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Customer calls out big-box garden centers for selling problematic products to unsuspecting customers: 'In what world is this OK?'

"Big-box stores take advantage of people's lack of knowledge."

"Big-box stores take advantage of people's lack of knowledge."

Photo Credit: TikTok

Big-box garden centers are under fire after one TikToker recorded their complicity in spreading invasive plants.

Grant Minkhorst (@gardeninggrant) pleaded with the offenders to "PLEASE STOP SELLING INVASIVE PLANTS" in the caption of his video at an unnamed store.

@gardeninggrant Big Box Garden Centres: PLEASE STOP SELLING INVASIVE PLANTS. Many jurisdictions have some laws that prohibit the sale of invasive plants. But clearly we need more of these laws. And likely also need a wider definition of what's invasive. There is lots of research on this. It's not complicated. I have seen the damage with my own eyes as invasive plants take over woodland areas. I have made the commitment to never plant invasives and make 70% of my garden native plants. Let's do better, because these big corporations won't. #gardencenter #gardencentre #invasiveplants #ajuga #burningbush #buylocal #plantnative ♬ original sound - GardeningGrant

"In what world is this OK?" Minkhorst asked rhetorically while showing a dwarf burning bush, which is native to Asia and gets its name from its leaves that turn bright red in the fall. However, there is nothing miniature about the compact version of Euonymus alatus, as it can still grow up to 10 feet tall.

The Toronto-based gardener also shows burgundy glow, a type of bugleweed originally from Europe and Asia. It's also a member of the mint family, notorious for its aggressive growth.

The Canadian Coalition for Invasive Plant Regulation lists both plants as invasive since they are difficult and expensive to remove, don't provide any shelter or sustenance to wildlife, and take valuable resources from native species.

"This is why we need to have laws on this," Minkhorst added. "People don't know that what they're buying is invasive or will take over their entire garden." 

There are plenty of examples on social media of a homeowner accidentally introducing a non-native species to their yard and suffering the consequences. 

Although it can be a painstaking process to eliminate unwanted plants, it's a worthwhile task to replace them with native plants. Some gardeners have shared their success stories online, transforming what was once a mess into a beautiful haven for pollinators and other wildlife. 

Minkhorst, who mentioned in the caption his commitment to have at least 70% of his garden be native, admitted in the video that he had unknowingly purchased invasive species in the past.

"Big-box stores take advantage of people's lack of knowledge, like they did with me when I started out, not knowing what they're getting into," he said. 

Case in point: Several people in the comments section expressed their love for their burning bush, while others questioned how it could be invasive. 

"The seeds get carried and they sprout in wild areas where they compete with native species for room and resources," one user pointed out.

"I knew it was going to be burning bush!" someone else wrote. "I just saw some at my Home Depot yesterday and was clutching my tiny pearls." 

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