This unique subtropical plant was used in the West Indies for building enclosures. It is a multi-trunked thorny tree with yellow flowers through the winter.
This unique subtropical plant was used in the West Indies for building enclosures. It is a multi-trunked thorny tree with yellow flowers through the winter.
This unique plant looks more suited to a desert climate, but it is found wild up and down the east coast. Its strappy leaves are crowned by huge spikes of creamy white flowers every other year.
This upright yellow-flowering plant, with its distinctive odor, is a classic of the summer border.
This native plum has a sprawling habit, which showcases the beautiful white flowers in spring and the unique pink plums in midsummer. The plants become scaly with age and are somewhat disease prone.
This plant is ideally used in the front of the flower border and is prone to reseeding. It was a common garden plant in the 18th century.
Since bananas must reach a certain size to set fruit, today they are mostly used in the garden for their dramatic foliage.
Bee Balm is a tall summer-blooming perennial with brilliant red flowers subtended by a whorl of showy, red-tinged, leafy bracts. The aromatic leaves can be used for tea, but are susceptible to mildew, so this plant needs good air circulation. A member of the mint family, bee balm spreads readily by rhizomes…
A cottage garden favorite, black-eyed susan features masses of ferociously yellow flowers that attract butterflies. They are incredibly hardy and tolerate a wide variety of conditions, making them ideal for naturalizing.
Blackberry lilies are named for their glossy black seeds which look nearly identical to an actual blackberry. They have beautiful orange flowers with darker spots on long graceful stems above strappy green foliage.
This unique plant features bright blue-purple flowers on tall green stalks followed by interesting black seedpods. It forms a deep taproot and does not transplant well, so be certain of its location before planting.
Blue sky vine is a large, twining vine that boasts beautiful pale blue flowers. It is a rapid grower and becomes quite large over the course of a season.
Boston Marrows are large, bright orange squashes that can weigh anywhere between 10 and 50 lbs., although 25 lbs. is more common. They are an excellent eating squash and can be turned into soups or pies.
Boxwood are the quintessential southern garden hedge plant. They are popular for use in knot gardens, parterres, edging, and as topiaries. While the historic English boxwood (Buxus suffruiticosa) are especially susceptible to a devastating and widespread blight caused by the fungus Cylindrocladium buxicola…
Airy blue flowers form a stunning mass mid-border late in the season when many other flowers are fading. In southern climates, this plant self-sows with vigor.
Brown-eyed Susans form masses of bright gold flowers above dark green foliage. It will flop without a midseason trim to keep it from getting too tall. It is ideal for naturalizing because it reseeds readily.
The bullnose pepper is a type of sweet pepper which produces abundantly. Its fruits are somewhat smaller than modern bell peppers and they are susceptible to sunscald. However, they have an excellent flavor.
Bush beans are compact, low growing plants that produce large crops of beans. They can be used for fresh eating or as dry beans.
Bush lima beans are vigorous, productive plants. Their smaller size makes them easy to grow in the home garden and they still provide a bounteous harvest. They can be used dry or fresh.
Butterfly peas are short lived tropical perennials with striking blue flowers. They have a twining habit and prefer rich, moist, well-drained soils. They make attractive container plants in Virginia.
This plant features brilliant orange flowers that light up the garden and are attractive to pollinators, including monarchs and honeybees.
This petite, graceful gladiolus features bright pink flowers on long, elegant stems. It is somewhat hardier than most modern gladioli.
Canterbury bells are a common sight in cottage gardens. Their bright purple flowers add a richness of color to the pastels of late spring and early summer. They are a short-lived perennial and often need to be replanted.
The vibrant red blooms of the cardinal flower makes it an ideal plant for the shady summer garden. It reseeds readily and is ideal for naturalizing and sharing with friends.
Give this shrub ample room to sprawl, as it tends to sucker when it's happy. The unusual chocolatey maroon flowers give off a spicy sweet fragrance which is echoed in cut twigs and leaves.
Cayenne peppers are large prolific plants. They produce bountiful crops of slender, spicy red peppers that can be used fresh or dried.
High Mallow is an upright, bushy plant with magenta flowers and darker purple stripes. It reseeds readily and naturalizes quickly in the garden.
This blue-flowered perennial is common as a roadside weed, but has a long history of being used as an edible or fodder.
The pink, purple, or white flowers of this cheerful daisy are an excellent midsummer accent in any flower garden.
