Alternatives to Invasive Plants

Aggressive invaders such as periwinkle, goutweed or “snow on the mountain” and English ivy can quickly take over large areas of your (and your neighbour’s) yard. They also spread to natural areas, displacing local wildflowers such as spring beauty, trilliums and trout lily. If you want to grow groundcovers, there are some wonderful native alternatives.

In shady areas, try Canada wild-ginger, heart-leaved foamflower or bunchberry. In sunnier locations, try wild strawberry or barren strawberry. Canada anemone and zig-zag goldenrod also grow well but spread easily. Choose two or more native groundcovers most suited to the conditions in your yard. Plant patches of each for variety through the seasons.

Instead of invasive shrubs such as euonymus (for example, burning bush and spindle-tree) and invasive honeysuckles (such as Japanese or Tatarian), try native ones. Downy, smooth or Canada serviceberry, bush honeysuckle and red osier dogwood are great alternatives.

When you plant trees, choose Northern red oak, hackberry or Freeman maple over Norway maple and other invasives.

Make the best choices for your yard and your neighbourhood. More options can be found in CVC’s plant lists, as well as our Gardening Wisely list

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