You often see stories about people who have exotic pets that are discovered in unusual ways, like wandering neighborhoods, or down busy city streets. Not all exotic pets are illegal (and it depends on where you live) but there are still those who will keep animals illegally.

So what about plants?

You've probably heard about noxious weed. Having "illegal" plants might be too strong of a word, but did you know there are five different kinds of plants that are regulated in Montana?

Montana's Regulated Plants

Montana State University's Extension Program has great resources about plants in our state, particularly those listed as noxious weeds and those that are regulated. Here's what they have to say about regulated plants:

These regulated plants have the potential to have significant negative impacts. The plant may not be intentionally spread or sold other than as a contaminant in agricultural products. The state recommends research, education and prevention to minimize the spread of the regulated plant.

The phrase "intentionally spread" is interesting when I think about how I've gotten plants from my fellow gardeners. If we have a runner we put it in a pot or a plastic bag and hand it off to any fellow gardener looking to add variety to their collection. It's never occurred to me that those plants might be regulated. But there are five varieties that you're not supposed to spread:

  • Cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum)
  • Hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata)
  • Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia)
  • Brazilian waterweed (Egeria densa)
  • Parrot feather watermilfoil (Myriophyllum aquaticum or M. brasiliense)

I used to see Russian olive everywhere when I lived in Billings. I suppose that's probably why it's regulated.

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A Reminder About Noxious Weeds

Even if you know that noxious weeds are a threat to native plants in Montana, you may not realize which plants are considered noxious. Looking at the list, you might see a few you recognize. For example, I didn't know these plants were considered noxious weeds in Montana:

  • Tall (or meadow) buttercup
  • St. Johnswort
  • Common Tansy
  • Oxeye Daisy

If you are planning your garden and want to make sure you're planting responsibly, familiarize yourself with these plants to avoid and consider planting some native plants in your garden.

What Grows Well in a Montana Garden?

Montana gardeners and beginners alike, have so many options when it comes to growing a decent garden in our difficult climate.

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