Chinaberry is a fast-growing deciduous tree often made of several smaller trunks, as it is able to readily sprout from the roots. The widely spreading crown, pale purple tube-like fragrant blooms, and attractive yellow drupes that persist all winter made it a popular ornamental shade tree in southern…
Chives are a small clump-forming onion relative. The stems are frequently used as a culinary herb, and the flowers are attractive to pollinators.
Spires of pink and white bracts crown this large-leafed salvia. It has been used as an herb since the Middle Ages and is currently used as flavoring for wines, vermouth, and liqueurs.
This elegant climbing rose sports large pink flowers from spring until nearly Christmas. It is lightly fragrant and easily trained to a graceful climbing habit against walls or over trellises.
A sturdy long-blooming annual, this impressive plant is ideal for the back of the border. Its bright flowers come in many colors, including hot pink, peach, deep rose, yellow, and red.
Coffee forms a large shrub with glossy green leaves. It has small white flowers. This plant produces the coffee beans so many of us rely on every day, but in this part of the world is primarily used as an ornamental.
This crop is grown for the fibers it produces, although ornamental varieties do exist.
The name "cowpea" was probably coined for their use as a fodder crop for cows, and while grown for their edible bean, the leaves and pods can also be consumed. Black-eyed peas can be harvested as a snap bean, or dried, and are the main ingredient in Hoppin' John, a traditional Southern dish ritually…
Cucumbers are a vining plant with yellow flowers and slightly prickly stems. There are many varieties which produce cucumbers of different sizes and shapes.
Dipper gourds are sprawling plants that produce enormous quantities of fruit over the course of the season. The gourds they produce can be used to make drinking vessels, birdhouses, and other decorative items.
This unique late-blooming bulb sports maroon flower-heads, for which it earns its common of drumstick allium.
Egyptian walking onions are a unique plant which produces the next generation in a crown of bulblets atop their stalks in lieu of flowers. As the bulblets grow, their weight pulls them to the ground, where they take root to grow new plants. While the young bulbs are mild and can be used as scallions…
This plant's large leaves add a unique texture to the back of the border, while its yellow flowers provide late season interest. Elecampane is used in France and Switzerland to make absinthe.
With its cute white flower, this petite daisy makes a charming addition to the garden. It is usually grown as a short-lived perennial, but it will reseed if permitted.
Fragrant spires of dark purple flowers above silvery foliage light up the garden border in summer. If trimmed after blooming, they will flower again. Their flowers may be used in sachets or as flavoring in baking and drinks.
The fig tree dates back to ancient times and is an important source of food for many cultures. Flowers are borne inside the fig structure (syconium), and the fig is ripe and at its sweetest when it softens and turns dark late in the season. Coarse-textured leaves, which are large and deeply lobed, are…
Fish peppers are hot peppers with variegated white leaves. The peppers themselves are often streaked with white and start green before maturing to red.
Named for the time of day the bloom opens, four o'clocks will attract hummingbirds and nocturnal pollinators to your garden. This bushy plant reseeds readily, producing hundreds of large black seeds that resemble hand grenades.
French marigolds are iconic garden plants with distinctly fragrant leaves. The flowers are single, semi-double, double, or crested in shades of yellow, orange, or red, and can also be bi-colored. When planted in the vegetable garden, marigolds can repel certain pests, such as white flies on tomatoes…
This dazzling plant blooms in masses of yellow flowers with deep burgundy stripes and is the star of the fall garden.
Garden phlox has long been a staple of the perennial border, providing height and bright blooms at the back of the bed. The pink flowers are fragrant and attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds.
Germander is a small, shrubby herb with bright flowers and a distinctive fragrance. It works well as a short, clipped hedge.
This magenta gem is well suited to the front of the border. Its lush blooms are attractive to butterflies, and they hold their color well when cut for use in dried arrangements.
Artichokes have large silvery green leaves that make them a striking addition to the garden. Their flower buds are traditionally used for culinary purposes, but if allowed to open offer large, brilliant purple flowers.
An unusual flower for the summer garden, these blue thistle-like blooms add a unique texture. If cut back after blooming, they will send up new flowers. They make excellent dried and cut flowers.
This large-flowered, cheerful plant is perfect for dry, difficult spots. It self-sows readily in variations of orange, yellow, and gold.
This uncommon shrub produces tart green fruits in summer that are suitable for jams and desserts. They have many sharp thorns and some care should be used when working around them.
Soft silvery foliage, which somewhat resembles French lavender, gives this plant its common name of lavender cotton. It is a good edging plant in sunny, well-drained spots. Santolina was commonly used medicinally and can be used to ward off insects.
