in hindsight, what invasives would you avoid?

Juliana63(z5 MI)April 23, 2005

I just gave a lady some free advice about variegated ribbon grass (phlaris something) at the Home Depot -- never again! She was planning on edging her annual beds with it... Other plants I would handle with caution, if at all are:

Plume poppy (sleeps the first year,then takes over the world)

Artemisia "Limelight" (be afraid, very afraid)

Artemisia "Valerie Finnis" (beautiful, but use carefully)

Knautia macedonica (very promiscuous, not worth the effort)

Gooseneck loosestrife (I love it, but it needs a firm hand)

Burgundy loosestrife (just keeps coming back...)

Any others we should know about?

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chills71(Zone 6b Mi)

Yarrow the common white that comes in EVERY wildflower seed mix. I had it escape and it took out 1/2 the lawn before I won the battle by selling the house and moving (funny, the new people loved that half the lawn was still green all winter long)

Crown Vetch I should have known that anything that has taken over huge parts of highway 80, east and west, would be a little difficult to handle.

Does Creeping Charlie count? I've seen it for sale on ebay. I've also seen it creep into the little shed I had out in the back and wrap itself around the mower in an effort to keep me from using it.


    Bookmark   April 23, 2005 at 10:43PM
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pitimpinai(z6 Chicago)

-Campanula glomerata
-Evening primroses - any kind
-Carex nigra
-Echinops ritro
-Aegopodium podagraria - Bishop's weed

    Bookmark   April 23, 2005 at 11:58PM
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pitimpinai(z6 Chicago)

-Campanula glomerata
-Evening primroses - any kind
-Carex nigra
-Echinops ritro
-Aegopodium podagraria - Bishop's weed

    Bookmark   April 24, 2005 at 12:01AM
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Janine Starykowicz

I planted one little plant of Artemisia Limelight last year. It's already up covering about two feet. It'll be an interesting fight between that, creeping charlie and some alleged White Nancy lamium that blooms pink. I like the lamium, it blooms forever.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2005 at 2:07AM
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Juliana63(z5 MI)

Janine -- Dig it up now -- before it's too late! Sprinkle Borax (from the laundry soap aisle) on the creeping charlie this spring -- safe and effective control.

Aegopodium podagraria - Bishop's weed --Absolutely! I planted this one at my first house and left the lesson there.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2005 at 10:17AM
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    Bookmark   April 24, 2005 at 7:52PM
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goodhors(z5 MI)

So far just the Yarrow and Sweet Woodruff. I planted the Woodruff from a couple plants and it has taken over a 20ft place, only 2 years, covers all ground and plants shorter than it is. Pretty, but SO invasive in this semi-damp area. I contain it with Round-up, but am planning on wiping it out this year. Yarrow has spread far and wide. I even found it out in my pasture. I do keep it mowed, prevent flowers from setting seed, helps some. I have the Snow on the Mountain, but it seems to stay in place, used as an edging for the foundation. Looks nice in a tough location. Dogs do a path around house so they make the path an edger as front of plants, kill any spreading with busy feet.
I have the gooseneck Loosestrife appearing in my roadside ditch that I keep after. I behead it and use Round-up on it if ditch is dry. Try to not allow any flowers to prevent seeding. It is all dead every year, then more appears. Birds must carry it in, since there is none on any of the other near ditches, just HUGE thistles. I really check carefully to prevent further infestation of the waterways.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2005 at 12:00AM
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cantstopgardening(Zone 4/5 WI)

Campanula that hitched a ride home in some unfinished compost from the compost station. I thought it was so pretty when it bloomed *grin*.
I've some orange ditch-lily day-lily that I have killed three times. it's not spreading, but it won't die either. I do have snow-on-the-mountain (Bishop's weed,) but it is under a mature maple, so it has not really taken over after nine years.

My husband has a long-standing war on creeping Charlie. He'll be glad to hear about the borax remedy. (I think he should write a book about all the methods he's used to try to eradicate this plant. ;-)

    Bookmark   April 25, 2005 at 8:19AM
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Irmgaard(5b MI)

Primrose, honey suckle, obedient plant, chinese lanterns and yes, trumpet vine. They all spread through underground runners UGH.
The trumpet vine will lift the siding right off the house and provides a highway for termites and there is no way to get rid of it! I see smart people sometimes let it run up a telephone pole far away from the house and garden.
I made so many mistakes and was glad when we moved.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2005 at 10:14AM
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colleen_mi(5b/6a SE Mich)

Thanks for the warning on the Echinops ritro, pitimpinai. It catches my eye in the catalogs every year. Can you tell me anything more about its habit--just so I can kill my longing once and for all? :-)

    Bookmark   April 25, 2005 at 7:37PM
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pitimpinai(z6 Chicago)


Echinops ritro is an exceptionally beautiful plant, leaves, form & flowers. Every part is spiny, so watch out. It is very easy to grow; does not like rich soil or too much water. Bees love the flowers. They are very long lasting in arrangements.

Here's the catch. I loved it so much I left the seedheads alone. They were striking for a long time. Now I have tons of seedlings to pull. :-(

    Bookmark   April 25, 2005 at 10:50PM
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Virginia Creepr, don't know the latin name. It's very pretty for an arbour but you have to be vigilant... (okay maybe i'm a lazy gardener, but to me, trimming is what you do couple of times a season, not every other day).

    Bookmark   June 14, 2005 at 10:11AM
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KrazyKim(z5 MI)

We have been in our home for about a year and a half. The previous owners had trumpet vine growing up the siding and under the shutters in the back of the house. My husband has tried EVERYTHING to kill it and I noticed yesterday, it's bacccccccccck.

It is trained up a pole in the front, which is fine.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2005 at 6:42AM
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eleanor_rigby(z5 OH)

Tradescantia (spiderwort), ajuga (the common variety), anything with the word "weed" in its common name. For instance, ajuga is called bugle weed. Whe you see the name weed, watch out!


    Bookmark   June 16, 2005 at 8:50AM
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knottyceltic(S/W Ontario 5b)

Only this week I've been warned about the Chinese Lanterns I planted so I went out to take a look and sure enough the buggers have made their way out of the garden (under the 5" deep garden edging) and into my grass. Only one plant so far but that's bad enough if I have to dig up the roots in one complete piece to avoid future plants.

My dad just warned me about a fuschia coloured Spiderwort which name actually has the word "red" in it (sorry can't remember the proper name) but he said it took over a large portion of his garden after only 3 growing seasons. Just looked it up from his's called "Tradescantia 'Red Cloud'" and he didn't keep a single piece of it, just threw it ALL in the trash.

My dad also has warned me about ribbon grass and did I listen? No... I put some in this spring and it had a slow start but now is shooting up new growth by the zillions. It can stay this summer but it's GOING in the fall..someone can have it for free if they want to babysit it... cuz I DON'T!

Southern Ontario, CANADA zone 6a

    Bookmark   June 16, 2005 at 10:16AM
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murphyl(Metro Detroit)

Vinca minor: The local garden center calls it myrtle. We called it "pain in the butt weed" after three years of digging the stuff out of our flowering crab trees. It's still growing out of a nearby brick wall.

Pachysandra: The stuff just will not die. I dug it out, it came back. I poured boiling water and vinegar on it, it laughed at me. I sent my dogs into the garden to dig it up and pee on it, it came back (along with two very muddy Labs). I threw dead, sun-shriveled plants into the compost bin, and had live pachysandra growing through the bin cover two weeks later.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2005 at 5:11PM
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pitimpinai(z6 Chicago)

Also Buttercups - the seeding kind and the runner kind. Thought they were so pretty in lawns in Europe. ARRGGG!

