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The Home Depot

10 Store-Bought Plants That Can Devastate a Yard

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Landscaping > 10 Store-Bought Plants That Can Devastate a Yard
10 Store-Bought Plants That Can Devastate a Yard

You work hard on your yard’s landscape to ensure that the plants growing in your planting areas are healthy and vibrant. Not only does landscaping take time and energy, but it can also cost a lot of money – plants and shrubs aren’t cheap!


Keep in mind that the plants you select to add to a landscape can have a positive or a negative impact on your overall garden. Not sure exactly what you’re doing? Some plants may grow energetically or even aggressively and other plants can become invasive, taking over your yard and choking out other vegetation.


A little knowledge about plants to avoid might help you skip common store-bought plants that can devastate a yard.

  1. 1.Kudzu

    Kudzu trees, once established, can grow up to 12 inches in one day. At one time, Kudzu was recommended as a barrier plant that could help control soil erosion. The plant spreads quickly with vines that contain nodes – this is where the new roots grow down into the soil. Once Kudzu gets going in a landscape, it will quickly cover growing areas with a thick layer of leaves.

  2. 2.Tree of Heaven

    The tree of heaven can be anything but heavenly in your landscape. The seeds produced by tree of heaven can top 325,000 per year. Once the wind takes hold of the seeds, they travel easily to spread the plant throughout a growing area. If the tree of heaven grows too close to buildings and sewer systems, the roots may cause extensive damage. Not only does the plant spread quickly, but it also may spread toxicity throughout a growing area, which can damage other plants.

  3. 3.Multiflora Rose

    Although the blossoms of multiflora rose can be beautiful, with pink and white clusters, this plant spreads voraciously throughout a growing area. Birds are largely responsible for picking up seeds and spreading them far and wide. Left uncontrolled, multiflora rose will easily choke out surrounding plants to create a dense hedge in a landscape.

  5. 4.Barberry

    This shrub can quickly take over a landscape, thanks to the seeds that spread easily. Birds and animals often carry barberry seeds to new growing areas so it can pop up in new places where you didn’t even plant it. What’s more, barberry plants aren’t tasty. This means that animals and insects generally leave it alone in a landscape, which helps it grow even more energetically.

  6. 5.Purple Loosestrife

    When you’re looking for a showy plant with tall, purple blossoms, you may think that Purple Loosestrife will fit beautifully into your landscape. Think again – this plant spreads quickly throughout a planting area. You may soon find other surrounding plants dying back because they’re choked out by Purple Loosestrife. Be careful – some nurseries are offering “sterile” cultivars, toted as varieties that will not spread invasively. These claims are often false and the plants will spread energetically nevertheless.

  7. 6.Dame’s Rocket

    When you buy assortments of seeds in a garden center, read the label carefully to see what you’ll be planting. Dame’s rocket often finds its way into these seed assortments. Although the tall, lavender stalks can be pretty in a landscape, before long this might be all you’ve got in your yard because dame’s rocket likes to take over. Dame’s rocket produces many seeds and spreads quickly throughout growing areas to choke out other plants. In fact, dame’s rocket spreads so easily that it might even pop up in your landscape when you didn’t even plant it yourself.

  8. 7.Fountain Grass

    Although you might think that a large clump of fountain grass in your landscape would make an attractive focal point, proceed carefully when introducing fountain grass in a yard. Fountain grass grows quickly into a dense clump of vegetation. The seeds produced by the plant spread easily, taking over landscape areas and choking out other plants. Fountain grass also gobbles up soil nutrients greedily, leaving little for other plants to use. If you must plant fountain grass, look for a sterile cultivar that will not spread and take over a planting area.

  10. 8.Japanese Honeysuckle

    With its delicate white blossoms and attractive green leaves, Japanese honeysuckle can seem like a beautiful addition for a landscape. The woody vines of this perennial plant will grow right over other plants, shading them and choking them out of the growing area. The vines often twine right around other plants to cover them and interfere with their growth. In fact Japanese honeysuckle can even take down mature shrubs and trees with its voracious growth habits.

  11. 9.Butterfly Bush

    Many states have banned the sale of butterfly bush, but it’s still commonly sold in some garden centers. Although the blossoms of a butterfly bush will attract butterflies to your growing areas, the seeds produced by this plant spread easily to surrounding areas. In fact, the volume of seeds produced by the butterfly bush contributes greatly to the way the plant spreads. If you want to control the way butterfly bush spreads in a landscape, you might remove each spent blossom promptly after it fades on the plant.

  12. 10.Oriental Bittersweet

    Oriental bittersweet is a climbing vine that produces light green leaves, tiny flowers and small red berries. Although the vines and berries of oriental bittersweet can seem like an attractive addition to a landscape, these vines grow so energetically that they can take over mature trees, killing them. The vines not only smother other plants, but they also uproot trees and shrubs with the weight of the vines.


    It pays to learn about plants before you add them to a landscape. Some plants may seem like the perfect addition to a growing area, but you’ll soon regret adding the plant when it takes over your landscape. Stick to native plant species that will grow at a modified and natural pace in your growing area. Still have questions?

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