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Acanthus - be warned!

lydiaannlydiaann Posts: 288
When we moved into our house 8 years ago, I had new borders cut.  In one, which I call my 'ornamental' bed, I planted an acanthus.  BIG mistake...it did not fit with the rest of the planting.  So, 3 years ago, I thought "no worries, mistakes like this happen all the time, let's get rid of it" (as you do).  Today, once again, I am trying to get rid of it.  This time, I have gone 2 full spade-lengths down...and STILL cannot find the end of the roots and they will not pull up either.  I think I am doomed to dig towards Australia to my life's end (and I am already 75:| ).  So, if anyone in Australia has an acanthus that they haven't planted, can you please pull from your end!!  And does anyone have any ideas on how to get rid of it once and for all (bearing in mind it is hemmed in by foxgloves, hollyhocks and a rather desperate-looking cornus alba).  I do think these plants and seed packets should come with a warning that once planted, it's yours for life.
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  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 15,862
    PAINT THE LEAVES WITH GLYPHOSATE GEL.
    You don't stop doing new things because you get old, you get old because you stop doing new things. <3
  • lydiaannlydiaann Posts: 288
    Just cut all the leaves off so I could get to the roots; can I paint the cut ends of the roots if I'm very careful?
  • RubytooRubytoo On the sofa, Southerly aspect.Posts: 1,287
    edited May 2019
    Love your sense of humour lydiaann :D
    You need it with this plant I think. We also have never ending Acanthus.
    I am also trying to eradicate it now,  we have a small back garden it is fond of.

    I keep digging and pulling out the now much smaller leaves when I see it hoping it will eventually weaken and completely disappear.

    I can only suggest you go the weed killer route if you want to make sure.
    I don't know if you can still get it, there used to be a stick waxy version you dabbed or rubbed on. Sorry no idea what name or brand it was.
    Or a spray, but place a bag over the plant /leaves so you can hopefully not damage other plants , if you do  not want to dig the border up.
    You need a weed killer that is inactive in contact with soil, and only affects the plant. It will say on the label,

    Or are they little bits all over the place?
    Let the bits grow to a decent size so you can give it a good dose so it has a better chance of killing the roots too.

    I am going to keep the dig and pull for another year, but seriously considering a killer  now.
    I do not want to spend my last years digging this stuff out.

    Edit: Sorry I went away and came back and didn't see fidget and you had posted.
    Can't answer your updated question.


  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 6,096
    Glyphsate  needs to go on growing leaves so it gets taken down to the roots, so you'd need to wait until it's started growing back (which probably won't be all that long!)
  • Papi JoPapi Jo Brittany, France Posts: 3,449
    PAINT THE LEAVES WITH GLYPHOSATE GEL.
    ... and poison the Australians?
    You are invited to a virtual visit of my garden (in English or in French).
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 19,901
    And there me waiting for mine to flower, third year from seeds!  Will I be sorry. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • BenDoverBenDover Posts: 478
    "Everyone needs to accept responsibility for their actions in life - research everything to the best of your ability before you indulge or accept the consequences seems to be the way to go. That includes what you plant in your garden unfortunately."

    True, but it would help if those selling plants were consistent with their plant information.  For example, simply look up one plant on several plant websites and it will have different information for height and width.  Also, plant information on the label never really informs if the plant is likely to be invasive or difficult to control.  Dare say the vast majority of the buying public are not plant experts, so it would be helpful if there was some sort of standardisation in plant labelling so people could make informed decisions and choices to avoid mistakes.
  • MarranMarran Posts: 166
    I planted one earlier this year (ex 3" pot).    Each time I look at it I now wonder "should I rip it out while I've got a chance?" ...... Some people can't grow them ...other's can't get rid ....   I'm err'ing on the "get it out" .. but, I haven't yet :D
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 6,096
    Tim Burr said:
    "Everyone needs to accept responsibility for their actions in life - research everything to the best of your ability before you indulge or accept the consequences seems to be the way to go. That includes what you plant in your garden unfortunately."

    True, but it would help if those selling plants were consistent with their plant information.  For example, simply look up one plant on several plant websites and it will have different information for height and width.  Also, plant information on the label never really informs if the plant is likely to be invasive or difficult to control.  Dare say the vast majority of the buying public are not plant experts, so it would be helpful if there was some sort of standardisation in plant labelling so people could make informed decisions and choices to avoid mistakes.
    The thing is, the same plant can grow to different heights and widths depending on soil and climate conditions. For example, for me Verbena bonariensis grows to 3 feet tall at most, and very "see-through".  Last year I saw some in Regent's Park that were easily 6 feet or more and much bulkier than mine ever are.
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 5,655
    I have learnt that plant height and spacing can only be a guide and that in my conditions some things get much taller and wider, whilst other things still have not reached, and probably never will reach, the desired size. The latest example for me is Salvia Nemorosa Caradonna, cited generally as 50Hx30W. Year two, is 90Hx40W, dense, blocky, dominating and obscuring nearby plants. Tithonia last year grew to nearly 3m high, incredibly invasive and literally sucked the life out of some shrubs, so much so that they died. I keep pulling up Tithonia seedlings, they are a menace! Heleniums are looking sparse and lonely at recommended planting distances, haven’t really bulked up at all. 

    Sometimes, no matter how much you research a plant’s suitability and habits, they do unexpected things. However, I will make sure I never plant Acanthus, so many thanks for the warning, Lydiaann!
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