Plant Guide

NatureScapes' new and growing Plant Guide is an excellent resource for finding unique plant options for landscapes in Atlanta.  Contact us for a free estimate on landscape installation, seasonal color and more.   We can also provide plant recommendations should you need new or replacement plants for your property.

Blue Fan Flower (Scaevola aemula ‘Blue Wonder’)

Scaevola aemula ‘Blue Wonder’ is a low-growing annual that forms a dense mat 12-15 inches wide.   It is loaded with blue, fan-shaped flowers with just a hint of white.   While it prefers ample moisture to become established after planting, it is amazingly tolerant of dry conditions later in the summer, making it a great overall performer.   White and pink varieties are also available.  Its superior qualities make it a winner in annual color beds.   Watch for Scaevola blooming in a NatureScapes bed near you!
 

Summer Snapdragon (Angelonia angustifolia)

Heat and drought tolerant, the Summer Snapdragon is all the rage.  Although it over-winters in parts of Florida, it should be treated as an annual in Georgia.  Its nearly one inch-wide flowers come in many different colors including white, rose, lilac, violet, and blue.  This annual loves full sun and well-drained soil and blooms for 8-10 weeks in the summer.  Cutting plants back in mid-summer can produce a second round of blooms.  Angelonia works well as a landscape plant, in pots, and as a cut flower in arrangements.

 

Arkansas Blue Star (Amsonia hubrectii)

A perennial native to the South-Central United States, Arkansas Blue Star is truly a showstopper with its three-season display including beautiful blue flowers in the spring, feathery, fin-textured foliage in summer, and vibrant yellow fall color.  For high impact, plant in groups of three or more with a backdrop of taller evergreens, ornamental grasses, or plants with burgundy foliage.  Once established, this perennial is drought and deer tolerant.  It grows to about three feet tall and wide.  Prune back in the spring to allow room for new shoots.
 

Lenten Rose (Helleborus orientalis)

Lenten Rose is known for its early and prolonged bloom time, which in milder climates begins in winter and continues through mid-spring.   Not a true rose, the plant is actually a member of the Buttercup family but is named so because the flower buds resemble a tightly gathered rose bud about to blossom.  Lenten Rose requires partial to full shade and regular watering in well draining soil.  Shade helps to uphold the vivid colors of the plant’s leaves and petals.  This plant is considered toxic to humans, causing mild skin irritations if handled for long periods of time without garden gloves; however, it is an excellent deer repellent.  
 

Miss Huff Lantana (Lantana camara)

Atlanta loves Lantana! Like all varieties, perennial favorite Miss Huff Lantana attracts beautiful butterflies and hummingbirds; has fragrant foliage; and is heat and drought tolerant.   Small trumpet-shaped flowers on a single stem are abundant and require no dead heading.   Based on the maturity of the flower, blooms are pink, orange or yellow, giving it a multi-colored appearance.   This shrub-like plant can reach five- to six-feet tall and ten feet wide, so it’s best to give it plenty of growing space.   Miss Huff Lantana will die back after the first frost, but pruning is not recommended until early spring to ensure winter survival.

 

Encore Azalea

Encore Azalea (Rhododendron Encore hybrid)

With blooms in the spring, summer and fall, you will want to give your Encore Azalea a round of applause over and over again.   This frequent bloomer, which is evergreen, comes in a variety of colors and will complement almost any existing color scheme.   While azaleas typically prefer more shade, the Encore Azalea prefers full sun to filtered shade.  Too much shade can affect its bloom cycle.   Once established, this azalea does not need a lot of water unless there are drought conditions, and it does like soil that drains well.   A raised bed is a good option.  While pruning is usually unnecessary, any trimming should be done after spring flowering.   All living things should be fed, including plants, so fertilize after the last spring frost.   If you choose to fertilize a second time, do so before August.

Paperbush (Edgeworthia chrysantha)

The heavenly scent of a Paperbush will chase away the winter doldrums and its creamy yellow flowers will brighten your day.  This shrub shows off its interesting shape and attractive dark bark in the winter with its clusters of blooms that hang like bells.  As spring arrives, long and narrow leaves (that are pest free) cover the plant.  These leaves turn yellow in the autumn and drop after the first hard freeze.  Remaining are silver flower buds that will soon become little bursts of sunshine once again.  This deciduous shrub grows four to six feet tall and five feet wide.  It performs best in filtered shade and moist, well-drained soil.   It is not drought tolerant, nor can it tolerate too much water.
 

