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Readers Respond: Plants I Regret Planting in My Garden

Responses: 175


Gardeners are very generous passing along plants to novice gardeners. When we first start gardening, every plant is a treasure and the fast growing plants are a way to get your garden going faster.

A few years down the line, you wonder what you were thinking. Lily of the Valley is popping up everywhere, Datura seeded so thickly you need a fork to dig it out and your Obedient Plant is no longer deserving of its name. Some things we only learn with experience.

Today, instead of passing along a plant, pass along your wisdom and tell us what plant or plants you wish you had never planted in your garden.

Jerusalem Artichoke

They escaped from containers and have popped up 15 feet away. Look like sunflowers - tall,impressive. But what root systems! And you cannot rototill or you get more. Next -and this blew in -dayflower.x
—Guest nj gardener


I think the botanical name is Lamium, but we call it silver nettle here. It is a vining plant that is supposed to go in hanging pots but if even one leaf touches the ground it takes off like a jet from the deck of an aircraft carrier! Not even sub zero winters will kill it out. It's not even that pretty.
—Guest Camille

The Worst Regret Ever- LANTANA!!

It is the worst thing ever! Impossible to get rid of since it- like oleander- has these darn feeler/seeker roots. and if you leave even one lousy inch of root behind- well look out! My Worst Nightmare!
—Guest Michelle

Master Gardener's Advice

Years ago I asked my master gardener friend what kind of vine I could plant that could quickly cover my arbor. Years later I am fighting a heavy battle with trumpet vine. It has completely taken over other everywhere even in the grass and spread all along one side of our road! Don't believe Master gardener's unltil you have done your research.
—Guest Cindy

Hate these plants!

When we moved in fully half of our back yard was MINT (Mentha). Took years to get rid of it. A friend took some but kept it in a confined space and she loved it. We're still finding the occasional sprig of NIGHTSHADE (Atropa belladonna) that was hiding in the juniper trees. That's not as bad as the LEMON BALM (Melissa officinalis) that looked so pretty in its 4" pot and was wanted for making tea. It is an attractive plant but you have to be careful where you put it. We never guessed it would spread to about 6 feet and try to invade the backyard. Turns out it's related to the mint it replaced! And it made lousy tea. We're now hating the SWEET WOODRUFF (Galium odoratum) my husband thought would make such a nice ground cover. It does, and it's a very pretty plant (much nicer than neighbors pachysandra). But it chokes out just about everything in its path. Gone are my violas, lavender, silver mound, and balloon flower plants. (we are in zone 6b, Cleveland, OH)
—Guest peanuts1957

Lyre Leaf Salvia

This reseeded like crazy!! I bought one or two and now have it all over the place including my lawn!
—Guest Tchaney


I had to think on this one, of the past many years. My decisions are what grow more extensively than I would like. Bachelor Buttons spread and grow everywhere. The same with Hollyhock, the seeds spread and come up every where especially where they are not wanted. Fortunately both are not hard to control. I do love MALVA which is related to Hollyhock but better behaved. As far as grasses go it has to be Bermuda grass.

Queen Anne's Lace

Queen Anne's Lace...I don't even recall planting the stuff, but if it shows up in your garden, pull it up before it seeds. They're EVERYWHERE. Also, do NOT buy bird seed with Thistle as a component. I have THAT everywhere, too. Also, agree on the recommendation to NOT plant ivy, or lamb's ear. Unbelievably invasive.
—Guest Terry

Lemon Balm

It spreads by underground runners like mint (is in the mint family) but also by seeds that blow across the yard and grow in any bare spot. Hard to keep from flowering as it grows too fast to use it all up in tea.
—Guest Donna


Bamboo, hands down! Don't ever plant this uncontained unless you have a herd of pandas.
—Guest Denise

Not Balmy

I planted lemon balm (a form of mint, I think) and found that it spread profusly by seed. I also have spearmint well contained in a sunken, deep plastic pot. It took 3 years of aggressive pulling to remove all the lemon balm seedlings.
—Guest Tim

Beautiful Fall Color

Staghorn sumac! I now know that a plant that can prosper at the side of the road will run riot over garden plants, and pop up everywhere.

Obedient Plant

Pretty white flowers that you can bend about and they stay that way. Hence the name "obedient." But they were not obedient to containment! Very invasive and fast growing, too. Just wanted to take over.

Virginia Creeper

This lovely vine spread like crazy, and attracted a beetle-like bug that, when in the larvae stage, would fall off the plant as we went through our gate, stinging and leaving painful blisters on the skin. Very difficult to get rid of!


I planted Cosmos in a shady spot and they did not bloom at all, they just grew up taller and more leggy.
—Guest Marty

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