The wicked plants in your garden are not necessarily turf weeds but exotic invasive trees, ornamentals, and vines that take over ecosystems and spread their havoc far and wide. The Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council, known as FLEPPC, has a downloadable brochure for your files, maintenance company crew, or your HOA to determine if a plant species should be removed. If a HOA committee is renovating common areas or older landscapes, make sure that these plants are not in the design.
Many of these beautiful and hardy plants were sold and encouraged in previous years so its not anyone's fault that they are in your yard. But while Category 1 Exotics are not illegal to sell nor mandatory to remove, they are still expanding into Florida's habitats and will for decades to come. Exotic invasives are dangerous because they are easily propagated by seeds and spread by underground roots. Birds and winds from tropical storms help dispurse the seeds increasing their range out of neighborhoods and across the state. As these "Most Unwanted" plants multiply, they compete with native plants for space and resources.
In your landscape, exotic invasives grow very quickly and have little to no pest problems to help decrease their numbers. Exotics, then with water and fertlizer that in their homeland countries would not normally get so their species has no natural controls, and populations explode.
Who are these most wanted wicked plant species? Are they in your backyard? Here are some of the ones I frequently see:
- Coral ardesia, Ardesia crenata
- Asparagus fern, Asparagus aethiopicus (formerly Asparagus sprengerii)
- Orchid tree, Bauhinia variegata
- Camphor tree, Cinnamomum camphora
- Wild taro, Colocasia esculenta
- Heavenly bamboo, Nandina domestica
- Sword fern, Nephrolepis cordifolia
- Mexican petunia, Ruellia tweediana
- Mother-in-law tongues, Sanseveria hyacinthoides
- Chinese tallow tree Sapium sebiferum
- Brazilian pepper, Schinus terebinthifolius
- Arrowhead vine Syngonium podophyllum