since you are in a much warmer gardening zone, I would advise simply doing a Google search asking if Mexican evening primrose (Oenothera speciosa ‘Siskiyou’) is invasive in Zone 9b. Also check with your local county extension office. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

  2. I have finally learned that if you find a flower you love, but it’s a spreader, plant it in a large pot away from your flower beds. That way you can still enjoy it, but not have to weed it. Deadhead OFTEN to make sure it doesn’t seed. This helped a lot with rhizomes.
    My two plants I’m currently dealing with are cat mint which cats love, and hollyhocks. Hollyhock roots are large and spreading plus they put out tons of seeds.

  3. Chameleon Plant is a total nightmare. Don’t let the pretty varigated leaves or dainty little white flowers fool you… it is pure evil, not to mention the stink when pulled!!!

    1. YES! Chameleon plant is the absolute worst plant to eradicate. The roots can be 15 – 20 inches deep and a tiny piece left behind will start new plants. It is a beautiful plant but will never go away. I have been digging it out for years and know it will outlive me. DON’T PLANT IT!

    2. I agree 110%. It is the worst. Very invasive and hard to kill because of the rhizomes. It is a plant you will never get rid of completely.

      1. Hello Dianna – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and for adding your experience with the chameleon plant. Sorry for your troubles. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

  4. I was given some mint or spearmint, I’m not sure which and the advice to keep it in a planter or I will be sorry. Well, being young and thinking I can handle a little plant… That was 42 years ago! I can not get rid of the stuff. Can you help me? It’s roots break at just a mere touch of them. I’ve tried digging up the whole area, but there it comes back. HELP!

    1. Hi Cheryl – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. Yes, I agree mint is a horrible spreader. I don’t recommend it on a regular basis, but the only way to get rid of it is by painting it with roundup. Good luck, Joanna

      1. Do no EVER plant Lemon Balm. It spreads like wildfire and will take years to keep digging up the very tiny masses of leaves that keep sprouting. I bought this at a Master Gardener sale and feel they should have had some sort of tag on the plant pot to indicate not to plant it in a garden. Keep it in the pot only and enjoy it that way as a herb for food purposes.

        1. Hi Kris – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. You are right, lemon balm is one of many herbs that shouldn’t be planted in the ground. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

  5. I live in Colorado Springs,CO (foothill zone 5,000-8,000ft). One year we planted wildflowers out front. The first couples of years they grew well and looked beautiful! One flower amongst them took over and spread so quickly. It was the white yarrow. I’ve seen it in the mountains here, but only in spurts. We had them growing up into the grass and though our rock area. Warning to everyone: Wildflower packets are great, but make sure to look at what flowers that includes…yarrow is not one you want!

    1. Hi Jen – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. You comment is very good advice about wildflower seed packets. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

    2. The plant that I thought I loved and is now a very aggressive spreader is Spider Wort. I got some as a gift and for a few years it was good. Until I divided it. Now it continues to spread. It has very long deep roots and is very hard to kill. I am in Zone 4.

      1. Hi Corenne – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. Others have commented that spider wort is an aggressive spreader and hard to get rid of. Good luck conquering your battle! Happy gardening, Joanna

        1. Yes!! I just spent 4 hard core hours digging up the abundance of a 1 plant purchase. It’s a Beauty but good Lord! I now have 1 small clump and hope I can keep it at bay.

          1. Hi Missy – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. Unfortunately lots of plants that are aggressive and invasive are beautiful. Good luck keeping yours in check. Happy gardening, Joanna

  6. I planted a Rose of Sharon near my deck 6 years ago. It creates an underground root system and I have to pull up probably 100 – 200 new plants coming up in the spring and throughout summer. If you wait too long they will already be 2-3 feet tall. My Rose of Sharon is beautiful, loaded with double pink blooms throughout summer. I have to trim this bush back to about 7-8 ft tall, from 10 -12 feet tall in the spring. I wish I could learn how to control the new growth. Years ago, I gave new plants away, not knowing how invasive this plant was. It attracts bees and butterflies, but also attracts Japanese Beetles.

    1. Hi Charlise – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. Another gardener just posted about their Rose of Sharon. Try pruning it right after it’s done flowering before the seed pods fall to the ground. That will at least help with the reseeding, but not the invasive root system. Good luck and happy gardening! Joanna

  7. I have a white rose of Sharon. Every spring I have them popping up everywhere and spend hours digging and pulling them out. I have not read that they are invasive but this one is.

    1. Hi Barbara – thank you for stopping by Gingham Gardens. I’m sorry you’ve having problems with Rose of Sharon. Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) actually is considered invasive. You can limit its spread by clipping off the seed pods once each flower has faded. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

  8. I enjoyed reading this! I have to agree the roadside lily, although pretty, gets everywhere!
    I also wanted to further qualify your hostas making the list. Admittedly I am a hosta lover, but I have found them not so be so aggressive, but able to grow MASSIVE. This, though, can take a few seasons. I had a green hosta grow about 4 feet wide at one point. So the tip is to split it, and the hostas are very forgiving and hearty. But that can lead you to have an abundance of plants to find a home for — hence the give aways! Get a green hosta if you want to create a border or need to fill spaces over time; so easy to propagate, but I find they won’t spread across your entire garden bed unless you choose to move them there!

    1. Hi Alicia – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. I really should probably remove hostas from this post. In truth though, the idea is to warn new gardeners about taking free plants. When I first started I had a shade garden full of not-so-pretty, very prolific royal standard and variegated hostas, because another gardener was giving them away. Of course, I now know better and have a shade garden full of gorgeous varieties of hosta and NO royal standard. Thanks for your tips! Happy gardening, Joanna

    1. Hi Kay – ugh, I feel your pain. I had snow on the mountain at our last home and it took years to get rid of and when we moved, I’m not confident that it was all gone. My best advice is to dig, dig and dig some more. After you’ve dug a patch up, sift through the soil with your hands and pick out any pieces of the roots that are left behind. Once you do this, every time you see a bit of it pop up, take a paint brush and brush roundup on it. No, I am not a fan of RoundUp, but sometimes it is useful. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

      1. Thanks that is exactly what I am doing. Smile. Was hoping for a miracle. I was walking my garden today and saw it in a new location. Yell. Thank you

      2. I was able to contain my snow on the mountain by burying an old piece of thin metal about 12” deep below the surface. It has stopped the spread for several years now. I’m so glad I tried this because my whole garden would be taken over by now. Definitely an aggressive plant, and would never plant it again, but it does have some pretty qualities to it.

    2. I planted snow on the mountain along side of my house. Our sump pump drain pipe separated & the salt water came back along the plants. Killed them dead, but pretty much sterilized the ground. I’ve had a hard time growing grass there too, but it does kill it! Roundup for 2-3 years will do the trick. Keep at it until it’s completely gone…. Don’t get in a hurry to plant anything else until you’re sure it’s 100 0/0 gone!

  9. Frog fruit is a very invasive ground cover. Spreads with runners everywhere. Also have masses of wild violets. Love them just not in my flower beds.

    1. Hi Ellen – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. I had to look up frog fruit ground cover. Frog fruit is actually a North American native plant, so technically it isn’t considered invasive, but I agree with you that even if native, some overly aggressive plants may not be a good idea for residential landscapes. I read that frog fruit ground cover can be used as a bee-friendly lawn. And, I wholeheartedly agree about your assessment of wild violets. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

    2. Invasive in one climate is not invasive in another climate. I wish writers would make that clear.

      1. Hi Susan, thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. You are correct in stating that what is invasive in one climate is not invasive in another climate. But, you must have missed this paragraph in the post: “Just a little disclaimer here. We have lots and lots of readers from gardening zones 3 through 10 here at Gingham Gardens. Pretty cool, right? What is considered invasive, aggressive or a vigorous spreader here in my zone 4b garden is not necessarily so in your gardening zone. See my advice at the end of the post for determining the plants you don’t want in your gardens.” Happy gardening, Joanna

    3. Ha. I’d never heard of “frog fruit” so I looked it up to see a picture. (nope, not familiar at all). There was a site a couple from the top Google hits, suggesting it as a LAWN REPLACEMENT!!! Well I s’pose it would grow well anyway, even if it was to the point of taking over all the flower beds. (Thanks for the tip!)

      1. Thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. Frog fruit is only hardy in zones 7-11 that may be why you haven’t heard of it. Happy gardening, Joanna

  10. Hi Joanna. My name is Margo. I live in Western Canada, province of British Columbia. I just recently moved and built a new house. Now comes the landscaping. My house is in a Strata so the land is teeny as I came from an acreage in the woods in the interior rainforest of my province. A snow mecca. We are now 45 miles away in Lake country. Very different.
    I just read over your 14 plants list. I agree with you on all the listed plants, but still love them. I have a few extra plants to add to your list. I don’t know all the Latin names and have lost all my reference books.
    One plant is the Japanese lantern plant, that has orange lantern type seed pods. I had one. Tried to get rid of this it took me 2 to 3 years. OMG. The roots went everywhere, tangled into other plants and would pop up wherever. Number 2 plant snuck in on a nursery plant. Scotch moss. Everywhere is was. Difficult to get rid of, I never got it all gone. Number 3 is what I call Swedish Ivy. It’s a basket stuffer that will grow any place any time. I threw some in the bush along my yard. Oh boy. I least I had the sense not to put it in the garden! Perennial geraniums, Johnson Blue and Black Widow. Yikes.
    I have a degree in Landscape Gardening. I took this course because I had questions and was curious. So now I have a small blank canvas and am planning for next spring. God help me.

    1. Hello Margo and welcome to Gingham Gardens. Thanks for stopping by and adding to our list of plants not to grow in your garden. Good luck in your new space and enjoy your landscaping and gardening. Happy holidays, Joanna

      1. Hi – I have an abundance of evening primrose that I inherited among other invasive. My home is over 200 years old and we’ve only been here a couple of years so I’m still discovering what’s here! Anyway, I’ve had Garden Club members tell me how lovely the evening primrose is, so I kept it in my garden, but I’m not seeing it! It gets taller and taller, but never blooms- not in the evening, afternoon, or morning! It does, however, spread EVERYWHERE!!

        1. Hi Mary – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. I purchased one plant of the pink evening primrose and it spread like crazy so I pulled it all out. This year I saw it in another garden and it was so pretty that I bought it again. Maybe this time I can control it. HaHa! I’m not a fast learner. Maybe your primrose needs more sun. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

  11. This is not a flower, but we planted rhubarb to eat and accidentally let it go to seed. It spread wild all over our half acre! The only way we escaped this nuisance was to move to another house!

    1. Hi Amy – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. Your story made me laugh. We left beautiful gardens at our former home, but we also left behind a few naughty plants. Happy gardening, Joanna

  12. For me it’s 4 o’clocks. I have the basic pink ones everywhere. Someone shared these beauties with me at least 10 years ago. And BONUS, the Japanese Beetles eat the leaves and die. However they have seeded into every garden bed I have. Digging them out is horrible. They form big woody tubers deep underground and take over entirely. Hate is too kind of a word for how I feel about them. I’m in z7b, central NC.

    1. Oh no, Beverly. I’ve heard others comment that four o’clocks are a nuisance. The only time I’ve planted them was in a container and they didn’t reseed at all. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

  13. Chameleon plant is the worst! Should be considered a weed! Spreads by runners underground. Almost impossible to get rid of!

    1. Yes, I’ve been pulling this nasty plant out of my garden for over 20 years. It even smells nasty when disturbed! I let my young daughter chose it for our garden because it was so “cool” looking. It’s finally now on the invasive plant list.

  14. I haven’t read all the comments, but it seems no one has mentioned white wing-stem in the last couple of years. This interesting plant spreads like mad and crowds out others, but it has the remarkable characteristic in freezing weather of creating what I call swans. The stems break open and sap oozes out, creating feather-like curves. One winter morning I had a garden full of swans! Beautiful! But, alas, over many years I have finally weeded them out, saving a lot of other plants by doing so. I garden in Zone 7a.

    1. Hi Margaret – I had to look up White wingstem (Verbesina virginica). It’s actually a native. But I’m glad you mentioned it. It just goes to show that not all natives behave nicely in a garden setting. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

    2. I have several spreading patches of cobra lily which I’m finding hard to get rid of. Locating the tiny bits of tuber that easily break off is like searching for gold!

      1. Hi Rosemary, thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. I’m not familiar with cobra lily. I will have to look that one up. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

  15. Hi Joanna! I just stumbled across this article today and read 90% of the comments. I am old enough that the only readily available information for me was a Sunset Gardens book I received as a gift. No internet. No cell phones. I am an amateur gardener. Everything I’ve learned was either from books, passed on or learned the hard way. My take on the subject is: most any plant can be an aggressive or invasive given the right circumstances. It also depends on the gardener if is either. IE a friend lives 2 miles from me. A few years ago I saw her Chinese Lanterns. She loves them. I bought seeds and planted in bad soil. Within one season I saw they had traveled under my front sidewalk and we’re spreading. I immediately dug and dug and removed them. Another time I planted a bergamot seed. I was amazed at the number of bees it attracted. Three years later I am still removing babies from all over my 1/2 acre. The Japanese Anenome, Yuccas, Old Fashioned Lilac, Grape Hyacinth and a few others came with the home. I have spent the better part of 12 years trying to get rid of some. Wisteria ’babies’ come from seeds across a two lane street. I recognize and remove them as I see them. However, my back yard neighbors have one they have successfully contained for 20 years and when it flowers, it is stunning. A few experiences like these made me very ‘gun-shy’ about anything I plant. An example about varieties of some varieties of plants. I have a brick window box in front of my living room window. I started fresh with it. I love alstroemerias. I proceeded to fill it with different varieties. They were beautiful and happy in my west facing box. I planted one that took over the whole box in one year, smothering the others. I almost have it removed, at the expense of a couple of the others. Live and learn. I am pretty sure it was online shopping that did me in 8 or 10 years ago. Also, I always wanted a holly tree. This property has one. I pull up baby holly trees everywhere on the property. It’s a good thing I am retired. Otherwise I would not be able to keep up with them. I worked for a woman years ago who made her living from holly wreaths. One persons trash is another’s treasure. I am glad you have printed this and happy to have read the comments. We all learn something most every day. Thank you! My garden is in Puget Sound, Washington.

    1. Hello Nanette and thank you for stopping by Gingham Gardens. I love how you shared your experiences with aggressive and invasive perennials. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

  16. I am new to this te but after a years worth of offender comments I did not see Rose of Sharon mentioned . My father gave me a small plant for my first Home and when i moved i took a “baby ” with me and that was 30 years ago. I battle the “babies” every year. I even made the mistake of planting more in different places to form a hedge . They are beautiful when in bloom and great for all the flower Critters and the deer don’t like them. They are as invasive and difficult to remove as any on your list. Nothing kills them and can’t pull them out easily once they are 12 inches high .Their seed pods are endless and impossible to get all of them. I am in zone 6. Cleveland ,Ohio area.al I only saw one note about Violets, had them in side garden under the Rose of Sharons and they were fine. I tore up my whole front yard to make perennial garden and the violets ran across the driveway and moved right in. The first year ,great filler now 2 yrs later not so great. New battle and I will win this one, easier to pull and bigger plants to smother them I pray LOL Cleveland ,Ohio area

    1. Hi Lorna – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and adding your experiences to the article 14 Plants Not to Grow in Your Garden. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

        1. Hi Bea – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens! Many others have stated in the comments that vinca (a/k/a periwinkle) is an aggressive nuisance. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

    2. I am in Erie PA. I fell the same way about the rose of Sharon in my yard. Reproduces everywhere and is difficult to get rid of.

      1. Hi Theresa – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and taking the time to weigh in on plants not to grow in your garden. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

  17. I have fought to control liriope (we call it “monkey grass”) over the years. It was planted by the previous owners and it takes over the whole garden and is hard to clear out, plus it looks awful once the leaves turn brown. Drives me crazy!

      1. I believe the ‘muscari’ variety is not a spreader, so if you want lirope in your garden, look for this one at the garden centers.

        1. Hi Martha – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. Your comment about the muscari variety of lirope is very helpful. Thank you and happy gardening! Joanna

          1. Fyi guys, muscari is a species. there may be a cultivar that doesn’t spread as aggressively, but in zone 6 muscari is definitely a spreader…….

            as a general rule of thumb, be wary of anything from asia. they come from a climate full of plants that are highly competitive.
            euonymus alatus – invasive of asian origin.
            lonicera maackii – incredibly invasive woody shrub of asian origin
            lonicera japonica – invasive vining/climing/rambling honeysuckle of asian origin

            also anything whose native range is a dessert/arid climate
            ie persian silk tree/albizia julibrissin is from mostly arid climate and has a live fast – grow fast – seed prolifically with high germ rate seeds. they do very well in a moist climate…. though many plants from desserts will die of root rot if they are overwatered, some flourish and thrive.

            combine these with them being non-native, with nothing grazing it/controlling it here and most landscapers not caring enough to maintain them as would be necessary to keep them from escaping cultivation… you get environmental catastrophe.

            In the south where I’m from the persian silk tree is a noxious weed that gets pretty huge pretty quickly, thickets, crowds and shades out other species. While the seeds are edible being in the pea family, that just ends up with birds spreading them…..

            Rose of sharon is also asian. most of our problematic invasives in North America are, but nurseries still push them because they get them cheap and they’re easily “propagated” (as if they need the help).

            also invasive:
            buddelia butterfly bushes, nandina domestica/heavenly bamboo, japanese spiraea.

            Even if these are in your yard and they “aren’t invasive in my yard” it’s only because you’re mowing frequently, usually it still will get obnoxious over time, and you can bet the seeds are traveling by bird if you see any eating them. Some reptiles and squirrels also carry seeds.

            It’s almost always the safest bet to look for native alternatives to any non-native. better for your wildlife and like 70% less likely to get out of hand, but a quick google can tell you if others find it to be unruly in the landscape. Not all natives play nice, for sure. Virginia creeper, trumpet vine, various spurges. etc. always do your research. never just take a nursery worker at their word they will sell you that damn burning bush or japanese wisteria in a heartbeat.

            Happy Gardening y’all.

  18. My husband and I were laughing reading this! We have your first four and completely agree. Especially the snow on the mountain! 😫😫 (We live in the eastern Twin Cities!)

    1. Oh hello, Twin Cities neighbor. I think these have been passed along from gardener to gardener, neighbor to neighbor and spread all over the place. I still see people trying to give this stuff away on Facebook groups. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

  19. There are some herbs which are sold everywhere that are very voracious… one of them being Oregano… I unwittingly planted it in my garden and have fought with it ever since. Buyer beware.

    1. Hi Sandy, I agree, many herbs are very aggressive and will take over your gardens. I only grow herbs in containers. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

    2. I planted spearmint and lemon balm and I get so discouraged trying to dig it up out of my flower beds.
      I’ll never plant another herb that isn’t in a container!

      1. Hi Ruth – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and taking the time to comment on your experience with plants not to grow in your garden. So sorry, about your woes with mint and lemon balm. Ugh, it can be discouraging, but just do the best you can. Gardening is supposed to be enjoyable. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

  20. Great list! I have one offender on the list but it’s sentimental and controlled. One addition – Sweet Pea belongs on this list! I adore it so I battle it but if not kept in check it will choke out everything!!! Including my Lily of the Valley (which came from my grandfather and was planted in a buried container to keep it in check). The lovely person who owned the house before us thought Creeping Charlie was beautiful – 10 years later I’m still trying to get rid of it.

    1. Chameleon plant: made the mistake of thinking it was beautiful. Now I get to rip it out of not one but two beds and I regrets buying those ten tiny plants. I am hoping to try to use an organic herbicide to see if it will help and when it dies back in winter dig as much up as I can .

      1. Hi Rhonda – so many have commented on how bad chameleon plant is. I’m sorry you’re dealing with it. I hope your plan works. Happy gardening, Joanna

  21. I planted Chameleon (Houttunia) because of beautiful red/ivory and green leaves. It also has beautiful little white flowers in the spring. OMG! It has spread to other parts of my garden areas in my yard. I wish I had done research first. You will know them by it’s funky smell on the leaves when crunched or cut. UGH!! I have not tried to get rid of it yet, but I already read how difficult it is.

