Plants you wished you never planted!!

valtorrez(6b)May 31, 2014

As I sit and look out my window on this rainy day, I can't help but wish I never planted the 3 peonies I have. I can't gather the guts to kill them but I detest them. They only look nice for, at the most, one week. They always bloom right before a rain storm in which then they r done for the season.

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I don't regret the peonies that I planted, nor those that were growing here when I moved to this garden a dozen years ago. If for no other reason than the early season bloom and fragrance, they're welcome in my garden beds. Aside from that, the foliage remains lush even after the blooms are finished. Healthy green foliage works for me. The fact they're long-lived is another feature that weighs in their favor--many have thrived in my garden for 30+ years.

It's true that they generally bloom right before a rain storm after which they're done for the season. However, it's been my experience the foliage remains lovely right through the growing season + they're not bothered by garden pests (not even deer!).

There are nearly two dozen peonies growing in my garden and I wouldn't be without their lush, intricate, spectacular flowers + heavenly fragrance.

It comes back to defining your garden goals: what you enjoy, what pleases your eye, what sustains/enhances your garden (or doesn't). It's up to you to tend/enjoy the former; eliminate the latter.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2014 at 9:22PM
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jan_on zone 5b

Gout weed! Purple violets! Lily of the valley! False spirea! Yuccas! But not peonies lol!

    Bookmark   May 31, 2014 at 9:33PM
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So glad to read your post gardenweed. I planted my first peonies last summer and it won't be long before they bloom. It would be nice to have a longer bloom time, but their beauty is worth it!

I'm afraid I might regret planting evening primrose. It has spread, although I have kept it somewhat contained...this year will tell.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2014 at 9:33PM
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sara82lee(8a - SE Va)

Never heard anyone say peony before, lol. Though I have heard complaints about the short bloom time. And don't they attract ants?

My one regret: CANNAS. Never ever again.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2014 at 9:41PM
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Jan my neighbor tried to give me violets. I told her thanks very nice to offer......but no thanks!

    Bookmark   May 31, 2014 at 9:45PM
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They are gone now.

I don't care for peonies myself so I wouldn't have any qualms about digging them out but whenever theres a plant that I don't like, I always dig it out. Space is limited after all. I've done the sit and hesitate thing before but always find it liberating to grab the shovel then plant something I like rather than "detest" --- thats pretty strong motive right there. If thats not a good enough reason, ask yourself what would you rather see there? Thats a good place to start. I'm sure you can find someone who wants them if your feeling bad about digging them.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 12:59AM
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gardengirl_17(z5 OH)

Black-eyed Susan for sure. What a thug!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 1:12AM
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Sweet Woodruff. I thought it would make a nice, fragrant addition to a shady garden bed and around some shrubs, but it ended up being far too aggressive and I think it helped kill my Annabelle Hydrangea.

So now when I look for groundcover I want mat-forming plants, not ones that spread aggressively by rhizomes.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 2:12AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Valtorrez, I tried Peonies for about three years and ripped them out. Two of the three years, it would rain as soon as they opened and in less than a week the petals would be falling on the ground. But even the one sunny year, the blooms were very short lived. I have a small garden and I just couldnâÂÂt justify the space. If I had tons of room, IâÂÂd be happy to give them an out of the way corner. They are gorgeous!

I have been very careful of what I've planted over the years, because I know my limitations and that I can't waste my energy struggling with an aggressive plant. There's too many other things to do. The one plant that really gives me trouble, is one I didn't plant. I've only tried a couple of the usual suspects, Rudbeckia that tried to take over my sunny border, crowded out all my echinaceas and after about 5 years of that, out it all came and it was quite a job, so I wish I had done it sooner. Sweet Woodruff that grew too quickly into a 4ft patch and out it came. Someone gave me Lily of the Valley and I planted that carefully next to a cement walkway but I pulled that out after a short time too. That's about it. Campanula and witch grass were the worst problems for me and they came with the house.

