15 Plants for the Yard

Below are 15 plant varieties and the planting information for each zone.

otto luyken laurel is highly poisonous

This compact, evergreen shrub has dark green leaves and white flowers followed by black fruit.

Prunus laurocerasus 'Otto Luyken'--Otto Luyken Laurel

  • All parts of plant are highly poisonous.
  • Susceptible to bacterial shot-hole disease
  • Height: 3-5 feet
  • Width: 4-6 feet

Hardy in USDA zones 6-8 (9):

  • Zone 6: Plant in fall or early spring; mulch heavily after first hard frost; fertilize in spring with balanced fertilizer.
  • Zone 7-8: Plant in early fall; mulch in fall; fertilize in spring with balanced fertilizer.
  • Zone 9: Plant in early fall; mulch in fall; fertilize in spring with balanced fertilizer; growth may not be as vigorous in this zone.

Care for Otto Luyken Laurel:

  • Plant in moist, but well drained soil; water when dry.
  • Tolerates pruning well; used frequently as a hedge; prune in early spring before new growth.
  • Plant in full sun to shade; very shade tolerant.

Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Filifera Aurea'--Gold Thread Chamaecyparis (False Cypress)

gold thread chamaecyparis is called false cypress

This upright conical evergreen conifer has drooping golden foliage that holds color well year round.

  • Slow growing; unusual texture
  • Interesting evergreen that can be massed together for a screen or used as a specimen.
  • Even though this plant can get large (upwards of 20 feet), the slow growth rate and the ability to be pruned make it useful in smaller landscapes.
  • The colorful foliage, which holds its color well year round, can be used as a backdrop or to complement plants with darker foliage.
  • This conifer handles the southern heat very well.
  • Height: 6-10 feet
  • Width: 3-7 feet

Hardy in USDA zones 4-8:

  • Zone 4-5: Plant in spring to avoid winter heaving; plant in full sun; mulch heavily after first hard frost; avoid contact with salt; fertilize in spring with balanced fertilizer; water during dry spells.
  • Zone 6: Plant in early spring or early fall; plant in full sun to light shade; mulch heavily after first hard frost; fertilize in spring with balanced fertilizer; water during dry spells.
  • Zone 7-8: Plant in early fall; plant in full sun to light shade; mulch heavily after first hard frost; fertilize in spring with balanced fertilizer; water during dry spells.

Care for Gold Thread Chamaecyparis:

  • Plant in organic, but well drained soil; water when dry.
  • Plant in full sun to light shade.

Acer palmatum 'Bloodgood'--Bloodgood Japanese Maple

Bloodgood Japanese Maple has reddish purple leaves

This small deciduous tree with reddish purple leaves is one of the most popular non-dissectum red Japanese Maples. It's very hardy in Atlanta.

  • Foliage color is better in full sun, but the plant may get brown leaf edges during hot, dry weather.
  • Can be used in partial shade.
  • The tree has moderate growth rate, which can be accelerated in full sun with good soil, water and nutrition.
  • Height: 12-15 feet
  • Width: 12-15 feet

Hardy in USDA zones 5-8:

  • Zone 5: Plant in spring to avoid winter heaving; plant in full sun to light shade; mulch heavily after first hard frost; avoid contact with salt; fertilize in spring with balanced fertilizer; water during dry spells.
  • Zone 6: Plant in early spring or early fall; plant in full sun to light shade; mulch heavily after first hard frost; fertilize in spring with balanced fertilizer; water during dry spells.
  • Zone 7-8: Plant in early fall; plant in full sun to partial shade; mulch heavily after first hard frost; fertilize in spring with balanced fertilizer; water during dry spells.

Care for Bloodgood Japanese Maple:

  • Plant in full sun to partial shade; foliage color is best in full sun.
  • Plant in organic, but well drained soil.
  • Water when dry.

Encore Azalea x Roblea 'Autumn Princess'--Autumn Princess Azalea

autumn princess azalea is a repeat bloomer in fall

This compact evergreen azalea has large blooms in the spring and a repeat bloom in the early fall.

  • Unlike common azaleas, the Encore series is noted for its repeat bloom in the fall.
  • There are (at last count) approximately 21 cultivars in this line that range in color from red through pink to white with and without stripes.
  • Height: 3-5 feet
  • Width: 3-5 feet

Hardy in USDA zones 7-9 (10):

  • Zone 7-10: Plant in fall; plant in light to partial shade with protection from hot afternoon sun; provide supplemental water during dry spells.

Care for Autumn Princess Azalea:

  • Plant in light to partial shade.
  • Plant in rich garden soil that is moist, but well drained.

Gardenia jasminoides 'White Gem'--White Gem Gardenia

white gem garden has sweet fragrant white blooms

White Gem is a dwarf cultivar of the popular old-fashioned southern gardenia.

