The Q&A Archives: Avoiding Invasive Plants

Question: We just built a new house and I have a whole yard full of garden space...I can't wait for spring! Previous experience with Oenothera speciosa, and a variety of achillea which all but took over my gardens, has made me determined to avoid overly invasive plants. Can you provide me with a list of invasive plants or a rule of thumb to purchase plants by? Can you explain how the 5-gallon pot with no bottom (to controll invasive plants) idea works?

Answer: The idea behind the bottomless pot is that the roots will not be able to grow deep enough to escape the confines of the pot. In my (sad) experience the plant may still jump the rim or set seed and escape!

You have certainly planted some of the "biggies" on the potentially invasive list. I would add mint and goose-necked loosestrife for sure. Several others that could be relatively invasive under certain conditions would be physostegia, lemon balm, some forms of artemisia such as "Silver King" and "Silver Queen", tawny daylily, some forms of perennial geranium, running bamboos, and hay-scented fern. The degree of invasiveness depends on your garden conditions and soil, so it is difficult to make a definitive list. A rule of thumb is that any plant described as "spreads nicely" should be looked at with caution until proven well behaved.

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