New Orleans is full of Southern charm, but the city showcases more than jazz clubs, beignets, and Mardi Gras parades. New Orleans has beautiful architecture and stunning plants and flowers that are native to Louisiana and the Big Easy.
The Louisiana Native Plant Society and the Native Plant Initiative of Greater New Orleans (NPI) keep track of the indigenous greenery in the state. Flowers, plants, and trees dress up wildlife preserves, parks, businesses and those stately homes and manors you see in and around the French Quarter. Here are some of the native plants for New Orleans that will thrive in your garden.
Popular Purples and Blossoming Blues
You’ll see pretty purple blooms growing in flower beds, pots, and gardens. The purple Louisiana iris flowers around Easter and grows to about 2-3 feet tall in full or partial sunlight.
Louisiana phlox is abundant in many areas of the Bayou State. A pale lavender, this wildflower thrives in bright and filtered sunlight as it blooms in the spring. You’ll see Louisiana phlox planted as a groundcover in local flowerbeds.
Blue moon phlox, in the same family as sweet William, has dark green leaves and clusters of lavender-blue flowers that open in springtime. Well suitable as a groundcover under deciduous trees.
From purple to blue, the Blue frills stokesia (Stoke’s aster) produces a lilac-colored bloom. This light-purple flower with the ‘blue” name is about three to four inches wide. It’s a tough perennial; drought-resistant and able to keep insects at bay.
Blue Ohio spiderwort has minute clusters of purple flowers on blue-green stems. This species is a draw for bees and other pollinators.
Blue mistflower is a flat-topped bloom of bluish-purple. It’s a native perennial that attracts bees and other pollinators.
Robust Reds and Perfect Pinks
Cardinal flowers have spikes of bright red tubular blooms that attract hummingbirds and butterflies. You’ll see them along streams, marshes and bogs. They grow in partial shade to full sunlight.
Crimson beauty creeping phlox attracts butterflies to its bright colors. With deep red-pink flowers, this plant is a nice groundcover for well-draining, sunny environments.
Eastern redbud is a medium-sized deciduous tree that produces clusters of pink-to-reddish flowers. Its peapods are edible. The tree grows best in full sunlight.
Cyclamint Louisiana iris, with its deep fuchsia purple flowers, blooms in March through May. It spreads in most types of garden soil, preferring full to partial sunlight.
Carolina yellow jessamine/jasmine is a vine with bright yellow blooms that appear at the beginning of spring. Growing best in full to partial sunlight, this evergreen can get up to 20 feet tall.
Compass plant sprouts sunflower-like blooms on hardy stems with dark-green foliage. Butterflies and pollinators flock to this plant, which grows up to 8 feet tall.
Dwarf mouse-eared coreopsis is an evergreen perennial that produces yellow daisies in late spring. It spreads into a groundcover in full to partial sunlight.
Fortune finder Louisiana iris, with deep golden yellow and violet flowers, changes its hue to a creamy yellow as it blossoms. This plant flowers between March and May.
Cool Corals and Wild Whites
Coral trumpet honeysuckle produces deep red, coral and yellow flowers from spring to fall. Hummingbirds love these blooms – the greenery hangs nicely over fences, trellises, and arbors.
Crimson-Eyed Rosemallow is a perennial hibiscus with 6-8-inch-wide white or pink flowers with deep red centers. They thrive in moist garden soils and wetter environments. The foliage attracts butterflies.
Magnolia is last on our list, but definitely not least. The Louisiana legislature named the magnolia the state flower in 1990. You can’t go very far without seeing one of these white or pink blossoming trees in the summer. The sweet fragrance of the flowers cover the streets and historical sights throughout the city.
The Importance of Native Plants in New Orleans
Native plants in New Orleans are essential for repairing endangered ecosystems. They provide habitats for pollinators and local wildlife. Native greenery includes switchgrass, partridge pea, eastern gamagrass, smooth cordgrass, little and big bluestems, and longleaf pine. The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service encourages you to plant Louisiana’s indigenous grasses to prevent soil erosion. Native grasses and flowers also protect water resources. Since they’ve been growing here for hundreds of years, these plants have adapted to the local and soil and need little maintenance. They’re also resistant to pests and disease, and quite hardy against drought. The native plants for New Orleans will help the environment and save you a lot of time and money.
Interested in more information about New Orleans lawns and landscapes? See our New Orleans, LA lawn care page.