  • Dwarf evergreen shrub with shiny foliage and heavenly fragrant white flowers in summer
  • In a protected environment, it can be used successfully as a ground cover or at the front of a shrub border along paths and foundations.
  • Height: 1-2 feet
  • Width: 1-2 feet

Hardy in USDA zones 8-11:

  • Zone 8-11: Plant in fall; plant in full sun to partial shade; provide supplemental water during dry spells.

Care for White Gem Gardenia:

  • Plant in full sun to partial shade.
  • Plant in rich garden soil that is well drained Plants do poorly in heavy soil.
  • Whiteflies are one of the greatest pests to this plant and can cause significant blackening of the foliage.

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Pink Elf'--Pink Elf Hydrangea

pink elf hydrangea is an old fashioned plant

This dwarf cultivar of the old-fashioned hydrangea has small balls of pink flowers in summer.

  • Due to its small size, it can be planted in small gardens or where space is at a premium. It can be used in a container, but caution should be used to protect it from winter damage.
  • Deer cause the most problems for this plant in the landscape.
  • Height: 1-2 feet
  • Width: 2-3 feet

Hardy in USDA zones 6-9:

  • Zone 6: Plant in spring or very early fall; apply mulch after first hard frost; plant in light shade with protection from afternoon sun; plant may fail to bloom after hard late frosts; water regularly in dry spells during growing season.
  • Zone 7: Plant in early fall; apply mulch in fall; plant in light to partial shade with protection from afternoon sun; blooming may decrease after hard late frosts; water regularly in dry spells during growing season.
  • Zone 8-9: Plant in early fall; plant in partial shade with protection from afternoon sun; water regularly in dry spells during growing season.

Care for Pink Elf Hydrangea:

  • Plant in moist, but well-drained soil.
  • Plant in light to partial shade; prune after flowering in summer.
  • It can be used in a container, but caution should be used to protect it from winter damage.

Sarcococca hookeriana var. humilis--Himalayan Sweetbox

himalayan sweetbox is an evergreen groundcover

This evergreen groundcover can be used in the shade.

  • Small fragrant white flowers in late winter or early spring.
  • Height: 12-24 inches
  • Width: 3-6 feet

Hardy in USDA zones 6-9:

  • Zone 6: Plant in spring or very early fall; apply mulch after first hard frost; pull back mulch in spring; water when dry.
  • Zone 7: Plant in early fall; apply mulch in fall; pull back mulch in spring; water when dry.
  • Zone 8-9: Plant in early fall; water when dry.

Care for Sweetbox:

  • Moist, but well-drained soil.
  • Plant in partial to full shade.

Abelia x 'Rose Creek'--Rose Creek Abelia

rose creek abelia attracts bees and butterflies

This dwarf, mounding, evergreen has new leaves that emerge pink, change to green and then develop a tinge of purple in the winter.

  • Fragrant, white flowers
  • Attractive to bees and butterflies
  • Height: 24-36 inches
  • Width: 36-48 inches

Hardy in USDA zones 6-9:

  • Zone 6: Plant in spring or early fall; plant in full sun to light shade; mulch after planting and again before first frost; water when dry.
  • Zone 7-8: Plant in early fall; plant in full sun to partial shade; mulch after planting and again before first frost; water when dry.
  • Zone 9: Plant in early fall; plant in full sun to partial shade; mulch after planting and again in spring; water when dry.

Care for Rose Creek Abelia:

  • Plant in full sun to partial shade; foliage and flowering is better in full sun.
  • Plant in average garden soil that is well drained.

Agapanthus africanus 'Blue African Lily'--Lily of the Nile or Blue African Lily

lily of the nile or blue african lily is fragrant

This clump-forming tender perennial has evergreen, strap-shaped leaves.

  • Produces fragrant, blue flowers that are 1 to 2 inches long, shaped like small funnels, 6 to 12 inches across early in the season
  • May be grown outside or inside as a house plant
  • Grows 2 to 3 feet high with a spread from 1.5 to 2 feet
  • Attractive to bees, butterflies
  • Zones 9-10; in some areas it's grown as an annual

Care for Lily of the Nile:

  • Full sun.
  • Handling plant may cause skin irritation.
  • Average water needs; do not over water.
  • Can be used as a house plant; Keep the soil uniformly moist in summer but slightly dry in winter.
  • If over-wintered, mulch and well-drained soil are essential.

Cuphea llavea--Batface Cuphea

batface cupheais also called mickey mouse plant

This is a drought-tolerant annual that loves a sunny exposure.