    1. Hi Arlie, so many others have commented that they wish they’d never planted chameleon plant. Good luck getting rid of it. Joanna

    2. I also have chameleon plant from the previous owners. My husband and I dug up the whole bed and it keeps coming back. I am afraid I have to do roundup and it kills me to have go to that extreme

      1. Hi Donna – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. We only recommend using Round Up as a last resort, but sometimes with these aggressive you have to do what you have to do. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

          1. Hi Marg, thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. I don’t recommend using vinegar in your gardens because it wreaks havoc on your soil. The best way to get rid of invasive or aggressive plants is to dig them out. Happy gardening, Joanna

    1. Thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens, Annah. Yes, I’ve heard others say that fiddleheads are delicious and hostas too. Happy gardening, Joanna

        1. Yes, many have mentioned chameleon plant, or houttuynia. Just a good reminder to never add plants to your garden that you aren’t familiar with. Good luck and happy gardening.

          1. Houttuynia as very pretty in my garden in England, but when we moved to the US it had taken over a whole bank and had to go. Still trying to get rid of it!

          2. Hi Rosemary – sorry to hear this. Many will agree with you that the chameleon plant is pretty but very difficult to contain. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

        2. I had to dig up my entire flower bed and run it through a filter to catch the roots. I still occasionally get a piece but it is quickly dug up. A horrible stinky plant!!!!

          1. Hi Peg – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. Many others have mentioned that they wish they had never planted houttuynia. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

    2. Plants I’ve struggled with because they’re either invasive or prolific: Gooseneck loosestrife, Ivy, obedient plant, bugleweed, wisteria, honeysuckle, some mums, black eye Susan, cone flowers, birch trees, hosta, Lilly of the valley, vinca, Holly’s, nandenas, burning bush, Virginia creeper, black berry, bamboo, privet, boxwood & lilyturf. Many are sold at home improvement stores and nurseries. BeckyV

      1. Hi Becky, thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and adding your experience to 14 Plants Not to Grow in Your Garden. Some of the plants you mention, like cone flowers and black-eyed Susan are less of a problem if you clip the dead flowers off so they don’t spread seeds. Happy gardening, Joanna

  22. Pachysandra! The worst thing ever. We bought a house that had a slope garden infested with it. I spent all last summer pulling it out. Turns out the slope garden had 4 rose bushes, a Rhododendron, and some pretty hosts that were all being suffocated by the pachysandra.
    Now that I took all the pachysandra out, I had lily of the valley sprout up all over the slope this spring. The pachysandra even choked that invasive plant! Just spent the last two weekends pulling out the Lily of the valley. Hopefully, it’s done 🙏🏼 .

    1. Yes, Heather, many have mentioned pachysandra and I agree that’s it’s awful. I’ve never had it in my gardens, but I’ve worked in gardens where it’s taken over. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

  23. Trumpet vine (creeping) has been a nightmare in my garden for nearly 30 years! I planted it for the hummingbirds and have rarely gotten a flower. All it has done is climb up my siding and gone into every area I don’t want it to be. I try to pull it out, but the roots have crept underground in so many directions that it’s almost impossible to pull out. I live in zone 4..

    1. Hi Laura, ugh I feel your pain. I have trumpet vine coming up in the middle of shrubs and in places where I can’t pull it out. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

    2. We have English ivy and wild strawberries that have spread everywhere. We have the strawberries spreading throughout our lawn now. If the strawberries were tasty, I might be less annoyed by them, but they are tiny bits of seed, and nothing else.

      1. Hi Carolyn, thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. I agree with your assessment of wild strawberries… they really don’t taste good and they are a nuisance. The birds and critters wouldn’t even eat mine. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

      1. Hi Linda – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. Ugh, I really don’t like Virginia Creeper. It’s a native plant, but I still don’t like it. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

      1. Hi Julie – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. So sorry for your troubles with trumpet vine. I just keep pulling and pulling. Unfortunately mine comes up in the middle of existing plants so I cannot dig it out. Fortunately, I don’t have to deal with it on the house. Happy gardening, Joanna

  24. Nandinas! I’m continually pulling long runners out of my beds and dwarf Nandinas are the culprits. After reading this informative article, Joanna, I looked up Nandinas and lo and behold, they’re on the “ Dirty Dozen” plant list. They’re invasive and highly discouraged, not to mention discouraging!! 🤦‍♀️

    1. Hi Cathy, I have never heard of nandinas, so I had to look it up. As with most crappy plants, it’s beautiful. It isn’t hardy in my zone 4 garden, but I can see that it’s still being sold. Thanks for bringing it to our attention. Happy gardening, Joanna

  25. I live near Chattanooga TN and inherited 3 terrible invasives with this property that previous owner planted –

    1) Vinca – Terrible terrible stuff. Was even growing in the shade of the deck and climbing all over a row of hydrangea. Not realizing what we were doing, when we pulled it up near the house, we threw it down into a ditch near our woods, and now I am fighting it to keep it from crowding out wildflowers.

    2) Wisteria – she planted it at the base of an oak tree at the corner of our property. It totally strangled this beautiful oak tree and for several years we had a 60-foot dead tower with the wisteria hanging from it. We were afraid the tree would topple into the road, but the utility company wouldn’t touch it. We were actually relieved when a shear wind toppled the tree uphill onto neighbor’s lawn without damaging anything. However, several years later we are still fighting vine outcropping on our property.

    3) English Ivy – why oh why is this still sold? Similar to above problem – we have a tall pine tree near the road totally encased with this terrible vine.

    1. Hi Terri – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens to add your experiences with invasive plants. I feel your frustration. Good luck and happy gardening! Joanna

  26. I was so happy to find this list! We moved to this house 5 years ago and had the lawns renovated. The last thing I want is an invasive plant or flower mixed in with our beautiful but we earned it – sea of green grass!

    I am in Kansas and the worst offender – that I hear the most about and cringe when .I see it on a fence or arbor is – trumpet vine. We have the common orange trumpet vine in Kansas with the long runners that are almost unbelievable- they are so hard to get rid of and another – wild violets

    We bought a house once with a pretty stone path and when I began to notice these little violets with green foliage, one day there were a few and the next day, it seemed as if they were everywhere. The previous owner had planted hostas around a tree near the swimming pool. Such an eyesore! They were never divided, they had been there a long time and needed to go.
    Every day
    I would dig whatever I had missed. The tubers look like long purple fingers covered with dark roots. It took 2 years but I got rid of the Hostas and I do realize some are prized. The trumpet vine I cut back almost daily always trying to trace where it ended – it didn’t end and the purple wild violets were not wanted in a pretty lawn.
    I tripled weed mat and pinned it down then had it covered with mulch.
    It worked. What a job but it was such a clean look when .I finished and
    I love flowers. It was a good lesson that when planting something the gardener should keep an eye on it …….several times a week or daily because some of these can take over!
    So I would add wild violets, invasive when they spread through your lawn
    And trumpet vine with runners longer than our lot. Nightmare. And I agree with worn out and neglected everyday Hostas. I’m in Kansas and no weather kills these. Thank you for your list!

    1. Hi Susan – thank you for stopping by Gingham Gardens and adding your experience to 14 plants not to grow in your garden. I’m still dealing with trumpet vine popping up everywhere and those horrible, sweet violets. I’m the opposite of you though and I don’t care if they are in the lawn, I just don’t want them taking over my flower beds. Ha ha to each their own. Happy gardening, Joanna

  27. Oh my gosh – I haven’t read all of the comments, but I have two “I Warned You About” plants to let everyone know about. We are in Zone 7A, Knoxville, TN – Don’t get me wrong, if you want a tropical look in TN these are amazing and will not disappoint you, but be prepared to have them take over after the first year.
    #1 Northern Sea Oats Grass – They are spectacular the first year, but don’t be fooled by their amazing long willowy ornamental grass presentation and massive seed prongs that change from green to warm wheat in color and sound amazing in the wind until they dry and freeze. The seeds magically spread and show up all over the place and they cannot be controlled – I even burned them and they still multiply uncontrollably unless you dig them up. I have been fighting this battle for 4+ years and thought I had finally won, nope, they are the first things that popped up this spring. All suggestions are welcome!
    #2 Musa Basjoo Banana Plant/Tree – Oh, how I love these plants for an almost instant tropical look, but you better contain them or they will make you pay dearly after the first year! If they are in a happy sunny/moist location they will grow as tall as a two story house! Cut them back and make sure that they are somehow contained from spreading via pups from the parent. Mine have had gorgeous blooms and tons of tiny bananas, but they are not edible. We do have quite a few people that come by often to cut the massive 7’+leaves for steaming food, so that’s a bonus. We have dug them up many times, but the pups pop up several feet away every single year. People stop by and take pictures of our tropical looking garden every year and they always want to copy the look when I am sweating to death digging them up – warnings don’t always work, so I offer to let them come and dig up as much as they want. LOL – The most suggested way of controlling them is by drilling holes in the root and filling them with diesel – we are still digging them up for now, but that might be the next step if this doesn’t work. I have pictures if anyone is interested.
    Happy Gardening, Donna Marie

    1. Wow, Donna Marie, those plants sound terrible, and I don’t think anyone else has commented on them. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

    2. I too was sold northern sea oats from a nursery as a “beautiful” addition to my flower garden. Years of pulling every sprout of this plant finally paid off. Now I fight a plant whose seed was in wild bird seed. What ever this is shows up every year where the bird feeder once hung, so I’m pulling it up too!

  28. Russian sage smells lovely and has nice little flowers and expand through runners. One plant one year led to 3 big ones the next and the removal of hundreds of baby plants that I pulled up. I gave it away to someone who I warned about its aggressiveness. And it was all over Montana when we visited the year after I got rid of it.

    1. Hi Caroline – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. Other have commented about Russian Sage being aggressive too. I have two different hybrids in my gardens and both have been very slow growers and not aggressive at all. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

      1. I am in zone 9 a and I’ll be pulling hyacinth bean for the rest of my life, lol. That’s the only ‘purposeful’ booboo i Made. In my area my nemesis is privet. Never planted it, but it’s absolutely everywhere and the roots are made of steel. Horribly invasive.

        1. Hi Monique – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and sharing your zone 9 experience with aggressive plants in your garden. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

      1. Hello Karen – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. Ugh, sounds like you’re having a bad time with Russian sage too. Here in my zone 4b gardens, the varieties of Russian sage that I have are very slow spreaders. One variety is Little Spire and one is Blue Jean Baby. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

    1. Hi. I have 3 acres to mow. Last year I decided I would like to naturalize some of it. I would appreciate any advise as to what to plant. Thanks

      1. Hi Sandie – I recommend doing some online research in your area. First look up a local extension office for a nearby university. Also do some research on a wildflower garden. I don’t have much experience with this, so I can’t help you with that. Good luck and thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. Joanna

      2. Hi Sandie. I would just plead with you to make sure that what you plant in the naturalized area is native to your location. So many pollinators, birds and other creatures are really struggling due to habitat loss. It would be so wonderful for you to add some more back in for them! See if there is a local Wild Ones chapter near you. They would be a wonderful source of information.

  29. YARROW: it won’t stop growing & gets into your lawn! I dig and dig and spray to try and get rid of it but it is still out there🥲
    And Creeping Charlie: it looked so pretty and green and grew so quickly and I thought I had discovered the greatest ground cover ever!! Yep: it does cover the ground😂😂all of it and to boot my neighbour who farms the land adjacent to us told us it was invasive and gently suggested we stop growing it😬 it still comes back but I know exactly what it looks like & I pull it out asap: even the teeniest tiniest little sprouts!!! So good to know I am not the only one who makes mistakes!🌸🌺

    1. Hi Trish – thanks for your insight on plants not to grow in your gardens. Did you know there are more hybrid varieties of yarrow that say put. I have a few in my gardens that are very well behaved and are very long bloomers. I used to have the old fashioned variety and yes it was very weedy. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

    2. Yarrow is my arch enemy! I have spent the last 3 years pulling it out of my garden and lawn. I don’t think it will ever go away – worst plant mistake I ever made! I had no idea it spread so viciously and the root system is a horrible, interconnected tangle. I’m digging out most of my garden this year just in an effort to get rid of it. Never, ever! buy it!

      1. Hi Aileen – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. Sorry for your troubles with yarrow. I have many of the newer hybrids in my gardens and they are very well behaved. I had some of the kind you are talking about at my old home and just keep pulling it every spring to keep it in check. Good luck! Joanna

      2. I made the mistake of planting yarrow more than 20 years ago because many people suggested it looked good in the garden. After it aggressively spread into the yard, I tried pulling all of it out. I’m still pulling it out all these years later!

        1. Hi Mary – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. I have several newer varieties of yarrow and that are not spreaders like the old varieties. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

  30. I love Lily of the Valley. I planted them alongside my garage. It started out nice but they took over in no time. I spent last spring digging them up and digging deep for the runners. Saved a few and my friend asked for a few despite my caution. She said that she was aware but still wanted them. I obliged. I transplanted them to the other side of my house where there is just morning sun and shade all day. The grass has a hard time growing on that side of the house. My husband says it’s due to the very big pine tree, a blue spruce that we have there. My intention is to have the Lily of the Valley over take that side of the yard. Not sue if my intention is correct here. Last I checked, they weren’t doing so well. When spring comes I’ll see if they survived the winter.
    I live in zone 6b. If not, no problem. I’ll do more research and see what I can plant there. Thank you for this list of plans to avoid. I’m so happy that i found you!

    1. Hi Cristina – I’m so happy your found Gingham Gardens too. Your idea for your lily of the valley sounds perfect – away from everything else. I hope it spreads well for you. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

    2. Good luck getting much of anything to grow near blue spruce. I had two in my rental ‘s yard. Couldn’t get anything to grow within it’s dripline area. Oregon 6b

  31. FYI, some of the plants you listed are actually edible, such as the orange ditch lily (daylily) and Hosta. Check them out on the Internet.

      1. I have something in my yard that’s rather invasive, but it’s not difficut to remove. The person who gave it to me called it “Chameleon plant” but I don’t know if that’s correct. It’s actually quite pretty, with heart-shaped leaves having white streaks in them. During the summer and into autumn, the leaves can change to having pink and red streaks and edges. The summertime flowers are small and white. Have you heard of this? Can you tell me what is really is? And it will climb too, if near something it can hook onto. When you pull it out or break off leaves, it has a strong oder, not unpleasant, just strong.
        Speaking of edible hosta – they are really very good! In the early spring, start picking shoots that are about 3 to maybe 4 inches high. Break (or cut) them off just below the soil if possible. If they’ve uncurled any leaves, don’t pick them. Wash your shoots in cold water and dry them on a towel. You can eat them raw, or in salads. You can roast them with olive oil and garlic, and you can toss them in pasta dishes which call for asparagus. I had a recipe for shrimp with spaghetti and asparagus; I used the hosta instead and just tossed them into the hot pasta. It was yummy! If you have an empty jar with brine left over from your favorite pickle, toss them in the jar, put it in the ‘fridge and in a day or two you’ll have pickled hosta shoots! Delicious! I’ve never tried freezing them so I don’t know if that would work, but we ate a lot of them this spring. They taste like mild, tender asparagus and are delicious. One thing you shouldn’t do however, is to simmer them in broth or water to serve as a side veg. I found out the hard way; cooking them like this changes the taste and they become a tad bitter. Better to saute them for barely a moment or two in a little oil or butter, then salt and pepper to taste.

        1. Yes, others have mentioned chameleon plant (Houttuynia cordata), also referred to as rainbow plant. It is considered invasive in some areas. Just don’t share it with anyone else. Your recipe for hosta shoots sounds interesting. Thanks for sharing and thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. Happy gardening, Joanna

        2. I like your style! I have Bishop’s weed, houttuynia, “ditch” lilies (called day lilies here, common, but pretty), vinca vine, periwinkle, lilies of the valley, several varieties of hosta, trumpet vine, etc. I have come to realize tthat most perennials can be invasive, and need monitored and kept in check. I hacked at a trumpet vine when I first moved to our old zone 4-5 farm, finally gave up and let the biggest parts grow, and added a tall sectionof galvanized fence as a support. It now has 2 trunks that are twisting around each other and are attractive. Yes, the roots send up shoots, and I yank them up and hack them off, the price for the tall vine. Houttuynia is an excellent pond plant, in a pot, placed just under the water. The only think I really dislike is the cursed Virginia Creeper, bindweed, and Ground Ivy choking out everything. Oh, and the awful, indestructible multiflora rose, once advocated by the government as a “living fence”. Ground ivy, Bishop’s weed, and sorrel are edible, though, so…..

          1. Hi there and thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and sharing your experience with aggressive garden plants. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

  32. Hi All! I live in zone 5b and have gardened at home and professionally for 30 years and have had and worked with and totally agree with every one of the 14 plants never to grow in your garden! The only plant I have in my yard that I love and that many are not happy with is gooseneck loose strife. The flower on this plant is just beautiful and even by itself, a vase full of this still makes me happy. I found a place in my yard where I can let it go and it doesn’t bother anything else and I pick a lot of it when it’s in season. I understand if you don’t have the room or want to deal with it, but it has always been one of my favorites.
    Happy New Year to All!

    1. Hi Laurie – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and weighing in on plants not to grow. I agree that gooseneck loosestrife is a pretty one, but then so are many of the others. Don’t tempt me… ha ha. Happy gardening, Joanna

  33. I planted Verbena rigida and it has spread everywhere by underground stems and by seed. It’s a great plant for a dry area but it does take over. Zone 10B. lambs tongues have spread very slowly over 20 years but they get little to no summer water here. I just rip them out when they start to look ratty, it doesn’t discourage them. Japanese anemones are very well behaved, no summer water and no care–great in dry shade.
    Lippia repens on the other hand–it will take over the earth, cross a sidewalk, smother everything. We had it here in the parking strip when we moved in. It works great, green in summer, no water, then the grass takes over in winter. No care, just mow once in a while–and not very much in summer when dry. But–eternal vigilance is required to keep it out of the flower beds.

  34. I’ve just found this wonderful post and have read through two + years of comments! No where did I find anyone complaining about perennial yellow cosmos. I have a patch of them that just showed up (birds maybe)—and it’s about 4′ long, and two feet wide and 20″ tall, this their second year here. This fall I decided to take out a patch of them so that I can see the plants behind them. What a surprise for me—the roots are as if they are made of iron. I couldn’t get a shovel or anything else through them. I finally found that putting a shovel underneath them far enough I could lift them up and then cut through the roots with my hedge loppers, one root at a time. Has anyone else run into this problem, or am I just getting too old and weak to be doing this kind of gardening? Would love to hear your comments!

    1. Hi Sharon – Thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. I’m completely unfamiliar with “perennial yellow cosmos” and had to do some searching. Are you sure the plant in your garden is what you think it is? I’m not saying your wrong, but I just can’t find any information on perennial yellow cosmos. I recommend contacting your local county extension service or a master gardener group in your area to see if you can get more information on the plant in your garden. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

  35. Loose neck goose strife. This flower hitched a ride on purple cone flower that I brought to our new home after a move. It started taking over the orange day lilies (which I do like). I think I got tendonitis in my elbow from pulling them out last summer.

    1. Hi Marla – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. Several have commented that they’ve had trouble with loosestrife. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

    2. Crownvetch (Securigera varia) was not mentioned but it’s very invasive. We lived along a state highway (zone 4b) where it was used in the road ditches for erosion control. It quickly spread to our pasture and unfortunately, horses don’t eat it. It smothers out pasture grasses and anything in its path.

      1. Yes, Crownvetch is on most invasive lists and I’ve heard of folks digging it up from roadsides and planting it in their gardens. We have some down the road and I’m so afraid it’s going to end up in my gardens. It’s so beautiful, but this is one where looks are deceiving. Thanks for stopping by and come back soon! Happy gardening, Joanna

  36. I totally agree with you about the ditch lillies. Ughh! I planted yarrow in the past and regret it. It took a long time to eradicate it from my beds.

