Invasive Nepetella
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Libby J. Goldstein
Posted on: June 25, 2003

Every time I have to tear some of this mad marauder out of my garden, it occurs to me I should write you about it.

I do love it fresh or dried in a number of dishes, but, oh, it does try to take over the whole entire universe. Actually, it’s not quite so evil as bronze fennel and Chinese chives, but it is invasive. Not only that, but it self-seeds quite prodigiously. The seeds don’t fall as far from the parent plant as do the fennel and Allium tuberosum seeds, however. I haven’t had to pull tiny nepetella plants out of my community gardening neighbors’ plots...yet.

You probably should warn potential customers.

Well, thanks for the feedback. It is appreciated. We do need to know how our seeds and plants do in gardens wherever they are planted.

Because so many of our herbs are not far removed from the wild and are essentially unaltered by man it is perhaps not surprising that some of will occasionally spread more vigourously than, say, common vegetables such as tomatoes and peppers or common flowers such as geraniums and petunias. But even common food plants and ornamentals can be weedy somewhere in the world, if not in our temperate zones where they can’t survive the winter. To be complete we would have provide warnings for just about every plant because we ship worldwide.

Take wild thyme for example. This is one of the few ground cover herbs that can be grown from seeds. In a few locales it has escaped culvation, but everywhere else it is well behaved and easy to manage. Do we warn about this and hundreds of other herbs that have similar problems? It’s a challenge.

We try to warn about the most egregrious invasives in our print catalogue, but space is limited to do much more than that. However, on our our website we could probably add a database of known invasives and grade them as severe, moderate and minor risks. It would be great to offer advise on responsible planting to minimize the risk of unwanted spreading. Something to think about.

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