Landscaping your garden with plants native to your state has many benefits. Typically, native plants are easier to grow since they are adapted to the local soils and climate conditions. They also provide food and shelter for native wildlife, such as butterflies and birds. In Georgia, a vast number of plants are considered native. They include plants such as purple coneflowers, Virginia creepers and piedmont azaleas. Most Georgia native plants are planted in the spring after the last frost.
Look at a list of native plants to Georgia. The Georgia Native Plant Society has a list of many native plants on its website, as does University of Georgia Cooperative Extension. Native plant lists are typically not all-inclusive and usually do not include rare or endangered plants. Therefore, look at several to give you a more comprehensive list.
Know which USDA plant hardiness zone that you live in. Georgia contains zones 6b to 8b, with average winter minimum temperatures between minus 5 degrees F to 20 degrees F. Visit the National Gardening Association website to search your zone by ZIP code.
Go to your local nursery. Georgia nurseries carry most plants on the native list. Alternatively, visit an online nursery or peruse a nursery catalog.
Select plants that are hardy to your zone. Even though many Georgia native plants grow well throughout the state, you should still check to see if your zone is among the zones listed on the description or tag that accompanies your plant. There is often a big difference between plants that can survive winters in zone 8b and those that can survive the winters in 6b.
Verify that the plants are nursery propagated. According to the Georgia Native Plant Society, all plants that you purchase should be grown in a nursery and not harvested from the wild.
Purchase your plants. Online and through a catalog, check to see if there is a warranty with your purchase. In person, choose only plants that look healthy and do not have broken, diseased or damaged parts.