Native plants are the naturally occurring plants of any region and are well-adapted to the growing conditions in the given area. Similarly, the native plants of Mississippi are well-suited to the long, humid summer and short winters of the state. Native plants are hardier than the nonnative variety, and require less irrigation and fertilization. Native species are also more resistant to diseases and pests, and hence fall into the category of low-maintenance plants.
Mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia) is an evergreen native Mississippi shrub and member of the heath or Ericaceae plant family. Mountain laurel grows to a mature height of 4 to 10 feet, and is usually found on rocky hills in its natural habitat. The plant has dark green, 3- to 4-inch, lance-shaped foliage that looks like rhododendron leaves. Mountain laurel grows best in well-drained, moist soil, and in areas of full sun or deep shade. The plant blooms with pink and white flowers from spring to summer. Mountain laurel comes in more than 75 different cultivars.
Bushy aster (Aster dumosus) is a native perennial of Mississippi and commonly grows in open fields, thickets and meadows. Bushy aster belongs to the large asteraceae plant family, which also includes dandelion and sunflower. The plants grow to a mature height of up to 3 feet and bloom with yellow-centered, small, ½- to ¾-inch lavender or white flowers. Bushy aster is late blooming and the blossoms appear between August and October. The plant spreads by rhizomes and seeds.
Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnate) is an herbaceous perennial native to Mississippi and other northeastern and southeastern regions of the United States. The plant has an erect and clumping growth habit, and commonly occurs in river bottomlands, swamps and wet meadows. Swamp milkweed grows to a mature height of 3 to 4 feet, and blooms with fragrant, five-petaled, purple to pink flowers. The 3- to 6-inch foliage is lance-shaped and tapered at the points. The plant has few disease and insect-related problems, and is an important food source of monarch butterflies.
How to Identify Trees in Mississippi
The state of Mississippi is home to many species of trees that are native to this southeastern location. Trees, such as the...