Container gardening for wildlife is rapidly gaining popularity throughout the Peach State.  This novel approach to gardening allows folks to combine their love for wildlife and gardening by planting a combination of native and ornamental plants in containers to create mini wildlife habitats that are beneficial to wildlife and enhance the beauty of their yards.  The Carolina wild petunia (Ruellia carolinensis) is a Georgia native plant that does well in containers.

       Although you may not have heard of the Carolina wild petunia, there is a chance that you have seen it.  This is due to the fact this attractive native perennial wildflower grows in natural settings as well as in our yards. However, since it sometimes pops up in lawns, some consider it a weed.


      This plant is definitely far from being a weed.  Although the blooms of this plant look much like the blossoms found on the ornamental petunias we commonly raise in our gardens, the only thing the two plants have in common is the similarity of their flowers. 

       While Carolina wild petunia grows in dry soils, it much prefers to sink its roots in moist loam. It will also grow in soils containing clay.   The plant grows in spots ranging from full shade to sun. As such, it will grow in most garden situations.  Consequently, this plant can be a great addition to practically any container garden.

       The plant grows in areas ranging from full shade to full sun.

       Georgia gardeners should appreciate the fact that it blooms all the way from spring into fall. 

       In addition to being beautiful, Carolina wild petunia also yields pollen and nectar for many pollinators including the ruby-throated hummingbird, and a wide range of butterflies, bees and wasps. 

       It is also a host plant for the common buckeye butterfly.

       Gardeners are successful growing Carolina wild petunia from transplants, stem cuttings, and seeds.  Plants can also be obtained from nurseries that deal in Georgia native plants.

       The Georgia Wildlife Conservation Section and the Garden Club of Georgia are jointly promoting container gardening for wildlife. For a list of the many other wildlife-friendly ornamentals and native plants that can grow in containers to create small habitats that are both beautiful and beneficial to wildlife, email Abbie Young at  You will also receive a copy of an application you can use to apply to have your container garden certified in the Community Wildlife Project’s Container Gardening for Wildlife category.


  1. Hello – and thanks for the great information that you share. May I ask your help in verifying the email address for Ms Abby Young? I am unable to connect with her, and I would like to have the information about container plant options.

  2. Could you please verify the email address for the contact for the plant list. I got a message that the email provided does not exist. Thank you!

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