Can you identify this plant for me?

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Dear fellow gardeners,

I have just moved from a mostly sunny to a mostly shady garden, and some of the plants are unfamiliar. I now have hostas popping out of the ground, and I have removed at least 400 lily of the valley, but I have a plant I don't recognize, and I got no response on the invasives forum. My neighbor is allowing lots of them to grow but some people like invasives. Can you please identify this for me? It seems to like to grow under trees.

I'm trying to figure out whether I should eliminate it now. The lily of the valley is so ingrown that the root system is actually at the surface in some places.


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Bardstown, KY(Zone 6a)

Probably a "ditch lily"

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

From what I'm reading, I should get rid of them.

Thank you for the head's up!

I agree - a lily of some type.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

They have spread from a neighbors yard, who siad that are orange, and I think they are daylilies. I hate orange, and I hate daylilies. I am working to get them out - not a party!

Thank you both.

Between the lily of the valley, white violets and daylilies, I have my work cut out for me. They also have a bunch of hostas, which I intend to dig up and possibly trade, to make room for roses and peonies.

I'm not a big orange fan either but I'm okay with it if it's mixed in with other colors. Fought it for a long time. And I did edit daylilies last year. Foliage takes up way too much space for the short bloom time. Good luck with your editing.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Cindy, how did you edit? Did you just dig, or did you use a chemical? They are spreading into the yard from both sides.

Maine, United States(Zone 5b)

I love orange, personally, but those "ditch lilies" are supposed to be pretty aggressive. I love day lilies in bloom but agree that their foliage leaves much to be desired- especially later in the season after the blooms.

They can't be worse to dig up than lily of the valley, though!

Saint Louis, MO(Zone 6a)

Donna, I'd get rid of them also. In the shade, they rarely bloom anyway, just a bunch of foliage taking up space where otherwise you could put nicer things.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

The difference between the two is that lily of the valley is a piece of cake to dig up, and it shows itself quite well.

Digging up the ditch lilies is backbreaking! I wnted to kill the neighbors but just talked to the original owner (who is in New Zealand) and he ASKED for them. I could kill him!

You do have to be pretty thorough in removing the ditch lilies. Pieces of leftover root will grow. I generally just dig the stuff out. The daylilies were much easier to remove since they're more of a clump than ditch lilies. Only thing I've ever tried chemicals on (out of sheer desperation) is Campanula rapunculoides and it just laughed at me.
Your inherited garden sounds pretty much like a lot pass-along plants - stuff that people will actually give away. Love lily of the valley but I wasn't aware until too late how aggressive it can get.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Thank you Cindy, Weerobin, Norester and postman. I am just tackling it in stages. The previous owner ASKED for them and put them under a mature tree. Happily, the tree roots inhibited them somewhat, and those are less backbreaking to get out. As they get farther away from the tree they are far more robust. And the soil is very moist, which makes it messy but a bit easier.

You are being too polite. My inherited garden is filled with garbage - ditch lilies, lily of the valley and white violets. My duty now is to keep them from spreading to the neighbor on the other side. nd I want to keep them away from my plants from home, which are really coming along beautifully, because this soil is gold (years and years of letting the leaves fall and rot). So while I do have to pick up tons of leaves, the soil is heaven to dig in.

In my book, having good soil makes a garden worth the other work. I also admit to having white violets but I do edit out the unwanted seedlings.

Maine, United States(Zone 5b)

Donna, I inherited my Lily of the Valley, too. Only the previous owners never had a garden- just a wild mess where they threw some down under the trees. They also tossed in a few daylilies, but they were not the orange ones. When I decided to start gardening, I removed about half of the LOTV that was there, which for me was no easy feat since instead of soft soil under there, it's all rocks and roots with the roots of the LOTV wind around. Every year I "dig" out a bit more, which actually means I use a pick axe to loosen up the ground then remove whatever roots I can. I have plans to carve out another hunk of it this year. That said, I don't plan on getting rid of it altogether because I like it frames the front of my big hosta bed....and it's so pretty and fragrant in bloom. I would never intentionally plant the stuff, but I have a certain fondness for my patch of it. Oh, when I dig it out., I sink a plastic barrier in a trench around the LOTV I'm keeping, to keep from invading the areas I don't want it. So far, that has worked pretty well.

Labrador violets are something I planted and they do sprout up everywhere. I don't mind them too much...yet.

here is a pic from last year with the bed of LOTV in bloom, and one of the whole bed with the LOTV up front

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Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Oh, Noreater, that is gorgeous. I think lily of the valley is love. I just don't want 500 of them, so I have removed them from areas I have cultivated.

As fir the dreaded ditch lilies, I have removed almost all of them from my side of the property line on the west. You can see a trail straight from the neighbor's property to mine. Well, you could. The soil is damp from rain, and you can see how the nasty things were actually choking each other out. They were in one's and two's but I was able to get out this clump. The section on this side of the fence is mine. Getting them out fron tree roots on the other side is interesting.

