10 Worst Plants To Grow In Your Yard

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Gardening is an enjoyable and fulfilling activity for many people who take pride in nurturing their plants to fruition. However, it goes without saying that not every plant is suitable for every yard. Some plants may be invasive or toxic, while others require too much maintenance or are prone to disease. In this article, we will explore the ten worst plants to grow in your yard and why they should be avoided.

As a horticultural writer, I have seen firsthand the havoc that certain plants can wreak on a garden. While some homeowners may be tempted to experiment with exotic or unusual species, it is essential to consider the potential consequences of introducing these plants into your yard. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or just starting out, this list will provide valuable insights into which plants to avoid if you want to maintain a healthy and thriving garden that serves as a source of joy and beauty for years to come.

Japanese Knotweed

Ironically, if you want to significantly decrease your property value, Japanese Knotweed is the perfect plant for you. This invasive species has taken over many yards and gardens across the United States, causing serious damage to both residential and commercial properties. The plant can grow up to 10 feet tall, with roots that can extend up to 60 feet underground, making it difficult to control.

The invasive nature of Japanese Knotweed is due to its ability to spread quickly and extensively. It was brought to the U.S from East Asia in the late 1800s as an ornamental plant, but its aggressive growth soon made it a problematic weed. The plant can cause structural damage by growing through concrete and asphalt or pushing through walls and floors of buildings. Furthermore, it crowds out native plants, reducing biodiversity in ecosystems.

Controlling Japanese Knotweed is challenging due to its extensive root system. Effective methods include chemical treatments such as glyphosate or cutting and digging out the roots, but these require professional assistance. Failing to remove all parts of the roots will result in regrowth. Prevention is key; do not plant this species in your yard or garden if you don’t want a headache in the future. In comparison with Japanese Knotweed’s invasive effects on property values, Poison Ivy may seem insignificant; however, it too has detrimental impacts on both humans and plants alike.

Poison Ivy

Poison Ivy is one of the worst plants to have in your yard because of its ability to cause a painful and itchy rash. The plant contains an oil called urushiol, which can cause an allergic reaction if it comes into contact with skin. The rash can appear within a few hours or even up to several days after exposure.

Identifying Poison Ivy in your yard is important to prevent coming into contact with the plant. Poison Ivy typically has three pointed leaves that are shiny and green during the spring and summer months. In the fall, the leaves turn red or orange, making them easier to spot. The plant can grow as a shrub or vine and may have small white berries in clusters.

If you do come into contact with Poison Ivy, it is important to know how to treat the rash. Symptoms of Poison Ivy rash can include redness, swelling, itching, and blistering. There are several over-the-counter creams and ointments available that can help relieve symptoms. It is also important to wash any exposed skin immediately with soap and water to remove any remaining urushiol oil.

  • Wear protective clothing when working around Poison Ivy
  • Learn how to properly identify Poison Ivy
  • Wash any exposed skin immediately after exposure
  • Seek medical attention if symptoms persist or worsen

In addition to Poison Ivy, English Ivy is another plant that can cause problems in your yard. This invasive species can quickly take over trees and other plants, choking them out and preventing them from getting sunlight. In the next section, we will discuss why English Ivy should be avoided in your yard and how to properly remove it if necessary.

English Ivy

English Ivy (Hedera helix) is an evergreen, climbing vine native to Europe, western Asia, and North Africa. It has developed an invasive reputation in many areas due to its climbing habit and ability to spread vegetatively. It is also quite drought-tolerant, able to survive in dry conditions without supplemental irrigation. Additionally, English Ivy is known for its ability to thrive in shady areas, with both sun and shade tolerance. This makes it an especially difficult plant to remove from areas with limited light. As such, it is considered by some to be one of the worst plants to grow in the yard.

Invasive Nature

The mere sight of English ivy can be quite appealing. Its lush green leaves and intricate vines are enough to attract any gardener’s attention. However, its invasive nature poses a significant threat to local ecosystems. English ivy is notorious for spreading quickly and choking out native vegetation, which can lead to the extinction of several plant species.

Methods for preventing invasiveness are essential when dealing with English ivy. This invasive plant can quickly spread through seeds or vegetatively, making it difficult to control once established in your yard. One method is to remove any existing ivy and prevent it from growing back by digging up the roots or applying herbicides. Another option is to maintain regular pruning practices that limit its growth and prevent it from spreading.

