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Top Hated Plants (Only Semi-Rational)

Thursday, 27 Jan 11 23°C / 73°F

Weeds don’t count. These are plants people actually pay money to buy and plant. And that I hate for reasons that are sometimes rational and sometimes very much not.

- Oleander (Nerium oleander) – this is a common landscaping plant in my part of the world, presumably because it’s drought tolerant. Unlike some of the plants I hate, this isn’t an ugly plant. But it’s poisonous. My mom used to scare us with urban legends of a Boy Scout troop that had used oleander sticks to cook its hot dogs and marshmallows over a fire. Can’t remember whether they died or just went to a hospital for a long time but we were to be careful around oleanders, by cracky! For a plant this poisonous, it’s sure planted a LOT of places in California, though. CalTrans in particular loves this plant.

- Various Pittosporums, i. e. Pittosporum tobira – I hate the little fruits that many Pittosporums drop all over the sidewalk. I have no idea why I hate Pittosporum that much. But I’ve only seen one species that was kind of pretty.

- Liquidambar – I am bummed that cities won’t plant fruit/nut trees as street trees because they complain it makes a mess yet they’ll plant stuff like this that is just as messy and not edible. It hurts a lot if you happen to step on one of the fruits either bare-footed or in thin sandals. They have the redeeming feature of putting on a pretty fall display but there are a number of fruit and nut trees that would do the same.

- Impatiens – I don’t hate the whole genus but nurseries never give the entire species name for the common Impatiens they sell as bedding plants. They are bred in the most garish colors – colors that belong on Barbie packages. And at least around here they end up losing their leaves and looking really knobbly. They’re a big flag saying “we lack imagination”. Yes, they grow in shade. They’ve got that going for them.

Photos

Comments

  • Armorel

    Armorel wrote:

    I’m with you on the Impatiens – garish is the word, isn’t it? And the stems are so fragile it’s almost impossible to handle the plants without damaging them.
    Liquidambar and Oleander I don’t have much experience with thes two so I can’t really comment.
    Pittosporum is grown … a lot …. here on the Isles of Scilly because it’s tough, windproof and can be clipped into a dense hedge. So it’s used widely as windbreak hedging to protect the field of fragile narcissus and daffodils that are one of the islands’ main winter productions.
    I’ll add Libertia Grandiflora (New Zealand Satin Flower) which I saw a garden designer use at Chelsea a couple of year back. Nasty thuggish plant, self seeding everywhere and choking anything in proximity. Yet it’s widely sold as a garden plant. I pull it out everywhere.
    Crocosmia (also known as Montbretia) which is naturalised as an invasive weed in many parts of the world. Again it’s a prolific self seeder with the same characteristics as the Libertia. Yet a stand of crocosmias in full bloom with their cheerful orange flowers is a bright and attractive sight.
    Football Mums (chrysanthemums) which my Dad used to grow in his greenhouse. Monstrous hybrids with (mostly) dull colours and bitter-smelling foliage.
    Saintpaulia (African Violets) because I can’t grow them and I’d really like to :-\

    Posted on 28 Jan 11 (over 3 years ago)

  • rainymountain

    rainymountain wrote:

    I’ll add petunias, which may not be self-seeders but are almost the only thing you can get here and require no expertise to grow and everybody does grow them – very boring.
    I’m with Amorel on Football Mums, and add Football Dahlias and Gladiolus to that list.

    Posted on 28 Jan 11 (over 3 years ago)

  • SilverCat

    SilverCat wrote:

    Agree on Liquidambar/Sweetgum. The only place for my vegetable beds was right under the neighbor’s huge tree. :| It is really pretty, though…

    Posted on 28 Jan 11 (over 3 years ago)

  • SneIrish

    SneIrish wrote:

    Absolutely, Impatiens. And I’ll add Geraniums – the annual, red ones that here in the US people buy at Memorial Day in May and put on graves, And the not-hardy mums, football or otherwise, that are bought and plopped on front steps in September for “fall color.”

    I’m just not keen on the plants that are mass-produced and “garish” (that’s an excellent descriptive, Spidra) and are bought by non-thinking, non-imaginative people who buy and plant only because they can stick them in the ground for the summer and forget about them.

    Posted on 28 Jan 11 (over 3 years ago)

  • spidra

    spidra wrote:

    Most comments I’ve gotten on a post in a long time. Hatred unites! ;-) Snelrish, I can’t believe I forgot to list geraniums (actually Pelargonium capitatum and hybrids). They’re among my mother’s favorites. I’ve never understood why. They stink, they can look ratty really easily, and the colors are, again, garish.

