Landscape Plants for Georgia (B 625) University of Georgia Extension This publication includes a list of good plants for Georgia organized into various sizes and groups. The design qualities of plants—their form, size, color and texture—are emphasized according to the principles and requirements of good landscape design and plant maintenance. Hardiness and disease and insect resistant qualities are also considered. 2017-04-18 16:18:11.003 2006-06-02 14:26:09.0 https://secure.caes.uga.edu/extension/publications/images/primary-pub-images/B625-primary.jpg Landscape Plants for Georgia | Publications | UGA Extension Skip to content

Landscape Plants for Georgia (B 625)

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James T. Midcap, Department of Horticulture, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and Neal Weatherly, Jr., School of Environmental Design

Revised by Matthew Chappell, Department of Horticulture, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

**This publication needs major revisions. All plants on the GA-EPPC invasive plant list have been removed from the original version of this publication.**

Introduction

Landscape Plants for Georgia is an effort to compile a list of good plants organized into various sizes and groups. It does not list all available plant materials but rather brings together the best possible groupings according to the principles and requirements of good landscape design and plant maintenance. It is not possible to offer pictures of the plants. Many publications, books and web sites, however, have good plant pictures.

The design qualities of plants — their form, size, color and texture — are of major emphasis. Hardiness and disease and insect resistant qualities are also considered when selecting good landscape plants.

Definitions of Terms Used

Class
For identification, plants are divided into three major classes or groups: evergreen conifers, broad-leaved evergreens and deciduous plants.
Conifer
Most conifers are cone-bearing and have needle-like foliage. Examples are pine and cedar.
Deciduous
A deciduous plant sheds its foliage in the fall or winter. Flowering dogwood, maple and spirea are examples.
Botanical Name
This refers to the scientific name recognized the world over. Cornus florida is the botanical name of flowering dogwood. Botanical names are listed according to Index of Garden Plants by Mark Griffiths, 1994, Timber Press.
Broad-leaved Evergreen
This refers to broad-leaved plants that retain foliage the entire year. Examples are boxwood and camellia.
Common Name
Common plant names may vary from region to region. For this reason scientific names are included in this publication to establish the true identity of the plant.
Texture
Plant foliage is usually defined as being fine-, medium-, or coarse-textured, depending upon the size, density and arrangement of its leaves. Southern magnolia is an example of coarse foliage texture.
Form
Form refers to the shape or general outline of the plant. Boxwood has a rounded form. Pyracantha is irregular.
Normal Georgia Height
Due to environmental conditions, such as variations in soil, temperature, fertility and moisture, exact growing heights of plants cannot be established. "Normal Georgia Height" is a term used to designate average size after reasonable maturity. It is intended for use only as a guide.
Specimen
This is a plant with desirable form, foliage, fruit or flower that can be separated from other plants to emphasize its desirable characters.
Georgia's Hardy Zones
The plant hardiness zones used in this publication (see map) denote areas in the state where a plant has the best chance of survival and growth. The zones are based on the average minimum temperature the plant will tolerate. The numbers and letters in parentheses are the zone designations used in the reference publication. Source of this information is the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map, Miscellaneous Publication No. 1475, Agricultural Research Service, 1990.

Plant Hardiness Zones for Georgia

map of georgia showing plant hardiness zones
Range of average annual minimum temperatures for each zone
Zone Range in degrees F
6b -5 to 0
7a 0 to 5
7b 5 to 10
8a 10 to 15
8b 15 to 20

Vines

drawing of a person standing under a pergola wrapped in vines

Vines have many uses in the landscape. They may be used to soften unattractive walls and fences or to create exciting shadow patterns on blank surfaces. Many are desirable because of their evergreen foliage. Some have attractive flowers and/or berries to brighten or accent a landscape feature or attract wildlife. Vines provide attractive screening and privacy when used on trellises and fences.

As a general rule, residential building lots are becoming smaller, and appropriate plant material must be selected if the valuable space is to be used to best advantage. This class of plants is very useful in small gardens where planting space is limited.

Characteristics

Antigonon leptopus / CORAL VINE

Georgia's Hardy Zone: 8

Texture: medium to coarse

Growth Rate: fast

Class: deciduous

Remarks: Blooms in late summer with coral-pink flowers.

