This is where I feel torn. I have my environmental morals and ethics, and I would love to buy in only native species – never buy another Barberry, flat of Vinca, or Burning Bush again! Then, there is the balance of buying what people want. Supply and demand are at the heart of every business.
If contractors, homeowners, and landscape designers desire these plants, I need to supply them with these plants. Sure, our salespeople often advise against these plants. However, commonly we are given a plan that needs to be fulfilled. Or, the plants have already been approved by the HOA… The customer is going to use those plants regardless, rather than going through the headache of getting a new plant approved. Designers, contractors, salespeople, and lawmakers can to adjust their mindset and their go-to plants. Change is OK; don’t be afraid to update your tools!
At Johnson’s, we actively decrease our quantities of these species with each passing season, and we’re seeing declining trends (thankfully!). For example, we proudly grow Wisconsin’s native Dwarf Bushhoneysuckle (Diervilla lonicera). In terms of these types of plants, the varieties that we grow/sell are allowed per Wisconsin’s Invasive Species Rule, Chapter NR 40. That’s not to say they don’t have a negative ecological impact and theoretically should also be prohibited. I look forward to the day when we can remove Barberry, Norway Maple, Vinca, and Callery Pear from our ‘need to buy’ list. Until then, check the DNR resource, stay away from using or requesting prohibited/restricted plants, and consider contacting our state representatives to update the Prohibited Plant List.