Coastal and Tropical South

The tropical south includes the coasts of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi, as well as large swaths across southern Louisiana and eastern Texas. Florida is the only state entirely in this region. In many respects, the tropical south is a gardening paradise matched only by coastal California. It's warm year-round and only occasionally gets frosts in certain areas. (The Florida Keys are frost-free.) There is plenty of rain and abundant sunshine and many plants that won't grow further north will flourish here. There are also drawbacks to the sub-tropics and tropics. The summer, which is peak gardening season in many areas, is too hot to do much of anything in the tropics and sub-tropics. Furthermore, the heat can kill many plants that favor more temperate climates. The coastal south is also, as we are so aware, in great danger from hurricanes and tropical storms, which can uproot trees and will certainly destroy a vegetable patch. This may not be a great concern to the hobbyist vegetable farmer, but you should be very careful about the trees you add to your yard; they could easily come down in a year or two. That said, slap on some sunscreen and grab a hat. Gardening in the tropical south is a year-round activity! ---- ---- ---- The great advantage of gardening in the south is getting to enjoy flowers that most of the country only sees on postcards. Cannas and hibiscus are well known, but the bird of paradise flower is just about as tropical as you can get. Passion flower vines will climb anywhere you like, and fragrant plumeria will give your whole garden a sweet scent.  ----