Although the definition of the Southeast region sometimes varies, the states most commonly thought to be in the Southeast are Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. With warm temperatures in the summer and mild temperatures in the winter, it is not hard to find plants for landscaping in the Southeast and many of them thrive there.
Deciduous holly (Ilex deciduas) is a perennial shrub or small tree that grows from 15 to 30 feet in height and is sometimes known as the Possumhaw holly or winterberry. It has dark-green, serrated, oval-shaped leaves that are shiny in appearance and grow on pale gray outward growing branches. Although the deciduous holly blooms with small white flowers in March through May, it is better known for its bright reddish-orange berries that remain on the female trees through the winter. It prefers sun to part shade. It grows well in most of the Southeast, where its berries are a favorite of birds. The deciduous holly is recommended for USDA Hardiness Zones 5 to 8.
Downy Phlox (Phlox pilosa) is a clumping perennial that grows from 12- to 24-inches tall and has a 12-inch spread. In March through May, it blooms with five-petal purple to purplish-pink flowers that are quite fragrant and has 3 inch oval-shaped leaves that grow on soft hairy stalks. Downy phlox likes shade to part shade and dry sandy soil that is well drained. It is commonly seen in many parts of the Southeast and is sought out by birds and butterflies. The downy phlox is recommended for USDA Hardiness Zones 4 to 8.
The redbud (Cercis canadensis) is a deciduous tree that grows from 15- to 30-feet tall and has a purplish trunk with spreading branches that give it a somewhat umbrella- or mushroom-like appearance. In spring, it blooms with clusters of pink flowers that cover the branches before the leaves appear. The flowers of the redbud are edible and their somewhat bitter taste adds an interesting touch to salads or pastry items. It prefers part shade to shade and does best in rich, moist well-drained soil. The redbud is available in much of the Southeast and has three variations: Eastern redbud (canadensis), Texas redbud (texensis) and Mexican redbud (mexicana). It is recommended for USDA Hardiness Zones 4 to 9.