Sun-loving Southern Natives for Zone 7 and 8

Southern living has always been about the sun. The heat, the humidity; we are all about basking in the glory of the sun. However, most times this meant wilting, dying plants curling around the garden. Below are southern native plants specifically to use in full sun/partial sun locations around your landscape. You’ll love how easily your plants thrive using this chart of varieties.

Antennaria parlinii (Smooth Pussy-toes)
This evergreen perennial is from the daisy family. It will grow up to 9 inches tall and have several flower heads. Blooming late spring to early summer, it will be pink or white. Make sure you plant in full sun. The foliage is bright green and distinctive, with non-felt leaves. Pussy-toes have been used as a diuretic, astringent, and antitussive.

Baptisia australis (Glade blue indigo)
This drought tolerant variant gets up to feet tall with a 3 foot spread. It loves full sun. The flowers are purple and will bloom from late spring to summer. The spiky flowers resemble lupines. Native American Indians used this as a purgative. BEWARE: Parts of this are poisonous.

Bignonia capreolata (Crossvine)
This fast growing plant is an evergreen vine that reaches up to 15 feet in length. It has tubular flowers; red on the outside and yellow on the inside when in the wild, orange/red/purple range when cultivated. It will bloom from late April to May. It prefers full sun.

Campanula aparinoides (Marsh Bellflower)
“Campana” in Latin means “little bell” and is the perfect naming for this plant. This bellflower grows up to 3 feet and has blue bell-like flowers on weak stems. You can propagate from seed. This will bloom well from June to August in full sun and in wet habitats.

Campsis radicans (Trumpet Creeper)
Although this plant can be invasive it is great for arbors or fences. Its trumpet-shaped flowers grow on a woody vine up to 40 feet. It is a fast grower, especially when grown with full sun and rich moist soil. These have yellow, orange or red blooms and hummingbirds love them. You may propagate them from suckers and roots. Caution needs to be taken, as it can be a skin irritant.

Coreopsis (Tickseed)
This fast grower from the daily family grows on bushy 2 foot stems. It has a spread of around 1-3 feet. Expect single or double yellow flowers on long stems. You should deadhead these for better flowering. It prefers full sun and well drained soil. Propagate from seed.

Dalea gattingeri (Purple-tassels)
This rare plant is only found in two northwest counties in Georgia. Growing up to 6 inches, it will have purple but sometimes white flowers. Its bloom season is July to September, with dense clusters of flowers on erect stems. It is drought tolerant, and prefers sandy loamy soil and no shade.

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