Container Gardening with Native Plants

By Rebecca Bowden Narramore, Caddo Wildflower Chapter

Oenothera elata, Rebecca Narramore

Many gardeners likely plant natives directly in the soil, but I decided to experiment with natives in containers. My first choice was Hooker’s Evening Primrose (Oenothera elata) which I purchased a few years ago at the local plant sale held by the Caddo Wildflower Chapter. Starting with one plant, I filled a medium-sized container with good potting soil, put in the plant, and watered it. To my joy, it thrived and late in the first summer at the end of July or early August, it began to bloom.

The plants are pleasing to view from early spring up through bloom time, growing to be quite tall with slim pointed leaves and lightly serrated margins clustered up and down the stalk. The single main stalk can get to be six feet tall with blooms opening at the top cluster of leaves.

Another positive of this plant is its prolific reseeding. I began with one pot and now have six pots full of Hooker’s Evening Primrose simply by allowing the seeds to fall in pots that were around my original plant.

I have also harvested seeds and sown them in other areas of my property where they are beginning to flourish. Replenishing the potting soil and regular watering have yielded lovely blossoms for the past several summers, a great mood booster for the hottest days of August.

Since the primroses have been so rewarding, it’s time to experiment with other native plants in containers to see if I can replicate this successful venture.

Rebecca Bowden Narramore can be reached at

Did you like this article? It’s from our Fall 2023 Texas Native Plants magazine. Read more here

Volume 41 | No. 4 | Fall 2023