Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Lovely Lovely Loosestrife

I’ve just discovered that the lovely purple spikes in my garden are Lythrum, or Loosestrife. It is considered a noxious weed and is banned from sale in many states. This plant was a gift from Patrick. According to him, it is not invasive unless it is planted in a wet area. (The plant takes over wetlands and chokes out native species, hence its “noxious” designation.) My front bed can be very dry. I will take care not to give my Lythrum too much water.

I’m looking for some advice. Is it foolish for me to hope that I can control the Lythrum? Should I rip it out while I can? (It adds much need color and fullness to my nascent garden.) Should I install root barriers?

I’m quite upset that Patrick didn’t warn me about this plant. It’s nice to have something that will quickly fill in the space, but I don’t want a front bed with nothing but Loosestrife.

7 Comments:

Blogger Jocelyn said...

Having tried to "control" an invasive plant myself (a grass I forget the name right now) I advise taking it out. I'd say it partially depends on the type of root system it has. If it webs out underground rather than dropping seedlings, then I say get rid of it.

11:03 AM  
Blogger deb said...

we have some simmilar weeds in our garden. i yanked all mine out when i found out they were infact weeds. my neighbour however, left hers to grow and they're really pretty but getting very large! there are no "dry" areas in vancouver! lol it's raining right now!!!

2:43 PM  
Blogger Sandy said...

There are other loosestrifes that aren't invasive like this variety. I love the gooseneck loosestrife. It gets large too but is easy to dig out. I would rip this one out. I won't plant anything in my garden that has invasive tendencies.

9:17 PM  
Blogger lynette said...

I have a pink version of Loosestrife growing in my garden here, it's lovely. I'm pretty sure London wet weather rivals that of Vancouver(!), but I've not noticed any problems with it getting out of control. Then again, it's kind of hemmed in by other plants in the border so perhaps that's containing it. If you're really worried, you could always dig it out and re-plant it in bucket which you then bury back in the ground. That's what they advise people to do here with bamboo... you cut a hole in the bottom of the bucket so it can still get moisture but bamboo spreads sideways so the bucket wall stops it. Not sure how Loosestrife spreads but if it's similar to bamboo then this might work.

12:50 AM  
Blogger OldRoses said...

Lynette, that's a great idea! It sure beats endless pulling out of unwanted plants. I went through that with Black-Eyed Susans. Even mowing the ones that came up in the lawn didn't stop them. They just grew shorter instead!

8:28 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

And deadhead it religiously. Don't let the seeds travel.

I'd say it's best to just yank it, but like Lynette, I have a plant of Morden Pink, which is supposed to be unable to set viable seed. I deadhead it anyway.

And if you do contain the plant, be aware that the universities are working to develop natural controls for them. (this means bugs - a beetle that prefers to eat the loosestrife over other plants) so brace yourself for seeing it being eaten sometime in the (probably distant) future...

1:15 PM  
Blogger Kasmira said...

I'm going to take my chances. I'm sure this is not a wild cultivar and it is in a dry-ish spot. If it does take over, I'll replant it in a pot. I used the pot-in-the-ground method to contain my bergamot and chinese lantern.

8:04 AM  

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