Friday, December 14, 2012

You again?

After 2 years and 9 months I thought my work was finally done. But then I spotted this…

See those big glossy leaves (2) under the Eryngium venustum? That’s Acanthus mollis. I moved the Acanthus from here in late March of 2010, and then I moved it, and moved it, and moved it. In other words it just kept coming back. And I kept removing it, leaf by damn leaf, wiggling my finger down into the soil and pulling as much root as I could. Last summer I saw only a couple of leaves, early in the season too. I thought I was finally done. Nope, I think it was just waiting for the rain to return and wake it up, TWO YEARS AND NINE MONTHS LATER...

Word to the wise...when planting an Acanthus be sure that’s where you want it to be, because it might just be there forever.

25 comments:

  1. I can relate! I planted one about 7 years ago (I was warned at the nursery when I bought it) and it took me at least 3 years to get rid of it. Even the tiniest fragment left in the soil appears to be capable of becoming a new plant.

    It's a plant I can admire in somebody else's yard--there a impressive clumps in older neighborhoods in town--but I'd never plant one in my garden again.

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    1. Is it bad to say I'm so glad it's not just me? I moved two of them that year and ironically this is the one I was extra careful to try and get everything because I was redoing the whole area and it was easy to dig dig dig. The other one I wasn't so determined with and guess what...it's not been a problem!

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  2. Acanthus mollis is notoriously difficult to get rid off. It doesn't usually respond to glyphosate spray either...unless..

    A method I heard that has worked for several gardeners is to crush the leaves without severing it, wrap in plastic then spray the crushed foliage inside the plastic with glyphosate (the plastic prevents the spray from getting into other nearby plants). Keep it wrapped until it turns brown. Hopefully that'll do the trick if you choose to use this method :)

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    1. This is a really good trick to know, thank you!

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  3. Yup, I have the same returning resident from where I moved him each year. Gotta love that life force, but couldn't it be better applied to, say, agaves??

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    1. You know I've actually had it happen with agaves! One that died and two that I moved. Months later a few little pups came up! Naturally they weren't as successful as the acanthus but in the right climate I bet they would be.

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  4. I'm seeing a possible cottage industry for Ms Danger. Just keep pulling and potting & that'll be the beginning of your driveway nursery where you can have annual plant sales. Bet you could pot up some bishop's weed too:0)

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    1. Andrew keeps encouraging me to do the same. I think by law in Portland I could have 4 plant sales a year (same law as garage sales). How do I know this? Talking to a lady who has sales in her driveway! If I had an out-of-the-way area to keep the inventory until sales time that could be fun...

      Oh and guess what...haven't seen any bishop's weed lately!!!

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  5. OMG...you scared me...from your headline, I thought for sure the Bishop's Weed was back! Of course, this is still a nuisance...I've seen quite a few posts over the years about the thuggish tendencies.

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    1. Interesting question, which one is more tenacious? The "weed" or the acanthus...I'm going to have to give this some thought...

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    2. Scott -- that's exactly what I thought too!

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  6. Crazy. I love acanthus but don't have any in the yard. I always pick one up and put it back down before I check out. It looks great with trachycarpus as a tropical type planting. But I have heard rumours that it is one nasty thug.

    Ps: I agree with outlaw... This could be the beginning of a driveway nursery!!

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    1. Even though this post is about the negative qualities of the plant I encourage you to plant one...they are beautiful and easy going! But as I said just be sure that where you plant it is where you want it to be...forever!

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  7. Goodness me.... seems like everyone here is bullying up against what I consider to be one of the true stand out architectural plants in my garden. Those magnificent tall spires of purple white and in some cases brilliant pink bract like flowers, and the foliage...... hate to say it but I'd rescue my Acanthus if it meant running back into a burning house! Plant it in part shade and it tends to behave itself very nicely

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    1. Oh Barry, but I do love the acanthus! When I removed this one it was only because I wanted to change up the plantings here. It was actually divided and replanted in two other spots...where it's lovely!

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  8. Yep. Done this too. I'm with Barry. I like Acanthus and have it in 3 places now. :) Your advice is good, however. I would add, if you're not sure where you want it planted, put it in a pot until you have it figured out. I wish someone would have told me this. I have the same problem with Phlox paniculata and have just decided to go with it.

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    1. Three huh? You are a brave woman Grace!

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  9. Hahah, here is a event only the resident gardener can appreciate. I get a happy sense of serendipity when I notice a plant I remove, or die, grace me with it's presence years after the initial removal. Three large healthy yuccas and a black iris recently popped up having been removed almost a year and a half ago. Busy little plant buggers....

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    1. Oh yes...yucca's are very very good at that and while I've never had it happen I imagine iris would be similar. So are you leaving yours be or fighting the good fight?

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    2. For the moment they will stay, but come spring out they go. They're the old residents of the spot, I don't want them to crowd out the new tenants :)

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  10. I have heard of this happening with yuccas, but this is the first I have heard of Acanthus being a thug. Crap, I just planted one this year, but it's one with yellow-ish leaves, so maybe it will be a bit weaker than the species. I'm pretty sure it's where I want it, and it does get a bit of shade there. I'm looking forward to having it add a nice architectural touch to the area.

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    1. I think it's only really an issue if you want to move it. Mine was happy in that spot for 4 years not taking over...and where I've moved it (now them as I divided it) it's been behaving quite well too!

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  11. I don't live far from Barry...and I think we may be dealing with a geographic problem here. People have trouble keeping Acanthus over the winter in this neck of the woods!

    Now ask me about Japanese Anemones....

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    1. You are probably right Marie, the climate plays such a role in the thuggish-ness of a plant. So about those Anemones...

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  12. It's such a different plant down here in Austin under the Death Star. It lives without a lot of fuss provided it's in full shade, but it turns to mush in late spring, as the heat kicks in. After summer dormancy, it pops up again with the first fall rains and grows nicely through the winter provided we don't get a hard freeze. If so, mush again. Otherwise, we see those beautiful towering blooms in spring. I never hear about it spreading. The heat really keeps it in check.

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