Regions / South
Selecting plants suited to the climate of the South region is a key step to success.
Various initiatives have taken place to determine how well plants would withstand the cold winter temperatures (Plant Hardiness Zones) or when plants would start suffering from the heat (Plant Heat Zones).
The South region lies in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 6-11 and in AHS Heat Zones 2 through 12. Except for a few high-elevation areas, most of the South experiences extremely hot summers with high humidity, and mild winters. Because of the intense heat and humidity, perennial gardening is mostly confined to lightly shaded areas.
If you know your hardiness zone and heat zone, find the best plants or exciting garden ideas for your geographic area.
Abelia 'Edward Goucher'
Award-winning Abelia 'Edward Goucher' is a compact, semi-evergreen shrub with upright, gracefully arching stems bearing glossy, oval, dark green leaves with a bronze tinge when young. In midsummer, abundant clusters of lilac-pink, funnel-shaped flowers adorn the bush until fall. Their attractive bronze-tinged calyces further enrich the display and persist well after the flowers fall.
Abelia × grandiflora 'Kaleidoscope' (Glossy Abelia)
Changing color over the seasons, Abelia × grandiflora 'Kaleidoscope' (Glossy Abelia) is a dwarf, variegated, semi-evergreen shrub. Emerging bright yellow and lime-green in spring, its glossy oval leaves turn golden yellow in summer before taking on glowing orange and fiery red hues in fall. The leaf coloration does not burn or scorch in the hottest of weather.
Abelia × grandiflora 'Mardi Gras' (Glossy Abelia)
Changing color over the passing seasons, Abelia × grandiflora 'Mardi Gras' (Glossy Abelia) is a compact, low growing, spreading, semi-evergreen shrub. Borne on pink to red stems, its glossy oval leaves emerge bright pink in spring, mature to sparkling creamy white and green as the season progresses before taking on coppery shades in the fall.
Abelia × grandiflora 'Radiance' (Glossy Abelia)
Vigorous, Abelia × grandiflora 'Radiance' (Glossy Abelia) is a compact, dense, semi-evergreen shrub with vivid crimson stems contrasting the white variegated foliage. Emerging medium green with creamy yellow margins in spring, the glossy oval leaves soften to silvery-green with creamy white margins as the season progresses.
Abelia × grandiflora (Glossy Abelia)
Abelia × grandiflora (Glossy Abelia) is a medium-sized, rounded, semi-evergreen shrub with gracefully arching branches, densely clothed with small glossy oval, dark green leaves and clusters of pink-tinged, white, bell-shaped flowers. Slightly fragrant, the blooms are produced continuously cover a long period extending from late spring to fall. The foliage turn purplish-bronze in the fall.
Abelia x grandiflora 'Hopleys' (Glossy Abelia)
Noted for its stable variegated foliage, award-winning Abelia x grandiflora 'Hopleys' is a compact, semi-evergreen shrub with a luminous foliage of bright green leaves adorned with buttery yellow edges in spring, gradually fading to ivory-white. The glossy oval leaves are highly decorative and turn pink in the fall. In midsummer, abundant clusters of lightly-scented, lilac-tinged white flowers adorn the bush until fall.
Abies alba (European Silver Fir)
Abies alba (European Silver Fir) is a large evergreen conifer of conical habit with straight stems densely clad with glossy dark green needles with silvery undersides. The seed cones, 4-6 in. long (10-15 cm), are greenish when young turning to dark brown when mature. The bark is silvery-gray with a scaly texture. Growth is very slow in early years, and then rapid as the tree matures.
Abies amabilis 'Spreading Star' (Pacific Silver Fir)
Abies amabilis ‘Spreading Star’ is a low-growing, evergreen conifer forming a widely spreading mound adorned with thick, overlapping, horizontal to arching branches clothed in a lush foliage of fluffy, green, long needles with silvery undersides. Slow-growing, 3-4 in. per year (7-10 cm), this Pacific Silver Fir is a great choice for small gardens or rockeries.
Abies balsamea (Hudsonia Group) 'Nana' (Balsam Fir)
Highly popular, Abies balsamea ‘Nana’ is a dwarf, aromatic, evergreen conifer of globose habit, forming a broad mound with numerous short branches, adorned with a lush foliage of dark green needles radially arranged around the stems. Slow-growing, 2-3 in. per year (5-7 cm), this Balsam Fir is a great choice for small gardens or rockeries. Perfect for adding year-round color to the garden.
Abies cephalonica 'Meyer's Dwarf' (Greek Fir)
A popular selection, Abies cephalonica 'Meyer's Dwarf' (Greek Fir), is a dwarf, evergreen conifer rich in many habits. Depending on the nature of the scionwood used in propagation, this dwarf selection could present itself as a low, spreading mat of sharp, stiff, glossy dark green needles with silvery underneath. It can also be seen as an upright pyramidal tree adorned with sturdy, short branches.
Abies cephalonica (Greek Fir)
Abies cephalonica (Greek Fir) is a large evergreen conifer of conical habit adorned with spreading, erect branches on mature trees. Sharp and stiff, the needles are glossy dark green with two blue-white bands beneath. The seed cones, 4-8 in. long (10-20 cm), are brown when ripe, and disintegrate when mature to release the seeds.
Abies concolor 'Archer’s Dwarf' (White Fir)
Abies concolor 'Archer’s Dwarf' is a dwarf evergreen conifer of regular, conical habit adorned with slightly ascending branches clothed in soft, silvery-blue, slightly incurved needles. Slow-growing, 3-4 in. per year (7-10 cm), this White Fir is a great choice for small gardens, containers or rockeries.
Abies concolor 'Candicans' (White Fir)
Regarded as the bluest of all conifers, Abies concolor 'Candicans' is a magnificent large evergreen conifer. Forming a dense pyramid when young, it matures to a columnar, highly symmetrical shape with handsome layered branches smothered by long, silvery-blue needles.
Abies concolor 'Compacta' (White Fir)
A deservedly popular White Fir, Abies concolor 'Compacta' is a slow-growing dwarf evergreen conifer of great beauty. It forms a dense, compact mound of irregular, spreading shape, unless it is sheared to a conical form. Its branches are beautifully clothed with long and slender, powder-blue needles
Abies concolor 'Hosta la Vista' (White Fir)
Abies concolor 'Hosta la Vista' is a dwarf evergreen conifer of globose habit, beautifully clothed with long, thick, slightly recurved, blue-green needles adorned with a glaucous, powdery coating. Slow-growing, 1-2 in. per year (2-5 cm), this small White Fir brightens up the garden and makes a lovely addition to small gardens, rockeries or containers.