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Just how invasive IS variegated polk weed?

Posted by christinmk z5b eastern WA (My Page) on
Sun, May 15, 11 at 17:08

Phytolacca americana 'Silberstein' or 'Variegata' to be exact. I know this is a *weed in certain parts of the country, but would it be here in z5? What makes it invasive? Does it spread by underground runners? I do know it seeds a lot- are those hard to pull? How hard is it to keep this plant in check?

I TOLD myself from here on out I would NOT buy any more plants that I know to be invasive/weedy. But I have the most perfect spot for this plant and love the looks of it, Lol.

Would love to hear your experiences and opinions of this plant. Thanks ;-)
CMK


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Just how invasive IS variegated polk weed?

i will yell....

IT IS THE MOST HATED.. BIRD PLANTED.. BILLION SEED PRODUCING WEED I HAVE ... and wish i didnt ...

it has a monstrous taproot which is impossible to dig out.. and it takes at least 3 spraying of high dilution roundup to kill the root ... by which time you will have a couple hundred more seedlings popping up ...

let me put it lightly .. i would consider anyone who intentionally brings it into their garden to be INSANE .... [please add reverb] ...

and it is not a former president.. its pokeweed ... lol

and for a nickle.. i will tell you how i really feel ...

anyone with me??? or is this just another of my unreasonable hatreds????

ken

ps: other than that.. its ok .. lol


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RE: Just how invasive IS variegated polk weed?

Yes, poke is very invasive. But, if you want to grow just one, it wouldn't be too major of a job to deadhead the berries before they mature and discard.

I moved a bunch of pokes into a bed for use as spring greens (it's delicious and safe when properly prepared), and now I go and cut back the tops of the canes before the berries ripen so I don't have a forest of them popping up everywhere.


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RE: Just how invasive IS variegated polk weed?

I've never even heard of it. :D


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RE: Just how invasive IS variegated polk weed?

-Ken, so have you grown the variegated one? Variegated plants are sometimes less 'vigorous' than their green leaved parents... Good to know about the tap root from hell. thanks
Weedy presidents ;-) ha!

-denninmi, I was reading that there is a special way to harvest poke weed. How do you do it then? When would you snip the fruit? I kind of liked the look of the black/purple fruit, but I bet that would be just the time in needed to be cut off, lol! Thanks so much for your info...
CMK


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RE: Just how invasive IS variegated polk weed?

Christinmk -

With your comment about harvesting . . . you are aware that most parts of the plant are poisonous, I hope. Sometimes someone kills themselves around here eating pokeweed.

I don't have the variegated variety, but I would agree with Ken that the green type pretty much a PIA to get rid of and the birds do spread it. I'd plant the variegated with a great deal of caution. Due to the variability of what is invasive in different areas, I hope that you get responses local to you, since both of us are in different areas (or maybe our similar experience just means you should be extra vigilant if you plant it.)


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RE: Just how invasive IS variegated polk weed?

Is there a store selling pokeweed? I think it's a very interesting-looking native plant. Never actually seen a varigated one except in pictures, even cooler looking, IMO. I would bet the seeds produce regular plants, though. The sprouts are easy to pull up if you get them early. When I've had them, I left the berries for the birds. That's the cool part.

Ken, if you're still battling that big root, is it in a spot where you could try boiling water? When I've needed to kill one, that usually works the first time. Expose root (violate the surface too), carefully bring about a gallon of boiling water to the site, pour as suddenly as you can without splashing yourself. Enjoy the screaming!

WARNING: Carrying a boiling pot of water can and will severely burn you, and/or those within a 50-yard radius, if you spill it on yourself or your pets or other living entities, or near yourself or others so that it splashes you or them. I recommend wearing professionally licensed and approved heat-resistant shoes, pants, shirt, underwear, gloves, eye protection, mouthguard, and helmet while handling or standing within 5 yards of boiling water. Allow proper ventilation. Consult your doctor before attempting and be sure to tell them of any medications you may be taking, or issues you might be experiencing with leg or foot cramping. Oops, sorry, I think I've been reading too many labels! :+)


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RE: Just how invasive IS variegated polk weed?

