The Garden Plant
Running Root Plant-English Ivy

7 Running Root Plants to avoid in the Garden

You have beautiful weather in your part of the world, and you want to go in your yard or deck or balcony and begin growing something, anything. Word to the wise avoids these 7 running root plants if you want to avoid headaches in the future.

Some people enjoy growing herbs some flowering plants and some tropicals that can be moved in and out with the change of the weather.

If you’re lucky enough to have a yard, some plants should never be grown in the ground unless actively managed by a serious gardener or landscape professional.

These plants can still be leveraged in the landscape. The plants should just be utilized in planting containers or actively gardened regularly.

Here are seven running root plants

Running Root Plant-Bamboo
Running Root Plant – Bamboo


Bamboo is a beautiful Asian grass that most people love. You will see Bamboo grown in people’s yards, but the best landscapers and designers will have an underground steel barrier around those bamboo plants.

I know I did when I used Bamboo in landscapes. Bamboo is a handful; when I worked as a volunteer at Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens, I worked with the Gardens Arborist for a year. Fairchild has an extensive collection of different Bamboos from across the world.

We would go out for two weeks and just thin out and manage patches of Bamboo. Unless you’re a super gardener, please don’t plant spreading Bamboo uncontained in your yard.

This plant will spread from your yard to your neighbor’s yard to under the driveway and foundation of your home. Just say no to wild Bamboo in your yard.

Yucca Plant

The Yucca Plant is another attractive plant and if used in the right setting with the proper guardrails can be great in the family garden.

The Yucca root is a robust one to care for, plan on getting stuck removing dead stalks. Also, this plant has a pervasive root system that will be hard to remove once the plant in the ground.

Yucca’s are also known for attracting a broad array of bugs. So keep the settings in mind before planting that Yucca.

Mint Plant

People love their Mojito’s; the drink came into the mainstream of America about 10-15 years ago. Ever since then, I have been asked by numerous customers to add Mint to the gardens for their Mojito fix.

The problem with Mint is that the root system of Mint Plant care runs far and wide, sometimes known to be 30 feet from the main plant planted. The Mint plant is going to be a problem unless isolated in its own container.


Running Root Plant- FERN
Fern Running root plant

Ferns are beautiful plants in the landscape, and they’re great for shaded areas of the yard. They are we call in the business a reliable plant in the landscape.

But Ferns once planted will multiply and multiply. Ferns can be a bully in the landscape. Especially if not monitored closely from season to season. I would say these plants would be best kept in a planter.


A plant I like a lotbut another running root plant the long sleek Irises. This plant has excellent height and majesty. Beautiful as a background for lower growing flower plants.

But Irises are another plant that unless you are maintaining a tight ship in your garden, the plant can run away to places where they weren’t intended to be. Irises should be split at the beginning of each season to keep control of the stock in the garden.

Day Lillies

Those spring Day Lilies are a bright garden spot in the early spring. But Day Lilies are going to be everywhere in about three seasons.

Also for me- I don’t care for their short shelf life. You get two to three weeks of flower and 50 weeks of green stalk grass. I think there are better plants that give more bang for the buck.

Green English Ivy

Everyone has seen English Ivy growing up the sides of buildings, but what you may not know is that at some point there is going to be a reckoning with that Ivy. This green vine plant will take over if you let is.

Running root plants like the English Ivy has an explosive roots system that sometimes digs into soft parts of concrete mortar. English Ivy will eventually grow in the cutters, try to enter through windows and take over the whole home.

This may be the reason you’ll usually only see this Ivy on expensive homes that can afford to pay a landscaper to manage the Ivy.

In my landscaping career I have run across unmanaged Ivy numerous times, and I’ve always had to charge more on the job to deal with the Ivy extraction.


Brent Richard Dixon

Are you wanting to start a garden but don't know where to begin? Our gardening tips for beginners are perfect for new gardener.

1 comment