This post was edited by prairiemoon2 on Sun, Jun 1, 14 at 7:03

    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 6:45AM
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houttuynia gooseneck loosestrife, vinca minor, Eupatorium 'chocolate', anemone Canadensis. Actually it is more that they are in the wrong place. If you have acres and can put these things way in the back and just let them go it would be fine. agree with sweet woodruff, but do not think it would kill a Hydrangea. OH and Pachysandra!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 8:09AM
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Ribbon grass!!! I call it devil grass. I just finished ripping the last of it out and it about killed me ughh!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 8:17AM
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Good question. I have foolishly tucked a gift thug into my good perennial bed planning to move it later which never happens soon enough. Love the looks of lysimachia ciliate firecracker which is not supposed to be invasive but it has formed a huge clump.

I think I might move it to a new wild bed and see what happens if I put tansy next to it.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 8:41AM
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I don't have too many regrets yet after almost five years at our new location but I have do have plants on my "watch list". Ornithogalum
bulbs are probably my biggest regret although they haven't been a problem for me yet, I can see their potential to spread. I only have small clumps but I haven't been able to get rid of them. Also this tradescantia has grown into a large, scary clump, spreading by loose runners, in two years. If this growth rate continues it definitely will need to be removed or put in a less hospitable environment. Thinking if trying by the mailbox where the soil is similar to cement and I have a barrier between garden bed and lawn...although these guys might quickly go under the 6 inches.

When we first moved here from a desert climate, I planted 25 peonies. Now they are in glorious bloom and some have gotten to be substantially sized plants. I do not want to get rid of any of them but I wish I had space for a dedicated peony garden. Seriously eyeballing the lawn along our front walk or bordering the driveway. But I absolutely cannot make any new garden until I get weeds (mostly grass.
Ugh! Grass is really biggest regret!) under control in my existing gardens! I even vowed to DH that there would be no new garden beds this year and he asked if he could record me saying this so that he could play it for me within the next couple if weeks when I started talking about ripping out more grass.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 11:58AM
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gardengirl_17(z5 OH)

I also regret Knautia macedonica. I like the blooms well enough but it reseeds like crazy and can become very weedy looking..

    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 1:42PM
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sweet_betsy No AL Z7

Campanula Cherry Bells - the plant from hell. Breaks off if you try to weed it out and every piece left behind makes a new plant.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 1:48PM
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We'll until I can decide what I want in the areas, I went outside and trimmed up my peonies which I guess don't look so bad after all.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 1:50PM
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I'm with you on the peonies. I'd still plant them, but not in a bed I'd want to be a focal point. They would go on the side of the house so I could use them for cut flowers the week they bloom.

My biggest mistake has probably been mint. They don't warn you about the invasive nature when you buy it. I still plant it, but only in places where I can contain it.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 2:11PM
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Sammywillt(NC IOWA . 4)

The only one of life's regret bigger then taking up cigg. smoking .... Planting Yarrow -_- .
The junk has taken over my yard - and my yard is about 1 acre UGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG !!!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 2:12PM
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Ohhh boy do I have a long list:

Houttuynia - pretty leaves but a thug. Moved itself from the front to the back gardens!
Trumpet vine - really does attract those hummers but a super thug!
Black eyed Susan - I didn't plant it, it just appeared
Perennial ageratum - likewise, reseeds and spreads by roots, and very hard to pull out -- but those late summer blue clouds of blossoms are lovely for a week or three!
Northern Sea Oats -- blame BH&G "bird friendly garden plan" for this one, reseeds everywhere and birds don't seem to care about it
Creeping Jenny - looks tatty by mid summer
Large leafed variegated vinca -- rampant in the flower bed
Sweet Woodruff, mint, evening primrose, lysimachia ciliate - ditto
Some already gone after a prolonged battle, some still engaged in the warfare...

    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 2:16PM
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paul_(z5 MI)

Not a big fan of the double flowered peonies, but I do like the singles. The single flower types seem less prone to flopping.

I agree with TR, "detest" is an awfully strong word. If the plants elicit that strong a reaction from you, then there is no reason to keep them.

