Tennessee Native Plants
Tennessee, with its diverse habitats ranging from river valleys and plateaus to mountains, hosts an array of native plants suited to these distinct ecosystems.
- In the low-lying western region, known for its fertile soils, the Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum) and Water Tupelo (Nyssa aquatica) dominate wetland areas, while wildflowers like Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) and Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) thrive in sunny prairies.
- The central basin and plateau region feature mixed hardwood forests with trees like the Tulip Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera), the state tree, and the Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis). Wildflowers such as the Scarlet Beebalm (Monarda didyma) and Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) offer splashes of color in this region.
- The mountainous eastern region is home to the iconic rhododendrons, both the Catawba Rhododendron (Rhododendron catawbiense) and Rosebay Rhododendron (Rhododendron maximum). Beneath the towering canopy of Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) and Red Spruce (Picea rubens), one can find delicate woodland flowers like the Great White Trillium (Trillium grandiflorum) and Lady’s Slipper Orchid (Cypripedium acaule).
These native plants play crucial roles in Tennessee’s ecosystems, offering food and habitat for local wildlife, maintaining soil health, and conserving water. Incorporating them into your garden not only supports Tennessee’s unique biodiversity but also creates a landscape resilient to local climate conditions. Plus, native plants often require less maintenance, as they’re naturally adapted to thrive in the local environment.