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PlantRight

Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have a question about PlantRight™ or invasive plants? Read through our Frequently Asked Questions and click on them to find the answers you're looking for! For remaining questions, please contact us here.

  1. What is PlantRight?
  2. What is Cal-HIP?
  3. Who manages Cal-HIP?
  4. Is this a voluntary program?
  5. What is an invasive plant?
  6. Are all non-native plants bad?
  7. Why are invasive plants a problem?
  8. How do invasive plants get into natural areas?
  9. Are there alternatives to invasive species?
  10. How was PlantRight's list of invasive plants created?
  11. Does PlantRight's list ever change?
  12. Is PlantRight adding new or emerging invasive plants to its list?
  13. How is PlantRight’s list different from the California Invasive Plant Council (Cal-IPC) list?
  14. What if PlantRight’s list doesn’t include ornamental plants that are invasive in my region?
  15. What if I have an invasive plant already growing in my yard?
  16. There's an invasive plant I expected to see as part of the PlantRight program. Where can I find out more about it?
  17. Who should get involved in PlantRight?

  1. What is PlantRight?
    PlantRight is a voluntary campaign to help California's horticultural industry address the costly problem of invasive garden plants in the trade -- in ways that are good for business and the environment. PlantRight provides free, science-based training and resources about invasive garden plant issues and opportunities. PlantRight is guided by a steering committee called California Horticultural Invasives Prevention (Cal-HIP).
  2. What is Cal-HIP?
    Cal-HIP stands for California Horticultural Invasives Prevention, the multi-stakeholder group that guides the PlantRight campaign. Learn more about the Cal-HIP steering committee here.
  3. Who manages Cal-HIP?
    Cal-HIP relies on the time, energy, and expertise of all the steering committee members. Staff from the San Francisco-based non-profit group Sustainable Conservation, facilitates and manages the group.
  4. Is this a voluntary program?
    Absolutely. Cal-HIP is a collaborative, voluntary group that involves the horticultural industry in every decision. Recommendations are based on scientific information, and Cal-HIP has a transparent and inclusive process for addressing this important issue. We invite everyone to join us in the dialogue about providing invasive garden plant solutions.
  5. What is an invasive plant?
    The term "invasive plant" describes an introduced species that out-competes native plants and animals for space and resources - and is often difficult to remove or control. Learn more about what invasive plants are and their effects.
  6. Are all non-native plants bad?
    No! There are countless beautiful non-native plants that are not invasive. In fact, most of the species we use in our gardens and landscaping are originally from other places, and you will find many of them in our lists of recommended alternatives to invasive plants. If you are interested in learning more about native plant options, please contact our partner organization, the California Native Plant Society.
  7. Why are invasive plants a problem?
    A few vigorous horticultural plants can escape from cultivation into open landscapes and cause a variety of ecological problems. They crowd out native plants, insects and animals, and can lead to flooding, fire and crop losses. Invasive species are a leading threat to biodiversity, second only to habitat destruction. Invasive plants are expensive, too - in California, more than $82 million goes to fighting invasive plants every year. Read more about the effect of invasive plants.
  8. How do invasive plants get into natural areas?
    California's wildlands are new territory for these plants, and they don't have the predators that normally limit their growth in their home environment. This allows them to proliferate, spread, and overtake natural habitat. Each invasive plant has its own strategy for growth and dispersal. Some have seeds that are spread by the wind, like pampas grass, whose seeds can be blown up to two miles away. Others have seeds that are carried by water or eaten by birds and animals that deposit them far from the parent plant. There are also species that reproduce vegetatively, like Vinca major that sprouts new shoots rhizomatically (including recently uprooted plants -- take care when disposing of these so they don't take root in a new location!).
  9. Are there alternatives to invasive species?
    Yes! There are many excellent plant species that can replace an invasive species in a garden or landscape. Learning about invasives is an invitation to be creative and promote new plants to customers. This website lists recommended alternatives to the invaders in your region that are beautiful, vigorous, and appropriate for the local climate.
  10. How was PlantRight's list of invasive plants created?
    PlantRight’s regionally specific list is the result of a collaborative and science-based effort that reflects the expertise of leading horticultural professionals, plant scientists, and government representatives in California. Several of these representatives sit on PlantRight’s Plant List Committee, whose members are listed here.
    We first created our list in 2006 by paring down the California Invasive Plant Council's (Cal-IPC) list to include only those invasive plants still used in California’s nursery trade. We then applied various criteria to decide whether to add the resulting plants to PlantRight’s list, including the plant’s geographic range, potential environmental impact, and financial significance to the nursery trade. The resulting list of plants represents the garden invasives whose removal from nursery inventories could be offset by readily available alternatives and whose negative impacts could be scientifically substantiated.
  11. Does PlantRight's list ever change?
    Yes. Starting in 2014, PlantRight began updating its list on an annual basis, taking an increasingly science-based and preventative approach. By employing our Plant Risk Evaluation tool, for instance, we can determine the invasive risk of a plant – whether or not it is a well-established problem in California, on its way to becoming so, or not a concern.