The impact of invasive plants on local ecosystems cannot be underestimated. They have the potential to disrupt the natural balance of an ecosystem by competing with native plants for resources such as water, sunlight, and nutrients. As a result, many animals that depend on these plants may lose their habitat or food sources, leading to significant ecological imbalances. Therefore, gardeners must take appropriate measures when planting species like English ivy in their yards to ensure they don’t become a threat to local ecosystems.

Drought Tolerance

English ivy is a popular plant that can add aesthetic appeal to any garden. However, its invasive nature can pose serious threats to local ecosystems. To prevent this, gardeners must take necessary measures such as regular pruning and removal of existing ivy. Another important consideration when planting English ivy is its drought tolerance.

Water conservation is becoming increasingly important, especially in areas prone to droughts. Xeriscaping, which involves landscaping with plants that require less water, has gained popularity as a sustainable practice. This makes the drought tolerance of English ivy an attractive feature for gardeners looking to conserve water. English ivy has been found to have moderate drought tolerance, making it suitable for xeriscaping in areas with mild or occasional droughts.

In conclusion, the invasive nature of English ivy calls for careful consideration when planting it in your yard. Gardeners must take appropriate measures to prevent it from spreading and disrupting local ecosystems. Furthermore, its moderate drought tolerance makes it a suitable option for xeriscaping and water conservation efforts in areas with mild or occasional droughts.

Shade Tolerance

English ivy is a versatile plant that can thrive in various environments. In addition to its moderate drought tolerance, English ivy has also been found to have good shade tolerance. This makes it an excellent option for gardeners looking to create shade gardens or add some greenery to shaded areas of their yard.

Shade gardens offer several benefits, including reducing the amount of sunlight that enters your home and protecting delicate plants from harsh sun exposure. Additionally, they provide a cool and relaxing space where you can unwind after a long day. When creating a shade garden, choosing the right plants is crucial. English ivy is one of the best shade-tolerant plants you can choose, making it an ideal choice for those who want to create a lush and vibrant garden in shady areas.

In conclusion, English ivy’s shade tolerance makes it an attractive option for gardeners looking to create shade gardens or add some greenery to shaded areas of their yard. With proper care and maintenance, this plant can thrive in even the darkest corners of your property, providing you with a beautiful and tranquil outdoor space that you can enjoy year-round.


Kudzu: Controlling Growth, Medicinal Uses

Kudzu (Pueraria lobata) is a quick-growing vine that can overpower any landscape. Originally introduced to the United States as an ornamental plant in the late 1800s, it has become one of the worst invasive species in the country. Kudzu is native to Asia and is known for its ability to climb and cover trees, shrubs, and anything else in its path.

Controlling growth is one of the biggest challenges with kudzu. The vine grows up to a foot per day during the summer months and can quickly engulf entire structures if left unchecked. One effective method of control is using herbicides, which can be applied directly to the plant or through soil injection. However, this method should only be used by professionals as it can also harm nearby plants.

Despite its invasive nature, kudzu does have some medicinal uses. In traditional Chinese medicine, kudzu root has been used for centuries to treat alcoholism by reducing cravings for alcohol. It has also been used to treat fever, high blood pressure, and other ailments. However, more research is needed to fully understand its medicinal properties.

Transition into subsequent section about bamboo: Another invasive plant that homeowners should avoid planting in their yards is bamboo. While it may seem like an attractive option for privacy screening or landscaping purposes, bamboo’s fast-spreading underground rhizomes can damage foundations and drainage systems over time.


Like a towering giant, bamboo can create an impressive visual impact in any yard. The tall green stalks with their lush foliage make for a stunning sight. However, the benefits of growing bamboo may be outweighed by the risks associated with its invasive nature.

Bamboo has gained popularity as a sustainable material that can be used for various purposes such as construction, furniture, and textiles. Growing your own bamboo can provide a source of this versatile material while also enhancing the aesthetics of your yard. However, the risks of planting bamboo cannot be ignored. Bamboo’s aggressive growth habit can lead to it spreading rapidly and taking over other plants in your garden.

Managing the invasive nature of bamboo growth requires regular maintenance and monitoring. Installing barriers around the root system can prevent it from spreading beyond where you want it to grow. Additionally, pruning back new shoots regularly will help control its spread. Overall, while there are benefits to growing bamboo in your yard, it is important to carefully consider the potential risks and take steps to manage its growth appropriately.

