By Ellen Azotea
What is a Garden Thug? Most gardeners have encountered at least one Garden Thug in their experience…plants that grow vigorously and choke out less aggressive nearby plants. They tend to be a really interesting, pretty plant that grows so easily for you that you are suddenly overrun with it. Beware taking a new, unfamiliar plant that someone offers by the boxful. The giver might say things like, “It’s a really enthusiastic plant! I just rip it out… I’m sure it’ll grow for you!” Or, “I have so much I just had to share!”
Sometimes we buy plants from a garden store, and other times we get “pass along” plants from fellow gardeners. Or we see a plant growing wild in a field or ditch and think it might look great in our gardens. No matter where you acquire a plant, use a bit of restraint and do some research online first. Don’t dump thugs on your friends, and beware of bringing an unknown botanical headache into your own garden, from a well-meaning but uninformed friend or garden center.