I didn't plant this

Like most (all?) gardeners I see "volunteer" plants pop up in my yard every year. I'm not talking about "weed" plants, but the unique and possibly worthwhile plants that appear out of nowhere.  A couple of years ago lemon balm appeared in my garden. Dogbane did too.

This year, I have this plant. I believe it's an Asclepias, but I'm not sure. I haven't really researched it yet.


There's something exciting about seeing a tiny plant emerge that you don't recognize, that somehow says to you "don't pull me -- I'm worth keeping!"

The problem is, they almost always come up in the wrong place. For me that usually means that the biggest volunteers pick the front of the bed, and the smaller ones go in the back. This one is in front.

I love the large leaves and architectural look. If it gets 7' (2m) tall, I probably won't love it so much, at least not in its current position.

I expect it -- or its offspring -- will be around in my garden for years though. If they didn't reseed easily, they wouldn't have shown up in the first place, right?

Do you have any volunteers in your garden that you're glad showed up?


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scottweberpdx  – (June 13, 2013 at 11:08 AM)  

Definitely Asclepias...although the ones I remember from the Midwest usually topped out around 4-5' (then again, that was in ditches...they may get bigger in richer garden soil). If you are able to, I'd leave it...they are beautiful...and so good for insects. Most of my volunteers (that aren't from things I've planted) are not welcome...Holly, Black Walnut, Phytolacca, Ailanthus, and, of course Oak seedlings...and endless barrage of Oak seedlings!

Salty Pumpkin Studio  – (June 13, 2013 at 11:09 AM)  

Nice post

I'm hopeful some wild mallow will show up some day. Years ago I gathered seeds to toss out, but alas, none sprouted.
I do tend the a cedar tree that began wild. It needs to be transplanted because its too close to the building.

sandy lawrence –   – (June 13, 2013 at 11:43 AM)  

I have a lot of volunteers and this year the Giant Coneflower appeared in the decomposed gravel, seed probably brought in by a bird. Really interesting leaves on that one and these are what tipped me off not to pull it up.

I love the mystery of volunteer plants. That's how I acquired the Scrambled Eggs Corydalis, purple Horsemint, and red Flax in the wildflower meadow.

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (June 13, 2013 at 12:03 PM)  

Yes! I have a cardoon that came out of nowhere. After I cut down the main stalk last year I found a baby growing from the base. It's now 5 ft tall and about to bloom.

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