If you really want to “go green,” the best place to start is in your garden. We’re not talking about the greenery, but rather the environmental importance of choosing native plants and flowers. Georgia native plants will thrive in Atlanta and attract the pollinators our gardens need. The best part? You don’t need a green thumb since native plants will flourish with little maintenance and water. Here’s a list of botanicals that grow naturally in Atlanta:
Contrary to its name, this is not an invasive weed, but rather a beautiful trumpet-shaped orange flower. Its dark, red spots attract hummingbirds, and its trumpet shape allows the birds to feed off the nectar. The plant does best in moist soil and can handle the sun and heat of Atlanta summers. Jewelweed goes dormant in the winter, then returns every summer with a burst of color.
When Jewelweed blooms: July-September.
This native flower resembles a daisy with white or light pink peddles with a yellow center that attracts bees. The flower also attracts flies and wasps, so it’s best planted away from your house. Bloodroot will bloom in early spring and go dormant during the heat of the summer. It gets its name for the red sap that Native Americans used for war paint and dye. Today that sap is used in medicines to fight inflammation and bacteria.
When Bloodroot blooms: Early April.
This flower needs little help adding a burst of red to your garden. It needs a little bit of room since it can grow 2½ feet wide and 4 feet tall. The butterflies and hummingbirds will visit often, but the deer tend to leave scarlet sage alone. Use this flower to line your walkway or at the back of your garden. It thrives in Atlanta’s hot summer sun.
When Scarlet Sage blooms: June-September
A true symbol of the South, magnolia trees offer a sweet fragrance and rich white, pink, purple, yellow, and red blooms. It prefers a fertile, slightly acidic soil. When planting a magnolia tree, it’s best to use organic mulch to keep the tree moist. The tree can reach a height of 30 to 80 feet, depending on which variety you choose. The sweetbay magnolia does best in shade, while the bigleaf variety prefers the summer sun.
When Magnolia Trees bloom: March-April
Cameo Rue Anemone
The name comes from the flower’s short clumps of miniature pink flowers, which resemble sea anemones. The cameo rue anemone looks dainty, but it’s a hardy plant that’s easy to grow. It’s a great plant for a rock garden and prefers well-drained soil. Enjoy the flowers while you can. The plant goes dormant by summer.
When Cameo Rue Anemone blooms: April-June.
Cinderella’s Pink Swamp Milkweed
Don’t be surprised to see monarch butterflies hanging around your yard if you plant this perennial with stunning pink flowers. As its name suggests, it does well in wet soil but can tolerate backyards with minimal water. The flowers are also great for cutting to use in centerpieces. If using in a bouquet, you may want to sear the ends to prevent the sap from leaking out.
When Cinderella’s Pink Swamp Milkweed blooms: July-September
We don’t have room to list the 250 trees and 4,000 plants that are native to Georgia. You can’t travel far without seeing a red cedar or live oak in someone’s yard. With all these choices, it’s tough to imagine why anyone would plant an invasive species. Plants that don’t grow naturally here threaten the ecosystem by crowding out the natives. By planting natives, you’ll be protecting the environment and the animals that need those plants to survive.
Are you curious to learn more ways of adding color to your landscape? Visit our Atlanta, GA page for more information.