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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.

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

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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

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