Bignonia capreolata / CROSS VINE*

Georgia's Hardy Zone: entire state

Texture: medium

Growth Rate: fast

Class: evergreen

Remarks: Red, orange or yellow spring flowers.

Clematis armandii / ARMAND CLEMATIS

Georgia's Hardy Zone: 7, 8

Texture: coarse

Growth Rate: medium to fast

Class: broad-leaved evergreen

Remarks: Large glossy leaves, fragrant white spring flowers.

Clematis x jackmanii / JACKMAN CLEMATIS

Georgia's Hardy Zone: 6b, 7

Texture: fine

Growth Rate: medium

Class: deciduous

Remarks: Large purple flowers.

Clematis terniflora / SWEETAUTUMN CLEMATIS

Georgia's Hardy Zone: entire state

Texture: medium

Growth Rate: medium to fast

Class: deciduous

Remarks: Fragrant white flowers in late summer.

x Fatshedra lizei / FATSHEDRA

Georgia's Hardy Zone: 7b, 8

Texture: coarse

Growth Rate: medium slow

Class: broad-leaved evergreen

Remarks: Semi-climbing shrub or vine. Needs support.

Ficus pumila / CLIMBING FIG

Georgia's Hardy Zone: 8

Texture: fine

Growth Rate: slow to medium

Class: broad-leaved evergreen

Remarks: Clings close to wall.

Gelsemium rankinii / SWAMP JESSAMINE*

Georgia's Hardy Zone: entire state

Texture: fine

Growth Rate: medium

Class: broad-leaved evergreen

Remarks: Yellow, trumpet flowers spring and fall.

Gelsemium sempervirens / CAROLINA YELLOW JESSAMINE*

Georgia's Hardy Zone: entire state

Texture: fine

Growth Rate: medium

Class: broad-leaved evergreen

Remarks: Yellow, trumpet-like flowers in spring. Hardy, one of our best vines.

Hedera canarienseis / ALGERIAN IVY

Georgia's Hardy Zone: 8

Texture: coarse

Growth Rate: medium

Class: broad-leaved evergreen

Remarks: Very coarse foliage. Sun or semi-shade.

Lonicera x heckrottii / GOLDFLAME HONEYSUCKLE

Georgia's Hardy Zone: entire state

Texture: medium

Growth Rate: slow to medium

Class: semi-evergreen

Remarks: Coral-red flowers in summer.

Lonicera sempervirens / TRUMPET HONEYSUCKLE*

Georgia's Hardy Zone: entire state

Texture: medium

Growth Rate: slow to medium

Class: deciduous

Remarks: Red, orange to yellow spring flowers.

Parthenocissus quinquefolia / VIRGINIA CREEPER*

Georgia's Hardy Zone: entire state

Texture: coarse

Growth Rate: medium

Class: deciduous

Remarks: Large palmately compound leaves. Good red fall color. Can become invasive.

Parthenocissus tricuspidata / BOSTON IVY

Georgia's Hardy Zone: entire state

Texture: coarse

Growth Rate: medium

Class: deciduous

Remarks: Lustrous three lobed leaves with good red fall color.

Rosa banksiae 'Lutea' / LADY BANKSROSE

Georgia's Hardy Zone: 7b, 8

Texture: fine

Growth Rate: fast

Class: semi-evergreen

Remarks: Yellow double flowers.

Rosa species / CLIMBING ROSES

Georgia's Hardy Zone: entire state

Texture: fine to medium

Growth Rate: fast

Class: deciduous

Remarks: Numerous varieties and colors. Subject to disease and insects.

Sarcococca hookeriana var. humilis / SWEETBOX

Georgia's Hardy Zone: entire state

Texture: fine

Growth Rate: slow

Class: broad-leaved evergreen

Remarks: Bright green foliage for shady sites.

Smilax lanceolata / LANCELEAF GREENBRIER*

Georgia's Hardy Zone: entire state

Texture: medium

Growth Rate: fast

Class: broad-leaved evergreen

Remarks: Bright green foliage for cutting.

