In working on my botany project I keep coming across references to invasive species. There are lots of them, many escaped from cultivation.
I avoid planting these kinds of plants except in my vegetable garden. Vegetables aren’t known for their hardiness away from cultivation.
Except for garlic chives.
Years ago my father gave me a pot of garlic chives. It was a ten inch pot crammed full. I promptly planted it in a corner of my vegetable garden.
The chives did well. They grew lush and bloomed profusely in August. Butterflies, wasps, bees, bumblebees, beetles, spiders swarmed around the flower umbels.
I didn’t cut the seed heads. Mistake.
My garlic chive patch is now six feet by eight feet. I leave it as it is in a difficult area. Besides, the blooms are so lovely in August and the insects do love the flowers. And I cut the seed heads.
I missed a few. Garlic chives came up all over my garden. They came up outside my garden. This year they came up in the pasture.
At what point does a species become invasive?
My garlic chives haven’t reached it yet. I have given plants to people to plant in their gardens. Each person is warned to cut the seed heads. But, do they? Or have garlic chives spread from their gardens too?
Many invasive species hurt native areas. Autumn olive and Bradford pear displace native plants and aren’t as good forage as the natives.
Others have been here so long, like plantains and ox eye daisies, that they are part of the native flora now.
Would garlic chives fit into the problem category or the ignore it category? I’m thinking it would be in the latter. Why?
It is a good insect pollinator plant. It is relished by goats so deer would probably like it too as a natural tonic against worm infestations.
In all probability, garlic chives will never become invasive. It does seed freely. However the plants are not aggressive enough when in competition against other invasives such as the grasses.
Still, it makes a person think: What potential problems lurk in my garden?