20 Drought-Tolerant Native Plants for Southern Gardens
When it comes to finding new species to plant in our gardens, we often turn to native plants. They're well suited to our environment and can stand up to the heat and drought of Southern summers. Why plant native plants? The U.S. Forest Service says, "Native plants are adapted to the local climate and soil conditions where they naturally occur. These important plant species provide nectar, pollen, and seeds that serve as food for native butterflies, insects, birds and other animals." We've gathered twenty native plants in this list that will bring attractive blooms, foliage, and fruits to your Southern garden. These drought-tolerant, Southeastern-native flowers and trees are a pleasure to tend and, as a plus, thrive in even the hottest summer temperatures.
These pretty plants may be prostrate or upright. They like full sun and are often seen growing on dunes, hence their common name, beach sunflower.
This fun plant has clusters of purple berries that appear in late summer and fall. It grows best in sun or light shade and can reach 6 feet tall.
This dainty wildflower brings some brightness to the landscape thanks to its golden petals that resemble those of daisies.
Native red columbine grows in rocky woodlands and produce delicate red-and-yellow flowers loved by bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.
This shrub is a butterfly and hummingbird favorite. It blooms all summer and thrives in full sun. In the right conditions, it can grow from 8-10 feet tall.
This sweet flower is a Southeastern native that grows to 2 feet high. It likes full sun and sandy soil, and with the right conditions is a long bloomer, bringing yellow blooms to the garden for several months.
This is a classic pine of the Southeast. It has graceful, long needles. As for its growing conditions, it likes plenty of sun and deep, moist soil.
This native shrub has big green leaves that resemble those of oaks alongside large conical clusters of flowers that fade from white or cream to pink and purple.
Known for their big drooping leaves and edible green fruit (also known as pawpaws), these trees are native to and can be found throughout the United States.
This perennial produces dainty yellow or white flowers and attracts pollinators. It's best grown in full sun or part shade and is often seen as a wildflower.
This native grass grows from 3-4 feet tall. It tolerates sun or light shade. It's a popular landscaping plant because its very showy plumes appear in early fall.
This is a fast-spreading ground cover with showy blooms. It grows best in sun and can reach 2-3 inches tall.
This native plant is tolerant of the salt and the sea, making it great for coastal gardens. It produces pink flowers and is sometimes called beach morning glory.
This bright blooming plant has vibrant red flowers loved by hummingbirds and butterflies. It's extremely drought tolerant.
Silver Saw Palmetto
Serenoa repens 'Cinerea'
This popular palm-shaped plant grows from 6-7 feet tall and wide. It's versatile and can tolerate both sun and light shade. It's also tolerant of tough temps and is hardy to 15 degrees.
This blooming plant is a Southeastern native with a long blooming season. It likes sun or shade and blooms in several colors.
This fast-growing native shrub has fragrant leaves that smell of licorice when crushed. They can reach heights of 20-25 feet tall.
These blooming plants, also known as crinum lilies or string lilies, grow in standing water and swampy areas such as streams and bogs. They are drought resistant when conditions deem it necessary.
This twining vine, also known as coral honeysuckle, produces tube-shaped red and coral flowers in spring and summer. It likes the sun and is a favorite of hummingbirds.
This vine, also known as swamp jasmine, can be found in wet environments and is known for its small yellow flowers, which appear in spring and fall. It appreciates regular water but can survive dry spells.