    1. Hi Jodi – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and taking the time to leave a comment. One of the reasons I like yarrow is because it continually reblooms throughout the gardening season. There are some newer varieties of yarrow that aren’t such crazy spreaders. I have pomegranate and different varieties from the seduction series that behave very well. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

  37. I have giant Lily of the Valley here in CT and have been trying to get rid of it, I totally agree it belongs on the list. I would add Columbine. I did not plant it, but I guess I have the birds and my neighbor to thank. I have been pulling it out for years and it just keeps coming back and spreading. It has taken over a whole section of one garden area.

  38. I had planted perennial ageratum in a smallish bed about 15 years age. It took me 5 years to get it out of that bed. But, of course it came up in a back bed and spread everywhere, I ‘think’ that i have finally gotten rid of it. I would not recommend it to anyone.

    1. Hi Barb, I had to look up perennial ageratum (Conoclinium coelestinum). It’s actually a native plant in the Eastern United States, but listed as very aggressive. Perhaps that’s another one that should be left in native prairies and meadows. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

      1. Creeping Myrtle is a nightmare.But,I would like to point out the plant that you call Lambs Ear looks like Artemesia and they are very invasive.Lambs ears are soft and fuzzy with pink flower.

        1. Hi Terri – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. There are many different types of artemisia (a/k/a wormwood) and some are awful, while others work well in a garden and aren’t naughty spreaders. Silver mound is a type of artemisia that is a great foliage plant in the garden. You’re right, lamb’s ear foliage is soft and fuzzy and it too is an aggressive spreader in many gardens. Many gardeners will divide it and give it away, thus the warning in the article. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

  39. For me in North Texas (zone 8A), it is Asian Jasmine. People here plant it for ground cover that will cover quickly. It makes a horrible neighbor as it will grow into your neighbor’s yard and choke out desired plants before you know it. It will also escape into forested areas and prevent trees from seeding new ones.

    1. Hi Janis – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and adding your comment about Asian Jasmine. I don’t think we’ve had anyone mention that plant. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

  40. I must be reading the wrong article. Those 14 flowers are the backbone of most home gardens up here in New England. If it isn’t invasive, it probably won’t be strong enough to make through the winters here. I accept my responsibility to keep them in their place if they start to wander.

    Here in Zone 4, many of those plants offer flowers when not much else is blooming.They may not flower for long, but what is wrong with a variety of blooms over the seasons?

    I worked during high school at a 17-acre estate flower garden here with 12 other gardeners. The rule was: a flower is only a weed if it is in the wrong place, and any weed can stay where it is if it is contributing color to the garden. I have lived by that creed, and enjoy almost all of the flowers you mentioned. I even have purple loosestrife in my garden (don’t judge me, as it was there long before it was declared invasive.,and it has never wandered).

    I have to do some exploring on your site to find out what you do recommend for perennials, and if any of them can stand up to New England winters.

    As you say, gardens sure are different in different parts of the country.

    1. Hi Jayne – thank you for stopping by Gingham Gardens and leaving such an opposing comment on 14 Plants Not to Grow in Your Gardens, without being rude. I too garden in Zone 4 in Minnesota and there are many, many perennials that will take the abuse that winter gives here and thrive. There are some great ideas for you in Classic Perennials and Tough Perennials that Can Take Abuse. I encourage you to branch out and try some new perennials. Stop back soon! Happy gardening, Joanna

  41. I have two varieties of mint. I also have raspberries. These spread vigorously and pop up everywhere. Raspberries in the middle of the lawn. There is of course an answer, which I have adopted … A root barrier… if you love it and want it but don’t want it to spread, use a barrier. But check the depth of the roots first as deep roots can still spread.

      1. A friend grows nothing but invasives. One next to the other. Let them battle it out. Mind you, he’s got no weeds. His garden is gorgeous.

        1. I’ll bet it is gorgeous. I would hate to be the next property owner though. Thanks, Annie, for stopping by Gingham Gardens. Happy gardening, Joanna

      2. Portulaca !! OMG !! If you live in the South, ( 8b here) do not even bring it home in a pot to sit on the porch!!

        It spreads seeds by the millions and the leaves also root just laying on top of the lawn.

        Someone planted it here and it ia all over the lawn. Mow it and by the time the lawn needs mowed again, it grew right back!!

        I gave up on it. It’s green, it blends in.

        The other thing, IDK what it’s called. It looks like a pale green clover leaf and has cute pink flowers in the spring. It has tiny brown bulbs and white fibrous roots coming up from the bulb. Leave one tiny piece of root and it grows back.

        Gave up on that too.
        My lawn is integrated.

        1. Hi Anne – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and leaving your comment on 14 Plants Not to Grow in Your Gardens. I love your attitude! Happy gardening, Joanna

          1. Carol – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and leaving your comment about the oxalis plant. Stop back soon! Happy gardening, Joanna

          2. Oxalis..holy crow.. I’m on a mission to get it out of my small shady yard here in napa Valley.
            When I moved into this house, there was some growing along fence in a side yard.. how pretty , I thought…
            Now it is everywhere. I cannot figure out how it gets into flower pots and hanging baskets…
            I will get it out of my yard…last year I best the voles year before got rid of the HUNDREDS of snails..(hand picking is what finally worked )

          3. Hi Colleen – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and taking the time to leave a comment. Oxalis sounds like a complete nightmare. Good luck getting rid of it. Happy gardening, Joanna

    1. Columbine. Spread everywhere. When dried seeds will pop out onto the ground and a new plant will start.

      1. Hi Angelique – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. If you clip the seed heads off of your Columbine plants after they finish blooming, they won’t spread. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

      2. I didn’t see Japanese honeysuckle mentioned. The neighbor didn’t keep it out of his garden and it spread to my rock garden. I have been fighting it for ten years. I will take ditch lilies and bishop’s weed any day over Japanese honeysuckle.

        1. Hi Lily – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. I believe others have mentioned Japanese honeysuckle in the comments as being a problem. I’m sorry your having problems with it in your gardens. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

  42. I’m sorry I didn’t come across your site 40 years ago, I have made so many beautiful invasive mistakes. One in particular was Phygelius Capensis, I admired it in a neighbours garden and of course she gave me several rooted suckers 😪 after looking beautiful for three years, it took me three more years and tonnes of hard work to get rid of it. It destroyed my peony roses and several others. I would love some of it again now to put on the roadside opposite my home though 🤣🤣

  43. Spider wort (Tradescantia) is another one to avoid. It has a pretty blue flower and the bees love it, but it’s a thug. I have to dig it out with a shovel and get all the roots out. Don’t put it in your compost pile; it’s the Nosferatu of plants. The only way to kill it is to put the plant, roots and all, in a black plastic bag and let it cook in the sun for awhile. Maybe it behaves in cold climates, but I”m in Georgia. I wouldn’t advise anybody south of the Arctic to plant this invader.

    1. Hi Carol Ann – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and adding your comment to 14 Plants Not to Grow in Your Garden. Spider Wort is okay here in zone 4, but it does spread. I decided a few years ago that I didn’t like it enough to keep it in my gardens. That’s the beauty of flower gardening, there are so many beautiful, well behaved plants to choose from. Happy gardening, Joanna

      1. It is not OK in Minnesota. I have it EVERYWHERE. One little bit from my sister and it is in every crack and crevice. Hard to seperate it out of my chives. Ugh

        1. Oh no, Rose, I’m sorry you’re having troubles with spiderwort in your gardens. I had it at my last home and I never had a problem with it spreading, but I decided I didn’t like it, so I dug it up. After reading your comment, I have no desire to add it to my gardens now. Thanks for the heads up. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

      1. Hi MariAnne – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and taking time to leave a comment on 14 Plants Not to Grow in Your Garden. It’s weird how one plant like spiderwort can be perfectly behaved in one area of the country and a complete thug in another. Oh the beauty of gardening! Happy gardening and stop back by soon, Joanna

    2. A friend of mine has been battling spiderwort for years, trying to get it to stop growing in her garden in New Jersey. What I think is funny is that one year she offered me a clump of Lilly of the Valley. Having fond memories of some growing in the yard of the house where I grew up, I accepted the offer. Two years later I was digging up the underground rhizomes trying to decrease the large amount of the Lilly of the Valley that was growing well beyond a patch of shade under a tree where I had initially planted it.
      My friend was so surprised that the plant she gave me was spreading so vigorously; I accused her of trying to give me the same headache that spiderwort gives her. Lately I have been seeing spiderwort for sale in perennial plant sections in some garden centers. I want to put up a buyer beware sign whenever I see it! I will feel the same wherever I happen to see Lily of the Valley for sale.

      1. Hi Connie – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and leaving such a fun comment. I’m always shocked too when I see some of these plants for sale. We have a few garden centers in the area that still sell plants that are listed on the state’s invasive list. Happy gardening, Joanna

    3. Previously read this article but never looked at the comments. Thanks for reposting the hits of 2021! I would like to add a couple comments. Gooseneck (white) does spread vigorously in some areas but not in others and the runners are on the top ov the soil and easy to pull new tender shoots to contain, adding a lovely mid summer mid height bloom to your garden. On the invasive add list I would put LIROPE the native one not the variegated. Runners are deep and a struggle to get rid of!

      1. Hi Ginny – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and contributing to the list of plants not to grow. Stop back soon and happy gardening, Joanna

  44. I have several of these plants and they do well for me, but I have dreadful clay soil. It tames the aggression

    I do want to point out the danger of Chameleon Plant,. It has gone from three tiny pots to invading the neighborhood. It spreads by seed, runners and just touching the ground ! Pulling it up you are overcome by the stench. It makes me gag and sneeze.


    1. Hi Kate – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. I believe someone else mentioned Chameleon Plant too. I’m not familiar with it so I had to look it up. Thanks for the warning! Happy gardening, Joanna

    2. Totally agree! I left the dug up area bare for two years to be able to go after new starts-it just stinks, literally and figuratively!

      1. Thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and taking the time to leave a comment. Sorry for your troubles with chameleon plant. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

  45. How did you get rid of Tansy (tanacetum vulgare? Don’t want to use roundup. When you go to dig it up it’s very woody and hard to tell it’s root systems from nearby aspen tree roots.

    Great article by the way and very appreciated.

    Thank you.

    1. I just dug it out. Start at the base of the plants and just do the best you can. You may have some little sprouts come back, but just stay on it. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

    2. My neighbor has Ivy in his yard that I struggle to keep out of my garden. I do not use Round Up. Is there anything I can do other than break my back every week pulling IVY from the roots????? (This is in my pollinator garden)

      1. Hi Peggy – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. I’m sorry you have to deal with your neighbor’s invasive ivy creeping into your yard. The only thing that I can think of would be to edge your gardens with some type of pound in edging that creates a barrier between your neighbor’s garden and yours. It would have to be high enough so that the ivy doesn’t creep over the top. Sorry I don’t have an exact solution to your problem, but perhaps this will give you an idea of something that might work. Maybe some of the other readers will weigh in. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

        1. A border of horticultural vinegar might work. Nothing will grow in that border.
          It might be worth a try. Also a border of cardboard or seven layers of newspaper over lapped layed down and then mulch over the top might keep the vine on the other side of the fence.

        2. I live in the Uk and Ivy is a particular hate of mine too. NOTHING keeps it out of my garden from a neighbouring field on one side and neighbours garden the other side. You should also be very careful when tackling it by hand. DO NOT TOUCH the sap. My daughter cut and pulled some back off her wall and has ended up covered in blisters/lesions and has had 4 kinds of skin cream from the doctor to try to get rid of the poison. She has had to go to a Dermatologist at the hospital and has been to.d that on no account should she ever touch the plant without gloves.

          1. Hi Kate – I’m sorry to hear about your woes with ivy. Thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and taking the time to leave a comment. Come back soon and happy gardening, Joanna

    3. Great article. I agree with Monique…I’m in Zone 9 in No CA and privet is my nemesis also! The seeds spread everywhere by the wind and birds and if I’m not CONSTANTLY pulling up seedlings they get too big to remove. And they get purple berries which the birds eat and make a mess everywhere. It’s easy to see how invasive it is by the number seen all over town. And if you have allergies the flowers in the spring are a real problem.
      The plant I wish I’d never accepted is water iris. Planted it in a creek next to our house. So pretty the first year and now we have to pay someone to dig it out very spring so it doesn’t clog the creek.

  46. I never planted this, so I guess I have the birds to thank and it’s not on invasive lists, but I have a double ruffled pink Columbine that appeared in one bed. I keep pulling it out and it keeps spreading. Now I have it in 4 beds in multiple colors and styles. It’s making me crazy! I have been pulling it up for years.

    I also hate hate hate Crown Vetch that is appearing in everything, I am amazed that people plant it on purpose.

    1. Hi Tracie – columbine spreads by seeds usually. And crown vetch, although pretty, is on many states’ invasive lists. Good luck getting rid of your pesky plants. Happy gardening, Joanna

    2. 2 little crown vetch plants so many years ago (at least 15) and I’m still battling it. It has spread into the fields behind me and comes up in other parts of my property. No one should be allowed to sell it!

      1. Hi Lyn – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. Thank you for adding your comment about Crown Vetch to plants not to grow in your garden. I’m sorry you’re having problems with it. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

  47. Yucca plants are AWFUL! My mom planted them in our yard when I was a kid. I didn’t give them much thought then. She got them for free from other people and we live in Illinois. I bought the home from my mom and they have been a nightmare. The leaves are sharp and huge and cut you, they only bloom for like one week, and you have to literally pull them out with a tractor. Actually we’ve done this about 3x and they’ve *still* returned. Last year we poured straight up stump killer into their spots after removing them with a tractor, then covering the spots with concrete pavers. So far, so good, but I’m not going to celebrate yet. They’re absolutely the worst. I do not condone poisoning the ground but seriously, I am not sure what else could’ve been done when they had been pulled out with tractors repeatedly. I told my mom from now on pay money for your plants. There is a reason they are given away.

    1. Hi Michelle – I’m so glad I haven’t had to deal with yucca plants! Honestly, I think they are ugly and always wonder why anyone would want them in their yard, but to each their own. Thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and good luck getting rid of the yucca. Happy gardening, Joanna

      1. Apparently if you leave even a small section of root they will reappear. And if you chop the root up, anywhere that root ends up a plant will appear. Pull it and burn it. I feel your pain. 😢

        1. Hi Angela – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and leaving a comment on 14 Plants Not to Grow in Your Garden. I agree that many of these bad plants will reproduce from small sections of roots. Ugh, so frustrating. Happy gardening, Joanna

      1. Hi Kathy – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. I have Sweet Autumn Clematis on a fence away from my gardens, but it grows into the near-by trees. I just keep cutting it down. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

  48. I’ve struggled with lamb’s ears because the bees really do love them but like you say they get straggly quickly. Another plant I won’t put in anymore is Columbine. They look beautiful for two weeks, then spend the rest of the summer looking unhappy. There’s one situation where snow on the mountain functions well – I used to have it between the house and a wide walkway. Contained like that, it looked great.

    1. Hi Barb – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. I just spent some time today digging out Lamb’s Ear. I can see where it’s even growing in the lawn. I’m all for planting for the bees, but I have lots and lots of other plants for them. Columbine is one that can be cut back to keep it looking tidy. Thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. Happy gardening, Joanna

    2. Yes, I have it on the least visited side of my house, and it’s perfect for over there. I just have to make sure it doesn’t go anywhere else!

    3. I have lambs ears in pots and will be transplanting some into the ground. They are not invasive to me and I have the Helen Von Stein which doesn’t flower, just stays nice with big leaves. It definitely isn’t high maintenance for me.

      1. Hi Diana – oh yes I’ve seen the lambs ear that you refer to. It’s definitely a way to add different texture to your garden. Thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and happy gardening, Joanna

  49. I’ve planted 10 of your 14 plants but really only had a problem with Bishop’s weed and obedient plant. And it took them quite a few years before they started to be invasive. Maybe it’s because I live in Canada and we usually have more snow cover.

    The worst one I’ve ever experienced was periwinkle or vinca. It was in my garden when I moved in and fifteen years later when I moved, I hadn’t totally obliterated it yet.

    Just found your blog through Pinterest. I like it.

    1. Hi Julie – I’m so glad you found Gingham Gardens. Many people mentioned vinca in the comments. I should add it to the list. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

      1. Hi Sue – Chinese Lanterns are one of those unique and cute plants, but you’re correct they will take over. I dig them out of a corner by my shed every year and every year they are back. I think the roots go under the concrete slab for the shed. Yikes! Thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens! Come back soon. Happy gardening, Joanna

      2. We moved into a place last fall that had a couple of these. Now they take up almost 1/2 the bed. The other half is lily of the valley. I think I’m going to be doing a lot of digging for the next couple of years.

        1. Hi Jane – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. I feel your pain. I am still digging out lily of the valley and chinese lanterns. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

  50. I’m an old gardener, and I agree with most of your list. In fact I’ve planted 12 of the 14! I do love the lily of the valley where ever it grows.
    I planted nodding onion one year. What a delightful flower. It smelled just like onion, and I loved it. Year two: wow I’ve got lots more! Year three, gosh this is too much. Yanked it all up. Year 3> Look! It’s back. Started digging out the endless roots
    Another problem was trumpeter vine. Five years or so.
    But it’s all part of the game. I can’t wait to get out and fight again. Love your wisdom.

    1. Hello Sue – Thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. I love your comment and you are correct, “it’s all part of the game.” I’m still dealing with crappy perennials I either inherited from the previous homeowners, or ones I planted myself. The most recent is Siberian Squill and now it’s on many invasive lists. Will I ever learn? Happy gardening, Joanna

      1. Thanks for your article. I live on a big lake, and I do not have any luck with my plants. I only buy invasive or aggressive spreaders.

        My rocky soil was turning my landscaping dreams ( one acre )of green to grave. I am studying new ways to fix my ground.

        I am laughing because Snow-on-the-Mountain does not do well in my garden. I tried mint, lemon balm, catnip, etc. Lily-of-the-Valley does not thrive in my garden.

        I hope your article is going to help me next year.

        1. Hello Freddy – I love your comment so much on 14 plants not to grow in your garden. I guess you make a great case for why you would want these plants in your gardens. Lol! Why not give the common ditch lily a try. I’m sure you can find them free somewhere. Thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens! Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

    2. Oh yes! My house came with trumpet vines and they spread! I trim them and they come right back. The hummingbirds sure like them though. Oh and their vines will stick! To wherever they climb up like on houses like underneath the edges of the roof. I have the orange colored. Have to be careful where you plant them because they definitely spread but doing the hard work of keeping them maintained, the hummingbirds will love you!

      1. I was just scrolling down to comment on trumpet vines. Don’t plant it! I had them by our pool and it nearly tore the fence down! Took a lot of digging and aggravation to get rid of them.

        1. Hi Lisa – thank you for stopping by Gingham Gardens. Yes, trumpet vine is awful. I have it shooting up in several places in my gardens in places where I can’t dig it out. Several others have mentioned trumpet vine. Happy gardening, Joanna

        2. I planted Trumpet Vine that a neighbor gave me on our fence when we moved in. It was beautiful the first couple of years and then the vine tore into our fence and we had to get a new one. I couldn’t believe that it was strong enough to widen and break the boards. It took me at least three years to get rid of it. I’m loving your 14 plants not to plant article! Thank you.

          1. Hi Susan – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. I have been working to get rid of trumpet vine in my yard for several years. I have it popping up in the middle of other plants which is so aggravating. I’m glad you finally got rid of yours. Stop by again soon. Happy gardening, Joanna

  51. This was a great read. I have experienced fern problems too. Thank you for posting this list and it helps where to plant if I really want them somewhere!

    1. Hello Anita – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and taking the time to leave a comment on 14 Plants Not to Grow In Your Garden. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Happy gardening, Joanna

  52. I have had a lot of trouble with elephant ears, not sure the technical name. I live in zone 8, there are a lot of flowers that are very beautiful and love to take over. I moved into a place that had Chinese Holley, I have had the worse time trying to kill them. Any suggestions? We have small children and their sharp points hurt.

