Which Are Noncombustible Plants for Landscaping in the South?

The term noncombustible plant is a misnomer. Any plant will burn with enough heat. According to the Four Directions Institute, however, noncombustible plants have foliage and stems which "don't contribute significantly to the fuel or intensity of a fire." Landscaping with fire resistant plants will help you keep your house safe if there is a wildfire burning through your neighborhood. Noncombustible plants around your house will not feed the fire as it approaches, and will ideally cause it to bypass your home or burn out altogether.

Mojave Verbena

Native to the Texas plains and the Mojave desert, the Mojave verbena (Verbena gooddingii) is a delicate plant at home in the Deep South and considered noncombustible by the Four Directions Institute. Low and spindly, this fragrant plant puts out pale purple flowers from February through November. The Mojave verbena plant requires virtually no water, and attracts both bees and butterflies with its pollen.

Sweet Woodruff

Sweet woodruff (Gallium odoratum) is a lush, green perennial ground cover approved for fire-safe gardens by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Although it is not native to the American South, this species of fire resistant plant will do well in shady areas of the south. It becomes dormant in the summer heat and may die back somewhat, but will regrow in Autumn. It flowers with white blossoms in May or the beginning of June.

Mountain Maple

Native to the United States and widely distributed over the country including much of the south, the mountain maple (Acer spicatum) is a highly adaptable deciduous tree listed as fire resistant by the Maryland DNR. This tree grows a manageable 35 feet or less and has maroon bark, spiky flowers and the characteristic broad, green maple leaves. Aside from being a fire resistant plant, mountain maple is an excellent tree for preventing erosion on steep slopes or near streams.

Keywords: noncumbustible plants, fire resistant plants, fire safety