I just read a list of plants never to plant in your yard or they will take over.  I have my own list and I like some of them but you will need a hoe. Nebraska is not the ideal place for plants so sometimes it works to have a few aggressive plants to fill in bare spaces.

          PERILLA is a super seeder of purplish leaves about 2 to 2 1/2 feet tall that I must have, but I warn you I pull them up by the tens each spring. Those dark leaves make the green ones look greener when close together. The flowers are small, non-descript and can be cut off to prevent seeds.

          For years I had the CHAMELEON PLANT (Houttuynia cordata) a 12 inch red and green leaf plant that fills in spaces by rhizomes, rooting stems, and seeds. If you get a start, plant it in an enclosed area to prevent its escape. It even likes wet soil in sun or shade. It is sometimes called Tri-color with its very bright colors.  Let it go and you have a ground cover that goes. Since it likes water, some people grow it in a large pot in their lily ponds with the top just out of the water. It makes a gorgeous red spot in the pond.

          ARTEMESIA genus has its “spreaders” such as Silver Queen (Aludoviciana) pushes other plants aside with its underground rhizomes. They tend to have silver leaves so if you like that color, there are different heights. I have trouble keeping them alive over winter. It does not spread, has silver, soft leaves, and grows about 15 inches up and wide. For those of you who like to make your own wreath backgrounds SWEET ANNIE (Artemisia annua) has branches that weave easily if you don’t let them get too dry. The ARTEMESIAS are also known as MUGWORTS, or WORMWOOD. Before you buy an ARTEMESIA, check what it can do.

          One of my favorite plants is GOOSENECK LOOSESTRIFE (Lysimachia clethroides). It is aggressive by underground rhizomes so I have a big clump that does not allow other plants in so each spring I trim it down by hoeing out the outside edges. Nothing beats that white elongated head that opens during late June and does look like a goose head. You might want to put it in a confined area. It will be about 36 inches high and 24 inches wide, likes moisture and high shade. I hated to find it in the “slug” group.

          PURPLE LOOSESTRIFE (LYTHRUM), a gorgeous plant that has been banned in Nebraska as a “noxious weed” and everyone has been required to remove the plant. Some years the wet areas turned purple as it took over, killing off other plants. Each state has its list of “bad guys”. Plants that may be a noxious weed and banned in one state may not be so bad in other ones for various reasons.

I have seen a few states talk about BUTTERFLY BUSH (Buddleja davidi) as being invasive but our winters in Nebraska keep it pretty well under control. I have noticed my pink one has several children but the black, white, and purple do not. They are easy pull when young. One can cut the stems to the ground in the spring or you can wait to see where it leafs out to cut just above.

One of the bright yellow, fun plants I have had is the BUTTERCUP (Ranunculus repens). The blooms (cups) are only 1-2 inches across but are numerous. Long, above ground runners’ root anywhere they land.  Flowers are small but many petaled.   It had intended to take my entire yard before the hoe became stronger.

OBEDIENCE PLANT (Physostegia virginia) can get up to 4 feet tall and is on the “slug” list in many places. I have had it in my yard for years in partial sun and it does spread by underground rhizomes but is easy to control. It has purple flowers along the stem. There is a white one “Miss Manners” that is not so vigorous and will stay in its own clump without invading other plants.

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