    Bookmark   June 19, 2005 at 10:13PM
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charlottev(Zone 4-4b)

Cordusa luteau, beautiful plant, flowers all summer but seeds like crazy. The only saving grace is that the seedlings are easy to dig out, that's why I'm keeping it as it is so hardy and pretty.

Some kind of Bell Flower, can't remember the correct name. It has runners and I'm running after it constantly to try to eradicate it!. Also common allium. Don't let the head go to seed, you will find little baby onions all over your garden. I've got to the point that I am digging them all up and throwing the bublets into the garbage because I am afraid if they go into the compost, I will keep getting them back. Creeping jenny. Almost impossible to kill and don't leave a little bit on the ground as even without a root, it manages to root itself. We're still trying to get rid of this one and my DH curses I day I brought it home. It looked so pretty too.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2005 at 4:05PM
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knottyceltic(S/W Ontario 5b)

Can someone please help me out here? I'm new to perennials and just learning about invasives but something I don't understand is how they are let to go crazy. I mean, are they 'that' crazy invasive? Or are people just letting it get too far and then can't get rid of it? I just planted some kind of ribbon grass in mid-spring and it looked so sad that I thought, how can this grass possibly be invasive?! Well, I no sooner planted it and it's only been a month and it is well over 4x it's original girth and putting out new sprouts away from the original plant too. I was so shocked by it's sudden growth spurt that I decided it was coming out this fall no matter what. My property that gets sun is so tiny I just can't keep something that has that kind of growth. I was either gonna throw it in a pot or give it away and before I could decide my bubblehead neighbor with no more sun space than me said "I want it, I want it". So her problem it will be (snicker)... I've warned her over and over that it will take over and she's not a dilligent gardener AT ALL but she insists that she loves it. I know some of you adopted the invasive stuff when you bought your properties (it was already there) but what about things that you planted yourself and it got out of hand. How did that happen? Did the plant really grow or seed itself THAT FAST???? That scares me to think that could happen. My dad who IS a dilligent gardener has ripped out the same plant (red spiderwort which is actually more of a fuschia colour) 3 or 4 times this spring and can't get rid of it. I'm afraid I'm gonna have the same trouble with the Chinese Lanterns I planted last summer and which are blooming for the first time this spring. I'm going to let them bloom and then cut and dry the branches with lanterns and take out ALL the plants but I've been warned the same thing about the roots, that they will re-sprout if I miss even a tiny piece. :o/ I don't want these things growing in my lawn and one has already escaped under the 5" garden edging into my lawn and I'm not too happy about that. I expect more to make the escape but I'll deal with it when it happens. Have to do some surgery to my grass I guess in order to get all the root...that aught to be interesting. (right) :o/

Oh and any tips on the best way to remove an invasive planting? The Chinese Lanterns are in a plot about 3-4' wide and curve around an edge that is about 5' long...I'd say about 30 plants all totalled. Should I get my wheel barrow out and just dig deep and pull out all the soil into the wheel barrow? That way I might be more able to sort out roots from soil? Or is that necessary? I definitely don't want these things and wanna be sure to get rid of them all if I can on the first or second try. The ones in the lawn will be more tricky I'm sure but I was told to try painting roundup on those ones with a small paintbrush and that might help to kill the runner roots as well. Any other tips?

Southern Ontario, CANADA zone 6a

    Bookmark   June 22, 2005 at 9:46AM
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charlottev(Zone 4-4b)

Barb, most of us learn about invasives through experience. When we seriously started gardening, there was really no one else who was, so no one to receive advice from, plus there weren't as many nurseries either. We didn't read books either because we just "loved" the plant and failed to realize how it would take over eventually. There are still bits and pieces of gout weed in my garden and it's been at least 25 years and at least 10 years for that #^#^%#^ campanula. Unless you get all the roots from your ribbon grass and the runners, expect to see that pop up here and there. If it were me, I wouldn't give it to the neighbour becasue she isn't as diligent as you are and guess where that ribbon grass will end up? Now, I am smarter, well, most of the time anyway, and before I buy grasses, I always check the invasive quality of it, or read up about it. If I really like the grass, I plant it in a large pot and stick it in the ground. Now that we have internet, it is so easy to look up plants so that you rarely get stuck with an invasive any more. I once had to get rid of obedient plant and I had to dig down ober 2 feet down and 4 feet to get all the runners and it was just a small clump! I still had a few coming up later too. So, do your research first or ask questions. It is so much easier now. Good luck.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2005 at 1:18PM
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Mayflyon(z5/6 MI)

Be warned..never plant garlic chives. I thought garlic flavored chives, great. HA! They are more invasive for me than any plant mentioned so far in this topic and to top it off, your garden smells garlicy all the time!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2005 at 1:35PM
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TallFlowerinMI(z5 MI)

Thanks to all of you. Some really good advice - I will learn the easy way - from you guys. And MayFlyon, I just planted garlic chives. They don't seem to be doing well. Perhaps I will just let them die?
My problem is Houttuynia Cordata The species I have is called 'Chameleon'. I don't know the common name, thought it was "Kiwi Vine", but the description in my book gives no common name. Is anyone familiar with this garden invader?

In my book it says it is "fragrant", supposedly smells like oranges. Rotting oranges maybe! This stuff smells terrible, especially when you dig it up. Hold your nose! But the up side is that this stuff is pretty - with spade shaped varigated leaves in Red Yellow and Green - altogether on each leaf, and with beautiful blossoms in June that look like apple blossems. Really striking, but taking over my entire bed. Lots of roots were left after I ripped it all out, so I am sure it will be back again, but was careful to get it before the flowers had gone to seed. Will borax work to kill it without hurting its neighbors a Rhododendron and a Weiglia?

As for creeping charlie, that is what my entire backyard is made of! Until today, I didn't even know what it was called. Had to use PicSeach to know what you guys were talking about! I really think it is pretty, and it doesn't require as much water as grass. It is soft, very tough, and smells minty. I must be really disturbed, because I like it! Don't hate me, but I think it's better than grass!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2005 at 2:01PM
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chills71(Zone 6b Mi)

As you start gardening, clearing out a nice space for something pretty Charlie will push his way in, strangle the pretty plant and leave you looking for the remains.

That Chameleon plant, its a thug. It will spread slowly this year and next year will take up an area 5 times as large. The year after that it will start looking for a neighbor's yard to continue its spread.

Murphy1....if your Vinca Minor has spread throughout a crabapple I'm quite impressed. I've got the golden vinca and its rather well behaved. Mow and mist with vinegar on the hottest day in the next couple weeks. That will put a hurting on it.

The borax method will definately put a hurting on those shrubs. Take cardboard and make a shield and block out the drip lines of those shrubs and they will likely be ok.

I've got garlic chives and regular chives. I have them in a half-whiskey barrel and as soon as flowers form I chop em. Don't have a problem with runners or seedlings that way. Besides I eat as many as possible and freeze for the winter too.

Anyone need a couple hundred Silver Maple seedlings?



    Bookmark   June 23, 2005 at 10:09PM
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TallFlowerinMI(z5 MI)

No kidding about those maples. If transplants actually took for me- I would have a nursery by now!! But I love their parents so I will look the other way - kinda like parenting huh?

So you didn't tell me what to do about that "thug" chameleon vine. It is pretty, but what to do about me- the airhead who planted it all over her yard because it "sure is purdy!" What else can I do except for planting right next door to the neighbor that I really don't like too much anyway?

