5 Plants That Will Overtake Your Landscape
By Danica Dodson, Arlington Parks & Recreation
Posted on January 28, 2021, January 28, 2021

Have you ever planted something in your yard only to find that the plant’s growth later overtakes your entire landscape? These plants can be very hard to get rid of once they multiply to this level. APRD’s Urban Forestry Land Manager, Wendy Pappas, explains that if you want to include these five plants in your garden, consider planting them in a pot or container rather than in the ground.

  1. Horsetail Reed
    This unusual perennial will grow in many different conditions, from dry soil to marshy areas, and even in clay or sandy soil. It likes sun and some afternoon shade, and will grow in USDA Hardiness zones 3-11. Horsetail Reed is evergreen in warm climates and usually grows 3-4 feet tall. This plant does great in a confined bed or a pot as an accent piece, but should never be planted in a large landscape bed. Once Horsetail Reed takes hold in your garden, it will be almost impossible to get rid of it entirely. Even after mowing over the reeds, they will pop right back up again.
  2. Bamboo
    Bamboo was once a popular plant to include in landscapes due to the privacy it provides. With a fast growth rate and very tall stalks, it will develop a solid look easily and become almost like a wall. This also means bamboo can quickly take over an entire area, and trimming out the bulk will be nearly impossible. This plant could take over your landscape and maybe even your neighbor’s landscape at the same time! Bamboo needs very little water and will grow in most soil types. It will work well in a pot, but will need a little more water there to avoid drying out.
  3. Mint
    Mint grows in USDA Hardiness zones 3-11 and in some areas, it will grow all year long. This very hardy perennial spreads by above ground rhizomes, meaning that the plant will take root wherever the stem touches the ground. This is how it spreads so easily and has the potential to take over your yard very quickly. Mint likes full sun to partial shade and can grow up to 18 inches tall. It’s a great plant to keep around because of the versatility in food and drink recipes, but a small container is recommended to keep it under control.
  4. English Ivy
    This pretty perennial vine can climb up anything, reaching heights of well above 50 feet! It can grow up the sides of your house and fences, up wood and bricks, and across the ground. In some circumstances, it can even grow through wood or penetrate the mortar between bricks through tiny cracks, compromising the structure of your house. With all of these potential problems, you may be wondering why anyone would plant this troublesome ivy. It is a very hardy evergreen and grows easily where other plants might not grow. If you like the aesthetic of English Ivy and want to include it in your plant collection, we recommend planting it in a pot and forming it into a lovely topiary.
  5. Creeping Jenny
    This plant’s beautiful lime green color is sure to stand out, but the rapid growth of Creeping Jenny will quickly overtake a landscape. It is hardy in USDA zones 2-10 and will grow in full sun or shade. If you plant Creeping Jenny in a flowerbed, be prepared to weed constantly to keep it off of your other plants. This plant can grow up to 15 inches tall and is used mostly as a ground cover. There are even some areas that have banned this plant due to its invasive nature, so be sure to check if Creeping Jenny is legal to plant in your area. This plant looks great as a potted accent draping over the sides of the container.

As you can see, some plants are better left in pots than in your yard. We hope these suggestions help you keep your landscape from being overgrown with pesky plants that can be nearly impossible to clear out. Planting these in containers rather than the ground will save you a great deal of time and energy spent on yard work!

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