Beware: Invasive Plants
by Debbie Roland, Master Gardener
If a plant could be my nemesis, it would definitely be the Mexican Petunia. My Mom gave me my plant in 1990. It was only one small stalk. Fortunately, I planted it in a bed that is surrounded by concrete. However, I am still constantly thinning it to keep it from spreading and invading the rest of the flowerbed and the yard. The picture of it growing out of the concrete 15’ away from where it is planted will give you a hint about the battle I am fighting.
Another is Queen Anne’s Lace. A fellow Master Gardener gave me a few seeds with this warning: “Be careful with these. They can be a little invasive.” Well, that was the understatement of the century. They spread out of my wildflower garden and onto the rest of my five acres. They blew into my neighbor’s yard. I’ve used a vegetation killer, a lawnmower and pull until I think I have them all. My husband mows them from the borrow ditches and we recently stopped and took a picture of them growing at the stop sign, which is a quarter of a mile from my house.
According to the Texas Department of Agriculture, an invasive or noxious plant is “Any plant species that has a serious potential to cause economical or ecological harm to the agriculture, horticulture, native plants, ecology and waterways of Texas.” While I don’t think mine are causing economical damage, I do feel like my native plants may feel threatened.
So I have polled a few Master Gardeners and am listing the plants that they feel you need to be wary of when planning your landscape in our area.
Flame Acanthus or Hummingbird Bush