    Bookmark   June 27, 2005 at 1:07AM
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I got Houttuynia 'Chameleon plant' 8 yrs ago. I bought 5 of them. I let it alone the 1st three years. It wasn't bad. But then I just didn't really care for it, so I kept ripping it out. After a couple of years, it didn't come back. This plant is nothing compared to Adenophora (Ladybells). I bought this one 8 yrs ago too. I had put a few plants in my back garden and a couple in one of my front ones. I have never had a plant, weed or flower, that has taken over so bad. It has runners and they will go all over very quickly. In a large field it would be ok, but not in a regular garden. I used Roundup last year and I'm doing it again this year. It's just too hard to get all the plants. So please stay away from this plant!
Btw, I loved the smell of Houttuynia! LOL!! I've seen this discussed before about the smell. Either you love or you inbetweens! :)


    Bookmark   June 27, 2005 at 2:26AM
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pitimpinai(z6 Chicago)

Houttuynia is an herb. The green kind is enjoyed in many Oriental countries. I love it fresh as a side with certain meat dishes. LOL. Yummy with Laotian/North Eastern Thai meat salad. :-)

    Bookmark   June 27, 2005 at 2:16PM
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karen_w(5 MI)

Knottyceltic, obviously all these thugs don't behave the same. I can tell you that in my garden, I had one cute little flowering spike of ajuga this spring. On one little plant. I loved it. I like blue in the garden.
Got busy and didn't visit that part of the garden for a couple of weeks. By then I had a CLUMP of small plants about 1 foot x one foot. So it wasn't due to neglect!

    Bookmark   June 27, 2005 at 2:18PM
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Juliana63(z5 MI)

I've used the digging up method to eliminate as many runners as possible of Chinese Lantern and others with chunky roots. It may (will!) take a couple of years to get it all out, but persistance pays off. Digging out is less successful with plants with more delicate roots like Bishop's Weed -- too many little parts get left behind.
I just dug out a plume poppy clump (again) and found roots down 24" -- more work for next year...

    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 6:55AM
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adenophora looked so pretty in that little area on the side of my driveway. I liked the spikes of purple blue flowers. i liked that it rebloomed during the summer. They were nice for cutting and held-up for a week or so inside.

My meadow sage wasn't doing well, and i needed a spike-y blue in the flower bed in front of the porch. It was raised,
tilled, filled with topsoil, compost and manure. So i transplanted some of that adenophora into my porch bed., just the sweet little new plants.

did you know that adenophora seeds are very fertile? did you
know that adenophora sends out runners/stolons? Did you know that after 2 years adenophora develops massive tap roots--like a bunch of carrots for each plant? neither did i. You can dig this plants up, toss them on the drive during the worst of the summer and 3 weeks later when you get rain, those naked roots on the drive start growing.

I make sure i clip ll flower stems after they bloom. I pull
up those heart shaped leaves when ever I find them. and spritz with round-up on a regular basis.

On the same note, this year (4th one that i've had it), i finally see why people call houttuyania is a thug. for me it's confined by 2 sidewalks and a driveway. when it pops up in the grass it gets mowed. but it looks nice under my oak tree.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2005 at 7:53PM
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Karen_sl(Z5 MI)

Oh man... at darn wart keeps coming back...even after round up
lemon balm
burgendy loosestrife
chinese not go there...
Karen L

    Bookmark   July 19, 2005 at 10:40PM
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Bogart(6 Ont.)

Personally, I like the smell from garlic chives - helps keep the squirrels out of my yard! I wish there was something that would keep the racoons and skunks out, too!!!!!

I'd second Sweet Woodruff - must spread in the air from seed because it's crossed pathways and concerete to start everywhere in my backyard.

My biggest thug is Corydalis lutea, which also self seeds everywhere. It's pretty and easy to pull but you have to be dilligent or it'll bury everything in its path.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2005 at 3:59PM
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That was a good question to post Juliana. The answers were most comical and informative. Some of them I have to agree with, others I'll just take your word for.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2005 at 11:27PM
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Bubben(6a S. Ontario)

Comfrey is another thug that took me years to get rid of. I thought the mature plant was beautiful, and moved it to a better location. And then found it EVERYWHERE. Roots grow very deep and even the smallest piece of root will form a new plant. And with trumpet vine, many years ago it choked out an evergreen when I wasn't looking. Thought I had finally killed it all, but 20 years later, out of the blue, there it was again sneaking up the new cedars at the fence line. Roundup has worked so far.......... Obedient plant was a terror. Jacob Cline monarda loves to spread, but can be easily controlled. And my new aggravation - morning glories. Millions of seeds fell from last years vines and I just couldn't get them all. So now, I am finding vines tightly wound around cannas and the trellises for my new viticella clematis. Thought the morning glories might be nice again this year, but they are taking over faster than I can tie them. Maybe it's time to rip them all out??

    Bookmark   August 14, 2005 at 11:37PM
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frogsntoads1(Z5 Michigan)

Lilly of the Valley, be afraid, very afraid. LOL!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2005 at 12:12AM
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paul_(z5 MI)

Funny hearing what some have probs with while others don't.

Vinca minor, have a bed of it at my folks place [10+ yrs now] confined by a sidewalk -- nary a problem with escapees. In fact have actually had times that it has had to be nursed along!

I planted some pips of LOV at the base of a maple once ... they all died. LOL

    Bookmark   August 16, 2005 at 10:38PM
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Tansy is tough, some of the sedums, a few of the campanulas (even tho' they are still one of my favs) - but none even hold a match to chocolate mint - it took over my herb garden in less than one year. None of the other mints have been half as agressive. Then of course there's feverfew and calendula and ...

    Bookmark   August 18, 2005 at 4:00PM
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nogo(SW ON Canada)

I'm wondering if the borax method for creeping charlie will kill off other plants either from accidental contact or from leaching into the soil wieh it rains.

I had read that farmers were experimenting with brine to eradicate weeds and that their crops weren't damaged and wondered if anyone had heard of this, if it will hurt perennials. I am seriously considering using rock salt on pea gravel, wood chips and between rock pathways and am wondering if this will hurt perennials if it leaches into the soil?

    Bookmark   August 31, 2005 at 11:34AM
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Here's my guide to borax and creeping charlie from the U of Minn extension site...You may have heard about using Borax to control creeping charlie. You have to use Borax very carefully. Boron, the active ingredient in Borax, is an essential nutrient, needed in minute quantities for healthy plant growth. Amounts even slightly over what is needed are toxic to plants. Borax can be used against creeping charlie because the weed is more sensitive to boron than grass is. Small amounts can kill creeping charlie without permanently harming the lawn. (Grass may brown a bit, but it will grow out of it.) The problem is, boron does not dissipate or break down like standard weed-killers. If it's applied repeatedly or at too strong a rate, you will end up with an area where you can't grow anything until the boron leaches out. That may take years.

My vote is no to borax - it's not worth the risk.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2005 at 10:12PM
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greenfingers99(z5b Cda.)

Surprised no-one has mentioned goutweed unless it's also called something else.
Lily of the Valley is also a no-no.
I like sweet woodruff, pachysandra and periwinkle, all can be invasive but I have them in controlled areas and they have never been a problem.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2005 at 10:18PM
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chills71(Zone 6b Mi)

I was looking up plants I'm not familiar with and I've got a place for adenophora. I've wondered what it was when I've seen it, and thanks because now I know. Tell me it smells nice and I'm sold.

