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Zone 9 Plants – 12 Perennial & Annual Picks Sure To Please

Regions that fall under the Hardiness Zone 9 enjoy longer growing seasons as well as more daylight compared to Zones 5 or 6 for example.

While you will still have frost, it’s rare for the plants to freeze in the winter, so winterizing many plants will not be necessary.

Still, with all of these favorable growing conditions, many gardeners in Zone 9 struggle to find the right plants for their gardens.

Whether you’re looking for a flowering perennial plant to brighten your garden in the fall with its colors or you’re looking for an ornamental annual that can tolerate the warm conditions of Zone 9 regions, the following list is for you.

Read more to find the best perennial and annual plants to grow in Zone 9.

Best Perennial Plants for Growing in Zone 9

1. Bigroot Geranium

Pink flowers of the bigroot geranium plant.

This hardy plant grows in large colonies. Its leaves are bright green and lobed. As a perennial, its bloom season is long, making it a great addition to your garden.

Its saucer-shaped flowers as well as its hardiness to different types of soil make it popular among gardeners. Use it as a ground cover for beds, borders, and on slopes.

  • When To Plant: Early spring
  • Mature Size: 6 inches to 4 feet tall
  • Flowering: Pink from late spring until early winter
  • Light Requirements: Full to partial sun

2. Blanket Flower

A colorful mass of Gaillardia flowers.

Hardy to dry and hot conditions, blanket flower is a low-maintenance plant with delightful flowers and a long blooming season that lasts from July until September.

It thrives in well-draining soil and becomes drought tolerant after it establishes. A member of the Aster family, it has a fast growing habit and requires regular watering and plenty of sunlight.

  • When To Plant: After the last frost in early spring
  • Mature Size: 12 to 18 inches
  • Flowering: Yellow, orange, and red in the summer
  • Light Requirements: Full sun

3. Toad Lily

A purple and white toad lily bloom.

Native to Asia, this ornamental plant is a must-have in every shade garden. It requires humus-rich soil that retains moisture.

The flowers are small but look like orchids. It has a clumping habit, so you can plant it on borders and among shrubs.

When all the flowering plants in your garden have gone dormant, the toad lily will add bright colors with its wonderful blooms.

  • When To Plant: In the fall or early spring before the weather heats up
  • Mature Size: 1-3 feet tall
  • Flowering: White, mauve, yellow from late summer to late fall
  • Light Requirements: Partial sun or shade

4. Bulbine

Blooming flower of a bulbine plant.

Originally from South Africa, these succulents are low growing, which makes them ideal in containers as well as in the succulent garden.

With a high tolerance to evenly moist soil, you can plant them near ponds or streams. In the fall, the succulents might bloom again in the right conditions.

Make sure the soil is drains quickly, and don’t forget to water them during dry seasons. 

  • When To Plant: In the early fall at least one month before the first frost
  • Mature Size: 1-2 feet tall
  • Flowering: Orange and yellow from late spring to early summer
  • Light Requirements: Fall sun

5. Butterfly Weed

Orange flowers of the butterfly weed plant.

Native to North America, the butterfly weed attracts pollinators to the garden, especially hummingbirds.

Its robust root system goes deep in the soil, which helps stabilize loose soil on slopes. You can also plant it on borders and hedges.

It tolerates different types of soil from clay to loam, sandy, and limestone soil. It can handle drought rather well, although it will stop flowering if it’s not watered regularly.

  • When To Plant: In the early spring after the threat of the last frost is over
  • Mature Size: 1-2 feet tall
  • Flowering: Orange and yellow-orange in the early summer
  • Light Requirements: Full sun

6. Mealycup Sage

Tall, spiky purple flowers of mealycup sage.

A member of the mint family, mealycup sage is also known as blue sage and grows as a perennial in Zone 9. In Zones 7 and 8, it is grown as an annual.

It thrives in different types of soil including clay and sandy soil. The young sage requires 1 inch of water a week, but once it establishes, it becomes drought hardy.

The fragrant sage repels bugs and pests while its bright flowers attract monarch butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds.

  • When To Plant: In the early spring after the threat of the last frost is over
  • Mature Size: 2 to 3 feet tall
  • Flowering: Dark blue, light blue, white, and purple flowers from early summer until the first frost 
  • Light Requirements: Full to partial sun

Best Annual Plants for Growing in Zone 9

1. Zinnia

A large patch of zinnia flowers blooming in a variety of colors.