It s even a sturdy weed in Europe, often puzzling the gardeners and bluffing them into not weeding it out just by their impressive size. And true about the root and all.
bye, Lin


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RE: Just how invasive IS variegated polk weed?

es ... we even BUY IT!

Here is a link that might be useful: Poke Weed


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RE: Just how invasive IS variegated polk weed?

-nhbabs, I was adressing two things that denninmi was talking about. First was how to propertly harvest the shoots/greens. Second question was about when to cut off the fruit/berries so they will not seed. Thanks for the heads up though. In general I am not one to go munching on plants I am unfamiliar with. It is just a policy of mine ;-D I likely won't end up buying one, but it sure is a cool lookin' plant!

-purpleinopp, I have seen online sites selling seeds of variegated poke, so the plant might throw off some variegated seedlings too...
CMK


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RE: Just how invasive IS variegated polk weed?

Hated weed from hell. The seeds stain everything and trying to get rid of a full grown one is a nightmare. I can't believe people actually plant this evil thing in their garden.


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RE: Just how invasive IS variegated polk weed?

if a plant can go from dead to the ground in winter.. and achieve 10 feet.. with 20 billion gelatinous seeds on it...

i doubt the variegated one is going to be that much less aggressive.. what only 8 feet tall.. and only 8 billion seed.. lol ...

i think mori hit it spot on ...

as to the British .. well.. what can i say .. lol

and denni.. if i have to prepare it a 'special' way so it wont kill me.. trust me.. i need not eat it .... i suppose you raise cuttlefish also .. or whatever they are ....

ken


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RE: Just how invasive IS variegated polk weed?

  • Posted by remy 6WNY (My Page) on
    Tue, May 17, 11 at 10:37

I can't speak for this plant, but I can say they can be a major difference in behavior of a variegated plant to the regular version. My variegated obedient plant(Physostegia virginiana) is so well behaved, very slow to increase. I wish it would increase more! I have the regular out back behind the garage, and it spreads fast. I would not have it in one of my regular garden beds.
Remy


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RE: Just how invasive IS variegated polk weed?

I've have found the same thing with my variegated Physostegia Remy. The regular green leaf was terrible in the garden and took years to get out all the little residual sprouts. But the variegated form has proven to be so mild that just last fall I moved it into one of my main beds from a 'Rampant Bed' I have out in the alley for plants that are or could be "invasive"!

Although one variegated exception I can think of is that dredful Aegopodium. Ugg! It certainly lacks no vigor in being variegated!!
CMK


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RE: Just how invasive IS variegated polk weed?

I didn't know what it was so couple years ago I cut it off and brought it in to my husband and he told me to get rid of it he didn"t want the horses get to it. He said it was poisoness to animals.


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RE: Just how invasive IS variegated polk weed?

I have enough of the regular green Pokeweed! It is a very aggressive native plant but I kinda like it (wish they spread a little less). In my neighborhood it is the only native that seems to compete with all the invasives growing around here. The birds spread it around (along with Asian honeysuckle, buckthorn, etc). They LOVE Pokeweed berries.

I would guess that the variegated form might be less aggressive. I'm really wanting the variegated Physostegia, especially now that Remy said it's less aggressive. My regular pink Obedient plant has been banished to pots!


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RE: Just how invasive IS variegated polk weed?

Just how invasive IS variegated polk weed?

VERY...don't plant it! :(


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RE: Just how invasive IS variegated polk weed?

sw VA , you ARE talking about the variegated one?(btw, are you near galax? lexington?)
best,
mindy
www.cottonarboretum.com/


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RE: Just how invasive IS variegated polk weed?