I use borax powder on charlie each year, I dust lightly, making certain to hit the thickest areas of charlie infiltration (the neighbor doesn't mind it). I have one area that I fried a few years back, but it was because the dog knocked the box over. I let that area stay bald a year, added topsoil, compost and grass seed the next spring and its beautiful. Best of all charlie turns away from the area.

Has anyone mentioned Bindweed? Though who would plant it on purpose I can't imagine. There was so much of it in my back yard that I dug out the soil to a depth of 2 feet and sifted it all in my side beds the first summer I was here. I had a pile of bindweed roots, stolons and shoots almost 3 feet high and wide from a bed 2 feet wide and 25 feet long. I still get thin straggly vines occasionally, but nothing like what was here when I bought the house.


Oh yeah, chameleon plant...mow and spray with vinegar on a hot day. Spray daily for a week then put newspaper down and mulch for a month. Works with lily of the valley too.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2005 at 11:19PM
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garden_witch(z6a MI)

Spearmint... 'nuff said.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2005 at 10:26AM
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pam_aa(z5 Berwyn Il.)

Who can forget the ever-popular English Ivy? Egads!
Some of our Natives can be pretty bossy too, If you dont remove the seed heads SOON after flowering, the Cup Plant, Silphium perfoliatum will reward you with hundreds of seedlings. If you donÂt get those little buggers at the start, they form nice monster root systems.
Same goes for
Common Milkweed, Asclepias syriaca
Canada Goldenrod, Solidago canadensis
Snakeroot, Eupatorium rugosum
Wild Golden Glow, Rudbeckia laciniata
Anise Hyssop, Agastache foeniculum, seeds like crazy but is easy to pull out.
Ostrich Ferns Matteuccia struthiopteris, can get out of hand and shade out delicate woodlanders before you know what the heck is going on.
I should kick all these bad boys to the curb but I love them so.
Hey, if your revenge minded, give any of these plants in this thread to the revengee as nice gesture. It will be the gift that truly keeps on giving. Ha!

    Bookmark   September 21, 2005 at 4:26PM
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Thanks so much for the warning concerning allium. I did know it was an onion, but never considered the reseeding problem. My hubby and I just planted allium this week, then did a "search" tonight on this forum. I will make note of its potential, so that I can gather the seadheads before they ripen.

Although I love the purple flowers in the Spring, violets are the curse of our garden. Bob digs it out by the shovelfull at the beginnings of summer and autumn.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2005 at 9:04PM
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leslie197(z5 MI)

Golden Hops Vine

In its 3rd year it decided to leave its arbor home. Unseen it grew behind and under a large clump of Iris fans and started up a new plant about 10 ft away - had to dig up all the irises and other plants and replant them. (The irises needed it anyway LOL).

Thwarted there, the hops vine decided to grow under all the plantings in a flower bed anchored by a Hawthorn tree.

Finding it too dry there, it kept growing until it was out in the lawn where the sprinklers hit and started growing a fountain of yellow foliage in the middle of the grass. All the plants in the Hawthorn bed had to be lifted and replanted. Not so funny this time : )

I figure we'll be removing some long hops ropes for years to come. Their rooting tendrils grow on top then disappear underground and form long thick and ropey trails, sending up new plants many feet away, like a bamboo vine!!

    Bookmark   October 10, 2005 at 12:17PM
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Juliana63(z5 MI)

Oh dear, I did love my golden hops vine... but it does seem to be rambunctious (read RAMBO) in its behavior this year. Thanks for the reminder!


    Bookmark   October 10, 2005 at 12:27PM
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Borage, borage, borage!

    Bookmark   October 14, 2005 at 7:07PM
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Jerusalem artichokes. Sturdy, 8-foot tall plants with sunflower-like blooms. Also has tubers bigger than your foot that send out underground runners 15 feet away. Try to dig it up with a shovel and I swear a tuber will tunnel deeper in the ground. Accidentally slice a tuber and they seem to multiply. This summer I was digging up at least a dozen a day, then the next day there would be a dozen more, and I did that for weeks!

    Bookmark   October 29, 2005 at 8:14PM
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knottyceltic(S/W Ontario 5b)

Thanks for your comments on invasives and how they become that way.

Here's an update on my Chinese Lantern issue. Not even one year from the time I planted the seedlings...the roots had grown over an 8x12' span and in some cases farther when they dug down under the edging. I dug it up 3x turning over all the soil by hand so as not to break up any roots and pulled anything from 1' to 8' long pieces of root out of the garden. Along the edging the roots grew in twisted bundles as big as 3" diameter and even after turning the soil 3x there was still more but I just couldn't get at it as it was under and throughout the roots of existing trees. I've left it like that for now and in spring will paint any new sprouts with roundup as many times as it takes to get rid of those dang things. PEOPLE... that mess created itself over the course of 9 months! IF YOU START THINKING CHINESE LANTERNS ARE PRETTY ASK SOMEONE TO SMACK YOU AND BRING YOU TO YOUR SENSES.

The Ribbon grass was so wild by the time I gave it all away that I insisted anyone who took it, MUST put it in a pot. All the neighbors who took some put it in pots and will likely leave it outside over winter in which case it may or may not survive. I did keep a small clump and put it in a pot on my deck and it will go in my coldroom for the winter to see if it will overwinter ok with a pot of green/yellow striped Smooth Brome Grass...also invasive and messy and rellogated to a pot. If they don't survive, my heart won't be broken but they did look a lot nicer in the pots on my deck than they did in the garden.

One other plant that appears to be a bit crazy in my garden is Purple Bell Flowers. I planted this tiny little specimen I got half dead and only an inch across for 50cents at a closeout sale. I only planted it in Late August and now in October it is almost 3' across and 3' tall. If it carries on like that I will have to take it out as I don't have room for something that grows and spreads that quickly.

southern Ontario, CANADA zone6a

    Bookmark   November 1, 2005 at 4:21PM
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wildcitywoman(z6a CDA)

Vinca minor . . . periwinkle? Geesh! I wish mine would 'invade' something - I have been trying to raise it for two years in a shady spot in my garden - it won't budge.

Yet the ones I've got in a place where there's more sun are ok.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2005 at 11:57PM
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Mine I'd state without reservation would be ladybells or Adenaphora confusa, which seems not only to spread with many runners if you don't get the whole plant when trying to pull it out, but drops many thousands of seeds that come up everywhere by the thousands and which from a very young age are difficult to pull even when young since the tops break easily off, but then leave the roots, and only digging those up will remove them . That's no so easy though since they have a habit of comming up in clumps of other plants where you don't want to disturb or damage the other plant's roots. Deadheading religiously helps of course.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2005 at 11:13AM
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sheryl_ontario(Muncho Lake, BC z2)

Any kind of mint is so invasive, but smells so nice and you can use it to cook and make tea or soap, etc.

You know...some of these invasive plants do very well in the pond. Ribbon grass is a great pond plant, in a pot on a shelf. So is mint. Another very invasive plant that loves the pond and stream is creeping Jenny! Mint and Creeping Jenny did very well in my stream and will hide the edges of pots for the bigger plants in the pond too. Another bonus... goldfish don't eat it. Creeping Jenny is also great in the aquarium! Unfortunatly, I also planted it in the garden. Wow does it ever take over!

The very worst one I've ever seen is the creeping ranuculus (buttercup)! I've had all of the above, but nothing, absolutely nothing took over like the creeping buttercup. That stuff is terrible! Except maybe the gout weed...Yes, I was dumb enough to plant gout weed one year. Still there after 15 years. It'll never go away. I just keep digging it out and pouring roundup on it. It still comes back!

