Which Plants Can I Grow In Charlotte?
A major commercial hub and hospitable city, Charlotte has no shortage of history and culture within its welcoming limits. With landmarks and museums that cover everything from sports to historic events, such as the famous NASCAR Hall of Fame, thousands are drawn here every year for so many reasons. Believe it or not, being an aspiring gardener is a reason as well! Charlotte falls into one of the most robust growing areas in the U.S, providing amazing opportunities for all sorts of plants! Let’s take a more thorough look at what makes Charlotte a gardener’s paradise.
Which Plants Grow Well in Charlotte?
Charlotte benefits from milder weather, and that means you’ll have no shortage of options to consider for your lawn and garden. A great place to start are your local parks, which are filled with perfect examples of plants that are already thriving in their native soil. By being aware of what plants are more sensitive to cold or sunlight while considering your personal yard’s climate and features, you’ll find amazing results for whatever plants you choose. Even overwintering doesn’t require extensive time commitments, even further extending the number of plants you can grow! Here are just a few plants that have proven their merit for the area:
English Ivy Gold Child (Hedera Helix 'Variegata’): With green, star-shaped leaves ringed in white, this natural climber loves hanging baskets as well as areas where it can live up to its reputation, sometimes to heights of 10 feet! It loves the morning sun when outside. Compliment that warm, early sun with dappling shade for the rest of the day to make it happy. Bring it inside if temperatures drop below 35°F, letting it grow in medium, indirect light. English Ivy Glacier and English Ivy Green Ideal are two variants of this plant that thrive in similar conditions. They both love climbing, making them great options for patios or trellises, both with their own unique patterns and vibes!
English Lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia): A lovely, flowering herb, there are several varieties to choose from for your Charlotte garden, but the English Lavender variant is particularly hardy and well-suited to the area. Capable of growing up to three feet tall with beautiful, purple blooms in late spring, their leaves take on various shades of green depending on how cold it gets. Used in teas and baking, it’s also a staple of potpourri for its delightful, floral aroma.
Liriope (Liliope Muscari): A substitute for grass in some cases, this plant prefers dry and sandy soils for its purple flowers and evergreen leaves to fully thrive. It also likes sunny to partial shade. If you’re looking for dense groundcover, this is a perfect plant to beautify the borders around your garden!
Cold season vegetables are great for the Charlotte area, and here are just a few you can try planting at the beginning of February:
You’re also in luck with warm season crops, many of which thrive quite well in the Charlotte climate. Especially helpful since they often won’t wither in the summers. And if temperatures do start to climb too high, drip irrigation and shade cloths will ensure your garden lasts through it all. Here are a few veggies to consider:
Best Landscaping Plants in Charlotte
A common challenge for any gardener in Zones 7 to 8 is finding plants hardy enough to survive a freeze. However, you’re in luck with Charlotte, as there are several options, whatever the intentions for your growing season! It’s always helpful to see what’s native in your area, especially because while lots of plants are hardy enough to survive the cold of Zone 7, you should always check to see what’s most compatible with your soil and humidity for best results. Here are a few to get you started:
Canna Lily (Canna Indica): Starting as colorful bulbs, these plants are quite popular largely because of their wonderful varieties. They are quite hardy, even able to be left out over winter months, and only need to be considered for lifting and overwintering in the most extreme cold. If that’s the case, replant after the last frost. Know that they come in the Bengal Tiger (Pretoria), Exquisite Cleopatra, and the Golden Speckled Tenerife variety!
Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum aethiopicum): An exceptionally hardy plant for Charlotte, this one provides lovely evergreen vines that bring green to your garden year-round. While this plant needs moist soil, humidity, and low light, it is hardy to cold snaps far below what will occur in this region, making this plant a great choice for any decorative touches you may want for your lawn or garden! Consider this plant for a partially shaded patio or a corner of your landscaping where trees or a fence may cause too much shade.
Which Plants are Native to Charlotte?
Utilizing native plants for your lawn or garden, either indoors or outside, is a great way of making your life easier as a gardener with plants that have already proven to flourish in the area. What’s more, you’re playing a key part in the local ecosystem! Preventing soil erosion and creating habitats and reliable food sources for the wildlife in your area is beneficial for obvious reasons, but many more on a broader spectrum that contribute to the overall health and sustainability of life in your area. See if you can implement some endangered plant species that might need your help, and if you’re looking for more options, here are a few ideas:
Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis): A native plant you’ll often find in forests or along riverbanks, this lovely perennial is capable of growing up to 6 feet tall and blooms from May until October! Hummingbirds love this plant for its ample supply of nectar, and you’ll find it grows best in areas of equal sun and shade with slightly moist soil. The vivid, red hues of its blooms are sure to make your garden pop!
Beautyberry (Callicarpa): With long, arching branches and bright foliage, this plant also blooms with vibrant clusters of purple berries in fall and winter. For this reason, it’s a favorite for local wildlife, easily accessible by pollinators with its height, which can grow up to five feet! It thrives best in partial shade, and is an ideal shrub for edge planting. Reasonable water and temperature management make this low-maintenance plant ideal for providing color when most other plants are dormant.
Other Plants that Grow Best in Charlotte
Carolina Lupine (Thermopsis Villosa): A lover of sunshine and well-drained soil, this flower proudly sports spires of yellow flowers from May to June to the top its branches. Great for colory variety, bordering, or adding dimension and height, it can grow up to 6 feet tall! Also known as Aaron’s Rod, you’ll often find this plant in mountain settings, proving its adaptivity to any number of climates.
Winterberry Holly (Ilex Verticillata): Known to grow in Florida, Missouri, and natively in Washington DC, Winterberry Holly loses its leaves in the fall, leaving behind its bright red clusters of berries that are easy to see on the bare plant. These berries are abundant and a great food source for birds who love to perch on their branches. This variety is also a great way to add vivid color to your garden in Autumn, as well as helping out your local wildlife!
Charlotte Gardening Tips
Charlotte, while not the ideal tropical zone, is still rife with growing opportunities since many plants can easily handle its warm summers. With a prolonged growing season, keep in mind planting too early or too late can lead to frozen plants, so pay attention to your weather by consulting your local Farmer’s Almanac or similar resource. Some other things to consider are raised beds, cold frames, and mulch depending on your intentions, and shade cloth will protect your plants from the more intense periods of prolonged heat and sunlight.