From now until the winter, as people start to clear old plant material from their gardens, the GB Non-Native Species Secretariat is promoting the Be Plant Wise guidance around responsible disposal of unwanted plants.
Most of us have plants in our gardens and ponds that are not native to Britain – they originally came from other parts of the world and have been introduced to Britain by people. While these non-native plants can help us to create beautiful ornamental displays to enjoy, if they escape into the wild some become invasive, harming our wildlife and environment, economy, and even our health and the way we live.
Aren’t all plants beneficial wherever they grow?
Plants are vital for our health and environment. They improve air quality, boost our mood, help to mitigate the impacts of climate change, and provide a home for other wildlife. However, the wrong plant in the wrong place can harm the environment and the damage can be irreversible.
Why are invasive plants a problem?
Invasive plants can harm native plants by spreading pests and plant diseases, and competing for space, light, nutrients and water. This has a wider impact on other species which rely on native plants, including birds, butterflies and other insects, and could threaten the survival of rare plant species.
Some invasive plants harm the economy and our communities by interfering with agriculture and utilities, or make it harder for us to take part in recreational activities such as fishing, sailing or paddling. Others can even affect our health. Read more about the impacts of invasive plants.
Once established, invasive plants are costly to control and the damage they cause can be irreversible. Pond and aquarium plants can be particularly devastating if they escape into a natural water body.
Find out more
Free hard copies of Be Plant Wise materials are available to help with awareness raising including leaflets, posters, stickers and packs for retailers. All the materials and guidance can be found on the Be Plant Wise website and on the campaign on Twitter at @InvasiveSp