I think that this topic will be a continuing theme as I regularly see excellent examples of native species growing in pots or containers everywhere I go. There are many reasons for growing native plants in large pots, one of the main reasons is to increase drainage and therefore be able to successfully grow plants that would otherwise die if planted in the garden, a good example is the Ptilotus ‘Joey’ in the image above which is an arid desert plant.
Another reason is to grow species that might otherwise become too large if planted in the ground, many native plants will quite happily grow with a restricted root zone in a container and they may even thrive, like the WA Banksia species above.
Don’t be afraid to plant large trees in pots for your balcony or patio, especially if they are species that are used to growing on a naturally rocky soil. These Wollemi nobilis in large containers in the image above are showing no sign of suffering from being pot bound and check out how tall they are compared to the container.
If you are going to grow a tree or large shrub in a pot, why not utilise the soil space below and include some ground cover as well, things that spillover make a good companion and they also reduce moisture loss from the potting mix.
The Acacia cognata Dwarf species grow well in containers as they appreciate good drainage. Above you can see the Acacia ‘Limelight’ has grown quite large considering the size of the pot and looks great as it begins to weep over the top.
The shape of the pot can be important too, try to match the look of the container with the aesthetic of the plant, I love this fine leaf Lomandra growing in a tall narrow pot as it mimics the habit of a grass tree.
Plants growing in pots set within a garden bed are a great way to create a strong feature, they raise the species up higher so it is easier to see and the material they are made from can contrast beautifully with the other plants in the garden bed.
Always mulch and prune native plants in pots, some will also need to be staked before they get going. For species from WA and SA it is a good idea to mulch with an in-organic mulch like; gravel or pebbles, this will help with the drainage, lessening the likelihood of fungal problems.
Other natives like Epacris longiflora love growing in a pot that retains moisture, they are perfectly happy to sit with a dish of water under them to ensure they don’t dry out, which is much easier to maintain in a pot than in the ground!