When it comes to keeping a flourishing garden, experienced gardeners know that plant choice matters most. Although that exotic plant at the garden center might catch your eye, it’s definitely out of its natural habitat up here in North Carolina. Of course, there’s no reason why you can’t still plant non-native species in your yard and watch them thrive — as long as you’re willing to put in the work.
Native plants, on the other hand, have been thriving in our soils for centuries without human interference. Since they’re already used to our region’s terrain, native plants make hardy, low-maintenance, and beautiful additions to your landscape. Take note of their planting preferences and water them occasionally for dependable color year after year.
North Carolina Trees
White Flowering Dogwood: This Flowering Dogwood adds a striking feature to the North Carolina spring garden. The brilliant blooms of this tree are actually snowy white bracts, which are much more vibrant than regular flowers. Ideally, you should plant flowering Dogwoods in well-drained soils located in partial shade, but this adaptable tree can survive in a range of conditions. With attractive fall fruits and textured bark, this tree draws attention to your landscape all year long.
Eastern Redbud: When in bloom, Eastern Redbuds burst with color. Their thousands of tiny, pink flowers bloom right on the bark of the tree, concealing their branches. As if that weren’t enough, their heart-shaped leaves compliment their blushing blooms for a truly charming view. Adaptable to anywhere from full sun to light shade, all the Eastern Redbud needs is ample space and a winter chill to thrive in our North Carolina soils.
Eastern Red Cedar: Despite its name and appearance, the Eastern Red Cedar is actually a juniper tree. When you get up close and personal, you can see that this tree has the blue-green foliage and pretty, blue, berry-like cones characteristic of juniper trees. This native, dense evergreen is perfect for adding privacy and windbreak on your property. Eastern Red Cedars are hardy trees that tolerate a variety of harsh conditions, including tough, dry soils and salt spray from roads.
North Carolina Flowering Shrubs
Wild Strawberry Bush: We don’t need to tell you how refreshing it is to snack on fresh strawberries while you’re roasting in the summer sun. Luckily, strawberries grow wild in North Carolina and will feel right at home in your backyard. Don’t be fooled by their small size — wild strawberries pack just as much flavor as cultivated varieties. They’re perfect for eating off the plant, or for garnishing your yogurt or desserts. They grow in a neat, clumping habit, making them a great groundcover or edging plant. Keep the soil moist and rich with organic material for the best-tasting berries!
Winterberry Holly: With spring buds and summer blooms, it’s easy to boast about your garden in the warm months. But keeping that interest going all year long — now that’s the challenge! Winterberry Holly, also called Common Winterberry, is the perfect solution to dreary cold-season landscapes. This mid-sized shrub produces vibrant, red berries during early fall and into winter. This deciduous holly sheds its leaves in the fall, leaving the branches full of fruits to contrast frosty winter scenes. Take advantage of this holly’s affinity for wet soils and plant it where most other shrubs would drown.
Oak-Leaf Hydrangea: If a reliable, flowering shrub is what you’re looking for, this billowing bush is just what you need! In the spring, they unfurl broad, oak-like leaves and begin to form long, cone-shaped clusters of tiny flowers. They begin their blooms with a fresh, green-white and age beautifully into shades of light pink or brown. These shrubs contribute to a fall scene with stunning shades of crimson red, rusty orange and deep purple. Though they can tolerate some shady areas, plant these hydrangeas in the sun for more successful blooms.
North Carolina Wildflowers
Bee Balm: With vivid color and pointed petals, these wildflowers resemble the grand finale of a fireworks show on the fourth of July. Native perennials to most of North America, Bee Balms provide reliable vibrancy to your summer garden year after year. These showy flowers also smell fantastic, and attract beneficial pollinators like butterflies, hummingbirds, and, of course, bees! Plant these flowers in full sun and keep the soil evenly moist for a stunning spectacle that’s sure to turn heads.
Black-Eyed Susan: There’s nothing more representative of summer than a bright, cheerful, yellow flower like the Black-Eyed Susan. Against the blue sky, their perfect petals and golden hue resemble the summer sun itself. Their dark, button-like center just bring some additional drama to the scene and provide the perfect perch for passing pollinators. As you can expect from such a sunny flower, Black-Eyed Susans prefer full exposure. Water regularly and these beauties will bloom from June to September.
Blue Wild Indigo: Blue Wild Indigo provides a classic cottage beauty with delicate racemes of blue, lavender, or yellow. While their appearance is much more subtle than other native wildflowers, their elegant flowers and pastel shades are an incredibly charming addition to your garden. Plant Blue Wild Indigo for a hardy, drought-resistant flower that both softens your landscape and catches your eye.
Native species are hardy plants that require virtually no maintenance once they’re established. Not only do they make for an easy garden, but they still make sure it’s a beautiful one, too. Native plants still offer showy flowers, stunning colors, and pleasant aromas. They’re also essential for wildlife in our region, providing food and shelter to beneficial pollinators and other creatures. Come chat with us at Carolina Seasons and we’ll help you pick out the perfect plants to naturalize your landscape.
Carolina Seasons Nursery