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Garden Obstacles: Using Native Plants in Planters

Updated: Apr 18

All of these plants may be used in container gardens, just make sure whichever ones you choose, they all want the same conditions. For example, do not mix plants that like moist to wet soil with plants that like dry soil. The same goes for light conditions. For example, don't mix shade plants with full-sun plants.

Planters are great for balconies, small spaces, patios, situated in a garden bed, etc. Not everyone likes a mixed planter, so feel free to use only one variety in a pot as a showpiece or group a few planters together for more impact.

Plant species with a deep taproot, like Asclepias species (milkweed), need deep planters. If you are keeping the plant in a container for only one growing season, the planter should be 12" deep, two years in a planter the planter should be 24" deep, etc.

Many of our native plants sucker to form colonies. You must consider this when using them in containers. These would do well in long rectangular planters or you may use circular containers but make sure the planter is twice the width as the original plant. If the original plant is in an 8" pot, it should be planted in a planter that is 16-24" wide.

This is only a partial list. Remember, native plants are very forgiving, feel free to experiment. The possibilities are endless. For an extra pop of color, you can always tuck in a few annuals like coleus, New Guinea impatiens, Scaevola (fan flower), flowering vinca, Torenia (clown flower aka wishbone flower), etc.

Key: (*) Native to Long Island


Agastache foeniculum - Anise Hyssop (Sun-Partial Sun-Partial Shade) long bloomer

*Andropogon virginicus - Broom Sedge (Sun)

*Athyrium filix-femina - Lady Fern (Partial Shade-Shade)

*Asclepias species - Milkweed (Sun)*

Chasmanthium latifolium - Northern Sea Oats (Sun-Shade)

*Clematis virginiana - Woobine (Sun-Partial Shade)

Echinacea purpurea - Purple Coneflower (Sun)

*Heliopsis helianthoides - Ox-eye Daisy (Sun-Partial Sun)

*Juncus effusus - Common Rush (Sun-Partial Sun)

*Juniperus virginiana - Eastern Red Cedar (Sun-Partial Sun)

*Lonicera sempervirens - Coral Honeysuckle (Sun-Partial Sun)

*Matteuccia struthiopteris - Ostrich Fern (Partial Shade-Shade)

*Osmunda regalis - Royal Fern (Partial Shade-Shade)

*Panicum virgatum & cultivars - Switchgrass (Sun)

*Physocarpus opulifolius & cultivars - Common Ninebark (Sun-Partial Sun)

*Veronicastrum virginicum - Culver’s Root (Sun-Partial Shade)

Wisteria frutescens 'Amethyst Falls' - Dwarf American Wisteria (Sun-Partial Sun)


*Achillea millefolium and cultivars - Common Yarrow (Sun-Partial Sun-Partial Shade)

Agastache rupestris - Licorice Mint (Sun) long bloomer

Allium cernuum - Nodding Onion (Sun-Partial Sun-Partial Shade)

*Aster (Eurybia) divaricatus & cultivars - White Wood Aster (Partial Shade-Shade)

*Aster (Symphyotrichum) cordifolius - Blue Wood Aster (Sun-Partial Shade-Shade)

*Aster (Symphyotrichum) ericoides - Heath Aster (Sun-Partial Sun)

*Aster (Symphyotrichum) novae-angliae & cultivars - New England Aster (Sun-Partial Sun)

*Aster (Symphyotrichum) novi-belgii and cultivars - New York Aster (Sun-Partial Sun)

Aster (Symphyotrichum) oblongifolius - Aromatic Aster (Sun-Partial Sun-Partial Shade)

*Chamaecrista fasciculata - Partridge Pea (Sun-Partial Shade)

Coreopsis species - Tickseed (Sun) (*C. rosea is native to LI)

*Dennstaedtia punctilobula - Hay-scented Fern (Partial Shade-Shade, Sun if moist-wet)

*Eragrostis spectabilis - Purple Love Grass (Sun)

Eupatorium coelestinum - Hardy Ageratum (Sun-Partial Shade-Shade)

*Fragaria virginiana and cultivars - Wild Strawberry (Sun-Partial Sun-Partial Shade)

Gaura lindheimeri 'Whirling Butterflies' - Gaura (Sun)

Liatris microcephala - Blazing Star (Sun)

Liatris scariosa var. novae-angliae - New England Blazing Start (Sun)

Liatris spicata - Blazing Star (Sun)

*Polystichum acrostichoides - Christmas Fern (Partial Shade-Shade)

*Pycnanthemum species (Sun-Partial Shade-Partial Sun)

Scutellaria incana - Hairy Skullcap (Partial Shade-Shade)

*Solidago caesia - Blue Stem Goldenrod (Sun-Partial Shade-Shade)

*Solidago flexicaulis - ZigZag Goldenrod (Sun-Partial Shade-Shade)

*Solidago odora - Sweet Goldenrod (Sun-Partial Shade-Shade)

Solidago rugosa 'Fireworks' - Rough-leaved Goldenrod (Sun)

*Solidago sempervirens - Seaside Goldenrod (Sun)

Sporobolus heterolepsis - Prairie Dropseed (Sun)

*Verbena hastata - Blue Vervain (Sun-Partial Sun)

Vernonia lettermanii ‘Iron Butterfly’ - Dwarf Ironweed (Sun)


Aster ericoides ‘Snow Flurry’ - Heath Aster Cultivar (Sun-Partial Sun)

Callirhoe involucrata - Poppy Mallow (Sun-Partial Shade) long bloomer

*Parthenocissus quinquefolia - Virginia Creeper (Sun-Shade)

Phlox subulata and cultivars - Moss Phlox (Sun-Partial Sun)

*Opuntia humifusa - Prickly Pear Cactus (Sun)

*Viola labradorica - Labrador Violet (Partial Shade-Shade)


*Aronia arbutifolia - Red Chokeberry (Sun-Partial Shade-Partial Sun)

*Aronia melanocarpa - Black Chokeberry (Sun-Partial Shade- Partial Sun)

Callicarpa americana - American Beautyberry (Sun-Partial Shade)

*Clethra alnifolia - Sweet Pepperbush' (Sun-Shade)

*Cornus sericea - Red Twig Dogwood (Sun-Partial Shade)

*Diervilla lonicera - Bush Honeysuckle (Sun-Shade)

*Ilex glabra & cultivars (Inkberry (Sun-Partial Shade)

Itea virginica ‘Little Henry’ - Dwarf Sweetspire (Sun-Partial Shade-Shade)

*Sambucus canadensis - Black Elderberry (Sun-Partial Sun-Partial Shade)

*Vaccinium angustifolium - Lowbush Blueberry (Sun-Partial Shade)

*Vaccinium corymbosum - Highbush Blueberry (Sun-Partial Shade)

*Viburnum dentatum - Arrowwood (Sun-Partial Shade-Partial Sun)

Have fun!

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