    PlantRight's list changes when new invasive plants are identified through research or field experience, and when existing invasive plants are phased out of the horticultural trade.

  12. Is PlantRight adding new or emerging invasive plants to its list?
    Yes. By utilizing the Plant Risk Evaluation (PRE) tool, developed with plant scientists at University of Washington and University of California at Davis,we can identify plants that are at high-risk of becoming invasive and are considered new or “emerging” invasives. Emerging invasives are those beginning to invade a small, yet growing number of geographic regions of the state. By identifying emerging invasives we are able to prevent further spread of these problem plants, saving time, money and resources (and reputations!) that would otherwise be spent on eradication efforts that are less efficient, more costly and often more toxic.
  13. How is PlantRight’s list different from the California Invasive Plant Council (Cal-IPC) list?
    The Cal-IPC list includes all types of invasive plants that are found in our state, while PlantRight’s list only represents those that are still planted as ornamentals for use in gardens and landscaping.
  14. What if PlantRight’s list doesn’t include ornamental plants that are invasive in my region?
    PlantRight’s list was created as a starting point for effectively engaging California’s nursery industry on the issue of invasive plants. As a result, it does not encompass all horticultural invasive plants, in all parts of the state. If you know of a plant that is invasive in your region and it is not listed by PlantRight, we encourage your store to sell a non-invasive alternative instead that is more appropriate for your local climate.
  15. What if I have an invasive plant already growing in my yard?
    We encourage you to remove the invasive plant, especially if you are near natural areas. It is easy to find beautiful, non-invasive alternative plants at your local garden center or get some ideas here. To learn more about how to remove problem plants, the California Invasive Plant Council has information on removal techniques and conducts wildland weed workshops. We'd love to hear about your invasive plant removal and replacement project -- please send photos or comments so we can encourage others to do the same!
  16. There's an invasive plant I expected to see as part of the PlantRight program. Where can I find out more about it?
    The horticultural plants identified by PlantRight were carefully analyzed using objective, scientific criteria, including information on existing invasions and their effects on wildland areas. Some invasive species have unanswered questions - and before making recommendations about these plants, we are working with researchers and scientists to get solid information that can help guide our actions. See the list of plants undergoing research.
  17. Who should get involved in PlantRight?
    Retailers, growers, propagators, landscape professionals and all home gardeners. Gardeners can have gorgeous, happy gardens AND protect the environment by Planting Right. Landscaping professionals, retail nurseries, and growers can boost business with eco-friendly practices and by "partnering" with PlantRight. Resource managers and weed area workers can protect their lands by becoming PlantRight Ambassadors and sharing the PlantRight program with their community. Everyone plays a role in protecting California's local economies and open spaces from invasive garden plants!