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Maine, United States(Zone 5b)

I was at nursery once, when I heard someone asking if they sold the orange day lilies that you everywhere. Now, with soooooooo many other varieties of DLs available, why choose that one, I wonder? I should have asked them. I think some people are nostalgic about them since they are so ubiquitous. I know that before I was really into gardening, I used to enjoy seeing them as I drive around because it seemed to be a sign that summer was really here. I bet if you put them in a bag on your curb with a sign, someone will be happy to take them off your hands! I've done that with my Lancifolia hosta that grows like a weed.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Oh gosh, I couldn't curse anyone with this. They are growing into the yards on both sides of me. They are very difficult to remove. They kill other plants. I don't want people to come back and shoot me.

I do think I will offer my lily of the valley as a gift in pots to friends. They are easy to get out.

To be honest, I've always hated daylilies. I have a twisted sort of vision. I dislike anything ubiquitous. And I always research plants. I can't believe nurseries sell goosneck loosestrif. A lanscaper put four in a bed. They march through it and killed everything. When I pulled them out, some of the runners were four feet long. That was in 1998, and I still cringe when I think about it.

Noreaster - beautiful design to your beds. And the plastic edging works for you? My neighbor has pachysandra next to my yard and it can really borrow under stuff if it wants to. Not a big fan.
OK - I'm guilty with the gooseneck loosestrife. Of course when I got it (free), I thought "vigorous" was a good thing.

Maine, United States(Zone 5b)

Oh, I know, there are lots of things I can't believe they sell at nurseries, after reading some things on this board! I guess one gardener's "thug" is another one's treasure? I have admit, there are a lot of times I do want something that grows FAST. Like now, I want a vine to quickly cover a trellis to blockout my view of the neighbor's driveway and garage. But look up vigorous shade vines and you will find many horror stories!! So I just stare at that garage and dream....

Cindy, so far the plastic barrier (I use the cheap pound in garden edging fromWalmart), is working fine. Any little stragglers that pop up I will try to pry out or spray carefully with Round up. If there weren't so many rocks and roots under this bed, I would have used an even taller edging as barrier, which I've seen for sale online. But even the regular 5 inch stuff or whatever is working adequately. Now, across from the bank of LOTV, I also have a rapidly growing colony of Hay scented ferns that I admit, I planted. I think I will be doing a barrier for that this year so that they don't engulf my path.

Some of my ferns can be quite adventuresome as well. They never stay where I want them. I do have to edit them sometimes. Not sure what type it is, originally given to me by a now-gone neighbor when we first moved here. Thanks for the info on the edging!

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

My sister-in-law was given the "gift" of some ferns that have consumed literally 80% of her yard. I'm not sure what it is but it's a quite large fern. Would you believe that she offered some to me? I just laughed, and then I pointed out that giving them away would libertate the other ferns she had to spread further.

Look out for gifts!!!!!

At the time I "liberated" my lower garden from trash, roasting pans and old Christmas trees and tons on poison ivy, I was looking for "desirables" to start the garden. It is a more rustic space bordering on wooded wetlands so the ferns were a nice transition at the time. Guess I can't complain that over the 24 years that I've had to edit some of them.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

"Liberated" - I like that!

Maine, United States(Zone 5b)

This will be my first year editing the hay scented ferns, and I'm *hoping* the roots won't be as problematic to remove as my LOTV. I have lots of other ferns that are very well behaved so far. I don't have Ostrich ferns, or Sensitive ferns, which are pretty aggressive, I've heard.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

That's it! Ostrich ferns. I recognize tham from Google images. You should have seen them in her yard. She started with one clump, and now has at least 50. And on they march!

Donna - I used your term. :)
I'll have to check on my ferns. I thought they were common woods ferns but I'll have to check the ostrich fern pics. I have those too. I'm a glutton for punishment.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

I was looking around my yard and was startled to find that a japanese painted fern 'Ursula's Red' survived and is breaking doemancy. I have never successfully done it. It must have sensed my hope and pulled itself over the hump "make it through winter! Yes! I can dio this!"

And anemone Whirlwind, which almost died at my house, made it through the winter too.

The previous owner's hostas are popping up everywhere. I am of course the only person in the world who isn't crazy about them. They weren't big on companion plants so I started to dig in this mound of dirt by the house and these scary pointed things were looking at me. I'm not even sure how many I have, but it's at least ten.

Does anyone know what this is? My impression is that it's a keeper, and it looks somehow familair, but I've never grown it and it is clearlt a part shade plant.

This is such an adventure!

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Bardstown, KY(Zone 6a)

Looks like a Bleeding Heart.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Yes! Yes! I realize now I saw one in that yard last year.

Thank you! I will walk delicately around it.


Pittsford, NY

The only way I finally got rid of my ditch lilies was to cover them with cardboard and mulch - after a lot of years of digging. Still can't get rid of mint though. What an adventure seeing what comes up!

