So, I did something weird last week. I was walking into Albertsons for my weekly grocery trip, and my feet abruptly stopped in front of a sign adjacent to the entrance.
Being the shopaholic that I am, any sign promoting something for under $5 will yield a head spin from me. But it wasn’t only the sign.
Now, I don’t think that ever in my 21 years of life (unless with my mother) have I shopped for plants, or even willingly stopped to browse in the plant section. However, these were the cutest little cactuses I’ve ever seen in my life, and I didn’t think twice about purchasing. The only thing I thought twice about was if I wanted the pink or yellow one.
(I picked the pink)
Since I bought her (notice I assigned a plant a pronoun), I’ve been all goo-goo-ga-ga as if she were a puppy or something. It’s a legitimate obsession. I FaceTimed my mom to show her off, and she goes, “Awwww, you’re going to have a green thumb like your grandmother!”
And she was spot on. My little cactus purchase has definitely jump-started an interest in future flower/plant house and patio decor. It’s a good thing New Orleans and Louisiana in general have plenty of beautiful options.
I am beyond blessed to still have my grandmother here physically, but unfortunately, she’s no longer 100% mentally here. However, I’d bet it all that if she was still100% mentally here, she’d be able to rattle these all off with ease!
1. Birds of Paradise
If there’s a flower that I remember from my grandmother’s garden, it’s this one. As a child (and still to this day), I was extremely infatuated with its resemblance to a beautiful tropical bird. If you consider yourself an impatient person then just keep scrolling, because this South African native plant takes up to seven years to bloom. Though I can vouch that their beauty is worth the wait.
2. Southern Magnolia
If you want to plant a tree, let it be the one that blooms our state’s flower! The magnolia tree grows to a medium size and blooms the crisp, white, beautifully fragranced flower that we all know and love.
3. Louisiana Phlox
The Louisiana Phlox blooms violet/purple fragrant flowers that have deep, contrasting maroon centers. It’s a spring wildflower that thrives in sunny to partially shaded areas. Loved by hummingbirds!
4. Louisiana Irises
Louisiana Irises are a spring wildflower that blooms in March, April, and May. There are five species: Iris brevicaulis, Iris fulva, Iris giganticaerulea, Iris hexagona, and Iris nelsonii. They thrive best in boggy, swampy vicinities.
5. Simpson’s Rosinweed
Simpson’s Rosinweed can grow as large as five feet or more and bloom two-inch yellow flowers. They typically bloom between mid-summer and fall, and also serve as a great nectar source for butterflies.
6. Blue-Eyed Grass
Blue-Eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium angustifolium) is a blue spring wildflower. It is unique because not many wildflowers are of the blue coloration. It is a grass-like species with a yellow center on its bloom that grows over the winter, blooms in the spring, and is dormant in summer.
7. Frost Proof Gardenia
The gardenia has a strong, beautiful, recognizable fragrance. However, hard work is required to be privileged enough to have this sweet-smelling gem in your own yard. In fertile, well-drained acid soil, they’ll flourish. However, if planted in poorly drained or alkaline soil, they will not. The AgCenter named Frostproof a Louisiana Super Plant.
8. Passion Flower
This jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring, intricate flower that blooms on a vine is about three inches in diameter. The flowers bloom in varying shades of blue, mauve, and white and have a sweet fragrance.
Sasanqua is a species of camellia that is native to China and Japan. It is an evergreen shrub that grows to about five meters and blooms during both the fall and winter in varying shades of white, pink, rose, and red. Some have a fragrance, but not all.
Like the gardenia, the wisteria gives off a beautiful fragrance in the spring. That, paired with its gorgeous purple blooms, makes it an easy flower to fall in love with at first sight. But also similar to the gardenia, there’s a trade-off: how fast they grow and how fast their blooms can get out of control if not monitored. If you accept the challenge of growing these, they will need ample space!
11. Mock Orange
The Mock Orange is a large shrub that produces tons of crisp, white flowers in the spring. Not all are fragrant, but if you do luck up and get a fragrant one, it’s a great alternative to the magnolia, as it is less difficult to keep up.
12. Rose of Montana
The Rose of Montana is a vine that flowers rosy pink and is not terribly difficult to grow. This Mexican native flower can potentially bloom for the entirety of a summer. But it thrives towards the end of the summer, is dormant in the winter, and returns in the spring.
13. Mandevilla Vine
The Mandevilla Vine thrives in areas with mild winters and blooms from spring to fall. The vines bloom vibrant pink flowers with glossy green leaves and have a scent similar to a gardenia. This is a great, inexpensive option for smaller areas since it doesn’t take over and conquer everything around it like many vines.
Bouganvilleas will bring just the pop of color that you need to your garden. From spring to fall, they can produce two or three gorgeous displays of flowers. The brightly colored parts are actually modified, as the true flowers are small and white. They’re pretty but thorny, so be careful!
More commonly known as the Angel Trumpet or sometimes even the "New Orleans Lady," these beauties are found throughout the city. The combination of their vibrancy and the way they dangle upside down makes them unique and widely adored. They bloom all year on trees that can grow anywhere from eight to ten feet tall.