Can't say that I can think of any plant which I "regretted" planting. Regretted my poor choice of planting spot, yes. But never about having decided upon a particular plant.

I have gotten tired of some plants. Had snapdragons and dusty miller plants that returned year after year. (Not reseeds -- the actual same plants. Apparently they had not read the manual regarding their status as annuals.) Finally ripped them out -- though felt a bit guilty as they were real troopers -- to put in something different.

Tried planting some lily-of-the-valley under a maple tree ... it all died while the tree goes merrily on.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 2:25PM
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sara82lee(8a - SE Va)

Raee, I never knew there was perennial ageratum. I always have some annual ageratum. You've tweaked my interest. . . . But I'll refrain :)

    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 2:38PM
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Campanula UK Z8

tansy...........vile, immortal, despicable.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 5:17PM
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pam_whitbyon(6 Niagara)

I dug out a huge clump of gooseneck last fall, and of course it's coming back to taunt me... I feel the battle is closer to being won, though. This time next year we'll see. Since I dug it all up, I'm seeing my lambs ears come back after 3 years, so that was a nice surprise.

I'm conflicted about snowdrops and feel they're probably just not really worth that initial emotional response when they appear after the last snowfall. The amount of greenery they produce is annoying when I'm trying to get the rest of my garden sorted out. Same with Star of Bethlehem.

Peonies I love so much, I would gladly have a whole garden of them, even though their season is short! Even when they've gone, the foliage looks pretty.

I really went overboard planting tulip bulbs last fall and now I'm thinking I should have been more careful where I placed them because their yellowing leaves are. Plus the rabbits ate about a third of them so I had quite a few rather unattractive half-eaten tulip flowers popping up everywhere!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 6:38PM
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My regrets are more along the lines of plants I tried to save, but regret not being able to.

My poor rhododendron, for instance. It's looked half-dead for years now, and nothing I do seems to help. I should mercy kill it and put something else there, but it's quite a mature plant despite its ill health... I have neither the heart nor the energy to finish it off. DX

    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 1:26PM
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a2zmom(6a - nj)

Raee, how difficult is removing evening primrose? I planted three last year and the clump has definitely increased in size but nothing too drastic.

But if it's impossible to keep in check, I'll head out right now and send it to compost heap in the sky, lol.

My regrets are nothing I planted but things that came with the house. Two huge Norway and one silver maple bisecting my backyard and making gardening back there pretty much impossible.

A Bradford pear in the front yard that suckers faster than I can cut them down.

And two Hemlocks that I did cut down. Those were gorgeous trees but having a 30 foot tree five feet from the foundation of the house seemed like a dumb idea. I will never understand why so many people have the strange idea that trees will not get bigger.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 6:29PM
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Evening primrose! When we arrived in N. Mexico, the garden had a large patch of e.p. about 8 ft long, 3 ft deep. Knowing nothing about Southwestern gardening, we spent a year watching everything around us. This was 2012, a year when we got 4.5" of rain. 11 trees died but the primrose extended by 2 feet, swallowing up a lavender bush and strangling a peony. I enlisted my long-suffering husband to dig out the evil primrose in spring of 2013.

Summer of 2013 I started buying plants, and one labelled "Sundrops" with a picture of a yellow primrose looked appealing. There was no other information. A few months later it flowered. It was the same pink oenothera speciosa we had chopped out so laboriously. What an idiot I felt. We dug it out and kept digging out sprouts which came up yards away.

This spring we were digging up another section of the yard behind the original e.p. patch, and found a solid 1' x 4' wide stretch of e.p. roots. I also found another section, a clear 40' away, growing in shade with no supplemental water and still flowering and producing seed.

If it grows this vigorously in our harsh desert climate, I pity people putting it into nice civilized gardens.

azmom - if you read this far, be prepared for hostile action.


