Winter Plants in the South

Defined on the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map as Zones 7 and higher, the South includes states as far north as Virginia and Tennessee and as far south as Florida and Louisiana. Though the climates in these areas differ--lows in Zone 7 can reach 0 degrees F while the low in Zone 11 is 40--there are many plants that thrive throughout the region in cooler weather, including some that bloom during the winter.


Amaryllis (Hippeastrum), which is grown from a bulb, is a popular winter flower in the South, as it may bloom to coincide with Christmas. Native to South Africa, amaryllis will bloom shortly after planting, often with several bold-colored, trumpet-shaped flowers on a single stem. Red is among the most popular colors. Most comfortable in full sun with regular watering, amaryllis can grow to 2 feet. Bulbs should be planted with the upper half of the bulb above the soil line and may be stored for the winter.


Popular in the mid-south, in regions such as North Florida, camellias (Camellia) are evergreen shrubs that also can be trained into small trees. There are more than 3,000 named varieties, according to the 1997 "Sunset National Garden Book," and many will bloom in mid- to late winter in the South. Camellias are available in a variety of colors from hot pink to white, and striped, bicolor blooms are also available. Camellias thrive in shady or filtered sun areas with regular watering and well-draining, rich soil.


An excellent cut flower used in bouquets, statice (Limonium) is also known as "sea lavender" for its deep purple blooms. A perennial in the South, statice has a long stem with a wide, leathery leaf that grows the length of the stem. Small, delicate, almost papery flowers bloom in clusters at the top of each stem. As the bloom ages, it will become white in the center. Statice, which is a long-lasting cut flower, also works well as a dried flower and may be clipped and hung upside down to dry out. Statice should be planted in full sun with moderate water.

Keywords: Cold-weather plants, Southern winter blooms, Amaryllis, Camellia, Statice, Winter garden Florida

About this Author

J.D.Chi is a professional journalist who has covered sports for more than 20 years at newspapers all over the U.S. She has covered major golf tournaments and the NFL as well as writing about travel, health and other issues. Chi received her bachelor's degree in professional writing from Carnegie Mellon University and is working toward her master's in journalism.