Must-Have Southern Perennials For Garden Beds

Many blue salvia flowers blooming outdoors
(Image credit: jack-sooksan)

The selection of southern perennial plants for the home garden can be influenced by a number of factors. Most notable among these are each species specific requirements for growth. Choosing plants that are able to thrive season after season can be especially difficult for those living in regions with harsh growing conditions. In this article, we will examine several plants which are able to withstand the unique climatic conditions present in the southern United States.

The Southern Perennial Garden

Southern perennial gardens are very unique. While plants in southern gardens will often need to be able to withstand brief periods of cold during the winter, the true test of their hardiness comes in the form of tolerance to heat and ability to grow through prolonged periods of drought. Though this may seem demanding, there are actually quite a few ornamental perennial flowers from which to choose.

Before planting, growers will need to closely observe the conditions in their own gardens. Within the same region, small differences can greatly determine which plants may or may not grow well. Make certain to observe which areas receive the most sunlight throughout the day and whether or not the growing space has any noticeable microclimates. For example, in Texas perennials may benefit from a planting site that receives part shade throughout the hottest portions of the afternoon. Gardeners looking for the best perennials for Kansas may want to focus on soil and specific nutrient requirements for each type of plant. Those choosing perennials for Oklahoma may focus on the creation of more waterwise landscapes, which may account for drier conditions.

Perennials for South Central States

Many hardy perennials for the South are native species. In fact, these wildflowers are known for their ability to thrive under less-than-ideal growing conditions; including poor soil fertility, heat, and high humidity. Native plants are a great choice for gardeners who wish to create naturalized landscapes or that hope to attract pollinators and beneficial insects. Some of the most popular perennial species of this kind are milkweed, rudbeckia, liatris, echinacea, and coreopsis.

Trees and Shrubs

Several varieties of small trees and shrubs will also flourish when grown in the southern growing region. Many of these plants will require very little care from landscapers, and will return dependably year after year. Camellias, gardenias, azaleas, and rhododendron are all classic examples of beloved perennials which have withstood the test of time throughout the South. Various species of evergreen plant will also grow well in the southern United States. Many of which are known for their beautiful glossy foliage, evergreen plantings reward growers with year-round interest.

Ornamental Grasses

Many varieties of ornamental grasses are well-suited for growth in warm weather gardens. Ornamental grasses can range greatly in size and in appearance, but generally follow the same habit. Rapid growth during the summer makes these plants ideal for use in mixed borders among both perennial and annual flowers. Since most grasses require little additional care from growers, they are often a good choice for those looking to create attractive, low-maintenance beds and borders.

Tonya Barnett

Tonya Barnett has been gardening for 13 years. Flowers are her passion. She has transformed her backyard into a cut flower garden, which she regularly chronicles on her YouTube channel