Problem Plants and Better Alternatives

Problem Plants in Our Area, with Tried and True Natives You Can Use Instead 

What makes a plant a problem? Some popular, even beloved, plants in Northern Virginia are not as benign as they may appear, like honeysuckle and the Norway Maple tree. Because of their widespread use or their rampant growth habits, they can crowd out other, more beneficial plants. Some have become invasive, spreading to roadsides, streams, fields, and forests where they displace native habitat.

Listed below are selected plants that have been categorized as problematic by Arlington County, Alexandria City, and the state of Virginia. The fact sheet for each of these plants describes the problems and suggests native alternatives that have similar characteristics while providing benefits for wildlife.


 Ground Covers





More resources for Mid-Atlantic gardeners:

Learn More about Problem Plants

Best Bets: Plants for Particular Uses

Making Your Yard Sustainable

Tried and True Native Plants for the Mid-Atlantic

Quick Guide for Gardeners in Northern Virginia