Most of us have plants in our gardens that are not native to Ireland and help us to create beautiful gardens to enjoy. However if they escape into the wild, some of them may become invasive, harming our wildlife and environment, the economy, and even the way we live.

Once established, invasive plants are costly to control and the damage they cause can be irreversible.

Help Protect the Environment

You can help to protect the environment by following the Be Plant Wise 3 simple tips:

Know what you grow

Know what you grow

Choose the right plants for your garden, pond, aquarium and water feature. More information on some of the invasive aquatic plants to avoid and how to find alternatives.

Stop the spread

Stop the spread

Keep your plants in your garden – don’t plant them or allow them to grow or disperse into the wild. More information on the issue and what you can do to stop the spread.

Access information on how to

Compost with care

Dispose of your unwanted plants, roots, weeds and seeds responsibly making sure nothing gets into the wild. More information on composting aquatic plants.


Traders can keep up to date with plants banned from sale, report pests and plant diseases, and help customers to Be Plant Wise.

Aquatic plants

Ponds can create a wonderful feature to be enjoyed all year round and are often a haven for wildlife. However, if they are not cared for properly some pond plants can take over your pond. They can also become established in the wild, where they can smother our native plants, clog our waterways, exacerbate flooding and remove oxygen from the water, which can harm fish.

Pond owners, gardeners, aquarists, anglers and other water users can unknowingly assist the spread of aquatic plants into our countryside. These plants can rapidly become major environmental problems with expensive associated costs.

Whether you are a pond owner or a retailer of aquatic plants, by following the three simple steps above you can become Plant Wise and help to reduce the risks of invasive aquatic plants being released into our environment.

The following resources offer advice for gardeners and pond owners.

These pages contain the detailed information you need to Be Plant Wise:

  • UK Campaign video: Watch the Be Plant Wise video presented by Charlie Dimmock.
  • Guidance for retailers: Access more information on how you can promote the Be Plant Wise Campaign
  • Guidance for gardeners/pond owners: Access more information on how you can look after your pond in a manner that will prevent invasive species getting into the environment.
  • Help identify what could be the next invader by warning of plants spreading in your garden before they escape. For more information see the BSBI’s Plant Alert!
  • Download the Be Plant Wise information leaflet and find out more about how you can help stop the spread of invasive plants.

View species profiles

View species profiles of some of the most invasive plants originally brought into Ireland for our gardens and ponds. Many of these species have spread naturally to the wild from where they were planted. Sometimes their presence in the wild is due to accidental spread or dumping. Report sightings of invasive species:
Click on image to access species profile information.

Giant Hogweed
Giant Hogweed
Himalayan Balsam
Himalayan Balsam
Nuttall's Waterweed
Nuttall’s Waterweed
Parrot's feather
Parrot’s Feather
Water primrose
Water Primrose
Curly Waterweed
Curly Waterweed
American Skunk Cabbage
American Skunk Cabbage
Giant Chilean Rhubarb
Giant Chilean Rhubarb
New Zealand pigmyweed
Japanese knotweed