plants-to-avoidHere are five plants to avoid in your yard or garden.  Most of these grow very aggressively and are very difficult to control once they have taken hold. Some look great, but will soon rule your entire garden or yard and may even threaten the integrity of your home. There are not many in this list, but they tend to be popular with amateurs – until the truth dawns!

Aggressive Plants to Avoid:

Hedera Helix (English Ivy)

English ivy can look cute and olde-worlde when climbing up the outside walls of an old house, or running up and over an old brick or stone wall. However, ivy of this type can be very destructive. It can suck the life out of trees, and can bring down buildings if not controlled. Within a couple of years it can cover a shed, destroying the paint and attacking the mortar and woodwork.

Although ivy starts off life as a regular plant, with regular roots, shoots and leaves, it quickly grows aerial roots against the surface it is climbing.  These will work their way in between bricks and stones to weaken the structure. Because it holds moisture, the plant can quickly rot wood and when you cut the stem through at ground level – nothing happens!

The plant is self sufficient through its individual aerial rootlets, and needs no connection with the earth. Once it reaches the highest point it can reach, ivy bunches up and looks almost like a tree.  As stated, it can destroy sheds, buildings, walls and suck wooden structures and even small trees dry. Avoid English ivy in your yard or anywhere near your home. Of the plants to avoid, this is one of the most difficult to kill or remove.


Of all the plants to avoid in your yard, bamboo is one of the most popular. However, the underground rhizomes spread rapidly and would cover your entire garden if not contained. It is one of the fastest growing plants known. Some of the varieties of bamboo to avoid are sasa, indocalamus and pleioblastus. Bambusa is better, since it does not grow so fast.  The same is true of borinda, fargesia and otatea.

However, if you let any bamboo get out of hand it can be very destructive and difficult to remove. It is usually recommended to contain bamboo rhizomes in a concrete enclosure, although you can also use heavy plastics to prevent it spreading.  It’s easier just not to grow it in your garden

Ground Elder: Bishop’s Weed or Groundweed

Though not as invasive as English ivy, ground elder, or Bishop’s weed, spreads very rapidly. This is a form of ground cover that can take over your entire yard if not regularly controlled. The root system is very pervasive, and while it does make good ground cover, it is extremely difficult to remove once it takes hold.

Most people that have ground elder wish they could get rid of it for good, but usually find they cannot.  When it seems to have gone, the roots throw up shoots and they are off again – even worse than buttercup but not nearly as pretty.


Kudzu is banned in some areas, and rightly so. It will cover anything in its path: trees, walls and even houses. It is a vine that can grow 12 inches daily, combining rhizomes and runners to offer the worst possible combination for a quick-growing plant. Herbicides take years to become effective, by which time it’s too late to save your sanity.  Of all the plants to avoid, this is one of the worst.

Leafy Spurge

A member of the usually attractive euphorbia family, leafy spurge is another menace that will take over your garden or yard in next to no time. At first it seems to be a nice-looking 12-inch high yellow flower, but it rapidly grows a deep-bedded root system. The roots are like thin threads, and when you try to pull the plant up the threads are stimulated to grow even faster.  The seeds are also a menace, rapidly germinating to produce even more new plants.

Plants to Avoid In Your Yard: Summary

These are just five plants to avoid in your yard and garden. They are invasive, grow rapidly and are extremely difficult to kill or even control. Avoid all of them like the plague if you want to keep your sanity or to sell your home.