Due to the temperate climate of the South, flowers are in abundance nearly all year long. There are numerous tried and true Southern flowers, most of which can tolerate hot, humid weather and require regular water. In general, the South is defined as U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 to 11, and includes states as far north as Missouri and Tennessee and as far south as Florida and Alabama. The northern and central part of the region may be susceptible to frost, while the southern part is tropical.
The common camellia (Camellia japonica) is hardy in zones 6 to 10, making it an excellent choice for any part of the South. This plant, also known as the Japanese camellia, can be a shrub or small tree, and older plants can reach up to 20 feet high, though 12 feet is more the norm in home landscapes. Camellias produce large blooms, up to 5 inches across, in mostly warm shades, including oranges, pinks, reds and whites. The bold, sturdy flowers are often used in corsages.
Camellia plants have rich, green foliage and shrubs are full. Plants thrive in filtered sun to shade and with regular to moderate water.
A member of the Liliaceae family, but not part of the Lilium genus, common daylilies (Hemerocallis fulva) are hardy in zones 5 to 10 and may be planted all over the South. These perennials have sword-shaped groups of leaves from which individual stems grow. Flowers are star-shaped and have orange-red blooms that may reach 5 inches across. Plants bloom in summer. This daylily can grow to 6 feet and is hardy enough to use in high-traffic areas. Daylilies thrive in full sun to light shade and require regular water.
According to the Sunset National Garden Book, roses (Rosa) are the most-loved and widely planted shrub in warmer parts of the world. Roses, which are available in a rainbow of colors and a variety of sizes, may be planted successfully throughout the South, though in the hottest climates, should be planted in light shade and get ample water.
As the culture of roses has evolved, they have become easier to maintain--some varieties are nearly drought tolerant and disease resistant. But roses have also lost some of their fragrance through hybridizing, so look for an old-world variety if you want a scent in addition to showy blooms. Roses thrive in full shade and require regular water. Spent blooms should be deadheaded and plants require pruning to keep shape.