Invasion of Spanish Bluebells

Asked April 14, 2013, 3:14 PM EDT

My flowerbeds have been taken over by a bulb plant that I have identified as Hyacinthoides Hispanica (Spanish Bluebell). Over the past 5 years, as they started to become a nuisance, I would dig them up, bulb and all and throw them away. It was a lot of work, but I thought if I did this every year, they'd stop coming up. But I realized this year that the more I dig them up, the more they come back, and they're really taking over. Yesterday, by searching the internet, I finally was able to identify them and learned to my horror that they are aggressive and almost impossible to get rid of because they spread by seed as well as very deep bulbs that you never really get all of. I plan to spray them with something deadly. I'm thinking of a 50-50 solution of Formula 409 household cleaner and water, or vinegar, something that will kill the whole plant. Things like Roundup won't work because the leaves spread out flat all over the ground. I need a wide spray that will cover all the leaves. To keep my other plants out of the line of fire, I will just cut off the bluebells from around them. Can you suggest a concoction that I can make or a commercial product that I can use? I try to be an organic gardener, but this time I will use whatever works. Thank you in advance, June, North Portland resident, Email:

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1 Response

Hello and thanks for your question. Many people love this species in their gardens, but others find it quite a nuisance. I would not recommend the 50-50 solution you suggest because it is not formulated nor approved for use as an herbicide. You are correct in that the species seems to be resistant to herbicides. The Royal Horticulture Society in England has recognized the issue and has a fact sheet suggesting the best ways to manage the species manually. Although this is more work than you have in mind, it is a better practice and will most likely provide some results over time. I hope this helps. Linda