What NOT to Plant

Following is a list of plants to avoid. You’ll see many of them in established gardens, introduced into the nursery trade as ornamental landscape plants. Unfortunately they’re running amok in our natural areas and crowding out native vegetation.

We encourage you NOT to buy or plant these plants, and to urge your local nursery or garden center NOT to sell them.

This is just a partial list, covering some invasive plants common to home landscapes and woodlots. A comprehensive listing of problem plants is here: Indiana Invasive Species Council Plant List.

INPAWS is piloting an incentive program that encourages retailers to sell native plants and NOT sell invasives: Grow Native Program.


crown vetch  Coronilla varia
dame’s rocket  Hesperis matronalis
Korean lespedeza  Kummerowia stipulacea
striate lespedeza  Kummerowia striata
white sweet clover  Melilotus alba
yellow sweet clover  Melilotus officinalis
Japanese knotweed  Polygonum cuspidatum


miscanthus hybrid  Micscanthus x gigantea
Chinese maiden grass  Miscanthus sinensis
reed canarygrass, ribbon grass  Phalaris arundinacea
common reed  Phragmites australis
tall fescue  Schedonorus arundinaceus


Japanese barberry Berberis thunbergii  See why
Russian olive  Elaeagnus angustifolia
autumn olive  Elaeagnus umbellata
burning bush  Euonymus alatus
glossy buckthorn  Frangula alnus
bicolor lespedeza  Lespedeza bicolor
sericea lespedeza  Lespedeza cuneata
Amur privet  Ligustrum amurense
blunt leaved privet  Ligustrum obtusifolium
California privet  Ligustrum ovalifolium
Chinese privet  Ligustrum sinense
common privet  Ligustrum vulgare
Amur honeysuckle  Lonicera maackii
Morrow’s honeysuckle  Lonicera morrowii
Tatarian honeysuckle  Lonicera tatarica
Bell’s honeysuckle  Lonicera x bella
common buckthorn  Rhamnus cathartica


Norway maple  Acer platanoides
callery pear  Pyrus calleryana
sawtooth oak  Quercus acutissima
Siberian elm  Ulmus pumila


Asian bittersweet  Celastrus orbiculatus
wintercreeper  Euonymus fortunei
English ivy  Hedera helix
Japanese hops  Humulus japonicus
Japanese honeysuckle  Lonicera japonica
periwinkle  Vinca minor