The varying landscape and climate of Louisiana supports a variety of plant life. Woodland and prairie plants bloom in the northern part of the state, while wetland plants thrive in the swamps and coastal marshes of southern Louisiana. Many of these native plants can thrive in the home garden because they have adapted to the conditions of the area and generally require little maintenance.
The deciduous vine wisteria frutescens, commonly known as American wisteria, grows up to 30 feet long. This woody vine teems with glossy, dark green leaves and weeping clusters of bluish purple flowers in late spring. Each flower only grows to 1 inch in length but the clusters reach 6 to 9 inches long. American wisteria grows wild in wet woodlands and along river banks and prefers moist, well-drained soil in the garden. If planted in alkaline soil, the leaves may turn yellow. Prune wisteria regularly to control the size of the vine.
Devil's Walking Stick
Aralia spinosa, commonly called devil's walking stick, grows up to 20 feet tall. It features large leaves, 3 to 4 feet long, on the ends of spiny stems, and in midsummer, white clusters of flowers bloom. The flowers are followed by black fruits on bright pink stalks in the fall. Devil's walking stick prefers moist, well-drained soil, but tolerates rich or poor soil, and performs best in partial shade in open areas.
The aromatic, evergreen vine known as yellow jessamine, or Gelsemium sempervirens, grows 10 to 20 feet long. It can climb trees, fences or trellises and may form a carpet along the ground. Clusters of yellow, trumpet-like flowers bloom along the stems in early spring and again in early fall. The glossy, dark green foliage turns slightly purple or yellow in winter. Yellow jessamine will tolerate partial shade but flowers best when planted in full sun. Provide this vine with well-drained, moist soil. Young plants require regular water, but established plants tolerate dry conditions.
Giant Blue Iris
Iris giganticaerulea, or giant blue iris, reaches up to 5 feet tall. The long leaves sprout from the base of the plant and blue flowers bloom at the tops of the stems. The drooping outer petals of the flowers feature white patches and a yellow center. The inner petals stand erect. Native only to coastal areas of Louisiana, giant blue iris prefers partial shade and nutrient-rich, wet soil. This iris performs well when planted near ponds.
Native to marshes in Louisiana, seashore mallow, or Kosteletzkya virginica, produces clusters of stems up to 5 feet tall. Fuzzy, light green leaves grow along the stems. In midsummer, seashore mallow blooms with hundreds of pink flowers. Long, yellow stamens emerge from the center of the 3-inch wide flowers. This swamp plant grows well in standing water and sandy soil but adapts to regular garden soil. Plant seashore mallow in full sun and provide a regular supply of water.
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