Battling with plants

By Gregg Eyestone

Plants have varying degrees of success in the landscape. I’m sensitive to the ones that I purchase only to have them succumb. Fortunately, most get established and I don’t really pay them too much heed. Then there are those that won’t go away even with some persuasion.  One person’s weed is another person’s favorite plant. I have several hardy plants that I would like to trade. They can be great plants in the right place which preferably is not in my current landscape.

The first one that started out cute and adorable is Vinca major. This is big-leaf perwinkle. Not to be confused with its relative Vinca minor or little leaf perwinkled. Vinca major hasn’t been used here much since it isn’t as cold hardy. The ones in my landscape haven’t been taken out by cold. It does dieback but also grows back.

Perwinkle is listed as a shade to part shade plant. I have big-leaf in both full shade and full sun. It continues to creep throughout my perennial beds expanding its territory. Mowing it didn’t seem to harm it and it wasn’t watered. Perhaps it could be a replacement for a lawn only needing mowed a few times a year. Unfortunately, it isn’t real attractive after mowing.

A similar groundcover is English Ivy. It once was cute before it started climbing up walls and spreading. Sunlight does stop its spread. That appears to be the only thing that will.

Annual morning glory is my third nemesis. It comes on strong during the hot and I’m tired of pulling days of late summer. Just like the other plants, they are attractive with no additional attention on my part.    These plants would be okay where they are if they weren’t suffocating their neighbors. The battle will begin again next spring. I don’t know if I will win the war but I’m not defeated yet.

I hope you don’t have any battles lying ahead of you. Be careful on plants you put in your landscape. Sometime free isn’t worth it. I’m learning that with these three free plants.

You can find out more information on this and other horticulture topics by going to the K-State Research and Extension website at you contact Gregg Eyestone at the Riley County office of K-State Research and Extension. Gregg may be contacted by calling 537-6350 or stopping by 110 Courthouse Plaza in Manhattan or e-mail:

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