When selecting native plants for your Georgia landscape, consider which region of the state you live in and make sure the specimens you choose are suitable for the habitat. Georgia encompasses high mountain ridges and swampy bottomlands, and everything in between, spanning USDA Hardiness Zones 6b through 8. Here are just a few of the flowering perennials you have to choose from among the native plants of Georgia!
Pink ladyslipper produces a lovely and delicate bloom in mid- to late spring, and attracts native bees for pollination. Plant it in a shady spot with moist, rich, acidic soil for best results. For showy blooms in early spring, try crested iris, whose purple flowers grow in clusters among clumps of long, narrow, blade-shaped leaves. Crested iris also loves shade, but can thrive in the sun as long as you give it plenty of water. Another early bloomer is the cross vine, or trumpet flower, which grows in long climbing vines sporting clusters of bright orange trumpet-shaped flowers that are irresistible to hummingbirds.
For beautiful late-summer blooms and attractive autumn seed heads, plant giant ironweed in full sun and watch for the butterflies attracted to its fluffy clusters of reddish-purple flowers. In a shadier spot, try planting white wood aster, whose daisylike white blooms appear throughout late summer and early fall, and which tolerates dryer and less rich soil conditions.
There are many compelling reasons to prefer native plants over introduced species in your landscaping projects. Plants that are native to your area have had countless generations to adapt to the local environment, and can weather the extremes of temperature and precipitation that occur over the years. Native plants also attract native wildlife, making your garden into an Eden for the birds, butterflies and other small creatures of the neighborhood. Some native plant species are rare or endangered, and your plantings of these specimens can play an important role in preservation.