It's the Plants, Darling

Plants we Love to Hate

My recent post about Anne Raver loving to hate Impatiens got me wondering what plants I’d put in that category – not just hating but loving to hate.  And what’s the difference?  Does loving to hate mean you seek out examples, then Facebook them to share the hate?  Help me out here.

I’m not sure there are any plants I hate in that way, though I definitely love to hate the way some plants are grown.  Like Billy Goodnick, I love to hate certain pruning styles.  Also, planting styles, like perfectly spaced rows or – worse – alternating one each of two kinds of plants.

And there are plenty of plants I hate that everyone else hates – common privet and euonymus, for example.  But among plants that other people seem to like but I don’t, there are a couple and upon reflection, they have something in common – a certain fussiness.  shutterstock_130285994

How else to explain that I hate the full-size hyacinth but love the smaller, less in-your-face grape hyacinth?

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Similarly, to my eyes bearded irises are way too fussy.  (Apologies to the much-missed Henry Mitchell, whose passion for bearded iris caused him to schedule vacations for the duration of their blooms, so as not to miss a moment of their fabulousness.)   But I love the simpler Siberian and flag irises.

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Dish the Plant-Bashing Begin

I asked a professional gardener friend what plant she loves to hate and her answer was a shock – Japanese maple, specifically the red weeping kind.  Apparently it’s a “design cliche.”

So, ya never know.  What’s yours?

 Hyacinth photo via ShutterstockGrape hyacinth photo via Shutterstock.   Dahlia photo via Shutterstock.

Posted by on June 14, 2013 at 10:27 am, in the category It's the Plants, Darling.
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94 Responses to “Plants we Love to Hate”

  1. K.B. says:

    Euonymus, yarrow and petunias. The first is over-planted (at least around here), yarrow always look scraggly to me, and I cannot stand the stench, er, scent of petunias.

    I agree with you on the hyacinths, but I gotta say, I love bearded irises! I’m currently planning all of my flower beds (85 year old house, next to no landscaping, long story), and there will be many irises! And roses. And daisies. And peonies. And so many others.

    But no euonymus, yarrow or petunias!

    • Laura Bell says:

      I love yarrow – low-maintenance (or is that I just don’t care to keep things neat?) with pretty flowers that attract beneficials to my yard. I’d probably annoy the heck out of you, ’cause I plant it all over!

      • gemma says:

        Me too! It’s my favorite because the beneficials flock to it. I plant several in every garden.

  2. For me it’s also petunias, but add to that the classic red geraniums. Also, dusty miller. I really don’t know why I don’t like them.

  3. John says:

    Dwarf Alberta Spruce: way overplanted, seldom sited well,
    Weeping Cherry, for the same reason as the Japanese Maples above,
    River Birch on suburban lots. Got a sprawling acreage with a pond, great. Got 1/3 an acre and need something 5′ from the corner of the house, not so great.
    Barberry, inevitably planted for “evergreen” color on something that isn’t green, and always planted too close to a path so that at maturity you can’t walk by without it snagging your pant leg.
    Yards that spend $200 on the exact same annuals every summer, but won’t invest a fraction of that in perennials, shrubs, or trees. (No matter how green their leaves, annuals aren’t very “green.”)

    • Jennifer says:

      Totally with you on the barberry! Those thorns are just the worst. It’s also invasive in many places, and I’ve seen some studies indicating that it contributes to booming tick populations.

    • ChrisU says:

      All excellent choices!

    • karenj says:

      Barberry. It looks nice when properly planted sited and maintained but DON’T garden in your bare feet nearby. Pruning dead wood is traumatic…

      We had a landscaper that helped us out years ago, and his name for them was Satan Bush, which we still call it today (after ridding ourselves of them!)

  4. Spidra Webster says:

    I made a little list in my garden journal some time ago. I should probably revisit it and add even more plants that get my goat. http://myfolia.com/journals/95974-top-hated-plants-only-semirational

  5. Karen says:

    Stella D’Oro daylilies. That particular shade of yellow or orange or whatever yucky color it is just pisses me off! And they’re EVERYWHERE.
    And Bradford Pears, I can’t believe they still produce them, offer them in big box stores, and that people BUY them?!