Native to the southwestern parts of the US, this plant is hardy to high humidity and warm temperatures. They come in different varieties that vary in size.

The plant requires well-draining soil, but otherwise, it doesn’t need regular watering since it’s tolerant to drought. Occasional fertilizing might give the plant a boost in poor soil.

  • When To Plant: Indoors in the early spring 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost
  • Mature Size: 1 to 4 feet tall, 12 to 18 inches wide
  • Flowering: Pink, purple, yellow, orange, lavender, white, red, and green flowers from late spring until the first frost. 
  • Light Requirements: Full to partial sun

2. Shirley Poppy

Red and pink Shirley poppy flowers against a clear blue sky.

If you like to grow the poppy flowers in your Zone 9 garden but haven’t had much luck as they thrive in colder climates, you can try the Shirley poppy.

This cultivar is hardy to the warm temperatures of Zone 9.

Its showy flowers on top of long stalks and the small light green leaves make them popular for landscaping as well as background flowers in your garden.

They self-seed, so new plants will grow back each year.

  • When To Plant: In the fall at least 4 to 6 weeks before the first frost
  • Mature Size: 9 to 18 inches tall
  • Flowering: Orange, pink, violet, white, and yellow flowers from early summer until the fall 
  • Light Requirements: Full sun

3. African Marigold

A patch of African marigolds in full bloom.

The African marigold or Mexican marigold is native to North America. A member of the Aster family, this hardy plant tolerates all types of soil as long as it drains well.

Its fern-like foliage is easy on the eye wherever you choose to plant this annual in your garden. Give it 1 inch of water a week from the moment it sprouts in your garden.

Take precautions when handling the plan since it’s toxic to humans.

  • When To Plant: In the spring after the soil becomes workable or indoors 4 to 6 weeks before the threat of the last frost
  • Mature Size: 1to 4 feet tall, 1 to 2 feet wide
  • Flowering: Orange, yellow, and creamy white flowers from early summer until the fall
  • Light Requirements: Full sun

4. Bedding Begonia

Close look at the red flower of the bedding or wax begonia.

This is a showy hybrid that steals the show from other flowering plants. It’s one of the wax begonias distinguished with its fibrous roots.

You can grow it in a container where it becomes the focal point in your assortment of houseplants.

It has variegated leaves where red splotches mark a green background. Avoid full exposure to the sun since the variegated leaves fade in bright light.

  • When To Plant: In the spring after the soil becomes workable or indoors 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost
  • Mature Size: 6 to 12 inches tall, 18 to 24 inches wide
  • Flowering: Red flowers during the spring 
  • Light Requirements: Partial sun

5. Lobelia

Blue, white, and purple lobelia flowers in a window box.

A member of the bellflower family, this is one of the new landscaping plants that are gaining in popularity in urban and suburban homes.

Originally from South Africa, the plant is easy to grow in neutral to slightly acidic soil. It has a trailing growth habit that requires regular pruning to manage its shape and size.

It is grown as a perennial in Zones 10 and 11, but in Zone 9, it’s an annual.

  • When To Plant: In the fall, 4 to 6 weeks before the first frost
  • Mature Size: 6 to 9 inches tall and a slightly greater width
  • Flowering: Blue, white, purple, lilac-pink, cherry-red flowers in the summer until the first frost 
  • Light Requirements: Full sun or partial shade

6. Impatiens

White, pink, red, and purple impatiens blooming in a garden.

These popular flowers are unique because despite their bright colors, they can grow in the shade. This makes impatiens good houseplants even in dim-lit rooms.

The short plants are easy to grow in rich and well-draining soil with pH levels between 6.0 and 6.5.

  • When To Plant: From cuttings in the fall, 4 to 6 weeks before the first frost
  • Mature Size: 6 to 36 inches tall and 1 to 3 feet wide
  • Flowering: White, pastel, purple, coral, red, pink, violet, and yellow flowers in the spring and summer 
  • Light Requirements: Full shade to partial shade

Final Thoughts

Zone 9 has warm temperatures and a long growing season that suits many tropical and subtropical plants. Even with plants that grow as perennials in Zones 10 to 12, you can grow them as annuals in zone 9.

For spring planting, start the seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before the threat of the last frost, and transplant them outdoors when the soil becomes workable.