Crape myrtle is a Southern classic, beloved for its endless show. Summer flowers, fall color and beautiful winter bark earn this beauty a place in every Southern yard. Flower colors vary, including ruby red, pastel lavender and snowy white. New varieties also offer wine-red foliage. Look for semi-dwarf varieties to find ones that qualify as small tree size. Examples include ‘Acoma’ (white, to 10 feet), ‘Delta Jazz’ (ruby red, to 10 feet), ‘Rhapsody in Pink’ (pink, to 12 feet), ‘Zuni’ (lavender, 6 to 10 feet) and Early Bird Lavender (6 feet). Semi-dwarf size: 6 to 12 feet tall by 3 to 10 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 7-10.
Fill your home with the sweet scent of orange blossoms year round by growing orange jasmine (Murraya paniculata). This bloomer opens its white waxy flowers throughout the year. Bright light coaxes best flowering. Place plants near a sunny southern window.
This Southern New Jersey home’s backyard blends artificial grass seamlessly with flowers and mulch to create a natural looking lawn that doesn’t require water or fertilizer. An organic vegetable garden would do nicely adjacent to this lawn.
In a southern climate, this outdoor living room is a wonderful retreat year round. The custom bi-fold doors open to create a sense of bringing the outdoors in. Conversely, softening accessories, like the pillows, throws and flowers help bring the indoors out.
An intense and intoxicating perfume wafts from the flowers of night-blooming jasmine each evening. Plants blossom intermittently year-round and grow rapidly. Prune as needed to retain shape. Just make sure not to prune too often, since flowers form on mature stems. Give this plant a sunny southern window for best flowering. Botanical name: Cestrum nocturnum
A Southern-style Christmas is about fresh greenery, fresh fruit, fresh flowers and plenty of good food. On HGTV's "Celebrity Holiday Homes," designer Brandon Branch draws on these for inspiration as he makes over Trisha Yearwood's Nashville home for the holidays.
A classic Southern favorite, fringe flower takes on a new size with this dwarf version that grows 1 to 3 feet tall and 3 feet wide. Flowers appear in mid-spring and sporadically through summer. Blooms beckon pollinators. Use it in containers, tucked into perennial borders or as a mass planting. Hardy in Zones 7-9. Botanical name: Loropetalum chinense ‘Hakuou’
For intense fragrance, grow this jasmine. It typically flowers spring through fall, but tosses open blooms in winter, too, if growing conditions provide warmth and sun. Give it a spot near a southern-facing window. The perfume is similar to gardenia. Plants may be slow to bloom the first year. Just wait—the flower show kicks into gear as plants age. Botanical name: Jasminum azoricum
'Flawless' is a Flora-Tea rose, a special type of rose developed by the Jackson & Perkins Company that combines the best characteristics of hybrid teas and floribundas. The plants have pastel pink, fully double blooms with a raspberry fragrance. The flowers grow almost 4 inches across on long stems and open in waves throughout the summer. ‘Flawless’ tolerates the heat and humidity in southern and western gardens.
Vibrant purple flowers 5 inches across open on Siberian iris (Iris sibirica) in early summer. Siberian iris is carefree, growing in full sun to part shade. Leaves add a medium texture to the garden and look good all through the growing season. Siberian iris opens flowers in many shades, including blue, purple, gold, burgundy, pink and white. This iris needs moist soil to thrive, especially when planted in full sun. It’s known as the go-to iris for Southern gardens. Plants grow 34 inches tall by 18 to 24 inches wide. Hardy in Zones 3-9.
Saucer magnolia (M. x soulangeana) is the single most popular magnolia, and it’s easy to see why. Its showy pink flowers steal the spotlight in early to mid-spring. The tree quickly grows to its mature height of 20 to 25 feet. Large blossoms to 8 inches across exude a beautiful perfume. In regions with lingering late spring frosts, don’t plant it near the southern side of a structure because retained heat might trigger early flowering, which frost can quickly wipe out. Hardy in Zones 4-9.
The rawness of this stone sculpture contrasts with flowering plants, such as hydrangeas, in the Georgia garden of Lyman and Becky Smith. After Lyman Smith, a Georgia Tech graduate, retired from the telecommunications industry, he devoted time to creating his garden, with sections inspired by Japanese gardens, conifers from the Pacific Northwest and traditional Southern plants.
Also known as Arabian tea jasmine, ‘Maid of Orleans’ (Jasminum sambac) is usually raised for its perfumed blooms. The blossoms also make a refreshing flavored water. Simply place flowers in cold water, refrigerate overnight, and drink in the morning. This jasmine thrives indoors or out, although it’s only winter hardy in Zone 10. Indoors, keep it in a bright southern window with temps above 65 F. ‘Maid of Orleans’ grows into a shrub form. Prune as needed to control and direct growth.
A semi-tarnished champagne bucket or used water pitcher can make a chic and unique flower vase, says Michiel Perry, founder of Black Southern Belle. If you have a covered porch or patio, don't be afraid to buy indoor pieces and spray paint them with outdoor protectant, she adds. Also, you can create a bar cart by buying an existing side table or thrift store steal and gluing a tray you already own to the top it. Then paint it or stamp it with your initials or a welcome message for guests.