Many plants can be grown in the garden with no risk to the surrounding countryside. A very small minority, however, can cause havoc if they escape. It's these invasive non-native plants that Plantlife urges gardeners to avoid.

What is an invasive non-native plant?

Non-native plants are those that don't originally come from that area – they have been introduced deliberately or accidentally by human activity. An invasive plant is one that can cause economic, environmental, human, animal or plant-health problems. Japanese knotweed, New Zealand pigmyweed and Rhododendron x superponticum are examples of plants that have escaped from gardens and cause serious damage to native plants and wildlife .

It should be remembered that some of our most invasive species are actually native plants. For example, bracken is a native plant that has become invasive in some areas, particularly the uplands, thanks to changes in agricultural practices. 

Likewise, the vast majority of garden plants introduced from abroad pose no threat to our wildlife or the wider environment. The problem is the small number that do...

Did you know . . . in Britain approximately £1.7 billion is spent every year trying to tackle the problem of invasive non-native species.

Plantlife and others have successfully campaigned for five of the worst non-native invasives to be banned from sale in the UK; if you spot any of these for sale let us know. But many others are still at large...

Gardeners and invasive plants

Gardeners can help by avoiding buying and planting any of Plantlife's "Dirty Dozen" in their gardens. These twelve are known to cause significant damage to threatened wild flora and habitats in the UK. Friendly alternatives can be found on our Wildflowers in the Garden page or in our free downloadable publications.