    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 9:35PM
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pam_whitbyon(6 Niagara)

lilsprouts, I know what you went through with ribbon grass. My sister gave me a clump, and I just loved it. But soon after, she called me and told me to dig it up as she'd seen it spreading all over her yard. I didn't listen to her. I told her it seemed to be in control in my yard. She said I would regret it the following year. I did. I cannot believe how fast that thing spread.

I sold the house and the ribbon grass is still there... ;)

    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 10:27PM
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Flax Lily is a real thug. We've tried pulling it out, shoveling it out and still it spreads. There is no killing it. I don't want to use Roundup because I'm afraid of it killing my other plants.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 10:35PM
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Thug plants I love to hate:

Anemone - takes triple strength Roundup to kill. Digging it out simply doesn't work because one tiny root fragment left behind turns into a plant.

Viola labradorica purpurea. Prettiest little thing, especially foliage, but seeds everywhere and is hard to weed out with its tenacious taproot.

Oxalis. Doesn't matter which species but it is very invasive. One little bulb left behind and you soon have a colony again.

Jack in the Pulpit and other Arisaemas. Bought one plant 20 years ago and still have not managed to eradicate its descendants!

Lysimacha , tradescantia, Trycirtus, Sweet Woodruff, and Bermuda grass can all be added to my list of garden thugs.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 1:50AM
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Michaela .:. thegarden@902 .:. (Zone 5b - Iowa)

Curious why people regret black eyed susans? I absolutely love mine and bought 4 more this year. :o)

I don't have anything I regret planting yet! I do regret a lot of the orange daylilies the previous homeowners planted. I love daylilies but we have 100s of the same old orange daylilies everywhere.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 5:16PM
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a2zmom(6a - nj)

Jadeite, thanks for the warning. I know what's happening this weekend in the garden...

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 10:55PM
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Lily of the Valley- it's uber invasive and it takes several rounds of hacking and tilling at the roots to kill it. I finally decided to clear up one spot to plant Shasta Daisy and Gloriosa Daisy. I'm so glad I just sucked it up and poured out my revenge on the evil root systems! I now have thriving pretty plants (not big yet, first year, but growing well).

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 11:07PM
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Mint of any kind-and they were always only in containers. Trumpet vine, lantana, violets, even in containers they were horrible thugs. Never again. Gardenias-how much money wasted on those, I don't even want to go there. This will be my last year of tomatoes. Tired of the huge ugly raggy plants and having to fight for even a couple of good tomatoes. They really just aren't worth the water used on them. Hello, farmers market !

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 11:17PM
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I have over 60 peonies. I would never part with any of them. There are early, mid and late blooming varieties that will extend their bloom cycle. My favorite very early variety is "early scout", which is bright red. Love it! As for anything I've regretted planting, that would be a wild clematis that was given to me when I first started gardening. I don't know the name. It's very invasive and seeds all over the place. It has no flowers that I can see.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 11:25PM
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jayco(5b NY)

I'm with campanula - the worst thing I ever planted was tansy. Horrible stuff. Brrrr!

    Bookmark   June 4, 2014 at 8:11AM
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So am I the only one who ever actually planted Lamiastrum Yellow Archangel? I wouldn't be surprised to look up and find it's spread to the surface of the moon.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2014 at 8:17AM
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Yellow archangel!! My husband calls it ground cancer

    Bookmark   June 4, 2014 at 8:23AM
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Lemon balm. Got it years ago at a garden club plant sale. It spreads EVERYWHERE by seed and has proved impossible to eradicate. I joined that garden club & am now on the plant sale committee. Needless to say we NEVER sell that plant anymore at our annual sale!

    Bookmark   June 4, 2014 at 2:52PM
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jazzmom516(Zone 7 LI, NY)

I had to remove Spanish bluebells because they were too successful!! Of the 50 I originally planted, by the time I removed them, I had over 200!

