The first step to gardening is to find out your USDA Plant Hardiness Zone. The Springfield, Missouri area is in USDA Zone 6. Zones are based on the average extreme minimum temperature during a previous 30-year period. Other environmental factors contribute to the health of your plants, such as moisture, soil, wind, pollution, humidity, and amount of light. Using these factors as a guide, we can determine the types of plants that will successfully grow in our yards and gardens. See a few of our recommendations below, or find some inspiration in our Idea Center.
There are a lot of plants that can handle our harsh southwest Missouri summers. For your full-sun gardening areas, you can’t beat Knock Out Roses and their little sister Drift Roses for summer-long color. Bloomerang or Sense and Sensibility Lilacs bloom several times a season and provide some great aromas as well. And we always recommend planting a Butterfly Bush. Who doesn’t want butterflies fluttering around their yard? We suggest sticking with the dwarf types for easier maintenance.
Certain plants need some sun to bloom but not too much! If you’re gardening in a yard that escapes the afternoon sun, you’ve got some great options. The Bloom-a-thon Azalea is a newer variety of Azalea that blooms in the spring and again in the fall. Make sure you plant them a little high and add a lot of peat moss to the soil. Love the look of Hydrangeas? Try a re-bloomer like Endless Summer, or the colorful Cityline Paris Hydrangeas. For evergreens, we suggest the Mountain Fire Pieris Japonica. It blooms delicate white flowers in the spring and bright red in the leaves of new growth.
Not all plants need sunlight to thrive. If you have a nice gardening spot in the shade, you have a lot to choose from. Perennials like Hostas, Coral Bells, Astilbe and Bleeding Hearts grow well without direct sunlight. There are many evergreens, like a variety of Aucuba trees with large waxy green leaves, some with bright yellow spots. One of our favorites is Rainbow Leucothoe with delicate white blooms in the spring and new growth that appears in pinks and whites. These are reliable perennials that you see in yards and gardens all over this region. They tolerate shade well and serve as a nice backdrop for other brightly-colored flowering plants. Be sure they have good drainage, and they’ll be fully mature in four to eight years.
The most popular shade trees being planted today are hybrid maples. They’re a cross between soft and hard maples, giving you the growth speed of a soft maple and the durability and fall color of a hard maple. If you want fast growth, we like the Autumn Blaze Maple and the Tulip Poplar. For great summer and fall colors, try the Summer Red Maple. The Seedless Sweet Gum grows quickly and has a great mix of fall colors. And remember, planting trees helps the environment and will help lower your utility bills.
Ornamental trees may not add much shade to your yard but they will add great beauty. If you want something small that packs a punch, try a Don Egolf Red Bud. It grows about 10 feet wide and 10 feet deep and is covered with purple blooms in early spring. For more size, plant an Appalachian Red Bud with its hot pink blooms. The Golden Rain Tree will produce bright yellow clusters of blooms during midsummer.
Gardening and landscaping can help make your yard a dream, but it can also add privacy to your home. If you have a lot of room to work with, go with the Green Giant Arborvitae. It grows dense quickly and makes a great screen. Another great arborvitae is the Emerald Green. It grows to 14 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide. If you aren’t as concerned about screening in the winter, you can go with several low-growing deciduous trees. Our favorite might be the Amur Maple. It spreads out quickly and gives you great fall colors.
No matter which location you visit, our staff is eager to help you with your landscape design ideas. If you need help putting together your vision, stop by with a sketch and we’ll help you choose the right plants for your property. And we’re always available by phone to answer any landscape questions you have. We love helping our customers fulfill their homeowner dreams.