5 Plants That Will Take Over Your Yard

    Photo: Maxwell Hamilton/Flickr.We gardeners have the best intentions with the plants we choose, and yet sometimes our decisions come back to haunt us. It's like buying a pet—sure, that little puppy is so cute, but one day he will grow up and be a very big responsibility. Some plants are like that. They catch your eye when they're small and manageable, but a few years down the line they can be difficult to deal with.

    Bamboo

    Bamboo has become a poster child for sustainable materials production in recent years. It grows very fast, has robust health, and can be used to make everything from cutting boards to bed sheets. Not to mention it can be used tastefully as an addition to your garden.

    The problem with bamboo is that its vigorous growth can ruin your landscaping. Bamboo plants send out their rhizomes in all directions looking for new territory to take over. Two ways to deal with this are by either digging a trench around the perimeter of your bamboo or installing an underground barrier.

    Mint

    Sure, it's an herb, it tastes good and smells good. But in terms of annoying growing habits, it's basically bamboo's little brother. Anyone who's ever grown mint in the garden knows how mint will insinuate itself right out of the area you've allocated for it. And once it starts spreading, it's nearly impossible to get rid of.

    Suggestions for controlling mint include growing it in its own pot, or sinking a pot into the soil as a root barrier if you'd like to grow it at soil level.

    Jasmine

    Jasmine is favored for its heavenly scent and delicate white flowers. This was actually my first plant when I went away to college. However, like other vines, it has a tendency to take over if it's not kept in check. There are a couple species which are actually considered invasive (Brazilian Jasmine in Florida, for instance).

    I have personally seen an overgrown jasmine choking out a 30-ft high Douglas fir on a property I once rented. This is something to consider before being enchanted by the plant's perfume.

    Wisteria

    Another amazingly beautiful vine is wisteria, known for its grace and fragrant purple flowers that look like a real life version of a Monet painting. But when wisteria grows without being checked, it is known to get very heavy and to throw its weight enough to knock down walls, arbors, or even porch columns. And think twice before considering growing it on a balcony... You don't want to risk your balcony falling off.

    Morning Glory

    Morning glory is a beautiful vine with heart-shaped vibrant green leaves and trumpet-like morning-blossoming flowers in various colors, purple being one of the most popular. It has no smell but the seeds of some species are valued for their psychoactive properties.

    But because of its fast growth, morning glory is considered an invasive weed in many areas. If you take one home, it will be happy to take over your landscaping and choke out any and all plants in its path unless you prune it.

    For help choosing plants to harmonize with your home landscape, contact a professional gardener

    Updated May 10, 2018.

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