Combos to Make
Shoppers Take Notice of Natives
By Pamela Straub
Stop and take notice of natives, and you can’t miss the
premise that they’re not just great in the ground; they’re also showstoppers in
containers and combinations. The biggest trend right now is that breeders are
starting to take notice too. They’re working more with natives by making natural selections for high ornamental
For a long time, natives suffered under the stigma and
generalization as only being grasses the municipality used to restore a prairie
on the side of a highway. But one of the best things using today’s natives is
that often, you can’t tell it’s a native. Meaning, these aren’t Laura Ingalls’
Today’s natives beautify the space but don’t require compromising
the natural environment. They’re often unexpected, like a swath of Muhlenbergia
c. Fast Forward fully blooming in July, or Panicum Ruby Ribbons in a
Today’s natives don’t just look different; they are
different. But it’s not just in the way they’re selected, it’s in the way that
you use them. Natives have far bigger potential than the sweeps and masses
they’ve been known for. So how do you get the most out of natives in
5 Design Principles
Great container gardens start with five principles for great
design. Put them to work before you put any combo together, and you’re on the
road to a winner.
When choosing the container, first decide where
you’re going to place it. Full sun or shade? Protected from elements? Will it
be a focal point or one in a grouping?
Use grasses for texture, form and color.
Add flowering perennials for color, fragrance
Choose the correct size pot for plantings. I
almost always choose my plant combo first, and then select the pot.
Finally, choose your color scheme. Are you going
for bold contrast (such as orange and purple, fuchsia and yellow), harmonious
color (like pastel blues and pinks) or monochromatic impact (pairing whites and
greens for example).
4 Biggest Container
Trends Right Now
Try incorporating natives into some of today’s hottest
container trends for a double whammy of impact and interest.
Using native plants – they are their own trend
and can stand alone!
Mixing bold/vibrant colors –
yellows/reds/vibrant purples, black & white, etc.
Creating “micro-eco systems” –
butterflies/hummingbirds, edibles- veggies and herbs, children’s sensory
gardens or fairy gardens
In addition to natural beauty, the real beauty of natives
comes with their lack of rules—using them in unexpected ways and pairing them
with plants that bring out their best. They offer great things for containers,
and retailers can capitalize on the potential!
Panicum Ruby Ribbons, Echinacea Prairie Splendor, Carex Blue
Zinger, Gaura Passionate Rainbow
Panicum Frosted Explosion, Stachys officinalis Pink Cotton Candy, Duranta Cuban Gold, Alcea
Spring Celebrities White
Juncus Big Twister, Acorus Oboruzuki
Echinacea Prairie Splendor, Achillea Deep Rose, Carex
Gaillardia Goblin, Carex Toffee Twist
Buddleia Buzz Sky Blue, Echinacea Julia, Carex Frosted Curls
Echinacea White Swan, Miscanthus Gold Bar, Sedum Lemon Ball
Carex Frosted Curls, Verbena Snowflurry, Ajuga Chocolate
Miscanthus Little Zebra, Duranta Cuban Gold, Echinacea Milk
Veronica Whitewater, Ajuga Black Scallop, Juncus Blue
Arrows, Echinacea PowWow Wild Berry, Pennisetum First Knight
Pamela Straub is the in-house designer for Emerald Coast
Growers, one of the country’s largest liner producers. For more information on natives,
ornamental grasses, perennials or specialty plants, call 877-804-7277, e-mail
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.ecgrowers.com.
This article originally appeared in Garden