Pesky Plants to Avoid

We gave you the best and easiest plants to grow in your Pacific Northwest garden, but it’s also invaluable to know what not to plant. See our list of what plants experts say are the among the worst – invasive, disease-ridden, or just outright annoying – to allow into your garden.

How many times have you been given suggestions of what to plant in your garden? Your neighbors will be the first to tell you about their beautiful blossoming bud or their delicious fruit-bearing shrub. But rarely do they rave about the untreatable, impossible, incessant growths that invade year after year. It’s time to shine a light on the absolute worst plants for the Pacific Northwest garden. Whether they be invasive, prone to disease, or maybe just smelly – avoid these plants at all costs.

  1. English Ivy

These winding vines of green leaves may look lovely at first, but they are an extremely aggressive noxious weed. English Ivy is an invasive species that thrives all too well in the Pacific Northwest. It cannot be tamed, and often takes over other plants or infrastructure if not eradicated.

  1. Ash Tree

The ash is a beautiful, unique tree that often adapts well to the Northwest growing conditions. Unfortunately, the lifespan of an ash is often cut short due to a deadly beetle. The ash borer feeds mercilessly on the tree and destroys it, typically making it not a worthwhile investment to grow.

  1. Himalayan Blackberry

The Himalayan blackberry may produce delicious fruit, but the plant itself causes more problems than its worth. As another nonnative species that’s on the noxious weed list, this species wins out resources required by native plants, making it the only thing able to survive. Not only does it starve native plants for resources, but it erodes soil and degrades conditions for future growth.

  1. Skunk Cabbage

The skunk cabbage is actually a native plant with a beautiful bulbous sprout. It can be quite a unique addition to the garden, unless it’s bruised or bothered in any way. If it becomes disturbed, the skunk cabbage releases a scent similar to a skunk spray. Unless you can bare the rancid smell, stay away from this plant.

  1. Golden Chain Tree

The golden chain tree looks lovely at first glance, but its presence in the garden is a constant battle. It seeds freely and constantly, making young seedlings sprout in the surrounding area at record speeds. These seedlings are also very difficult to remove, as they quickly anchor themselves with deep roots. Before you know it, you could have a garden full of them — and nothing else.

  1. Butterfly Bush

People plant the butterfly bush because of its visually appealing flowers and because it’s supposed to be good for butterflies. Sure, the flowers produce nectar for butterflies to consume, but the butterfly bush is also extremely invasive. It outcompetes native plants and decreases biodiversity, making it much more difficult for butterflies and other creatures to sustain themselves.