  6. Melissa L. says:

    My dislikes often have more to do with overuse by landscapers rather than an inherent dislike of the plant itself. I’ve gotten so that I really don’t like boxwood and red berberis because they are planted everywhere in our area as being deer-resistant. I hate the smell of privet flowers, oriental lilies, and paper narcissus. I really don’t like most hybrid tea roses–they’re scraggly plants with mutant flowers demanding way too much time and chemistry. My least favorite color combination is the Lime Mound spiraea–chartreuse and pale pink, yechh. Other than that, most plants are delightful as long as they are well-placed and well-grown.

  7. Susan says:

    I really hate Lamb’s ear (Stachys lanata) and any green flowers (except the teeny ones on the native Heuchera). I agree with you on the Hyacinth. It is rare to see them look good in any plantings I have seen. I said to a friend once that I didn’t really like orange flowers and she was surprised that someone could not like a flower. I realized then that she probably rarely thinks about flowers whereas I spend a lot of time thinking about flowers and plants (being a gardener).

  8. Jen says:

    It’s almost caused me to lose friends, but I really don’t get hostas. I mean, yeah I have a couple, they fill in a blank spot and whatever. But when people plop down perfect rows of hostas and nothing else – it just screams “I gave up.” Hosta landscapes look corporate to me, like a dentist’s office or something.

    I do like hyacinths. Maybe I’m a contrarian – they seem the least popular of the spring bulbs these days, and I like the Victorian-lollipop-ridiculousness.

    Most of the plants I “hate” I really just have mixed feelings about. A few begonias here and there are fine, but an entire field of them is not. I also wish you could more easily get non-dwarf versions of common annuals, like marigolds. I like marigolds, I just want the old school dramatic ones!

  9. I love this discussion! I’m usually a little ashamed to say that I do not like certain flowers or trees, but as Susan says, it’s probably a function of thinking a lot about plants generally and noticing landscapes. How sweet to find people who are sympathetic to my negativity.

    I don’t like petunias, because they just seem so sloppy and need constant deadheading, which is a sticky job. Magenta flowers always seem to clash with something in my garden, so I have developed a dislike for them. I like orange flowers these days, at least, orange zinnias, which always seem to make a nice contrast to the mostly-green of vegetable plants if I stick one in here and there.

    It’s not just a flower, but I dislike buckeye trees because they can’t wait until fall, but turn brown in the late summer and make ugly spots in the natural landscape.

    I don’t like a lot of yellow flowers that seem too garish, but I love pale yellow flowers. This year I planted santolina after several years of not having it, and I think its blooms are even a little too bright, and take away from the beauty of the pale yellow salvia nearby.

    I don’t like marigolds, but it might only be because, as Jen said, the dwarf versions dominate the market. I also have a hard time finding the tall zinnias and snapdragons I want.

    I don’t like yellow calla lilies because they seem unnatural and too cutesy.

    Thanks for inviting me to express my complaints!

  10. Laura Bell says:

    Weeping anything … except willows. I think it’s because every example I’ve seen of weeping cherries, etc looks like the poor plant has been hacked to death and is in severe survival mode, spewing lanky branches from a too-tall stump.

    Bradford Pears … ugly and messy in all seasons, with a choking stench in Spring. And currently the neighbors’ are shading out my veggie garden! Add to that the “flowering” plum the developer planted all over my neighborhood. They do actually produce fruit, but it’s unpalatable, messy, and worst of all – impossible to see among the purple leaves!

    Bearded irises – I love them! My Mom lined her driveway with them as did her mother. My driveway is too short & suburban for such things, but I have tucked them up against the fence & the foundation where I can.

    • Laura Bell says:

      Oh, and also despite my fondness for plants, I’m not terribly fond of many flowers. Irises, yes, as stated above. But roses should be left on the plant, IMO, while I’ll happily bring calla lilies inside. Old-fashioned marigolds & calendula are lovely sprinkled amongst my veggies & fruits to encourage pollinators, but to see them in rows or shapes strictly for ornamentation ? No. I’m just not into colorful annuals for their own sake. Poppies are just … pretty to have around, though, whether the fluttery papavers or the more structured California kind.

      I do like it when my succulents bloom, but that’s not why I grow them. And when my fruit trees, berry bushes, and veggies bloom … well, that’s best of all because I know a harvest is coming!

  11. Tibs says:

    Echinachia – cone flowers. The whole meadow look. Sorry. It is a boring mess to my eyes. Miss Kim lilac and her ilk. She ain’t no lilac in shape or smell. Butterfly bush. What a floppy mess. Tree lilacs that my city has planted en mass. Stinky. Ahh, I feel much better now.

