Of course all the coastal states are in this group, including Delaware,
Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama,
Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. Then the southeast also includes the
mountain climates of West Virginia, Virginia, and Tennessee. Wow, with so many
climates how do I know what to do for my area of the country?
United States Tropics
If you are living in southern Florida or the southern tip of Texas then you are
considered to be in a tropical zone. What can you expect? Little to no frost
each year. A great climate for the citrus plants. You can expect rainfalls
between 25 to 50 inches each year. This impacts the perennials you choose for
your landscape. This area also has soils of sand which might reduce what you
grow in this region.
Perennials to try for the tropic region of the United States can include
Azaleas, Spirea, Quince, Ferns and Forsythia. Fruit bearing plants that are
popular are apples, blueberries and grapes.
Landscaping Along the Coast
Okay, so what can you find on the coast? Sand, salt, high humidity and mild
winters. Sometimes this region will get a frost, but this tends to be rare. It
is a wonderful climate for magnolias, viburnums and annuals that think they are
perennials. Is there really a winter?
Deep South Gardening
When I was growing up in the Piedmont Region of South Carolina we were on the
edge of the foot hills of the Appalachias. I remember playing baseball in
February with my brothers. Spring was early and beautiful. The Flowering
dogwood would bloom before Easter and put on a wonderful show. Was it hot? The
heat was merciless. It never seemed to rain and when it did rain it appeared
someone was in the sky pouring buckets of water on us.
We would get snow once every 3 to 5 years. You could never count on it as a
kid. Ice storms were more likely to hit us. We grew all the vegetables we
needed in our garden. We had yummy strawberries, green beans, corn, watermelon,
figs and pumpkins. Everything grew without much help from us humans. Now that I
am a misplaced Southerner, I have a Star Magnolia in my yard to remind me of
home, but it would probably grow better in the Deep South.
The Mountain South Landscaping
As you move north into the mountains you get cooler weather. You can plant a
flower garden of traditionally northern perennials. This means you can plant
the salvias, catmint, daisies, potentillas, coneflowers and lamium. The weather
can get below freezing and you will see snow. Once summer arrives though it
hits with hot, oppressive humidity. Luckily, it cools off at night.
The growing season is shorter, but the bugs aren't as prevalent and they
actually have a period where they are dormant. The mountain elevations are just
as important in the ability of a plant to grow as the weather.
Northern Portion of the South
Once you get into Kentucky, West Virginia, and Oklahoma, you can experience a
weather that is similar to Northern climes. The soil is still red clay for the
most part, but, the cool nights and early winter opens up new perennials that
would never survive in the deep south. This portion of the Southeastern region
will have a shorter growing season than the other sections.
Like today though you can be receiving 4 to 6 inches of rain in a 24 hour
period or experiencing dry drought like conditions. The moisture comes from the
Gulf and hammers this part of the South with rain, hail, and tornadoes.
The good news is you can plant many varieties of plants in your garden and your
landscape will prosper. If you love tulips and alliums then you can plant with
the knowledge that the ground will freeze and produce the cold necessary to
bring out the flowers.
Perennials for the Southeast Garden
South Tropics - Pansy, Canna, Geranium, Aloe, Bird of Paradise, Glossy
Privet, Hollyhock, Citrus, Honeysuckle, Turk's-cap, Myrtle
Landscaping Along the Coast - Southern Carolina, Spanish Bluebell,
Coreopsis, Pansy, Canna, Geranium, Bird of Paradise, Glossy Privet, Hollyhock,
Citrus, Desert Willow, Honeysuckle, Turk's-cap, Myrtle
Deep South Gardens - Southern Carolina, Crocus, Spanish Bluebell, Winged
Euonymus, Coreopsis, Pansy, Feather Grass, Maiden Grass, Canna, Glossy Privet,
Aster, Hollyhock, Desert Willow, Turk's-cap, Myrtle
The Mountain South Garden Perennials - Southern Carolina, Crocus,
Spanish Bluebell, Winged Euonymus, Coreopsis, Pansy, Feather Grass, Maiden
Grass, Aster, Hollyhock, Desert Willow, Myrtle
Northern Portion of the Southern Gardens and Landscaping - Southern
Carolina, Crocus, Spanish Bluebell, Winged Euonymus, Coreopsis, Pansy, Feather
Grass, Maiden Grass, Aster, Hollyhock
This is just a sampling of the different plants available for gardeners in the
South. What will work best in your yard? You have to decide what it is you are
trying to do? Are you looking to attract butterflies, birds, or hummingbirds?
Is your soil sandy, red clay, moist all the time, dry all the time or have you
amended the soil for better growing? Are you most interested in the flowers or
is it the wonderful scents you desire? Is the plant for a shady area or will it
be in the sun the whole time? Will the perennial sit under pine trees, palmetto
trees or deciduous trees? You need to take all of this under consideration as
you plan your landscape.
Are you not sure what plant to use or when it blooms? Then check out any of the
resources found on this page. As you can see the South is a very complicated
place for landscaping and gardening. These books will help you get the answers
you desire to make your backyard into the treasure it can become.