The snow-in-summer (Bishops weed) is pretty bad too. I did have some in the garden but ended up digging it all out so the other ground covers would have a chance. I put it in a small walled of section of garden, edged all around by stairs and walls. It did really well there, by itself. One of the plants it was growing over was vinca minor. While slightly invasive, its not really that bad in my garden.

I planted Virginia creeper on the side of my house one year and on a chain link fence. The first year it didn't come up, the second year it got about 4 ft high, the third year it grew to the top of the house and had the entire side covered in 5 years! It looked great but I had to cut it back from the windows after that.

Violets are invasive! I planted some in the shade garden, where not much else was growing, one year. After a couple of year my grass was full of them, so were the other flower beds. They reseed like crazy. After I read in my book that they make a good salad and have more vit A than spinach, we began to eat them on a regular basis, helping to keep them under control. They're quite good and very mild.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2005 at 2:23PM
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Juliana63(z5 MI)

Water Celery -- a pond plant that escaped its pot and took over the stream last summer. I tried pulling it up in the fall and found the roots adhered to the liner -- what a mess! I'll probably have to replace the whole stream to get rid of it.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2006 at 1:29PM
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sunflower_ilz5(z5a IL S of Chi)

Lady's Mantle -

It did not start off bad, and I can easily pluck the seedlings I find scattered around. The problem is the plant just grows and has lots of runners which go out below soil level. It does not stay in its place. It might be okay in another location where it is surrounded by lawn, but it is currently strangling its neighbors.

Here are my experiences with some of the other plants.

If I am careful to remove the garlic chive flowers before they go to seed, I have no problem. I have had no problem with my garlic chives in their current location, and I've had it there several years. I am still trying to remove them from their their previous home. I got rid of the original clump, but I am having difficulties removing all the babies from before I learned my lesson about cutting the flowers. I thought the seed heads looked pretty. :)

So far I have not had a problem with tansy, but I sure would if I did not weed the seedlings. The seedlings pull easily. The mature plants have these tough woody roots. If I had to get rid of it, I think I would try roundup. I do not have the tansy in a perennial bed, it is at the edge of the vegetable garden. One side of it is mowed and the other is plowed. Treat it rough, it's not delicate. I don't think I would put it in a perennial bed. I have not found it to be beneficial except for the pretty flowers.

Calendula reseeds easily, but I have no problem pulling the seedlings. Same with Angellica, mullein, and a bunch of others.

I've never grown mint in except in containers. Make sure it does not escape out the drainage holes or over the side. My oregano needs watching, but so far it is managable. I think it would be difficult to remove. I just keep hacking it back. I do have common chives in the center of the oregano, but the oregano is swallowing it up. I also have to occasionally hack back my lemon balm.

I withhold judgement on my sweet woodruff until I live with it a couple more years.

Violets can spread, but they have not alarmed me. I just keep yanking them out where I don't want them. I like violets. I like violets in the lawn.

Borage seedlings are good in salads.

Morning glories are horrid weeds. I can think of only one use for the seeds, and it's not planting. I would not recommend that "use" either.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2006 at 12:25AM
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tastefullyjulie(Lewiston, NY 6)

yarrow, yarrow, yarrow, mint

did I mention YARROW?

    Bookmark   February 9, 2006 at 4:11PM
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Myostosis (forget-me-not) drives me nuts. It was here when I moved in and I can't get rid of it. It's beautiful when in bloom, then looks like crap later on. Self-sows like crazy. Find new seedlings ALL OVER the yard.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2006 at 8:04PM
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hostared(Z5, IL)

On the "Perennial Forum" there is a thread or Poll that I started this summer "Most invasive plant in your garden". It's still going strong with 88 responses. Especially insightfull for Newbies as what to avoid. Some of the comments above would be helpful and a great addition to the thread.

In addition some gardeners has come up with some useful hints in control and even a nice 4 flat tined pitch fork for removing these pesky invading runners.

So Newbies may look pretty the first couple of years and after that its an invasion.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2006 at 8:37AM
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tenor_peggy(10 FL, N. Fort Myers)

My In-laws back up in Green Bay, WI have those small purple violets in their lawn and they are constantly trying to get rid of it (they didn't plant it, lord knows where it came from). My sister up there has Lily of the Valley and it is popping up everywhere too. When I was a kid we had that creeping charlie in our back yard and I don't think Dad ever got rid of it completely.

I grew roses for 20 years in GB but darn! I never saw this forum until after I moved! :-/

    Bookmark   March 12, 2006 at 9:53AM
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Yuccas (sp) Green sword like leaves with clump of white flowers in summer. A friend gave me one. Took over. I have cut it out, sprayed it with Round Up, vinegar, gasoline, have threatened to set it on fire. I've dug into the foundation after the roots. This thing has got to go.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2006 at 3:20PM
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magda(Z 5b/6aOnt Can)

Blue Lyme Grass. Here is the description taken from Ohio Uni website, 'Blue Lyme Grass is a deceptively beautiful plant that will spread like wildfire in good garden soil, being extremely invasive via its underground root system (this recent transplant still retains its clump appearance, at least above ground).'

We had it in our front lawn in difficult very sunny dry clay conditions. It behaved beautifully and I loved it for two years, and then it TOOK OFF! I am still finding shoots two years after.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2006 at 9:29PM
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Gooseneck loostrife, which I happen to like a lot, I put them where nothing else would grow. They sure do and of course, have escaped their boundry.

Yarrow - took over the lawn

Buttercups??? Honestly, I've NEVER succeeded in getting one to grow.

Daisy - I got a free packet of seeds from the teen-girl's store Delia's years ago with a purchase. I don't know if I would call them invasive, but they pop up everywhere ever since. I didn't even expect them to sprout. Delia's is not exactly where I go seed shopping!

vinca vine - I don't believe I can win this battle. It grows up into my house siding. I dug up most of it, but some is intertwined with tree roots and I don't want to kill the tree to win the war.

English Ivy - I have heard that this is being banned in parts of the country as a weed. I put it in a container once and am now losing the battle with it as well. Also grows into the siding of my house.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2006 at 12:53AM
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I'm a beginner and more attracted to the native plants of my area, so the question I want to ask is.... will I still have invasive problems if I just stick with an all-indigineous garden? If not, what's the solution? Also, should I deadhead the plants or leave the seeds for the birds?

    Bookmark   June 2, 2006 at 12:14AM
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jenny1220(5 IN)

OMG! Someone else mentioned Tansy!
Two summers ago, after attending a herbal workshop where I learned all of the beneficial uses for Tansy. I ran right out and bought two small plants at a farmers' market. Small. In the tiny little plastic pots. I planted one at each end of my flower bed

Two years later....

These are monsters. They're unbelievable. They spread underground and pop up where you least expect them. My two "main" plants are now 5 ft tall and probably 10 ft in circumference. I dug them up this spring - about two months ago -along with countless starts throughout my garden. They're back and you can't even tell I did anything to them. I figure at this rate, within 5 years my flower bed will be one huge Tansy patch.

As far as the "beneficial uses" for Tansy...the only thing I've ever used it for was to keep the japanese beetles out of my veggie garden. You boil the leaves of Tansy and make a tea, then spray it, and it does a fairly decent job of keeping the beetles at bay.

But what a price you pay for that....

