Be sure to do your homework before planting this, as although there are more than 1,000 bamboo species, there are two main categories of bamboo: clumping and spreading. Clumping bamboos spread slowly and are fairly easy to contain, and make a great screen or accent in the garden.

But many popular kinds of bamboo are of the running or spreading variety, which easily escape their allotted space to become a nightmare.

The aggressive roots quickly take over landscapes and natural areas—even crossing beneath pavements and under walls. Apparently, it is one of the fastest growing plants in the world.

Bamboo is actually classed as a grass with a hollow stem. Now here’s a surprising fact – all members of the same species will flower at the same time, no matter where they are on the planet. They say it is an evolutionary ‘alarm clock’ because the plant will flower regardless of the environment it lives in.

The bamboo plant is widely used for making food to furniture to floors, and is a big food source for many animals, the obvious one being the panda. Some animals even get drunk from the fermented bamboo sap (and they behave in much the same way as humans do when drunk!).


Having watched Wimbledon recently, I saw again the ivy covered walls that at first glance look like they are covered in artificial grass! As beautiful and refined as it appears on the walls there or on some ancient building, if not consistently maintained, ivy can easily escape its bounds, and can even destroy walls. Untrimmed ivy will climb a tree to the top where it damages the tree itself and shades out vegetation on the ground below, and cuttings left on the ground can quickly grow roots to become new plants. It needs trimming before it goes to seed, and allow trimmings to completely dry in the sun (preferably not in contact with soil) before disposing or composting.


A riot of colour it may be, but it is on the list of the top 100 invasive species in the world. Looks lovely with its tiny red, orange and yellow flowers that keep going and going, but the plant itself will need to be pruned severely each year to stop it from taking over your garden. Another downside to me is the smell, but it will retain its green leaves all year.

Morning Glory

This has lovely large blue funnel shaped flowers that open in the morning and close in the afternoon. They will bring old-fashioned charm and a quaint cottagey feeling to your garden. However, if you don’t have time to take care of this aggressively seeding plant, you might want to think twice about introducing them into your garden, as they can get out of hand quickly. But if you have a space where they can run wild over a fence or pergola, they will quickly cover it.


There are so many varieties to pick from, it’s hard to resist this popular, easy to grow herb. However, they have aggressive, spreading roots that quickly cover large spaces. To keep mint in bounds, plant it in a container elevated from the ground, as the roots will try and escape through the drainage hole in the pot!

There is absolutely no reason not to plant any of these, and none are banned because of their behaviour - but just remember, forewarned is forearmed!


Marilyn writes regularly for The Portugal News, and has lived in the Algarve for some years. A dog-lover, she has lived in Ireland, UK, Bermuda and the Isle of Man. 

Marilyn Sheridan