When it comes time to select the perfect perennials for your garden, it’s important to consult the USDA’s Plant Hardiness Map for your area. This guide, which was first created in modern form by the US National Arboretum in 1960. separates the United States into 11 different planting zones. Each of the 11 sections reflects a 10 degree temperature difference in the average yearly low temperatures. Furthermore, the guide then identifies an ‘a’ and ‘b’ section within each zone, with each area having a 5 degree separation in temperature.

By following the Plant Hardiness Map, you are helping assure that you will have gardening success by growing just the right perennials for your unique climate. Zone 8 covers a wide swath of the country, from North Carolina through Georgia and across the mid to lower regions of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. It then moves into central Texas and on to lower western New Mexico. It also includes parts of Arizona, California, Oregon and lower Washington.

Creeping Thyme

If you are looking for a ground cover that’s both beautiful and aromatic, then creeping thyme may be the perfect plant for you. Its colorful blossoms will fill in those spots between stepping stones and its hardy evergreen nature helps it handle low temperatures. It also attracts butterflies, and grows in both sun and shade.

Agastache Blue Fortune

These magnificent plants are great for adding vertical lines to your garden design. Reaching a height of around 3 feet, they offer lavender-blue flowers that stand at attention in the flower bed like guards at Buckingham Palace. Their blooms will grace your landscape from around midsummer until into the early fall. They have a unique fragrance like licorice and some people use them to add a new flavor to their ice-cold summer drinks.

Ox-Eye Daisy

One look at the ox-eye daisy and you’ll understand why the butterflies and bees are so drawn to this fragrant plant. With its beautiful white petals and a stunning bright yellow blossom in the center, these flowers will dress up any garden bed. The plant, which is self-seeding and can spread easily, can grow to just over two feet tall.


The Rozanne’s flowers look like they were created and painted by an artist’s hand. Its delicately beautiful blue-violet petals graciously unfold to reveal exquisite purple lines which flow from a white center. The plant grows in almost any soil, regardless of pH, and seems to be bigger and more spectacular with each passing year. Blooming season is from later in the spring to when the first frost appears.

Celandine Poppy

This shade perennial puts on its primary flowering show in the spring, greeting that season with its bright yellow blossoms. The cup-shaped flowers appear in clusters visible above the twelve inch high foliage. You can usher in a second set of flowers and foliage if you cut back the plants right after the first flowering. This poppy is not the best for small gardens as it produces and throws off plentiful seeds.