Trachelospermum asiaticum / ASIATIC JASMINE

Georgia's Hardy Zone: 7b, 8

Texture: fine

Growth Rate: medium

Class: broad-leaved evergreen

Remarks: Foliage similar to Vinca minor.

Trachelospermum jasminoides / STAR or CONFEDERATE JASMINE

Georgia's Hardy Zone: 8

Texture: medium

Growth Rate: medium

Class: broad-leaved evergreen

Remarks: Good foliage. White fragrant flowers in spring. Variegated form available.

Wisteria frutescens / AMERICAN WISTERIA*

Georgia's Hardy Zone: entire state

Texture: medium

Growth Rate: fast

Class: deciduous

Remarks: Lilac purple late spring flowers. More restrained than others.

* Denotes native Georgia plant.

Ground Covers

drawing of a person standing in an area with a variety of ground covers

Ground covers are very versatile. In addition to sunny open locations, selected ground covers are especially useful on steep slopes and densely shaded areas where other plants are more difficult to establish and maintain. Many ground covers are excellent for preventing soil erosion; while others are helpful in carrying out design patterns. Evergreen ground covers are particularly useful in establishing both formal and informal designs in residential and public landscapes. Ground cover plants are usually more satisfactory in narrow planters than shrubs.

Ground cover usually ranges from a few inches to a foot or more in height. In the evergreen class, English ivy and common periwinkle have rich green foliage, making them particularly valuable in landscape design. Several of the recommended plants have attractive seasonal flowers. Certain ground covers may become invasive once they become established and require heavy maintenance to keep them in bounds. Ground covers are often cites as being low maintenance. However, they all require some maintenance such as weeding, pruning or fertilization to look their best.

Characteristics

Ajuga reptans / CARPET BUGLE

Georgia's Hardy Zone: entire state

Exposure: semi-shade

Texture: medium

Normal Georgia Height: 2-4"

Growth Rate: medium to fast

Class: evergreen

Remarks: Needs good drainage. Blue or white flowers.

Ardisia japonica / JAPANESE ARDISIA

Georgia's Hardy Zone: 8b

Exposure: semi-shade

Texture: medium

Normal Georgia Height: 8-12"

Growth Rate: slow

Class: evergreen

Remarks: Excellent evergreen ground cover.

Aspidistra elatior / CAST IRON PLANT

Georgia's Hardy Zone: 7b, 8

Exposure: shade

Texture: coarse

Normal Georgia Height: 18-24"

Growth Rate: medium

Class: evergreen

Remarks: Drought tolerant, bold texture.

Dryopteris ludovichiana / SOUTHERN SHIELD FERN

Georgia's Hardy Zone: entire state

Exposure: shade

Texture: fine

Normal Georgia Height: 24-36"

Growth Rate: medium

Class: deciduous

Remarks: Mass plantings, good green filler with fine texture.

Cotoneaster species / GROUNDCOVER COTONEASTER

SEE BELOW

Cyrtomiun falcatum / HOLLY FERN

Georgia's Hardy Zone: 8b

Exposure: semi-shade to shade

Texture: coarse

Normal Georgia Height: 1-2'

Growth Rate: medium

Class: evergreen

Remarks: Dark green foliage.

Festuca ovina var. glauca / BLUE FESCUE

Georgia's Hardy Zone: 6b, 7a

Exposure: prefers some shade

Texture: fine

Normal Georgia Height: 6-8"

Growth Rate: slow

Class: evergreen ornamental grass

Remarks: Best with irrigation.

Gardenia augusta 'Radicans' / CREEPING GARDENIA

Georgia's Hardy Zone: 7b, 8

Exposure: sun to semi-shade

Texture: fine

Normal Georgia Height: 18-24"

Growth Rate: slow

Class: evergreen

Remarks: Small, white, fragrant flowers in summer.

Hedera canariensis / ALGERIAN IVY

Georgia's Hardy Zone: 8

Exposure: shade to sun

Texture: coarse

Normal Georgia Height: 6-8"

Growth Rate: slow to medium

Class: evergreen

Remarks: Good ground cover.

Helleborus orientalis / LENTEN ROSE

Georgia's Hardy Zone: 6, 7

Exposure: semi-shade to shade

Texture: coarse

Normal Georgia Height: 12-15"

Growth Rate: slow to medium

Class: evergreen

Remarks: White to rose colored flowers in January and February.