Transitioning into the subsequent section about Purple Loosestrife: Another plant with an invasive nature that poses a threat to local ecosystems is purple loosestrife. While its vibrant purple flowers may seem appealing, its unchecked growth can lead to significant ecological damage if not managed properly.

Purple Loosestrife

Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) is an invasive species of plant that has become a major issue in many countries. Its rapid growth and ability to outcompete native species can lead to a significant decrease in the biodiversity of an ecosystem. Furthermore, it can cause a decrease in the quality of water sources, as well as impede the growth of more desirable plants. Management strategies typically involve biological control methods such as the introduction of insects that feed on the plant, as well as chemical methods such as the use of herbicides. Further, mechanical control methods such as the removal of the plants from the area are also utilized. Finally, it is important to keep in mind that prevention is the most effective method of managing Purple Loosestrife.

Invasive Nature

Purple Loosestrife, also known as Lythrum salicaria, is a beautiful plant that produces spikes of vibrant purple flowers. However, it is an invasive species that can quickly take over wetlands and other areas with moist soil. Its aggressive growth habit poses a significant threat to biodiversity in natural habitats.

To prevent invasive plants from spreading, it is crucial to identify and control them early on. Purple Loosestrife can be identified by its square stems, lance-shaped leaves, and tall spikes of magenta flowers. Once identified, the best way to control its spread is through manual or chemical means. Hand-pulling the plant and ensuring that all roots have been removed is an effective method for small infestations. For larger infestations, herbicides specifically formulated to target Purple Loosestrife can be used.

In conclusion, while Purple Loosestrife may seem like a beautiful addition to your garden, it is an invasive species that poses a significant threat to natural habitats. By being aware of its aggressive growth habits and taking steps to identify and control infestations early on using manual or chemical methods, you can help prevent the spread of this harmful plant species in your yard and beyond.

Negative Effects On Ecosystems

The negative impact of invasive species on ecosystems cannot be overstated, and Purple Loosestrife is no exception. This plant can quickly take over wetlands and other areas with moist soil, crowding out native plants and disrupting the balance of the ecosystem. As a result, wildlife that depends on these native plants for food and shelter can suffer.

To combat the negative effects of invasive species like Purple Loosestrife, it is essential to encourage the growth of native plants in your yard. By planting native species, you can provide important habitat for local wildlife while also helping to restore balance to the natural ecosystem. Additionally, incorporating a variety of native plant species can help increase biodiversity in your yard.

In conclusion, while Purple Loosestrife may seem like a beautiful addition to your garden, its invasive nature can have significant negative impacts on local ecosystems. Encouraging the growth of native plant species in your yard is one way you can help combat this issue and support local wildlife. By making small changes at home, we can all play a role in preserving our natural environment for generations to come.

Management Strategies

Effective control and prevention techniques are crucial for managing the spread of Purple Loosestrife. One approach is to physically remove the plant by cutting or pulling it out, especially before it has a chance to produce seeds. This can be done manually or with the help of machinery in larger areas. However, this method may not be effective in all cases, as Purple Loosestrife can regrow from small pieces of root left behind.

Another management strategy is to introduce biological controls, such as insects or fungi that target and feed on Purple Loosestrife. These natural predators can help reduce the plant’s population without damaging surrounding vegetation. However, it is important to carefully evaluate the potential risks and benefits of introducing these organisms into an ecosystem before doing so.

In addition to these methods, preventive measures can be taken to limit the introduction and spread of Purple Loosestrife. This includes avoiding planting non-native species near wetlands or other sensitive areas, properly disposing of plant debris, and being vigilant about early detection and removal of any new invasions. By implementing a combination of effective control and prevention techniques, we can work towards protecting our native ecosystems from the harmful effects of invasive plants like Purple Loosestrife.

Bishop’s Weed

Bishop’s weed, also known as goutweed or ground elder, is an invasive plant that can quickly take over a garden. This hardy perennial has a reputation for being one of the worst plants to grow in your yard due to its aggressive and fast-spreading nature. The plant has a deep root system that makes it difficult to eradicate completely.

