Best Plants for Gardening in Tennessee

By Holly Schoch , last updated April 6, 2011

When choosing the best plants for gardening in Tennessee, you must take into account the weather.

Hardiness Zone

When it comes to the best plants to plant, regardless of where you live, it all comes down to the hardiness zone. Hardiness zones indicate the lowest temperatures that will generally hit that area, helping to categorize plants that wouldn't be able to withstand the frigid temperatures of certain areas. Tennessee falls into hardiness zone 7, therefore, when looking for plants to use in your garden, you will want to look for plants that will flourish in this hardiness zone.

There are different zone 7 plants that will flourish in either shady or sunny conditions and there are plants that will thrive in poor or rich quality soil. Simply because they are zone 7 plants doesn't mean that they will be suitable for every location. You will need to know the conditions of your lawn or garden prior to purchasing.

Planting in Tennessee

As a general list, there are the following plants that work well in Tennessee's environment. If planted in the proper conditions, there is no reason why they shouldn't flourish. For other flowering plants, shrubs, and trees, there are many government agencies as well as gardening societies in your area that can provide you with a list of plants that quality for this hardiness zone.


Aster thrives in zone 7 and, because it comes in such a wide array of sizes, colors, and shapes, it is a great accent to use in the garden. For a massive amount of color in a relatively small amount of space, basket of gold is another great choice. For individuals who are looking for flowers to use in floral arrangements, baby breath will also grow well in Tennessee. Candytuft is a flower that also offers bushels of colors in a variety of different shades. It creates so many blooms that it takes on a shrub-like appearance.

Cardinal Flower

Moving away from the low lying, shrubby plants for just a moment, the cardinal flower offers a long, vibrant red flower that hangs from tall stalk-like stems. They are truly unique in appearance and do well as backdrops to other flowering perennials. For those looking for something that can grow pretty much anywhere and take a tremendous amount of effort to kill, chrysanthemums are also perfect for the Tennessee environment.

Elephant's Ear

Elephant Ear's, which produce massive leaves, will also provide an excellent backdrop to shade flowering plants. They are also exotic enough to hold interest on their own. Lamb's ears, a deer resistant and low lying leaf, is commonly grown in zone 7. Irises and daylilies also frequent Tennessee gardens, their gorgeous blooms and foliage deal well with the temperatures throughout the state.

Gardeners living in Tennessee are rather lucky, as there are many plants that can grow and thrive in this climate. Most of the tropical and brightly colored flowers are only capable of growing in these southern regions, making Tennessee and ideal location to be able to grow some of the more tropical and subtropical plants while also being able to grow plants that are more cold hardy. Do some additional research. You'd be amazed at what you can grow.

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