The Plant Native

Best native plants for Southern gardens

Living in the South and want to plant a native garden? Here is the garden inspiration you were looking for. These native plants are easy to find, easy to plant, and will look stunning in your Southern garden.

The stunning American Beautyberry used to be one of the most popular plants in the south

Why plant native in the South?

Planting native plants ensures the plants can thrive in the heat, weather, and water of the South while saving time (and money!), especially when compared to lawns.

Native plants are built to thrive in Southern heat and weather

Native plants are the plants that have existed in their home area for thousands of years. They have seen every drought, hurricane, or rainstorm in their area and thrived. Southern native plants are the best plants to grow in all Southern gardens, since they know and love the South!

Native flowers like Butterfly Weed are made to thrive in southern gardens

Native plants take the least amount of care (and water)

Because Southern native plants have seen all the weather and soil in the South, they are ready for the natural weather. This means that just rainwater should keep them happy once they are established.

This is a BIG difference from non-native plants, which may need lots of extra watering to get through droughts or southern heat. Plant native and save on your water bill!

Southern native plants help butterflies and hummingbirds

Some of our most iconic butterflies—such as Monarchs and Gulf Fritillaries—only lay their eggs on one plant. These monogamous plant-butterfly pairings are called host plants. Without these native host plants, these butterflies will not survive.

Native plants are gorgeous

Finally, as you’ll see below—the native plants from the South are jaw-droppingly gorgeous. They will quickly become your garden favorites and last for years and years. Find your favorites below, and visit each plant’s link to discover detailed planting information.

Native Flowers for Southern Gardens

All these flowers are found natively in the South and a favorite of butterflies and hummingbirds. Follow each plant link to discover detailed plant information. We’ve organized by season, so you can plant flowers from spring to fall.

Native Plants for the spring

Heuchera 'Green-Spice' by Patrick Standish
Alum Root (Heuchera)
Bee Balm
Blue-Eyed Grass
Celandine Poppy
Creeping Phlox
False Blue Indigo
Golden Alexander
Red Columbine

Native flowers for the summer

Native plants for the fall

Native Shrubs for Southern Gardens

All these shrubs are native to the South and look amazing in front yards, backyards, and gardens.

Native Trees for Southern Gardens

These trees are all native to the South and look amazing in high-profile places like front yards and visible gardens. Most of these native trees flower, too!

Native Vines for Southern Gardens

Do you have a fence, wall, or trellis? These are the native vines you’ve been looking for!

These native plants are perfect for southern gardens

All these plants thrive in southern gardens! Every one of these plants is also a perennial, meaning they will come back year after year looking better than ever.

Every one of these plants is easy to grow. After their first year being established, each of these flowers will come back year after year and require nothing fancy to keep going besides rain. Planting native plants ensures our gardens look amazing and our water bills stay low. You don’t have to have a botany degree to have a garden! Plant these easy natives and enjoy a gorgeous yard all year long—and spend 2400% LESS TIME than if you were doing lawn care.

Looking for places to buy native plants online?

Here are recommendations for buying native seeds and plants online in the south:

Local blooms, fewer glooms

Try to find plants and seeds from within 800 miles of where you live.

Plants and seeds from within 800 miles are best suited for your weather, water, and sunshine. This also fosters cross-pollination among locally grown plants, enhancing the resilience of seeds and plants for generations to come. Stay local for a happy garden!

Best books for southern native gardens

Sometimes, you just want to flip through beautiful photos on glossy pages, right? Here are some of our favorites:


Gardening with Native Plants of the South

Sally Wasowski, 2020

Originally published in 1994 and updated in 2020, this book has lots of pictures of gardens—not just individual plants.


Best Native Plants for Southern Gardens

Gil Nelson, 2010

Gil is an expert, and it shows in this incredible compendium of southern plants. It’s filled with lots of images to help it from being too overwhelming.


The Southeast Native Plant Primer: 225 Plants for an Earth-Friendly Garden

Larry Mellichamp and Paula Gross, 2020

With tons of pictures and easily organized, this is a great source of inspiration for Southeast gardeners.

And that sums up our guide to the best native plants for southern gardens! These native flowers, shrubs, and trees have the DNA to be the most resilient and beautiful choices for southern gardens. Sadly, native plants have been overlooked for generations (we partly blame Marie Antoinette)—let’s change this. Native plants are beautiful, powerful choices for our landscaping—especially compared to lawncare or non-native plants. Happy planting!