Ask The Expert: Im trying to figure out what would be the best plants to plant outside in March to beautify my community. Kimberly Columbia, SC
Plant Expert Reply:
Are you looking for shrubs or flowers? South Carolina is a zone 7-8. So, you would need plants that are zone 7 hardy. The issue is March may not be the best time to plants shrubs in your area. Another issue to consider is the location you are wanting to beautify.
If you simply want to beautify an entrance to your home or an office building, I suggest using decorative pots filled with annual flowers. This option gives you color, as well as an opportunity to change your colors seasonally. For March, I suggest the following flowers: pansies, snapdragons, wave petunia, lisanthus, dianthus, delphinium, diascia, stock, alyssum, bacopa, bellis, primula, violas. My personal preference is a pot with snapdragons and wave petunias. To find your best option drop into your local nursery or garden center and discuss the flowers available in your area.
The same goes for shrubs. To find the right shrubs for your area, you have to consider many factors: space requirements, soil needs, maintenance, whether a commercial or residential application and the need for year-round interest. I personally like a mixture of evergreen, blooming and deciduous plants.
Nandinas are one of my favorite shrubs in early spring. Although, I prefer the dwarf nandinas — either a harbour belle or a gulf stream variety. Nandinas have a reddish foliage in the cold months and a green foliage in the warm months. So, this plant could add a lot of interest to your area in March. I also favor boxwoods and cleyera japonica as foundation plants. If you have room for a tree and you want early spring blooming try a saucer magnolia or a star magnolia.
The best suggestion I can give you on want to plant is to take a photo and measurements of the area and take it to your local garden center and nursery. This way they can help you design your area and show your the plant options available in your area.
Good luck and let me know how it turns out.