Last Updated on October 31, 2021 by Phil
Not all plants behave the way you want them. And there are many troublesome plants you should not grow in your garden for many reasons.
The most common fall into a few categories. As such, the list below includes one or more of these reasons. But, depending on your preferences, some of these bad features may not be so bad.
- Toxic Plants – toxic plants are poisonous. Thus, if you have young children, dogs or cats, it is a good idea to keep these away from them. That can be hard in the garden unless you section them off or keep your kids and pets away from parts of the yard. Toxic plants can range from the mild to the deadly. There are also those that cause allergies and skin irritation.
- Unstable Plants – these look okay in normal circumstances. But after a while, you’ll notice that have some issues. Often, they’re easily damaged, destroyed or harmed. Rains, winds and storms are often their enemies. You want to avoid these because they waste your time. Instead, opt for robust plants that are strong and steady.
- Spreaders – these and the toxic plants are the most common. Spreaders are invasive in most cases. The more aggressive they are and the faster growing they are, the more problematic they can become. Some self-seed, others just smother nearby plants and some will go underground and pop up elsewhere. The worst ones not only harm your garden but will get your neighbors’ as well.
- Troublesome Plants – these are messy and bothersome. Many trees fall under this category as they shed a lot. Other trees will drop tons of fruit or squishy stuff that will require lots of cleaning up after. Basically, unless you’ve got a ton of time for landscape maintenance, skip these.
- Noxious plants – Noxious plants are destructive. In a way they overlap a bit with toxic plants. But, they cover a bigger scope because they not only can destroy or bother healthy but also livestock and your garden. These plants can mess up your crops if you have a vegetable garden or destroy other flowers in your yard.
Note that these problematic plants can be vines, flowers, shrubs, trees, groundcover, grass or anything in between.
Many are in disguise because they’re stunning flowers with amazing colors and blooms. But, these are the ones you need to be most careful with.
That said, here are some plants not to grow in your garden even if they were given to your for free.
Plants Not to Grow in Your Garden
Morning glory are a beautiful flowering vine that can cover vertical structures quite quickly.
Unfortunately, they will also aggressively spread. Besides able to grow over 10 feet in just one season, you’ll likely find them growing all over the place as well.
As such, they do take some effort to monitor and control. And, it is important to be aggressive in deadheading the flowers once they’re done blooming. This will help limit their ability to spread.
I remember the first time I saw pampas grass, I was floored. Until that time, I had never seen grass look so elegant.
Now, the lower part of the grass needs quite a bit of pruning to keep it from getting shaggy. But, the tall white feathery plumes are nothing less than spectacular to look at.
While pampas grass makes it to our list of plants to avoid in your garden, this only applies to some of them.
For one, they do need a bit of maintenance. But more importantly a few of them can get sharp on the edges to the point they can hurt you or your loved ones.
So, not all species of pampas grass are bad. If you do choose them, go with those that are softer and with more feather-like textures.
Ajuga is a unique looking colorful plant that works well as ground cover.
For one, it is a very fast grower. Another reason is that it helps overwhelm weeds. In doing so, it can rid your yard of them.
But, because they’re vigorous growers themselves they can smother your other plants as well, more importantly the ones you like.
As such, they’re kind of a double-edged sword as they don’t discriminate on what they ”take over”.
But, there’s a remedy if you want to grow them. Keeping them in shady areas slows their growth to make them manageable. Also, positioning them where other plants can’t survive will leave them on their own in that spot.
You can also grow them near rocky areas where they’ve got no other plants to smother. Or, near pavement.
Wisteria is another beautiful climbing vine. It is likewise a prolific bloomer that features stunning lavender colored flowers in drooping clusters.
However, as beautiful as they are, many gardeners also hate seeing wisteria start growing in their plots. That’s because the same thing that makes them quickly cover a pergola or trellis can make them a problem.
This is especially true if you don’t want a thick bunch of them around.