  53. Avoid at all costs Morning Glories. The flowers are gorgeous and they bloom nearly all year but once planted, you will never get rid of them; enjoy them in someone else’s garden.

    I planted two vines to grow up a patio overhang about twenty years ago, against the advice of my landscaper. The vines became dense, covered with beautiful blue flowers and made a lovely home for the roof rats that are prevalent in our area. I tore them out once vector control had confirmed there were rats living in them but after almost 15 years, I am still frequently tearing out runners. Morning Glories will strangle anything and everything in their path. Forever. Beware!

    1. Unfortunately, Raenele, you are correct. In fact, in some gardening zones, morning glories are on the invasive list. They aren’t too bad here in my zone 4 garden, but I don’t plant them anymore because of the reseed. Thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. Happy gardening, Joanna

    2. I concur!!! I love Morning Glories in someone else’s garden…… I am zone 9a. They put a strangel hold on everything.
      We bought a antique home & inherited a completely overgrown garden. First year I did not know I had “Jewel of Opar” after digging up 80 year old Boxwoods… I began seeing J of O EVERYWHERE!!! It is pretty but invasive….. it can be eaten also. Cherry Laurels are a huge No as the roots shoot up runners EVERWHERE!! And lastly Dwarf Katie Ruella………No!!! Don’t do it!!!!!

      1. So happy to see some Zone 9 contributions to the Plants Not To Grow In Your Gardens list! Thanks so much for stopping by Gingham Gardens. Happy gardening, Joanna

    3. I have morning glories in m yard I’ve planted and it crawls up my fences and will up trees and bushes or whatever and redress readily each year but it doesn’t take over my yard. I live in zone 8b. One year, I’m not sure why but I planted in my garden and it grew up the tree I have in the middle and all over the fences in my garden and all over everything else lol. But it doesn’t grow in there anymore. Instead I plant like marigolds and other flowers. Morning glories are pretty and I have other colors I bought to plant.

    4. I did not plant, but it came up in a raised bed. I finally give up and removed all the soil and replaced it. It’s a nightmare. I covered the soil for 2 years with a dark tarp and still couldn’t kill it.

      1. Hi Tracie – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. Sorry for your troubles with morning glories. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

        1. Hi Carole – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and taking the time to let us know what worked for you to get rid of morning glories. While I wouldn’t recommend using salt and vinegar in your garden on a regular basis, because it can mess up the ph of your soil, I think sometimes we have to do what works for us. Happy gardening, Joanna

  54. A “friend” gave me a tiny amount of purple dragon spotted dead nettle to plant in ONE bed at my new home. But for great effort to keep it at bay, it would, after only a few short years, have completely overtaken 4 entire beds and choked out every other plant and shrub in them. I just keep pulling and pulling. Why oh why would any friend knowingly share such a devastatingly invasive plant???

    1. I can sympathize! Although I have lamium in my shade gardens and I don’t find it to be invasive at all. It just goes to show you that what can be aggressive or invasive in one gardening zone, can work fine in another. Or even what can be aggressive or invasive in one particular garden, can be fine in other garden soil. Thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and sharing your experience. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

  55. Star of Bethlehem! Don’t let the Heavenly name fool you. It’s a beast! It was in my yard when we bought the house and there is no getting rid of it and it spreads. It’s a tiny bulb flower and much like, or worse than Lily of the Valley, but with no breath taking scent. The flower will survive a really looooong time, even when pulled and just left laying. It has spread into my landscape. I dislike it so much, that I won’t even give it away (well, maybe to someone that I don’t care for) I guess if you want something that looks like thick, lush grass in early spring, this is the answer, but when it dies back it’s all yellowed. I don’t know if this stuff is good in pots, but be sure to cut back the spent flowers before seeds form or there will be regrets.
    I had the regular yellow Yarrow and that stuff was bad! The plants got blown down and I missed trimming back some old blooms and that was all she wrote!! Ostrich ferns and even the Painted ferns are spreaders. The spores just need a bare landing spot to latch on to.

    I don’t mind the Lily of the Valley mass that I have in a small wooded area. I can’t grow anything else there, except daffodils and Trillium, and when LOTV is in full scented bloom…amazing! They ARE trying to spread into the path now and those get sprayed with weed killer. They’re not an impressive flower, for sure, if you’re going for a landscaping display. Grape Hyacinth is much the same, IMO.

    1. I had to look up Star of Bethlehem. It is consider invasive in several states. I’m glad I don’t have to contend with it. Thank you for the heads up and thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. Happy gardening, Joanna

    1. Some of the newer varieties of Yarrow aren’t aggressive at all. Also if Yarrow gets out of hand in your flower beds, it’s fairly easy to weed out. Happy gardening, Joanna

    2. I was going to add yarrow too! I planted it 2 years ago and it has taken over my flower bed and lawn. This year I spent at least a day digging them out of the flower bed and the tangle of roots the create is unbelievable! They were choking out all the other flowers, finally other things are growing now!

      Don’t buy yarrow!

      1. Hi Aileen – other have mentioned yarrow as being an invasive pain too. The newer hybrids of yarrow are not nearly as aggressive as the old variety. I have some newer ones in my gardens that I wish would grow a little faster. Happy gardening, Joanna

  56. What about the oriental and asiatic lillies? Are they invasive and are they as poisonous to cats as I’ve read they are?

    1. Hi Jacque – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. Oriental and Asiatic lilies are grown by bulbs and they multiple at a fairly slow rate, but they are definitely not invasive. Yes, they are poisonous to cats. You might find this post about Lilies interesting.

      1. Thank you very much for your reply. I have three cats that spend most of their time outside so I’ll have to pass on the lillies. Plenty of other beautiful flowers to plant instead fortunately!

  57. Alium Ursilum …Wild Garlic awful invasive plant. Great to make garlic butter and in salads but very aggressive

    1. I’ve had bad experiences with yarrow and oregano.The yarrow was so prolific and dropped seeds wherever the flowers dried. The oregano devoured everything in the herb garden. Another one with underground runners is mint. I currently have it contained between the driveway and the house. I will never plant it in a mixed bed again.

      1. Hi Patty – many have commented on mint. I find that the old weedy varieties of yarrow are fairly easy to yank out. Some of the newer varieties are very well behaved and bloom for most of the summer. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

    2. If you’re referring to what I bought as Garlic Chives…😬😬😬. The bees love it in the fall, but beware to all….the seed heads have jillion’s of seeds! It comes up everywhere! I just about get it eradicated one place and it shows up somewhere else!!! BEWARE! I live in Central Mo. and I really don’t have problems with Lily of the Valley or Snow on the Mountain. I have a LARGE shade area under a lot of Oak Trees, very hard to establish anything! I do have Periwinkle…it keep a lot of the unwanted stuff down and if it go’s where it’s not suppose to…lawn mower! When we bought our house 17 years ago, we inherited Virginia Creeper! Nightmare, to say the least! I couldn’t believe it when I saw they were selling it at a Lowe’s! I’m not one to use Roundup, so I sometimes feel like I’m fighting a losing battle.

      1. Hi Pat – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and weighing in on the 14 Plants Not to Grow in Your Garden article. I too have Virginia Creeper that was here when we moved in. It’s away from my other gardens and grows along a fence so I just leave it for the Japanese Beetles. Lol! Happy gardening, Joanna

  58. ThisList just confirms I am a shitty gardener. I have had many of those plants and they have dies on me. Haha, even the die hard s don’t stand a chance in my garden.

    1. Lol, Sandra. No one is a bad gardener! All it takes is some determination and willingness to learn. You just keep at it and every year you’ll get better and have fun with it. Happy gardening, Joanna

    1. Hi Jennifer – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. Sorry to hear about your problems with chameleon. Others have commented about how it’s taking over their gardens. Stop back soon! Happy gardening, Joanna

      1. I have to include Liriope to your list. I had this at my previous home which was there when I arrived. It spread from one end of the yard to the other. Could not get rid of it. Now I moved to another state, North Carolina, and it is here and 100 times more of it. All flower beds are full and there r even containers full of Liriope. What did I do to deserve this curse again? Any real solution 4 getting rid of it permanently? I’ve even dug it all up and it still persists. Thanks in advance.

        1. I would love to be able to grow liriope! Just goes to show you what is a plant nuisance in one area, won’t even grow in others. Happy gardening, Joanna

          1. I grew Liriope in pots last year. I am in zone 5, it did very well, way past frost, so I’m anxious to see if it will thrive this spring.

        2. I agree with the liriope. It was in my garden when we bought the house.. Dug it out on year 2. Still finding new sprouts every spring. We’ve been in the house for 10 years. It is not worth it.

          1. Hi Wendy – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and adding your comment about lirope to the list of invasive and aggressive plants list. Happy gardening, Joanna

        3. I also inherited some liriope under a tree planted by the previous owners. I understand that some species are less invasive but I keep yanking it out & try to dig up the runners but they are really tough to pull out.

          1. Hi Claire – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. After hearing your story and others about lirope, I’m glad I haven’t had to deal with this one. Stop back soon! Happy gardening, Joanna

  59. Jupiters Beard aka Red Valerian
    Had this in my garden in Utah. Took two years of digging to get rid of it. It is on the invasive list.

    1. Hi Becky, thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. Jupiters Beard is on of those gorgeous plants where looks can be deceiving. Although it’s on many state’s invasive lists, gardeners will still share it just because it’s beautiful. Happy gardening, Joanna

      1. I am on the look out for Jupiters Beard to plant on the roadside opp my house. Could the wind spread the seeds into my gardens. Dont want it in my borders and beds but I love it growing wild

        1. Hi Mary, thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. Jupiters Beard is not considered invasive, but can be considered aggressive. It’s always possible that the seeds could spread to your garden, but I think the chances are low. It is a beautiful plant. I believe High Country Gardens, a reputable online nursery has it available. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

  60. You should retitle the post “Lazy, uninformed gardeners should not plant these, or better yet not garden at all.”

    You probably use copious amounts of pesticides and clearly have zero understanding of botany.
    I can infer you probably also think your garden is just for you, and the ecosystem in which it exists.

    1. Wow, what a snarky comment and I thought gardeners were happy people. I think you must have skimmed the post and not really read it. Many of the plants listed are considered invasives and they are not good for our ecosystem because they crowd out beneficial native plants. And, no I do not use pesticides. I’m sorry you’ve having a bad day, or a bad life. Please spend some time in your garden today and perhaps it will cheer you up. Be happy, Joanna

      1. Don’t plant Goosenecks (I don’t know the proper name). Friend gave me a little starter and it tripled in area in just one year. Another friend told me that some states do not allow it to be sold. They are pretty when they bloom. Anyone else had goosenecks?

        1. Hi Ann, thanks for your comment on Gingham Gardens – 14 Plants Not to Grow in Your Garden. Yes, I agree gooseneck loosestrife (a/k/a Lysimachia clethroides) is a crazy spreader and the root system is insane. It is actually listed in some areas as invasive. Good luck getting rid of it. Happy gardening, Joanna

          1. Thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. There really is no way to control gooseneck loosestrife. They spread by underground rhizomes. Unfortunately the only way to get rid of them is to dig them up. Good luck and happy gardening.

        2. UGH!!! It took me three years of diligence to finally rid my garden of these beautiful monsters.

          1. Hi Mollie – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. I’m happy you were finally able to eradicate loosestrife from your gardens. Enjoy your gardens this spring, Joanna

        3. Yes, I have been at war with Gooseneck loosestrife in my back bed . After a few years, it was one big mass. Beware of what people willingly give you free!
          OK, I think I finally won one battle: I have not seen any Egyptian onions come up this year… finally! Cursed my friend since she “shared” them 10 yrs ago. ( Still working on the garlic chives)
          One more: Borage. Pretty the first couple of years but they became prolific… It is now growing but controlled in my woods!

          1. Hi Linda – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and taking the time to add your experience to 14 Plants Not to Grow in Your Garden. Please visit the gardens again soon. Happy gardening, Joanna

        4. I inherited creeping bellflower when I bought a home 4 years ago. It has come under the fence and under a concrete swale from my backyard neighbours garden. Every year I tell them they have this noxious weed which is illegal where I live. I don’t want to cause a rift but they ignore my begging. I have it all through my yard and no matter of digging, pulling or mowing will touch this evil plant. I have not touched chemicals yet. I have a dog and even though they say it’s safe after it’s dry, I don’t believe it.
          Please tell me I’m wrong. I hate my backyard with all of the weeds 😩

          1. Hi Lesley – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. Creeping bellflower is nearly impossible to eradicate completely. You just have to keep at it and do what you can. I have really great neighbors that I don’t want to alienate too, but I’m dealing with buckthorn in my gardens that comes from their yard. It’s very frustrating, but again you just have to do what you can. As far as using roundup goes, that would only kill what’s in your yard. If the neighbors don’t do anything, you will constantly get seeds from their dying blooms. Just keep digging, pulling and mowing. Good luck. I hope you can find some joy in your backyard. Joanna

        5. Trying to rid your garden of Gooseneck Loosestrife is a nightmare! Not only did it take over my garden but it also invaded my lawn. I had to dig deeply to get up all the rhizomes. Not an easy task. Avoid this pretty perennial at all costs!

          1. Hi Connie – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. Several others have commented on gooseneck loosestrife too. Good luck and Happy gardening, Joanna

      2. Good response ! I love your thoughts on invasive plants and have dug up a few you discussed!!! Don’t pay attention to snarky remarks!
        Happy gardening😉

        1. Ditto Mary Ann’s comment! I loved the article and also appreciated the point that each area is different. My mom grew so many of the ones on your list. They were gorgeous and well behaved. Bach then resources weren’t easily available to reference. She did take take county extension classes and read what she could. Her garden was beautiful!

          P.S. I am so grateful to find your blog…so much good info and so real!!!

      3. Sounds like that person has never taken botany. Please keep posting, you are truly helpful to a lot of people that enjoy gardening and don’t want the hustle of invasive or aggressive plants.

        1. Hi Suzzy – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. I’m glad you enjoyed the post – 14 Plants Not to Grow in Your Gardens. Come back soon and happy gardening, Joanna

      4. Wow, now we can’t even garden without condemnation and indignation. I do not even want to imagine what the rest of their life is like if attacking gardeners for growing flowers disturbs them so much. It’s great to woke I guess. Loved the reply!

      5. Many of the plants you call “invasive” in this post are actually native plants. The commenter above was rude, but this post is irresponsible. There are accepted definitions for what is invasive (chokes out native plants and creates monocultures) and what is aggressive (native but will easily spread where you don’t want it to).

        In the future, please do more research before spreading such misinformation.

        1. Hi Cindy – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and taking the time to leave a comment. I could have just deleted your comment, but I enjoy reading other gardeners opinions, even if they don’t match mine. While I respect your opinion and I appreciate your definitions of invasive and native, that’s really not the point of the post. Please reread the beginning of the post. I want new gardeners, as well as seasoned gardeners to understand that there are many, many choices and varieties of perennials, and you just don’t have to include plants that you will later regret planting, whether or not they are native or non-natives. I will agree to disagree on your comments about being “irresponsible” and “spreading such misinformation.” There are other articles on the website about native plants and attracting pollinators to your gardens, perhaps you would have enjoyed those articles more than this one. Happy gardening, Joanna

    2. Did your mother ever teach you that if you can’t say anything nice not to say anything at all? A lot of people enjoy her posts., and truly do not enjoy your type of comments!

      1. Thank you for coming to my defense. When the comment was initially made, I debated deleting it, but everyone has a right to speak their peace. Now, I just get a chuckle out of it. Thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. Happy gardening, Joanna

    3. Reply to Yeah: not a nice comment. I totally enjoyed reading her article on invasive plants.

    4. So sorry for ur attitude. Unfortunately all of us aren’t as informed as u.
      We’re still learning.
      I liked the statement , “if u haven’t failed, u aren’t living”. I’m still living .

  61. My nemesis is definitely the yucca plant. I spent 10 yrs trying to irradiate this plant from my gardens. The previous owners of my house had planted it. Even the tiniest microscopic piece left unnoticed in the dirt will shoot back up. Not to mention it is awful trying to garden around it because of it’s spiky leaves.
    Another plant is uamamis (I’m not sure of the spelling) it has such a heavy root system & intertwines with other plants.

    1. Hi Emily – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. I don’t really get why anyone would plant yucca, unless they live in the tropics or the desert. Ugh, 10 years, that’s awful. I’ve heard from others that certain varieties of euonymus are really bad. I actually saw some at a local nursery a few weeks ago and thought is was gorgeous, but wasn’t familiar with that particular variety. I pulled out my phone and did a quick search and sure enough it’s very aggressive. I passed on it. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

      1. I have drumstick slum that just multiples n I HATE, oops, Don’t like it At All. Been digging n digging those little bulbs out for YEARS!! YEARS

    2. Agreed 100%. We live in my childhood home in central Illinois, and my mom had a “southwest phase” when I was growing up. She put yuccas in our yard when I was a kid, and my husband and I have been fighting them for 8 years. We finally pulled the ones by our house out with a tractor, then unfortunately, had poisoned the ground just right where they were, then placed concrete pavers over the site. This was 2 years ago. The grass in the area has since come back but I don’t dare remove the pavers lest they start coming back. I think I’ll wait another 3 years and then maybe risk it. They are a hazard to small children as well because the ends of their leaves are needle like and can cause a rash. Very painful to be stuck by them! I told my mom they belong in the desert, not central Illinois!!!!

      1. Hi Tiffany – I agree with your assessment of yuccas. I guess they are okay in the dessert, but not in a midwest landscape. There are so many other beautiful perennials we can choose. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

  62. I cannot get rid of bishop’s weed. It started out about 1/3 of the yard; it is now about 2/3 of the yard. It was here when we moved in. I can’t even get a lawn professional to deal with it.

    1. I feel your pain, Nancy. I had it in my last garden and it took years of digging and roundup. I really do not advocate using roundup if there’s any other way, but in this case, I was able to use the foam setting and just spray the little starts that kept popping up. Good luck!

      1. Also dealing with preplanted bishops weed…grr… A local nursery said trying Weed Free Zone (the kind that kills the soil fir a year or two). If it doesn’t greatly reduce after 3 times using the Weed Free Zone, just have to dig FOREVER!

        1. Oh Linda – I’m so sorry you’re dealing with that stuff. I agree it’s awful. We moved away from the home where I had it really bad and I worked and worked to get rid of the stuff. I’ll bet if I were to go back to that home, I would see that it had popped back up. Thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. Come back soon! Happy gardening, Joanna

          1. I also inherited bishops weed AKA gout weed in my garden when I bought my house. I got rid of it in 2 years digging up and methodically sifting through the pile to get every last bit of tap root that I could find. I still look for shoots every spring but haven’t seen any in 2 yrs. pulling the young new shoots is key as it deprives the plant of its ability to make chlorophyll. The remaining bits of root were starved out in the following two seasons using this method. It is actually a lazy plant that will find the path of least resistance to grow, so I would find it pushing up right through the middle of other established varieties of plant. Those were the bits I couldn’t remove without destroying everything in the bed, so pinching their new leaves did the trick. The only problem with this method is you have to be able to spend hours at a time sifting through dirt. ; )

          2. Hi Jo-Anne – that’s exactly how I got rid of my invasion of gout weed at our last home. It was tedious work, but you have to keep at it. Thanks for weighing in. Happy gardening, Joanna

    2. Morning Glory!! For the life of me I do not know what I was thinking when I planted my morning glory. I really do love he flowers but those vines are everywhere! They wrap themselves around every single other plant, shrub and even water fountain I have in my yard. Never again!

      1. Hi Catherine, I do feel your pain with morning glories. Others have commented on this plant taking over their gardens too. In some states is on the invasive list. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

  63. Wow, not sure I can agree with any of these. Crocosmia are fabulous for bees and hummingbirds… Don’t get me started on hostas and ferns.

    1. I’m with you, Lili, but I’m thinking that Zone has so much to do with it. I’m in 8A, and ditch lilies are very easy to control, as are crocosmia, and lambs ears, and they are all reliable and beautiful, IYAM. What I wish I had never seen is Creeping Jenny. Any little leftover bit starts up all over again. It’s now taken up a 10’x10′ patch of lawn. Ugh.

