Wednesday, July 6
When Good Plants Go Bad
The Chinese Lantern plant: so pretty in the fall and such a nice dried decoration to hang. But that's about it.
I planted this near the shed in hopes that it would fill in a little bare spot and provide me with free fall decor. It did just that and then some. I have spent many fall hours since then wading through the long mangled and twisted stems, cutting out the ones good enough to dry and sending the rest to the compost pile.
When all is said and done, I have a much bigger bare spot on the lawn than i started out with since they kill off all the grass around them from spreading so rapidly.
The Chinese lantern plant, like mint, has rhizomes that spread horizontally, meaning that even if you chop down the plant without dropping any seeds, it might pop up in another part of your garden.
And it has - as far away as the side garden by the large barn - a good 30 feet.
Side note: my mint has done the same thing, as well as the day lilies, trumpet vines, and the horrible comfrey plant. Although an important herb in organic gardening, as it is used as a fertilizer and also has many purported medicinal uses, it is what I like to call a crazy plant. It grows way too big, falls over, and becomes a home from spiders.
This year I decided to just mow it and not have any. Less work and I know it will always come back next year. I was very surprised when I saw just how much came up this year though and how far it had crept out into the yard. So I am mowing it like grass and not feeling all that bad about it since I know it will probably be there for the next 100 years at least.
I also learned something I did not know - parts of plant are poisonous if ingested. The unripe berries and leaves can be highly toxic and possibly fatal. So that's another good reason to let it get mowed under for a few years.