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Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

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Purple coneflower is a lovely replacement for the invasive purple loosestrife. © DNR Photo

June 2007

Alternative plants for landscaping

If you have some invasives in your yard, try replacing them with some of these non-invasive plants.

There are hundreds of native and non-native alternatives to invasive species that look beautiful in your garden and do not pose a threat to the natural world. Non-invasive plants can offer stunning color, wildlife forage and interesting growth habits. If you have some invasives in your yard, try replacing them with some of these non-invasive plants.

INVASIVE SPECIES
NATIVE AND
NON-NATIVE ALTERNATIVES
TREES/SHRUBS  
Japanese Barberry
(Berberis thunbergil)
False indigo (Amorpha fruticosa)

American witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)

Boxwood 'Glencoe' or 'Green Velvet' (Buxus cultivars)*

Alpine currant (Ribes alpinum)*

Spreading cotoneaster (Cotoneaster divaricatus)*

Winterberry holly (Ilex verticillata)

Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius)

Cutleaf stephanandra (Stephanandra incisa)

Common buckthorn
(Rhamnus cathartica)
Speckled alder (Alnus incana)

American hazelnut (Corylus americana)

Dwarf alder (Rhamnus alnifolia)

Glossy buckthorn
(Rhamnus frangula 'columnaris')
Eastern arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis)

Gray dogwood (Cornus racemosa)

High-bush cranberry (Viburnum opulus subsp. trilobum)

Chokecherry (Prunus virginaiana)

Black chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa)

Eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana)

Freeman maple (Acer x freemanii 'Armstrong')

Morrow honeysuckle
(Lonicera morrowii)

Tatarian honeysuckle
(Lonicera tatarica)

Showy pink honeysuckle
(Lonicera x bella)

Amur honeysuckle
(Lonicera maackii)

Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea, A. laevis, A. spicata)

Beautybush (Kolkwitzia amabilis)*

American elderberry (Sambucus canadensis)

American red elderberry (Sambucus pubens)

Red honeysuckle (Lonicera dioica)

Seven-son flower (Heptacodium miconioides)*

Swamp fly honeysuckle (Lonicera oblongifolia)

Autumn olive
(Elaeagnus umbellatus)
Rabbit-berry (Shepherdia canadensis)

Silverberry (Elaeagnus commutata)*

Silky willow (Salix sericea)

Red osier dogwood (Cornus sericea)

Gray dogwood (Cornus racemosa)

Silky dogwood (Cornus amomum)

Norway maple
(Acer platanoides)
Sugar maple (Acer saccharum)

Red maple (Acer rubrum)

Freeman maple (Acer x freemanii 'Armstrong')*

Miyabei maple (Acer miyabei)*

Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)*

Littleleaf linden (Tilia cordata)*

VINES  
Oriental bittersweet
(Celastrus orbiculatus)
American bittersweet (Celastrus scandens)

Virgin's bower (Clematis virginiana)

Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)

Trumpet vine (Campsis radicans)*

American wisteria (Wisteria frutescens)*

GROUND COVERS  
Crown vetch
(Coronilla varia)

Birds-foot trefoil
(Lotus corniculatus)

Whorled milkweed (Asclepias verticillata)

Spreading dogbane (Apocynum androsaemifolium)

Moss phlox (Phlox subulata)

Canadian milk vetch (Astragalus canadenis)

American vetch (Vicia americana)

Goat's rue (Tephrosia virginiana)

Common lupine (Lupinus perennis)

Common tick trefoil (Desmoium canadense)

Cream wild indigo (Baptisia bracteata)

WILDFLOWERS  
Dames rocket
(Hesperis matronalis)
Garden phlox (Phlox paniculata)

Carolina phlox (Phlox carolina)

Wild bergamont (Monarda fistulosa)

Purple loosestrife
(Lythrum salicaria)
Marsh blazing star (Liatris spicata)

Prairie blazing star (Liatris pycnostachya)

Dotted gayfeather (Liatris punctata)

Wild bergamont (Monarda fistulosa)

Joe-pye weed (Eupatorium maculatum)

Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

Queen-of-the-prairie (Filipendula rubra)

Monkeyflower (Mimulus ringens)

Yellow iris
(Iris pseudacorus)
Blue flag iris (Iris versicolor)

Marsh marigold (Caltha palustris)

Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis)

GRASSES  
Maiden grass
(Miscanthus sinensis)
Note: the 'species' is the invasive form. Most ornamental cultivars
do not spread by seed,
although some could
spread vegetatively.
Prairie cordgrass (Spartina pectinata)

Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans)

Little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium)

Big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii)

Prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis)

Reed canary grass
(Phalaris arundinacea)
(includes variegated cultivar)
Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum)

Prairie cordgrass (Spartina pectinata)

Big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii)

Canada wild-rye (Elymus canadensis)

Ice dance sedge (Carex morrowii)

Autumn moor grass (Sesleria autumnalis)

AQUATIC  
Flowering rush
(Butomus umbellatus)
Common rush, Soft rush (Juncus effusus)

Common threesquare (Schoenoplectus pungens)

Hardstem bulrush (Schoenoplectus acutus)

River bulrush (Scirpus fluviatilis)

Water lettuce
(Pistia stratiotes)

Water hyacinth
(Eichhornia crassipes)

Yellow floating heart
(Nymphoides peltata)

Spatterdock (Nuphar variegata)

White water lily (Nymphaea odorata)

American lotus (Nelumbo lutea)

Pickerel weed (Pontederia cordata)

Water hyssop (Bacopa monnieri)

Yellow pond lily (Nuphar microphylla)

*Not native to Wisconsin, but seem to be non-invasive.

We hope this helps add beauty to your garden. Happy planting!

Sources:

Landscape Alternatives for Invasive Plants of the Midwest, Midwest Invasive Plant Network

Ohio's Invasive Plant Species

Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants. By Colston C. Burrell, Brooklyn Botanic Garden All-Region Guides, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Inc.

Alternatives for Invasive Ornamental Plant Species. Edited by Timothy M. Abbey.

Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group