    I don’t know what Football Mums andFootball Dahlias are. I’ve only recently become a Chrysanthemum fan but of the irregular forms much more than the regular ones. They don’t ever show up in those pots at the supermarket. I order the rooted cuttings from King’s Mums https://www.kingsmums.com/ And, I have to admit, they are fantastic for blooming in fall. I had several in my front yard at my old house and they really perked up the winter display, esp in combination with roses (I live in a mild winter climate).

    There are probably more things I could add to the list but since my focus has always been on edibles, I don’t usually know the names!

    Posted on 28 Jan 11 (over 3 years ago)

  • Armorel

    Armorel wrote:

    @ Spidra
    A Football Mum is a particularly large- flowered chrysanthemum although I’m not sure that they actually reach actual football size (that’s soccer in the US).
    The globe shaped flowers can be up to eight inches in diameter, are solidly packed with petals and, from what I can see, are touted as being a corsage flower? I dunno, if I was wearing a flower that big as a corsage I’d have to keep my chin pointed up to the ceiling and end up with a dreadful crick in the neck…..

    Posted on 28 Jan 11 (over 3 years ago)

  • spidra

    spidra wrote:

    Ah. Here are some of the ones I used to grow:

    Kokka Bunmi (the picture is of 3 or 4 blooms at the end because I didn’t disbud like I should have): http://myfolia.com/plantings/1638-chrysanthemum-kokka-bunmi-chrysanthemum-x-morifolium

    Lili Gallon http://myfolia.com/plantings/1442-chrysanthemum-lili-gallon-chrysanthemum-x-morifolium

    Fred Mudd http://myfolia.com/plantings/1694-chrysanthemum-fred-mudd-chrysanthemum-x-morifolium

    Frosty Morn http://myfolia.com/plantings/1412-chrysanthemum-frosty-morn-chrysanthemum-x-morifolium

    Not sure if some of these would be considered Football Mums. I tend to like the irregular shapes over the regular ones.

    Posted on 28 Jan 11 (over 3 years ago)

  • spidra

    spidra wrote:

    Ooh! I forgot to mention I’m a bit over Agapanthus africanus, too. It is a really overused landscape plant around here.

    Posted on 28 Jan 11 (over 3 years ago)

  • anelson

    anelson wrote:

    When i lived in San Diego I would have agreed with you about Oleander and most of the other low maintenance exotic plantings, such as iceplant, lantana, dietes, agapanthus. I suppose rhodies are the equivalent up here, although i could never hate rhodies. Now when i go back to California i think the Oleander etc look pretty. However there are so many interesting plants you can grow in California, it seems like a waste to over plant so many of these common exotic ornamentals, and some have become invasive in the wild, too.

    Posted on 23 Jun 11 (over 3 years ago)

  • TangoFlowers

    TangoFlowers wrote:

    I also hate Oleanders. They do take up lots o space better used by nontoxic natives.
    And it’s not just an urban myth about some Scouts having been harmed by accidentally involving toxic oleanders in a campfire. Not sure whether they used em to roast hotdogs or if it was just accidentally burned as firewood and they inhaled toxic smoke.
    But the poisoning story was on national news when my dad was in college, and a national oleander safety awareness campaign went on after that tragedy.
    So I also got earfuls about the hazards of this plant when i was a kid.
    Also, oleanders are becoming a big part of the USA’s bee loss problem. Evil oleanders are so darned toxic that they can actually cause beehives to die off. Bees gather oleander nectar to the hive because the flowers make lots of it and it smells nice and does contain sugar.
    If it were gathered along with lots of other nontoxic nectar it would be oK
    but thanks to urban developments full of oleanders, monocropping farms, golf courses with grass and nearly no flowers, etc. the bees usually lack enough other nontoxic nectar flowers around
    and under these conditions the hive can concentrate the oleander poisons and produce toxic honey. :(
    Likewise, a few cases of poisoning have occured as a result of amateur beekeepers unknowingly eating their homegrown, oleander-poisoned honey.

    Posted on 23 Jun 11 (over 3 years ago)

  • anelson

    anelson wrote:

    Ceanothus are also drought tolerant and low maintenance, and are beautiful and fantastic for bees. And many species are native west coast endemics!

    Posted on 23 Jun 11 (over 3 years ago)

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spidra

spidra

South Pasadena

United States

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