Alternatives to invasive plants

What's invasive and what is pleasingly spreading? Daffodils multiply like crazy but few gardeners complain about them. Tall Verbena (Verbena bonariensis) tries to take over my flower beds from year to year and has to be thinned annually.

Queen of the Prairie (Filipendula rubra) can be invasive when growing conditions are favorable. So can Vinca major Variegata in our shade beds.

The Bee Balm (Monarda didyma), I planted from a few seeds 10 years ago wants to be the queen of every place it is put. Oh, and then there's tall Phlox Paniculata spreading everywhere!

Have you ever planted something that tried to take over your garden either by spreading rhizomes, dropping too many seeds or just growing quickly?

Suzanne DeJohn posted native alternatives to these invasives at her site. Excerpts below.
Click over here to read the rest of the article.

Native, Noninvasive Ground Covers/Low-Growing Plants

Pussytoes (Antennaria dioica or A. planaginfolia), wild ginger (Asarum canadense), green-and-gold (aka goldenstar, Chrysogonum virginianum), running strawberry bush (Euonymus obovatus), wild strawberry (Fragaria virginiana), wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens), creeping juniper (Juniperus horizontalis), partridgeberry (Mitchella repens), Allegheny spurge (Pachysandra procumbens), creeping phlox (Phlox stolonifera), Solomon's seal (Polygonatum biflorum), creeping sedum (Sedum ternatum), and foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia).

Native, Noninvasive Shrubs
Sweetshrub (Calycanthus floridus), cinnamonbark (Clethra acuminata), Eastern wahoo (Euonymus atropurpureus), strawberry bush (Euonymus americanus), fothergilla (Fothergilla gardenii and F. major), hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia and H. arborescens), drooping leucothoe (Leucothoe fontanesiana), spicebush (Lindera benzoin), Virginia sweetspire (Itea virginica), mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia), mock orange (Philadelphus inodorus), ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius), flame azalea (Rhododendron calendulaceum), American Snowbell (Styrax americana), and many viburnums, including maple-leaf viburnum (Viburnum acerifolium), witherod viburnum (V. cassinoides), highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum), arrowwood viburnum (V. dentatum), and American cranberrybush viburnum (Viburnum trilobum).

Native, Noninvasive Trees
Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea), paw paw (Asimina triloba), river birch (Betula nigra), Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis), fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus), yellowwood (Cladrastis kentuckea), pagoda dogwood (Cornus alternifolia), American smoketree (Cotinus obovatus), persimmon (Diospyros virginiana), Carolina silverbell (Halesia carolina), umbrella tree (Magnolia tripetela), sourwood (Oxydendrum arboreumtupelo), tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica), and black haw (Viburnum prunifolium).

Native, Noninvasive Perennials
Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis), swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata), false indigo (Baptisia australis), lanceleaf coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata), purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), joe-pye weed (Eupatorium fistulosum), wild geranium (Geranium maculatum), ox-eye sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides), gayfeather (aka blazing star, Liatris spp.), cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis), and black-eyed susan (Rudbeckia hirta).

Native, Noninvasive Vines
Trumpet vine (Campsis radicans), American bittersweet (Celastrus scandens), virgin's bower (Clematis virginiana), Carolina jasmine (Gelsemium sempervirens), trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens), Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), purple passionflower (Passiflora incarnata), and American wisteria (Wisteria frutescens).
DeJohn recommends checking with your state's Native Plant Society for more recommendations.
Arkansas Native Plant Socity:
North Carolina Native Plant Society:
Oklahoma Native Plant Society:
Missouri Native Plant Society
New Mexico Native Plant Society
Texas Native Plant Society
Virginia Native Plant Society:

Read her article for more common invasives to avoid. The website is Suzanne's Farm and Gardens in VT.


Anonymous said…
Wow this is a great resource.. I’m enjoying it.. good article

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