    Bookmark   June 18, 2006 at 2:14AM
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tosa_rose(z5 SE WI)

The common moss rose, a beautiful, soft pink-lavendar plant has spread throughout one part of my garden and is totally uncontrollable. We dig it up as much as we can and still it keeps coming up. I have over 300 roses in my yard, but nothing that sends up shoots like this one! We even used Round-Up and that didn't work either! If I could just control it, I would keep one or two but this is plain crazy! The thorns are soft and somewhat sticky near the top and of course the sepals are moss covered. It is an interesting plant. I friend of mine had given me Alika (a pretty rose) but instead of Alika, I got what has been determined to be the "Common Moss Rose".

Forget-me-nots and the beautiful pink peony poppies were a gift from the birds and I dig them up and give them away. People love them even though I tell them how invasive they are.


    Bookmark   June 18, 2006 at 10:25PM
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byline(6a NS)

Re: "I'm a beginner and more attracted to the native plants of my area, . . ."

That's pretty much the approach I've taken with my side garden. I've tried clearing it out, multiple times, and planting various bedding plants and then keeping it free of the invasives (many of which are named in this thread) . . . to no avail. They just keep coming back. So, in the end, I've given up the fight and have adopted a "go with the flow" approach. They win. And my side garden is actually fairly attractive, though it's full of all kinds of native and non-native plants, many of which are no doubt considered weeds or invasives. When it starts getting too full, I just go in and yank a few things to thin it out.

I had so much trouble growing the stuff I planted, but am having no trouble at all now, LOL!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2006 at 8:55PM
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byline(6a NS)

By the way, I notice that several people have recommended sprinkling Borax on creeping charlie to get rid of it. I tried it on a few sections in my lawn, and sure enough it seems to have fried charlie without messing up my grass.

Question: I also have several flower beds in my lawn; they're surrounded by rocks. How close can I get to those flower beds without hurting the plants (including a young Shubert chokecherry) inside? Or, as someone else suggested, is it best to avoid that risk altogether?

    Bookmark   July 5, 2006 at 8:00PM
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decolady01(7a/6b AL/TN)

Creeping Charlie and Bouncing Bet (soapwort). I'd never heard of using borax on the Creeping Charlie, but plan to try it out this year. It is almost worse than kudzu. Do you just use the regular 20 Mule Team Borax?


    Bookmark   December 7, 2006 at 1:25AM
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shiollie(z5 MI)

TRUMPET VINE!!!! Hate the stuff!! I have 4 plants growing up a hitching post. I have dug and burned and pulled but it just keeps growing... now it is growing out into the lawn. How can I get rid of this stuff???

    Bookmark   April 7, 2007 at 9:25AM
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Juliana63(z5 MI)

Earlier post from kec01:
"Here's my guide to borax and creeping charlie from the U of Minn extension site...You may have heard about using Borax to control creeping charlie. You have to use Borax very carefully. Boron, the active ingredient in Borax, is an essential nutrient, needed in minute quantities for healthy plant growth. Amounts even slightly over what is needed are toxic to plants. Borax can be used against creeping charlie because the weed is more sensitive to boron than grass is. Small amounts can kill creeping charlie without permanently harming the lawn. (Grass may brown a bit, but it will grow out of it.) The problem is, boron does not dissipate or break down like standard weed-killers. If it's applied repeatedly or at too strong a rate, you will end up with an area where you can't grow anything until the boron leaches out. That may take years.
My vote is no to borax - it's not worth the risk."

I received the borax advice in a MG class -- unfortunately, the lecturer did not mention the negatives. Miracle cures seldom live up to their hype. I always try to pull and dig out invasives (sometimes a many season task...)before resorting to chemical control. I also am more diligent about researching cultivars before I introduce them to my garden -- my personal "Just Don't Grow!" campaign.

I'm amazed at the longevity of this thread -- thanks for all the great responses.


    Bookmark   April 8, 2007 at 10:22AM
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seil zone 6b MI

Morning Glories, wild or otherwise, will not die, will wrap around everything else and kill it. Also Violets and Lily of the Valley both spread profusely and choke out other things. I made the mistake of planting Bee Balm once too. I've been trying to get it all out for 3 years now. Cosmo's are lovely but put them somewhere by themselves or they'll take over a bed. If you have strawberries be ruthless with yanking them out around the edges or they spread like wild fire into everything else. I even had one spring up from under a 2 foot wide patio block.

My neighbor on one side loves loosestrife and the neighbor behind me has decided that she prefers creeping charlie to grass because she doesn't have to mow it. Needless to say I do battle with both of these regularly as well.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2007 at 7:35PM
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seil zone 6b MI

I forgot to add that I have found a way to keep some spreaders that I like without their taking over. I plant them in those big black nursery pots and then just sink the pots. It doesn't work for things that seed themselves but for the spreaders like day lilies it works great. I've had some in a pot like that for 5 years and they haven't spread and inch.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2007 at 7:42PM
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No one mentioned grape hyacinths! They multiply and are the hardest dang things to get rid of!! I wish I had never planted them. Vinca vines? Inherited that problem. Have pulled and pulled, they are underneath the arborvitae, and they have now grown into my neighbors yard. Told my neighbor, sorry, they were there before I moved in, and have tried pulling and pulling and pulling!! Ughhhh!!!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2007 at 12:18AM
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linda_schreiber(z5/6 MI)

This great thread will never die..... and it should not! Thanks for bringing it current, so that I scanned through the old posts up to now. Great guffahs!!! Lots of commiseration, but lots of well-needed guffahs... The husband asked me if I was ok.... Oh, yes! Warnings and whinings are good!

I would also add the once-praised 'Russian Blue Sage'. Any tansy (dittoing flowerfarmer's wonderful multicolored offering of old, and comments from others). Yellow Corydalis. Luckily easy to weed out. Sweet Annie. Chop it to dry *before* it sets seed and lays down..... Trumpet vine (don't even get me started). Egyptian onion is cute as a button, but ends up everywhere. Lemon balm.... Grow it in a pot, on a balcony, over a parking lot. One little lemon balm plant out-competed the catmint and the spearmint, and is spreading like wildfire.

Ya gotta laugh....

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 10:04PM
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douglasont(6 ON)

Might have come up before.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2007 at 11:32AM
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Bindweed! You would have to be insane to plant it. Unfortunately, it migrated from my neighbor's yard. I went on vacation and when I came back it was trying to smother the cars in the driveway! I spoke to a landscaper and his advice: MOVE. I did end up moving (for other reasons) but I must admit that bindweed won the war.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 1:02PM
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linda_schreiber(z5/6 MI)

A really lovely thing .... "Pink Mallow". After a few troubled [!!!] years, I do still let a few go in a specific area. But they seed vigorously, and everywhere! And unless you catch them as very tiny seedling plants, they are difficult to weed out. Like their 'common mallow' cousins, they root to China before they are 3 or 4 inches tall. When I was just starting to understand and battle the infestation, from a single plant, I learned to forswear the shovel and began weeding the marigold-sized 6-8" plants with a post-hole digger..... I've learned to recognize them small, at max 2-3 inches, and a trowel suffices. And I do love them. But if you plant one, beware and be vigilant in the following spring!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2007 at 8:52PM
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lmcd(Z6 Ontario)

No one has mentioned scilla or Siberian squills (those little blue-flowering bulbs). The previous owner planted them over 20 years ago. They pop up everywhere and spread through the lawn. I try to dig them out, but half the time, the bulbs snap off in the soil, and all I get is the top of the plant.

