Living at Harbor Club, have you ever wondered which iconic southern plants would grow best at our location? The Southern Living Plant Collection is an excellent place to start...especially since we are a Southern Living-Inspired Community.
The experts at Southern Living introduced the collection in 2008 both to inspire and assist Southerners with solving landscape challenges.
Every plant in the collection is tested to ensure that it survives and thrives in our warm climate (Note: Our community is located in zone 7b.) The thoughtfully chosen plants are well-known for bigger, longer-lasting blooms and stunning foliage. Lucky for Harbor Club residents, our local Home Depot carries many of the plants in the Southern Living Collection, but you can also easily find them online. Here's are some of the South's most iconic options to try.
Popular at The Masters, these shrubs are always stunning during peak bloom. You'll find their frilly flowers in many colors: reds, pinks, purples, whites, oranges, and yellows. All offer bright blossoms, and many have a divine scent. Try to buy plants while they're in bloom to ensure you get the colors you prefer. It's best to plant clumps of the same cultivar and color for a stunning display.
Try: Sunbow Solar Flare Azalea. It produces neon-yellow blooms with additional shades of orange. It has a sweet fragrance (somewhat like honeysuckle), and butterflies love it.
Known as the "Queens of the Winter Flowers," camellias bloom during the cold season months. Therefore, flowering occurs during ideal planting times -- from October through November for Camellia sasanqua and February through March for Camellia japonica. As much as we love them, deer don't care for camellias -- a good thing when you live at Harbor Club.
Try: October Magic Ivory Camellia. This variety is among the earliest to bloom. It has lovely white double blossoms that appear from October to January.
Surprisingly, gardenias are members of the coffee plant family. They are renowned and loved in the South for their superb, heady fragrance and gorgeous, creamy-white flowers. The blooms contrast beautifully with their shiny, dark-green foliage.
Try: Fool Proof Gardenia. In the spring, it offers tons of highly fragrant, white flowers. Once those blooms drop, this cultivar will bud up again and rebloom through the fall season.
It's a well-known fact that Southerners love to clip and share hydrangea blooms with loved ones. During the warm days of summer, you'll see huge balloons of pretty blossoms in blues, pinks, purples, and white. Their lush green foliage makes for a lovely background.
Try: White Wedding. It produces white, cone-shaped blooms each summer with large, long-lasting flowers. These are perfect for flower arrangements. A bonus is that this variety is compact, so pruning is rarely necessary.
Commonly referred to as the "Lilac of the South," our summers would not be the same without our beautiful, blooming crape myrtles. They tolerate heat, humidity, and drought and flower all summer long. The wrinkled flower petals look like crape paper, thus the name. Colorful blooms range from pink to deep red to white or light purple. The bark is attractive, and the foliage is dark green. In the fall, the leaves change to pretty yellows, oranges, and reds.
Try: Early Bird Lavender Crape Myrtle. This variety starts to bloom as early as Mother's Day, which is much earlier than other varieties. It then reblooms for about four months afterward with gorgeous lavender blooms. This is a semi-dwarf variety and gets to be only about five to eight feet tall.
No other tree or shrub conjures up images of the South like a magnolia. The native "Magnolia grandiflora" is the most classic Southern variety with large, glossy leaves and huge, fragrant, creamy-white blossoms. Grown as ornamentals, and depending on the type, blooms can be creamy-white or pink and have a tulip or bowl shape.
Try: Stellar Ruby Magnolia. It boasts pink-red blooms that are uniquely banana-scented. The flowers appear in late spring and continue blooming into the summer and early fall.
Need some additional advice or ideas? Harbor Club residents can find fellow gardening enthusiasts at our Victory Garden located on The Grove campus. Or take a look at the Southern Living Plant Collection online for inspiration and additional information about our plant suggestions. We wish you many beautiful blooms and happy planting.