5 Choice Plants For Lowcountry Gardens

With the growing season right around the corner, it’s exciting to think about all the wonderful new plants that might find their way into the garden. Here are a few of my favorites based on their success in my Lowcountry garden. Will they all grow well for you? Each of these are from here and like certain growing conditions that may or may not work in your garden. Knowing what your conditions are will help you make the right choices.

Horse Mint, Monarda punctata can be found growing along the roadsides and open fields in sandy, dry soil throughout the Lowcountry. I’ve photographed it flowering on James Island and Folly Beach in early fall in full flower after extremely dry summers. This full sun perennial grows 2′ tall. Although I have not tried it in wet soil, my best guess is it would not like it too much. Normal sandy garden soil found in most local gardens will make this plant happy. Keep it on the dry side.

The partially pink to lavender flower parts called “bracts” are seen from a distance. The intricate patterns on the flower are prevelent up close.

Even though this one isn’t from here, I call it the adopted brother. Found naturally in Texas, the swamp hibiscus, Hibiscus coccineus grows quite successfully in full sun and normal garden conditions. It has the added benefit of liking wet feet. Bogs are an excellent place to grow this 6-9′ flowering perennial. The developing seed heads and the plant’s structure, a silhouette of upright branches, are added features in late fall and winter.

Narrowleaf blue-eyed grass, Sisyrinchium angustifolius is a fantastic filler evergreen groundcover flowering in mid-spring here in the Lowcountry. It seems to grow much better and look lush when given a spot that is normally on the wet side. I like moving this around the garden in those overtly wet spots that need a little bit of green. It is easy to pull up and move when needed.

The swamp sunflower, Helianthus angustifolius, offers the gardener a blast of fall flowers unlike any that time of year. I expect them to begin flowering around State Fair time each year. This perennial favorite grows naturally on ditch banks and wet spots where water will pool during the wet times of the year. As a garden-worthy plant, it too gains respect for ease of care. To keep it from reaching 9-10′ in the garden, I cut it down by half in early July, giving it plenty of time to recover and set flowers in fall without all the height. If the height is acceptable, consider creative staking methods to keep it from falling over during a late season thunderstorm.

Purple coneflower, Echinacea purpurea, is one of the most carefree perennials. Growing in full sun or partial afternoon shade, the plant likes a normal garden situation. Bees and butterflies like this one for a nectar source and the dried flower heads are sought after by the tiny bird species found locally.

Tell me about your favorite plants that happen to be from here…………….

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