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Butterflyweed needs a deep pot to accommodate its taproot, but it is one of the best
perennials for growing in a container. PHOTOS BY ARTY SCHRONCE

Consumer Qs, April 4, 2017

By Arty Schronce This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Georgia Department of Agriculture

www.agr.georgia.gov

Editor’s note: “Consumer Qs” by Arty Schronce is written for gardeners throughout Georgia and may include plants not permitted in Big Canoe. For Big Canoe Property Owners who may want to check whether a plant is allowed, please refer to the POA’s Approved Plant List http://www.bigcanoepoa.org/getmedia/b668254f-a001-418c-ad94-3873707c5444/Approved-Plant-List.aspx

Question (Q): I want to grow native plants but do not have a yard. What are some plants native to Georgia or the Southeast that I can grow in containers? I have some sunny and some shaded spots on my deck and patio.

Answer (A): A few suggestions for the sunny spots are butterflyweed, Eastern prickly pear, thrift (Phlox subulata), wild rosemary (Conradina canescens), Cumberland rosemary (Conradina verticillata), blood sage/Texas sage (Salvia coccinea), gaillardia, blue-eyed grass, Adam’s needle yucca (Yucca filamentosa), purple coneflower, atamasco lily, liatris/blazing star, blue lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica), stokesia, button eryngo (Eryngium yuccifolium) and pitcher plants.

A few suggestions for sun to part shade are cardinal flower, copper iris (Iris fulva), river oats, Eastern agave (Manfreda virginica), pussytoes (Antennaria plantaginifolia) and Eastern columbine.

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Copper iris gets its name from the odd color of its flowers. It likes moisture and can
tolerate part shade.

For containers in the shade, try little pigs/wild ginger, woodland stonecrop (Sedum ternatum), partridgeberry (Mitchella repens), jack-in-the-pulpit, dwarf crested iris (Iris cristata), green-and-gold (Chrysogonum virginianum), foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia), alumroot (Heuchera villosa), spigelia/Indian pink, (Spigelia marilandica), wild blue phlox (Phlox divaricata) and ferns such ebony spleenwort.

These groupings are general guidelines and are not written in stone. For example, we have seen Eastern columbine, cardinal flower, pussytoes, Eastern agave and river oats thrive in almost full shade and spigelia withstand fairly sunny conditions.

Horticulturists at your nursery or garden center or members of a local native plant society can provide more information about what plants work best with each other as well as suggesting more possible options and the specific growing requirements of each plant. As a general rule, all potted plants will need more supplemental water than their counterparts planted in the ground.

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Woodland stonecrop is a native succulent that is an excellent choice for containers or
rock gardens.

Q: I need to transplant two cactuses to bigger pots. When is a good time to do this, and how can I do it without turning my hands into pincushions?

A: Spring and early summer are good times to repot cactuses. Leather gloves or a towel or newspaper rolled or folded numerous times can be fashioned as a mitt that will protect your skin and also not damage your cactus.

Getting stuck with one of the tiny spines from the base of the larger spines is one of the most painful and irritating aspects of handling a cactus. These small spines are called glochids, and they attach to your skin. You may not see them or even feel them right away, but you will feel them later when you touch them and they penetrate deeper.

If, in spite of your best efforts, you get a fistful of glochids, remove them using a magnifying glass and tweezers. Then, if necessary, apply a thin layer of white glue such as Elmer’s, cover it with gauze, allow it to dry and peel it off. Some pediatricians report this is better than the often-recommended method of using duct tape or another adhesive tape to remove the little spines.

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Wild blue phlox brings its cooling color to woodlands in the spring.

Q: What are half runner beans?

A: There are several varieties of half runner or half-runner beans. Half runners are like pole beans but do not grow as tall. They do not necessarily require trellising like a pole bean, but many gardeners will put up a mini-trellis of string or twine for the beans to run so that they are easier to pick and will not require as much washing due to soil splashing up on the pods. Mountaineer Half Runner is a popular variety.

If you have questions about agriculture, horticulture, food safety or services or products regulated by the Georgia Department of Agriculture, write Arty Schronce (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or visit the department’s website at www.agr.georgia.gov.

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