Top 25 Native Flowers in Georgia

By Britton Sullivan

Flowers don’t just grow in a garden. You might be surprised that the natural beauty of an area can be found on the side of a highway or in a field as well as in the most esteemed award-winning gardens. I’ve compiled a list of some of the prettiest and distinctive flowers that grow in the state of Georgia.

1. Azaleas – state wildflower

Rhododendron canescens

Clusters of pink azaleas on bushes in the spring.

Azaleas are primarily found in deciduous woodlands where they are shaded from the summer sun. Flowers are trumpet shaped  with petals that may be deep rose to light pink or white.

2. Cherokee Rose – state flower

Rosa laevitiga ta

The Cherokee rose is a woody evergreen shrub with thorns and dark green leaves. Solitary white flowers grow at the end of climbing branches in early spring.

3. Zinnias (annuals – easy to grow)

Zinnia elegans

Zinnias are annuals that grow well in moist, sunny conditions. They come in a variety of different colored flowers, and they are used as groundcover in hot, dry areas.

4. Cosmos

Cosmos bipinnatus

beautiful cosmos flower in field

Cosmos produce open cup-shaped or bowl-shaped flowers that range in color from white and pink to orange and maroon. The annual flowers are drought resistant and attract butterflies and bees.

5. Shasta Daisies

Leucanthemum x superbum

Shasta daisies are evergreen shrubs that form clumps that are 2 to 3 feet tall and 1 to 2 feet wide. They produce flowers with white petals and yellow centers.

6. Gerbera Daisy

Gerbera jamesonii

The flower heads of a Gerbera daisy are large and have a center disk of tiny green or black flowers surrounded by ray-like petals. Gerbera daisy flowers have vividly colored petals that range from pale pastel pinks and yellows to vibrant reds and oranges.

7. Oakleaf Hydrangeas

Hydrangea quercifolia

Flower head of oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) in mid-May. Showy white flowers are sterile and function only to attract pollinators to the small and inconspicuous fertile flowers at the center of the infloresence.

Oakleaf hydrangeas thrive in moist, acidic soil exposed to sun or part shade. They produce white flowers that gradually turn light pink by the fall.

8. Salvia 

Salvia officinalis

The Salvia family of plants are part of the mint family and bloom throughout the summer. Salvia flowers can come in numerous colors and are often fragrant.

9. Carolina Rose

Rosa Carolina

Carolina roses grow in thickets and produce flowers that have five light pink petals and a yellow center. They attract natural pollinators and can grow on sand dunes.

10. Dahlias

Dahlia Pinnata

Derived from tubers, dahlias are perennials whose flowers can range in diameter from a few inches to a foot. There are thousands of bloom varieties, and they can grow in a variety of colors that range from bright pinks to yellows, among others.

11. Camelia 

Camelia japonica

Camelias have been an integral part of Georgia since its founding as a colony, and the American Camelia Society is based in the state. The flower’s blooms come in a variety of sizes and range in color from white to faint pink and light red. They bloom in cool weather.

12. Plumleaf Azalea

Rhododendron prunifolium

Plumleaf azaleas are deciduous shrubs that bloom in summer and produce funnel-shaped flowers that range in color from orange to bright red. They grow naturally in ravines along streams in mixed pine and hardwood forests in a restricted area of Georgia and Alabama. Their vibrant hues attract a variety of native wildlife that include hummingbirds and swallowtail butterflies.

13. Baby’s Breath 

Gypsophilia elegans

Flowers can be white, rose, or purple colored and are produced from clumping plants that form round groups 1 to 2 feet high. The plant has narrow leaves that are gray-green in color, and it produces its five-petaled flowers in the summer.

14. Night Flowering Wild Petunia

Ruellia noctiflora

The flowers of night flowering wild petunia are purple and funnel shaped. They often grow in pine forests near wetlands. The flowers open at night and fall off by mid-morning.

15. Bearded Beggarticks/ Bur Marigold

Bidens aristosa

The annual grows upright and has leaves that are lance-shaped. Bright yellow flowers are produced on the end of branched stems, and they yield prickly seeds.

16. Homestead Purple Verbena

Glandularia ‘Homestead Purple 

Homestead Purple verbena is a trailing plant that produces vibrant purple blossoms from the end of spring to the first frost. It is a hybrid of two other verbena varieties that was discovered by two University of Georgia professors in the 1990s.

17. Snapdragons

Antirrhinum majus 

Beautiful Antirrhinum majus dragon flower also known as Snap Dragons and Tagetes patula (French Marigolds) is blooming in the garden.

Snapdragons have blooms that are shaped like the snout of a dragon that top the stems with spade-shaped leaves. The flowers bloom from the spring to fall.

18. Common Peony

Paeonia lactiflora

Common peonies are herbaceous perennials that often outlive the people who plant them, surviving for more than 100 years after sprouting. Their flowers  come in a variety of colors that include various whites and pinks, and the herbaceous varieties die back in the winter in preparation for new growth in the spring.

