The Southeastern United States generally includes the states of Georgia, Kentucky, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Florida. These southeastern states range from United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Hardiness Zones 5 to 11. Gardeners in this region should select winter plants according to their USDA Zone, the plant's bloom time, potential problems and intended use. Various plants thrive in the Southeastern U.S. during the winter.
Winter jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum), a vine in the olive family (Oleaceae), naturally occurs in China and generally performs well in USDA Zones 6 to 10. Winter jasmine reaches up to 15 feet in length and 6 feet in width. Southeastern gardeners should plant this vine where it receives full winter sun. Winter jasmine grows best in moist, sandy loams. Bright yellow flowers appear during late winter, contrasting nicely with the bluish-green stems. Japanese beetles sometimes feed on the foliage. Gardeners often use winter jasmine as ground cover or train the vine to climb support structures.
The pansy (Viola x wittrockiana), an herbaceous perennial belonging to the violet family (Violaceae), typically performs well in Southeastern USDA Zones 6 to 10. Pansies reach 6 to 9 inches in height with spreads ranging from 9 to 12 inches. Pansies bloom in a variety of vibrant colors, including red, pink, purple, yellow or blue. Southeastern gardeners can plant pansies in the fall to enjoy late winter blooms. These plants prefer humus-rich, moist soils in partially shady to fully sunny locations. Snails and slugs sometimes eat the leaves. Pansies work well in containers, window boxes and flowerbeds.
Wtnter honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima), a bush in the Caprifoliaceae plant family, comes from China and thrives in USDA Zones 5 to 9. Winter honeysuckle matures between 6 and 8 feet in height with slightly larger spreads. This shrub prefers well-drained soils in fully sunny locations. Winter jasmine blooms fragrant, white flowers starting in late winter. The green leaves tend to be evergreen in Southeastern gardens.
Fragrant wintersweet (Chimonanthus praecox) grows well in Southeastern USDA Zones 6 to 9. This deciduous shrub prefers well-drained soils in semi-shady to fully sunny locations. This slow-growing plant reaches between 10 and 15 feet in height with slightly smaller spreads. Fragrant, white to yellow flowers feature purple centers and bloom from late winter through early spring. The dark green leaves turn yellowish-green in the autumn.
Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana), a deciduous shrub in the Hamamelidaceae plant family, reaches 20 to 30 feet in length and 20 to 25 feet in height. The leaves feature green, smooth upper surfaces, and lighter green, hairy undersurfaces. These leaves turn an attractive yellow color in the autumn. Fragrant flower clusters bloom from late fall through the winter. This shrub prefers moist, slightly acidic soils in sunny positions. Witch hazel performs well in Southeastern USDA Zones 5 to 9. Home gardeners often plant witch hazel in shrub borders and naturalized landscapes.
Camellias (Camellia japonica) add color to Southeastern gardens from late winter through the early spring. A member of the tea family (Theaceae), camellias feature green foliage and vibrantly colored blooms. The flowers feature purple, yellow, pink, red or white petals surrounding yellow centers. This plant likes moist, acidic soils in partially shady positions. This Asian native plant performs well in USDA Hardiness Zones 6 to 9. Mature camellia plants reach between 7 and 12 feet in height with slightly smaller spreads. Southeastern gardeners often use camellias as hedges and borders.