This tall, late blooming perennial adds a pleasant blue to shady glades in the summer. Native to Virginia, it is often found along stream banks and in wetland areas. It self seeds enthusiastically.
One of the most cold tolerant hibiscuses, this plant has pale pink flowers with a red eye. It adds an interesting texture to the summer border.
A fragrant addition to your summer border, this sturdy plant prefers well-drained soil and afternoon shade in the southern garden.
Hemp is originally from central Asia, and has been cultivated throughout history as a source of fiber, seed, oil, and medicine.
Hollyhocks are old-fashioned cottage garden favorites for their height and cheerful flowers in a wide range of colors. Most require staking to support their heavy stems.
A woody, twining vine, honeysuckle needs some structure to support itself. It blooms nearly all summer and is attractive to hummingbirds and other pollinators. It is well-suited for arbors, pergolas, and fences.
This versatile hydrangea tolerates a wide variety of conditions and is ideal for borders or natural areas. It benefits from an annual pruning in late winter to prevent the heavy blooms from flopping.
This large tropical plant is used for various medicinal and economic purposes. The oil from the nuts is currently being studied as a potential source for biodiesel.
Jerusalem artichoke is a perennial sunflower relative that produces a profusion of bright yellow flowers atop ten foot stalks. It is valued for its edible tubers, which resemble the flavor of water chestnuts.
This tall plant is crowned with purple-pink flowers in the late summer. It is an American native and tolerates a wide variety of environmental conditions. Its height and bloom time can be controlled by by pruning it back by half when it reaches about two to three feet.
This voluptuous annual is grown for its showy multicolored foliage in shades of green, yellow, and red.
Key limes are small citrus trees with highly fragrant white blossoms. They produce many delightful fruits which are excellent for cooking. In this region, they are best grown in pots so that they can be moved in and out as the temperatures dictate.
This silver-leafed groundcover does best in well-drained soil, but tolerates adverse conditions. Its purple flowers are attractive to honeybees and bumblebees.
Lantana is a colorful, shrubby annual with masses of flowers in shades of orange, yellow, and pink. Its leaves give off a distinctive smell and it produces bluish-black seeds. Lantana is commonly used as a bedding plant because of its long bloom season.
As with the other tropicals grown at Mount Vernon, the lemons are grown in pots so that they can be moved into a greenhouse for the winter.
Lemon balm is a spreading herb with a strong citrusy fragrance. It can be used for teas and cooking and is frequently used for essential oil. Gardeners should be aware that it can be aggressive and should be carefully contained.
This iconic evergreen tree of the south forms a wide spreading canopy and is often draped with Spanish moss. They are extremely resilient, which allows them to survive the severe weather patterns of the southern part of the country.
Lombardy poplar is best suited as a street tree or short-lived privacy screen. It is very fast-growing to approximately 40 feet.
The Long Island Cheese pumpkin is an excellent eating pumpkin and is well-suited for making pies. It is a beautiful tan pumpkin with deep lobes that grows on huge, sprawling vines.
This feathery flower blooms in shades of blue, white, and pink, and reseeds easily, but does not transplant well. It is noted for its interesting seedpods.
Love-lies-bleeding is an elegant cottage garden plant with cascading crimson flowers that are excellent for the summer border and as a cut flower.
Bright orange flowers offer a sharp contrast to the pinks and purples that proliferate in the early summer border. Maltese cross reseeds fairly easily, but can be choked out by more aggressive perennials.
Mangelwurzels are incredibly large beets, sometimes over a foot long. They have typical red and green foliage, but their roots can weigh as much as 10 lbs.
This late blooming perennial adds height and colorful spires to the end of summer shade garden. It prefers afternoon shade in the southern garden, but will tolerate sun further north.
Muskmelons are a trailing, vining plant with small yellow flowers which often performs better when grown on a trellis. They produce fruit in a wide variety of shapes and colors. Their fruits are frequently fragrant.
The pink and purple flowers of asters add color and height to the late summer garden. Due to their spreading habit they will naturalize when planted in the garden. A mid-spring trim will delay bloom time and help keep them restrained.
This towering perennial is crowned with clusters of brilliant purple flowers. The size can be kept in check by a mid-spring pruning.
