Northern Nevada gardening and landscaping: Persistent pushy plants | Carson City Nevada News

With the plants growing at full speed now, I remember some of them not being my favorites mostly because they are intrusive in the landscape. I’ve made numerous plant mistakes over the years. I always think I’ve learned my lessons, but every year I’ve done it again.

One plant whose flower color I love is Russian sage. It is tough, drought tolerant, and tenacious. With that in mind, I moved one from where it was spreading a lot to a dry, rough place where I needed some paint (or thought I needed it). Notice the word “dissemination” let alone the word “productive”. I should have been careful because now, having removed the plant last year, I am constantly cutting up stems that are still trying to take over a bed. I’ve dug up roots, slowed down the growth, and it keeps coming back. If you need a plant to take over an area, this is a good candidate. It also attracts bees when they bloom. Planter watch out!

Another adorable little grower is the Bishop’s Weed. This lovely ground cover has lovely light green and white foliage and is also drought tolerant and very hardy. Too robust in my opinion! Although its short-lived white flowers are appealing, it spreads widely with devotion. It has deep roots that are easily overlooked as I keep trying to dig them up. If you don’t mind assertiveness, this can be an interesting option for visual interest as well as weed control.

Chinese Lantern and I have had a relationship that goes back decades. I keep telling it to go (its aggressive rhizomes are uprooted year after year) and it keeps coming back no matter what. I don’t even remember planting it. It has deep green, rounded leaves and produces bright orange hanging “lanterns” in late summer. It is often described as growing very aggressively. I never read the description. A friend probably gave it to me. It should have come with a warning.

Other super-friendly plants to take over the neighborhood include snow in the summer, hardy geranium, euphorbia, yarrow, and ivy, to name a few.

Most of my less popular plants are spread through roots. A number of others that are spread by seeds, such as catnip, Mexican primrose, and black-eyed susans. I don’t find these problematic because they are so easy to pull out. My friend Claudene pointed out that the oregano, which I just planted and recently wrote about, is a major seed distributor and was rude in her landscape. All over my flower beds, Oregon grapes grow from seeds brought in by birds.

So I not only deal with constant weeding like every gardener, but also have to keep my so-called desirable friends of the plant world under constant control!

– JoAnne Skelly is Associate Professor & Extension Educator Emerita at the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. She can be reached at

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