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Moosa Creek Blog

Natives for Containers

Creekside Chat

 California native plants in containers? Yes! Many natives make beautiful potted displays.  Large pots are best, but smaller pots can be used for individual plants. If you have access to sandy loam soil that has good drainage, use only that for planting. If your soil is heavier, mix it with a cactus potting soil with gravel at the bottom. Natural soil has the soil microorganisms that native plants need.

For shady areas try a Bush Anemone with its large open-faced almost tropical white flowers.  Pair it with the pink spikes and rounded foliage of Island Alum Root and the trailing, minty-scented and medicinal Yerba Buena.  Golden Current  gives seasonal color (as well as edible fruit) as does Brown Twig Dogwood. Or tuck some Blue-Eyed Grass behind Canyon, Chalk or San Diego (Lady’s Fingers) Dudleyas in smaller containers.

Sunny areas inland where the temperatures can be steadily above 95F and cooler coastal areas have different planting criteria. For the coast, allow the beautiful blue blooms and shiny foliage of Anchor Bay Ceanothus spill over the edge of a large pot or have dramatic red tubular flowers as a hummingbird magnet with Hoary California Fuchsia.  Desert Mallow with its beautiful orange blooms would look stunning in a bright blue pot.

To hide a large wall try a Burgundy or Pink Desert Willow in a large pot with Red Buckwheat at the base. Grasses such as the large Deer Grass or Blue Grama Grass with its interesting seed heads work well as fillers, along with the happy purple, long-lasting flowers of Cape Sebastian Seaside Daisy, or any of the Erigerons.

Soaking your containers until the water runs out, and then allowing them to go dry to recharge the oxygen in the soil is the best method of watering most natives. The constant moisture from a drip system may drown the roots.

As spring comes to San Diego, plant up some colorful pots of native plants and enjoy the beauty.

Diane and Miranda Kennedy operate Finch Frolic Garden Permaculture, at www.vegetariat.com.  

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