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Frustrated gardener

8 Plants Beginner Gardeners Should Avoid

Planting your first garden can be such a fun, rewarding experience. But it can also be frustrating and costly if you choose the wrong plants.

Here are a few varieties that experienced gardeners recommend avoiding–and why.


Who doesn’t love peonies? The big, showy blooms are lovely–but not for beginners. For one thing, growing a peony from scratch can take three years to produce flowers.

Even if you buy an established plant from a nursery, peonies take more care and skill than most beginners can handle.


What, no roses?! The classic garden plant actually takes a lot of work to maintain. They have to be expertly pruned, fed the correct fertilizers, and protected against a host of pests.

Plus, the bare root stock is often very costly for rare varieties.

Morning Glory

These pretty, popular vines will take over your life. They spread like wildfire–in fact, you’ll often see them covering the side of the road where seeds had a chance to establish and naturalize.

Regular deadheading can help reduce the risk of the seeds spreading, as well as aggressive pruning.

Asparagus Fern

The delicate, airy foliage of the asparagus fern makes it a popular choice for houseplants. But this plant–which is not a true fern, by the way–is actually very toxic for pets.

You should never plant it outdoors because it is considered an invasive weed.


A fresh sprig of mint is a lovely thing. An entire flowerbed choked with it is less lovely.

Mint is notorious for spreading with runners that can cause new plants to pop up in unexpected places. For best results, plant all varieties of mint in pots, not directly in the ground.


Cauliflower is a super popular veggie right now, with clever cooks turning it into everything from pizza crust to rice.

But this versatile vegetable is very difficult to grow and requires special techniques to get those perfect heads.


Also known as Persian buttercups, ranunculus is a gorgeous, multi-petaled flower that’s a popular pick for bridal bouquets.

Unfortunately, it’s rather hard to grow and requires a fair amount of knowledge about soil composition to successfully produce healthy plants.

Lily of the Valley

Not only are these delicate, heavenly scented flowers super toxic, but the plants are also aggressive and will spread if given the chance.

Grow lily of the valley in pots that cannot be reached by pets or children.

Summer Clayton

Summer Clayton has always loved getting her hands dirty. Ever since she was a kid playing in her grandparents’ garden, Summer wanted to learn everything she could about plants. Now she wants to help you grow a bigger, better, greener garden.

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