      1. Hi Janet – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and weighing in on 14 Plants Not to Grow in Your Garden. I agree that zone has a lot to do with whether or not a plant is invasive or aggressive. Creeping Jenny will grow crazy if you allow it too. I’ve even had it jump from containers and start growing in the ground. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

  64. Cupid’s Dart…such a pretty plant! But….this is the second year (5b) and it’s spreading like crazy. I put it where it could spread a little but the other problem is that it forms dense clusters of tall flowers that are pretty but only open for a few hours in the early morning so the rest of the time they appear as small whitish buds, not very attractive.
    I saw a picture in your article that looked like a white sage? I didn’t see it on the list, but I put something that looks like it in last year. It’s spreading somewhat but looks a little too shaggy and randomly popping up. Maybe I should get rid of it while I can?
    Thanks for this awesome article, you saved me from some potential exhausting mistakes!

    1. Hi Anastasia – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. I had to look up Cupid’s Dart and you’re right it’s really pretty. I’ve learned the hard way to always take a few minutes to do a little research before I add a plant to my garden that I’m unfamiliar with. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

      1. Hi Charnelle – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and taking the time to leave the tip about vinca vine. Several others have mentioned it in comments too. Happy gardening, Joanna

        1. My daughter has it in her flowerbed and she loves it it’s taken over and she keeps trailing it to wrap around stuff. Whew I don’t want it in my beds no no

          1. I too have excessive vinca vine growing that I no longer want.. trying to rid myself of it this year

          2. Hi Teresa – many have mentioned their dislike for vinca vine. Good luck getting rid of it. Thank you for stopping by Gingham Gardens. Happy gardening, Joanna


    I moved into a new house and one of my neighbors had these beautiful vines that put off these ghostly white flowers in the evening. They very kindly gave me a huge mass of them, and I was so excited that they took over my front garden so quickly. Until I caught a thorn one evening while pruning them. The spot whelped up into an angry, red (and very painful) scratch on my arm. So I set out to remove every last one of them (I wanted to plant other things in my garden anyways). I removed them all, but soon enough they started popping back up!!! I had ripped every last one of those things and yet they still found their way through the mulch I put down.

    After several years of ripping, pulling, and the occasional thorning, I finally (I thought) had removed them all. Until this year when I started to break the soil up. And they started popping back up!!!! 5 years later!!

    1. Hi Rebekah, that sounds like a nightmare! I’ve never had moon flowers reseed like that, but I sure have morning glories popping up everywhere. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

    2. I wonder if you have a different variety of moon flower. I have never seen or felt any thorns on mine. 1 vine is aggressive, but it trailed it along a fence, same with morning glory’s. I’ve never had any really come back the next year either, and I live In Florida.

      1. Thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and adding your comment to plants not to grow in your garden. You make a very good point. I have also not found moon flower to be overly aggressive. Happy gardening, Joanna

  66. I agree whole heartedly with you list of aggressive/invasive plants. I would like to add Russian Sage!
    Russian sage is at the top of my “Don’t Plant” list; although it’s quite lovely and the bees love it ,
    This plant will spread into every nook and cranny it can find its way into. The invader pops up in the
    middle of other shrubs, out the smallest cracks in the wall rock wall, everywhere!

    1. Hi Anne – Oh no, I have Russian Sage in two different places in my gardens. It’s only a few years old and so far so good, I will be sure to cut it back and watch it closely. Thanks for the warning and thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. Happy gardening, Joanna

      1. Anne is 100% right!! Keep an eye on this plant… Russian sage was planted for us (it was a new home and the landscaping was not our choice). The first few years were fine, but then it started to get out of control. I didn’t even know what it was at first, I just started calling it “devil plant”. It shot up tons of new growth away from its main trunk, and of course they put this thing in an area of my side flowerbed about 4 feet of wide and 2 feet deep… meaning I was finding it popping up in the yard after just a few years. Luckily (I guess) it had our basement on one side and an egress window well on the other, giving it only 2 side to grow roots and shoots. The thing got top heavy quickly, meaning it fell into our side yard constantly. It kind of always looked too messy for a side yard. After about 6 years I had had enough and decided to dig it up. A neighbor saw me trying to eradicate the big, sprawling and deep root system and actually asked in all seriousness, “are you putting in a door to your basement?”. Nope, just spending a few hours digging up my devil plant! 😂

        1. Oh wow, Emily, what a nightmare! I have Russian Sage in two of my gardens and I will definitely do some research and see if the varieties I have are aggressive. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

      2. I wonder if Anne Clayton is confused about what Russian Sage is: I’ve had it in Ohio and Texas gardens, and while it is a good, hardy plant, it certainly isn’t invasive, not by a long shot. I’d be happy to take her excess! But then, I would take any blue flower except floss flower. I’ve tried to dig it out from a very modest begining for some 5 or 6 years, and it still comes up and overuns all the other plants. I tried to warn somebody about it at a plant sale once and told her I’d be glad to give her all the starts she ever could want, but she insisted she didn’t care if it spread because she was putting it in a wild area at the back of her yard as a filler. I couldn’t persuade her that even the bermuda grass in her lawn was at risk. I guess we all have our own lessons to learn! Happy gardening to you!

        1. Hi Cassie – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and taking the time to leave such a helpful comment. I too have a few varieties of Russian Sage in my gardens and it is very well behaved. I haven’t experienced floss flower, but I think some other commented on its invasiveness. Happy gardening, Joanna

      3. My Russian sage is also out of control! Beautiful plant the first couple of years and then the runners started! It has taken over the entire bed despite pulling and pulling!

        1. I have a couple of Russian sage plants, Blue Jean Baby and Little Spire, and neither one of them are aggressive. In fact, I’d say they are rather slow growers. I will take your advice and keep a close watch on them. Thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and taking time to leave a comment. Happy gardening, Joanna

  67. I’ve handled lots of invasive plants: mint, gout weed, ribbon grass, . But the absolute worst is wintercreeper. Several years ago someone gave me five plants and I thought it would be great. 3years ago 1/3 of you 1/2 acre yard was covered thickly with this horrible plant! We are in 5b. We had some workers come in and cut out as much as they could. We built a deck over one area and it eventually died. Another area we have covered with black plastic for 2 years and it is just now being manageable. We still have a long way to go.
    My mother have me starts of vinca minor and it is beautiful and well behaved, blooms beautifully in the spring. If anyone tries to give you wintercreeper, turn and run the other way!

    1. Hi Mary Ann – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. I am not familiar with wintercreeper, so I had to look it up. It’s a really pretty plant and I can see why you’d take it. Just goes to show that everyone has to take the time to do some research of their own to see if a plant is invasive or aggressive. Happy gardening, Joanna

  68. I didn’t read all the comments,but did anyone talk about forget-me-nots? I know they are supposed to be an annual, but I can’t get rid of the stupid things. They come back year after year.

    1. Hi Doris – yes, forget-me-nots can become a pain to get rid of. I think it largely depends on where you live and why kind of soil you have as to their aggressiveness and ability to reseed. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

    2. Yes! I loved them until they decided to start growing EVERYWHERE in my front beds! I have been trying to eradicate them for years now and just pulled a baby sprout out of my BACK yard! UGH! They don’t let you forget them!!!

  69. Spiderwort plant is my nemesis! I planted a few near my pool and they have taken over.
    They flower pretty early summer, close up in the afternoon and by end of July they look horrible. 10 years later and still haven’t been able to get rid of them. Thank you for this “heads up” article!

    1. Hi Ann, although I didn’t include it, I agree that spiderwort is a pain to get rid of and that it looks awful by the end of July. There are just so many more beautiful perennials that are much more deserving. Happy gardening, Joanna

  70. I live in the U.K and my dogs have killed the periwinkle by deciding it a great plant to pee on. The leaves have gone brown and dropped off and no sign of new shoots.

    1. Hi Anne – I’ll bet your periwinkle shows up again next spring. I think some of those that have regretted planting periwinkle will take your advice and have their dogs pee on it. Lol! Happy gardening, Joanna

  71. I live in zone 5 and have problems withe the orange ditch daylily or as I call it a corn Lily. I had a huge flower bed and put some of the double ones in it. I dismantled that bed and just put 3 small beds around the porch of my house. But none of the Kwansas – the official name of the double orange. But every year they keep popping up! Other plants I’ve had trouble with in the past were Russian Sage, Old fashion honeysuckle, Lily of the valley and chameleon plants. The secret to the columbine is to cut it back as soon as it is done blooming. The old fashioned columbine is the worse. I finally just dug mine up. Oh, Star of Bethlehem, it is a real stinker. It has bulbs and if you dig it and don’t get every little bulblet or you leave several, it spreads!

    1. RussiaSage is tge worst! I love the lily of yhe valley, but probably because I brought it from my grandmother’s house and I planted it on the shady side of my house where i wasn’t planting anything else.n

      1. Another vote for Russian Sage. Thanks, Heather for stopping by Gingham Gardens and taking the time to leave a comment. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

    2. Joanna, I loved your reply to oh yeah. I too am learning my way around the garden. It is so therapeutic for me to learn my way! Yes perhaps she should talk to her plants more often! I have never heard a gardener be so angry condescending and mad at the world. Wishing us all peace and a happy life! Ps. Perhaps she’s so angry because even her plants won’t put up with her attitude! !

      1. Ha ha, I just hope I cheered him or her up. There’s just no point in being cranky when it comes to gardening. Thanks for stopping by. Come back soon and happy gardening, Joanna

    1. Oh no, Deb, sorry you’re having problems with Chinese Elm. I have the same problem with Norway maple trees and ash trees. I’m so tired of pulling seedlings. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

      1. What can you do with wisteria that has never been pruned or trimmed. Came with the house…they have covered a long fence and are all the way to the tops of several pine trees?. When they are in bloom they are georgious and smell wonderful,,

        1. Hi Terri – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. I don’t have any personal experience with wisteria, but I’ve heard to tame it is a slow process. Basically you start by cutting it back a little each year until you get it where you want it and then each year it must be maintained. Sorry, I’m not more help. You may want to do some research to get a better answer and specifics. Happy gardening, Joanna

  72. When we moved in to our house 20 + years ago we inherited wild violets in our front garden. It has been a neverending battle to remove it. The root system has killed every other plant and bulb we have tried to add to the flower bed and it is now taking over our front lawn. UGH.
    And then there was the sweet woodruff in the back garden…. I give up.

    1. Hi Kim, thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. Ugh, I feel your pain with the wild violets. I’m desperately trying to get rid of wild violets. They are everywhere and I just keeps pulling and digging. Good luck! Joanna

        1. Oh no, Mary, I’m dealing with wild violets too and I agree they are awful. I spent hours and hours in the spring digging them out of a new garden area and now I have lots popping up all over again. Good luck to us! Happy gardening, Joanna

  73. Houttuynia cordata, also known as CHAMELEON PLANT is one of my worst enemies. I have spent countless hours digging up the roots and they just keep on coming back. I will have to dig up the area again this year, I am not giving up!

    1. Hi Susan – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. I had to chuckle when I read your comment, “I’m not giving up!” I love your tenacity to take back your garden space. Good luck and happy gardening! Joanna

      1. I finally got rid of chameleon plant by digging out the plants I wanted & smothering everything else with cardboard for a summer. Be careful as you replant as occasionally there are snippets in the roots to remove from your good plants.

        1. Hi Sara, thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. I’ve had to do the same thing you have. Great tips about watching for pieces of roots. Happy gardening, Joanna

    2. This plant became my gardening nightmare! After 12 years of trying to tame it then, then kill it, I finally had to pay a landscaper to dig it out and haul it away. It choked out some of my favorite perennials and it smells awful, too! Occasionally a sprig will rear its ugly head, but I keep a close eye on the affected garden and dig it out immediately. Nasty devil plant!

      1. Hi Angela – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and telling us your experience with chameleon plant. We’ll add it to our every growing list of plants not to grow in your garden. Happy gardening, Joanna

  74. Trumpet vine I received from my neighbor was one of my biggest gardening mistakes. It looks magnificent in full bloom and hummingbirds and Baltimore Orioles will love it. Every day you will be cleaning up loads of spent blooms which randomly fall everywhere. . These attract ants and our vine was planted on a fence bordering our patio so we have ants biting your bare feet in the summer. It is an aggressive spreader sending out underground shoots so it will pop up all over your lawn like little aliens. It is now in my neighbors yard . Because of the underground trailers it is virtually impossible to eradicate. I live in zone 4.

    1. Hi Vicki, thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. So many people have commented on how bad trumpet vine is. I have it shooting up all over my 1/2 acre yard and it just never dies. I swear the roots must grow 10 feet down. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

      1. Yes, TRUMPET VINE. 20 years after I bought my house, trumpet vine resprouts every single year. And that root is so tough. It will bypass sidewalks and grow way beyond it. Now, my neighbor has trumpet vine shoots, too.
        Another is LEMON MINT or LEMON BALM. Tough root and takes over everything. Grown in places not even near the original plant. Not even tasty as a tea, just smells nice when you crush the leaves in your hand.

        1. Hi Joanne – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and taking the time to leave a comment. I agree with your assessment of trumpet vine! Several others have mentioned lemon mint (and other mints) and lemon balm. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

    2. I spent years digging up Trumpet vine in zone 6. I sold the house but I’ll bet it will come back!! Never again in my yard.

      1. Hi Nancy, there are many comments about how invasive trumpet vine is. I have shoots of it coming up everywhere and when I think I’ve dug them all, next summer they are right back. Happy gardening, Joanna

  75. Calling daylilies “ditch lilies” I horrible. They are native non hybrid wildflower. They only need to be thinned like any flower. They do not spread by runners or over seeding. Nor are the invasive or hard to get rid of. They will not regrow from tiny bits of roots, if you dig them up, they are gone.

    1. Hi Jean – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and taking the time to leave a comment. Hemerocallis fulva are often referred to as “ditch lilies.” They most definitely are not a “native non hybrid wildflower” in North American. They are native to Asia. Here is a really good article by North Carolina State University, if you’d like to learn more about hemerocallis fulva and their invasiveness. As for having them in our gardens, we’ll just agree to disagree. Happy gardening, Joanna

    2. Several years ago, a friend gave me lily of the valley. I knew nothing about the plant, other than it had pretty little sweet smelling flowers They have taken over several areas over the years and I have come to hate them. Anyone know how to get rid of them?

      1. Hi Jean, oh no I feel your pain. The only way I know of to get rid of lily of the valley is to dig, dig and dig some more. Seriously, the roots run deep, so I don’t think trying to smoother them with black plastic would even work. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

      2. We had a row of Lily of the Valley on the north side of the house, where they were contained. I liked them there, they didn’t bother anyone. However, my husband kept mowing them down thinking they were weeds, After a couple of years, they quit coming up. Probably due to the fact that the bulbs didn’t get nourishment due to the leaves not being there, anymore

        1. Hi Lauren, thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. Although lily of the valley doesn’t grow from a bulb, you may be on to something about mowing them down. Happy gardening, Joanna

      3. I’ve had luck with getting rid of lily of the valley by just mowing them with the mower and if necessary hitting them with Roundabout weed killer. Mostly just mowing them takes care of them but it took a few years to keep them from spreading to where I didn’t want them.

        1. Hi Adrianne, thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens! Thanks for your tip on getting rid of Lily of the Valley, or keeping them in check. Happy gardening, Joanna

    3. I agree with you. I love my orange daylillies or “ditch lillies” if that’s what ppl prefer to call them. I have 5 beds with them and they aren’t hard to control. I just dig out the ones that go beyond the area I want them in. I just dug up the oldest bed after 10 yrs. because they needed to be thinned. It’s October and some are still blooming. I think they’re worth the little extra they take. My biggest mistake was Trumpet vine. I’m having to remove rose bushes just to try and get rid of all of the roots. It’s even hard to kill off with herbicides! Add, Morning Glories along with Cardinal flowers to that list too.

      1. Terry – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and taking the time to leave a comment on 14 Plants Not to Grow in Your Garden. Wow, if you have 5 flower beds with orange daylilies, you must really love them. I’m with you on Trumpet Vine, I don’t have a full grown one, but I still have ones that shoot up in the middle of shrubs and other plants. Happy gardening, Joanna p.s. give some other daylilies a try.

      2. I love the daylilies(ditch lillies). Never had any problem with them being invasive. I had them in several gardens and I did separate them every few years but no problems with them. I guess it’s not the same everywhere.

        1. I have several varieties of daylilies, but really don’t like ditch lilies. They crowd out everything. Oh well, to each their own. Happy gardening, Joanna

  76. I let borage go to seed a couple years ago and it is everywhere, but the bees love it so I just let it grow out of control, I’m in zone 2-3 in Canada

    1. Hi Vanessa – that’s not good. I was considering adding borage to my veggie beds, but now I’m reconsidering. Happy gardening, Joanna

    2. Thanks for the warning! I am trying borage for the first time this year. I will keep mine in pots and see what happens.

      1. Hi Lisa – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and taking the time to comment. I recommend doing a search for borage in your gardening zone and see what you can find out. Just because something spreads like crazy in one gardening zone, doesn’t mean it will spread in another. It’s a good idea to try it in pots for your first year. Happy gardening, Joanna

  77. I live in central Florida and my neighbor’s have rain trees. They rain leaves, seeds, flowers, and pods and then start over. Only pretty when blooming. They come up everywhere the seeds blow. Will never have one on purpose. Just planted a small wisteria, I guess I’ll dig it up before it gets any bigger. Thanks for letting me know it can be a monster..

    1. Hi Fran, thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and taking the time to leave a comment. I’m sure you have a whole other world of invasives in Florida. Sorry about your wisteria, but I think you’ll be better in the long run if you remove it, especially if it’s close to the house. I’ve heard of insurance companies giving warnings to folks who have overgrown wisteria or they will cancel their homeowners insurance. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

    2. If you know which variety of wisteria you planted, you might keep it. Do not plant the Aisian varieties (Chinese and/or Japanese) as they are very destructive, climbing and reaching 40 feet or more into trees, smothering and killing them in the process. Native American wisteria is easier to manage, but still needs to be kept trimmed.

  78. i planted one group of Black Eyed Susans, now they are everywhere and i mean Everywhere! they have come up 20 feet away from the original group! do they spread from shuts or seed?

    1. I’ve never experienced that with Black Eyed Susans. When the rabbits let them actually grow, the clump just gets bigger and bigger. I think what you’re getting is reseed. To prevent reseeding, simply deadhead by cutting the spent flower off. Good luck and happy gardening! Joanna

  79. Cornflower or bachelor button is horrible and will pop up right in the middle of your other established plans making it difficult to irradiate. Don’t add this! To your garden!!!

    1. Hi Michelle – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and taking the time to leave a comment. Maybe I should be happy that I can’t perennial bachelor’s buttons to spread then. I never get reseeds, but perhaps it’s because I mulch my flower beds. It could have something to do with the colder gardening zone (zone 4) I’m in too. Thanks again for leaving the comment though, it might just help someone else. Happy gardening, Joanna

      1. Wow, Margaret, I’ve never heard of coneflower reseeding to the point of being a nuisance. You must like a tidy garden like me. I find that by mulching I do not have plants reseeding as much. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

  80. I am in zone 6B and my complaint is with Mexican Primrose. It’s pretty small pink flowers that do look pretty when the are in masses but they totally takeover your garden and block other flowers from getting sunlight. I have ripped them out many time and they come back even more the next year.

    Also Black Eyed Susans are the state flowers but they are very pushy and can can be ripped out but continue to return.

    1. Hello Gail – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and taking the time to leave a comment. I’m not familiar with Mexican Primrose at all, so I had to look it up quick. It so pretty, but it does sound awful. The bunnies keep my black eyed Susans in check. Good luck and happy gardening. Stop back soon, Joanna

      1. I think the writer may be talking about Mexican Petunia. Ruella .

        Another plant is Mexican Hydrangea aka as Glorybower. Thebloom is magnificent but it spreads with runners and it can go anywhere it wants. A friend planted some and it ended up in the neighbors yard..under the fence. They were not happy and I think it has been removed.

