Top 10 Alabama Native Plants You Should Know About

6 mins read
Alabama Native Plants
by billberryphotography / unlimphotos

Want to grow some Alabama native plants in the backyard of your house? Or need to do a project but could not find any suitable resources on them?

Then do not worry anymore because you have come to the right place. We bring to you an entire article dedicated to the best Alabama native plants and everything else that needs to be known about them.

So let’s begin then.

Top 10 Alabama Native Plants

A. Some tidbits about Alabama!!

Before starting about the native plants, we should have some basic information about Alabama and what geographical conditions prevail there.

Alabama is a state in the southeastern region of the United States. Tennessee surrounds it in the north, Georgia in the east, Florida and Gulf of Mexico in the south and the Mississippi in the west. Alabama has 2,400 kilometers of inland waterways which is the most of all the other states.

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Photo by June on Unsplash

Alabama’s climate can be considered temperate, with average temperatures ranging between 16°C – 19°C all year round. Rainfall is evenly distributed throughout the year. However, some extremities can be observed during the warmer seasons.

Bama soil is considered the official state soil. This deep, well-drained, moderately permeable soil covers more than 26 countries and is extensively used for crops, pastures, woodland, hay and other urban land uses.

Now, when we have some basic information about Alabama’s climatic conditions, let us know more about the native plants.

B. Alabama Native Plants

A plant is considered native when it occurs in a particular region or ecosystem without any human help.

Due to temperate weather and well-drained soil, Alabama has over 4000 different species of plants categorized as its native. However, listed down below are some of the most common and easy to grow.

1. Chrysogonum virginianum (Green-and-gold)

13541032 golden knees goldenstar or green and gold
by Elenaphotos21 / unlimphotos

Belonging to the Asteraceae family, this showy plant has yellow daisy-like flower heads growing over hairy heads.

It is a perennial herb with opposite, oval hairy leaves and star-shaped yellow clusters growing atop a tight clump of foliage.

This species of plant is highly variable as those found in the north are taller and upright. Whereas, on the other hand, species found in the south are prostrate and creeping.

Green and gold need well-drained but moist soil to grow on. Keep in mind that the pH of the soil needs to be less than 6.8. The blooming occurs sporadically from April to October, but it reaches its peak during May.

For propagation, you can use the method of softwood cuttings.

2. Xanthorhiza simplicissima (Yellowroot)

Belonging to the Ranunculaceae family, this plant has a mat-like appearance. The shrubs have erect and leggy stems rising to 3 feet and long roots that go very deep.

The small star-shaped flowers grow in the terminal end in a crowded, clustered way. Although generally green in color, the flowers can change into yellow, reddish-purple color during the fall.

These flowers do not have any specific growth criteria and can occur in gravels, sands and silts.

The blooming occurs in April and May, and by dividing the parent plant, it can easily be propagated further.

3.Stokesia laevis ( Stokes Aster)

39620570 stokesia laevis flower
by pippocarlot / unlimphotos

Next on the list of Alabama native plants is this low maintenance perennial, ground covering plant.

Belonging to the Asteraceae family, this flower consists of numerous blue florets heads from a basal cluster of dark green, lance-shaped leaves.

Stokes Aster needs moist, rich, well-drained and acidic soil to bloom. The blooming period is considered from May to September. However, it only blooms through summer, but you should cut off the flower before they seed.

Propagation methods generally used are root cutting, root division and seed plantation.

4. Vernonia fasciculata               (Ironweed)

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Photo from: Shutterstock

The stout, unbranched plant belonging to the Asteraceae family is next on the list of Alabama native plants.

The stem bears numerous, lance-shaped coarsely toothed dark green leaves. Upon which present are attractive densely clustered rose-purple flowers.

Fertile, moist soils are preferred, and it generally blooms between July to September.

5. Lonicera sempervirens (Coral honeysuckle)

Alabama native plants
Photo from: Shutterstock

The next plant on the Alabama Native Plants list is the high climbing twinning vine belonging to the Caprifoliaceae family.

It is a perennial vine consisting of oblong, semi-evergreen leaves followed by clusters of red, tubular blooms.

