What plants do you regret using?

Kissimmee, FL

I was speaking to a friend who asked me, what plants did I have problems with in my garden and I came up with a few, I figured I would see what others have to say. The answers should help many newbies and veterans as well.I wish I had thought twice about using partridge pea, our native coreopsis and Golden rod have seeded like no tomorrow,and incense passion vine has become something I will likely have to deal with forever. I wish someone would have told me!

Lake Park, GA

Interesting topic, Viceroy! My greatest garden regret is the Campsis radicans (native orange trumpet vine) that I didn't eradicate -- or at least control -- when I first moved in and had the chance! I know that hummingbirds love it, so I let it be -- and it is now threatening to take the place over completely. On the plus side, I really don't need a hummer feeder except at the extreme beginning and end of their season, because they have oodles of trumpets to dip into.

Kissimmee, FL

Thanks for the input. The goal is to help people or at least inform them of what some plants will do in your yard, native or not.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Horsetail rush is one that comes to mind. I had it in my fish pond and thought I would try it up near the waterfall (outside the pond)....big mistake. It traveled by root 6-8 inches underground and popped up everywhere. One even went under my biofalls and came up through the seal causing a leak it took months to find. Then it took several years until I finally can say I don't have any in my garden now.

Crofton, MD(Zone 7a)

I have had problems with a few native "volunteers." Virginia Creeper, Parthenocissus quinquefolia, is fine in the woods, it has berries that feed birds in winter. When I let a seedling stay in the bed next to my house it quickly became a pest. You can't manage that vine, it will grow where it wants. Sensitive Fern also grows in the woods behind my house and I thought first the small clump that appeared near my back porch was charming, but after 10 years and a few cool wet summers, I've changed my mind. It's a fern that runs everywhere (when conditions are right) and although it's easy to pull, the rhizomes are hard to kill. Don't put them in the compost bin. They're zombie rhizomes, they'll come back to haunt you!

Viceroy- There are many different species of Goldenrod and some are very aggressive. If you wish to grow the genus Solidago, you could find a species that won't spread rapidly. I made that mistake with milkweed. I dug some common milkweed, Asclepias syriaca, from a nearby road shoulder and planted it in my yard. I'm still trying to get rid of it. I found more info on milkweeds and now I have some well behaved clumps of swamp milkweed , Asclepias incarnata.

Kissimmee, FL

Thanks for the good feedback. My frustration was from the fact that I thought I would not have those types of issues especially if I used native plants, not the exotics.

I have since learned to ask a lot more questions when at the nursery and thus been able to make wiser, or at least more informed decisions when purchasing plants.

2gardenkate-I don't remember which species of goldenrod I have but it is unfortunate because it is really pretty, forms a nice clump, is almost 6 feet tall, doesn't flop and is a decent nectar plant. But It has seeded worse than any of the others.

Lake Park, GA

GardenKate, I wish I had your milkweed trouble! I've lost count of the various milkweeds I've tried to grow (for Monarchs) and none of them lives more than a few months. Sigh.

Larkspur, CO

Globe Echinops Thistle took over my flower garden. I made it a personal rule not to plant anything with the word "thistle" in it! It is very invasive and tough to get rid of, just like the weed of the same name.

Pueblo, CO(Zone 5b)

Baby's Breath Gypsophila will spread by seed, even into un-watered spots. Virginia Creeper is a nuisance here, too, if it gets any water. Native grass Purple Three Awn is very pretty but apparently has no value to wildlife - nothing will eat it, not even insects. I may someday regret Lamb's Ears, but right now it serves a purpose. Grapes have to be monitored or they will use their neighbors for a trellis and smother them. I don't have one but they are popular here: The Cholla cactus that grows wild here is 2x-3x larger when grown in a yard and they always outgrow their alloted space.

Kissimmee, FL

That is fantastic feedback everyone echinops and lambs ear were plants I was going to try. Go figure!

Melvindale, MI(Zone 5a)

I have to agree with the Trumpet Vine. I must have at least 50 suckers coming up in various parts of my yard.

