10 Plants You Should Never Include in Your Landscaping

Landscaping can involve much trial and error, but some plants are just born bad. Some of the most common landscaping features are also invasive species, messy tenants or even potential dangers for your home’s utilities. Stop yourself before you can plant these offenders. After you’ve cleared your yard of some of the worst offenders, consider some sustainable landscaping techniques.

English Ivy

A house with ivy-covered walls is charming, but appearances are deceiving. English ivy is a viciously invasive plant. At best, it can take over your yard with little chance of reclamation. At worst, its roots can wriggle into and break apart brick, mortar, fencing and even concrete.

Japanese Barberry

Japanese barberry is readily sold at home improvement centers as a “deer-resistant” plant, and well-meaning gardeners often think of its berries as food for wildlife. Unfortunately, it is taking over native species along the East Coast. Look for native berry-producers instead.


American Sweetgum
American Sweetgum. Source: ahockley

Sweetgum trees are valuable shade plants, but unless you want to spend most of the year raking up its seed pods, it is best to avoid it. Its pom-pom-like pods are spike traps waiting to befall the feet of children and pets. Even non-fruiting varieties pose a threat to walkways and patios. Its long-reaching roots are notorious for cracking concrete.


Be careful when purchasing gingko trees. “Male” gingkos are fine, but “female” trees are fruit-bearing nightmares. Gingko fruits prolifically, and the fruit’s pungent odor has been described as “repulsive” at best. Attempting to clean up the fallen fruits will impregnate your skin and clothes with the smell.

Scotch Broom

Yellow scotch broom
Yellow scotch broom. Source: tdlucas5000

The bright yellow blooms of scotch broom are an alluring trap. It is classified as a noxious weed in four countries. Its biggest crime is sabotaging reforestation efforts by out-competing tree seedlings.


It is easy to lull yourself into the idea that you can keep a wisteria under control. Resist temptation. Every species of wisteria is invasive, and it takes constant pruning to prevent it from spreading. Even the most vigilant gardener is bound to miss a runner and find their garden slowly swallowed up.


Like wisteria, periwinkle is a never-ending chore. Vinca major and minor, the most common varieties, are rapid growers that form enormous underground root masses. They will overtake planting beds if given the chance, and if they escape your yard, they will out-compete native plants before you can stop them.


Willows are not a “never ever” plant, but planting location is everything. Willow roots seek out water like moths to a flame, and they will break up pipes to do it. Irrigation lines, septic tanks and even main water lines are not safe. If you want a willow, plant it far away from pipes and near an ample water source.

Russian Olive

Often used in privacy screening hedges, Russian olive is considered an invasive species by U.S. Department of Agriculture. It quickly crowds out native species, and it is nearly impossible to kill without powerful herbicides.

Dwarf Trees Near Your Home

Even professional landscapers are guilty of this mistake. Do not be charmed by any nursery tag’s claims of “compact” or “dwarf” sizes. Do your own research and find out the maximum height and width of every tree, shrub or other planting before you tuck it close to your home. Ten years from now, you do not want your roof’s integrity threatened by looming branches.

easy native plants. Close-up of a blooming Echinacea in a sunny garden. A small beetle, Diabrotica undecimpunctata, sits on a flower. The coneflower flower consists of a cone-shaped copper-colored center surrounded by pink-purple petals.

Ornamental Gardens

15 Easy to Grow Native Plants

Do you want native plants in your garden but fear long lists of growing requirements? Fear not! Many native plants adapt to your local ecosystem and require less care than non-native plants. Gardener Jerad Bryant selects 15 natives for their easy care requirements, their wide range of growth, and their willingness to adapt to new surroundings.

chrysanthemum water


How Much and How Often Should You Water Mums?

Are you confused about how much water your chrysanthemums actually need? These hardy plants do require regular moisture, but how much and how frequently will depend on your climate. In this article, gardening expert Liessa Bowen walks through how much water your chrysanthemums need, and how often you should be watering them.

Close-up of a blooming Goldenrod plant, belonging to the Solidago genus. It graces landscapes with clusters of plume-like flowers in a striking yellow hue. These flowers are neatly arranged in dense, elongated spikes, standing tall above the plant's serrated, lance-shaped leaves.

Ornamental Gardens

How to Plant, Grow, and Care For Goldenrod

Are you looking for some showy fall-blooming perennials for your wildflower garden? There are many different species of goldenrods you can use to attract pollinators, enhance your native plant garden, or start a pocket prairie garden. In this article, gardening expert Liessa Bowen will introduce goldenrods and how to grow these showy wildflowers.

Monkshood flowers


How to Plant, Grow and Care For Monkshood

Monkshood flowers are strikingly beautiful, and can be the star of almost any shade garden. In this article, certified master gardener Laura Elsner teaches you everything you need to know about Monkshood flowers, including tips for both maintenance and care.

Annual Flower in Garden


87 Annual Flowers With Names and Pictures

Picking the right flowers to add to your garden can be a challenge, especially with so many available. Annual flowers, are a type of flower that will bloom for one season, and need replanting the following year. Planting a mixture of annuals gives you plenty of flexibility in changing up how your garden looks every season. In this article, we examine our favorite annual flowers that you can plant in your garden.