  12. marcia says:

    Queen Palms!!! I live in the central valley of CA ,and work at a big box store. I hate them and their spikey friends, the robellini palms. Unfortunately our SoCal buyer thinks they are just perfect for this area. (translation : they’re cheap)
    The neighborhood that I live in is populated by 50 year-old Australian weeds that the developer thought would be instant shade for unsuspecting buyers.
    Problem is, the things fall apart, and land on houses and cars and people. My other hated tree is the pollarded fruitless mulberry. This ain’t England and we don’t have mud and wattle fences. Homeowners associations won’t tolerate them.

  13. Eric S says:

    I’ll add gladioli to the list. They look fine when cut for a floral arrangement but weirdly top-heavy in a garden.
    Hyacinth are on my list especially because of their sickeningly sweet fragrance, not just their unsubtle form.
    Then there’s a category of plants that avid gardeners swoon over, but I just don’t get what the fuss is about: exotic snowdrops, Stewartia trees (OK, the bark is interesting) , dull colored nodding hellebore blossoms (who needs to bend down to ground in early March to see those flowers?).

    • Tibs says:

      Agree with you on exotic $$$ snowdrops. And I love the regular old basic snowdrops and don’t think you can ever have too many.

  14. Eric S says:

    Can I also start a movement against the floral industry’s need to “enhance” flowers:
    1.) by making them drink up intense colored dyes (chrysanthemums, lately Phalenopsis orchids)
    2.) spraying them with glitter (pointsettias, mums, & most recently: eryngium)

    • Brad says:

      I was totally “meh” until I got to this, then all hatred broke loose. Stop gilding the lilies… please. If painting poinsettias blue isn’t a crime it should be, and glitter?!?! AAAGH!

  15. Hate is such a strong word. But, yes, I hate barberry, spireas, and Stella d’Oro. I grow a few of the first and the last, but I absolutely refuse to put a spirea in my landscaping.

    But I don’t really disagree with the choices others have made except perhaps K.B.’s yarrow….I really do like the modern bright yellow and red cultivars of yarrow!

  16. Susan in Western NC says:

    nandina: my mother likes it but I’ve seen too many spindly, badly pruned versions
    burning bush: invasive, grows too fast
    trumpet vine and creeping fig: ditto
    most junipers: sprawling, leggy, and too often pruned back to ugly stumps
    privet: a real nuisance. I’ve pulled out thousands of bird-planted seedlings

    • Laura Bell says:

      Where I grew up, “trumpet vine” was called “cow itch” and clambered up and over everything nearly as fast as the justifiably-maligned kudzu. It is pretty, but I was still so surprised to move out of the Deep South & find that people actually planted the stuff on purpose!

  17. John by the river says:

    Wisteria. Pulled down an entrance arbor anchored by 6×8 beams. Took it about 8 years and then . . . I had to replace the arbor as it was in danger of falling down. Nasty piece of work that is still entwining itself into the hogwire fence that has climbing roses, clematis & honeysuckle that are somewhat easy to control.
    All the other mentioned plants are ok by me as I have a half acre to putter around in.

  18. John by the river says:

    Forgot to mention that I have a “Garden of Mistakes” to replant those I don’t know what to do with.

  19. Stella De Boro’s. Hate em. Really hate em and I like daylilies just fine. I actually like real daylilies.

    I hate anything that has thorns, spines, needles or prickliness of any sort. I do not need to be stabbed when I am gardening. You would be surprised how much a working gardener can get stabbed even without thorny plants. There is no need for sadomasochism in the garden.

  20. Dave says:

    I have most of the plants listed here in my community garden with a few exceptions! Eee! What I don’t like are peonies. They take up a large amount of premium space. They require staking/support that looks dumb while they grow into it. The blooms don’t last as long as I’d like and when they are finished leave a mess of pedals everywhere. I also am reminded of weddings every time I look at the flowers, which annoys me for some reason.

    • Jen says:

      So much is context for me. I can see finding peonies annoying if you had limited space. But I live in an early 1900′s neighborhood that was built by factory workers, and a flopsy old peony to me looks nicer and more appropriate next to the steps of a simple frame house than a lot of other things do. To each their own!

  21. Pianolady says:

    We have a nursery in town that gets contracted out to landscape for our city, and obviously many of the newer subdivisions. Seems like everything they do is a row of Knockout roses with Stella D’Oro daylilies in front of them. I’m so sick of both I can’t stomach the thought of putting either in my landscape.

