Are Your House Plants Actually Weeds?

Plants add colour, texture, and a nice atmosphere to our inside spaces, but which of our houseplants can become weeds when introduced to our environment? The definition of a weed is a plant growing where it is not wanted or in competition of other plants. While many of our loved and prized houseplants are from tropical or foreign countries where they thrive in dense jungles and rainforests, once outside can cause chaos in Australian bushlands. Weeds can spoil the ecosystem and biodiversity in our bush, taking away resources from our habitats and native animals. 

Read on for some examples and how to reduce the risk of your plant pals becoming weeds.

One of the most recognisable houseplant staples Monstera deliciosa Fruit Salad Plant, and Syngonium species are big culprits due to being low maintenance and fast-growing climbersThese plants can easily take over canopies and bush, not only competing for soil nutrients but ultimately competing against other trees and groundcover which provide habitat and food sources for many native animals.

Another houseplant valued for its hardiness and low light tolerance is the Chlorophytum comosum Spider Plant. While these plants look great sending out hanging pups, these cause havoc in bushland due to its ability to spread easily throughout bushland and suffocate native plants once pups touch the ground and take root.

Other houseplants that can become weeds outdoors include Devil’s Ivy, Foxtail Fern, Philodendron species, Spineless Prickly Pear, and Rubber Plants. So, what should you do to prevent your houseplants from becoming weeds?

1. When choosing tropical and non-native plants for your garden at home, ensure to keep them enclosed within your garden by keeping them pruned if needed. 
2. When taking cuttings or pruning, ensure the offcuts are placed in a sealed bag before placing in the bin to prevent them spreading. Placing them directly on the compost pile can result in the cuttings rooting and growing.
3. Remove the plants flowers so there isn’t a chance of the seed spreading.
4. Prune roots and shoots to keep plants smaller.

Follow these tips to help protect our native bushland from introduced species.