Which plants can I grow in Nashville?
Capital of Tennessee and one of the homes of country music, Nashville is a gem in terms of trendy scenes and culture. With any number of historic venues, locals and visitors alike have no shortage of entertainment, and the southern hospitality is sure to make any feel welcome in this city. Particularly welcome are any aspiring gardeners looking to put the beneficial climate to full use, as Nashville falls a great area for gardening! Fruit, warm and cold season veggies, flowers, and lots of options for landscaping are all options here, so let's dive right in to see what makes Nashville perfect for all of your growing aspirations:
Which Plants Grow Well in Nashville?
With it's warm, welcoming climate, finding all manner of plants for your garden will only be difficult in terms of the variety available to you! A great place to find inspiration and insight is at one of the city's local parks, nurseries, or gardens. They're filled with plants that have adapted to the climate and proven they can thrive with minimal maintenance in the native soil. By staying cognizant of any extremes in heat or cold, you'll have a concrete growing season that's sure to yield abundant growth, especially since overwintering is far easier in Nashville than in other areas. To get you started, we have collected a few suggestions for you to consider!
Indian Pink (Spigelia marilandica): This flowering perennial is really easy to grow in Nashville as long as you put it in well-draining soil in partial or full shade! You will often see this plant under the shade of trees or along streams, with its unique blooms showing in June. The flowers have a red flower with a yellow interior, sprouting into a star shape near the top. This unique shape adds beauty to any space and does excellent in areas of your yard shaded by trees, fences, or overhangs.
English Ivy Gold Child (Hedera helix 'Variegata'): Green leaves ringed in white, all with a striking, star-like shape distinguish this plant along with an ability and readiness to climb up to heights of 10 feet if conditions are right! Perfect for trellises, railings, ladders, or lattices, this plant loves the morning sun with dappling shade for the rest of the day. Bring it inside if temperatures drop below 35°F. Keep it growing in medium, indirect light if that's the case. English Ivy Glacier and English Ivy Green Ideal are cousins to English Ivy Gold Child, and climbing runs in the family. Both of these variants love it just as much as their cousin, making them just as viable for dimension and character for railings, ladders, or patios with their equally unique vibes and patterns.
If you have a taste for cold season vegetables, you're in one of the best places around! Nashville is the perfect place for these plants. When February rolls around, here are a few you can try:
- Swiss Chard
And if warm season vegetables are more to your liking, you're no worse off with them than their cold-loving relatives. Uniquely suited for the area with their ability to withstand hotter weather which tends to wither other plants, they're also easily managed in more extreme heat waves with drip irrigation and shade cloth. Try some of these in your garden:
- Peppers (Hot and Sweet)
Best Landscaping Plants in Nashville
Nashville has a wide variety of plants that can survive both the hotter and colder months of the area, all of which are readily available for you to view at a local park or garden. It's never a bad idea to learn what you can from the immediate surroundings, as these plants have already proven to thrive in the native soil as well as the climate, making your life that much easier. However, if you're still looking for ideas, here are a few that are up to the task:
Italian Jasmine (Jasminum humile): The lovely, evergreen vines of this plant will bring a lush vibe to your garden year round, and when it's yellow flowers bloom, color will be abundant. A big climber, this plant is perfect for decoration and character for your lawn or garden, so use ladders, lattices, and railings for its full effect!
Canna Lily (Canna indica): What starts as a colorful bulb grows into a lovely, blooming flower that comes in a wide variety of beautiful colors. Best of all, this plant is a tough one, capable of withstanding lifting in case overwintering is needed, but able to endure most winter months in its own right! Just be sure to replant after the last frost if you do need to bring it inside.
Northern Sea Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium): Looking for a decorative grass? The Northern Sea Oat is a perennial with unique, flat foliage! It has small spiked leaf-looking seed-heads that give this plant its name. The leaves are a very dark green and are pointed at the end, being very similar to bamboo leaves! This plant is self-seeding, so it is important to cut the seed heads off to prevent overgrowth, however, these made excellent decorative arrangements when dried, making it a win-win!
Which Plants are Native to Nashville?
Using native plants for your lawn or garden is a great plan for success. Not only have these plants already proven to thrive in the area, but all play a crucial role in maintaining the local ecosystem. Birds, butterflies, and other pollinators need them to survive with the reliable food and habitat they provide, and native plants are also some of the best at preventing soil erosion. What's more, you might even be able to lend a hand to any endangered varieties that might be in your area if you're able to plant a few of their kind in your garden! Here are a just a few who call Nashville home:
Yellowwood Tree (Cladrastis kentukea): The Tennessee Bicentennial tree and member of the pea family makes a lovely addition to any home with its fragrant, white, nectar-filled flowers that bees absolutely love. Blooming between May and June, they can grow up to 50 feet in height with low branches! Resistant to disease, pests, and the native climate, this plant will bring beautiful dimension to your area.
Common Sweetshrub (Calycanthus floridus): Another beautiful, Nashville native, maroon blooms eventually brighten in color as they open and grows best in full sun despite a natural habitat of deep forest canopy, meaning you can plant this one in sun or shade! With a pleasant, spicy aroma, even its bark can be used as a substitute for cinnamon. Resistant to pests, the local climate, and several soil compositions, it's a perfect, low-maintenance addition for your garden.
Other Plants that Grow Best in Nashville
Purple Horsemint (Monarda citriodora): Also known as Lemon Beebalm, this plant is actually part of the mint family. Driving around Nashville, you have probably seen the pops of this deep purple plant on the roadside, with its tall bloom spikes peaking up above the green foliage. The leaves of this plant give off a lemony scent, giving the plant one of its names. It doesn't need a ton of water, and prefers full sun to partial shade. Bees and butterflies love this plant and can grow to form big colonies over time.
Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum aethiopicum): A great shade option, the Maidenhair fern has delicate green leaves that will liven up your darker spaces! This plant gets its name from the Greek word for "unwetted" due to how rainwater runs off the fronds and leaves. Like many ferns, this one needs moist soil and high humidity, as well as plenty of shade!
Nashville Gardening Tips
With plants that are suited for survival through both warmer summers and milder winters, it's never a bad idea to make preparations regardless of what are typically accommodating growing seasons. Consult your local Farmer's Almanac or similar resource to thoroughly refine plans for your growing season, especially because planting too late or early can result in frozen plants in this region. Cold frames, raised beds, and mulching will see your plants through the colder weather, and drip irrigation and shade cloth will help in hotter times.
When Should I Plant My Garden in Nashville?
Nashville lands in Zone 7a of the USDA Hardiness scale, and that means you'll have the opportunity to plant as early as February! Seedlings can also start indoors before the first frost, and April is a perfect month for planting annuals in Nashville as well. Just be sure to check your area specifically, as frost can vary from region to region, and you don't want a surprise freeze hurting your plants!
Planting in Zone USDA Zone 7a
Zone 7 is split into two subzones like all others on the USDA Hardiness scale, each distinct for its average winter temperatures. 7a has a range of 0°F to 5°F, and 7b a range of 5°F to 10°F. Because of this, overwintering plays a larger role in this region, and perennials are a great choice with their ability to weather harsher colds. Mulching and cold boxing are easy solutions to major drops in temperatures, but such instances are the exception to the rule that is the milder climate of Zone 7a!