Despite its negative impact on gardens, bishop’s weed does have some health benefits. Its leaves are rich in vitamin C and have been used in traditional medicine as a diuretic and to treat arthritis and gout. However, the plant contains toxic compounds that can cause skin irritation and digestive problems when ingested.

Controlling bishop’s weed can be challenging, but there are several methods that can help keep it under control. Pulling up the plants by hand is effective for small infestations, but care must be taken to remove all of the roots. Covering the affected area with landscape fabric or mulch can also prevent new growth from sprouting. Additionally, applying a systemic herbicide containing glyphosate can help eliminate bishop’s weed from larger areas.

As troublesome as bishop’s weed may be, it pales in comparison to the dangers posed by giant hogweed. This invasive plant is much more than just an eyesore – its sap contains chemicals that cause severe burns and blisters when exposed to sunlight. In order to protect yourself and your garden from this dangerous plant, it is important to learn how to identify it and take appropriate measures if you find it growing on your property.

Giant Hogweed

Giant Hogweed is native to Central Asia, but can be found in many temperate regions of North America and Europe. It thrives in moist, nutrient-rich soils and full sunlight, making riverbanks and disturbed areas ideal habitats. It is a highly invasive species and should be handled with caution, as its sap contains toxic chemicals that can cause severe skin inflammation and blistering. Identification of Giant Hogweed is based on its large size, reaching up to 14 feet in height; broad, serrated leaves; and white, umbrella-shaped flower clusters. Additionally, its stems are hollow, purple-spotted and thickly covered in coarse hair. Gardeners should take care to remove Giant Hogweed from their yards, as it can be a severe threat to native ecosystems.


There are many plants that can be grown in a backyard, but some can do more harm than good. One such plant is the Giant Hogweed. This invasive species can grow up to 15 feet tall and is known for causing severe skin irritation and blistering when touched. In addition, its ability to crowd out native plant species makes it a particularly unwelcome addition to any backyard.

Creating a backyard habitat is an important way to promote biodiversity and support local ecosystems. However, introducing non-native plant species like Giant Hogweed can have devastating effects on the surrounding environment. Native plants provide food and shelter for local wildlife, while also helping to maintain a healthy balance of nutrients and water in the soil. By choosing native species over invasive ones, homeowners can help support their local ecosystem while also creating a beautiful backyard space.

In conclusion, it’s important to carefully consider which plants are best suited for your backyard habitat. While the Giant Hogweed may seem like an interesting addition at first glance, its negative impact on both human health and the local environment makes it one of the worst plants to grow in your yard. Instead, opt for native plant species that offer numerous benefits for both wildlife and your overall backyard aesthetic.


Growing invasive species like the Giant Hogweed poses serious risks that can affect both humans and wildlife. While this plant may seem visually appealing, its potential harm cannot be ignored. The risks of growing such invasive species are not limited to skin irritation and blistering when touched, but can also have devastating effects on the surrounding environment.

Pets and wildlife are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of invasive species like the Giant Hogweed. These plants can cause severe reactions in animals that come into contact with them, leading to injury or even death. In addition, their ability to crowd out native plant species can disrupt local ecosystems, impacting food sources and habitats for wildlife.

It is important for homeowners to understand the risks associated with growing invasive species in their backyards. By choosing native plant species over invasive ones, they can help protect themselves, their pets, and local wildlife from harm while promoting biodiversity in their communities. Making informed decisions about which plants to grow is essential for creating a healthy and sustainable backyard habitat.


Identification is a crucial aspect of preventing the growth of unwanted plants in your yard. Knowing how to properly identify problematic plants like the Giant Hogweed can help you avoid potential harm to yourself, your pets, and local wildlife. This invasive species can grow up to 14 feet tall and has large white flowers that bloom in umbrella-shaped clusters. Its stems are covered in fine hairs and have purple spots, while its leaves are deeply lobed and can reach up to five feet in diameter.

To prevent the growth of Giant Hogweed and other invasive species in your yard, it is important to take a proactive approach. One way to do this is by regularly inspecting your property for signs of unwanted plants, especially those that may pose a threat to human or animal health. You should also educate yourself on which plant species are native to your area and choose these over non-native ones when planning your garden.

If you suspect that you have identified Giant Hogweed or another harmful plant species on your property, do not attempt to remove it yourself. Instead, contact a professional horticulturist or local environmental agency for assistance with safe removal methods. By taking these steps, you can help protect both yourself and the environment from the dangers of invasive plant species.

