Winning the war on weeds

with Brownie

IN THE last edition, the Sunshine Coast Council had a full page spot where they highlighted the importance of gardeners keeping an eagle eye out for weeds and invasive plants… many of which have been garden plants in the past, and some still are.

This is a great initiative from Council, and one I hope they become more proactive with, especially by continuing to provide information on weeds via similar contributions to this great local paper.

Gardeners will be familiar with some of the old landscape favourites – like asparagus fern, mother-in-laws tongue, Singapore daisy, impatiens, fishbone fern, African tulip tree, Sheena’s gold, umbrella tree and water lettuce – which have jumped the fence and threatened our environment, agricultural lands and waterways.

Umbrella tree
Mother-in-laws tongue
Singapore daisy

But there are so many more emerging threats that sometimes, as a thoughtful and responsible gardener, it’s hard to keep up and make the right plant choices.

And the broad brush strokes taken by most gardening TV shows and magazines, which try to cover the whole of Australia, can just muddy the waters.

Even the ABC’s Gardening Australia program is often criticised for talking up the benefits of a particular plant but just make a sweeping statement like “can become weedy, check with your local authority”.

How is the average viewer to know that the morning glory vine praised in Western Australia by one for their trusted gardening gurus is a rampant strangler in the rainforest verges on the Sunshine Coast.

By and large, the horticultural industry have been trying to do the right thing, and many plants are now not sold anymore or are sold with weed warnings.

The Nursery and Garden Industry Queensland have been instrumental in an industry initiative called Grow Me Instead.

Based on an interactive website – – each state is treated differently with specific information on good and bad plants.

The Queensland sub-page goes even further by dividing the state into sub-bioregions… so the information is super specific.

It’s worth a look to see what weeds are local problems and what non-weedy alternatives you could grow instead.

The other good tool for a responsible gardener is a good and reliable weed identification book.

My go-to book is ‘Weeds of the Sunshine Coast’ by Joan Heavy and Sonia MacDonald.

It’s a super resource that’s easy to look through and has large clear photos to help you identify that triffid taking over your garden.

If you’d like to pick up a copy, I know that Forest Heart Eco-Nursery in Coral Street, Maleny always have some on hand in their bookshop.

If you have an unusual plant of which you’re not sure if it is a goodie or a baddie, or if you need some advice on a plant problem, pest or disease, you can always drop me a line and send a photo and I’ll tell you as much as I can about what it is and what you need to do. Just email me via

Main image: Water lettuce