When planting a garden, it’s a good idea to know what you’re planting might be invasive in some way. Often new gardeners will end up buying plants that are very easy to grow, not knowing that in time the plant will become more of a problem than anything else.
Invasive plants are those plants that grow so prolifically and are so hardy, that they destroy other plants in your garden. Often they get out of hand and can take over the entire yard. These are wonderful for getting quick results in a garden, but they’re so hardy that they’re extremely difficult to get rid of in the future.
There are also some plants which are not native to an area, that will destroy the native and natural plant life there. This can cause big ecological problems over time.
One of the most common and most invasive plants is Ivy. In some areas of the United States, different types of ivy will expand, choke out and kill other plants quite quickly.
Mint is another plant that tends to be problematic. It also expands and grows quickly, and it can also kill other types of plants that are in its growth path.
Wandering Jew/Purple Heart
Another invasive plant is the ‘wandering jew’ or some call it ‘purple heart’ will spread in just a couple of years. This plant will grow good in sun or in shade. Plant in an area that you want to cover with no other plant.
Planting and growing invasive plants are OK to do if you do it properly. The most important thing to do when planting them though is to put them in an area where they can be fully contained and controlled.
A common way to plant mint, for instance, is to simply put it into a pot, then plant that pot into the ground. This keeps the roots of the plant contained, and the gardener can simply nip any stray branches that might try to go into unwanted places.
This same technique can be used with ivy, but it’s more difficult to control. Because ivy is a vine, all the various points on the vine can take root. So leaving the vine unchecked for just a few days can be enough time for new roots to take hold and spread.
Pots and Containers
I personally suggest keeping ivy in pots and containers only. Don’t put the containers into the ground, simply sit or hang them on your patio or keep them inside your home. You could also plant ivy and mint in window boxes, just watch the ivy closely and if it starts trailing too close to the ground, trim it back.
There are other types of plants, vines, bushes and even trees that can be harmful to others in the environment too. It’s always best to try researching specific plants online before planting them. This is most important to do for bushes and trees because these live much longer than general annuals do.
Keep in mind that some people consider certain plants as invasive, just because they don’t like them and the plants are quick and hardy growers. Many native wildflowers are referred to as invasive or “weeds” because of this tendency. This is a preference issue though and not an ecological one. Some people just don’t like wildflowers and naturalized plants while others do.