        Wild garlic? Pretty white flower w tons of seeds. However the bulb is even worse. The main bulb is surround by dozens of tiny seeds. What a mess.

        Zone 8a. Augusta GA

        1. Hi Nancy – thanks for sharing your comment on Gingham Gardens. I appreciate hearing others gardening knowledge. Happy gardening, Joanna

  81. Watch out for Tall mix Celosia too it seeds itself.
    I planted it two years ago and it is coming up all over the place. I do not have space for how big it gets and takes over everything. I can say I hate it!

    1. Hi Janet – yikes I have tall Celosia in pots this year. I will definitely not let them go to seed. Thanks for stopping by and sharing. Stop back soon! Happy gardening, Joanna

  82. How about Penstemon? I have a white variety that looked so pretty in swathes when I first moved in a few years ago. Then last year I pulled a few up because it seemed to be a little too much of one thing. This year it’s back stronger than ever! I guess I can’t just pull out the stalks, I have to dig out the whole clump!

    1. Hi there, Mary – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and taking the time to leave a comment. I have never heard of Penstemon being aggressive. Are you sure you don’t have obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana)? It can easily be mistaken for penstemon and obedient plant is very aggressive. Either way, good luck and happy gardening! Joanna

      1. Oh yes obediant plant is aggressive lilies of the valley. ajuga even goes in your lawn i am in zone 4 I could not get rid of it!

        1. Hi Marcelle, thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and taking the time to leave a comment. I’m hoping I haven’t made a mistake by planting ajuga. Thanks for the warning. Happy gardening, Joanna

          1. I have planted ajuga and found it to be a great ground over, so I planted it on a slope at our new house. It does spread, but I find it’s not too bad.

          2. I love ajuga too. It’s so beautiful in the spring and then the foliage looks great all summer. It is also very easy to pull out where you don’t want it. Happy gardening, Joanna

  83. I think Oregon grape should be added I’ve hacked for years to get rid of mine and it just creeps over the walk and across the grass it strangles out the bleeding hearts and iris

    1. Yes, Jen, I agree most wild grape vines are terribly aggressive and can choke out other plants. Good luck getting rid of it! Thanks for stopping by and happy gardening! Joanna

      1. Oregon Grape isn’t really a grape plant. I think it belongs in the evergreen family. Like Holly It’s got sharp pointy edges on the leaves and a woody stem. I dig it up and it’s gone for a few years then pops back up again. Before I moved in a neighbor planted it under the lilac bushes (this property not hers) to keep the kids out of her yard.

        1. Hi Peggy – we have wild grape vine that is a total nuisance plant, but it doesn’t sound nearly as bad as your Oregon Grape. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

  84. Joanna,
    I just finished read your article regarding 14 invasive plants. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER PLANT TANSY. Tansy is a highly toxic weed that KILLS.It is listed in Washington states toxic weed directories! Poisons enter through the skin so never attempt to remove it without protecting yourself.!!!

    1. Hi there, thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and taking the time to leave an informative comment. Many plants are poisonous when eaten. As well as being poisonous, beautiful tansy will take over your garden. Thanks again and happy gardening!

  85. Snow on the mountain sounds lie the perfect plant for my goal of replacing lawn that I have to mow with garden that requires little upkeep. If I had to choose between the grass and weeds of my lawn and this groundcover, it woud b an easy choice. Lawn grass to me is the worst, invasive plant with little redeeming value.

    1. Thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and taking the time to leave a comment. If you’re serious about replacing your lawn, snow-on-the-mountain gets pretty ratty looking in the middle of summer, especially in sun. Go with a clover lawn, it’s much better for the pollinators. Good luck and happy gardening!

    2. Please do not use Aegopodium , considered an geological threat, as a substitute for your lawn. You definitely will regret it. I have seen this plant run thousands of feet into surrounding propertyIes. The white flowers look very similar to Queen Anne’s Lace, When left to go to seed the new plants revert to a much more aggressive solid green foliage. The roots of all gout weed entangled themselves with every other plant in their vicinity making it nearly impossible to eradicate. As Joanna recommended, go with white clover.

    3. not having a green thumb -my goal of replacing lawn using Snow on the mountain wasn;t so successful…
      ..this works great for me next to home -hostas then in front lily of valley… created a neat no care garden n lawn

  86. Queen Anne’s Lace – I loved it in the ditches, planted ONE and watched the lovely flowers – The next spring, it looked like someone had taken packages of carrot seed and strew it all over the flower garden and into the yard. It’s been three years and I am still trying to dig them out of the middle of other plants.

    1. Oh no, Sandy, that’s awful. We gardeners always fall for a pretty flower. Queen Anne’s Lace is lovely, but it’s also on many states invasive lists. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

  87. I live in WA State. I believe it’s considered Zone 8. I love the wild flowers that others don’t like Forget me nots and Daisies. But I will say, they are much more aggressive in their natural state then when I attempt to pant them in certain areas of the yard. My warning is for Sedum Reflexum ‘Angelina’. I planted some as ground cover in my flower beds because it comes in such a pretty gold color and changes to red during the fall and then has little flowers at times. I learned it’s like an octapus. When you cut off it’s arm it grows a new one. It jumped my walkways and got into the grass. We had to dig it up with a shovel to remove it from everywhere. After that, every time I saw a tiny piece, I would pluck it out. It took about 2 yrs to get it gone. Keep it in a container or grow it in your rockery but do not let it get in your beds or your lawn.

    1. Hi Gayle – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and taking the time to leave a comment on what not to grow in the Pacific Northwest. You are right that the differences in what gardeners consider aggressive in some gardening zones, might be okay in other gardening zones. Happy gardening, Joanna

  88. Ajuga (Bungleweed). I knew it was a fast spreader so I put it in a flower bed by itself against a house foundation with a large walkway in front of it. . Well it jumped right over the walkway and on the lawn! Ive been digging & digging it up. Never again!

    1. Hi Nancy – I can see where ajuga could be a pain in the butt, but I’ve been okay with it so far in my shade gardens. Some of the different varieties I can’t even get to take off. Good luck and happy gardening. Joanna

      1. I have ajuga growing all over my front lawn! I think when I was “weeding it out”, some got into the lawn, and now it is all over – 30 ft. away! I love how it looks in the garden, but not so much in the yard!

        1. Hi Sally, thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens! Ajuga is so pretty, especially in the spring. I have it growing on a slope now and I’m so afraid I’m going to end up with the same problem you have. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

        2. Aguga has taken over on my property. It jumped the flower bed border and now is running rampant through the grass in the backyard. It has even Shown up in my front yard, when I believe a piece must have gotten caught in the lawn mower and set up a home in the front grass.

          1. Hi Susan – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and adding your comment about ajuga. I have it in my shade gardens and so far it’s behaving, but I definitely won’t let it get out of hand. Happy gardening, Joanna

  89. Thanks so much for your post. I wrote a long reply and then it disappeared when I was filling out the rest of the form. So, here is a shorter version:
    Things I made mistakes on and I know I must avoid, in the Pacific Northwest:
    Anything called ground covers–avoid all of them at all costs.: ajuga, periwinkle, moneywort.
    Perennials–be very suspicious of all, including Japanese anemone, columbine, foxglove, lychnis, carex frosty curls, lavender
    The all time worst is a violet like plant with a pink flower. Horrible! I thought I eradicated a patch of it last fall, and overplanted it. Now there is a carpet of tiny shoots everywhere, all mixed in with my newer plantings. I want to scream.

    1. Hi Penny – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and taking the time to leave a comment. Yes, a gardener definitely has to know what is aggressive in their area. I would love to be able to get foxglove to grow in my gardens. I try every year. I have those pesky little wild violets in my gardens and they are nearly impossible to get rid of. I just keep pulling or digging them up. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

  90. Maybe you should label your article for expanded areas that have rainfall. As a lot of these plants are the only flowering plants we that get a total of 2 inches of rainfall a year … enjoy!! We are in a drought and with 250.00 water bill to try to get something to grow in a garden we appreciate some of these beautiful plants. You may call them invasive we call them heaven sent!

  91. My mother had Forget Me Nots, and I’ve carried them to 3 different homes, and now can’t get rid of them! I would consider them invasive.

    1. Hi Pat – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and taking the time to leave a comment. Yes, forget-me-nots are on the invasive list for many states. They’re looks are deceiving. Good luck getting rid of them. Happy gardening, Joanna

  92. Pachysandra is my nemesis. We bought a house that has a lot of shade… and thus ground covers all over. But, this plant is so hard to get rid of. We’ve done some extensive work digging and a couple years later it is still popping up.

    1. Hi Jenny, yes, I’ve had others comment that they have trouble with pachysandra. Fortunately, I’ve not experienced that one. Just keep digging. Happy gardening, Joanna

    2. I have gooseneck loosestrife. I love the flowers with their cute white nodding heads. But, yikes! You can never get rid of it.

      1. Hi Carla – many aggressive or invasive plants are very pretty and tempting to add to your gardens. But, looks can be deceiving. Good luck controlling your loosestrife. Happy gardening, Joanna

    3. My son “helped me by raking the pachysandra. It was a rake with pointed tines. (Plastic rake).very few have come back. Mowing the edge seems to have kept it under control.
      As for lily of the valley- awful. It has crowded out my host as,, every year I have to work on it.

      1. Hi Catherine – good advice on the pachysandra. Thanks for sharing your tip. I think I have all the lily of the valley dug up and now 2 months later, I have new sprigs popping up, so I feel your pain. Good luck and thanks for stopping by. Happy gardening, Joanna

    4. I love my Pachysandra! I have it planted on the shady side of my house along the triangle of a deck where it would be difficult to mow or have any other plants survive. It is contained by a landscaping edge to keep it in check. It stays green even when covered with snow in the winter and I never have to do anything to it. Zero maintenance and looks great all year long. It is all about placement and permanent containment.

      1. Hi Jenny – it seems like gardeners either love pachysandra or hate it. You’re correct about placement and containment, but if someone isn’t in control of that, it’s a pain to have to clean up someone else’s aggressive perennial. Thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and thank you for your comment. Happy gardening, Joanna

  93. Hi Joanna,

    I live in zone 6. I enjoyed reading your article about the invasive plants. My sister gave me some Snow on the Mountain. It is everywhere in her beds and she believes it grew underneath a small concrete sidewalk to reach the other side! She likes it and controls it by digging it out . I like it because I don’t have to lay mulch in those areas. But let me tell you it is taking over and I will probably have to start pulling it up soon.

    One plant I thought for sure I would see on your list is mint. I planted some apple mint last year and it is spreading everywhere! I know I will be pulling it out for awhile. Have you had to deal with mint?

    1. Hi Angie – the problem with having invasive plants in your gardens is what if you’re not able to tend to your garden… even in as little as one season snow-on-the-mountain will take over. Anyway, something to think about. I only ever grow mint in containers as annuals and never in the ground. Many have mentioned in the comments that mint should be on my list. I will add it on the next revision. Happy gardening and thanks for stopping by. Joanna

  94. Slugs and snails, which you mentioned were attracted to your hostas, can be easily controlled with sprinkling of spent coffee grounds. I use drip coffee and let my used filters full of wet coffee grounds dry, and collect the grounds that way. The residual caffeine is enough to kill them. The coffee grounds kill several other pests as well. This is a free, organic bug & slug killer. Harmless to pets & children. Yay! And does not seem to bother useful earthworms or composting worms.

    1. Hi Anita – I’ve never tried coffee grounds to rid the garden of slugs. I will have to try it. Thanks for the tip. Happy gardening, Joanna

    2. Have found coffee grounds effective for keeping small rodents at bay: chipmunks, squirrels, and especially rabbits…

  95. Rose campion (zone 6). It doesn’t have runners, so is not that difficult to pull out, but it self seeds like crazy. This plant has furry silver basal leaves with a tall stalk culminating in a shocking pink flower. It is quite pretty in a clump, but it will show up in cracks between stones and everywhere else you don’t want it. In my new home I found one and immediately pulled it out. I have enough weeds so don’t need to add to the problem. However, wisteria could be a star in a monster movie. We inherited one that must be 50 years old-my nemesis. We used a backhoe to pull out the 2 mother trunks. This helped greatly to reduce the runners but they are still coming up. Last year I was a crazy woman and used Ground Clear in an attempt to selectively eradicate some runners but wasn’t perfectly selective and killed half my perennial garden while the wisteria is STILL sprouting. Now I am painting each sprout more carefully with roundup, making cuts in the roots and saturating those. A three year war so far and am expecting a few more years with this technique. We will see, it’s still early in the season!!

      1. Have you ever seen the seed they drop all over? A new one will start that isn’t even near the vine. I planted a vine in a yard, and regretted it in a couple years.

        1. Hi Nancy – I assume you’re talking about trumpet vine. I didn’t realize they reseeded. No wonder I have them all over my gardens. There are some in with the roots of shrubs, so I can’t dig them out. I just keep pulling them. Ugh! Thanks for stopping by and happy gardening, Joanna.

      2. I have a wistera monster that I have been trying to kill for years, it has taken over my yard. There are runners fo hundreds of yards away from the original plant. I have but off the bigger roots and drilled holes in it and applied strong brush killer plus round up you name it. I don’t know of anything else to do. It has killed trees and prennial gardens! DO NOT PLANTS THIS MONSTER!!!!

        1. Hi Anita – I have never experienced wisteria. In many states they are considered “invasive” and many have commented on wisteria. I’m sorry you’re dealing with this and I hope you conquer it soon. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

          1. At my previous home I planted wisteria on each end of my arbor. It grew up and covered that arbor and it was stunning. I had to cut runners away once or twice per summer and that is all I had to do. It was controlled just on that arbor. Loved it. This was in VA.

    1. I had to fight wisteria also it was a nightmare i still find a sprig or two. I used a product called rodeo, it worked best for me.

      1. Hi Joanie – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and taking the time to leave a comment. Sorry about your invasive wisteria. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

  96. Zone 7 here! We bought our house 3 years ago and I’m still trying to rid the garden of a number of inherited invasive/aggressive plants. I’ve got St. John’s Wort, English ivy, bamboo (both clumping and running varieties), trumpet vine, blackberries, some kind of plum tree that is planting its own grove, some strange thing I can’t identify with deceptively charming yellow flowers and underground runners 😂 I have it all! I’m a fighter though, one of these years I will be able to plant something that I want to keep 😄 thanks for saving me from adding any more aggressive growers by mistake!

    1. Hi Emma – you sound determined like me. We will be in this house 4 years at the end of this summer. I finally feel like I’ve gotten rid of all the aggressive plants that were left by the previous owners. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

    2. Is trumpet vine a pest? I am trying to plant natives to help bees, butterflies and wildlife in zone 6b. WIth my new Best Friend, Picture This ( a plant identifier), I have discovered I have purple loosestrife, trumpet vine, annual fleabane, white snakeroot and stinging nettle among other plants in my garden. Are all these invasive?

      1. Don’t plant trumpet vine ! I had one and many of its offspring on a privacy fence that had to be taken down! Some of the ‘trunks’ at the base were clumped together and as big as my arm! Horrible to get rid of😖

        1. Hi Linda – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and taking the time to leave a comment. I agree with you about the trumpet vine. We just have them popping up in just about every flower bed. At first I was intrigued, but once I read up on them, I started pulling/digging them out. I read one time where a lady had let one grow up on a trellis by her porch and it got so big that her insurance company threatened to drop her if she didn’t get rid of it. It cost her a fortune to have it removed. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

          1. Trumpet vines are highly flammable so insurance company do not want them planted near your house. Their blooms draw carpenter ants and the ants will stay and feast on your house. Their roots seek a hole in your homes foundation, then expand and crack the wall. Their tendrils will ruin the paint on your house. Do not plant Trumpet Vine anywhere near your house.

          2. Hi there, thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and taking the time to leave a comment. Yes, I’ve heard of insurance companies cancelling a homeowner’s insurance policy because they have invasive vines like trumpet vine going on their house. Thanks for your helpful comment. Happy gardening, Joanna

    3. Bamboo moved in from a neighbors yard!! Ugh!! It has taken over!! I understand it is a difficult task to get rid of it. I’m in zone 7. Any suggestions of getting rid of it?

      1. Ugh, is right, especially when you know it’s going to keep encroaching into your space. I’ve never had to deal with bamboo, but I’ve read some awful things about it. My suggestion is to start digging and talk to your neighbor about getting rid of it all together. I’m sorry that’s probably not what you wanted to hear, but there really isn’t an easy answer. Good luck!

  97. Macho fern! A landscaper planted a few about 25 years ago in a shady spot, and they have taken over. I cut them down, spray with round up and they still come back. And my next door neighbor has planted some awful invasive thing that resembles an orange lily or bird of paradise. It has grown under the fence into my garden, is multiplying and I can’t get rid of it.

    1. So sorry for your troubles, Sally. Unfortunately the best way to remove invasive plants is to dig, dig and keeping digging. Good luck!

  98. Hello Joanna,

    I’m one of the male gardeners that follow your posts. I felt the need to comment, especially since I downloaded your Garden Journal printables. I have to say, this has been an indespensible tool.

    I am in transition zone 8b and planted Purple Passion plant (Passiflora) three seasons ago. Note: Purple is one of my favorite plant color and the blooms were so beautiful and unusual, I just had to have this plant) The first season it was pretty tame and didn’t bloom much. Little did I know that the second season, it was a prolific bloomer AND an aggressive spreader. At then end of the season I dug the main stem up and this season I am seeing sprouts all over my lawn and in other garden beds. Since then I read an article that says you should plant in a container to keep from spreading into areas you don’t want it to spread

    I hope this helps someone else from being lulled, by the beauty/curse of this plant.

    1. Hello Thomas – thank so much for your compliments. I love the gardening printable too and it’s on my list to make a more masculine version someday. Passion plant is an excellent example of a native plant (Florida) being invasive, although native purists get really upset when I call a native plant invasive. Good luck getting rid of it and happy gardening, Joanna

  99. You can handle at least three of these by eating them I to shape. Hosta spring shoots, common day lilybshoots, tubers, buds and blooms and ostrich fern fiddleheads are all choice edibles. You don’t have an annoying perennial; you have permaculture.

    1. Actually I’ve heard that, but I’ll pass. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave such an interesting comment though. Happy gardening, Joanna

  100. Ha! I’ve planted Bee Balm, Agastach, Latium, and a couple others you mentioned and not a single one was aggressive and took over. I had absolutely no problem getting rid of them. I have a sure fire way and it works every time … are you listening man … (lol). I know I can make a great deal of money sharing this valuable tip but for only your members will know.. ( shhh)…just move in moles, voles and gophers like I have and none of these will survive through the first year. Had you going, huh LOL. I may have won the battle a few times but they most certainly won the war. I put down all the pest repellents to keep them at bay but when I’m tired of defending the homestead thinking they’re gone for good that’s when they move back and destroy my hard work. I’ve now decided to plant in pots. Nothing goes in the ground any more. Well, there you have it, my success story of eradicating invasive plants. Happy planting!

    1. I’m so sorry about your problem… but, this made me laugh. I’m so glad I don’t have to deal with vermin like that. Good luck, Joanna.

  101. Some of this article I agree and some I disagree. I love hosts and lambs ear. I have grown them for years and will continue , they are not harmful to the environment. I also disagree with Great Blue Lobelia and Obedient Plant. These are native plants and are are valuable to the environment. They can be aggressive, not invasive so plant them where you have room. If you have a small yard, best not to plant them. We need to distinguish between invasive and aggressive. Aggressive will multiple but many times are very valuable to the environment. They are host plants to pollinators, butterflies and beneficial insects. Invasive plants are plants that take over and kill native plants hence killing pollinators, beneficial insects and butterflies. Always go onto the your DNR site of invasive plants and study the onnes that are harmful. For example pretty little Forget Me Nots and Russian Squill are lovely BUT invasive. They are destroying our eco system. Also Oxeye Daisies are invasive, take them out. If you want to know if a Mn. plant is beneficial and aggressive, go onto the website Prairie Moon Nursery. It will redirect you to their catalogue. Type in the [lant in question. If it is not one of their plants, don’t include it in your garden. If it comes up, read about the plant and study it’s benefits.

