Don’t have a yard? Grow these California native plants in a container garden 💥👩👩💥

When I tell Flora Ito, nursery sales manager for Sun Valley-based Theodore Payne Foundation, that I’m interested in native plants for my apartment balcony, she asks a series of questions.

What are the measurements of the space? How much sun hits the balcony and at what time of day is it strongest? Will there be any issues if water passes through the container?

You don’t need a yard to give a home to California native plants and help bolster habitat for local pollinators. A container garden on a balcony or stoop can also make an impact. Ito, who teaches a monthly online container gardening class, has seen an uptick of interest in this area.

“We’ve really increased our container garden capacity here,” she says on a recent phone call. “It’s always been here, and now it’s really caught on after the pandemic.”

Ito surmises that there are a few reasons for that. “I see that people are realizing the value of how native plants can help not only create a habitat garden, but help the environment,” she says. Plus, Ito adds, “I think people are very interested in things that are local and things that come from California, especially with the conditions of fire and other types of unfortunate misgivings that we’ve been happening.”

Just a few native plants can benefit local biodiversity. “We can support pollinator conservation around our homes simply by planting plants for them to use for food,” says Angela Laws, endangered species conservation biologist for Xerces Society, an international nonprofit that works on the conservation of invertebrates, by phone. Bees rely on native plants for sustenance, but, as Laws points out, butterflies rely on specific plants as hosts.

An example is the relationship between the monarch butterfly and certain varieties of milkweed. “If you have milkweed around your home or community, monarchs can lay eggs on those and the caterpillars are able to feed on that plant and mature into adults,” she explains.

Don’t have a yard? Grow these California native plants in a container garden

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