Beautiful plants have dazled us for centuries.  Especially the beautifully exotic ones from across the globe.  And Especially in Florida, where our weather is perfectly suited for growing things.   We've been importing rare and beautiful plants since we first sailed to this continent, but after hundreds of years of importing, we're finding that maybe some of these should have been left in their native homes. There are 9 particularly frustrating kinds of invasive plants that are near impossible to get rid of.  Some of which will look familiar and some of which may surprise you.  We've compiled a list of these 9, as early detection is key, and a few ways to get rid of these bothersome beauties.  

Bamboo

Ok, red flags everywhere! When you need a concrete dugout to contain a plant, you may be in trouble. It's true, some varieties of bamboo are so determined to spread that extreme measures, such as using plastic or concrete barriers, are often taken.  This will keep the roots at bay.

*BEWARE* Running varieties include Chimono-bambusa, Indocalamus, Pleioblastus, and Sasa. Clumping varieties, which are much better behave, include Bambusa, Borinda, Chusquera, Fargesia, and Otatea grow and spread more slowly.

 

 

English Ivy (Hedera helix)

English Ivy is a popular ground cover and fence-grower...but it's really overstayed its welcome. Imported from Europe, where it adorns old buildings, and to a quite beautiful effect, English ivy has completely taken over American parks, forests, and suburban homes, climbing any home siding and essentially drowning trees. In the Pacific Northwest, it’s listed as a noxious weed and along the Eastern seaboard, an invasive species.  tear it up in the spring before new shoots can spread.

 

 

Kudzu (Pueraria)

The words ruthless and invader come to mind when describing this vicious beast of a plant.  It will swarm over trees, buildings, road signs, anything in it's path. It’s a semi-woody vine that can grow 1 foot per day!  Seriously! One foot per day! Once the plant takes hold, there’s no stopping it. Herbicides might be able to stop it... if you apply them for years. And herds of kudzu-grazing goats will eventually destroy the plant. Your last resort, if you don't happen to have a heard of Kudzu grazing goats, is to roll up your sleeves and fight.  Spray it, chop it, mow it until years later, after your're tired and battered, it finally gives up.  

 

Japanese Stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum)

Imported from East Asia, this stuff creates a think mat that essentially starves the native plants in forests and wetlands.  Your garden won't stand a chance!  Japanese stiltgrass is a summer annual that spreads above ground.  This plant actually prefers loose soil, so the more you dig and tear at it, the more you are creating it's natural happy habitat.  This stuff is best handled with pre-emergent herbicides.  Apply them in late spring and hope for the best. 

 

 

 

Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)

Nicknamed "Beautiful Killer" and "Marsh Monster", this wetland perennial was once used to treat dysentery. An admirable job, sure, but it has since grown quite entitled, quickly forming impenetrable strands that starve natural vegetation and wild life.  The best way to control this Kraken of a plant, is with it's natural enemies.  Certain Leaf Beatles and weevils have been used in the past to stop infestations.  So, if you find Purple Loostrife sneaking in your garden, Dig it out and burn the debris. 

 

 

Mint (Mentha)

OK, yes, without mint The Kentucky Derby would never be the same, but you’ll pay a big price if you plant this edible in your own garden. It’s relentless! spreading in any moist and partially shaded area.  Pots and tubs, ha! Child's play for Mint, it will quickly spread beyond those cages.  It is recommended, you grow it in a small container on your deck or windowsill.  

 

 

Chinese Wisteria (Wisteria sinensis)

Absolutely beautiful, a Femme Fatal of sorts, this python-like plant can twist around a tree so tightly it can actually kill the tree. The stout stalks of Chinese wisteria — and its cousin, Japanese wisteria (Wisteria foribunda) — can grow to more than a foot in diameter, forming a thicket that can smother other plants and collapse arbors. Nineteen states list wisteria as invasive. Yank it from trees, arbors, and pergolas, then spray with a systemic herbicide.

 

 

Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans)

No, you'll hear no Dizzy come from this little guy.  The orangish flowers of this vine (aka trumpet creepers) are butterfly magnets.  Oh, Marvelous!...not so fast. It’s a relentless grower, grabbing hold of anything in it's path; your house, nearby trees and fences, and good luck pulling it out of your garden. The more you cut or dig it, the angrier it gets, torpedoing it's shoots far away from the main plant just for spite. Persistence is your best weapon. Use a sharp shovel to dig up the mother plant and shoots, then clean up any spent blooms so the plant doesn’t reseed.

 

Leafy Spurge (Euphorbia esula)

Spurge sounds kind of like scourge, and it's definitely fitting.  A loner, this three-foot-tall invader not only crowds and blocks out other species, but it spreads toxins, preventing native species from growing anywhere near it. Leafy spurge seeds explode from capsules and can live in your soil for up to seven years.  How are you suppose to control that?!. If you find this Spurge Scourge in your yard, spray the plants each year with a systemic herbicide.