  • Tiny elongated purples and red blossoms that resemble a bat's face bloom from spring to frost.
  • It has an upright growth habit with a height of 1 foot and a spread of several feet under good conditions.
  • Not prone to insect or disease problems.
  • Some call it the Mickey Mouse plant.
  • All zones -- it's an annual

Care for Batface Cuphea:

  • Sun to partial shade.
  • Water regularly.

Corylus avellana 'Contorta'--Harry Lauder's Walking Stick (aka Contorted Filbert)

harry lauder walking stick has contorted limbs

This deciduous shrub or small tree hsa contorted limbs and foliage with yellow-green catkin flowers in winter.

  • Plant in moist, but well drained soil.
  • Prune non-contorted branches at any time, prune others in late winter as needed.
  • Plant in full sun to light shade; flowering is better in sun.
  • Height: 8-10 feet
  • Width: 6-8 feet

Hardy in USDA zones 4-8:

  • Zone 4-5: Plant in spring to prevent winter heaving; water regularly in dry spells during growing season; apply mulch after first hard frost; avoid contact with salt.
  • Zone 6: Plant in spring or very early fall; apply mulch after first hard frost; water regularly in dry spells during growing season.
  • Zone 7: Plant in early fall; apply mulch in fall; water regularly in dry spells during growing season.
  • Zone 8-9: Plant in early fall; water regularly in dry spells during growing season.

Lantana 'New Gold'--New Gold Lantana

new gold lantana is woody groundcover

This tender shrub or woody groundcover perennial has yellow flowers from spring to fall.

  • Plant in full sun
  • Plant in average to dry, well-drained soil
  • Height: 1-2 feet
  • Width: 3-4 feet

Hardy in USDA zones: 8b-10

  • Zones 2-8a: Plant in spring after danger of frost has passed; plant in full sun; plant in well-drained soil; pull up dead plants after first hard frost.
  • Zone 8b: Plant in spring after danger of frost has passed; plant in full sun; plant in well-drained soil; mulch in fall; do not prune back dead stems until early spring.
  • Zone 9: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; plant in well-drained soil; mulch in fall; prune back dead stems in fall or early spring.
  • Zone 10: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; plant in well-drained soil; mulch in fall; may continue flower throughout most of year; prune as needed.

Osmanthus heterophyllus 'Goshiki'--Goshiki Osmanthus

Goshiki Osmanthus is called a false holly

This tender shrub or woody groundcover perennial has yellow flowers from spring to fall.

  • Upright evergreen with spiny multi-colored foliage in pink, green, gold and cream
  • Plant in light to partial shade
  • Plant in average garden soil that is well-drained
  • Height: 5 feet
  • Width: 4 feet

Hardy in USDA zones 6-9:

  • Zone 6: Plant in spring or early fall; plant in light to partial shade; mulch after planting and again before first frost; water when dry.
  • Zone 7-8: Plant in early fall; plant in light to partial shade; mulch after planting and again before first frost; water when dry.
  • Zone 9: Plant in early fall; plant in light to partial shade; mulch after planting and again in spring; water when dry.

Aucuba japonica--Japanese Aucuba

avoid planting japanese aucuba if deer are problem

This evergreen shrub has spiny holly-like leaves with yellow flowers followed by blue-black fruit.

  • Plant in partial to full shade.
  • Avoid planting in areas with heavy deer concentrations.
  • Plant in average garden soil that is well-drained; fertilize in spring.
  • Height: 4-6 feet
  • Width: 4-6 feet

Hardy in USDA zones (6) 7-10:

  • Zone 6: Plant in spring or early fall; plant in partial to full shade; provide supplemental water during dry spells, especially in winter; mulch in fall; may be deciduous and suffer some tip dieback in harsh winter.
  • Zone 7-10: Plant in fall; plant in partial to full shade; provide supplemental water during dry spells, especially in winter; mulch in fall.

Mahonia aquifolium--Oregon Grape (Mahonia)

oregon grape has blue black fruit after flowering

This evergreen shrub has spiny holly-like leaves with yellow flowers followed by blue-black fruit.

  • Plant in fertile, rich soil that is well-drained.
  • Plant in partial to full shade with protection from drying winds.
  • Height: 3-10 feet
  • Width: 3-8 feet

Hardy in USDA zones 5-9:

  • Zone 5: Plant in spring to prevent winter heaving; plant in partial to full shade; apply extra mulch after first hard frost; avoid contact with salt.
  • Zone 6: Plant in spring or early fall; plant in partial to full shade; avoid contact with salt.
  • Zone 7: Plant in fall; plant in partial to full shade; provide supplemental water during dry spells, especially in winter.
  • Zone 8-9: Plant in fall; plant in partial to full shade with protection from hot afternoon sun; provide supplemental water during dry spells, especially in winter.

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