Fragrant Tea Olive (Osmanthus frangrans)

In September and October put your nose on high alert for the sweet smelling scent of Fragrant Tea Olive, and look for the creamy white flowers hidden in the foliage.  This low-maintenance shrub takes full sun to partial shade and has few pest problems.  It can grow to be quite large – 20 to 30 feet tall and wide – so be careful where you plant it.  While it is an excellent choice as a background plant or evergreen hedge, the Fragrant Tea Olive is striking enough to stand on its own.  If you live further north, look for Fortune’s Tea Olive.   This variety has a better cold hardiness, yet smells just as nice.  Early spring is the best time to feed this shrub with a complete fertilizer containing slow-release nitrogen.  

Oakleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia)

One of the few hydrangeas native to the United States is the Oakleaf Hydrangea, aptly named for its large oak-shaped leaves.  This deciduous shrub has an up-right growth habit and produces an impressive floral display of creamy white flowers in late spring and early summer.  The fall brings a dazzling display of color as the leaves turn shades of purple, bronze or red; and exfoliating bark provides winter interest.   Unlike other varieties, the Oakleaf Hydrangea can thrive in dryer, sunnier locations; however, it does require well-drained, slightly acidic soil.   Pruning is rarely necessary unless the shrub suffers damage.

Yuletide Camellia (Camellia Sasanqua 'Yuletide')

Yuletide Camellia is an evergreen shrub that produces a mass amount of charming red flowers that stand out against dark green leaves in December.   Many cultivators also produce varieties with shades of red, pink, and white.  The plant requires well-drained soil that must be consistently moist.   The Camellia requires only partial sun and blooms for an extended time from late fall and throughout the winter.  It is well suited for indoor use and produces a nice aroma.  The shrubs tend to grow slowly upright, reaching eight to ten feet as a large shrub or small tree over time.   This plant is an excellent choice for a dazzling hedge, privacy screen, or border shrub.  

 

Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)

Graceful and compact with brilliant spring blooms, the Flowering Dogwood is a prevalent landscaping option.   It thrives under the shady canopies of larger trees with moist, slightly acidic soil and little direct sunlight.  Dogwoods are among the earliest spring bloomers typically flowering in early April.  Beautiful clusters of individual flowers range in color based on variety and can remain showy for two to three weeks.  Pruning should be done after flowering, but before next year’s flower buds form in July.  It is a modestly sized deciduous tree, perfect for residential or smaller yards.  Suitably located, this popular tree can live up to 80 years.
 

Japanese Apricot (Prunus mume)

The Japanese Apricot is a one-of-a-kind flowering fruit tree with droopy branches and corkscrewed trunk growth.  Its flowers are white, red, or a vivacious pink, blooming from late winter to early spring, and create single or double blooms.  Fragrant and long lasting flowers are only a portion of what make this tree so charming.  Following blooming, the tree produces small yellow drupes, which are inedible but attractive.  Growing up to 20-feet tall, This sun-loving, deciduous tree is low maintenance and needs normal to moist soil to thrive.  Uniform light on all sides is extremely important for it to grow evenly.  For mass blooms, heavy pruning is a must after flowering.  These gorgeous blossoms appear only after the green leaves have fallen and its shiny branches are bare.
 

Lavender Twist Redbud (Cercis canadensis 'Covey')

Lavender Twist Redbud, originally discovered in the garden of Connie Covey in Westfield, New York, is a landscape stunner.   It has year-round interest with its beautiful pink-purple blooms in spring, heart-shaped leaves in summer, yellow foliage in fall, and sculptural appeal in winter with its twisted branches and seedpods.  The tree naturally grows in a weeping form and develops an umbrella-shaped top, but it can be trained to grow upright.  Its early dormancy, before the first frost, makes it winter hardy.  A slow grower, Lavender Twist Redbud prefers well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade.  With its year-round beauty, Lavender Twist Redbud is sure to be the focal point of any landscape design.