Landscaping with native plants is always a good idea. Not only are the plants already acclimated to your region, but growing natives helps guard against species loss as well. Although South Carolina lies in USDA hardiness zones 7a to 8b, the state is further broken down into five main regions--Low Country, Midlands, the Piedmont, Southcoast and Upstate, each with its own growing conditions. This diversity makes South Carolina home to a great variety of interesting plant life.
A native of South Carolina, Virginia sweetspire (Itea virginicus) is a perennial flowering shrub. Reaching 4 feet in height and 4 feet wide, this shrub blooms in fragrant, small white flowers in late spring. Although attractive when in bloom, South Carolina gardeners value the plant’s burgundy-colored fall foliage more. Virginia sweetspire can tolerate drought conditions and does not require pruning. Grow the Virginia sweetspire in full sun to obtain deeper-colored fall foliage.
Carolina Bristle Mallow
Although considered a weed by some gardeners in South Carolina, the Carolina bristle mallow (Modiola caroliniana) is related to the hibiscus and the hollyhock. It is a creeping perennial plant with red or peach-colored flowers that bloom in the spring. Carolina bristle mallow stems are covered in fine hair and the seedpods resemble a miniature spoked-wheel. Although native to South Carolina, it has been seen growing in a number of different countries, including Australia and New Zealand, according to experts with the South Carolina Native Plant Society.
The Carolina lily, native to South Carolina, can be found in a variety of environments, from swamplands to forests. Growing to a height of 4 feet, Carolina lilies bloom in mid to late summer, sometimes into fall. The flowers are striking with yellow, orange or red petals that bend backward and are spotted in shades of red, purple or brown. The Carolina lily grows in partly shady locations in sandy soil. It is both drought and heat-tolerant and easy to propagate by division of its bulbs.