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Native Plants of Tennessee

By Karen Ellis ; Updated September 21, 2017

The most beneficial reason to use native plants in your landscaping is the assurance that the environment is perfect for their growth and nurturing. Native plants are more likely to flourish, with less care, than other plants. Native plants also fulfill the needs of local wildlife for nesting, eating and other biological requirements. Tennessee is abound with native trees, shrubs, flowers and other plants to choose from.

Black Oak

The Black Oak is native to Tennessee. Plant it where you have a large span of land, especially if it is hilly, that requires a prominent tree. This tree can grow up to and over 50 feet in height, sometimes to 80 feet. It has a spread of up to 50 feet, so be wary of spacing plants needing sunshine around it. It has very large, green leaves, with a velvet underside, that turn yellow in the fall. Birds, large and small mammals of Tennessee make use of the Black Oak, including the small acorns. It thrives in many types of soil, allowing you to avoid the guessing game of your soil type or mixture.

Black-Eyed Susan

The Tennessee native the black-eyed Susan is considered a perennial. However, rather than a plant that sprouts in the summer after a dormant period, it reseeds itself. The flower will show up again in the general area but also in other locations of your landscaping. If you like the wildflower look to your yard, this is the native flower for you. The black-eyed Susan has a daisy-like shape with a dark brown, domed center and golden petals. It grows to about 2 feet, or a bit taller, at maturity. This summer bloomer does well in a full-sun or partial-shade location. If you live in a rural area, it’s good to know that deer won’t eat them. This flower is a source of food for the local birds, but you will hardly notice any damage to the flowering plant.

American Holly

American holly is a beautiful addition to landscaping, with its dark, shiny leaves and bright red berries. It prefers a moist environment but only a partial to full shade location. This is an advantage to planting under or around large trees. This evergreen plant can grow up to 50 feet in height if not pruned to size. Both genders of the plant are needed for them to produce the lovely berries eaten by birds. It blooms small white flowers in early spring but not until it is about four or five years old. It’s a perfect indoor holiday decoration, but be wary of the prickly leaves when clipping sprigs from the plant. It is your choice to use the American holly as a tree, bush or hedge, depending on planting and pruning.


About the Author


Karen Ellis has been a full-time writer since 2006. She is an expert crafter, with more than 30 years of experience in knitting, chrocheting, quilting, sewing, scrapbooking and other arts. She is an expert gardener, with lifelong experience. Ellis has taken many classes in these subjects and taught classes, as well.