Region Description: Southern Coasts

Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Region Description: Southern Coasts

Zone Map
USDA Hardiness Zones
8 to 9
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AHS Heat Zones
8 to 10
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Major Cities

Baton Rouge LA, Charleston SC, Corpus Christi TX, Galveston TX, Houston TX, Jacksonville FL, Mobile AL, New Orleans LA, Savannah GA, Tallahassee FL

The Region

The Southern Coasts region follows its namesake bodies of water and extends inland as far as the sea's influence moderates the climate. The Gulf Coast bends upward from Texas near Corpus Christi, east across southern Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama to the Florida panhandle and northwestern counties of Florida and then east to Orlando. Its sister, the Lower Atlantic Coast, picks up there and draws a narrower swath along coastal Georgia and South Carolina to the North Carolina border.

The Climate

The Southern Coasts region is solidly subtropical. It's not as relentlessly hot as the true tropics nor cold for as long as those just north of us. With about 100+ days each year above 86F, even where sea breezes prevail, the predominant weather is hot and humid. Precipitation is heavy and frequent with annual averages between 40 and 60 inches a year. It's marked by high humidity, year round lush growing conditions, and little variation in the seasons. Summer's heat and high humidity are follow by the hurricane season, which lasts from June until at least October. Fall often blends into the mild winter, the change noted only on the calendar. Spring happens so quickly you can usually time it with a stopwatch.

The Growing Season

Most of this region will not experience frosts most winters. However, the summer's are oppressively hot and humid, making for annual vegetable and flower growing difficult. Like the Lower South, the best growing season for annual flowers and vegetables is fall (September) through spring (May). Winter growing is more reliable due to the milder winters. Many temperate perennials and shrubs don't thrive here, but most tropicals do. Live oaks, citrus, palms, magnolias, oleanders, and gardenias are but a few of our classic landscape plants.

View this week's Regional Report for
Southern Coasts »

Published by the National Gardening Association,


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