  22. Boxwoods. Worse poodle pruned boxwoods. Privet. Worse poodle pruned privet. Stella d’oro & knockout roses are just too insipid to hate.

  23. Polly Jones says:

    Hating is a waste of time.

  24. Paul Jung says:

    Hate’s a strong word but other strong words come to mind when dealing with goutweed…

  25. Amy Q says:

    Barberry, hosta’s! (over planted here in Canada!), red Norway Maples, Harlequin Maples,(big YuCK!), those variegated willows and yes I don’t like those Popsicle Hyacinth’s either! Pee Gee Hydrangea’s are also over planted.
    Bearded iris’s I will allow one grouping in a client’s garden, but they can put in as many Siberian Iris’s as the water table allows.

    • Monish says:

      Wow Barberry is on alot of people’s lists….will take note and not offer them for sale.

  26. Laurin says:

    Hate is a strong word …i get tired of certain plants that are overused or just boring to my eye. If by privet you mean wax leaf ligustrum that is over used by developers all over Houston, i nearly hate it and i am even allergic to it’s pollen. I really don’t care for fox tail fern, Indian hawthorn, bi-colored iris and when they put in 4 oak trees in a tiny suburban front yard. Where my children both own homes it is a requirement to have 2 in the right of way and 2 trees in your front yard. The trees really struggle and look so sad. We are seeing developers and commercial properties using more ornamental grasses but then the gardeners just weed whack them back and they look terrible.

    Do you also fall in love with plants. I seem to go from infatuation to infatuation of plants and use them more for a while and then on to the next love. It is a funny thing to me………right now i am in love with crinum lilies especially the more unusual ones like splendens or golden sword. Here in Houston they grow like weeds and do well with bright shade to sun. They are more of a filler than a focal point but so useful. Fun conversation all ya’ll.

  27. Linda says:

    Just to chime in – Acuba, Photinia, English ivy and Holly.

  28. Stella B says:

    The plants that have caused the most misery in my life were running bamboo and a Chilean pepper tree. Privet and hyacinth are stinky to me. However, the ones that annoy me the most are gift plants stuck higgledy-piggledy into the landscape; leggy geraniums and poinsettias. Azaleas in Maryland woodlands, fine, hunched miserably under a palm in southern California, not so fine. I’ve already put several azaleas out of their misery at our new house and have a row of sun-burned Easter lilies marked out in my mind for demolition next. When it comes to gift plants, the green waste bin or the compost bin are the way to go.

  29. Deirdre in Seattle says:

    I don’t have the energy to hate any plant (except noxious weeds), but there are some I’m simply too indifferent to go to the trouble and expense of growing. Annuals fall in that category, but this year a friend gave me a pink piggy planter they’d made from a helium tank. Petunias seemed the obvious choice for such a funky planter (If it’s self conscious, does it become kitch and therefore aceptable?), and I’ve discovered that the chickens leave the smelly things alone. I may start growing geraniums for the back deck for the same reasons. Herbs would be more “haute hort”, and I have those, but a little color is nice, and some have very cool leaves.

    You never know. One could learn to love the plants one loves to hate.

    • Monish says:

      Over the years I have learned to love something about a plant I dislike. It feels much better and doesn’t take energy away from the task at hand. Every plant has a special quality that is less known- like that taproot that pulls minerals from deep down and brings them to the upper layers of soil. Or a particular pollinator that may favor a certain plant. It is hard to get over the plants that are over planted by bone-head landscapers!!!
      I wish these landscapers would get into gardens and gardening and understand why we like landscapes. They’re mostly into tools and don’t go home at night to their own lovely gardens. Clueless really.

  30. Rae says:

    Butterfly bushes (Buddleia). Cause they grow leggy and ugly, and need drastic pruning. But also because now everyone thinks it is the “go to” plant for attracting butterflies, when in reality it is not native (if you care about this), and is actually on the USDA noxious invasive plant list. Sold everywhere.

    • gemma says:

      I agree with all your points. And they smell bad!

      Along with buddleia, the other noxious-to-me plant odors come from Tagetes lucida, privet, stachys, and bacopa.

  31. Tyler C says:

    hate Agapanthus and all other boring/low maintenance/overused landscaping plants that everyone uses in California because they’re easy. The mexican sycamore is especially ugly (had to chop down the one planted by our home builder, without consulting me). Also ornamental rosemary and anything used as a green blob (Pittosporum, box hedge, etc. etc. etc.)

