Native Substitutes for Exotic and Invasive Plants

Today while browsing I checked the Tennessee Exotic Pest Plant Council’s website and found some very useful information for home gardeners. But first let me tell you why I was looking for it. I saw a post discussing Allan Armitage’s view of native plants over at Garden Rant. To sum it up in three words: diversity is good! In my opinion as long as you don’t invite invasive species to your yard that will take over the country (i.e. kudzu) then having a diverse ecology in your landscape is a good idea.

After reading that post I began to wonder about alternatives for exotic invasive plants. Natives tend to be hardier than exotic plants since they developed in the region and typically are more drought, disease, and pest resistant. While diversity is good there may be some good native alternatives for your landscape. The TNEPPC has some great resources available for free download to people interested in finding alternatives to the exotic and invasive plants many people commonly plant. Here is a pdf document that suggests alternatives to invasive and exotic plants: TNEPPC Native Substitutes. Download a copy and use it as a reference when planning your garden!


Dave has written since 2007. He gardens on an acre and a half where he raises his 4 children. He enjoys growing vegetables, herbs, and propagating plants. Dave has a side business growing and selling heirloom vegetables and herb plants through Blue Shed Gardens and works as a real estate agent in Spring Hill, TN.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. I see you know about the Tennessee list of invasives. Did you see burning bush on there? It surprised me because as common as they are I thought they were native to Tennessee-they are not. Your blog is an excellent source for gardeners in this area and I find it well written. I have subscribed to it so I hope you like comments!

  2. Yep there are a bunch of them! One I find pretty prominent that is also on the list and over-planted is the nandina. It’s everywhere. One or two are ok but many places over plant them as foundation plantings or border type plants. I have one though that came with the house.

    One other one that is terrible is the Bradford pear! I’ll save my rant on that for a post!

    Thanks for the nice comments!

  3. I know that silly nandina. I have a hedge of them between me and my neighbor, interspersed with Hicksii yews. The nandinas are winning out and self seeding! I love them though. I also have the lower ones around the foundation. They don’t fruit or self seed. Oh well. Probably better.

    I am looking for that Bradford pear post. I worked at Home Depot stocking shrubs and trees in the spring. So many people came in asking for Bradford Pears. The new improved variety is Cleveland pear and I think some others. It took a lot of convincing the people needed the Cleveland instead of Bradford but I am still not convinced it is a good tree to plant at all. There are ways to control the splitting but you have to be very diligent. Can’t wait for your post.

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