Saturday, May 2, 2015

Environmentally friendly options for outdoor plants

A while back I did a post on household plants that filter indoor air pollution. I selected those that, in my experience, were hardy and could do well if neglected (I also had a special subset that were non-toxic, and thus safe for homes with cats and dogs). You can check out the post here.

Today, I'm looking at outdoor plants. Like most city dwellers, I do not have a lot of room (or time) for outdoor plants. Also, I am not a very good gardener (Okay, fine, I'm a terrible gardener). But I do have a little balcony, and I would like to look out from time to time and see some nice flowers or something. For my situation, I'm looking for plants that are 1) pretty, 2) drought tolerant (i.e., low maintenance), 3) well suited for containers, and 4) native and/or beneficial to local butterflies and bees.

Thankfully, my sister is an amazing gardener. And trained horticulturalist. And specializes in natives and xeriscaping (drought tolerant landscaping). And, did I mention, amazing? Anyway, her main advice is to buy organic plants and potting soil. Too often the plants and soil is laced with pesticides that hurt bees and butterflies.

Here are the plants that even I can't kill. Not all of them are native, but none are invasive and they otherwise meet the conditions of growing well in pots, being drought tolerant, and providing food for butterflies and bees.

Top left: nasturtium; top right: cape honeysuckle; bottom left: sage; bottom right: California poppy and cacti; middle: lavender.

Here's a great resource I found while researching the topic.

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