Vintage metal French doors leads to an outdoor tile patio by the dining room via @thouswellblog(via House and Leisure)

It’s a beautiful time of year in the South right now. In just the past two weeks, daffodils, tulips, and azalea blooms have emerged and pear and cherry trees have exploded in bursts of delicate petals. In preparation for the beginning of the gardening season, I’ve compiled a list of plants that are quintessential to the Southern garden. While we’ve got quite a few plants that thrive in our temperate conditions, these classics have been used time and time again for their brilliant blooms, evergreen leaves, or easy-going nature. And for me, many of these plants conjure up some nostalgia for their use in many of the green spaces in my memory. Consider adding some of this flora to your own garden this year from Monrovia’s selection online or at your local garden center (find one here). Monrovia has been around for over 90 years and offers high-quality varieties of all of these plants, expertly grown in California.

Blue and purple hydrangea hedge in a garden by a stone cottage via @thouswellblog(Cottage du Mesnil des Bois via Splendor Look)


The hydrangea is a favorite of mine for its fast-growing nature and jubilant blooms. With such great volume, their flowers make easy, simple arrangements of just a few stems in a vase. They grow best in zones 5-9 in full to part sun, and may need regular watering if the temperature gets warm. They grow quickly and bloom all summer long. With their large vivid green leaves and colorful flowers, they look great in a hedge or solo as a container plant. The flowers tend to be bluer in acidic soil and pinker in more alkaline soils. Shop Monrovia’s Mini Penny hydrangea here.

Camellia bushes forming an allée above a garden path in Charleston via @thouswellblog(Middleton Place via Charleston CVB)


I love camellias because they’re one of the first flowers to bloom as their blooming season starts in late Winter – their layers of petals provide an opulent sign of the impending warm weather. Camellias are also admired for their ability to reach tree-like heights and create thick screening with glossy leaves that stay green all year round. Camellias grow best in zones 8-10 with filtered sunlight and moderate watering needs.

South Carolina home with a boxwood hedge pattern and climbing magnolia via @thouswellblog(via Architectural Digest)


One of the most historical hedge plants is the boxwood, a thick, slow-growing bush that’s easily shaped and a constant bright green. Since it grows slowly, it’s perfect for creating neat patterns and tidy border for flower beds. Boxwoods have been used for creating intricate hedge designs for centuries in gardens across Europe, so it’s often found in the traditional gardens of homes on the East coast. While you’ll want to watch out for the boxwood leaf miner, Monrovia’s Dwarf English Boxwood is considered the most resistant strand to the insect. Plant this bush in zones 5-8 in full to partial sun, and water regularly in the Southern heat. Check out this vide from Monrovia on tips for pruning your boxwood:

Climbing star jasmine creates an archway in a courtyard garden via @thouswellblog(via Providence Design)


We planted Star Jasmine at my father’s house last year, and I can’t wait to get smell it’s fragrant blooms this year as it climbs across his front porch. This easy-to-grow vine is a favorite for its thick covering of white flowers that have an incredible scent, and for its ability to quickly cover trellises or a fence (growing up to 20 feet in length). Star Jasmine can also be planted in a container with a small trellis for colder climates that can be brought inside or near the house during the winter. It grows best in zones 8-11 in partial to full sun with moderate watering needs.

Pink and white azaleas surrounding trees via @thouswellblog(via Annie Riedora)


The bright blooms of the hardy azalea bush are a common sight during spring in the South, as they are native to the region. They’re hardy bushes with blooms ranging from hot pink to stark white (and everything in between). Monrovia’s Cannon’s Double azalea hybrid has dramatic blooms with layers of petals in peach, pink and cream. Azaleas look beautiful massed in shrub borders and can grow up to six feet tall. They grow best in zones 5-9 in full to partial sun, with minimal watering needs.

Do you have any plans for spring gardening?


This post is sponsored by Monrovia but all text, images, and opinions are all my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep Thou Swell running!


  1. A true Southern garden isn’t complete without a Hydrangea bush or two – they always remind me of my grandmas house!

    Posted 4.1.16
  2. Hydrangea is SO good – i’m absolutely in love with that flower <3

    Posted 4.1.16

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