This tall Virginia native has spires of bright pink flowers and can be seen growing along waterways and woodland trails. It makes an excellent addition the back of the border, but be prepared for some spreading. It does not earn its name by staying in one place, but due to the ability to manipulate…
Okra is a tall plant with cheerful yellow flowers that are reminiscent of hibiscus blossoms. They produce green seedpods that are best harvested when they are 2 to 3 inches long.
Old Blush is lightly fragrant with semi-double pink flowers. It blooms throughout the season and can bloom at Mount Vernon well into December.
This large subtropical plant has brilliant pink flowers which bloom through summer in the Mount Vernon gardens.
Seville oranges are a small to medium citrus tree which produce bitter, unpleasant tasting oranges.
Oregano is a compact slow-spreading herb that is popularly used in cooking. It is very fragrant and attractive to bees and butterflies.
Cheerful red flowers make this late spring to early summer perennial a showstopper. It can be difficult to get started, but once established,poppies are a reliable old-fashioned favorite.
Palmettos are the most northern palm to grow in the United States. They were a common food source for southern Native American tribes.
Peaches are wide fast growing trees that require careful pruning and maintenance in order to produce good quality fruit. Their vibrant pink flowers in spring are charming and attractive to pollinators.
Like other fruit trees, pears require a good deal of maintenance in order to perform well. Many require a chilling period to fully ripen and are good for use in baking and cidermaking.
These airy, colorful flowers are mildly fragrant and a pleasant addition to the flower border.
Plums have a sprawling, suckering growth habit and therefore require judicious pruning.
Pole beans, such as kidney and butter or lima beans, produce long vines that do best when supported on some type of trellis. They are prolific growers and can easily cover a trellis in the course of a season while producing many beans which can be eaten fresh or dried.
Pole lima beans are vigorous plants that do best when grown on trellises. They are fast growing and produce beans which can be used fresh or dried.
This large shrub boasts vibrant orange flowers in the summer which ripen into large orange-red fruits.
This citrus tree produces fragrant flowers followed by large fruits which are larger and sweeter than a grapefruit.
This native perennial has vibrant magenta flowers which add contrast to the overwhelming yellows and reds of the summer garden. The showy daisy-like flowers borne on stiff stems attract goldfinches if left to go to seed.
Radishes are a root vegetable that add a pleasant bite (if you like that kind of thing) to salads. They come in a variety of colors including black, purple, red, and white. They are useful as a winter cover or forage crop. Radishes are incredibly easy to grow, with high germination rates and a fast…
Raspberries are a sprawling thorny plant which benefit from a large growing area and the removal of older canes. They produce their first crop of fruit in May and June, and a later crop in August.
Red currants are a small tart fruit best harvested in June. They prefer well-drained soils as well as cool summer climates.
Rhubarb is an old-fashioned vegetable, grown for its brilliant red stems which are often used in pies and desserts. While its stems are noted for their culinary qualities, its leaves are poisonous and must be removed before cooking.
Rose campion features soft silvery mounds of foliage graced with stalks of stunning pink or white flowers in the late spring and early summer. This short-lived perennial or biennial self-seeds readily, forming large colonies if left unchecked.
Shining white flowers are attractive to pollinators and light up the garden. This type of hibiscus is fairly hardy in northern regions.
Rosemary is a fragrant evergreen shrub which is frequently used in cooking. Its pale blue flowers are attractive to bees and butterflies.
Sage is a woody subshrub with silvery green leaves and pale purple flowers that are attractive to butterflies and other pollinators. It does best in well-drained, sunny locations. For centuries, sage has been a popular herb for cooking, and is also used as an essential oil.
This is one of the most ancient plants still alive today.
Sainfoin is a fodder crop that is highly nutritious for livestock and also provides nectar for bees.
This perennial herb is primarily grown for its flavorful leaves, which are used in salads, soups, and cold drinks. Its flavor is reminiscent of cucumbers, and it may be substituted for mint in many recipes.
This plant is the largest hibiscus grown at Mount Vernon, as well as the longest flowering. Its brilliant red blooms are a bold statement in the summer border. It is native to the swamps and marshes of Alabama, Florida, and Georgia.
A tall, brash plant with chrome yellow flowers brightens the summer border. Easy to grow, it tolerates a wide variety of conditions, although a haircut in the spring will prevent flopping later.
An iconic tree of the south, magnolias are beautiful in both form, leaf, and flower. Widely for their fragrant blooms, they also provide winter interest with both their seedpods and shiny evergreen leaves which are often used in wreaths.
Spiderwort has grassy foliage and interesting purple blossoms, but tends to flop after flowering. It does best in shady locations and benefits from a good haircut after blooming.