Larkspur, CO

I really want a trumpet vine. The comments I read here are identical to the comments I've read before. I avoided planting one in my last house but now I've moved onto 2.5 acres. Is that big enough that I can plant the thing far enough away from my house or is it still just too aggressive? My grandma had one climbing up her garage and I loved it. I was too young to be aware of the issues she must have had with it there. I've heard they can even come up through concrete. Maybe I should just move on?

Kissimmee, FL

Quote from swishtime :
I really want a trumpet vine. The comments I read here are identical to the comments I've read before. I avoided planting one in my last house but now I've moved onto 2.5 acres. Is that big enough that I can plant the thing far enough away from my house or is it still just too aggressive? My grandma had one climbing up her garage and I loved it. I was too young to be aware of the issues she must have had with it there. I've heard they can even come up through concrete. Maybe I should just move on?

Swishtime that is a good question. I also wanted one and was very close to getting it and because of the comments here did not go through with it. Maybe a little less of an issue on 2.5 acres though.

Abilene, TX(Zone 7b)

Trumpet vine will take over any size area. I've seen it grow over abandoned farmhouses. I've heard some people say they grew it in pots. But they also said they had to pick up EVERY seed pod.

Pueblo, CO(Zone 5b)

Swishtime: I don't think Trumpet Vine is as invasive here in Colorado as in some other places. If fact, it seems like some people have trouble getting it started. What I recommend for "sometimes invasive" plants is get a named variety rather than the generic species. It is less likely to both weedy/sickly or weedy/invasive. Vines generally like good drainage and are sometimes slow to get started.
Remember the old saying : "First year sleeps, second year creeps, third year leaps". If you decide to go ahead and plant one this fall, remember to WINTER WATER - vital in Colorado, especially the first winter.

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

I wanted trumpet vine too and did some research. I believe there are some modern hybrids (available at reputable online nurseries) that are not so invasive as the old-fashioned kind found in farmyards, woods and in many local garden centers. LazyS Farm offers some good descriptions of the different varieties available and Madame Galen and a few other chinese crosses come to mind as less invasive choices. I see LazyS recommends a good pruning for control in spring for most of them: http://www.lazyssfarm.com/Plants/Vines/vines.htm#VINE1200

I wish I hadn't planted the wild white ageratum (aka mistflower) seeds along my woodland edges. When I did it several years ago it wasn't well known as invasive. Now I see it on the Ohio invasive list all the time.

I also planted some local blue passion flower vine to try to attract frittilaries and made the mistake of putting it in my front garden where it quickly went out of control. I should have planted it in the back where our plantings are more casual and natural...it does make a beautiful flower though.

I (sort of) had to laugh about the thistle issue. My husband keeps a finch feeder full of black thistle (niger) seed and of course there are tons of those plants growing below it in some soil I amended well especially for my daffodils. The niger plants love love love it there and I can't get rid of them!

Pueblo, CO(Zone 5b)

Tabasco - is the Niger actually a Thistle? I had heard that it isn't a true thistle but a replacement for thistle. Supposedly has little yellow sunflowers and doesn't have spines and is less invasive than european thistle?

Burleson, TX(Zone 8a)

On the Trumpet Vine...... I planted one along side/with my Crossvine with the thought of having 'extra' blooms for the hummers. It hasn't become a problem for me -yet.

Homeworth, OH(Zone 5b)

I am considerind a trumpet vine called "Indian Summer" which is supposed to only grow to 12'. Has anyone tried this variety?

Whiteside County, IL(Zone 5a)

Trumpet vine for me too. I'm not sure why at my grandmothers it seemed well behaved. I cringed when I saw it coming up in my neighbor's yard. I hope to keep/move it but in some sort of containment system. Don't know if poisoning the "leftover"stump when I cut it down will take care of all the suckers going to my neighbors or not.

The first year I planted obedient plant, it did okay because I had it in a container and a more shady area. The next year I put it in the ground. So year three (last) I was yanking it out all summer. I think I got it in control and it is back in a container.

