Native plants for Baton Rouge, LA

Living in a subtropical planting zone has its advantages. One of the most noteworthy is the wide range of beautiful native plants we can use for landscaping. Natives are an optimal choice for yards and gardens because they’re already adapted to all the conditions the Gulf Coast environment can throw at them. They provide habitat for native wildlife and help to preserve our native flora. Read on for a list of native plants for Baton Rouge, LA. 

Perennials

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This class of plants is a gardener’s best friend. Perennials come in many shapes and sizes, and most importantly, they bounce back from even the harshest winters. These plants give a great deal while asking little in return.

  • Louisiana phlox (Phlox divaricata) thrives in sunny to partly shaded areas and features prolific blooms in the spring. Flowers may range from deep blueish purple to pink or even white. 
  • Hybrid Louisiana iris is a stately plant, crossbred from several iris species to produce the best bloom under local conditions. Depending on the hybrid, blooms appear from mid-May until late June and come in a dizzying array of colors. Expect flowers around 5 inches wide, although it’s not unusual to see them reach 7 inches. 
  • Simpson’s rosinweed (Silphium simpsonii) is in the aster family and will show off its bright, yellow blooms through summer. This flower can reach 5 feet, so give it a little room to spread out and reach up. 
  • Scarlet sage (Salvia coccinea) attracts butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds with its beautiful red spikes. What’s more, it can bloom from February to October, giving a splash of color to the landscape for most of the year.

Shrubs

This part of the garden helps create privacy and visually connects the ground to the trees. Shrubs can provide a windbreak or direct traffic along walkways, or even add to the feeling of separate “rooms” in a landscape.

  • Florida starbush (Illicium floridanum), also known as Florida anise, is an evergreen shrub. It erupts in the spring with distinctive deep burgundy flowers that look as if they’re plastic. The shrub grows up to 10 feet tall, with deep evergreen leaves popping out in a starburst shape, radiating out from the stems.
  • Swamp sweetbells (Leucothoe racemosa) is a deciduous native that spreads to around 6 feet wide 4 feet tall. It enjoys moist, acidic soil and does well in part shade. The bell-shaped flowers that bloom in spring and early summer are fragrant and delicate. Aphrodite Althea (Hibiscus syriacus ‘Aphrodite’) is a beautiful shrub that grows 8-10 feet tall with blooms all summer. The ruffled pink blossoms have a deep red “eye” in the center and can make an attractive hedge.

Trees


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  • Bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) is one of the most iconic trees of the region and also Louisiana’s state tree.  It performs well in any poorly drained area or locations near water, so you’ll often see them in swamps and along streams. Before planting one of these giants, make sure you have space where it can grow to maturity, which is 50-100 feet tall. 
  • Pecan (Carya illinoinensis) is a fast-growing tree that can yield tremendous volumes of edible nuts in the fall. Pecans prefer well-drained soil but need lots of water. They can tolerate a wide range of soils, as long as the drainage is adequate.
  • Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) is the Southern standard you’ll see everywhere in the city. The evergreen tree is prized for its shiny, evergreen leaves. The fragrant, white blooms that appear from April through June are Louisiana’s state flower. This tree can grow up to 80 feet tall, so plant it where it has plenty of room.

There are many options for native plants in your Baton Rouge landscape. The beauty they offer is matched only by their low-maintenance needs. They also provide food for local wildlife and help repel invasive insects. Once you go native, it’s hard to look back.

Looking to learn more about lawn care and gardening in Baton Rouge? Visit our Baton Rouge Lawn Care page.


Danielle Bradley is a botanist who experiments with native plants from every region in the U.S. She’s dedicated to companion planting without the use of pesticides. Her own garden is filled with a variety of colors and textures.

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Written by Danielle Bradley

About Wikilawn

Wikilawn’s mission is to provide the best resources and information to help you enjoy your outdoor spaces the way you want. Whether you are a DIY, lawn-loving, gardening guru, or someone who wants help in picking a local lawn care professional, we can smooth your path to a beautiful backyard!

About Wikilawn

Wikilawn’s mission is to provide the best resources and information to help you enjoy your outdoor spaces the way you want. Whether you are a DIY, lawn-loving, gardening guru, or someone who wants help in picking a local lawn care professional, we can smooth your path to a beautiful backyard!

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