    1. Hi Cass – thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment. You make some excellent and very valid points. Perhaps I used my word “invasive” where it should not be used. This article was initially written for gardeners to make them aware and alert them to do their own research. Especially when accepting free plants. I used to be such a gardener and I spent many hours cleaning up plants that tended to spread prolifically and undesirably or harmfully (the definition of invasive). I have it on my “to-do list” to update this post and fix some of my inaccurate wording. Happy gardening, Joanna

      1. You do an excellent job I have signed up for your online booklet that includes wonderful print outs. You are very generous in all that you share! Depending on the garden (size) some plants like Joe Pye Weed, Obedient, Great Blue Lobelia etc are not the best choice I have a large area and use all 3 because I am trying to help pollinators etc. I would like to see an article on invasive plants because 1. they are killing off native plants which 2. kill off our pollinators, beneficial insects, and butterflies. I do use perennials and native plants together,. There are a number of nativars that are great in our gardens. It is helpful to gardeners to understand the difference. between a perennial nativar, and native plant. Douglas W. Tallamy has written a book Bringing Nature Home which is an excellent book and can be helpful to all gardeners. Best, Cass

        1. I had to laugh, when I saw your title and then I wanted to see what was on your list. Great article! I’ve had at least 5 or 6 on your list. I don’t know what the name of the plant that I’m going to describe but it’s a nightmare. My friend always called it wild Mexican sunflower and it grows in patches along roads and fields. It as a bulbous root that spreads like crazy. So I took some from her and I planted around a raise garden. OMG the next year I started ripping It out. A few years later she asked if I still had any? I had told her not to do it, but she swore she wanted a start of it.🤷‍♀️She has it every where in her beds!

  102. I bought a red salvia. What a huge mistake. Been fighting that for ten years. Comes up everywhere. Grows on hard woody type stems. Dig to china to get one plant up and they come up by the hundreds each yr.

    1. Hi Darlene – wow, I’ve never heard of red salvia being invasive. In fact, in most gardening zones they are treated as an annual. Do you live in the South? Anyway, good luck getting rid of them. Happy gardening, Joanna

  103. I made the mistake of planting onion grass/chives in my garden. It has taken over and impossible to get rid of.

    1. Hi Sandra – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and taking the time to leave a comment. Yes, I’ve heard that chives will take over a garden. Fortunately, I haven’t experienced that one. Happy gardening, Joanna

      1. I have regular chive plants with no problem but I planted garlic chives and oh my what a mistake! They’re all over and they have nasty roots, they plant themselves in the middle of other plants and I have to dig the whole thing up and get rid of the chive roots and then replant the plant! Yuck! I do agree with your definition of agastache! It’s very prolific but I love it so I dig out what I don’t want and leave sone cuz they smell good and have pretty flowers that the bees love!

        1. I have never experienced garlic chives, but I’ve heard they are nightmares. Good luck getting them out of your garden. Happy gardening, Joanna

          1. Oh my gosh I wish I knew or saw this years back. For two years I have not been able to get out in my yard. It has gone wild with English Ivy, periwinkle, nateral day lillies, wistiera looselief, gooseneck , I was just about to plant bee balm. I have may hands full. And been pulling spearmint. I love how full the garden looks but the lillies is everywhere. Guess I got to get busy. Got amy ideas how yo get rid of it on LARGE AREAS?

          2. Hi Kim – unfortunately the best way to get rid of aggressive plants is to dig, dig and keep digging. Yours is a good example of why not to plant invasive or aggressive plants in the first place. I’m sorry you have to deal with this because gardening should be fun. Good luck, Joanna

  104. Hi, Joanna. Yes, we are fine here and thank you. Hope you and yours are as well. It’s funny that you’ve mentioned several plants that I have grown in the past, but never really had any trouble with them being invasive. Rununculus (butter cups) I remember was very invasive, and also Japanese lanterns. Most other things lived for 4-5 years then died out. My garden is under a huge century old black walnut tree that still governs what will grow and thrive under it. I put this down as the reason and hordes of ants in the early years for the failure of most of these past perennials.

    1. Hi Jo-Anne – I think it totally depends on what zone you garden in as to whether or not a plant is invasive. Yes, black walnut trees are difficult to deal with. Thank you for stopping by. Take care and take some time to enjoy your gardens. Joanna

  105. Hi Joanna…
    Love your acticles! I Am in zone 9b and had a beautiful Lavender Pinnata for years, always cut it way back after our hot summers and it would out do itself the next year. Never had a problem with it being invasive. After 15 -20 years, it died. Decided to purchase another one and it went gang-busters! I now have an add’l 6-8 plants in the flower bed, but it didn’t stop there. I had Lavendar even coming up in my brick walkway, then it traveled to the rock area. Luckily, my pool divides that area from the lawn and I believe that prevented it from invading the lawn. I pulled lots and since it has gotten hotter it seems to have stopped. I have researched this Lavendar and found nothing about it being invasive. What are your thoughts on this plant?

    1. Hi BJ – Oh wow, I’ve never heard of any invasive lavender. It’s even hard to find a variety that will overwinter in my zone 4b gardens. If you don’t want to completely dig it out, just keep pulling it to keep it in check. The smell must be lovely. Good luck and thanks for stopping by! Joanna

  106. Had no idea how invasive ostrich fern are when we moved here 26 years ago. They were mostly in towards my rear yard and didn’t give them much thought…you know the rest! Have tried digging up with no luck as they keeps coming back. It looks beautiful but is growing into my day lillies and iris plants. Other than digging up the lillies any recommendations. In Pompton lakes NJ

    1. Hi Marilyn – I so feel your pain. Unfortunately there are no secret methods to getting rid of ostrich ferns. My recommendation is to just keep digging. Because they spread by underground runners, it’s lots of work to keep them contained in one area. You’ll probably be better off just getting rid of all of them. My sympathies and good luck! Joanna

      1. So agree! I know i have given at least 1000 of these ferns away and I make sure to let them
        Know….do not put in a garden.
        Grown them in a grove of trees or a hill side but definitely not a garden.
        Another one is Gooseneck Loosestrife…..ugh…. i have tried for 10 years to get rid of.

        1. Hi Lisa – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and taking the time to leave a comment. Ugh, on both of these invaders. The problem is they are so pretty. I guess the saying goes, “looks can be deceiving.” Good luck and happy gardening. Joanna

  107. I could so identify with your comments about the invastive freebies! I have suckered unwittingly into so many plants that I now curse that looked so pretty and were free. One of these is the chameleon some one else mentioned — I emphasize – DON’T plant them – they take over everything and are a royal pain to eradicate!

    1. Hi Sherrie – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. Oh Chameleon plant is so pretty though… Lol! Thankfully I have not succumbed to their charm. Take care and enjoy your gardens! Joanna

  108. Joanna,
    I have that terrible Gout Weed on the side of my house. I have tried everything including smothering it with plywood. This spring if it comes back I think I will cement it and make a sidewalk out of it! LOL! Actually I’m going to till all of it up and transfer some Hosta’s there and pray it does not come back!

    1. Oh Shelly – you have my sympathies. I had that awful stuff at my old house and I’m embarrassed to say that I’m the one that planted it. The only way I could get rid of it was to just keep digging. Good luck! Joanna

    2. Tilling it up would only break the root system and help it propagate further, then add hostas to the mix and you will have a total mess, been there.

      1. Hi Colleen – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and taking the time to leave a comment. I think you only make the mistake of tilling up an area once. I tilled up an area that was full of dandelions one time. Ugh, was that ever dumb! I won’t do that again. Happy gardening, Joanna

  109. Thanks for the great advice! Here in Alaska, snow-on-the-mountains grows great on the edge of my yard in the woods. But in my perennial bed-yikes! I also struggle with Columbine reseeding even yards from the original plants. No one grows host as much up here-too cold, I guess. Or maybe the days of 18-20 hours of daylight….?!!

    1. Hi Jane – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and taking the time to comment. When I complain about my short growing season and the limitations of gardening in zone 4, I will stop and think of you. Yes, Columbine are prolific re- seeders, but I sort of like finding the little surprises in other parts of my gardens. Happy gardening (or thinking about it), Joanna

  110. I have a tip for keeping plants under control the spread underground. I’m in zone 3-4. I also had bishop’s weed/snow on the mountain that got out of control. I took a very sturdy, large plastic tub and cut out the bottom., then sunk it into the ground with the lip an inch or two above the soil. The plant has been contained in that spot for at least 15 years. I’ve used this technique for many plants – always with success. Happy Gardening!

      1. I’ve done this with the mint that I planted in my garden. Keeps it contained and I can still enjoy it.

        1. Hi Shauna – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and taking the time to leave a comment. I’m planting mint in containers this year that I will bury and overwinter. That way I don’t have to plant it in the ground. Happy gardening, Joanna

    1. I have read to put 6” of metal (plastic would work too) and sink it in the ground. This is suppose to prevent the spreading of unwanted roots from woods or other unwanted plants in to your garden. I put it around a forsythia bush. So far it is keeping the bush away from my Peony. I hate forsythia bushes and didn’t plant them. They are a pain to remove and will take over anywhere. I have taken out a bunch but some are so big and out of control that I haven’t attempted to get them under control. I just got a chain saw so I will be cutting them down as much as possible. Next year I will work on removing them.

    1. Oh my yes! In Maryland it was well behaved. But in Tennessee it will take over the outside and inside if you turn your back!

  111. I’m in zone 3-4 so some plants that are invasive elsewhere just end up being annuals here! But wow, those anemones grow anywhere. I curse the day a gardening friend gave them to me. And why did I ever buy Johnny jump ups? IDK the Latin name but they are a pain. Forget me nots – ugh! But they are easy to remove and they bloom early which is a good think here. I’ve spent a lot of time digging up masterwort and I know I’ll probably regret planting ajuga at some point. Anyway, I enjoyed your article and the comments.

    1. Hi Sheila – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. I enjoyed reading your comments. It is weird that some plants are invasive in your area, but not mine. Like masterwort. I have one plant and it hasn’t spread at all or reseeded. Ajuga is so pretty in the spring and I love the foliage. It is a spreader but easy to weed out. Come back soon and happy gardening.

  112. Thank you for the list. I eradicated lily of the valley from my garden (not planted by me). I never liked them much and thought they were plain. Luckily, the person who planted them knew they were invasive because they were planted in a small stone wall along the North side of my house. So, getting rid of them wasn’t as difficult as it could of been. However, the little suckers managed to root in the woods. I throw my waste over a cliff to fill in land and these managed to root and started growing up towards the yard. I don’t care if they are there unless they completely take over.
    I wish you did a post about invasive shrubs. I live in Boston, Zone 6 and forsythia bushes are planted all over the place. I have them on both sides of the property lines. I hate them and they will spread rapidly if you don’t keep on top of them. I didn’t plant these either. The worst part is they are planted in areas that are hard to keep them maintained. They will grow anywhere and everywhere. Once a stem hits the ground and roots, you have another bush. Also, they are a pain to get out. I have managed to remove 4 bushes. I can’t even guess at how many bushes there are in total. It’s a nightmare but I’m slowly making progress. Worst part is I noticed them for sale at local garden stores, chain stores, and online via greenhouse retailers. Seems like they are making a come back and becoming popular again. Do not purchase and plant along a property line. If you like them then keep them in your yard where they do not travel into your neighbors. I had to use a saws-all to get rid of these nightmare shrubs and the roots are a pain. I have dug up so many large rocks in order to get the plants out. I spent two days removing a small one. I think I will need a chain saw to remove the larger ones. The rocks are good for making retaining walls though..

    1. Hi Michelle – thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave such a great comment. I feel your pain trying to get rid of invasives! Yes, someday I will write a post on invasive shrubs. Good luck and stop back soon! Happy gardening, Joanna

  113. Centaurea Montana (Perennial Coneflower). This has been an awful one to eradicate. My neighbor had planted (behind my fence) and it spread all over my large garden. Spreads with runners as well as self-seeding. I’m in Pacific Northwest Zone 6. I’ve also had to spends a few seasons removing yellow crochisma (itsy little bulbs) and Lily of the Valley, my mistake plants. And don’t forget how the Aliums can overtake everything in the right environment.

    1. Hi Lynda – thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment. I find it so interesting that some perennials are invasive in certain gardening zones and well behaved in others. For instance, Centaurea Montana doesn’t spread at all in my garden. I have one that is very well behaved. We also don’t have problems here with allium. I totally agree with you on lily-of-the-valley and crocosmia. Happy gardening! Joanna

  114. Creeping raspberry rhubus and creeping Jenny, whose lovely chartreuse leaves practically glow in the flower bed are both highly aggressive. And hard to completely eradicate.

    The creeping Jenny escaped from a large ceramic pot and ran riot in my flower beds, even going so far as to take on my lawn. I was laid up for two years and it has taken two more to eradicate it from the beds.
    The creeping raspberry is also lovely, but it spreads like crazy, smothers all other plants and it’s stems and roots grow woody. Since it is an all season plant, it never rests.

    I agree with you about nurseries. They happily sell both aggressive and invasive plants to the unwitting. I have been fooled into buying some lovely, but bad boys, myself. Thanks for sharing this information; it was very helpful.

    1. Hi Brenda – thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I really appreciate it and your kind words. I agree that creeping jenny can be a nuisance if left unchecked. I have a few areas where it jumped the container it was in just like in your case. I’m not familiar with creeping raspberry rhubus, but I will take your work for it. I know common raspberry plants are get out of control very easy. Thanks again and happy gardening, Joanna

    2. I had creeping Jenny that came in a pretty pot with annuals one year and it jumped the pot and kept spreading all over my garden- never buy a potted plant with creeping Jenny in it- and they sell them all the time in pots as a spiller! I never got rid of it and that house has been sold. What a mess I had- I have even seen it featured on gardening magazines as a filler when putting together pots!

      1. Georgia, thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. Even though I love creeping jenny as a spiller in my flower pots and use it a lot, you are 100% correct that it will escape the pots and become a complete nuisance in your gardens though. I just dig it up and use it in my containers again. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

    1. Hi Maggie, thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment. I’m assuming you’re referring to wildlife foraging for food. I’m not opposed to these plants in prairies or along roadsides just in a normal home garden setting. Some of these plants (including Hemerocallis fulva) are invasive and they crowd out native plants which are much more important to pollinators and wildlife. Happy gardening, Joanna

  115. I have beautiful stately Angelica in my garden. It loves it here in a dappled shaded garden. It spreads from large seed heads each year but they are easy to pull and leave some where you need some. Especially at the end of Summer when other perennials are finished. So, these do spread in an invasive way but I still love them when controlled.

    1. Hi Michelle, thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. Angelica are annuals here in zone 4. There are lots of plants that are vigorous spreaders that I didn’t include because they are easily weeded out. Happy gardening

  116. I have had spiderwort take over whole flower beds. It is lovely if it would only stay confined. Any hints?

    1. Hi MarLyn – thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I had spiderwort in one of my gardens many years ago and decided to get rid of it because I couldn’t keep it contained and I just didn’t care for it all that much. I’ve heard that you can keep it somewhat contained by planting it in a pot. Give it a try and good luck! Joanna

  117. Proceed with caution:
    Chameleon Plant (Houttuynia cordata). It smells awful if you cut it.


    Gold moss stonecrop (Sedum acre).

    Trumpet vine (Campsis radicans)
    Sends up runners all over yard.

    Yellow Flag Iris. Prohibited in some states because it will takeover and clog flowing waterways.

    1. Hi Anni – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and taking the time to comment. I’ve had experience with trumpet vine, and yes, I agree it’s terrible. The others I haven’t heard of, but will take your word for it. Happy gardening and stay away from those bad plants. Joanna

  118. I really think it depends on what size your yard is, and why you are planting flowers. I have a lot of the plants you mention – most were here when I bought my home 6 years ago. I live in zone 4a, with lots of bedrock and heavy clay, a bit of open field and small woodlands at the back – so I welcome most plants that will survive. I have weeds for lawn, and my intention is to replace most of it with ground cover and wild flowers – so invasive plants are welcome. When the plants start to spread or get too thick, I simply transplant them to another area of the yard or kill a few off. I am going for a natural maybe cottage garden look, so the wild array works for me. I actually have a lot more trouble with the crazy spreading sumacs.

    1. Hi there! Thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and taking the time to leave a comment. I totally agree if you know what you are getting into with any of these plants. But if you’re an unsuspecting new gardener and someones give you these plants, they can quickly become a nightmare. For someone like yourself who knows what you have and the plants behavior, I think it is important to know that most of these plants that are invasive will overtake native plants and perennials that are more beneficial and just flat out more beautiful. Lol! Thanks again for your comment. I really do appreciate reading everyone’s views and it adds another dimension to the topic. Happy gardening, Joanna

        1. Hi Diane – technically milkweed is not considered invasive. But, that being said it does spread like crazy and not always where you want it too. Thanks for stopping by and happy gardening. Joanna

  119. Love the name Orange Ditch Lilies!!!! I do believe that I have had most of these perennials left over from previous owners in my yard and yes, even planted some my self. The Morning glories I never could got rid of . The lambs ear I really did not have problems with. I had them in a rock garden so maybe that kept them contained. I love their texture in my garden. We planted the most beautiful WIsteria over a huge dead tree trunk, and whacked at it every time we walked by. It so beautifully hung down over the trunk, but yes, you had to stay on top of that sucker!!! We moved and I still miss it. The new owners of our house said they set it on fire trying to get rid of it and it came right back this spring! I am learning so much from your blog. Thank you

    1. Hi Jeannie – thanks for stopping by! I’ve had most all these plants too. And, yes I even bought some of them. We’ve been living in our new fixer-upper home for 3 years now and I think I’ve finally gotten rid of all the invasive plants, except wild violets and lily-of-the-valley. I happy to inspire and teach, and I’m glad you’re enjoying Gingham Gardens. Happy gardening!

  120. Lots of nodding here!! It was several years too late to find this post. I worked several hours earlier today to get rid of Snow-on-the-Mountain!! I have lots of plants on the list…though I live on the Canada side of great lakes and some of them are not that bad probably because too cold! It wasn’t on this list but pink variety evening primrose is terrible, too. I am in the process of potting up those invasive plants because they are too pretty to completely get rid of (that’s why I got them!)

    1. Hi Grace, thanks for stopping by! I’m so happy I don’t have snow of the mountain anymore. Good luck getting rid of it. Try putting some of the evening primrose in pots and then bury them in your garden and see if that doesn’t help to control it. Good luck and happy gardening! Joanna

      1. I never had trouble with snow on the mountain being invasive. But it’s evil cousin, gout weed, a larger, solid green version of snow on the mountain, has brought me to tears. When we moved it came with the house. I fought it for years. Then let it go wild. As a last resort, i covered it with black plastic. It took 3 years but I finally eradicated it. Alleluia!

        1. Hi Mary, it is a relief when we eradicate an invasive plant from our gardens. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment. Happy gardening, Joanna

        2. I didn’t know what it was until now but I have fought it for many years! It grows up into my good flowers and can’t just be pulled out. I have a beautiful patch of tall.garden phlox that I love that is beginning to look a little weak and believe it is because the gout weed is growing within it. It has earned its name as I also have gouty arthritis and they are both pains!
          Same for periwinkle and morning glories!
          I’ve tried to get columbine to grow and cant! I love my milk weed and ditch lillies! The eye of the beholder in Central Ohio.

          1. Jodyanni, thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment. Good luck getting rid of gout weed and enjoy your gardens! Happy gardening, Joanna

  121. Hi Joanna,
    I moved into my home at the end of last Summer so this year was mostly wait and see. I know there are Hostas and now I know that the end of my garden area has approx 6 plain Jane hostas. It’s a very shaded area with sun in the morning and then in the evening but mostly shade. I’ve planted hydrangea and calla lilies that so far are doing well. There are also some rose bushes in there but they are not blooming yet. Ideally I would love tons of flowers in there but I know I’m limited because of the lack of sun. I’ll adjust and plant my English Garden in the backyard. What are your thoughts on lavender? I bought 3 small plants that I haven’t planted yet mostly because of just not having the time, nor have I chosen where I want to plant it yet.

