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Mr. Smarty Plants - Container plant for poolside in Southern California

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Sunday - November 24, 2013

From: Temple City, CA
Region: California
Topic: Container Gardens
Title: Container plant for poolside in Southern California
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi Mr. Smarty Plants- PROBLEM: Southern CA,-- FOUR 10gal containers poolside, FULL SUN all day in summer. Had Phormiums that did well for 4 years. Didn't make it through this summer:-( Need something that works in this crockpot environment. Flowering would be nice, but I understand that flowers create debris. Note: Pool is rarely used, so no splashing. Thanks very much!!!

ANSWER:

Las Pilitas Nursery, who specialize in native plants with nurseries in Escondido and Santa Margarita, California has an excellent article on their webpage "Using Native Plants as Container Plants" with many suggestions for lots of sun and temperatures well into the 90s for Southern California.  There recommendations are for a 30 inch pot.  It is a little difficult to relate the size of their 30-inch pot to your 10 gallon one, but I did find this comparison of pot dimensions to pot capacity from the GardenWeb Forums and here is another GardenWeb Forum with more comparisons—still a bit confusing, but I think your 10 gallon pots are quite a bit smaller than their 30-inch ones, so keep that in mind.  You might want to consider getting larger containers if you like some of their larger plants—as the Las Pilitas nursery article suggests "buy the biggest container (not plant) you can carry".

Most of the plants they recommend are flowering plants. Of the ones they recommend here are a few that should do well in 10 gallon containers:

Sphaeralcea ambigua (Desert globemallow)  Here is more information from Las Pilitas Nursery.

Epilobium canum ssp. canum [synonym = Zauschneria canum] (Hummingbird trumpet)  or one of the other California fuchsia on the Las Pilitas Nursery California Fuchsias page.

Salvia dorrii (Purple sage) or one of the othere sages found on the Las Pilitas California Native Sages page.

Calliandra eriophylla (Pink fairyduster)  Here is more information from Las Pilitas Nursery.

You could consider grasses or grass-like plants that do flower, but generally have smaller flowers.  Here are some possibilities:

Sporobolus airoides (Alkali sacaton)  Here is more information from Las Pilitas Nursery.

Muhlenbergia rigens (Deergrass)  Here is more information from Las Pilitas Nursery.

Las Pilitas Nursery also has a list, Native Plants of the Los Angeles Area, that you can look through to find likely candidates for your containers.

One of our How to Articles, Container Gardening with Native Plants, has information about the subject that you might find useful.

 

From the Image Gallery


Desert globemallow
Sphaeralcea ambigua

Hummingbird trumpet
Epilobium canum ssp. canum

Purple sage
Salvia dorrii

Pink fairyduster
Calliandra eriophylla

Alkali sacaton
Sporobolus airoides

Deergrass
Muhlenbergia rigens

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