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Gardening in the Lowcountry - Pay No Attention to the Horticultural Zone Map

So you’ve made the move to the Lowcountry, or maybe you’re planning to, and you’re wondering what you can now include in your garden that you’ve never been able to have before. Or perhaps you’re hoping to enjoy your favorites more given the longer growing season. Before you start planning what to buy at the garden center there are a few things you need to know.

 

First, pay no attention to the USDA Horticultural Zone Map. Experienced gardeners will tell you that most years, this region is a solid Zone 9a even though the Zone Map would say Zone 8b putting coastal Lowcountry South Carolina in the same category as Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington. It’s far too hot here in the summer and there simply aren’t enough required frost days for some classic favorites to have the dormancy periods that they need – peonies and lilacs for example.

 

Second, yes it does get hot and sticky with subtropical conditions. Winters are wonderfully mild (who wouldn’t love temperatures in the mid-60s in February?) but the summers can take a bit of getting used to – for people and plants. The average daily high in the summer is 84 degrees, not including the humidity. However, there are quite a few days that are well into the 90s. A benefit of coastal living though is the ocean breeze to keep the air moving.

 

Nevertheless, there are wonderful plants, shrubs and trees that do flourish in the Lowcountry climate. Of course, magnolias come to mind and azaleas too. But are you familiar with the crape myrtle? It is a fast-growing shrub that is perfect for hot and sunny climates and once established can handle drought conditions. With lovely flowers, and attractive fall foliage it’s a great addition to the landscape. Perhaps a camellia is more to your liking, or you’d like to have your own pecan tree.

 

What about a cut flower garden? From perky daisies to tall lupines, gladiolas to sunflowers, having a cut flower garden is both enjoyable and cost saving. No more buying bouquets or arrangements when you have everything you need right outside your door.

 

Herbs are also a good choice for Lowcountry gardening. Many are drought and heat tolerant, some even thrive in such conditions and still don’t seem to mind the occasional downpour. Whether you choose to use them in the landscape or keep pots or hanging baskets handy outside your kitchen door, herbs are a delightful accent to your garden.

 

A move to the Lowcountry doesn’t have to completely change your gardening style. While you may have to leave behind those plants and shrubs that require longer dormancy periods, you’re sure to find new things to incorporate into your garden plans.

 

Come see for yourself and fall in love with the Lowcountry. Schedule a Discovery Visit to Hilton Head Lakes today. Call 866-396-3230 or schedule online you’ll be glad you did - packages start at just $179 and include accommodations.

 

Hilton Head Lakes is a debt free community in South Carolina, and one of the best places to retire. It’s the perfect balance between gated community and world-class resort. With the addition of Realstar Builders, we’re creating homes that are built to last. Schedule a Discovery Visit today and experience Hilton Head Lakes for yourself.

 

Sources:

South Carolina Garden Guru

Lowcountry Master Gardeners Association

Clemson Cooperative Extension

 The Abor Day Foundation

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