Spring into Action: Tips for Choosing the Right Plants for Your Charlotte NC Garden and Landscape

Every aspiring green thumb will go through a learning process where they must make crucial decisions about what to plant, where to plant it, and the overall design of their garden and/or Carolina landscape supplies. This can be an intimidating prospect, especially if you’re not sure where to begin. Fortunately, there is one universal starting point that often helps gardeners kickstart their planning process, and that is knowing what plants will prosper and thrive best in the immediate location. 

The United States is one of the most versatile land masses in the entire world. With 48 states on the mainland and 2 others in more remote locations, there are seemingly endless possibilities for what can be produced. From the high deserts of the west coast to the swamplands of Florida, each region subscribes to its own rules when it comes to agriculture. It can be tricky knowing what to plant, particularly if you live in a state that has multiple types of landscapes within its borders. 

Today, we’re highlighting one of the South’s most charming and eclectic cities, Charlotte. North Carolina. If you’re interested in learning how to best plant and garden in the Queen City, look no further. We’ll start by describing the environmental features of the city, before giving you some insight into what plants fare best in this southern metropolis. 

Understanding the Region: Mapping Charlotte, North Carolina

The first step to creating your own garden paradise begins with knowing more about the environment you’re trying to grow in. By understanding the climate unique to your area, you can purposefully invest in plant life and materials that will have a better chance of thriving. 

Charlotte NC landscape, North Carolina is a wonderful place to garden, this is largely in part due to its climate. For starters, Charlotte is quite temperate year-round, with temperatures that rarely reach freezing, counteracted by hot humid summers. Unlike other regions where the temperature can vary dramatically from freezing to scorching, you can generally count on Charlotte to deliver consistently temperate weather.

Another key, yet surprising feature of Charlotte is its heavy rainfall. When most people think of rain in the United States, their mind will go to a place like Seattle, or maybe a tropical climate like Hawaii. In actuality, while Seattle has more rainy days, Charlotte has more annual rainfall by inches. This makes a place like Charlotte ideal for plant life and shrubs that require moderate to heavy rainfall. 

What To Plant: Familiarize Yourself with Hardiness Zones

Every gardener should be familiar with the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. If you’ve never heard of it, here’s a basic rundown of how it works. The USDA Plant Hardiness Map breaks down every location in the United States and assigns it a zone number. It’s probably a good idea to use the map’s interactive search feature, as some cities (Charlotte being one of them) can belong to multiple zones. In fact, most states have at least one or two zones in which they belong. You can search the map by city or by zip code, and it will give you the proper zone number.

Once you know what zone you’re in, you can learn all sorts of important information that will benefit your gardening and landscaping. Your zone will dictate what plants are best suited for your region, including what times you should consider planting each variety of shrub, plant, or crop. Most of Charlotte is in Zone 7, however, certain parts of the city are actually in Zone 8. This is why it’s important to double-check.

Charlotte and Plant Life 101: What to Plant

Charlotte is perhaps one of the best places to start a garden because many types of plants and shrubs perform very well here. There’s a lot of freedom in what you can plant, especially if you’re interested in doing some year-round gardening. In addition to the USDA Hardiness Map, the North Carolina University Cooperative Extension created a comprehensive chart that breaks down the types of plants to grow and when to grow them, for optimal returns on your investment. This tool is invaluable for any North Carolina gardener who wants to create a thriving and sustainable landscape.

If you want a basic rundown of what plants do well in the area, here are some common vegetables that have a lot of success in Charlotte. As a rule of thumb, as you research vegetables, look for varieties that fit into the following criteria: 

  • Plants that thrive in heat and drought
  • Plants that thrive in cooler temperatures
  • Good Cross Pollinators
  • Hardy and Resistant to Pests and Insects.
  • Plants that grow in raised and vertical gardens.
    • Given that Charlotte is a major metropolis in the south, many residents will live in urban settings. Just because you’re in the heart of the city, doesn’t mean that you still can’t have your own slice of paradise. Look for plants that can grow in vertical gardens, as they’re ideal for urban settings with limited space.

Vegetables that will perform well in the aforementioned conditions are cabbage, asparagus, kale, peas, squash, cucumbers, green beans, radishes, eggplants, peppers, and more. Given its ideal growing climate, Charlotte gardeners have lots of options for what they can plant.

Focus On Native Plant Life

Plants that grow naturally in the area are always a great place to begin your gardening and landscaping journey. We know that these plants will do well in Charlotte, which in turn makes their care and upkeep a lot easier to maintain. The National Audubon Society is another great resource to utilize. Their database helps gardeners across the United States discover plant life suited to their specific region. 

In Charlotte, North Carolina listed below are native plants that prosper in the area.

  • Purple                                                                                                               
  • Redbud
  • Wild Hydrangea
  • American Witch-Hazel
  • and more

Investing in native plants makes for a beautiful and balanced garden – one where birds, insects, and other wildlife can thrive. Not only does this bring attractive color to your space but it also helps preserve some of North Carolina’s precious flora and fauna!

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