Hemerocallis species / DAYLILY

Georgia's Hardy Zone: entire state

Exposure: sun to semi-shade

Texture: medium

Normal Georgia Height: 2-3'

Growth Rate: medium to fast

Class: deciduous to evergreen

Remarks: Very hardy. Numerous flower colors.

Hypericum calycium / AARON'S BEARD ST. JOHNSWORT

Georgia's Hardy Zone: 6b, 7

Exposure: sun to semi-shade

Texture: medium

Normal Georgia Height: 8-12"

Growth Rate: medium to fast

Class: semi-evergreen

Remarks: Yellow flowers in summer.

Iberis sempervirens / EVERGREEN CANDYTUFT

Georgia's Hardy Zone: 6b, 7

Exposure: sun to semi-shade

Texture: fine

Normal Georgia Height: 6-8"

Growth Rate: medium

Class: evergreen

Remarks: White flowers in spring.

Juniperus chinensis var. sargentii / SARGENT JUNIPER

Georgia's Hardy Zone: entire state

Exposure: sun

Texture: fine

Normal Georgia Height: 18-24"

Growth Rate: medium

Class: evergreen conifer

Remarks: Very hardy. Good winter color. Needs good drainage.

Juniperus conferta / SHORE JUNIPER

Georgia's Hardy Zone: entire state

Exposure: sun

Texture: fine

Normal Georgia Height: 18-24"

Growth Rate: medium

Class: evergreen conifer

Remarks: Hardy to sandy shore.

Juniperus conferta 'Blue Pacific' / BLUE PACIFIC JUNIPER

Georgia's Hardy Zone: entire state

Exposure: sun

Texture: fine

Normal Georgia Height: 10-12"

Growth Rate: medium

Class: evergreen conifer

Remarks: Blue-gray foliage. Short vertical stems.

Juniperus conferta 'Emerald Sea' / EMERALD SEA JUNIPER

Georgia's Hardy Zone: entire state

Exposure: sun

Texture: fine

Normal Georgia Height: 10-12"

Growth Rate: medium

Class: evergreen conifer

Remarks: Bright green foliage. Compact.

Juniperus davurica 'Expansa' / PARSONS JUNIPER

Georgia's Hardy Zone: entire state

Exposure: sun

Texture: fine

Normal Georgia Height: 18-24"

Growth Rate: medium to fast

Class: evergreen conifer

Remarks: Very hardy. Good winter color.

Juniperus horizontalis 'Plumosa Compacta' / ANDORRA COMPACTA JUNIPER

Georgia's Hardy Zone: entire state

Exposure: sun

Texture: fine

Normal Georgia Height: 1-2'

Growth Rate: slow

Class: evergreen conifer

Remarks: Denser, more compact than Andorra.

Juniperus horizontalis 'Wiltoni' / BLUE RUG JUNIPER

Georgia's Hardy Zone: entire state

Exposure: sun

Texture: fine

Normal Georgia Height: 4-6"

Growth Rate: medium

Class: evergreen conifer

Remarks: Hugs ground.

Juniperius procumbens / JAP GARDEN JUNIPER

Georgia's Hardy Zone: entire state

Exposure: sun

Texture: fine

Normal Georgia Height: 1-2'

Growth Rate: slow

Class: evergreen conifer

Remarks: Handsome in beds, terraces and slopes.

Juniperius procumbens 'Nana' / DWARF JAP GARDEN JUNIPER

Georgia's Hardy Zone: entire state

Exposure: sun

Texture: fine

Normal Georgia Height: 6-8"

Growth Rate: very slow

Class: evergreen conifer

Remarks: Only spreading juniper suitable for restricted spaces.

Ophiopogon japonicus / DWARF LILYTURF or MONDO GRASS

Georgia's Hardy Zone: 7, 8

Exposure: semi-shade to shade

Texture: medium

Normal Georgia Height: 8-12"

Growth Rate: medium

Class: evergreen

Remarks: Hardy, makes dense mat.