  32. Tyler C says:

    ditto for Hemerocallis. so over it

  33. Dave says:

    All my hated plants have already been mentioned, except the Rose of Sharon. My latest home came with a whole row of the nasty things, with Bradford pears and barberries planted close nearby. Thankfully there were no Knockout Roses, but then the neighbors have enough for all of us! Gag me with a spoon.

  34. Deb says:

    marigolds-mostly because of the way lots of folks plant them-way too far apart and in straight rows. Ditto for the gas station landscape with purple petunias, red salvia and yellow marigolds that seem to be de rigeur around here. agree that often it’s not the actual plant, but the design ( or lack thereof)!

    Gladiolus-when I was a little, they were the funeral go-to flowers ( in tall wicker baskets)

    Mt daughter hates impatiens with what she thinks are their creepy watery stems. I think they are a work horse for those if us with lots of shade.

    Good thing there’s something for everyone!

  35. SAo says:

    I hate leaves bred to be strange, abnormal colors. There are lots of atrocities, but Heucheras seem to get the worst of it. There are some with peach-colored leaves (peach colored leaves????!!!) they look like they survived a nuclear war and were none the better for it.

    I’m not keen on grasses, either. Few of them are well-done. In England, pampas grass, which can be spectacular in the right setting, too often took over entire (tiny) yards.

    Ultimately, I think we dislike poor, unimaginative landscaping. Whatever builders are putting in to call their spec house ‘landscaped’ is probably going to look boring.

    • Karen says:

      There is a house that has those peach-colored heucheras planted all around it’s foundation. From the sidewalk it looks like piles of vomit all around the house. I’m not trying to be gross but that’s what those heucheras look like to me! I guess there is a situation where the plants would look good but I can’t think of one….

      • Sure, Not says:

        In the back beds of a forested yard, these different colors stand out especially when designed to be viewed from one or two spots only. I like to be surprised when I round a corner and catch a glimpse.

        I can, and have, lived with the “boring” plants we inherited nine years ago when buying the house as they are useful, when moved, in filling up other areas. A side benefit was that the fine organic matter under the overpruned yews was an excellent starter for the compost pile.

        I only intensely dislike one plant: ground ivy/creeping charlie. But I begrudginly like the dainty flowers whilst I’m ripping it out.

    • emily says:

      One of my fondest and earliest memories is the beautiful little coral bells that my mother grew when I was 2 or 3. The heucheras I see now seem to be from another planet. Does anybody know where I can get the old fashioned kind?

  36. Yellow daffodils in early spring. I’m just not ready for yellow (an early summer color) at that time — I want to see what I call ‘dirty’ pale pinks and white and various shades of green.

    Azaleas in the sun or as foundation plantings. I think it was Henry Mitchell who said, in the south, people plant them in lieu of gardening.

    I actually like your fat hyacinths above in pots (although preferable clay), just not in the ground. Context is everything.

  37. Marte says:

    Begonias. Can’t stand begonias of any kind.

    • Jelourai says:

      You are my new best friend. My husband can’t understand how passionate I get in my hatred of begonias.

    • gemma says:

      I recently learned that begonia flowers are edible! Kind of a lemony flavor. I tried one — it’s high in oxalates, so it’s not for everyday use, but kind of fun once in a while.

  38. Susan says:

    I will cop to hating 3 plants with all my being:

    1) Comfrey – Way back when I was young and foolish, I put a plant in. In the intervening decade or so, I’ve been at considerable pains to eradicate it (still unsuccessful), and I’ve tossed so much of into the field at the edge of my property that every spring I have an enormous block of blue that stops traffic. I’ve had neighbors ask what it is and if they can dig some up. For the love of God, yes!!! Make it go away!!

    2) Coneflower – Another noxious pest, IMHO. I got sick of grubbing out seedlings that were everywhere I didn’t want them to be each and every year. Banished from my garden long ago.

    3) Valerian – Again, another youthful mistake, given to me by a dear elderly friend. A real bear to get rid of, and every year, it shows up well away from its original home. Sick, sick, sick of it. Plus, although many people and books say that it smells like vanilla, to me it smells like dog doo!

    • gemma says:

      Comfrey is one of the first things I plant in a new garden! I use the spent flowering stems to make tea for the plants (fermented and stinky). Hummingbirds like the flowers.

