Alternatives to Invasives

Barberry, bittersweet and burning bush are three popular plants that can be problematic (as in aggressive or invasive) in many areas. Here are some alternative plants that achieve the same effects.
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Barberry, bittersweet and burning bush are three popular plants that can be problematic (as in aggressive or invasive) in many areas. Here are some alternative plants that achieve the same effects.

Virginia sweetspire (Itea virginica)

Virginia sweetspire (Itea virginica) has vivid fall foliage and a compact habit, making it a great alternative to the invasive burning bush (Euonymus alata).

Invasive species: Burning bush, winged euonymus (Euonymus alatus)

Grown for: Vivid fall color

Alternatives:

Red chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia): red-purple fall color

Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia): golden fall color

Virginia sweetspire (Itea virginica): rich red fall color

Witherod (Viburnum nudum): red to purplish fall color

Invasive species: Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii)

Grown for: Fall color, fruit that attracts birds, hedge material

Alternatives:

Common winterberry (Ilex verticillata): dwarf forms are similar to barberry; bright red winter fruits

Virginia sweetspire (Itea virginica; shown): rich red fall color

Baybery (Myrica pensylvanica): gray fruits attract birds

Lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium): fruits and rusty fall color

American cranberry bush (Viburnum opulus var. americanum, syn. V. trilobum): yellow to reddish purple fall color, fruits for birds

More alternatives for barberry

Invasive species: Asiatic bittersweet, Oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus)

Grown for: Interesting fruit, flowers and fall color, vining habit

Alternatives:

American bittersweet (Celastrus scandens): vine with same fruit as Asiatic

Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia): vine with great fall color

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