Trumpet Vine

Like a villain lurking in the shadows, the Giant Hogweed is a plant that sends shivers down the spine of every gardener. Its toxic sap can cause severe burns and blisters on human skin, making it one of the worst plants to grow in your yard. However, there are other plants that can be equally troublesome for different reasons.

One example is the Trumpet Vine, a fast-growing climber that has been known to take over gardens and houses alike. While its orange trumpet-shaped flowers may look beautiful, they can quickly turn into a nightmare for homeowners who don’t keep them under control. On the positive side, this vine attracts hummingbirds and butterflies with its nectar-filled flowers.

When it comes to planting Trumpet Vines, choosing the right trellis option is crucial. As it grows rapidly and can become quite heavy, it needs sturdy support structures such as wrought iron or wooden arbors. Pros of growing this vine include its ability to tolerate drought and attract wildlife. On the other hand, cons include its invasive nature and the fact that it can damage walls and fences if not pruned regularly.

Moving forward from Trumpet Vine, we come across another problematic plant – Morning Glory. Although it has charming blue or white flowers that bloom in the morning sun, this plant is infamous for its invasive behavior. It spreads quickly through self-seeding and climbing over any surface within reach. In our next section, we will explore why planting Morning Glory in your yard is not always a good idea.

Morning Glory

Morning Glory, scientifically known as Ipomoea purpurea, is a beautiful and popular vine that can add color and texture to any garden. However, the plant’s invasive nature makes it one of the worst plants to grow in your yard if not managed properly. Morning Glory can quickly take over other plants, smothering them and reducing their access to light.

How to Grow and Control: To grow Morning Glory, plant seeds in well-drained soil in a sunny location. The plant prefers moist soil but can also tolerate dry conditions. Water regularly but avoid overwatering as it can lead to root rot. Be sure to provide adequate support for the vine to climb on such as a trellis or fence. To control the plant’s invasive nature, prune regularly and remove any unwanted growth immediately.

Morning Glory vs. Moonflower: Which is Right for Your Garden? While both Morning Glory and Moonflower are vining plants with fragrant flowers that bloom at night, there are some key differences between the two that gardeners should consider before choosing which one to grow in their garden. Morning Glory blooms earlier than Moonflower and has heart-shaped leaves while Moonflower has rounded leaves. Additionally, Moonflower blooms only at night while Morning Glory blooms throughout the day.

In summary, while Morning Glory adds beauty to any garden with its colorful flowers and unique foliage, its invasive nature makes it challenging to manage without proper care. Gardeners must take measures such as regular pruning and removal of unwanted growths to prevent it from taking over other plants in their gardens. When choosing between Morning Glory and Moonflower, consider factors such as blooming times and leaf shape before deciding which one is right for your garden.


The decision to grow plants in your yard is not one to be taken lightly. While some plants can add beauty and value to your property, others can quickly become a nightmare. Japanese Knotweed, for example, has been known to cause damage to foundations and roadways, while Poison Ivy and Giant Hogweed pose serious health risks.

English Ivy and Kudzu may seem like harmless ground covers, but they have the potential to strangle trees and destroy entire habitats. Bamboo can be quite invasive and difficult to control, while Bishop’s Weed can spread rapidly through underground roots. Trumpet Vine may attract hummingbirds, but it also has the ability to damage structures with its strong roots.

Morning Glory may seem innocent enough with its colorful blooms, but it can quickly take over your garden and choke out other plants. It’s important for homeowners to research the plants they plan on growing before planting them in their yards.

According to a study by the National Park Service, invasive species cost the United States economy approximately $120 billion every year in damages and control efforts. This staggering statistic highlights the importance of being mindful when selecting plants for your yard.

By avoiding these 10 worst plants to grow in your yard and choosing native species instead, you can help protect your property and contribute to a healthier ecosystem overall. As horticulturalists continue to study the impact of invasive species on our environment, it’s essential that we all do our part in preventing their spread.

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Author: Itamar ben dor

My name is Itamar Ben Dor, and I am passionate about environmental sustainability and the power of plants to improve our lives. As the founder of Green Life, I have assembled a team of experts in the fields of horticulture, design, and sustainability to help us bring you the most up-to-date and accurate information.

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