      Echinacea is also one of my favorites. I bought all of mine in 6-packs and now have about 20 plants planted in a block, already 3 ft. high. They’re stunning when they’re all in bloom. I eat the leaves occasionally when I’m in the garden.

      Haven’t grown valerian, but I just got a plant at a garden share last week. I dislike red valerian (Centranthus), which is too weedy even for me, but I’m willing to give anything herby a try.

  39. I agree with your preferences–I, too prefer Grape Hyacinth over Dutch Hyacinth and Siberian Iris over Bearded Iris. But I much prefer the native species over the imported species of both that perhaps you are not familiar with Wild Hyacinth (Camassia scilloides) has open spikes of pale blue stars, grows about a foot tall and is found in savanna and prairie. The violet standards of Blue Flag Iris (Iris virginica var. shrevrii) are reticulated in a deeper violet, while the cream-colored falls are also reticulated in violet and centered with a bright golden bee guide. Surrounded by sword leaves, it grows 1-3′ tall. Native to marshes and fens, it also grows well in good garden soil.

    What do I dislike? That which doesn’t belong. Colored foliage on trees and shrubs. Those that live in McMansions seem to be fascinated with the red foliage of ‘Crimson Pigmy’ Barberry combined with the chartruese or golden foliage of dwarf spireas. Tightly pruned shrubs that bear no resemblance to the way nature intended. Carefully mulched beds to keep everything in its individual space. Trees and shrubs that have been de-sexed–is that even a word?–flowers and fruit are so messy. I could go on, but, as usual, I’m the last one to reply to a blog, and therefore, no one reads it.

  40. Cannas are hideous. I just hate them. I’d rather have a fat drag queen dressed as Carmen Miranda in one of my beds than a canna. At least I could tell the queen to change her outfit.

  41. Mike says:

    Hydrangeas!!!! Yeughhh!!! Bergenias (Elephants Ears)! Grotesque!!! And Callistemon! Scratchy, ugly shrubs….

    Great article!

  42. Laurie Brown says:

    Aegopodium. Everyone says what a great ground cover it is- why, yes, it is, it will cover every square inch of ground, including the lawn, the path, and even in the crawl space under your house!

    And most junipers. There are some nice types in unique colors and forms, but I’m tired of those green balls that smell like cat pee.

  43. Susan says:

    Thanks, Laurie Brown – you reminded me of another “hate” that I put in when I was young and foolish. Aegopodium is noxious! One other than occurred to me is ornamental grasses of all varieties, particularly pampas grass. Every time I see that in any landscape, all I can see is myself in a referee’s uniform yelling, “Penalty for unimaginative overuse of ornamental grasses!”

    • emily says:

      Aegopodium is the bane of my existence. I keep ripping it out but it’s a constant battle.

  44. Nice list. I also have a love/hate relationship with many of the plants you mentioned.

  45. John says:

    My mom always hated marigolds because they planted them in graveyards at her church. Gladiolus because they are always with a casket.

  46. Elsa says:

    90% of the azaleas in the world, you can just keep. I love the Robin Hill’s and some of the big ones with huge blooms (Madame Butterfly, Delaware White, and Martha Hitchcock), but the typical overgrown, little icky pink blooming ones just need to go. They take up half the yard in old houses, and only look kinda good for about a week per year.

    Spirea is also on my list. The shorter ones look like a tumbleweed that won’t tumble in winter, and the bridal wreath one that’s in older homes is another that looks awful during 51 weeks of the year… it’s also the most dense wood to cut with a pruner that the world has ever known, so cutting it down is a painful proposition.

    Wow, that was a bit cathartic, admitting my plant hatred, even if it’s only being sent out into cyberspace! :)

  47. Is there any plant commenters have missed? I agree with being tired of seeing all the 1960′s petunias and geraniums. I particularly hate Gladiolas, the funeral flower. Potentilla bushes make me cringe!

    • Susan P says:

      Yes there is one group of super popular plants we’ve completely missed that I have a little love/hate relationship with:

      Succulents!

      There, I said it. I’m not crazy about succulents. I have a bunch of succulents I was given by my in-laws, and they’re doing great. Which is kind of the problem. I garden on my balconies, and the succulents are taking precious real-estate that could go to something new or exciting. There’s a few that I really do like, with beautiful flowers, but those seem to be the slow-growers. The rest just keep thriving with a bland green spilling out of the windowbox. Plus they’re so over-hyped right now.

