Lazy Container Gardening: Using Native Plants
There are different reasons why you, as a gardener, prefer container gardening instead of going out and planting in a garden. One reason is that you may not have the ground, perhaps you only have a patio or deck. Another reason could be health issues; maybe you have arthritis, a bad knee, or high blood pressure. Or you just, simply enjoy container gardening.
Whatever your reason, you can garden easier using plants native to your area. Depending on your location and the Hardiness zone, there are different native plants to each region–due to the conditions, of course. Here are some plants native to the south for container gardening and how to care for them.
Purple coneflower looks similar to a daisy, but the stock is studier, and the flower petals are pink-purple with orange-brown centers. It can grow to a height of 2-5 feet, likes full to partial sunlight, likes to be on the dry side and attracts hummingbirds and butterflies. Its hardiness is in zones 3-9 and is drought-tolerant.
The first thing you do is to have on hand a 2-3 gallon container with drainage holes and pour 2-3 inches of crushed gravel in the bottom. Add fast-draining potting soil until its half-full and tamp down the dirt. Pick up your coneflower and gently spread the roots outward and place in the center of the container. Make sure the root ball is 11/2 to 2 inches below the top of the container, you may have to add or take out soil.
Then add soil slowly to the container until the soil is level with the root ball, don’t plant it deeper than it had been planted previously. Place it in direct sun and water two-three times allowing it to drain, don’t let the soil become soggy. After that, only water when the soil is dry about an inch down, don’t splash the leaves, water only in the morning and add water at the plant’s base.
Even though this is a bush, you can plant it in an extra-large container. It likes full sunlight and can grow to a height of 6-12 feet and 5-8 feet wide. It’s bright red and has small black berries which are edible but bitter. It’s an evergreen and likes moist soil. It does have gorgeous red-orange flowers which are tubular that bloom from late spring until the first frost. It attracts assorted butterflies and birds.
The firebush should be planted in late spring or summer and needs to be away from the house by at least four feet. It needs to be in an area where an 8-12 foot shrub could be accommodated. The container doesn’t need any soil amendment since it grows in either alkaline and acid soil but will be a little happier if you add organic peat moss or some topsoil into the planting hole. It will grow in part or full shade or full sun of a south-facing wall. It does need to be protected from strong winds.
It can be pruned to the desired height in the spring which will encourage flowering. It needs to be watered regularly until it’s established with deep watering required every couple of weeks if no rain. Add mulch over the roots to prepare it for winter freeze.
Yarrow is a plant which has clusters of flower heads on top of each flower stem, and there are about 25 flowers in every cluster. It likes partial to full sunlight and grows from 1-3 feet in height and attracts bees. Its leaves can be used as a tea to help with stomach distress and break fevers.
You can grow yarrow in two ways, either from an established plant or seed. Yarrow will grow quickly, so seed is an excellent option. The seeds need light to germinate so put the largest container you have in a bright and warm spot. You can plant them in any standard potting soil with some slow-release fertilizer. One thing to remember is that yarrow is herbaceous, so it will die at the foliage line over the winter, only to grow again in the spring.
If you would like to know how to harvest yarrow, please read here.
Growing native plants in containers aren’t difficult to accomplish, add easy to maintain decorative plants around your home today!