10 invasive plants that can damage your garden

Did you know that there are a number of plants that can damage your garden? Learn about the most common invasive species and how to prevent their appearance.

Last update: December 31, 2021

Invasive species have become a danger to ecosystems around the world. It is a term that can be used in both plant and animal species. In this article we will explain what invasive plants are, what are the consequences of having them in the garden and the most common ones in America and Spain.

Allochthonous or exotic plants are species that have been taken to ecosystems other than those of their place of origin. In principle, this is not a problem in itself. In fact, exotic plants that do not pose any risk are known as naturalized.

But nevertheless, some non-native peoples have become invadersIn other words, they have a high capacity to colonize the areas where they are planted and displace other native species, stealing nutrients or taking away space to develop. This implies that they reproduce very easily.

Consequences of having invasive plants in the garden

Invasive plants have serious effects on the environment. Its impact can cause loss of biodiversity, alterations in natural cycles, extermination of native plants and damage to the soil.

Many countries are making efforts to eradicate non-native plants and repopulate territories with trees and native species, especially in parks and protected areas. Although many of these plants can look beautiful in your garden, the truth is there is a risk of causing an imbalance in the ecosystems.

On the other hand, birds and insects could contribute to their seeds expanding. So no matter how much you consider that in your garden you can have them under control, its ability to expand easily could get out of hand. The recommendations of the environmental authorities is to avoid them in homes.



Most common invasive plants

The Atlas of invasive alien plants in Spain It contains more than 100 species and indicates that the introduction of living beings outside their natural range is the second environmental problem in order of magnitude. Likewise, another publication of the Government of Cantabria indicates that 60% of invasive spices come from gardening.

A field guide from the Chilean Biological Invasions Laboratory explains that in the last two centuries, the movement of species has increased with the globalization of tourism and trade.



1. Acacia or mimosa

This tree of Australian origin stands out for having beautiful yellow flowers that make it very attractive. However, it has become a problem for many territories, both in Spain and in Latin America.

It has become a dangerous plant for temperate zones. It has a great ability to regrowth, even after fires, and ends up drying out the soils.

Acacia is native to Australia, actually. It is dangerous in temperate climates.

2. English ivy

This plant, which has become so popular in America, has become a worrisome invasive species. It was carried by the English when they colonized the United States and later it spread to the rest of the continent. Its ability to grow and spread on trees and other plants causes it to invade and not allow the growth of anything else.

3. Pines

Several species of pines reached Latin America and Spain and became invasive. They reproduce by seeds that are dispersed through the wind and they have populated vast areas.

Their impact is negative because they compete with native species for nutrients, drying out the soil and changing its characteristics. They have also made alterations to the diversity of the areas.

4. Poet’s eyes

This attractive flowering plant, also known as black eyed susanita, poet’s eye or tunbergia, has become a problem for various Latin American countries. A publication of the Botanical Garden of Bogotá indicates that it acts climbing on other plants and preventing their growth.

5. Cat’s claw

This South African plant has an impressive spreading ability. It is used in gardens because it has showy flowers, which stand out for their ornamental capacity.

However, it has become a danger to other species in Spain and America. It generates a dense and dense cover in the place where it is planted. Consequently, when you want to eradicate, it is necessary to do an incineration in the area.

6. Duster or pampas grass

The feather duster is a plant native to South America that today it is considered an invasive species in Spain. It has spread throughout most of the country and, although it has an attractive appearance that makes it a good ornamental plant, it is dangerous because it increases the risks of fire. Likewise, due to its ability to reproduce, it has to colonize the spaces where it is sown.

7. Water hyacinth

The water hyacinth is an aquatic plant native to South America that is considered one of the 100 most invasive plants on the planet. However, it has an extraordinary beauty that makes it tempting to want to have it in the garden.

Nevertheless, has become a problem in European countries. It has an ability to spread quickly, covering the surfaces of aquatic bodies and preventing the growth of other species.

8. Chumbera

The International Union for Conservation of Nature considers this plant as one of the most dangerous invasive species in the world. It is originally from Central America and was taken to the Mediterranean area because it bears fruit.

However, it has been a danger to native biodiversity. Because, some countries have banned its commercialization, trafficking and planting.

The nopal or prickly pear is considered illegal in many countries, due to its potential to spread.

9. Herb of San Gerardo

This is a kind of medicinal plant that has a beautiful appearance, because its green leaves have a white tinted center and its flowering is abundant. However, it is considered an invasive plant in the countries of America because it spreads easily.

10. Butterfly bush

This attractive shrub native to China and Japan has striking lilac flowers. It has been carried around the world for its ornamental value.

However, it expands quickly and adapts to various environments very easily. It takes over the land, preventing the growth of other species. Therefore, it is considered an invasive species that is best not to plant in the garden.

Choose native plants

Although it is not a mandatory rule, it is convenient to plant native species in your garden. Although not all species from other countries become invasive, having vegetables native to the area can bring great benefits.

On the one hand, you can give them better conditions for their development. Likewise, they will contribute to caring for the ecosystem.

The best thing you can do when choosing ornamental plants in your garden is to read and consult with experts on the requirements of the species. In case of being an exotic plant, you can find out if it is naturalized in your country or if it is an invasive one.

It might interest you …