PLANTING REGRETS: I wish I had never planted these

By Marilyn McKinley

OSU Extension master gardener volunteer

I am a plant lover, all kinds of plants, especially flowers and herbs.

But there are some that I may regret forever planting them in my gardens. Here’s my tops:

Lily of the Valley: Oh the wonderful smell, those cute little fringed white cup-like blossoms. Who could not love it? Me — and here’s why. They’re invasive. It vigorously spreads by stolons which grow horizontally above the ground producing roots and new shoots at the nodes. As years go by they often get a fungus that turns the leaves brown. They always look raggedy by mid-summer, quickly become overcrowded and produce few blooms.

Morning glory: Nice quick, colorful, easy-to-grow vine. Ha! Once you plant them they volunteer year after year. You can’t grow them close to any other plant because the vines will twine and twist other plants to death. Getting rid of them is difficult. If they go to seed, lookout. The seeds are transported by wind and birds. Once they start to grow you must pull them out every day if you hope to get control of these invaders. It may take years to rid your property of these determined vines.

Lemon balm: I adore the smell. I love brushing up against a plant and getting a strong whiff of refreshing lemon. But I do not like that it goes everywhere and smothers out other plants. It’s a member of the mint family — enough said. It grows in the sun and in the shade. To rid a garden or stone walk of this, well good luck. I have had some sneak by Round Up. You just have to keep pulling it up. Putting down plastic and leaving it there for weeks might do the trick.

Tulips: Why bother? The squirrels and chipmunks dig up the bulbs (yes, I have planted the bulbs in wire cages). If you do get lucky and some foliage appears, along come the deer. It’s just not worth it. If they do survive, they are heavy feeds and stop blooming before you remember the two applications of fertilizer needed each year (before and after bloom).

Mint: Beware of any mint, any member of the mint family, look for the square stems. I continue to try to control mints by planting only in pots. There are so many kinds of mint. No herb garden would be complete without some. I still grow mint, but I do struggle to keep it in check.

Roses: I know I said top five, and I have written about this before. But they are just too fussy, high feeders, too demanding, need pruning, disease-prone, Japanese beetles love them, etc., etc. I’ll admire the beautiful roses at Mill Creek Park.

So, if you love the above plants enough to grow them, have at it, enjoy them, and just know you will have them forever! Share them, just not with me!

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