Best Southern Perennials – Choosing Perennials For Southeast Gardens

Garden Path Lined With Colorful Flowers And Trees
SE perennials
(Image credit: Susan Vineyard)

Growing perennials in the South can create a vibrant and beautiful garden when used alone or in combination with the entire landscape. Choose perennials for southeast gardens that are hardy to grow in your USDA zone to ensure they can perform in relentless heat and humidity.

Perennials for Southeast Gardens

You’ll find some plants that grow well in southeast areas, like bulbs, require a chilling period for best performance. If you live in a Southern area where it does not get cold enough to chill them, put them in the refrigerator for a few weeks.

Fall planted bulbs that bloom in spring include daffodils and tulips. If you don’t have a cold winter and must use the refrigerator, don’t chill them near fruit. Don’t expect perennial performance from bulbs that must be chilled this way. It is best to treat them as annuals.

Most information about perennial flowering plants is based on growing them in the northeast. Keep this in mind as a southern gardener and double check care and growing info for your plants.

Most perennial plants put on a flowering display for at least three years after planting. Many continue to flower for several years after this, and some appear to produce blooms indefinitely, such as the crinum. Species of this plant have been found growing on old southern plantations and in cemeteries well over 100 years.

While spring is known as a great time for perennial blooms, these flowers aren’t limited to this time period. Perennial plants in the South bloom in summer, autumn, and a few blossom before winter is finished. Nodding flowers of perennial hellebores often appear when snow is on the ground. These may be joined by the tiny, yet beautiful, crocus.

Perennial Plants That Grow Well in Southeast Gardens

While the list of perennials for southeast gardens is far too long to include here, these are some of the most popular flowering plants (and shrubs) you’ll see growing in this region:

Planting and Care of Southern Perennials

Perennial flowering plants are available in all sizes, with a plethora of shapes and flower colors. Some perennial plants are foliage only and some have indiscreet flowers that are almost unnoticeable. However, many have large showy flowers with lots of blooms on each plant. As an added bonus, many are fragrant.

Some of them demand full sun for the best performance. Many prefer morning sun and afternoon shade. Whatever area you’re wanting to plant in your landscape, there’s a perennial plant for it.

Water needs vary among perennial flowering plants. Some need watering as often as every day, while some perennial succulents only need water once a month or less. Others grow immersed in water.

Prepare beds well and deep, as perennials will grow for several years without moving. They usually need division after the three-year point, and you can add amendments on top. Other than those methods of care, plants stay in the ground for several years. Make sure the soil is ready to support them.

Becca Badgett

Becca Badgett was a regular contributor to Gardening Know How for ten years. Co-author of the book How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden, Becca specializes in succulent and cactus gardening.