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California Native container potting guide

Shop all California Native and Non Native plants that can be grown in containers


Choose a pot that is:

  • Deep pot with a drainage hole.  It needs to be two to four times the current pot size.  Natives should be repotted once the roots fill the entire pot.  Roots take about one to two years to fill the pot.
  • Plastic and glazed pots retain more soil moisture.  You do not have to irrigate as frequently.
  • Dark colored pots are not ideal for locations in full sun.  They can damage the roots of the plant because they might get too hot.
  • During summer you can double pot containers inside larger ones to retain moisture and keep the roots cool.  You can also cluster the pots together.

Type of soil:

  • Well draining cactus blend is the best choice because it contains perlite, which assists in drainage.

How to water: 

  • The soil should be kept moist at all times for all potted plants.  You should water the plant until water drains out the bottom and if there is excess water in the saucer you should remove it.  
  • If a plant is considered drought tolerant it still needs to be watered regularly because it is not drought tolerant in a pot.  Never let the soil in the pot dry out completely.  
  • If the soil becomes too dry it will not absorb water.  If soils becomes too dry you can break up the surface and soak the container in a bucket until the soil is completely moist.
  • The only plants that do not need frequent irrigation are succulents.  

Top Dressing:

  • You can add rocks, pebbles, or wood mulch to the top of the dirt in the pot.  These organic layers help the soil retain moisture.  

Fertilizing:

  • You should feed California Natives with diluted fertilizer to ¼ strength one to two times a year at the beginning of the growing season.  Do not fertilize if the plant is dormant or you have transplanted to a new pot.