The Best Native Landscape Plants

Native landscape plants encompass perennials, annuals, biennials, shrubs and trees. Growing varieties of native plants in the landscape preserves existing native flowers and plants. When choosing a native plant, always investigate its growing needs to ensure successful establishment and a flourishing growing season.

Carissa Holly

Carissa holly (Ilex cornuta 'Carissa') is an evergreen shrub that retains its foliage and color year-round to provide warmth to the landscape. Hardy, Carissa holly is both drought and heat tolerant and is low maintenance. It grows 3 to 4 feet tall and has a spread of 4 to 6 feet wide with a slow growth rate and coarse texture. The compact form on Carissa holly is rounded and dense to create a mounding display. The dark green, leather-like 2- to 3-inch-long leaves on Carissa holly shrubs come to a terminal spine at the end of each leaf. They grow best in full sun to part shade and tolerate a wide range of soil types. Carissa holly grows in USDA zones 7 to 9.

Purple Coneflower

Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) is a perennial flower that has a clumping growth habit and moderate growth rate. It grows 3 to 6 feet tall and has a spread of 1 to 3 feet wide. The 6-inch-wide, deep pink, daisy-like flowers have contrasting brown spiky disks or centers that attract butterflies to the garden. The lance-shaped, bright green leaves on purple coneflowers are basal and grow at the base of the plant. Purple coneflowers are hardy perennial plants that are tolerant of drought, humidity, heat and poor soils, creating the best native landscape plant. (See References 2) They have a long blooming season that begins in midsummer to last into midfall. To ensure a long blooming season, deadhead the spent blossoms as soon as they are visible. Plant purple coneflowers in full sun and well-drained, deep soil. They grow best in USDA zones 3 to 9.


Zinnia (Zinnia elegans) is a hardy annual flower that grows in all USDA zones. It has a clumping growth habit and vigorous growth rate to ensure the garden is in color in a short period of time. They grow 1 to 3 feet tall and wide and have upright, green stems that hold the double, semi-double or single flowerheads. The 2-inch-wide blossoms on zinnia grow in a wide range of colors including, purple, yellow, red, orange and pink and attract butterflies and hummingbirds to the garden. Zinnia flowers are drought- and deer-tolerant, creating an ideal landscape flower. They grow best in full sun and well-drained soil.

Keywords: best native plants, Carissa holly, purple coneflower, zinnia

About this Author

Callie Barber has been writing professionally since 2002. Barber's love for design and writing inspired her to create Design Your Revolution, a blog that shares creative and affordable ways to decorate indoor and outdoor living environments. Her articles have appeared on and Barber holds a Bachelors of Arts in international studies from the University of North Carolina.