Ophiopogon japonicus 'Nana' / DWARF MONDO GRASS

Georgia's Hardy Zone: 7, 8

Exposure: semi-shade to shade

Texture: medium

Normal Georgia Height: 3"

Growth Rate: slow

Class: evergreen

Remarks: Dwarf form.

Pachysandra terminalis / PACHYSANDRA

Georgia's Hardy Zone: 6b, 7a

Exposure: shade

Texture: medium

Normal Georgia Height: 6-12"

Growth Rate: medium

Class: evergreen

Remarks: Requires moist shade in heat.

Phlox subulata / MOSS PHLOX or THRIFT*

Georgia's Hardy Zone: entire state

Exposure: sun

Texture: fine

Normal Georgia Height: 4-8"

Growth Rate: medium to fast

Class: evergreen

Remarks: Rose, white, lilac flowers.

Santolina chamaecyparissus / LAVENDER COTTON

Georgia's Hardy Zone: entire state

Exposure: sun

Texture: fine

Normal Georgia Height: 1-2'

Growth Rate: medium

Class: evergreen

Remarks: Good for hot, dry sites. Gray foliage, yellow-orange flowers.

Santolina virens / GREEN LAVENDER COTTON

Georgia's Hardy Zone: entire state

Exposure: sun

Texture: fine

Normal Georgia Height: 1-2'

Growth Rate: medium

Class: evergreen

Remarks: Good for hot, dry sites. Green foliage, orange flowers.

Saxifraga stolonifera / STRAWBERRY GERANIUM

Georgia's Hardy Zone: 7b, 8

Exposure: shade

Texture: fine

Normal Georgia Height: 4-6"

Growth Rate: medium

Class: evergreen

Remarks: White flowers in summer.

Trachelospermum asiaticum / ASIATIC JASMINE

Georgia's Hardy Zone: 7b, 8

Exposure: sun to semi-shade

Texture: fine

Normal Georgia Height: 4-6"

Growth Rate: medium

Class: evergreen

Remarks: Excellent ground cover.

Yucca filamentosa / ADAM'S NEEDLE or BEARGRASS*

Georgia's Hardy Zone: entire state

Exposure: sun

Texture: coarse

Normal Georgia Height: 2-3'

Growth Rate: slow

Class: evergreen

Remarks: White flower spikes in summer.

Zamia integrifolia / COONTIE PALM*

Georgia's Hardy Zone: 8b

Exposure: sun to shade

Texture: coarse

Normal Georgia Height: 2-3'

Growth Rate: slow

Class: evergreen cycad

Remarks: Accent plant, native ground cover.

* Denotes native Georgia plant.
** Can be grown in full sun in north Georgia with proper care. Should have partial shade or irrigation in south Georgia.

Ornamental Grasses

drawing of a person standing among a variety of ornamental grasses

Ornamental grasses, long popular in certain European countries, are experiencing a rise in popularity among the southern gardeners. Grasses adapted to landscape plantings fall primarily into two categories: 1) the perennial grasses which with just a few exceptions, are large-growing, clump-type grasses; and 2) the annual grasses, utilized most often accents or drifts in the herbaceous border.

All of the grasses listed in this section are perennials except for two of the fountain grasses which are annuals. Except for the Blue Fescue (Festuca ovina glauca), a ground cover, all of the ornamental grasses are listed in this section.

Pampas grass is the most widely recognized ornamental grass. Pampas and the other selections in the ornamental group are used as specimen or accent plants, for contrast in shrub borders or herbaceous borders and for informal mass plantings.

All grasses die back to the ground in winter; consequently, all will need to be cut back to the ground before new growth emerges in spring. Despite this limitation, the taller-growing plants in this group make excellent seasonal screens and informal hedges. If properly handled, the flower or panicle portion of several selections make excellent material for dried arrangements.

Characteristics

Chasmanthium latifolium / UPLAND SEA OATS*

Georgia's Hardy Zone: entire state

Texture: fine

Height: 30-36"

Spread: 18-24"

Panicle Length: 8"

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Status and Revision History
Published on Jun 6, 2003
In review Feb 24, 2009
In review Jan 5, 2010
Re-published with minor revisions on Feb 28, 2010
Reviewed on Feb 13, 2013
Reviewed on Mar 28, 2017