Invasive plants can have negative impacts on landscapes and gardens. Here’s an easy way to learn if a plant is considered invasive (even when it isn’t noted on the tag).

The Good:
Some folks might argue that invasive plants have a certain charm. They’re often pretty resilient and can adapt to all sorts of environments. It’s almost like they have a survival superpower, being able to thrive where others struggle. Plus, in some cases, they can help prevent erosion, which is a big deal, especially in areas where the soil is fragile.

The Bad:
But let’s not sugarcoat it, there are definitely downsides. Invasive plants can really wreak havoc on ecosystems. They march in like bullies, crowding out the local plants and disrupting the whole balance of nature. That means less food and habitat for native critters, and it can really mess with the way an ecosystem functions. It’s like inviting a rowdy party crasher who ends up trashing the place.

The Ugly:
And when it comes to the ugly side of things, invasive plants can get downright nasty. They can cost us big time, both economically and environmentally. Some of can be real health hazards, causing allergies or even poisoning animals. And the headaches they give us (and all our neighbors too) in terms of trying to manage and control them is well-documented. It’s like trying to wrangle a bunch of unruly toddlers on a sugar high – exhausting and never-ending.

While invasive plants might seem harmless or even helpful at first glance, the truth is they can be a serious issue for you, your garden, and the greater environment. It’s a reminder that not everything that grows in your garden is a friend.

Don’t rely on the growers’ tags on store-bought plants – many won’t have any information at all on the plant info tag.  If you have a plant in your yard or garden that you suspect might be invasive but don’t know the name, use an app like Google Lens or Picture This Plant Identifier to identify the plant and its name, and then use the tip below to quickly determine if it is invasive.

TIP:  How to check if a plant is invasive: simply Google “name of plant invasive” – for example “pansy invasive” or “Russian sage invasive”.  If you want to be extra sure, add “Colorado” after the word invasive as in “pansy invasive Colorado”.  See photo above.