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U.S. Forest Service

Plants to Avoid in Your Native Plants Garden

There are many beautiful flowers available to plant in your garden. Buyers BEWARE!

There are many plants that you should avoid purchasing and plant in your area. Though beautiful, these plants may not be native to your region. In there native habitat, these plants are kept in check by natural controls. However, when introduced into a new landscape without natural predators or competitors, some species become invasive. These invasive plant species can spread and crowd out native plants and animals.

To avoid introducing invasive plants in your garden, first find out if a particular plant is correct for your region.  Ask your nursery for advice and consult websites such as and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database.

Choose the Right Plants for Your Region

Here is a list of a few plants to avoid, by Region.

Wanted Dead - Purple Loosestrife poster.


scotch broom stems and flowers. Scotch Broom. Photo by USDA Invasives.

  • Gorse (Ulex europaeus)
  • Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum)
  • Mediterranean (or African) sage (Salvia aethiopis)
  • Scotch Broom (Cytisus scoparius)
  • Sulphur cinquefoil (Potentilla recta)


fountain grass. Fountaingrass. Photo by the National Park Service.

  • Camelthorn (Alhagi pseudalhagi)
  • Fountaingrass (Pennisetum setaceum)
  • Giant reed (Arundo donax)
  • Tamarisk or Salt Cedar (Tamarix spp.)
  • Toadflax or Butter and eggs (Linaria vulgaris, Linaria dalmatica)


tree of heaven. Tree of heaven. Photo by the National Arboretum.

  • Asian (or Oriental) Bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculata)
  • Creeping buttercup (Ranunculus repens)
  • Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum)
  • Porcelain berry (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata)
  • Water Chestnut (Trapa natans)
  • Tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima)


water hyacinth. Water hyacinth.

  • Chinese tallow (Triadica sebifera or Sapium sebiferum)
  • Congograss (Imperata cylindrica)
  • Japanese climbing fern (Lygodium japonicum)
  • Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)
  • Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes)


Russian olive tree. Russian olive. Photo by the USU Extension Services.

  • Bush honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii, Lonicera morrowii, Lonicera tatarica)
  • Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum)
  • European (or common) buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica)
  • Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia)
  • Sericea or Chinese lespedeza (Lespedeza cuneata)