And lastly, I love the show flower, but the missouri primrose goes everywhere. Mostly I can mow or yank it up early, but also the Japanese beetles really love it, so It might have to go.

Pueblo, CO(Zone 5b)

Same here with the pink Mexican Evening Primose spreading - and the flea beetles like it, too.

Homeworth, OH(Zone 5b)

we had the yellow evening primrose which is a biennial. Started out really nice, and then it seemed one night while we were sleeping it took over. We started digging them out, and now 10 years later we still have them come up.

Merritt Island, FL(Zone 9b)

Asian Jasmine. Hands down the most difficult plant on our property (zone 9b). It's a groundcover but don't put it near anything it can climb. Very hard to pry off of trees, lattice work, etc. Then it starts creeping out over concrete. Anything. Ugh.

Warrenton, VA

This is probably a very stupid question, but can't you throw some of these vines into pots and therefore somewhat contain them?

Pueblo, CO(Zone 5b)

I think whether or not potting a vine would help depends on the vine
I read that growing Maypop passion vine in a pot is a good idea because being slightly root-bound & stressed improves fruiting. Growing mint in pots helps control spreading. Larger vines that develop a trunk would probably outgrow most pots. Grape vines don't spread from the roots - it is the vine itself that smothers nearby plants and the vines cuttings can re-root. So putting it in a pot wouldn't help, but it is fairly easy to control with pruning.

Austin, TX(Zone 8b)

Native grass Purple Three Awn is very pretty but apparently has no value to wildlife - nothing will eat it, not even insects.
It's a larval host for some butterflies. You'll see the adults fluttering all around the grassland, and won't be able to figure out why because there aren't any flowers, but it's to lay eggs. But yeah, nothing grazes it. I see some of the songbirds pulling up the old stalks for nest material sometimes.

I'm pretty easy about what grows where, although I stick to natives and mostly ones I collect, not from the nursery. We have such wild weather swings from year to year, if one thing gets way out of hand one year, it will probably get devastated the following year. I have managed to learn to just dig great clumps of something up if it is encroaching - cutting it back just encourages it.

Interesting question...

Pueblo, CO(Zone 5b)

Our little skipper butterflies do eat grass - but they seem to prefer the Gramma to the Three-Awn. I haven't seen anything eat the Three-awn, but I will certainly check closer to see if I have missed some insects. I am in favor of anything that attracts insects, because they in turn attract birds, which is what I am really after.

Brooklyn Park, MN(Zone 4a)

japanese anemone planted 3 of them and now they are everywhere it has been horrible.blue dune grass dugg that up before it got outta control,is now living in a pot.snowberry bush omg did that ever spread,dug it up and gave it to my dad.some yellow daylily that is spreading like crazy.the thing that gets me so mad is that the id cards for these plants dont say they are a spreader-by root.it's like if i see a plant i like i have to write the name down and go home and research it first!i can deal with plants that spread by seed's but the under ground root spreaders drive me nutts.that j.anemone spread 3 ft in a year crowding out my other plants.dont get me wrong some plants i want to spread out but not take over.

Thumbnail by queenbeez
Bessemer, AL(Zone 7b)

Oh, How I wish some one could tell me how to get rid of this Campsis radicans (native orange trumpet vine) !!!!!!!!!! It is growing in ALL my flower beds. It has "runners" undergound and that is the part that drives me up a tree! LOL. No joke though cupcakes, anyone with an idea besides moving? All I have ben able to do is pull and even then it has deep roots and sometimes I do not get it all pulled out of the ground. I am getting up in years and naturally would like to know of some deterrant to eradicate the "crazy stuff". Not young enough to begin a big digging job. Oh, while I am here, let me tell you this bit of advice for poison ivy control. Pour a small amount of plain vinegar on the closest part of the root you can without touching the plant and several days later you will find that plant all curled up and dying! I have completely eradicated that plant from my yard. It was quite rampant when I first moved in this home and now I can proudly say... it is GONE! I like using "GO GREEN" or natural type weed controls such as this. Hope it will help all of you that have that poison ivy. It is something else to deal with when you get a case of it on you.

