the orange gardener

5–7 minute read

Recommended Plants

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.

By Season

Bloom & Berry this website
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

Natives

General

  • Plants used along NC highways NC DOT
    tough plants that can survive with no special care, emphasis on natives
  • Deer-resistant plants NC CES
  • Earth-Kind TX CES
    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 Bluestem Nursery
    Excellent. Don’t miss the drought tolerance page or the grass comparison chart. Each grass page has photos and, for natives, distribution maps.
  • Hoffman Nursery
    local wholesale ornamental grass nursery. Select grasses by function: Bioretention / Rain Gardens, Bioswales / Vegetated Swales, Erosion Control, Green Roofs, Lawn Alternatives, Meadow / Prairie Plantings

Trees

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:

The trees below tolerate compacted soil. Note, however, that many of the species in this list appear on the lists of problem trees shown further down on this page.

Trees tolerant of compacted soil

Betula nigra
Cercis canadensis
Crataegus spp.
Diospyros virginiana
Ilex spp.
Juniperus virginiana
Magnolia virginiana
Nyssa spp.
Pinus taeda
Quercus bicolor
Quercus lyrata
Quercus macrocarpa
Quercus michauxii
Quercus nuttallii
Quercus palustris
Quercus phellos
Quercus shumardii
Taxodium distichum

river birch
redbud
hawthorns
persimmon
holly
Eastern redcedar
sweetbay
tupelo/black gum
loblolly pine
swamp white oak
overcup oak
bur oak
swamp chestnut oak
Nuttall oak
pin oak
willow oak
Shumard oak
baldcypress

Invasives

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 NC DOT
    threat level, susceptible habitats, photos; also a list of recommended natives
  • Nonnative invasive plants of Southern forests invasive.org
    photos, recommended treatments, distribution maps
  • Invasive plant atlas of the US
    The Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States is a collaborative project between the National Park Service, the University of Georgia Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health, the Invasive Plant Atlas of New England and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. It will open 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 because distribution is shown at the county level.
  • Weed factsheets Plant Conservation Alliance
    maps at state level only, but superb factsheets with photos, details of threat, habitats, biology, and spread, management options
  • Invasive exotic plants: Publications & resources NCBG
  • Invasive exotic species NC Native Plant Society

Problem Trees

The table identifies trees that are genetically predisposed to problems that make them highly susceptible to storm damage. Read more about these issues in Storm Damage.

Key
F poor form
D decay problems
R girdling roots
Red maple
Silver maple
Littleleaf linden

European mountain ash
Boxelder
Willows

Green ash

Hackberry
Bradford pear
Amur cherry

American basswood
Northern pin oak
Red oak
Black oak
Aspen
Gray birch

Norway maple
Poplars
F D R
F D R
F D R

F D
F D
F D

F   R

F
F
F

  D
  D
  D
  D
  D
  D

    R
    R

Sources

The Go Local 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.