Goutweed and violets are the other two thugs in my garden. On the other hand, all of the bugleweed that I planted last fall is dead.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2007 at 9:20PM
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abintra(z5 Ont CA)

I am asking how to get rid of an indiginous weed! I think it is 'wild carrot'... I believe it spreads by seed.
For 4 years had a farmed field behind my house. Now there are houses & I have a fence.
Besides the grubs I am finally winning control over... I absorbed a large population of this weed... and would like ideas of how to get rid of it in my back yard's lawn/grass... there are so (literally 1000's in a 20x50 space... creeping into my total 65x50 back yard) many pulling by hand seems to not keep up with it... HELP!!!
Purple loosetrife (or firecracker lysmachia) is aggressive - but not hard to dig up strays... a few plants put in about 3 yrs ago & now have hundreds... happily planted beside the fence I share with a 'diligent' gardening neighbor couple that only speaks to my husband & not me... hehehe

    Bookmark   May 11, 2007 at 11:23AM
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beth_ontario(z5 Ontario)

Himalayan Balsam...............1 plant gives you hundres and hundreds of babies in the spring. I'm still pulling seedlesing from the lawn.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 10:22AM
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Do you think Borax will work on snow in the mountain? It is incredible, all through my raspberries, whole side garden where I usually plant squash, corn, veggies. At this point, I don't even care if I have to leave it unplanted if I can just eliminate this stuff!! Roundup did not phase it.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2007 at 7:32PM
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oh, boy. faze it

    Bookmark   May 27, 2007 at 10:37PM
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goutweed! it is the devil. and virginia creeper is taking over my grapevines.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2007 at 6:18PM
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I think my snow on the mountain and your goutweed are the same plant different name. Can anyone comment on whether or not we can use borax to kill the stuff, and then expect anything elseto grow in that soil? Thank you in advance for your advice.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2007 at 7:07PM
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Comfrey! When we bought our old house it had two huge comfrey plants on either side of the granite steps and they were so pretty. When work was being done on the house and they were in danger of being lost I asked the backhoe man to lift them up and move them. Little did I know that it has huge tubers that go up, down, right, left, and unless you get the whole thing it will spread and take over all other plants. I read about this great idea to overfeed it to death rather than use chemicals. The theory is that it is such a heavy feeder that it will absorb high nitrogen food and (in case anyone knows Monty Python) "blow itself up" like Mr. Creosote. It didn't work, but it sure is huge. Any suggestions for getting rid of it...and I have a ridiculous amount of it.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2007 at 10:21PM
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Lathyrus or "Everlasting Sweet Pea". Everlasting alright! Planted this in a side bed that is hot so most plantings don't go crazy - but this one ... Took over the trellis, totally intimidated the Clematis and it was a daily battle to stop it from strangling the Peonies. Actually not that attractive either. For two years we've pulled and dug deep and voila! no sign of it this spring. Until this morning. But I think we're slowing winning the battle.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2007 at 4:36AM
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messymoops(z6a MA)

Excellent discussion! I am here to check in with my experience. Perhaps you can learn from me... I am the only person I know who CANNOT get mint to spread or even come back the next year! I now have it planted in a small bed, separate from everything else and....bupkus!!! I planted two kinds last year, one of which I wound up hating, and guess what came back? Not very much, though. Also, my lily of the valley didn't come back! only one plant flowered. two others (out of, I think, six) grew, but didn't flower. I have now planted some in my perennial bed, so I'm sure nine hundred will emerge and I'll be smacking my head!! So,if I ever figuire out what I'm doing to inhibit these, buggers, I'l be sure to let you all know!!

p.s. I also have the ribbon grass which I did read about before planting it, so I'm monitoring it carefully. it hasn't seemed to spread since the growing season started, it doubled in size since I planted it last year, though...

    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 10:56AM
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northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)

I am still battling wild violets, and a campanula which 'walked' over the fence from my neighbour. Another bad one is Lamium - the yellow flowered one. I bought one little plant several years ago, and I have been yanking it out each fall, but can't keep it at bay. My bugle weed is on its way out since I saw it in my lawn this spring.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2007 at 4:29AM
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messymoops(z6a MA)

Oh, yes! That's another one! Lamium! Can't get that to spread to save my life! I've moved it three times. It lives, but does not spread, though I bought it as a 'ground cover.' Hah!! Perhaps if everyone would send me their invasives, i could sterilize them, or whatever I'm doing, and send them back, chastened!! No bittersweet, though. Our neighborhood--well, TOWN-- IS overrun with that.


    Bookmark   June 21, 2007 at 10:26AM
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I was surprised to see lily-of-valley mentioned a couple of times in this thread. I wish my bed of it would fill out! I'm new to gardening (4th year) and I made the primrose and ribbon grass mistake and mother nature gave me a problem area of crown vetch. The ribbon grass I dug up and planted in 6 large urns that I move around the yard, the deck and the dog pen. It's their third year in pots and they are doing well that way. I used Round-Up on what I couldn't dig up. The primrose will get moved soon to a little field at the back of our property where it can fight with whatever crown vetch I can't pull up.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2007 at 7:33PM
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Snapdragons- the previous owner planted yellow, white and pink snapdragons. They are everywhere now. This year I focussed on removing the yellow ones as they flowered. It is mid November and the battle continues as yellow flowers keep appearing even after two frosts.
Lamium- a great ground cover in a contained garden. Spreads wildly and cuttings are very easy to take. One plant sprouted up this year as a volunteer so I dug it up in October and split it into 25 cuttings which didn't even wilt when moving into their new home.
Lily-of-the-valley- Mom has been digging them out of her tiny shade garden for years. This year I redesigned shade garden for mom and dug up the whole garden. Found hundreds of bulbs still remainng. It will be interesting to see if they are still there in spring.
Herbs- if they go to seed beware. You think maple keys are a pain.
Japanese kerria- in two years, three shrubs have become a 25 foot wide thicket.
Wisteria and honeysuckle- everybody knows these two right?

    Bookmark   November 17, 2007 at 2:41PM
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Herbs, yes I totally agree - I was trying to have a cottage garden and grow herbs with my flowers and now there is oregano everywhere! And don't get me started about Tansy....arrrgh...the sad thing is that I have a really shady backyard (there is a huge walnut tree), where nothing grows and so I dug up all the oregano and tansy in the front garden and transplanted them in the backyard saying 'OK do your worst!' and they up and died on me within 2 weeks! And of course, I didn't get them all out of the front garden so they are still rampaging there, sigh...

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 10:48PM
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This was a really fascinating message board to go through! So I thought I'd put in my nickel's worth. I don't have any trouble with Tradescantia and many others mentioned, probably because my garden is not all that hospitable - the northern climate, very sandy soil, windy and exposed. BUT, I made one very horrendous mistake five years ago and have been paying for it ever since. As I am a Scot, I thought it would be nice to put in the kind of perennial garden I knew and loved in the old country so I dug out (I thought!) an old strawberry bed and planted on that, plus a good sized extra piece. Those xyz strawberries have taken over almost the whole bed...I pull them out, but don't get every little piece obviously as they pop up again and go on their rampage once more. Mind you, they don't seem to do any harm, other than probably taking nutrients away from my plants, but because I know they are not supposed to be there at all and I don't like to be beaten, they drive me crazy. In view of my advancing years, I think this summer I am just going to let them run (no pun intended,lol) and use them as a sort of ground cover. The plants themselves are small enough for that and maybe some day, if I live long enough that is, I'll see them die out. I'm not going to hold my breath though!

