All plants can be flammable if not pruned regularly. That’s because foliage, flowers and wood all tend to burn. As such, when they’re grown near your home they can be a fire hazard especially if you live somewhere that’s prone to wildfires. That said, some are highly flammable plants that not only fuel flames but also can ignite given the right conditions.
As such, while many of them are beautiful to look at, it is a good idea to avoid them completely anywhere near your home if you live in a wildfire prone or fire risk area.
Doing so will help keep your family safe.
What are Highly Flammable Plants?
Highly flammable plants often contain certain chemicals including in their resins that can ignite or increase the flames in certain conditions.
They also tend to release a lot of heat which can place your home and family at risk.
In addition, those that accumulate a lot of dead leaves, have high oil content or resins are likewise more flammable.
In most cases, the thicker or denser the foliage, the higher the risk as well. Fine leaves and those that are needle-like tend to be riskier as well.
Highly Flammable Plants to Avoid Having in Your Garden
Acacia trees are large and elegant. There are likewise man different species to choose from.
They are native to warm weather regions including Hawaii and the Southwest. You’ll also see them in Australia and Mexico.
Acacias are fast growers. However, they have short life spans often reaching only 20 to 30 years.
They tend to establish long roots which helps keep the ground they stand on stable. This reduces the risk or erosion. Their roots also allow them to find water deep under the ground. As a result, the trees are drought tolerant.
But, as lovely as acacia trees are, note that they contain oils that are flammable. They also contain resin which is highly flammable especially when dry.
As a result, acacia trees not only can start fires they can fuel them as well.
Cypress trees are another beautiful but highly flammable plant. While the trees are the more popular kind, cypress can also come in the form of shrubs.
Their gorgeous looks often makes them borders and privacy screens. You’ll also see them line roads.
While the tall, thin, pyramid-shaped cypress varieties are the most memorable, they actually come in many different forms.
Cypress trees can grow up to 80 feet high. Meanwhile shrubs are probably more common with homeowners as they reach about 15 to 18 feet tall.
Unfortunately, many of these trees are flammable. Some are very highly flammable, including the Leyland, Arizona and Italian Cypress.
So, while they look amazing as hedges and privacy screens, they wind blockers also become threats if happens happen.
Pine trees are beautifully distinctive looking because of the shape of their branches. Add to that the unique looking needles that grow of these branches.
Most needs last for around 2 years then fall. When they do, new ones come to take their place.
Depending on the pine tree you have and its size, the needles can vary from an inch to 11 inches long.
Pine trees also produce woody cones. And, in case you were wondering, there are male and female pine trees as well.
Unfortunately, when it comes to fire safety, these lovely trees are hazards.
That’s because their needles are highly flammable. And, while their resin can be useful commercially for making varnishes and glazing agents, these are likewise very flammable as well.
As such, pine trees can actually ignite in very hot climates. Drought also increases the chances of this. And, needless to say, if a fire comes around, having pine trees around your property will strengthen the flames.
Other Trees that are Flammable
- Douglas Fir
Rosemary are popular herbs that are actually shrubs. They are loved for their fragrance and lovely flavor. As such, their leaves are often used to make meats tastier especially on the grill.
Rosemary are native to the Mediterranean. And, in addition to their culinary uses, they likewise have medicinal value.
However, they contain oils that are flammable.
You’ve probably noticed that even adding just a few of them on top of meats on the grill is enough to temporarily cause a small flare up. That’s the oils in action.
As such, if you have large bushes of rosemary they can add fuel to any fire that comes your way.
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Also known as the burning bush, this flammable plant gives itself away just from its name. And yes, it gets its name from the biblical bush since it can easily catch fire.
This is actually a bit sad because the plant itself is beautiful.
It features lovely green foliage at the bottom and stunning looking pink or white flowers coming out from above.
Gas plants can get to 1 to 3 feet tall making them prefect for edging or growing near a fence line.
They can likewise tolerate some shade and are fragrant.
Their looks make them a favorite for cut flower gardens as well, especially because they are low maintenance and attract birds.
Juniper are another lovely plant that can be used for borders, fence lines and privacy. They’re actually quite common because they are resilient and low maintenance.
They don’t mind droughts and are not choosy about soil. As long as the soil drains well, they’ll do well on it.
Unlike many shrubs, they also don’t require much pruning which will save you a lot of time.
In addition to privacy, they also help fight soil erosion. And, you have a number of lovely colors to choose from as well.
However, there’s a reason why some firefighters call junipers the gasoline plant.
It containers resins that are highly flammable. And, they tend to have a lot of dead leaves which increase the risk if igniting fires.
Other Shrubs that are Flammable
- Wild Lilac
Flammable Grass and Ground Cover
Pampas grass are not your ordinary lawn grass. They are ornamental grass which look amazing when used for landscaping.
These are perfect if you want to be able to use grass to design your garden. Their looks also make them popular for cut flower arrangements.
Pampas grass grow as high as 12 feet tall. And, their unique looking flowers bloom during August and last all the way through February.
This makes them perfect for winter landscaping especially in USDA Hardiness Zones 7 to 10 where they’re well-suited outdoors all year long.
Unfortunately, pampas seem to like growing in areas that are prone to wildfires. And, while it is drought tolerant, allowing it to dry out Is not a good idea as it is more likely to ignite in this state.
As such, growing this lovely grass is not a good idea if you live somewhere where fires do happen as it will help that flames spread.
Bamboo are well-known because of their unique looks. And, while they’re commonly referred to as trees, bamboo is actually grass.
Bamboo are gorgeous to look as because they can grow tall and feature stunning looks.
You already probably know that they are many different kinds of bamboo. Most of them are great for privacy landscaping. You can use them as fences, walls or screens.
Their exotic look allows you to design your backyard in a way that makes it unique.
That said, bamboo is highly flammable. That’s because they tend to grow together as their stems run under the ground allowing them to spread quickly.
So, when wildfire comes, tall, dry bamboo growing near one another helps fuel the fire.
Japanese honeysuckle is an amazing ground cover that’s beautiful to look at. They are fast growing vines that feature lovely fragrant white blooms that turn yellow as the plant matures.
These attract hummingbirds making them great additions for pollinator gardens.
Japanese honeysucker are likewise perfect for covering the ground or allowed to climb trellises.
These flowering vines bloom late in spring all the way to fall. They are hardy to USDA zones 4 to 9 and do best in full sun.
That said, as gorgeous as they look when allowed to grow, they do have a few negatives.
- Japanese honeysuckle are highly flammable.
- They are invasive.
- The black berries they produce are toxic to humans.
Other Trees that are Flammable
- Maiden Grass