March 3, 2009

Lantana - Invasive?

As an American, it's funny to think of our native plants as being invasive in other countries because here we concentrate on non-native invasive plants here such as the African Iris, Kudzu, and Bamboo. Here in Central Texas, lantana is a staple gardening plant. It'll take the winters, the summers, the droughts, the rocky soil, and it'll bloom and grow and look lovely. I have a few kinds in my front garden, and I recently trimmed them back for the upcoming growing season so they can get bushy and lovely. I've even harvested some seeds to see if they'll germinate, and they might... in 180 days or so!

So it's funny/weird to think about this lovely plant being so invasive in Australia and so hated. Looking at list of invasive plants, it's amazing how many of them do well in Central Texas without ever becoming invasive such as prickly pear - here, the deer will eat them as will goats and other hungry quadrupeds.

For the record, I hate mimosas. I dug up over 300 in my small backyard - most were seedlings but there were some with tap roots going down 3 feet or more. My boyfriend and I thought we had to dig out all/most of the root and were for a long time until we realized we could just chop them off just below the soil level. Bah. There are a few people in my neighborhood with mimosa trees. Doom to them. I'm still finding seedlings.

4 comments:

  1. I love latana for the same reasons: It's is practically fool proof and the blossoms are wonderful. It's not hardy here in the Pacific Northwest. I love Mimosa trees too but if I had to dig out the neighbor's seedlings, I would be none too happy.

    BTW, I think (but I'm not positive) that your gray sedum is Sedum spathulifolim 'Blanco.'

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  2. I don't think it's spathulifolim if only because the leaves are more plump. However, I was looking around DavesGarden.com for what you suggested, and I found Sedum dasyphyllum which seems to resemble it more although not completely. One of the notes on Corsican Stonecrop, Blue Tears Sedum says that it reminds her of Donkey Tail which is exactly what I thought too except Donkey Tail isn't as cold hardy and gets larger. I haven't seen it flower though, so hopefully that'll give a clue as to what it is. Thoughts?

    And oh my gosh! I thought EVERYTHING could grow in the Pacific Northwest! You must have wandered into the single microclimate where things die. (kidding.)

    I like how Mimosas look, but the invasiveness of the seeds isn't worth it. I've never seen a woody plant grow so fast as it does in my backyard. There's one remaining tree that's lodged itself in a tight spot, and one trunk grew 6' in one summer. Yikes!

    In my 3+ year battle with Mimosas, I've discovered some interesting things. If you never trim it back to the ground, it will form a single deep tap root. If you cut it back to the ground, multiple trunks will sprout and multiple tap roots will form. Right below the soil line, there is a bulge (you can tell I'm super scientific) that'll go down maybe 5" or so, not deep. If you cut the tree just below the bulge, the tree will not regrow from the roots. If you cut any further above or at any point of the bulge, it will regrow. Thankfully, they are pretty easy to kill with the proper cut. I wish I'd only known this before digging up so many - my boyfriend and I could have saved a lot of time and energy in getting rid of these things.

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  3. What is a mimosa? At first I thought yummy champagne drink to be had in the morning. Then I realized that wasn't it. (I actually never had one in the morning, I promise)

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  4. Hey Heather!

    It's not surprising that you haven't heard of them considering that they're only hardy to Zone 6 and are quite prolific in the Southern states, not so much Idaho. I'm sure they're prolific on the West Coast too. They're a smaller tree with wispy fans of leaves and gossamer flowers. They form large beans that break open and the seeds scatter in the wind. It's actually a very attractive tree which is why people keep them, but they are a pain to keep from spreading. It's also pretty weird to think of a tree that reproduces and grows so quickly. I'll try to take a picture of a seedling (there's no doubt one in my yard right now).

    DavesGarden.com Entry for more information: http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/1764/

    And girrrrrl, you should have a mimosa in the morning. They're fab with a huge fruit plate and some crepes. Nothing like a little champagne and fresh orange juice to make a breakfast/brunch special.

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