This stately tree is well-known for its fall color and production of maple syrup. It is a tree of northern forests and does not tolerate the heat or humidity of the south.
This dense suckering shrub tolerates wet soils and shade. In late summer it bursts into bloom, with long panicles of fragrant white flowers, followed by attractive yellow fall color.
These gorgeous native plants bloom in a variety of colors and sizes, including pale yellow, oranges, and golds. Some are grown merely for their beauty while others, such as the Mammoth sunflower, are grown for their seeds.
Sweet potatoes are vigorous, running plants that will easily exceed their allotted space in the garden if not kept under control. They should be grown in mounds, much the way one would grow potatoes. They are extremely cold sensitive and should be planted after the soil has warmed in the spring and harvested…
Swiss chard is a leafy green that can be harvested continually to be used in salads or cooked. Its leaves may be plain green or have red midribs.
On a winter's day, the sight of the sycamore's bright white trunk against a blue sky is breathtaking. This tree can grow to massive proportions when well-sited and should be given plenty of space, especially since they can be messy.
Tansy is a tough plant that can grow in almost any sunny spot. While its ferny foliage and clusters of cheerful yellow button flowers are attractive, it can be invasive due to its underground runners and propensity to re-seed.
Peanuts are small leguminous plants with many bright yellow flowers. They form their fruits underground and they should be harvested in the fall when the plant begins to yellow.
Featuring airy foliage and golden flowers, this native plant is an attractive addition to the front of the border. It spreads by runners and is easily divided to share with your friends and neighbors. It is native to Fairfax County, Virginia.
A small, woody sub-shrub, thyme has aromatic leaves and whorls of pink flowers in early summer. It is popularly used as an edging and between stones in walkways. It is also an excellent culinary herb.
This summer blooming perennial has strap-like leaves and large orange flowers. Because it naturalizes easily, this daylily can be commonly seen in roadside ditches and marking the sites of old outhouses.
This plant is used for the production of its leaves, which provide the tobacco which goes into cigarettes, cigars and other forms. It can also be used as an ornamental, with its dramatic height and delicate pink flowers
One of the largest native trees in North America, the tulip poplar can reach heights of 150 feet in nature. It is actually a member of the magnolia family, and named for its distinct tulip-shaped leaves and flowers. These showy, goblet-shaped, orange-yellow-green flowers appear in late spring after the…
This umbelliferous perennial is attractive to bees and other pollinators. It is mildly fragrant. Valerian is an excellent addition to the back of the garden and it reseeds readily.
Virginia pines add a distinctive profile to the landscape, particularly in winter, when they are a bright spot among all the grays and browns. This medium sized pine tree provides habitat for birds, and were used for pine tar, as well as lumber.
This semi-evergreen shrub is native to wetland areas and has an arching habit. Fragrant white flowers appear in summer followed by beautiful maroon foliage in autumn.
Virginia White Gourdseed corn is an exceptionally tall variety that produces very firm kernels which are best suited to milling or use as a feed corn.
Watermelon plants are vigorous, vining plants which need to be given quite a bit of space to ramble in. They produce large melons of varying sizes and colors, depending on the variety.
Classically planted in moist areas such as lakes and ponds, this elegant tree should be given plenty of room and planted well away from structures.
Mulberry trees can be found throughout North America in fencerows, abandoned fields, and urban areas, due to the propensity for their seeds to be spread by birds who ravenously feed on the fruit. The glossy, serrated leaves take different forms on the same tree, generally undivided or distinctly lobed…
White oaks are well known for their distinctive silhouette. They are massive trees which provide excellent shade as well as habitat for birds and other wildlife. Their acorns are especially attractive to deer and squirrels.
A more delicate species than its red-flowered cousin, bergamot has lovely lavender flowers and a more graceful look. It is attractive to bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.
Bird peppers are large plants, easily growing to 6 feet over the course of a season. They thrive in the heat of the year and produce masses of tiny red peppers with a lot of heat and excellent flavor.
The yellow buckeye is a large deciduous shade tree. Susceptible to leaf scorch in full sun, it is best planted in an area with afternoon shade. Despite their showy flowers produced in upright clusters measuring up to 6 inches tall, they are most commonly known for their large mahogany-colored nuts, which…
Crookneck squash grow in a dense, leafy clump and produce many yellow squashes which need to be harvested nearly every day. They are susceptible to most squash pests, including squash bugs, powdery mildew, and squash vine borers.