Pick perennial plants that are hardy in USDA growing zones 7 and 8, the two hardiness zones in Mississippi, and they will be able to live through the state's winter. Perennials live for many years and are used in flower beds and as edgings and border plants, and low-growing ones are used as ground covers. Perennials come in varieties suitable for any type of sun condition and soil.
Eastern bluestar (Amsonia tabernaemontana) is also known as blue dogbane, willow amsonia and woodland bluestar. The plant grows from 1 to 3 feet tall with green, oval leaves that turn a golden-yellow in the fall. The blue or purple tube-shaped flowers grow in clusters at the tips of the stems in March, April and May. Plant Eastern bluestar in partial shade and wet, sandy soil.
Lamb's ear (Stachys byzantina) is also known as woolly betony. The fuzzy, gray-green or silver, 2- to 4-inch-long leaves grow in rosette patterns on the ground that are 1 to 2 feet in diameter. The small, purple-pink flowers grow on 12- to 18-inch-tall spikes throughout the summer. Plant lamb’s ear in full sun and moist, well-drained soil.
Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida) is also known as orange coneflower. The plant grows up to 3 feet tall and produces two distinctly different types of leaves. The leaves at the base of the plant are egg or lance-shaped and grow up to 5 inches long and half as wide. The leaves that grow on the stems are hairy, smaller than the base leaves and get smaller as they go further up the stem. The flowers resemble those of the daisy, grow about 3 inches across and have 10 to 20 petals surrounding a brown to black central disk. Plant black-eyed Susan in full sun and in a soil that is moist and never allowed to go completely dry. The flowers are a favorite of butterflies.
Obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana) is also known as false dragonhead. The plant produces rosettes of willow-like leaves on the ground year-round, and during the growing season the 2- to 6-inch-long leaves grow in pairs on the flower stems. The stalks grow from 2 to 4 feet tall with tube-shaped, lavender-pink flowers with the lower flowers opening first. Plant obedient plant in full sun in wet areas, and in partial shade in dry ones.
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