Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - June 23, 2015

From: Dover, DE
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Plant Lists, Container Gardens, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Native Plant for Containers in Delaware
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I live on the East Coast. I have a large covered porch that only gets some afternoon sun. I have tried full sun, partial sun and shade plants, and had no luck with them thriving. Can you recommend any potted plants that are hardy enough to tolerate these are any conditions? Thanks!!

ANSWER:

The first place to start is with a list of plants native to your area and then pick the hardiest ones and those that will grow in containers. As you have seen, it's not easy and will take some trial and error. Growing native plants in a garden bed is much easier than growing them in containers. As well, overwintering native plants in containers adds another challenge.

Start with a list of plants native to Delaware from our Native Plant Database and then narrow the group to Shrub, Perennial, part shade, moist and 0-3 feet in height (taller than this may flop in your containers).

From this group, some of the ones to try in containers are:

Maianthemum racemosum ssp. racemosum (feathery false lily of the valley)

Phlox divaricata (wild blue phlox)

Polygonatum biflorum (smooth Solomon's seal)

Rudbeckia hirta (black-eyed Susan) May be only act as an annual. '

Tradescantia virginiana (Virginia spiderwort)

Woodeardia virginica (Virginia chainfern)

 

From the Image Gallery


Wild blue phlox
Phlox divaricata

Smooth solomon's seal
Polygonatum biflorum

Black-eyed susan
Rudbeckia hirta

Virginia spiderwort
Tradescantia virginiana

Virginia chainfern
Woodwardia virginica

Feathery false lily of the valley
Maianthemum racemosum ssp. racemosum

More Container Gardens Questions

Problem garden strip in Austin
May 22, 2014 - Currently I live in the west half of a duplex. There is a small strip of dirt about two feet wide between the wall and the sidewalk in the backyard. It faces west, meaning it only gets sunlight duri...
view the full question and answer

Container plants for Arlington TX
February 10, 2012 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I just moved to Arlington, TX. I am trying to create a container garden on my apartment balcony. What flowers, herbs, vegetables, and fruit combinations can I put together that wil...
view the full question and answer

Hearty, bushy native plants for windowboxes in Abilene, TX
October 08, 2005 - I live in Abilene, Tx and am a horrible gardener. I would love to have window boxes with some sort of hearty bushy plant. Any suggestions, I'm at a total loss...? Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Native plants for poolside in Central Texas
August 21, 2010 - What native plants would your recommend for poolside landscaping, and poolside containers? Tons of sun and white limestone patio.. Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Containerized honeysuckle for Dassel MN
April 05, 2013 - We are renting our house but I would like to enjoy my own honeysuckle. Can they be planted in a big pot so that I can take it with me when we move.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.