The Top 10 Plants That Thrive in Texas Landscapes
Texas is a fantastic state for lovers of horticulture. While it’s still freezing in more northerly parts of the country, Texas gardeners are already out tending to their yards in early spring, and still outside during the late fall.
Whilst living in a sunny state like Texas definitely has its advantages, there’s no getting around the fact that despite being able to enjoy blooming flowers virtually all year round, the long dry summers here can present unique challenges for gardeners. Especially during stretches of low rainfall.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a selection of our favorite plants (and a couple of trees!) that will help you to plan a colorful garden that thrives throughout the entire season. Let’s dive right in:
John Fanick Phlox
Named after a San Antonio horticulturalist, Phlox Paniculata, to give it its correct moniker, is a beautiful perennial plant that tolerates both high heat and humidity very well.
John Fanick Phlox sports wonderful bicolored lavender and pink flowers, it exhibits a tough, waxy texture on its 3 foot-tall main stems that helps this hardy plant ward off diseases like powdery mildew.
Growing Tips: John Fanick Phlox thrives in well-drained soil and can tolerate either full sun, or partly shaded positions.
Next on the list, we have a small to medium-sized tree that’s perfect for committed gardeners planning for a long term project. Another Texas native, Lacey Oak grows to around 30 feet tall and closely resembles a Miniature White Oak, making it a great addition to residential, smaller-scaled gardens.
Growing Tips: Lacey Oak makes a fantastic sunshade for other plants, but is definitely a long term proposition for patient horticulturalists. The tree is highly tolerant of heat and even drought, and once established, can survive in high PH soils.
Turks Cap is a perennial plant in its original habitat of South Texas. The flowers remain partially closed throughout their life and appear in a range of luscious reds and pinks, attracting a wealth of wildlife including butterflies and hummingbirds.
Growing Tips: Turk’s Cap is fast-growing and prefers shaded spots. When planted in gardens further to the north of the state, it may not be hardy enough to be classed as a perennial. Once established, however, Turk’s Cap is an excellent plant for low rainfall areas.
Formally named Plumbago Auriculata, this sky flower sports bright (sky) blue blossoms that closely resemble Phlox, and can either be kept neat or allowed to cascade down from trellises. Cape Plumbago does exceptionally well in Texas heat and will flower all the way through from early May until the winters start to become frosty.
Growing Tips: Choose a light, sandy soil with good drainage for best results.
Henry Duelberg (Salvia)
Another pretty Texas native, “Henry Duelberg”, also known as Salvia Farinacea, is another great option for those looking to attract hummingbirds and butterflies. The plant grows to around 2.5 feet tall and sports foot-long purple-blue flower stems that explode in number after generous pruning.
Growing Tips: Henry Duelberg is extremely easy to grow and resists heat and drought like nothing else. In fact, the only thing this tough plant doesn’t tolerate is overly wet ground.
Another oak tree for the long term planners, Chinkapin Oak (Quercus Muehlenbergii) turns from a vibrant green to a more muted yellow-brown over time, and along with other plants on this list, will help to attract butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden.
Growing Tips: Chinkapin Oaks are heat tolerant and need very little water, but do prefer less acidic soil.
Deciduous Holly makes our list because it’s tough, easy to grow and has flowers that last well into the season. Deciduous holly won’t give you particularly showy blossoms, but you will however be rewarded with luscious orangey-red berries that can often survive the whole of winter, making it a great choice for bird lovers!
Growing Tips: Choose a moist, acidic soil and a spot with a small amount of shade in high-summer. If you want those gorgeous berries to appear, you’ll need to plant a male and female tree in close proximity.
Lowery's Legacy (Cenizo)
We’ll stick with Leucophyllum Langmaniae’s easier to pronounce nickname: Lowery's Legacy. This slow growing shrub will grow over time to around 5 feet tall. The leaves are silvery in hue and provide a fantastic contrast to regular green foliage. When in bloom, Lowery's Legacy sports violet blue flowers that hang in bell-shaped domes.
Growing Tips: Lowery's Legacy does well in all kinds of positions and thrives in high heat and humidity. Just be sure to avoid overwatering.
Blue Princess (Verbena)
Blue Princess is a type of Verbana that does extremely well in the high temperature environment of Texas. Once in bloom, this perennial plant produces a vigorous spread of bright lavender colored flowers. Blue Princess is a fairly squat plant at around a foot tall, but grows horizontally with vigor. A great choice for fast results!
Growing Tips: Prune it, and prune it some more! This plant loves being trimmed and grows with great speed. Don’t be scared of planting in a really dry and sunny spot.
Belinda’s Dream (Rose)
Last on our list, this famous rose was the first of its kind to be named a “Texas Superstar”, meaning it has been officially certified as an ideal plant for easy growing and maintenance in the hot and dry Texas climate.
Belinda's Dream produces fragrant and delicate pink rose flowers with a huge petal count, and its light blue/green foliage provides a great contrast to “regular” shrubs and bushes.
Growing Tips: Honestly, you really can’t go wrong when planting this tough rose. Position it anywhere, and don’t worry about high heat or droughts. It will thrive regardless of location!
So there we have it, a selection of 10 plants, shrubs and trees that thrive in the hot and dry Texas climate. Happy planting!