Coral honeysuckle requires light, good air circulation and adequate drainage to prevent powdery mildew. All types of soil, either lime or acidic, can be used for cultivation. Structural assistance is needed for the proper growth of the vine.

Blooming occurs from May to June, and they are usually red but can vary to yellow color.

6. Passiflora incarnata ( Passionflower)

Belonging to the Passifloraceae family, the passionflower is next on the list of Alabama native plants.

It is a perennial, herbaceous vine that climbs with axillary tendrils or sprawls along the ground.

The vine consists of petals and sepals which are wavy, crimped hair-like segments. It also has deciduous leaves that are dark green above and a little whitish below.

They do not require any specific conditions and can be grown on rich, non-saline clays, loans and sands.

Passionflower has abundant ornamental, medicinal and nutritional benefits.

7. Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern )

Did you know Christmas fern got its name because it remains green throughout the holiday seasons?

This robust, leathery fern with glossy, green fronds belonging to the Dryopteridaceae family is next on Alabama native plants list.

Christmas fern can be easily established and grown where conditions are right. It requires cool, moist, well-drained soil in the shade. It cannot stand clays soils and stagnant water.

Too much sun causes it to grow pale and stunted, and warm, moist sand is required for proper growth and development.

8. Thelypteris kunthii (Southern shield)

Next on the list of Alabama native plants is this fern belonging to the Thelypteridaceae family.

The fronds are lime to medium green in color, grow two and a half to three feet in height, and grow in all directions.

This is not a flowering plant and reproduces by spores. It can be grown on any soil for proper growth, and it does not get affected by poor drainage.

9. Antennaria plantaginifolia (Pussytoes)

Next on the list of Alabama Native plants is Pussytoes. It is a low, colony-forming, perennial herb.

Erect stem with basal leaves consists of a terminal cluster of fuzzy, rayless flower heads. The crowded flower heads resemble a cat’s feet, therefore, the common name.

It prefers dry woodlands with light, dappled shade. It can grow on any type of soil, and they are extremely drought tolerant.

The blooming period is from March and June, and differences between male and female flowers have been noticed.

Male flowers are purely white, whereas female flowers are slightly tinged with pink. In some species of Pussytoes, male flowers are rare and female flowers produce seeds without pollination.

10. Coreopsis lanceolate (Lance-leafed coreopsis)

Last but not least, on the list of Alabama native plants is the Lance-leafed coreopsis plant.

Lance leaves grow in small clumps. However, they form extensive colonies.

According to botanical gardens, lance-leaved coreopsis is the most common coreopsis and is very easy to grow. It is extremely drought-tolerant. However, it is not reliably perennial. The showy golden flowers look good in a vase and are a popular choice for pollinators.

Always keep in mind that Coreopsis needs frequent deadheading to bloom well in the summer.

C. Some Additional Information

Alabama native plants have been an increasingly popular choice for cultivated landscapes as they are not only necessary for well-being but are extremely beautiful to look at.

Native plants decrease the workload of a gardener and once they are established there require less attention to themselves.

As you have seen, most plants do not have specific conditions and can tend to be extremely drought and best tolerant. They also have a long life, which attributes further their popularity.

However, before sowing them, some information should be kept in mind.

1. Why should you plant native plants?

Suppose you are someone who lives in Alabama looking for plants to grow in your background. You might wonder why so much focus is given to the native plants?

  1. Native plants are better adapted to the soil, moisture and weather.
  2. As they are native to a place, they are better adapted and require fewer fertilizers and pesticides. Unlike some plants, most of them require less water supply.
  3. Unlike invasive plants, native plants do not destroy natural habitats, and they generally escape to another ecosystem.
  4. It supports wildlife and provides food and shelter for native birds and insects.

2. What to keep in mind?

To grow Alabama native plants, there must be some precautions that should be kept in mind.

  1. Clean up vegetable garden beds removing spent plants.
  2. Continue to mow and water lawns as required.
  3. Learn as much as you can about native plants and the conditions that require their proper growth and development.
  4. When sowing the seeds, remove all the invasive plants from the yard and local park.

There you go, everything you need to know Alabama native plants. Plant them, fill your backyard with colorful flowers and show others the magic of your green fingers.


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