Take care everyone! And Happy St. Valentine's Day to all.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2008 at 10:46AM
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"I read about this great idea to overfeed it to death rather than use chemicals....It didn't work, but it sure is huge."

I'm sorry to laugh Baboo, but that just really struck me as funny.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2008 at 12:28PM
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Gooseneck Loostrife - horrid stuff. I hated it so much, it was a bane at my old house and was constantly crowding everything else out and impossible to get the roots pulled out - even with diligence every week. I was so glad to leave it behind when we built a new house. My husband brought one home and it quickly disappeared before it was planted (heh, heh). I feel like such an idiot though - I knew better than to plant obedience plant and evening primrose, but in my eagerness to fill in all the empty spaces I put a few in - regreting it already a year later! I should probably move it all out to the wild field & woods beyond our house, before it is too late.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 1:23PM
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The word "invasive" for me are the plants that have the underground runners. I don't mind (to an extent) pulling up volunteer plants if they come out easily and won't come back. I don't even mind dead-heading to prevent spread by seed. My story begins with my Mother-in-Law who is retired and spends all day in her garden (very lovely one at that) but now I know why. She is keeping things in check but the problem is that she gives me plants. The second problem is that she has an accent and I don't always understand the plant names she is saying. Stupid me, I take them anyway and plant them. So researched everything she gave me and have found some are incredibly invasive. So I have pulled some it before they became a problem. I also think that some mint root was in a plant she gave me last year and now I have it growing everywhere. I am going to paint it with round up and see what happens. I just know I won't win the battle so I will probably simply put up with it just like I do Creeping Charlie. After reading this forum, I have recently dug up Campanula and yarrow and planted it in a pot into the ground. Will this work??? I have sweet woodruff...should I get rid of it or is it easy to pull out???

I guess the reason I am not losing sleep over these is because I am losing sleep over the trumpet vines!!! AGHHH! My husband and I have actually talked about moving from this house because of them...we were joking...but were we??? I am sure that is why the last owners moved...they moved to Texas (we live in Ontario Canada). I think they moved to Texas to make sure they are in a far enough distance away that these trumpet vines will never invade their home again. Well, my husband and I are currently trying to kill the trumpet vine. We have dug all the dirt around the parent roots and sprinkled some root killer in the holes we drilled and then painted the leaves with roundup. The leaves are not green now and are brown and crispy. So now we are on the look out for the annoying upshoots that keep coming. We paint those too. I know we will fail, but we have to do something to at least slow them down. In two weeks, the three parents and their roots (the ones we can get to) will be dug out and DISPOSED of. So we will see. Pretty...pretty annoying, that is. Why can't everything be like a hosta! Stays put, flowers, easily cut back...

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 12:03PM
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Trumpet vine is supposed to be 100 times worse down the US south

    Bookmark   June 24, 2008 at 7:04PM
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Interesting....I suppose what one person considers invasive is another person's idea of chemical-free, no-need-for-mowing weed-fighting ground cover :) I love my ajuga bed, but I knew what I was in for when I planted it. The bed is 4 feet wide and 20 feet deep, edged by sidewalk and two retaining walls. It's not going anywhere I don't want it.

I inherited the variegated bishop's weed when we bought the place. It is rather attractive and from what I understand less invasive than the non-variegated form. I have been continually reining it in, however. Before I'm too old to do this stuff, I'll erradicate it. I do remove the flowers to at least prevent spread from that.

Now, I've got some persian catmint that I purchased last year in a small 2" square planter. Put it in the garden and watched it become a lovely foot-wide mound of purple flowers and scented leaves. This spring....3 bazillion seedlings. I reined them in, but I do have a 3-foot square patch of it now. Now I am harvesting the flowerheads (the cats love this stuff) before they go to seed.

I've planted a couple different loosestrife this year. *sigh* we shall see what I end up keeping and for how long.

I also have sweet woodruff in an area where I'd like it to become a ground cover. It is not. Two clumps are remaining two clumps. I think it's not wet enough over there for it (and it never will be). I'll probably pass it on to someone else because I'm not liking it so much. It doesn't even smell sweet. :/

Anyone know what those orange daisies are called? The leaves look like the plantain weeds that come up in our yards. These puppies self-seed with wild and reckless abandon and I don't know if I'll ever be free of them.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2008 at 11:22AM
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Let me start off by saying I have a 4'x200' border garden along one side of my yard so I really look for self sufficient plants.

I inherited many of my invasive plants when I bought my house. Here are the worst offenders:



chinese elm (hate hate hate hate hate)

tree of heaven (hate hate hate hate hate worse)

blackberry (they duke it out with the honeysuckle and fox grapes)

mulberry (love the fruit hate the dozens of volunteers each year)

morning glory (a neighbor planted them 10 years ago, never replanted and I've been pulling seedlings from the same spot for 8 years now)

rose of sharon (I pull dozens of seedling each year)

redbud (again, I pull tons from my garden and lawn each year)

fox grapes

invasives that go to die in my yard:

bishop's weed (couldn't grow it if I tried, and I have)

LOV (thought it would be ok for a contained dead zone, 3 plantings later... nothing)

yarrow (planted some 6 years ago. was great for 3 years then nothing though my neighbor has it now lol)

lemon balm (been 3 years and it just sits there looking bored)

grape hyacinth and scilla (plant plant plant the bulbs and barely a clump to show for it)

    Bookmark   July 4, 2008 at 10:06AM
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Sadly, I'm reading this to get ideas for plants I CAN use in this zone/region/area. We are what my mom calls "high and dry". You dig and get 6" or less of acidic topsoil (thanks to all the oaks), then the rest of it below is sugar sand (or "blow sand"). We are about 2 miles inward of Lake Michigan, but still have way too much sand in a heavily forested area.

The years-long established woodland areas have typical wintergreen (teaberry), wild blueberry, wild violets, some kind of resilient fern, some dry-loving moss, a small non-violet purple flower, and others I can't remember names. But around my mom's house (built about 6 years ago) has nothing but sand under 1" of any kind of topsoil. Maple seedling from the few trees she has seems to be the worst weed in my beds.

She's struggled over time to grow any kind of lawn and is just now starting to succeed in her back yard. We haven't found ANY plant so far to be invasive besides crab grass and dandelions.

Snow-on-the-mountain died after first year somehow.

Vinca minor (creeping myrtle) has grown (a little) over the years, but been struggling down a north slope.

Lily of the valley will work around her deck area, but spreading VERY slowly.

I purposely planted a sweet autumn clematis (paniculata) just to see how invasive it can be. I doubt it will survive and/or thrive.

We do have some native weed of sorts in patches in the lawn which resembles a green, creeping jenny but we leave it because it's better than just plain dirt or failing-looking, patchy grass and it stays low to the ground.

Her buttercup is still very slow to spread in her part-sun back rose garden. Spread like 3' dia in several yrs.

We have a place to fill with something low between the west house wall and fence that will fair well (with no watering) and/or deal with regular lawn mowings. Was looking at tansy. Just want something that didn't fly over spans to faraway beds.

But I can't STAND any wild violets in my flower beds, though. I moved away from the stuff at old house. It consumed all but some roses and bulbs no matter what I did to get them out. Pulled and dug for days to no avail. Then left bed to nature... and how ugly it got! Brought a few plants with me to my mom's house and nabbing any and all violet sprouts I see popping up around them.

I wanted to refresh this thread for this list anyways. Maybe I can get suggestions along the way... Otherwise, great read!

    Bookmark   June 5, 2009 at 2:55AM
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