    1. Hi Donna- thanks for stopping by. I love lavender and it should definitely go in a sunny spot. Check out this article when you have a few minutes and I think you’ll come up with tons of ideas for adding color to your shade garden. Have fun with your new space and happy gardening!

  122. Morning glories are beautiful but once they reseed themselves you will never be rid of those things. I am still picking out seeding. Yuck!!

    1. Oh no, I’m so sorry, Mel. I plant them just about every year here in my zone 4 garden and I don’t have to many problems with them reseeding. I think it’s because I use a lot of mulch. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. Good luck getting rid of the morning glories and happy gardening! Joanna

      1. my mom used to have morning glories..she loved them, but they had a lot of room in her backyard. I have a clump of her ditch lillies. They run along my fence and on the other side, but stone edges them. I remember her everytime I look at them. She also had lily of the valley running the north side of the house, with the foundation and sidewalk as boundaries. My trumpet vine is the real invasive. Popping up 15′ away. wish I had planted it into a sunken container.

        1. Sentimental value trumps everything else, Iola. You enjoy your momma’s ditch lilies! Thanks for stopping by and happy gardening! Joanna

  123. Thanks for all the comments. I’m a big hosta fan since I have so much shade in my back yard. I have many varieties that are lovely. But my neighbor planted the plain jane green one you described and it has taken up residence in my flower bed.

    Luckily it is the only one the deer got into and it is coming out! I will replace it with a Japanese painted fern that could use dividing.

    Other wise I am pretty lucky with not getting any of these thugs. We are in zone 5 and my neighbor recommended vinca or creeping myrtle for a ground cover around my river birch which is surrounded by sidewalk and driveway. My mom had vinca with a blue flower under her ash tree. It didn’t seem to be invasive. Would a vinca work surrounded by concrete?

    1. Hello Pat – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens today and taking the time to comment. I’m so glad you agree with me about the royal standard hosta. I had lots of folks bash me on a Facebook group for adding that one. Like you, I have many varieties of beautiful hosta and can do without the plain jane ones that take over. As long as vinca vine is contained it might be okay, but proceed with caution. I liked reading your tips on wisteria as well. Happy gardening, Joanna

  124. My worst experience with garden takeover was yarrow! My goodness what a pain to get rid of! It practically covered everything in its path! Thanks for the advice on others garden monsters😊

    1. Hi Lucy – thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. Yes, I had an old yarrow plant that wanted to rule the garden, but I would keep it in check. Don’t shy away from yarrow all together though. There are many varieties that stay very tidy and bloom the entire season. The seduction series is one. Happy gardening! Joanna

    2. I. I have a wisteria that goes wild every year. It raps around the porch columns and I need to trim it back so people can get in the front door. The neighbors love to watch it spread! It has never bloomed! I probably should have given up years ago but the fact is we all love to watch it grow. I have cut it back to the ground repeatedly and it keeps showing up!

      1. Thanks for stopping by, Kathleen. Wisteria really is gorgeous, but I can say that because I live in the North and there are only a very few varieties of wisteria that will even grow here. I recently read on a Facebook group where someone posted that their home insurance company had forced them to cut down the wisteria vine that was growing up around their porch, or they would deny them renewal on their home owner’s policy. I didn’t realize wisteria could be so destructive. Happy gardening! Stop by again soon.

  125. Yucca and English ivy. Ivy spreads everywhere, even into my stone driveway. I think yucca can come back from microscopic pieces of root, even laughs at brush and stump killer

    1. Fortunately I haven’t experienced either of those. I think yucca is sort of ugly and not my style. English ivy is invasive even here in zone 4. Good luck dealing with those and happy gardening!

      1. Perry winkle is another plant that takes over. I found grated or cut up hand soap will help keep deer away. I just put it on the plant next to the stem and leaf. Good luck.

        1. Hi Shirley, yes periwinkle (a/k/a vinca vine) was mentioned several times in the comments. When I do an update I will definitely add it. Thanks for stopping by and happy gardening! Joanna

          1. Periwinkles can be invasive for sure but I like it because it helps fill my bed and then I put beautiful pots with other colors of flowers in them and the periwinkle makes a bed for the potted flowers to rest in. Also, if you aggressively cut the vines with shears at a point that you don’t want the vine to grow, the plant won’t creep where you don’t want it.

          2. Hi Shirley, thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I have a friend that does exactly what you do under a tree where she has trouble growing anything else. Happy gardening, Joanna

    2. Spray cleaning vinegar (10%) on the English Ivy. It works. I got rid of mine. Everyone said it would grow back but it hasn’t. Everyone said it wouldn’t work, but it has. Spray, spray, spray and then of course dig out the dead plants. Try it and best if luck.

  126. You need to add Passion Flower & Clemantis to this list. Passion Flower is on the invasive list and it was put in my beds by a “Master Gardener!” I am still mad that she planned for and sold me an invasive plant that I am still ripping out every year. Clemantis never stops and darn near impossible to stop unless you dig out the entire bed.
    I had a really bad experience with cotoneaster! It grows low and sets roots all along its runners. I had a nightmare of a time ripping out of the beds I paid to have it put in. Had to do it thought, because it was taking over the entire bed (but it did create a lovely little den for rabbits).
    I wish my crocosmia would bloom for me so that I could be annoyed by it, but it has only bloomed once (and it is the Lucifer variety).
    Thanks for the tips!

    1. Hi Kitti – thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. Yes, certain varieties of Passion Flower are invasive and I feel for you having to dig it out. Very few of Clematis vines are truly invasive. I have several different varieties and only one of them, Sweet Autumn, is aggressive. It all depends what gardening zone or area you’re in. In Minnesota, Cotoneaster is planted in a lot of places for a privacy hedge and is not invasive at all. It is no fun at all trying to get rid of invasive plants in your gardens. I’ve been working on eradicating creeping bellflower from mine this week. Good luck and happy gardening!

      1. Would love to know what you are doing to purge the bellflower. Wife loves them and now they are in all the beds and taking over the lawn

        1. Hi Glenn, you just have to keep digging. It will take time and you’ll probably still be digging little shoots for a few years. Sorry 😐

    2. I was surprised to see the sweet woodruff I planted take over everywhere. Too bad it is so invasive.

      I have fought vinca and passionflower before, so I would never plant either of those. I do love the crocosmia Lucifer, despite its short showy season.

      1. Hi Nani, thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment. I tried to get sweet woodruff growing at my last house and I never could. Weird right. I agree that once you deal with getting rid of an invasive or aggressive plant you’ll never plant it again. Take care and happy gardening. Joanna

  127. Wow, can’t believe no one has mentioned wisteria! When we bought our house, I had to hire 3 men to cut it off the one side of the house. It had gotten under the siding, into the windows, covering 40 foot tall trees, and was heading over the roof looking for somewhere else to conquer! 10 years later, I still find it popping up all around the house. I believe there is a Japanese variety that is more controllable…..I obviously am not afflicted with that one!

    1. Yes, Jeanie, I’ve heard beautiful wisteria can be a monster. Thankfully I’ve never had to deal with that one. Thanks for stopping by and good luck killing off your wisteria. 😩

    2. Wisteria can be invasive. I purchased a double Chinese wisteria and had to root prune it to finally get it to bloom. And bloom it did. but everywhere I had root pruned it, it sprouted more shoots. I learned that if you wrench the shoots off (of any shrub or tree) rather than cut it, it will not produce more suckers or shoots. Once I started wrenching off the shoots it was easily controlled.

      It was the width of my index finger and less than 2 feet tall when planted. And because we read that “wisteria have been known to collapse flimsy structures”, we erected 2 6 x6 locusts posts 11 feet tall with 3 foot cross beams on each end with 2 fence rails between them to support it. People made fun of our OK Corral structure. After 5 years it completely covered the structure and we hang our hammock under it. We prune it right after it blooms in late April It sets its buds in late summer for the next year. But I always wrench any suckers that come from the main trunk and any that may pop up around the root zone. It is a favorite resting spot.

  128. I just came in from ripping out snow on the mountain.

    What I hate even more are raspberries. The fruit is nice but the bears and birds get most of it anyways. I just keep pulling and pulling (with thick leather gloves on of course) and they just keep on spreading. Brutal.

    1. Good luck, Sarah! My husband asked me once if I would grow raspberries and I quickly said no. I have heard that if they are grown in a raised bed it’s easier to control them. Thanks for stopping by and happy gardening, Joanna

  129. Japanese knotweed has a lovely variegated leaf, but for at least 7 years it was the bane of my gardening life. Finally, finally got it out! Interestingly, Virginia knotweed is very similar in appearance, but is not invasive in my area (7b).

    1. Hi Susan – thanks for stopping by. I had to look Japanese Knotweed up and it’s on the national invasive list. No wonder it took you so long to get rid of it. Happy gardening, Joanna!

    2. I would LOVE to know how Susan finally got rid of her knotweed – we are still trying! Pulling it out, cutting it down, covering it with black plastic, even burning it down to the ground – it still returns!!!

      1. Poops, that sounds like a nightmare! I think you’re doing all the right things, but it may take a few years of persistence to completely eradicate it. Hang in there and good luck.

    1. Hi Pam, thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I’ve never grown pachysandra so I can’t speak from experience, but I’ve heard and read that it’s very invasive. I still see it in garden centers here in zone 4. If you’re wondering about it for your zone either do a little google research or check with your local extension office. Good luck and happy gardening!

  130. Creeping myrtle is the worst. I planted in my garden for a filler and it filled in alright. I’m still pulling it out of places. Got it because it was a low plant with pretty purple flowers. You are right don’t be deceived by the pretty flower do your research 😀

    1. Hello Candy – I really need to add creeping myrtle, a/k/a vinca minor and periwinkle to my list. I’ve had lots of gardeners comment that’s one they are sorry they ever planted. Thanks for taking the time to comment. Good luck and happy gardening!

  131. I live in the south where it’s hot, humid and plants need to be drought tolerant to survive because I do not hav a sprinkler system.
    I’m wanting to transform my back yard from lawn to a cottage garden. Are the plants you listed too aggressive for zone 8 cottage style gardens?


    1. Hi Tawana – I would say yes these plants would be too aggressive for your gardens. There are so many beautiful perennials for cottage style gardens. I would recommend that you do a google search for zone 8 cottage perennials. Once you get a list of plants, make a list of the plants that you want to plant. Once you have a list of the plants you want, do a bit of research on each of those plants. Good luck and happy gardening!

      1. Hi Jackie – thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I’m not familiar with that one. I will have to look it up. Stop back soon! Happy Gardening!

  132. Hi, Joanna. I have experience with most of these, although I don’t think I can blame you for any of them. I love everything you’ve given me over the years. Some of these thugs I have growing in “Death Valley” – my narrow garden bed on the east side of the house that’s in a rain shadow. It’s mostly in hard shade since our neighbor’s house is a few feet away but gets intense sun at noon. I usually forget to water it. I’ve killed a lot of plants in it. Since it’s surrounded by a sidewalk, I took a chance and planted ribbon grass and mint. They survive but can’t spread.
    I love lilies of the valley for many reasons but actually have a hard time growing them. I finally got some established on the west side of the house in an area where I don’t mind if they spread. I’ll keep a closer eye on them though after reading this . I’m a lazy gardener so I like perennials that take care of themselves.
    The worst one I’ve found is the campanula. Thanks for identifying it for me. It’s pretty but too aggressive. I’ve been losing the battle with it so I better start earlier this spring and be more determined.
    One question : how do I distinguish good orange daylilies from ditch lilies?

    1. Hi Deborah- it’s good to hear from you. Thanks for stopping by. Ditch lilies have very long scapes so when blooming they are tall. Good luck with your gardens this year. Stop back soon!

  133. Thanks for this article. I have a few of these plants in my garden. The worst being an anemone that I bought from a nursery. It’s so hard to pull because it breaks apart from the roots and grows right up into other plants.

    1. Hi Julie – I had the same problem with anemone at our last home. I worked every year to control it, when I should have just dug it all out. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. Happy gardening!

    1. Hi Lynne- Thankfully I’ve never experienced soapwort first hand, but I’ll take your word that it’s awful. I’ve read too many horror stories of bamboo infestations, and it’s not really my style anyway. Thanks for your tips and for stopping by Gingham Gardens.

  134. I caught myself gasping at daisy information. I love these daises but didn’t realize how aggressive they are. Their cuteness tugs at my heart strings. On the other hand, I loved your hosta comment. I think I was offered hostas at least twenty five times last summer. I call them the squirrels of the plant world. My front yard was completely overhauled last Spring so time will tell if I’ve got any aggressive spreaders in the mix.

    1. Hi Brenda – look into adding Shasta Daisies to your gardens. They are not aggressive spreaders and well… they are adorable. I love hosta and there are so many beautiful varieties, but those generally aren’t the ones people are giving away. Send me some pictures some time. I’d love to see your gardens. Thanks for stopping by and happy gardening!

  135. I share a beautiful, huge rock with my neighbour. She planted periwinkle on her side and the darned monster has crawled over to my side. I have no idea how to keep it from spreading on my side without tearing hers out, which is not an option. The previous owners planted gout weed that like you, I am on a mission to destroy. I live in the bush and do not want to be responsible for anything wandering across the road into the forest, so I research everything I plant. It is amazing how many non-native invasive plants there are in zone 3b/4a.

    1. Ugh, it’s no fun dealing with a neighbor’s invasive plants. I’ve had to do that before. I would just keep yanking the stuff out that comes over to your side. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment! Good luck and happy gardening.

  136. OMG – Ditto on the day lilies. I have even resorted to using brush killer on them. Don’t ever plant vinca major. A nurseryman sold some to us and I think he hated us. It is so invasive and will trip you when you try to walk where it is.

    1. Hi Carol – it amazes me what nurseries sell to unsuspecting gardeners. At least now I always ask the right questions, but most don’t. I will definitely stay away from the vinca ground cover.

      1. Vinca minor is okay – it is not as invasive and works well here in OK. It might work in your climate if you need that type of a ground cover.

  137. Good afternoon Joanna, I’ve planted & had problems with about 1/2 of the plants you called mention. Lambs ear & any of the tall self seeding lobelia go bananas . My best friend since kindergarten gave me a some gout weed ground cover. Of course the obvious happened & I told him not to give me any more ground smother & we had a lot of laughs over that. I leave some in because it reminds me of him & the friendship we shared for 70 years .
    Thank you for this post it will be helpful,Joe

    1. I too have fought for years to remove Snow on the Mountain from my flower beds , along with ox-eye daisies. I planted BOTH of them, thinking they were SO pretty. I learned the hard way that they are truly “garden thugs”. My house was surrounded by orange ditch-lilies when we moved here, and it took a long time to get rid of those. I threw some over the bank into the woods, and they’re still growing there.I I think they will actually grow just sitting on top of the ground, they are so tenacious. I also planted (dis)obedient plant and crocosmia. They were gifts shared by friends and big mistakes again. Fortunately I dug both of those up before they had time to take over my world. A word to the wise is sufficient….we really do need to “look a gift horse in the mouth” and beware of what friends are gleefully and unknowingly sharing with us.

      1. I’m so sorry you’ve had many of the same experiences I had with these bad plants. Unfortunately part of being a good gardener is learning the hard way. Before I knew better I was one of those friends that shared some of these plants with my friends. I’ll bet they are still cursing me. ha ha! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

    2. Hi Joe – why do us gardeners have to be so gullible. I too have given some of my gardening friends gout weed, before I knew it was such a spreader and I imagine they are probably cursing me. I stopped giving it away long ago and started throwing it away. I hope spring will arrive for you soon. I fear with all the snow we have on the ground and more on the way, it will be a late, wet spring for us. Happy gardening and thanks for stopping by.

  138. I also live in zone 4b and have so much shade from mature trees that I am happy to have many of these invaders. In fact I have had some issues getting ferns and lily of the valley established. What some people call weeds are treasures to others . Lily of the valley and ferns beat creeping Charlie and bare ground hands down.

    1. I agree, Carol. We have an area in our big back yard that is very shaded and I’m tempted to let lily of the valley go, but I probably will work on getting some hosta going there. Here’s to hoping it stops snowing and spring comes soon. Thanks for stopping by.

  139. Mint, wild violets, orange tiger lily, Queen Anne’s Lace. I have dug out thousands of violets, both in my garden and my yard.

    1. Yes, Beth, I would agree with these. I have wild violets in a huge part of my yard, that I’ve mainly just left alone, but I know when I get ready to tame the area, they are going to make me crazy. I’m okay with bee balm which is in the mint family because it’s very easy to weed out, but I did make the mistake of planting peppermint one time and wow, was I ever sorry. I’ve haven’t experienced orange tiger lilies or queen anne’s lace, but I will take your word for it. Thanks for stopping by!

      1. I also have mint in my back flower garden that was here when i bought the house 14 years ago and I’m still trying to get rid of it!! My daughters wanted some and I warned them to keep it in a container. And I hate trumpet vine. It chokes out the rest of my flowers if I dont get to it right away ☹️ Last but not least….Creeping Charlie! It’s everywhere, in the grass, crawling up the fence, etc. I just keep ripping it out. They love it here in the midwest!

        1. Hi Maggie – thanks for stopping by. I totally agree with you on mint and trumpet vine. I have trumpet vine that was here when we moved in and I hate it! It’s nearly impossible to get all the root. Creeping charlie is definitely a WEED! Happy gardening!

  140. I have another to add to your list….trumpet vine!!! Oh my goodness, what a pain!! And, it’s so hard to pull out.

    1. Ugh, I so agree, Dorothy! We have trumpet vine in our yard now and it never blooms, but comes up everywhere and I swear the roots grow to hell and back. Nearly impossible to dig out. I just keep breaking it off and hoping if it can’t get sunlight it will eventually die. Thanks for stopping by!

  141. So sorry my first comment should have said Goose neck loosesrife not Lycchamachia Aurea which is not usually invasive and a plant I love in pots.

    1. Hi Kathy – I knew what you meant. Lysimachia clethroides is the invasive gooseneck loosestrife. I agree that should be on my list. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

  142. I passed the test, not one of the listed plants are in my garden! There are a few others that I am happy not to have planted, but experience is the best teacher. Happy Spring.

    1. “Experience is the best teacher” is so true. Thanks a bunch for stopping by! Happy spring to you too!

  143. Hi Joanna! You’ve convinced me to ditch my ditch lilies this year. Do you have any recommendations for a taller variety of daylily I can put in its place? They grow in a bed on the side of my garage and I like how tall they get because you can see them from the street. I pair them with giant zinnias and its so pretty in late summer. It’s full sun, south facing. I have some stella daylilies around the yard, but I want something taller.
    But I can’t get rid of my lambs ear though! I love the fuzzy leaves, and mine haven’t flowered. A couple years ago I took a big chuck off each one which kept the size manageable.
    Thank you for all your advice!!

    1. Hi Tiffany – Buttered popcorn is an amazing taller variety of daylilies that bloom like crazy. Cedar waxwing is another tall variety I have in my garden that’s a heavy bloomer. Also, when you start plant shopping (someday when our 4 feet of snow has melted) keep your eye out for taller blooming varieties. And, by all means if you like your ditch lilies, keep them. 😉 Let’s keep our fingers crossed that spring will be here soon.

      1. Made the mistake with the Gooseneck cause thought so interesting but it’s taken over!
        Am loving this blog! Thank you

        1. Hi Vicki – thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. Fortunately, I have never experienced loosestrife, but I know many that have. Good luck getting rid of it.
          Happy gardening, Joanna

          1. Goose neck loosestrife is so evasive and takes more than two seasons or more to dig up to get rid of.. When I think I got all the stuff dug up
            It pops up somewhere else because the underground runners😳

          2. Hi Alice – I feel your pain. I’ve dug so many of these out, thinking I got everything and then have them pop back up the following season. Good luck and happy gardening, Joanna

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