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Well, I have moving boxes and mulch. And for the first time, the adventure of things coming up is a very different experience!

Eureka! Have found excellent solution for ostrich ferns in unwanted places! DD and I were walking through the backyard this afternoon and she spied the fiddleheads on the ostrich ferns, clicking away on her camera. She then posed the question about eating the fiddleheads, which neither of us has tried. We were game so went collecting the fiddleheads from invaded territories. She lightly sauteed them in butter and garlic and they still had a bit of crunch to them. Must say I prefer them to asparagus (of which I'm not a huge fan).

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

That is really funny!

The previous owner had a billion hostas they let spread, and they were wandering into both my peonies and lilies. I was hacking away at the when my next door neighbors came over and said - oh, you don't want those? And brought over a wheelbarrow and removed about ten. They are coming back for more. I have at least 25.

I have now discovered the down side of really good soil. Ditch lilies, lily of the valley, violets and hostas reproduce like crazy and kill everything else. Seeing a hosta entangled in the new growth of a really beautiful and out of commerce lily was gross.

Saint Louis, MO(Zone 6a)

Donna, you're yard sounds like mine! It should be fun throughout the rest of the spring seeing what comes up. And there are lots of plants which will thrive in a woodland setting; I think you'll get a kick out of transforming it from neglected jungle to a woodland garden!

But I also want to come to the defense of the hostas of the world! I'll admit I have some overgrown 'generic' hostas which are pretty boring. But there are many other beautiful choices which come in an astonishing array of colors and sizes and they're really adaptable to a wooded setting. Flowering options are much more limited in the woods, so foliage variation takes on more importance. How about giving them another chance??
#1. A small golden hosta nesting next to a 'knee' at the base of a bald cypress.
#2. Variegated hosta called Gypsy Rose. (Next time I'll move the extension cord!)
#3. One of my favorites is a tiny (just couple inches tall) hosta which spreads like a groudcover called kifokurin Ko Mame (?sp). I've got patches of it scattered around where it fills in beautifully between rocks, tree stumps, etc.

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Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Dear Wee, your hostas are lovely. And I do want to keep some (as though I have a choice). But my soil is wonderful, and they are popping up everywhere. I would love some that are tiny. Many of mine are monsters. Running into the peonies, running into the lilies, trying to clobber the dicentra. So impertinent!

And I think they are the genetic types.

They can stay if they behave. And my neighbor loves me.

I remember my dad taking a load of white variegated Hostas from someone that was pulling them out. He was generous in passing them around but they were never very vigorous and I think I only have a couple left after 20+ years. My dad doesn't "buy" plants so I buy them for him. He's more into cultivating the wild stuff.
Donna - you're so lucky to have great soil. I would think it's easier to pull out the unwanted stuff than to amend soil constantly. I have a few older Hostas that I refuse to divide and they're huge. I like the bold statement that a big old 'August Moon' makes.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Oh, Cindy, I know how lucky I am! My first yard was clay and hardpan and I spent years composting spring and fall to make it manegeable. This guy mulched his leaves and threw them everywhere. You can easily sink a full spade into the lovely soil.

My neighbor came and took some more I am replacing them with oakleaf hydrangeas. If the would behave I'd let them stay. Some of them are large and variegated, some are smaller and green. But they don't seem to know how to play nicely with the other plants. So they have to pick up their ball and go home!

I have a hard time getting rid of plants unless they have a new home to go to. I do need to be more aggressive in editing since some of my (not-so-smart) plant choices are 20+ years old. I still try to get my dad's Hostas to grow but they are definitely declining (don't know why) and are just about gone.

Somewhere in, MD(Zone 7b)

One day when I grow up, I may have the "they don't play nice with others" problem, (heehee, that cracked me up!!!) but for now, I'm just hoping my verbena spread like they are supposed to in my "main" bed. I'm really looking forward to what they'll do this season, but for now already they're springing (no pun intended) back wonderfully after the big fat haircut I gave 'em a couple o' few weeks ago. The Hostas I plan to get for my back little shady corner are Patriots, I just need to finish by putting the compost on top (sheeesh it never ends, huh?). Only 2, I know they grow up to be big like Atlas. With luck, they'll thrive but be able to keep their ball and stay to play in my yard! < ;)

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Well, they've just identified another invasive plant for me. I put in my front beds, all nice and organized, and this obnoxious little thing that looks like green petals and takes root, (and I'm told, makes blue flowers and takes over the world) has appeared. Time for a paintbrush and roundup.

Hostas, violets, ditch lilies, lily of the valley and dandelions make up about 80% of their yard. All of them aggressively spreading. Well, the neighbor just came and got more hostas (yes) so I can put in oak leaf hydrangeas and shade tolerant roses. The hostas are so competitive that areas that were clear in December when I planted now have those nasty spikes coming out of the ground. Next to ferns! Next to peonies! Next to roses!

This means war!

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