Five plants to avoid in your garden and why

August 25, 2023

Confused about what plants to avoid planting in your garden?

You’re not alone. In fact, we are frequently asked what plants to avoid, especially when a homeowner is making changes to their garden design, or when they’ve called us in to help tame an out of control garden.

The Great Planting Dilemma

Your garden is a sanctuary to relax and enjoy nature's beauty. But not all plants are created equal. Some can turn from a charming addition to an uncontrollable nuisance. How do you strike the perfect balance? 

Here are five plants you may think twice about before planting in your garden and why.

1. Bamboo: Beware the Invasion 

Bamboo can be a striking addition to a garden, but it's notoriously hard to control unless contained in a pot. Despite what the label might say, bamboo tends to spread aggressively underground, turning your garden into a jungle. It's a plant that requires caution, space, and proper containment.

Overgrown Bamboo

Alternative to Bamboo: Fargesia

If you love the look of bamboo but want to avoid its invasive nature, consider Fargesia. A non-running bamboo species, Fargesia stays contained and is an excellent choice for adding an exotic flair to your garden without worrying about it taking over.

2. Lemon Balm: A Fragrant Foe 

Lemon balm smells delightful, but it is very invasive. Left unchecked, it will spread and take over other plants in your garden, unbalancing the space.

Lemon Balm Alternative: Mint

Mint is a delightful herb with a beautiful fragrance but is generally easier to manage. However, we still recommend planting it in a pot or container to keep growth under control.

3. Russian Vine: The Garden Dominator 

If you don't have a massive garden, avoid the Russian vine. Known for its rapid growth, it can quickly take over your entire space, strangling other plants and dominating the landscape. It might look beautiful, but the management can be a nightmare.

Russian Vine Substitute: Clematis

Clematis could be the ideal choice for a beautiful climber without the aggressive growth of the Russian vine. Clematis come in a variety of stunning colours that provide your garden with elegant beauty without being overwhelming.

4. Leylandii: Not for the Faint-hearted 

Leylandii can be an excellent choice for a hedge, but think twice unless you have considerable space. It grows tall and dense; without proper maintenance, it can overshadow other plants and even lead to disputes with neighbours. Read more about the trouble with Leylandii here.

Leylandii Alternative: Hornbeam or Beech

For those looking to create a privacy hedge without the problems associated with Leylandii, Hornbeam or Beech trees are an excellent option. They grow at a manageable pace and are easily pruned to suit your garden's size and shape. Hornbeam should be pruned a couple of times a year, whereas Beech only needs your attention once a year.

5. Striped Ornamental Grasses: Choose Wisely 

Some striped ornamental grasses are stunning but can be thuggish. They spread extensively and, if not carefully managed, can soon take over your garden. It’s always wise to take advice on which types are best suited to your space.

Striped Ornamental Grasses Alternative: Japanese Forest Grass

If you love the unique look of striped ornamental grasses, consider Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa macra). It offers a similar aesthetic without aggressive spreading whilst adding a touch of sophistication to your garden landscape.

Claire's Words of Wisdom

  • It's vital to be mindful of your space and the time you can dedicate to gardening. Like with medication, always check the labels before buying or planting anything in your garden. 
  • Think about how you want to use your garden, plus consider your pets or children, as some plants might be poisonous yet look deceptively edible. 

How CJ Garden Services Can Help 

The CJ Garden Services team is here to help you with planting advice tailored to your garden's size and lifestyle. Whether you have lots of time to look after the garden yourself or need a low-maintenance solution, your garden should be a place of joy, not a source of stress. 

With our help, you can look forward to a thriving garden that reflects your taste without the risk of the troublesome plants taking over.

To discuss your specific gardening needs, call Claire today.