Home Gardening Container Gardening with Native Plants: A Beginner’s Guide to Creating a Beautiful and Sustainable Garden

Container Gardening with Native Plants: A Beginner’s Guide to Creating a Beautiful and Sustainable Garden

by Gregory
5 minutes read

Container Gardening with Native Plants: A Beginner’s Guide


Container gardening with native plants is a great way to add beauty and biodiversity to your home, even if you have limited space. Native plants are those that are naturally found in your region, and they are adapted to the local climate and soil conditions. This makes them easier to grow and care for than non-native plants.

Benefits of Container Gardening with Native Plants

There are many benefits to container gardening with native plants, including:

  • Attracting pollinators: Native plants provide food and shelter for pollinators, such as bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.
  • Supporting wildlife: Native plants provide food and habitat for other wildlife, such as birds, squirrels, and rabbits.
  • Reducing water usage: Native plants are adapted to local rainfall patterns, so they don’t need to be watered as often as non-native plants.
  • Improving soil health: Native plants help to improve soil health by adding organic matter and nutrients to the soil.
  • Creating a sense of place: Native plants can help to create a sense of place by connecting you to the natural heritage of your region.

Choosing the Right Container

The first step in container gardening with native plants is to choose the right container. The size of the container will depend on the size of the plant you are growing. A good rule of thumb is to choose a container that is two to four times the size of the pot the plant came in. The container should also have drainage holes to prevent the roots from rotting.

Potting Soil and Fertilizer

The type of potting soil you use is also important. Native plants prefer well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. You can purchase a commercial potting mix that is specifically designed for native plants, or you can make your own by mixing together equal parts compost, peat moss, and perlite.

Native plants generally do not require a lot of fertilizer. However, you may want to fertilize them lightly once a month during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer.


Native plants are relatively drought-tolerant, but they still need to be watered regularly. The frequency of watering will depend on the type of plant, the size of the container, and the weather conditions. A good rule of thumb is to water the plants when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch.


Most native plants need full sun to partial shade. However, there are some native plants that can tolerate full shade. Be sure to research the specific needs of the plants you are growing before you place them in your container garden.

Attracting Pollinators

If you want to attract pollinators to your container garden, be sure to include a variety of native plants that bloom at different times of the year. Some good choices include:

  • Spring: Eastern redbud, columbine, blue star
  • Summer: Coral honeysuckle, coreopsis, copper iris
  • Fall: Turtlehead, little bluestem, oak sedge

Recommended Native Plant Species for Container Gardening

There are many different native plant species that are suitable for container gardening. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • New Jersey Tea: A small shrub that produces sweet-smelling flowers in the spring.
  • Walter’s viburnum: A small tree or large shrub that is native to the southeastern United States.
  • Eastern redbud: A small tree that produces beautiful pink flowers in the spring.
  • Coral honeysuckle: A vine that produces red flowers in the summer.
  • Blue star: A perennial that produces delicate blue flowers in the spring.
  • Turtlehead: A perennial that produces white or pink flowers in the fall.
  • Copper iris: A unique iris species that produces beautiful coppery red flowers.
  • Columbine: A perennial that produces drooping flowers in a range of colors.
  • Coreopsis: A dense clumping plant that produces cheerful yellow flowers.
  • Wild ginger: A native “spiller” plant that produces attractive foliage.
  • Little bluestem: A smaller ornamental grass that is native to North America.
  • Oak sedge: A sedge that has bright green leaves and small flowers in the spring.


Container gardening with native plants is a rewarding and sustainable way to add beauty and biodiversity to your home. By following the tips in this article, you can create a beautiful and thriving container garden that will attract pollinators, support wildlife, and improve your overall well-being.

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