Q: I’ve heard that purple loosestrife is trouble. Should I get rid of mine? — R. E. Gayner, Bend, Ore.
A: You probably should. Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) and L. virgatum hybrids are aggressive introduced “planta non grata” that have made themselves too comfortable along rivers, ponds, and wetlands in the cooler parts of the United States. Why grow a potentially pestiferous plant when there are so many other wonderful, well-behaved plants? Try American natives like checker-mallow (Sidalcea malviflora) or prairie gayfeather (Liatris spicata ‘Kobold’) if you like lovely deep-rose-to-pink summer flower spikes.