More Information About Invasive And Native Plants

Invasive plant species can be found in just about any landscaping these days, as well as in many of our natural areas.  

Do you know which plants are invasive?  

If you need help with this, you could schedule a personal consultation, or ask Dr. DeJaco to come speak to your group and teach you how to identify them.

Or, you could go to websites like these that have lots of useful information:

New Invaders of the Southeast— Invaders_SE.pdf 

Nonnative Invasive Plants of Southern Forests: A Field Guide for Identification and Control—  

Invasive Plants of the Thirteen Southern States—  

Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council Invasive Plant Manual— 

Dealing with invasive plants

The most important thing to do is to try to prevent them from spreading further!  Do this by cutting off all the flowers and fruits, putting them in the garbage so they will be sent to and covered deeply in the landfill.  DO NOT put them in your compost pile!  They will sprout and grow.

When removing invasive plants, it is important that you remove or kill the roots of the plant.  If the roots remain alive in the soil, the plant will keep sprouting back over and over again.  Once you have removed the roots from the soil, make sure they do not touch soil again, or they may actually re-root themselves and grow back.  You can put them in the garbage, or simply make sure they die.  I accomplish the latter by either spreading them out on a concrete surface or hanging them up in other vegetation so the roots will dry out and die. 

The native plant species you put in your yard should be dictated by several factors, for example, the ecological zone are you in, whether the area you want to plant is in the sun or shade, and if the area is at the top of a hill, the bottom, or on a slope.

There are many good groups out there from which you can learn a great deal.  The N.C. Native Plant Society is a very active, friendly group of folks.  Another one of my favorites is Pollinator Friendly Yards.

Here are some other resources from which you can learn about the plants native to your area:

The N.C. Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

The Biota of North America Program

 Ecoregions of North America

Obtaining and using native plants in your landscape

There is now a "For the Birds and the Bees" native plant nursery!  

The North Carolina Native Plant Society keeps a list of nurseries in our area that sell native plants.  You can find that webpage here.  The NC-NPS has a plant sale every summer at its Annual Meeting.  I encourage you to join your local native plant society.  You will find lots of helpful people and learn lots from them.

You may find a few cultivars of native plants for sale at your local garden center. But you may need to search a bit more to find all the native plants you would like for your yard.  Here are some of my favorite places from which to purchase native plants:

Carolina Heritage Nursery

Carolina Native Nursery

Dearness Gardens

Nearly Native Nursery  

Common invasive landscaping plants that are damaging our environment

Grasses and grass-like plants
Bamboo (Bambusa)
Running bamboo (Phyllostachys)
Chinese silvergrass (Miscanthus sinensis)
Common reedgrass (Phragmites australis)
Lilyturf (Liriope)
Maidengrass (Miscanthus sinensis)
Monkeygrass (Liriope)


Bradford pear (Pyrus calleryana)
Empress tree (Paulownia tomentosa)
Mimosa (Albizia julibrissin)
Tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima)



Asian holly cultivars (Ilex cornuta, Ilex crenata, 'Burford', 'Nellie Stevens', etc.)
Autumn olive (Eleagnus)
Butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii)
Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii)
Largeleaf lantana (Lantana camara)
Leatherleaf (Mahonia bealii)
Privets (several species of Ligustrum)
Sacred bamboo (Nandina domestica)


Creeping wintergreen (Euonymus fortunei)
English ivy (Hedera helix)
Periwinkle (Vinca major, Vinca minor)
Porcelainberry (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata)
Wisteria (Wisteria floribunda & W. sinensis)


Butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii)
Chameleon plant (Houttunya cordata)
Lambsquarters (Chenopodium album)
Largeleaf lantana (Lantana camara)
Mountain bluet (Centaurea montana)
Asiatic dayflower (Commelina communis)
Oxeye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare)
Yellow archangel (Lamium maculatum or

Native plants that give back to our environment and feed the ecosystem

Grasses and grass-like plants
Blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium angustifolium)
Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans)
Oak sedge (Carex pennsylvanicus)
Purple top (Tridens flavus)
Splitbeard bluestem (Andropogon ternarius)
Spreading sedge (Carex laxiculmis)
Switchgrass (Panicum species)


any oak! (Quercus species)
black cherry (Prunus serotina)
Dogwood (Cornus florida)
Redbud (Cercis canadensis)


Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana)
Inkberry holly (Ilex glabra)
Leucothoe (Agarista populifolia)
Oak-leaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia)
St. John's wort (Hypericum frondosum)
Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia)
Sweetspire (Itea virginica)
Viburnum (many species!)
Wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera)
Winterberry (Ilex verticillata)
Yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria)
American wisteria (Wisteria fructescens) Carolina jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens)
Climbing aster (Ampelaster carolinianus) Crossvine (Bignonia capreolata)
Maypops (Passiflora incarnata)
Trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens)
Alumroot (Heuchera americana)
Brown-eyed susan (Rudbeckia species)
Eastern columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)
Fire pink (Silene virginica)
Foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia)
Green-and-gold (Chrysogonum virginianum)
Phlox (many species)
Tickseed (many species of Coreopsis)
Wild geranium (Geranium maculata)