19. Sunflowers 

Helianthus sp.

sunflower over cloudy blue sky

A variety of sunflower species can be found both in gardens and on the roadside in Georgia. Much of the species possess a center made of smaller and darker disk flowers surrounded by larger yellow petals.

20. Jewelweed 

Impatiens capensis

Jewelweed has a defining, pouch-like flower that is bright orange with red flecks. It usually grows along the edges of marshes and drainage canals.

21.  Wax Begonias

Begonia X semperflorens-cultorum

close up of blooming begonia cucullata or wax begonia

The wax begonia produces  flowers from spring until frost that range from white to pink to vibrant red. Wax begonia varieties differ in sun tolerance and the color of their foliage, which can be bronze or green with patches of white.

22. Queen Anne’s Lace

Daucus carota

Queen Anne’s lace has fern-like foliage and produces flat clusters of white flowers with dark purple centers. It is a relative to the conventional carrot plant and is a biennial that flowers in its second year of growth .

23. Pansies

Viola x wittrockiana

Pansies are short-lived cool weather  loving plants that are primarily used in bedding from early spring to the beginning of a harsh winter or summer. Their vibrant color patterns can range from bright yellows to deep purples, and the flowers resemble a face because of their spotted appearance.

24. Gardenia

Gardenia jasminoides 

Gardenias are evergreen shrubs that have dark, glossy green leaves and white flowers. The plant grows 3 feet to 6 feet tall. Its flowers are known for their attractive fragrance and their prolific blooming in warmer climates.

25. Common Daffodil

Narcissus pseudonarcissus

Daffodils are grown from bulbs planted in late fall and produce blade-like leaves. Flowers bloom during the spring at the end of a long stem and face the sun. Common daffodils have six yellow petals surrounding a darker yellow bowl-shaped center.

26. Spanish Lavender

Lavandula stoechas

Spanish lavender is an adaptable, bushy, and branching shrub that produces small purple flowers at the top of its stems. The plant tolerates hotter climates than the English and French varieties of lavender, and it will attract native pollinators to gardens.

27. Butterfly Weed, Butterfly Milkweed

Asclepias tuberosa

The bushy perennial produces many flowering branches in late spring and throughout the summer. Small, bright orange flowers are produced in grouped clusters that bear silky seeds in spindle-shaped pods.

28. Spiderwort

Tradescantia virginiana

Spiderwort Flowers in Early Summer

An easy to grow, clump-forming perennial, spiderwort thrives in nearly any growing conditions, including shade, and is often found growing on roadsides and in ditches. This plant’s deep blue to violet purple flowers with contrasting yellow stamens bloom continuously for several months beginning in March. While each blossom lasts only about one-half day, the numerous buds in each flower cluster provide new flowers each day. Spiderwort is a member of the iris family with long, narrow, bright green leaves that offset the slightly fragrant blue flowers.

29. Doll’s Eyes, White Baneberry

Actaea pachypoda

Doll’s Eyes grow in moist soil and produce stems with tiny white flowers in May or June. The perennials give way to clusters of white, pebble-sized fruit with a purple dot that resemble eyes.

30. Common White Snakeroot

Ageratina altissima

The common white snakeroot is a perennial flower that grows in open clearings and meadows. It grows small, white flower heads in flat clusters from the end of summer to late fall.

31. Wood Anemone

Anemone quinquefolia

White anemone macro close up in nature. Anemone sylvestris (snowdrop anemone, windflower) in sunlight. Anemone nemorosa blooming in spring.

The perennial produces whorled leaflets that yield white or pink flowers that rise above the plant. Wood anemone flowers are an inch wide and have five to seven petals.

32. Blue Wild Indigo

Baptisia australis

Blue wild indigo has clover-like leaves organized in three, two-inch-long, bluish-green leaflets. Purple pea-sized blooms appear in clusters on stalks that grow above the foliage.

33. Toothwort, Crinkleroot

Cardamine diphylla

The perennial grows in hardwood forests and produces leaves in groups of three on each stem. The plant bears loose clumps of white or pink flowers that appear at the end of the stem in March or April.

34. Vanillaleaf, Deer Tongue

Carphephorus odoratissumus

(c) Scott Simmons, all rights reserved

Vanillaleaf have single upright leafy stems with oval-shaped leaves that smell like vanilla when dried. Small, purple flowers are cylindrically arranged at the head of the plant’s hairy stem.

35. Spurred Butterfly Pea

Centrosema virginianum

Spurred butterfly pea is a trailing vine with a tough root and lance-shaped leaflets. Its flowers are lavender in color with a whitish spot toward the bottom of them.

While not all-inclusive, I hope this list will help identify flowers that my fellow wanderers find on their travels. I even discovered the names of a few that I always see but never stop to look up!

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