Your home is where you plant it. It sounds like a cliche, but it's true. If you live in North Carolina, you have a pretty good idea of what you can and can't grow here.
Still, it can be helpful to know the best things to plant and when to do so. These include everything from your vegetable garden to your flowers. Some plants are native to North Carolina, and some need love to flourish and thrive.
The weather and season are also significant factors. Planting too late is sure to end in disaster. If you plan to grow exotic or out-of-season plants, getting acquainted with a greenhouse might be in your best interest.
You can upgrade your garden game this spring with hard work and knowledge. Read on to discover the best things to plant in North Carolina and start gardening today!
North Carolina hardiness zone
What better way to celebrate the coming of spring than to introduce some new seeds into your garden? With brighter and warmer days ahead of you, you'll have the right conditions to cultivate new plants.
However, before you begin seeds and plant shopping, it's best to know your plant hardiness zoning. Use it as your ultimate guide. It doesn't matter if you're a beginner or a veteran in gardening.
A plant hardiness zoning guide is perfect for beginner gardeners who are unsure which plants are most suited for their area. The same is true if you're looking to expand your garden. Using a plant hardiness zoning guide will help you gain a better understanding of the climate of your locale.
North Carolina has a humid and subtropical climate unless you're in the Appalachians. Its plant hardiness zone, though, averages from 8a to 6a. This means winter temperatures average from 10F to 15F and -10F to -5F.
Depending on your setup, there are still loopholes for you to plant whatever you want, whenever you want. Identify your gardening goals and decide if you want a veggie garden or an ornamental one. This will be crucial in choosing the right plants and seeds for you.
You'll be off to a good start with extra knowledge of seasonal plants and a good green thumb.
Plants for every season
Some gardeners prefer to switch their plants with the seasons. There are also others who'd rather pick ones that can withstand all seasons. What most fail to consider is having a good in-between for both.
One way to achieve this is by having healthy and established bulbs in the ground, waiting for spring. Know which ones also are best planted in summer. Plant these along with flowers that bloom during late autumn to winter.
You can also opt for root crops and hardy leafy greens in the winter for your vegetable gardens. House plants are also another option since your home will have controlled temperatures. However, one downside to all these is the increased maintenance.
Maintaining plants in your yard or garden can get difficult if your area gets a lot of snow. Indoor plants will also need adequate sunlight and water to thrive in the winter. Check them for pests like bugs or fungi and mold too.
While nature may always try to do its thing, you can bypass the seasons with a greenhouse. Greenhouses can be quite a project, but they come in all sizes, and you can even DIY one.
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They don't have to be expensive - they're good as long as you can achieve the temperatures you need. With a greenhouse, you can keep flowers and vegetables all year long. It can even serve as a personal nursery.
Getting a greenhouse
If you love challenges and adding new seeds to your garden, consider getting a greenhouse! It allows you to grow plants outside of your plant hardiness zone. A greenhouse can also serve as an investment.
With the right maintenance, you can get the right growing conditions for every plant. It saves you from worrying whether your plants might drown if you don't check rainfall charts. The same is true for protecting them from sudden temperature dips in the cooler months.
The most difficult part is keeping an ample heat source, lighting, and ventilation. Regardless, the efficiency of a greenhouse is undeniable. Even house plant enthusiasts swear by indoor greenhouses for their tropicals.
With a greenhouse, you won't have to keep buying plants every spring, nor do you have to watch your annual plants succumb to winter. Re-pot and transfer your existing plants into the greenhouse before the first frost. If you have the space, start some seedlings you'd want to grow in your garden for spring.
If you're caring for houseplants, you can keep your propagates in it too.
Ornamentals and landscaping
Keeping your garden healthy and happy in the winter will require the hand of an experienced gardener. However, you'll always have a splash of color with the right perennial plants.
In spring and summer, you'll often find tulips, dianthus, and roses everywhere. They're easy to keep as long as you follow the right timing and care instructions. Winter flowers and ornamentals, on the other hand, can get quite tricky.
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Here are some lovely flowering plants and fruit-bearing shrubs you can look into. Start with some perennials and evergreens instead of annual plants so you won't have to worry about when to plant them. Winter Jasmine, which blooms from December to March, is a good example.
Holly Bush is an evergreen with lovely red fruits in the winter months. Having it in your garden also gives your home a sense of the holiday spirit.
If you're looking for a plant that can tide you up until late spring, try Hellebores. They start blooming around February to May. You may also opt for winter pansies which come in all colors.
Heathers are also good options. You can plant them around autumn as they're hardy enough to withstand winter and rebloom next year. Dusty Miller is another good choice if you're looking for a beautiful garden filler that will last all year.
What to grow in your vegetable garden
Having a vegetable garden is like having a personal fresh produce aisle. The key to keeping it well-stocked is knowing the best things to plant every season. Though there's no question about when the best time to plant vegetables is - of course, it's spring.
The weather conditions are ideal and more forgiving if you don't have a green thumb. If you have a greenhouse and have a set of stater veggies, prep them for spring and summer.
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Are you looking for vegetables that'll brave the winter? Go for carrots, beets, and potatoes - root crops are always hardy. Kale and collards are popular choices if you're looking to plant some greens.
Vegetable gardens are one of the best ways to remain self-sufficient. When the global pandemic hit, homeowners who had started a garden long before reaped its benefits. With your own garden, you can skip out on going to the grocery store for overpriced produce.
Native vs. invasive species
When planting in North Carolina, it's crucial to remember to preserve our delicate ecosystem. There are many beautiful plants that are native to our great state and a few that are invasive. Invasive plants could cause damage to our forests and rivers if they get out of hand.
Familiarize yourself with some of the common native and invasive species of plants. Native plants include red maple, butterfly weed, and 3,900 other species of plant. While these plants may seem like a nice added touch to your garden, they can do more harm than good.
Invasive species are those introduced by humans in the last few hundred years. They lack the natural ecological limits which would keep them in check compared to native plants. These include Asian wisterias, Japanese honeysuckle, and English ivy.
Our local ecosystems became balanced after thousands of years. Because of this, pollinators, birds, and other wildlife can thrive in harmony. If we allow invasive species to mess with that balance, everyone suffers.
The best things to plant in North Carolina
Having a garden that's the envy of the town is hard work. You need to know what the best things to plant are in North Carolina and when is the right time to plant them. Of course, this also means knowing about each of the plants you plant to grow and the tricks of the trade involved.
With perseverance and experience, you can grow almost anything in North Carolina.