You may invest a lot of time and effort looking after your beautiful garden, giving it all the TLC it needs just so you can feast your eyes on its fragrant fresh flowers and blossoming blooms. So you don’t want to see invasive plants and weeds come along and spoil it.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s official roster names literally hundreds of flowers, shrubs, and vines that pose a threat to those ecosystems they’ve managed to overtake. And while that may sound overwhelming, you should be aware of some of the more common invasive plants. Let’s begin by looking at what an invasive plant actually is.

An invasive plant is a non-native variety that quickly spreads and has the potential to overtake native plants. By definition, they’re likely to result in environmental or economic harm or harm to human health.

An invasive plant changes with location. Some gardeners confuse invasive plants with aggressive, native plants that quickly spread. However, the two aren’t always mutually exclusive. While an aggressive plant may be able to spread quickly, it’s still native to the area they’re spreading in. So while a plant is native in one area, it could be invasive in another.

Your local cooperative extension officer can help you determine which plants are which in your specific area. In the meantime, here are 10 of the most common invasive plants to keep an eye out for.


The purple plant is pretty, and the popular ground cover can even suppress other weeds. Many gardeners, however, develop a disliking for it once it begins to overtake their lawn or garden. Ajuga spreads quickly by shooting out horizontal roots. This plant can be further problematic in hotter climates without winter frost to kill it.


Barberry shrubs’ bristling thorns allow them to act as a protective hedge that adds more privacy. Some varieties, however, such as the Japanese Barberry, are invasive to the point that it’s been suggested not to plant them in some parts of the U.S. at all, due to how aggressively they grow.

English Ivy

This good-looking wall or ground cover is a vigorous grower, which makes it an invasive plant to look out for. It can easily escape your grasp if you’re planning on cultivating it and trimming it back, which makes it a big problem in some parts of the country.

Japanese Honeysuckle

While it smells sweet and looks good, with its bright yellow appearance, the Japanese Honeysuckle is a fast-growing plant to look out for. While it may appear like a great choice to cover your ground, it can take over a garden easily, especially if you fail to cut it back regularly to tame and control it.


You may be familiar with this verdant vine. However, the perennial is among the most invasive plants ever. A big problem in the majority of southern states, the Kudzu thrives in both the sun and shade, and once it starts to grow, it can’t be stopped. It grows up to a foot a day once established.


While it offers the appearance of a brightly colored plant, it’s, in actual fact, an evergreen shrub native to tropical areas. It’s invasive across the southern U.S., although it poses less of a threat in colder climates. Be warned, however: if it manages to escape your garden, it can naturalize into the surrounding area easily and become a potential problem – so be sure to keep the pretty plant in a pot.

Sweet Autumn Clematis

Don’t be taken in by the stunning, otherworldly flowers and sweet-smelling scent: Sweet Autumn Clematis is another vine capable of easily overwhelming landscapes. Make sure to only grow this plant in trellised pots.


This invasive herb can harm both humans and animals. So if you have one in your garden, call a professional to have it removed. Tansy can be spread from its stems and its seed, so even if it wasn’t harmful, it can be difficult to remove it yourself.

Trumpet Creeper

It isn’t difficult to recognize the Trumpet Creeper due to its vibrant orange trumpet-shaped blossoms. The woody vine can grow quickly and overtake the surrounding surfaces. The Trumpet creeper is more vigorous than the Chinese Trumpet Creeper.


A popular woody vine is stunning when flowered, and it also offers a fresh fragrance. However, it’s also a hardy climber that can spread quickly. Chinese wisteria is more aggressive than its American counterpart, although each is robust. If you wish to plant it because of its aesthetic appeal, okay. But just don’t let its growth spiral out of control and suffocate other plants and flowers.