A variety of plants grow wild across the state of Alabama. Woodland plants thrive in the northern mountains, while wetland plants grow in the swamps and coastal plains of the southern part of the state. These native plants can thrive in the home garden with little maintenance because they are adapted to the local conditions and climate.
Achillea millefolium, also known as common yarrow, features aromatic, fernlike leaves and flat-topped clusters of white flowers. Flower heads of approximately 20 flowers each appear atop the slightly hairy, grayish green stems. Choose a location in full sun or partial shade and well-drained soil for this perennial. Planting in heavy clay soil can lead to root rot. Established plants tolerate drought and heat and rarely require watering. Cut back common yarrow after flowering in late summer.
The deciduous shrub Stewartia malacodendron, commonly known as silky camellia, blooms in spring. Purple stamens extend from the center of the creamy white, saucer-shaped flowers. The veined, dark green leaves grow up to 4 inches long. Silky camellia grows wild on wooded hillsides and prefers acidic, well-drained soil. Amend the soil with organic matter when planting and choose a location in partial shade. It tolerates deep afternoon shade but enjoys morning sun.
The evergreen, woody vine known as Bignonia capreolata, or crossvine, grows up to 50 feet long. Clusters of bright reddish orange, trumpet-like flowers bloom in early spring and attract butterflies and hummingbirds. The glossy, dark green leaves turn reddish purple in the winter. Crossvine will climb trees and fences and will use its tendrils to stick to stone or brick walls. Plant crossvine in moist, acidic, well-drained soil. Although this vine tolerates partial shade, it blooms best in full sun.
Scarlet Rose Mallow
The shrubby perennial Hibiscus coccineus, also known as scarlet rose mallow, grows up to 7 feet tall and 3 feet wide. Large scarlet flowers, 6 inches wide, bloom from summer through early fall among the glossy leaves. Provide scarlet rose-mallow with full sun. Native to swamps and marshes, this hibiscus performs best in wet soil and requires watering during dry periods. Pests such as aphids and whiteflies can prove problematic and may require the use of insecticidal soaps.
The arching branches of American beautyberry, or Callicarpa americana, can reach up to 9 feet tall, but typically grow between 3 and 5 feet tall. The older wood of this shrub features light brown bark while the younger wood appears reddish brown. Small pink or lilac flowers bloom in the summer, followed by clusters of bright purple fruits that persist into the winter if not eaten by birds. Plant American beautyberry in moist, rich soil. It grows wild in moist woodlands and swamps and enjoys partial shade. Water during extended dry periods to avoid the loss of leaves and fruit. Prune back American beautyberry in winter to encourage flowering and fruiting during the next growing season.