Pruning is very important otherwise the plant will take over many parts of your yard. Plus, you’ll need to do regular cleaning as well to remove the seed pods it likes to spread.
English ivy are very popular because of their ability to cover vertical spaces like walls. These work great if you want to add a living fence or have some kind of natural look.
In their native environments like Asia, Africa and Europe, many ivy species will behave as you want them. And, they pose no troubles.
But, in North America, they will climb and grow through cracks and any openings through the walls.
As a result, it is very hard to keep them in check.
Their invasive nature does drive many gardeners nuts to say the least.
Sweet Autumn Clematis
Sweet autumn clematis are like meeting your favorite celebrity. The ups on the first time you see them is amazing. And, the same is true as it will bloom during its first season giving you stunning white flowers.
But, after you’ve seen your favorite stars for the first time, you quickly realize they’re normal people. And, for the most part, they’re snobby, self-centered and arrogant. At least many of them are because fame and money often has a way of making people turn that way.
And, that the same with sweet autumn clematis.
Once the “honeymoon period” is over, you’ll quickly realize it is a headache to deal with because will aggressively self-seed.
And, you’ll soon be surprised how it is able to sow itself in so many different places of your garden.
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Bamboo are often thought of as trees because of the way they look.
But, don’t let their thick, strong, wooden appearance fool you. They are actually grass.
And, their beauty is very useful if you want to create privacy screens, hedges or even fences.
That said, make sure you know what you’re getting into. And, just as importantly, have a plan before you plant these lovely plants.
That’s because their root systems are notorious for growing and spreading under the ground. As a result, these can suddenly come out of the ground many feet away from where you want them to grow and start sprouting there.
This is one pretty plant to stay far away from.
They charming looks will entice you to want to grow them. And, I don’t blame you because they’re stunning to look at. Plus, their bright color immediately adds life to your yard.
Additionally, they produce a scent that repels mosquitoes.
But, be aware they are frighteningly invasive. And, they have the ability to take over your garden and spread to your neighbor’s yard as well.
Also, be careful when handling them as their oils are very toxic. Make sure to wear gloves when working with this flower.
If you have kids or pets, ingesting tansies will make them sick.
Is the plant really obedient?
Yes and No.
It gets its name because you can bend its stems to make it face the direction you want them to.
Of course, they have very clean looking white flowers with yellow centers that are lovely to look at. Needless to say, these are perfect for brightening any patch of land.
But, they are not so obedient in that they’ll spread underground. And, they’ll keep going past your plot to your neighbor’s.
Trumpet vines feature very distinct looking blooms which is where they get their name. Their bright colors and exotic looks make them a great addition.
At least so it seems.
But, be aware that trumpet vines are vigorous growers. In other words, they are invasive.
Thus, they will spread across your garden.
Mint is one of the most popular herbs around. And, for the most part, herbs are well like plants because they’re small and cute, right?
Not in this case.
Sadly, the mint family is a big one which includes not only mint but also peppermint and spearmint just to name a few.
And as useful as they are in the kitchen and for getting rid of ants and other nuisances, they can be headaches as well.
In the garden, they can spread rapidly which is why they’re best kept in containers.
Lily of the Valley
Lily of the valley is another gorgeous plant that will tempt to you add it to your garden. It features a lovely fragrance and small beautiful blooms that are stunning to look at.
Sadly, their blooms don’t last long and they’re a hassle to care for.
Even worse, they are toxic and are notorious spreaders. They’re actually quite stubborn such that even if you try to control them, they’ll still try to keep getting around you.
Lambs ear is another odd or unique looking plant depending on how you see it.
As they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Many see them are lovely with a distinctive texture. I see them like fuzzy ears you see on donkeys and lambs. As such, I am not to fond of them.
And, many gardeners who’ve learned their lesson are not either.
That’s because even if you see them as attractive and pollinator magnets, they will spread quite aggressively. As such, many growers will avoid them altogether. You might even spot a few giving these away for free.