Maryland falls within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Hardiness Zones 5 to 7. This state experiences a variety of climates and growing conditions. While the eastern part of the state experiences hot summers and cool winters, the western region enjoys mild summers and snowy winters. Maryland gardeners need to select plants depending on hardiness zone, mature size, intended use and general culture. The University of Texas at Austin's Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center cites various plants suited to Maryland landscapes.
The black-eyed susan, Maryland's state flower, belongs to the daisy family (Asteraceae) and naturally occurs in pastures and woodland margins across the state. This annual plant bears hairy stems, green leaves and cheerful flowers from June through October. These flowers reach up to 3 inches in diameter, and feature yellow to gold, rayed petals surrounding a black or dark brown center cone. Black-eyed Susans tolerate various lighting conditions, but prefer acidic, well-drained soils. Gardeners often use the black-eyed susan in woodland gardens and wildflower meadows.
Eastern sweetshrubs (Calycanthus floridus), sometimes called Carolina allspice bushes, reach from 6 to 12 feet in both height and spread. The glossy, deep green leaves turn a non-showy yellow in the autumn. Fragrant, deep red flowers bloom from April through July. This Calycanthaceae family member prefers moist, loamy soils that receive partial shade. This hardy perennial suffers from few disease or pest problems. Maryland gardeners often plant eastern sweetshrubs along stream banks and woodland margins.
The white oak (Quercus alba) is the state tree of Maryland. This large, perennial tree reaches up to 100 feet in height and 80 feet in width. This beech family member (Fagaceae) features pale gray bark, grayish-green to red-green twigs and oblong, light brown acorns. The flowers bloom in April, with male trees bearing yellowish-green blossoms and females displaying red-green blossoms. The green leaves have whitish undersides and turn burgundy shades in the autumn. The white oak prefers acidic, loamy or sandy soils in various lighting conditions. White oaks work well as shade trees in larger landscapes.
Canby's Mountain Lover
The Canby's mountain lover plant (Paxistima canbyi) belongs to the bittersweet family (Celastraceae) and naturally occurs on shaded cliffs and wooded slopes. This perennial shrub only reaches about 12 inches tall, but spreads out up to 5 feet. The glossy, green leaves occasionally turn purple to bronze shades in the winter. Non-showy clusters of green flowers appear in late spring. This shrub prefers fertile, acidic soils in part shade positions. Canby's mountain lover works well as a low hedge or a groundcover.
New England Aster
The New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) is a showy perennial that often grows over 6 feet in height. This plant features hairy leaves, squat stems and flowers that bloom from August through the first frost. This Asteraceae family member features bright pink or purple petals that surround yellow to orange central disks. These asters prefer moist, acidic soils in part shade positions. Maryland gardeners often use the New England aster in butterfly gardens, wildflower meadows and stream margins.