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 10:45AM
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Campanula UK Z8

too many to list - sometimes, I look at the entire garden and shudder.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 11:06AM
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Thistle and Maize(Zone 5a- Eastern IA)

I didn't plant them but the previous owners of our house planted them right before moving and I'm dealing with the fallout of black eyed susans and ostrich ferns.
Now, I actually like the ferns, but holy moly do they multiply and in every crack and corner they can find! I move many of them to a bare spot in the backyard. The good thing is they along with my pulling and hacking have almost done away with the black eyed susans. someone else put it right - they are a THUG.
Funny some people say lily of the valley. I planted a couple of transplants from a friend last year, but they haven't multiplied at all and barely flowered even. I put them in a hilly shaded spot hoping they would spread.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 12:01PM
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ontnative(5b Can/USDA 4)

The problem with garden thugs is that they are often relatively well behaved the first few years in the garden. By the time you realize they are thugs, it is too late to contain them. That's why a "thread" like this is valuable to newbies and old-timers alike. Bulbs like scilla sibirica are starting to become an issue for me. I never thought I would say that, since I love them so much in the spring. However, they tend to crowd out anything that is not very vigorous.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 9:13AM
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Red Valerian. It spread by seeds and by long roots, popping up everywhere. Would have made a nice cut flower but it smelled so bad! Dug it all out several years ago, but I still kept finding plants popping up for years. Also, yarrow and Black eyed Susan, though I wonder if I picked a different variety it may have been better.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 9:15PM
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north53 Z1b MB(zone 1b Canada)

I totally agree about the ostrich ferns. I had them at the back of my north facing bed with hostas and shrubs. It took a few years but suddenly they were everywhere. When they started pushing up through the pavement in the driveway I decided to dig them out. What a job! Those ropey runners where creeping through everything. I had to dig up a hosta to get the fern out of the middle of it. Little sprouts are still coming up, but I won't let them loose in there again. Now they are confined to a corner devoted to them alone. I see another one working its way through the pavement though. I sprayed with Round Up, but it didn't seem to do anything to it. It looks like a delicate plant but those things are tough!

I could also do without the billion seedlings of forget- me- nots that sprout all over the place in the spring. I find them weedy looking. As soon as they start to decline I will rip them all out and dispose of them in the garbage, but it makes no difference. They'll be sprouting in this yard again next year and forever it seems. They were initially planted by me. I now hate them.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 10:09PM
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I'm surprised no one said anything about lilac because their flowers are short live too, just like peony. I have several peonies and the tree peony flower last the shortest for only a week. One of my early bloom itoh Morning Lilac is in its 3rd week of flowering. The herbaceous variety in the picture is my Sarah Bernhardt. I use to hate the plant because it flop after a heavy rain. She is also the reason why I started looking for strong stem varieties like the itoh and tree peony. I did find a way to staked her properly without breaking them because the flowers are really heavy. She is now in bloom for a week already. I love peonies because you can actually smell their plesant fragrance in the garden.

This post was edited by peonea05 on Mon, Jun 16, 14 at 9:49

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 9:43AM
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a2zmom(6a - nj)

tipletmom, my yarrow never spreads much and I have to replant my red valerian every few years. As always location, locaation, location makes all the difference.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 9:58AM
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jazzmom516(Zone 7 LI, NY)

One plant I wish I had never planted was a hybrid rose of Sharon hibiscus called 'Aphrodite'!! It was not supposed to throw off live seedlings (as much as the purple rose of Sharons do) but it did. I finally got it removed this spring and I am still removing seedlings coming up around where the old small tree was!

I replaced it with a perennial hibiscus called 'Lady Baltimore'.

I use peony hoops on all my peonies. Some still flop because they have outgrown the hoop confinements but for the 2 weeks in bloom they are just lovely. I put the hoops in as the red stalks are emerging from the ground-- easy to see where to place the hoops and also not bend any green stems later on.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 10:01AM
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getyourleash(z7 Mid-Atl USA)

Lollipop Verbena!! Re-seeds like the lady next door with 10 kids!! (Yes, I live next to woman with 10 children. Luckily, they are mostly grown.)

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 2:34PM
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a2zmom(6a - nj)

I also have an abundence of verbena on a stick. But I find them very easy to yank, so I don't mind. I just get them when they're tiny.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 3:37PM
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