Never Plant This Popular Flower In Your Bay Area Yard, Master Gardeners Warn

In the lush and verdant Bay Area, gardeners take pride in nurturing a variety of flora in their backyards. However, not every plant is welcome.

One plant in particular has stunning blooms and is readily available at Bay Area garden centers. Many master gardeners, though, say you should never plant it in your yard.

One master gardener wrote “I planted this once and tore it out after just a few weeks. It went crazy and I was not willing to risk the rest of the yard to it.”

What plant are we referring to? Morning Glory.

Invasive Nature

Morning Glory, with its rapid growth rate, is a quintessentially invasive species. Once it takes root, it vigorously spreads, intertwining with other plants, and overpowering your garden’s carefully curated vegetation. Its resilient nature makes it difficult to eradicate once established.

Gardeners have written about pulling all of it out, digging out the roots, and still having it reemerge in a year or two as if unscathed.

The California Invasive Plant Council notes that both Hawaii and Arizona call Morning Glory a “noxious weed”.

Choking Native Flora

The Bay Area is home to a plethora of native plants that contribute to the local ecosystem’s health. Unfortunately, Morning Glory doesn’t play well with others. Its aggressive growth can suffocate native plants, robbing them of essential sunlight, nutrients, and space to grow.

In that sense, it’s similar to the ice plant–lovely, but problematic.

Pest Magnet

Morning Glory tends to attract various pests and diseases. Its dense foliage provides a haven for insects such as aphids and spider mites, which can then spread to other plants in your garden, causing a cascade of horticultural headaches.

Difficulty in Eradication

Getting rid of Morning Glory is no small feat. Its extensive root system and ability to re-sprout from small segments make it a persistent adversary. Master Gardeners often recommend an integrated approach combining mechanical removal, herbicides, and vigilant monitoring to keep this intruder at bay.

Alternatives to Consider

Fear not; there are many alternative plants that are well-behaved and can add similar charm to your garden without the invasive tendencies. Consider planting native species like California poppy or Blue-eyed grass which are more in tune with the local ecosystem and easier on your garden maintenance routine.

Heeding the advice of Master Gardeners, it’s wise to avoid planting Morning Glory in the Bay Area. This way, you contribute to preserving the local ecosystem while ensuring your garden remains a peaceful, manageable sanctuary. So next time you’re tempted by the Morning Glory’s charming facade, remember, appearances can be deceiving, and opt for eco-friendlier alternatives to keep your Bay Area garden thriving.

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Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith is a food and travel photographer and writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His photographic work routinely appears in publications including Food and Wine, Conde Nast Traveler, and the New York Times and his writing appears in IEEE Spectrum, SFGate, the Bold Italic and more. Smith holds a degree in Cognitive Science (Neuroscience) and Anthropology from the Johns Hopkins University.

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