Common garden escapees

Many invasive plant species have escaped from gardens into the bush. You can identify many of these weeds and read different weed species' profiles on the NSW Weed Wise site.

Other species are not included in the weed profiles because they are not yet widely established as weeds on the south coast. These additional species have:

  • shown they are able to become established on the south coast without human assistance (naturalise), but are not yet widespread
  • become serious weeds in other areas with similar climate.

Some of the plants listed on this page are Australian natives. Native plants can become environmental weeds if they are planted outside the area where they occur naturally, or, in some cases, even within their natural range. Native plants can be more dangerous to native vegetation than some exotic species, because they are already adapted to Australia's poor soils and to reproducing after fire.

Species not to plant

If the species listed below are already in your garden, think about replacing them with something less likely to spread.

Plants with seeds that are spread by birds should be avoided in gardens, even if the garden is not close to native vegetation. Birds can fly long distances, so they can easily transport seed from built-up areas into the bush.

Other types of potentially weedy garden plants can be safely grown by gardeners who do not live close to native vegetation or waterways, as long as they follow some simple rules, like not dumping garden waste, and not passing on plants to friends who do live close to the bush.


  • Golden wattle (Acacia saligna)
  • Sycamore maple (Acer pseudoplatanus)
  • Alders (Alnus species)
  • Desert ash (Fraxinus angustifolia)
  • Silky oak (Grevillea robusta)
  • Norfolk Island hibiscus (Lagunaria patersonii)
  • Sweet pittosporum (Pittosporum undulatum)
  • White poplar (Populus alba, Populus alba bark)
  • Lombardy poplar (Populus nigra cv. Italica)
  • Pepper tree (Schinus areira)
  • English elm (Ulmus procera).


  • Coast wattle (Acacia sophorae)
  • Buddleia, butterfly bush (Buddleja species)
  • Broom (Cytisus hybrids)
  • Dwarf broom (Cytisus racemosus nana)
  • Coastal teatree (Leptospermum laevigatum)
  • Elderberry (Sambucus nigra).

Herbaceous plants

  • Balsam, busy lizzie (Impatiens walleriana, Impatiens Sodenii, Impatiens Sodenii - 2)
  • Californian poppy (Eschscholzia californica)
  • Freesia (Freesia alba X leichtlinii)
  • Gazania (Gazania spp.).


  • Golden bamboo (Phyllostachys aurea)
  • Black bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra).

Alternatives to plant

We can help you

If you require any further information about common garden escapees, please contact our Invasive Species Team on: