Plants are essential to everyone's lives. Welcome to Plantlife.

What can I do to help?

You can help stop the spread of invasive, non-native plants in four easy ways:

1. Avoid buying invasive non-native species…

More than 60% of invasive plants in Britain’s countryside are garden escapees. But, if we as a nation of gardeners have (inadvertently) caused much of the problem, then the good news is that we can solve much of it by the choices we make.

The most effective way to stop the spread of non-native invasive plants is to avoid them in the first place.

Most invasive plants are still available for sale but you can use your purchasing power to influence our big garden centres: tell store managers that you don't want to see non-native invasive plants on sale and make a point of not buying them.

2. Take care when buying plants

Sadly, avoiding invasive species is harder than it should be. Invasive non-native plants are being sold with:

  • incorrect labels
  • incomplete scientific names
  • confusing common names (including incorrectly attributing native species names to non-native species)
  • misleading ‘Buy British’ slogans.

Take care when buying plants and do ask if you are not sure whether what you are buying may be invasive. We believe that all those involved in the production, movement and sale of plants should adhere to the Defra and Scottish Government Horticultural Codes of Practice, which outline how plants should be labelled. The codes cite the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (S.I. 2008/1277) which make it a criminal offence to be misleading about goods being sold.

3. Don't bring plants, fruits, soil, into the country from abroad

A plant’s benign behaviour in its country of origin is no guarantee against it becoming invasive in another.

4. Help track their progress

Smart phone Apps are now being developed that allow you to enter the location of certain invasive non-native species. The PlantTracker App helps record and map the distribution of species such as Japanese Knotweed, Himalayan Balsam and Floating Pennywort, which are examples of particularly problematic species. The PlantTracker App can be downloaded onto your phone, and it helps to identify each species as well as enables the user to easily submit geo-located photos of the invasive species. If successful, Apps could become an important tool for mapping the distribution of invasive non-native species.


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Background image © Trevor Renals.