I guess it depends on where you live as I have given into tempation. It is not a native here and usually doesn't get to full seed production before it gets cut down by frost so haven't had a seed problem. I acutally started with 5 plants and only have one left this year........sure gives nice texture & color to other plants.
Photobucket
Flora


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RE: Just how invasive IS variegated polk weed?

Flora, that's beautiful! It looks like a giant coleus. Now I want one, too! Looks like it gets a lot of shade?


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RE: Just how invasive IS variegated polk weed?

perhaps the key is whether you are a hardcore gardener.. who WILL REMEMBER to go cut off the flowers ...

versus a newbie or a spring gardener.. who will go nuts in spring.. and then come back next spring and wonder what all those seedlings are ... and be wondering that for the next decade as the seeds keep sprouting ....

just because an expert like flora... can 'do it' ... doesnt necessarily mean YOU SHOULD DO IT ...

e.g. yes.. you can plant a lot of mint... a lot of us who know better... tried it years ago .... and are still trying to kill it .. lol ...

or chameleon plant.. yes it is way cool.. and yes.. you can plant it ... but God help us, more specifically .. yourself .. PLEASE DONT DO IT ...

one of the foundation blocks.. of moving from a newbie to the advanced grade.. is to understand.. that ANY ... >>>ANY!!!<<<< suggestion of invasive ... means.. sooner or later.. IT WILL BE A PROBLEM ...

in my world.. as warped as it is.. life is just too short.. to go planting anything with a suggestion of being invasive ...

the better question might be.. what looks like it.. that is not problematic ... flora pic reminds me of my white leafed fallopia ... which might also be problematic.. but not for me ... oh ya. looking up the link.. its a knotweed ... the only thing i hate more than pokeweed in its vine form.. but the shrub isnt too bad.. what a hoot ... lost this argument with myself ...

ken

Here is a link that might be useful: link


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RE: Just how invasive IS variegated polk weed?

That really is amazing Flora. How much sun do you have it in? The foliage is so light colored it is amazing it doesn't burn. Your variegated F. ulmaria is beautiful too...I just got one last year myself ;-)
CMK


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RE: Just how invasive IS variegated polk weed?

i WANT to live in B.C.
:-)
mindy
www.cottonarboretum.com/

p.s.flora2b, imo,your experience is really the only one that counts in answering this question of cmk. because :
-you grow it
- you have grown it for a number of years
- you are where you are, 1 zone warmer than hers

hooray for paint sprayed variegated pokeweed in z. 6 and colder!!


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RE: Just how invasive IS variegated polk weed?

It is quite invasive here & I didn't plant it on our property. It doesn't mind our winters with lake effect snows, etc....I have been diligent over the years to eradicate it. It's slowly working, but the key is to make sure you don't miss ANY berries when you remove them & spray any strays with potent weed killer as early as possible. Occasionally you can pull them, but it's rare. Just think of the them as giant dandelions.

I will say that the one pictured above is actually pretty, but I'm not tempted. I have enough other invaders to not want to deal with anymore, because sometimes life & weather gets in the way & certain garden duties don't happen as planned.


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RE: Just how invasive IS variegated polk weed?

That's pretty! I think it might be fine to grow as long as you keep it deadheaded. Pokeweed doesn't spread by runners. Don't let it go to seed at all!!!

We have plenty of wild pokeweed around my area. The problem is not the number of seedlings but how difficult they are to pull. I'll back Ken on this one. Even if you try to pull them when they're little, they easily break off at the soil line because of the broad tap root. Then they grow back. The root is wider than the stem. You have to dig them out and there are always some that manage to hide until they are big and difficult to dig. The roots will grow to be the size of a large sweet potato.


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RE: Just how invasive IS variegated polk weed?

I have the pokeweed growing in full sun, but being near the pond it gets more water from the runoff. I'm so glad it has not been a weed so far as the foliage is amazing.
I have my share of weeds....purple oxalis anyone? I see they are still selling it in the garden centers...geesh!
Thanks for the compliment Ken, I think of myself as a gardener with some experience, but there is still so much to learn.
Flora


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