    • Marla says:

      I’ll add another…crepe myrtles. I may get run out of the South for this one, but ugh.

      We had them as the sidewalk strip city tree as I was growing up in California, and I still have nightmares about their messy, ugly habits. My parents referred to the row of them lining our street as the “city twigs”. Keep in mind, they still looked scraggly and twiggy 20 years after being planted!

  48. Geoff Lewis says:

    I presently war against a few weed species, each of us seeking domination of the yard. Number one is Cardamine oligosperma – spread, herpes-like, by local nurseries in infested containers. Flowers and seeds within, I swear, ten days of germinating and seeds jump about four feet laterally in random directions when ripe pods are jostled. Hides under the skirts of other plants.

  49. Sally in SC says:

    I can’t believe nobody mentioned the endless walls of Leyland cypress found in the south and millions of red nandina balls! I just want to kick them. Casa’s descriptions of Cannas made me laugh out loud, japanese beetle bait!

  50. Jen says:

    Oh I have another one. I’ll call it the “patriotic petunia basket,” really more a design choice thing. It’s a plastic hanging basket filled with red, white and bluish-purple petunias, with red-white-blue beads up the hanging part of the basket.

    The purple petunias aren’t really blue at all, and they clash so terribly with the bright blue beads.

    It goes back to a pet peeve of mine – people who can’t distinguish blue from purple.

    • Tyler C says:

      Not distinguishing blue from purple is caused by red-green color blindness (which is found in about 2-3% of men, since the genes are on the X chromosome). I have this problem, which is why I hate plants with red flowers because I can’t distinguish the flowers from the foliage. The people who choose those combinations are probably just unable to detect the difference.

  51. Every time I start to dish on something, whether it’s the neighbor’s fussy boxes full of annuals in clashing colors, the overuse of scotch broom, barberry, etc., or my current anti-fave, planting euonymus in tree pits, which will result in a dead tree covered in euonymus (ugh.), I try to switch my thinking to “at least they cared enough to plant something and try to keep it alive.”

    The emphasis on plants in public spaces in NYC is far better than it was during the lean, tense times of the 70′s and early 80′s when I was growing up, so I have to remember to put it all in context!

  52. gemma says:

    Here are a few no one has mentioned.

    Euphorbias! I dislike the trendy one with chartreuse and red pompoms, which someone planted in the ornamental border of the community garden years ago and which has been coming up in my garden ever since. They’re all weedy and noxious to me. The big ones are spectacular at Lotusland, and it’s interesting to see the variety at botanical gardens, but otherwise, ick. I don’t want them in my gardens and I don’t want to work around them.

    Rhamnus alaternus, Italian buckthorn. It’s a common rampant landscape plant and weed here. I got a community garden plot this year that had some overgrown shrubs and it took serious work to dig up and hack out the massive roots. It’s fruiting now and the birds spread it far and wide.

    The landscaping cliche of using spiky plants as design accents, especially phormiums. Overused and ugly. Phormiums sometimes look ok when they’re planted but soon overgrow their spot and develop brown spots on their leaves or get shredded in the wind.

    Big shrubs that get put in small spaces. Loropetalum is a lovely plant, given enough room. But it’s put in too-small spaces and pruned into an ugly box. It’s used a lot and almost always mangled. The worst place I’ve seen it planted was in a 1-ft. wide strip between lawn and driveway! This is a plant that needs at least 10 ft. to spread out. It’d be like planting dogwoods for their layered charm and then pruning them into narrow columns.

  53. Sandy in TX says:

    I love bearded iris the way I love the organdy ruffles on one summer blouse – not everywhere in the garden, not for everyday wear (rain leaves waterspots on the iris petal, especially the dark ones, and photocopier toner and laundry play the dickens with organdy frills) but in some spots, for some occasions, sometimes nothing else works as well.
    I’m not fond of scentless flowers, flowering “plum” or “pear” trees which bear no fruit, or (most) plants pruned into unnatural shapes, altho I’ll make an exception for the boxwood hedges at Colonial Williamsburg, or for any knot garden.

  54. I like many of the flowers listed such as hyacinth, coneflower, lambs ears, and geraniums. I like most sweet blooming flowers/bulbs. I appreciate anyone who makes an effort to beautify their surroundings or home. It adds something versus a blank slate. I love flowers and although I can’t say I dislike any, some may not draw my attention and I just would not think of planting or buying them. I tend to avoid odd looking unusual flowers of which there are many and many people who love them. As someone already posted, “to each his own.”

