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Marie Iannotti

Be Wary of Free Plants

By February 27, 2013

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I remember the first time someone told me to be wary of free plants. I was drooling over some bellflowers that a friend had ripped out of her garden. She had quite a pile of them, which should have been a tip off.

It's hard to pass up free flowers, especially when you are just starting your garden. But it's usually the garden thugs that are being offered - someone passing their garden problems off on you. You rarely see a slow growing gem like Epimedium being passed around. With thugs, those plants that elbow out other plants for garden dominance, you have to decide if you really love the plant enough to make the effort to keep it in check... forever. I'm not talking about invasives. I'm talking about otherwise perfectly good garden plants that get, shall we say, overly enthusiastic. I've made a list of 10 plants I would warn people about. What garden hooligans have you battled?

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March 2, 2013 at 3:27 pm
(1) Eugbug says:

Someone unloaded some montbretia(crocosmia) on me once and now the stuff is rampant! Every year I try to dig or pull up the bulbs by the leaves, but anything remaining in the ground soon multiplies again. It would be nice if the plants flowered as the the red or orange blooms are nice. However only luscious leaves are ever produced.
Another offender is feverfew. This is fine in small doses and the leaves are reputedly good for preventing migraine attacks. However it is prolific and scatters seeds everywhere.
Other problem plants which I haven’t specifically inherited or acquired as “gifts” but have sown the seeds of myself are red valerian and aquilegia vulgaris. Both these plants produce lots of seed which can “contaminate” flower beds.

March 3, 2013 at 2:22 pm
(2) Marie Iannotti says:

Contaminate – what a great choice of words.

I don’t think I could resist free crocosmia, but it has never spread much in my garden. I wonder why you’re getting all leaves. I agree, that would be annoying.

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