Great weekend for planting, but learn what you’re getting

Often the plants that are the cheapest at the garden store are not always the easiest to maintain. According to the Wilmington Star, some residents in Wilmington are seeking an ordinance to prevent the planting of running bamboo, an attractive plant sold at garden stores. In the right conditions and not properly pruned, the plant can spill over into other yards, as a homeowner at Carolina Beach discovered after she returned from a long assignment out of town.

According to the news story at StarNewsOnline, running bamboo is sold at most garden stores, as is the native bamboo. However, the native bamboo is much harder to find and is more expensive than its invasive cousin.

Non-native plants are not always the pariah of the garden, but you need to know each plant’s growing habits and spreading possibilities. Invasive plants don’t have to be invasive if they are tended weekly and cut back. Plants typically become invasive when they are neglected and have the freedom to go where they please.

When buying plants, ask the staff at the garden store about the variety. The staff person may not know the plant is invasive, but if the label says “easy to grow,” or “spreads easily,” those words should send up a red flag that you may be spending a lot more time with that plant than you want to.

In addition to running bamboo, plants that can get out of hand quickly include:

  • Purple loosestrife
  • Tree-of-heaven
  • Mimosa
  • Periwinkle
  • Multiflora rose
  • barberry
  • burning bush

For a more complete list of the “least wanted plants,” go to The article also discusses some of the costs and headaches of eradicating invasive plant species.

If you’re not sure what is considered invasive in your state, find the Exotic Plant Council for your state, or for the state nearest you. Plants that are invasive in one climate may not be invasive in another.

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