Buffalo, MN(Zone 4a)

I may be crazy, but I'm planning on planting a trumpet vine cultivar this year. I'm hoping that with our harsh zone 4 winters it won't go quite as crazy as it seems to in the South.....

mid central, FL(Zone 9a)

i'm very close to wishing i'd never seen Salvia coccinea. i planted two in the garden last year and i was crestfallen to see that they both died this spring, even though it was a very, very mild winter. i needn't have worried. i must have pulled hundreds of seedlings so far this year. i haven't yet learned my lesson because i left quite a few and although the garden is gorgeous this year, i can only imagine what next spring will bring.

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

We had problems with trumpet vine, too. We planted it by our grape arbor because we had seen that combination in Williamsburg, VA and it looked pretty. Then we discovered that grapes don't like trumpet vine. It took us several years to eradicate it, but we finally managed.

Another problem plant is lily of the valley. It's so modest and innocuous-looking that it doesn't seem to be a threat, but over the years it got out of control and almost killed our azaleas by strangling them underground. DH spent hours and hours grubbing all the roots out by hand.

Bamboo is very invasive, too. Friends had some migrate to their yard from their neighbors', and they now have quite an impressive stand which blocks their view of the water. We harvest some for tomato poles but not enough to make a significant difference.

And purple loosestrife is a real problem here, as is parrotfeather, which somehow escaped ponds and is choking our freshwater streams.

Maynard, MA

RE: Trumpet vine. My landscape design teacher suggested planting it in a clay pot and putting the pot in the ground, if I were really hell-bent on having one. (The clay pot is obviously to keep it from spreading, and putting it in the ground keeps it from drying out too quickly.)

I chose another option instead: Lonicera sempervirens, or honeysuckle. From what I've heard, I should get the same hummers but without the trouble. I haven't planted it yet, though--anyone think I should worry?

Pueblo, CO(Zone 5b)

RE: Honeysuckle - you are probably okay with Native L sempervirens, especially since you are toward the northern edge of its range. Just don't confuse it with non-native Japanese honeysuckle, which has turned invasive in parts of the U.S. I bought L. sempervirens "Major Wheeler" last Spring and I am happy with it so far. It was blooming fairly late last summer and is already blooming this spring, so it looks like it will have a nice long bloom-time. I got it instead of the trumpet vine because the blossoms looked like Hummers would prefer the shape, and I preferred the color.

St. Simon's Island, GA(Zone 9a)

I will never plant Mexican Petunia (Ruellia) again. I pulled for three years to get rid of it. It reseeds and spreads by little white hair roots, and I could never get it all. I work at a garden center, and always tell anyone I see with it that it grows like crazy.

Camden, AR(Zone 8a)

I have never planted the orange trumpet vine. I have over 4 acres in my yard but it is now TAKING OVER my back yard! I had one vine appear on one side of my chain link fence - and I left it for the hummers as you say.....NOW, it is all over my fence - in unconnected locations across hundreds of feet. I guess because the actual fence row doesn't get mowed it has taken up residence there. I have several bluebird houses on my fence about 10' in the air and several are completely covered now. I am about to wage war with roundup.................not sure WHO will win!

Spring City, TN

When I purchased the place, I found honeysuckle tearing down fences, trumpet vine ripping the roof off the 100yo shed, blackberries coming up in every flower bed -- the thorns will rip skin if you just get close to it. English Ivy is killing 70yo pine trees. Privot comes up in fence rows and in corners of the yard.

A neighbor planted a cherry tree and I have HUNDREDS come up every spring and since they get bag worms in a couple of years, they all come down as soon as I see them.

I planted catnip and it's a good thing I love it, since it comes up EVERYWHERE. I don't mind mowing or pulling it, since it smells good, but boy does it come up EVERYWHERE...

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