9 Invasive Plants to Think Twice About

A close-up of fresh green mint in a garden.

Plants can turn your garden into a beautiful oasis, but certain varieties can be harmful to their surroundings. Invasive plants are among the worst offenders because they spread easily and can destroy a yard in no time. Here are nine invasive plants that you should think twice about incorporating into your garden.

1. Mint

Mint is a versatile herb that can add flavor to drinks and food, not to mention its aromatic qualities. Unfortunately, mint is intensely invasive and can quickly spread to every area in your garden if it isn’t managed properly. Avoid planting mint if you don’t have time for the upkeep or consider planting in a more controlled environment, such as a container.

2. Raspberries

It’s difficult to beat some fresh raspberries on a hot day. Sadly, this succulent summer treat is extremely aggressive. If you don’t manage it, raspberry plants can sprout over lawns, sidewalks, and flowerbeds. To avoid having raspberries everywhere, keep a watchful eye on volunteer canes that sprout in the spring and pull them as soon as possible.

3. Mimosa Tree

A close-up of pink flowers on a mimosa tree.

Mimosa trees are cultivated for their pink flowers and fern-like foliage, which looks romantic and exotic at the same time. But think twice about adding this tree to your landscape. Mimosas, sometimes called Persian silk trees, are notorious for spreading seedlings throughout the yard and neighborhood. If you’re not careful, an entire neighborhood can be infested with these trees in no time. Once a mimosa outbreak has occurred, they are almost impossible to clean out.

4. Bamboo

Bamboo is a top renewable building material due to its fast growth rate and hardiness—but that doesn’t make it a good garden plant. It doesn’t take long for bamboo to spread over a yard (and perhaps your neighbor’s) and choke out other plants. You should avoid planting bamboo unless you can control its growth to a high degree. If you want a bamboo privacy screen, consider planting in oversized landscaping planters.

5. Yucca

Yucca plants are an attractive addition to many yards due to their pointy leaves and snowy blooms. But they are extremely time-consuming to manage and can quickly grow out of control. Even worse, a yucca root system is difficult to eradicate and the plant attracts a lot of unwanted insects. If you must have them, keep them in pots around the yard to control the damage.

6. Pampas Grass

A large growth of pampas grass in a yard.

Pampas grass can add shades of gold, cream, and pink to your yard. Their dramatic color, however, comes at a price. This type of grass will spread wherever the wind blows and is highly invasive. In fact, this plant is banned in New Zealand and Hawaii because it damages ecosystems. Even if you keep it in a container, pampas grass spreads via windblown seeds, making it something you should probably avoid altogether.

7. Calla Lilies

These white, lush lilies might look innocent enough, but their large leaves can kill off surrounding plants. In locations that don’t experience freezing weather, calla lilies spread like wild fire and will block the sun from hitting other plants. It doesn’t take much for a new plant to sprout, so it’s best to stay on top of new shoots or keep these lilies in containers.

8. Oxeye Daisy

These daisies can add cheer to your garden, but are one of the most invasive plants on the market. They're so invasive, in fact, that they're banned from 10 states in the U.S. If you want to add a white daisy to your garden, consider Shasta daisies as an alternative. Not only will they liven up the space, but they won’t overrun the rest of your garden.

9. Morning Glory

Pink and purple morning glory flowers surrounded by green leaves.

Many veteran gardeners despise morning glory plants because of their ability to overtake surrounding foliage, fences, trees, and even building structures. These plants have colorful blossoms, but they need to be managed to keep from spreading. If you must have them in your garden, be prepared for constant upkeep, uprooting, and weeding.