GARDENING: Why the EU is coming for your Hottentot figs

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DO you want the EU meddling in what you plant in your garden?

New rules, to be voted on next month, could prevent the import, transportation or ownership of a banned plant, which aims to eliminate invasive non-native species that could cause problems in the wild.

Take Japanese knotweed – introduced as a horticultural talking point by the Victorians, but now Public Enemy Number One.

However, there are fears that the list could include popular garden cultivars, such as the Virginia creeper, Hottentot fig, several types of rhododendron and cotoneasters.

The Royal Horticultural Society has expressed its concerns about the proposed EU regulation during a Commons Environment Audit Committee meeting on invasive non-native species.

The charity believes regional climate and environmental conditions must be taken into account so ornamental plants, which pose no threat in the UK, are not banned because they are considered a problem in other EU countries.

According to the European Commission, alien species are one of the major causes of biodiversity loss and species extinction, with an estimated cost of £10billion a year.

The original cap of 50 species was rejected, leaving it unclear how many will be subject to the ban.