  55. Gene says:

    Forsythia, tulips, petunias, impatiens, marigolds, geraniums, lilacs, cedars, roses, Japanese maples, yews – are all plants i’ve disdained, and yet have planted ‘em all, recently. i try to revisit the “hate” – figure why i dislike, and then “make it work”. i still don’t love planting petunias and marigolds, but trying to find solutions – like a challenge. Not a lot of success so far, but definitely more acceptance of plants i once abhored.

  56. Carol says:

    I’m open to trying any plant that isn’t listed on the invasive species list for my state. I’ve learned that it is all about context and location and in the right place, even a hated/despised/disliked plant has merit. Though, it is hard to like the pink Knockout Roses that everyone has, and Stella D’Oro who is the tramp of the daylilies showing up in every mall and gas station planting, and boxwoods that smell like cat pee…

  57. marcia says:

    Love this topic! I’ll throw in star jasmine (aka confederate jasmine). Its everywhere! ground cover, trained up in ugly board fences. Customers always ask if it will attract bees. Hope to shout it will! Train your darling children to leave the bees alone.
    I forgot to add that I hate shrubs that are shaped into boxes or cylinders in front of houses and junipers of any kind.
    Here in Ca we get geranium bud worm which will take care of stinky petunia flowers and flowers on the geraniums about the 4th of July. Yes, and our snails (imported by a crazy Frenchman) will wipe out marigolds and hostas overnight.

  58. jess says:

    White calla (Zantedeschia aethiopicum) is a real bane; I seem to pull up 200 seedlings every time I go outside. The neighbour’s place is full of it – she just moved up here (Bay of Islands, NZ) after losing her home in the Christchurch earthquake, so to her they’re a cherished exotic.
    While I don’t hate it, I’m really sorry that I planted Puya chilensis . It’s not known as the ‘Rottweiler of the plant’ world for nothing.

  59. WBDB says:

    How many like Me are scared to say that We love some of the specimens named in these posts?

    The plants that come to mind that I hate right now are Algerian Ivy, unkillable(?) without nuclear weapons and a prime Rat and spider habitat. Also, Society Garlic, both variegated or plain are WAY overused by HOA and municipal landscapers here in SoCal, they stink, literally! You pull up to a red light at an intersection, windows open on a beautiful day, and THAT SMELL infiltrates your car (and perhaps your inner being), and you look over to see that the last quarter mile of center median is dense-planted with Society Garlic, yuck! You want to roll up the windows and turn on the AC, but the damage is done. Why would anyone want to fill a bed with this near their house?

  60. Daylilies, hostas, roses. That’s CLICHE. And pointless for wildlife. And boring 90% of the time. And EVERYONE uses them because they’re easy and cheap and for sale everywhere. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

    Can I do a guest post on why I hate Daylilies, hostas, and roses? Or would it be too ranty, because you know I’d go NuTz all up in it.

  61. Chris says:

    My stomach churns when I see Vinca planted as a ground cover – planted a few myself sveral years ago and quickly realized what a mistake it was – still yanking it out.
    LOVE my Bridlewreath and Garland Spirea – 52 weeks a year.
    A friend almost lost an eye while bending over a clump of Siberian Iris a few years ago and now it’s her number one most hated plant. Lucky for me – I was able to transplant it into my own garden.

  62. Deborah B says:

    Boy, popular topic! I think we all hate invasive plants that are such a pain in the garden and a threat in the wild, and also overused plants used by (other) homeowners and landscapers. The plants I hate just because I think they’re ugly include some of those mentioned by others like petunias, those stinky orange marigolds, red barberry and yes, I hate the common agave that’s hardy here in the north and has all those little hairs coming out of the spikes. Ick.

  63. Gail says:

    I refuse to plant arbor vitea. There are hundreds of yards where this has been deer browsed or had winter die back and the homeowners leave it alone. Also potentilla and most spiraea. I agree with the red barberry and chartreuse spiraea at the McMansion neighborhoods. Stella D’oro is also a no no. But I have to disagree with some the the plants. I am lucky to have a Japanese Maple survive all these years. I overwinter my society garlic in pots. For us northern climate Gardeners some of these warmer climate plants are a real treat. I love my roses, hostas and all sorts of lilies as they do well in my soil. But I have a lot of natives as well.

  64. sara says:

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