Hassle Free Gardening: 10 Plants to Avoid Growing
Want carefree summer gardening? Here is a list of decorative plants that are not worth the trouble for those who have limited plot space, time, or both!
Having to worry about plant toxicity, garden bullies, or demanding divas is a time-consuming issue many gardeners would rather avoid. Skip the following plants if you want to avoid the extra hassle. There are plenty of other flowering and edible options that require less effort. Learn more here.
Beautiful but Toxic
Poet’s Narcissus is part of the daffodil family. It has beautiful white petals surrounded by a funnel-shaped yellow center that is rimmed with a delicate ridge of red.
Named after Narcissus, all parts of the poet’s narcissus are toxic, especially the bulbs which can be easily mistaken for onions. This plant contains lycorine, so eating it can cause vomiting, stomach cramps, and in extreme cases, convulsions and cardiac arrhythmias. It is also highly fragrant and keeping large quantities of this plant in enclosed spaces can bring about nausea and headaches.
A fall flowering plant, autumn crocus brings colorful blooms in pink, purple, white, and blue. Despite their beauty, these autumn flowers contain the alkaloid colchicines. While this chemical has been used to treat gout, atrial fibrillation, and pericarditis, the plant is toxic if eaten, inhaled, or absorbed through the eyes.
Symptoms are similar to arsenic poisoning, with acute exposure usually felt within two to 24 hours. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and possible multiple system organ failure when left untreated.
While foxglove is a beautiful flower with bell-shaped purple-pink flowers, all parts of this plant contain cardiac glycoside, a digitoxin that affects the heart. If eaten, it causes low pulse rate, nausea, vomiting, and heart contractions that will eventually lead to cardiac arrest.
Lily of the Valley
Lily of the valley is sweetly scented with leafy shoots and a delicate cluster of downward-facing white flowers. This plant is not only extremely toxic, but it is also classified as an aggressive grower. 38 different cardiac glycosides have been identified in lily of the valley and consuming even small amounts can cause abdominal pain, reduced heart rate, skin rashes, and blurred vision. Lily of the valley also produces small red berries that are also poisonous and tempting to children.
Considered an invasive species in many areas of the United States, English ivy has been banned in the state of Oregon.
This vine is extremely hard to control and can choke out any other plant in its way, creating an “ivy desert” effect. It’s love for climbing can also kill young trees.
While mint is a great culinary herb, many varieties of mint including peppermint, spearmint, and catmint, are prolific growers. Using their twofold spreading technique, mint plants can grow far and wide through underground rhizomes and horizontal runners. They can quickly take over new terrain which is why it is a good idea to grow mint in containers, harvesting their leaves frequently.
Although bamboo can be an exotic addition to any backyard landscape, it is one of the fastest growing woods in the world. Bamboo has a vigor for colonizing new lands and it will spread beyond your property line and into other people’s yards.
If you learn how to successfully contain bamboo, it can be managed.
These beautiful plants have are true to their name! Their stems reach far and wide and are considered an invasive species. Although they are easily pulled out, creeping jenny is usually better suited for containers or as a lawn replacement.
Though they are extremely beautiful and wonderfully scented, all types of roses require a good amount of pampering. For flawless blooms, soil must be deep, loose, and enriched with compost. Properly plan and space your plants so roses receive good air flow, twice weekly waterings and frequent feedings, regular pruning and deadheading, as well as the constant challenge of preventing black spots and protecting them from aphids, spider mites, and deer.
Gardenias are terribly temperamental and require the perfect balance of watering, sunlight, humidity, feeding, pruning, and mulching for the white flowers to bloom in the summer. If you neglect any of gardenia’s needs the entire plant will suffer.
Ariana Marisol is a contributing staff writer for REALfarmacy.com, where this article first appeared. She is an avid nature enthusiast, gardener, photographer, writer, hiker, dreamer, and lover of all things sustainable, wild, and free. Ariana strives to bring people closer to their true source, Mother Nature. She graduated The Evergreen State College with an undergraduate degree focusing on Sustainable Design and Environmental Science. Follow her adventures on Instagram.
Photo Credit: davida3/flickr