ASK CARIANNE – Answers to questions about growing native plants in your landscape!

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Dear Carianne: 

I don’t have much space for gardening, are there native plants that do well in hanging baskets or pots?

Thank you, Laura

 Dear Laura,

Absolutely – native plants can look really great in hanging baskets! This spring I have been trying out growing native annuals this way – here is a combination arrangement with Mexican poppies (Eschscholzia californica subsp. mexicana) and lupine (Lupinus sp.). I added silver ponysfoot (Dichondra argentea) to the pot, as I just learned that this vining perennial, commonly found at garden centers, is a Chihuahuan Desert native that sneaks its way into southeastern Arizona. I was at a friend’s house this weekend, and she had desert bluebells (Phacelia campanularia, a near-native from California) hanging in a pot. It was really fun to have this beautiful wildflower up at eye-level.

Native perennials can do well in hanging pots, too. I like to choose species that have a bit of a vining or trailing habit, like snapdragon vine (Maurandya antirrhinflora), yerba mansa (Anemposis californica), or Mexican primrose (Oeonothera speciosa). Lifting pots off the ground can help to protect them from being eaten by ground squirrels and rabbits, while making them even more accessible to other wildlife such as hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees.

Hanging native plants is a great way to add capacity to your planting area, and if you are going to move, you can easily take them with you! You can also hang pots on sturdy tree branches. Be sure to match the sun/shade exposure and watering needs of the plants to your space. Plants in pots often need water more frequently than those in the ground – a clay olla can be helpful here. Get creative and let me know what you come up with!

Cheers,

Carianne Sienna Funicelli Campbell

www.strategichabitats.com

photo courtesy of Carianne Campbell