The following references provide extensive lists of low-need plants suited to Orange County. Detailed information for each plant makes it easy to create an attractive and water-efficient landscape.
Bloom & Berry
Create a garden with year-round interest using our local calendar of plants in bloom or with other seasonal interest, such as berries, bark or foliage. Each list item links to photos and culture information, making the calendar a great planning tool.
By Water Need
- Landscape water needs
comprehensive, detailed, includes many plants used here
- Landscape water conservation in the Southeast
- Drought-Tolerant Plants for North Carolina Landscapes
- Plants for moist to wet sites
nice concise list
- Trees, shrubs, and woody vines of North Carolina
complete list of trees, shrubs & woody vines of Orange County, separate lists for native vs. naturalized plants, multiple photos for each species (e.g. leaf, twig, bark, flower), frequency of occurrence in Orange County, notes on form, habitat, etc.
- Going native
step-by-step instructions on how to: identify wildlife needs, map your yard, identify existing vegetation, design & implement a native landscape
- North Carolina recommended
plant characteristics, bloom time, culture information, benefits, propagation, distribution, native habitats, sourcing
- Drought-tolerant NC natives
Native trees & shrubs for your garden
Native Wildflowers, Ferns & Grasses for Your Garden
Plant list for the Piedmont habitat
Recommended Sources for Native Plants
- Recommended native species trees, shrubs, vines, ferns, grasses & sedges, ground covers, wildflowers; sublists of mesic perennials, [list of NC sources].\
- Selecting plants for pollinators
regional guide for the Southeastern Mixed Forest Province; details on pollinators, habitats, plants
commercial site but has photos of 475 plants native to our county, partners with several quality nurseries that propagate natives
- Natural communities of Orange County
These plant lists can help you to select plants that suit your site more closely than by using the more standard criteria such as sun/shade. The main page looks at our major natural communities and their associated plants, which can differ greatly between communities. There is a tool for you to discover which communities are present in your yard, plus descriptions, photos, and map links for local sites you can visit.
- Plants used along NC highways
tough plants that can survive with no special care, emphasis on natives
- Deer-resistant plants
includes many plants that are also grown in our area. Ratings are based on water use plus heat tolerance, soil tolerance, fertility requirements, and pest resistance for each Texas region. The region most closely matching our own is northeast Texas (Region C — Pineywoods area). comments on the habit, size, fruit and flowering, ornamental value, and disease susceptibility. If you are considering a particular plant, see if it is in the list and click on it to view these other attributes. Because the climate is not identical to ours, some virtues or concerns may not apply here. Earth-Kind also field-tests roses for tolerance to pests, heat, and drought while delivering outstanding landscape performance.
- Landscape uses for ornamental grasses
Excellent. Don’t miss the drought tolerance page or the grass comparison chart. Each grass page has photos and, for natives, distribution maps.
- North Carolina Urban Tree Evaluation Program
- South Carolina Urban Tree Species Guide
- Trees Tolerant of Compacted Soil
Four major mechanisms permit some tree species to adapt to compacted soil, whose lack of medium and large pore spaces results in poor gas exchange with the atmosphere, limited tree-available water, and mechanical impedance to root growth:
- quick and effective reaction to mechanical damage
- continued respiration under low oxygen conditions
- absorbing roots that turn over, reorient, and adjust to changing soil conditions
- effective detoxification of the chemically reduced materials present in anaerobic conditions
The trees below tolerate compacted soil. Note, however, that many of the species in the list above appear on the lists of problem trees shown further down on this page.
|Scientific name||Common name|
|Betula nigra||river birch|
|Juniperus virginiana||Eastern redcedar|
|Nyssa spp.||tupelo/black gum|
|Pinus taeda||loblolly pine|
|Quercus bicolor||swamp white oak|
|Quercus lyrata||overcup oak|
|Quercus macrocarpa||bur oak|
|Quercus michauxii||swamp chestnut oak|
|Quercus nuttallii||Nuttall oak|
|Quercus palustris||pin oak|
|Quercus phellos||willow oak|
|Quercus shumardii||Shumard oak|
Because some species, including natives, are invasive in the right habitat, it is wise to check before you introduce any plant. The references below show how to identify and eliminate invasive species.
- Invasive exotic plants of NC
threat level, susceptible habitats, photos; also a list of recommended natives
- Nonnative invasive plants of Southern forests
photos, recommended treatments, distribution maps
- Invasive plant atlas of the US
opens on the distribution map for Japanese stiltgrass, with weed images displayed and links to factsheets, control measures, etc. The maps are a very nice feature of this site, since distribution is shown at the county level.
- Plant Conservation Alliance weed factsheets
maps at state level only, but superb factsheets with photos, details of threat, habitats, biology, and spread, management options
- Invasive exotic plants: Publications & resources
- Invasive exotic species
The table identifies trees that are genetically predisposed to problems that make them highly susceptible to storm damage. Read more about these issues in Storms.
|Species||Poor Form||Decay||Girdling Roots|
|European mountain ash||•||•|
|Northern pin oak||•|
The Resources section of our homepage lists regional parks, public gardens, and arboreta and has a searchable map of places of special interest. The map bubbles list visit highlights and, where available, plant lists and trail maps. There are also links to independent local retailers for plants, soil, mulch, amendments, and tools.×