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Southern Native Plants Worth Growing

Choose these native plants for easy-growing Southern charm.
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Photo: BaileyNurseries.com

'Blue River II' Hardy Hibiscus

Dinner-plate size white blooms give this hardy hibiscus a breathtaking quality from July to September. Like all hardy hibiscus, 'Blue River II' performs best when soil stays consistently moist and full sun bathes the plant. Cut plants back to 3 to 4 inches in late fall. This hibiscus is hardy in zones 4 to 9; provide winter protection in coldest zones.

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Photo: PerennialResource.com

Blue False Indigo

Beautiful purple flower spikes appear in late spring to early summer above blue-tinted leaves on this shrubby native. Blue false indigo can be slow to establish in the garden and dislikes being moved, so take time to site it carefully. Give plants full sun, and keep an eye out for caterpillars. Many butterflies use this plant as host food for their caterpillar larvae. False indigo is hardy in zones 4 to 8.

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Photo: BaileyNurseries.com

Black Tupelo

Also called black gum, this Southern favorite fills autumn forests with fiery color. Black tupelo soars to 30 to 50 feet, with a pleasing, broadly pyramidal shape. It makes an excellent street tree and withstands soil conditions from dry to standing water. Female trees bear fruit that’s a favorite among birds. These trees don’t transplant well, so site them where you want them. Black tupelo is hardy in zones 3 to 9.

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Photo: American Beauties Native Plants at ABNativePlants.com

Spicebush

Spicebush brings multi-season interest to a garden. Scented blooms appear in late winter to early spring, before leaves unfurl on branches. Fall color features yellow shades, and when leaves drop, female plants display red berries that beckon birds. Be sure to plant both male and female plants to get berries. The shrub also hosts spicebush swallowtail butterfly larvae. Plants are hardy in zones 4 to 9.

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