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How do we know if our plants are nuisances in the garden?

Master Gardener Ciscoe Morris is back to help us figure out how to spot an annoying plant in the garden. #newdaynw

Do you have plants that won't leave the garden or surprise you by popping up unexpectedly?  

If so, gardening expert Ciscoe is here to help! Here's what he had to say:

If you're like me, you've planted some plants that just turn out to be a pain in the kazutski. I'm talking about plants that often are quite attractive, but end up way too aggressive for a small garden space. I consider nuisance plants ones that spread fast and are so thick they either suffocate small evergreen plants, take over the lawn, or look attractive for a short period and then have ugly foliage that takes forever to go away. Nuisance plants are ones that not only spread too fast but are also impossible to get rid of.

Surprise plants are ones that just come up in your garden out of nowhere and you have no idea what they are and where they came from. Sometimes they're really cool, but watch out, they may spread quickly, or they may have unexpected qualities that will shock the tweedle out of you.

Examples of Nuisance plants include:

Arum italicum (Italian arum): This is the worst of the worst when it comes to nuisance plants.

It was originally planted as an ornamental ground cover. It is now considered invasive in Washington state because it is difficult to control and spreads rapidly. All parts of this plant are poisonous to humans and wildlife. The plant can cause skin irritation. Italian Arum grows from corms. It has a clump-forming habit. Arrow-shaped deep glossy green foliage with white veining appears in late September or early October. It is present through the winter months. The hood-like flowers usually appear in April and May. After the flowers are spent, the foliage will wither. The plant then produces clusters of berries that are initially green and then transition to orange-red-red that remain through August. The foliage is dormant during the summer and reemerges during the fall. The plant is reproduced by seeds and tubers and has a nasty habit of coming upright in the middle of highly valued plants making it practically impossible to remove without destroying them. Most nurseries don't carry it anymore but it's for sale online. Don't buy it for anything!

Ranunculus ficaria Brazen Hussy: 
This spring ephemeral emerges in February with rounded, glossy black foliage in a 6" wide rosette that hugs the ground. From late February through late April the clumps are topped with brilliant yellow, 1" flowers held on 3" stalks just above the foliage. It goes dormant and disappears by May. Everyone walking by my house tells me how spectacular it is. Unfortunately, this is a rampant spreader. I find it in gardens far from where I planted it, and it is taking over my lawn. Don't even think about planting this plant as it really is a brazen hussy!

Anemone nemerosa, commonly called wood anemone: This is a low-growing herbaceous perennial that spreads by branched and creeping rhizomes to form an attractive ground cover in shaded woodland areas. The Plants typically grow to 6-10" tall. Showy white or blue flowers bloom in spring on short upright stems rising slightly above a bed of trifoliate, deeply divided, dark green leaves. This is a lovely flower, but too much of a good thing. The foliage gets so thick and covers everything smothering many of my dwarf evergreen plants. The plants disappear in May or June depending on growing conditions.

Hyacinthoides Hispanica (Spanish Bluebells): This has got to be the prettiest menace you can plant. The attractive hyacinth-like flowers are 6 to 8 inches tall and come in blue pink or white. The problem is they spread like the wind and are completely impossible to get rid of. The leaves after the flowers fade are as ugly as can be. It can come in a pot with another plant. If you see it, dig it out before it's too late!

Surprise plant - Dracunculus vulgaris: 
Often called Dragon Lily, this incredible plant often just shows up in Northwest gardens. It can reach 4 feet tall and has a spotted snakeskin stem and exotic tropical-looking divided leaves. The real surprise comes when the big calla-like sinister purple, Spath flower shows up in late June. Actually, the real surprise comes when people smell the flower. It wants to attract flies to pollinate it and smells like a herd of cattle died in your back garden. What could be cooler than that! If it's happy it will reseed. Dig it up and plant it along the sidewalk where your neighbors can enjoy its special qualities!

Segment Producer Suzie Wiley. Watch New Day Northwest 11 AM weekdays on KING 5 and streaming live on KING5.com. Contact New Day.  

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