Outdoor Plants for Texas

Outdoor Plants for Texas

Short Answer: Texas, with its unique climate and soil conditions, offers a vibrant canvas for garden enthusiasts. Native species such as the Bluebonnet, the state flower, not only embody the region’s natural beauty but also thrive in its varied environments, from the arid west to the humid east. The Texas Sage, with its stunning purple blooms, is another excellent choice, celebrated for its drought resistance and ability to attract pollinators. For a touch of elegance, the Southern Magnolia, with its large, fragrant white flowers, is a quintessential choice, adding both beauty and shade to Texan gardens. Lastly, the versatile Lantana, with its array of colorful flowers, is perfect for adding a pop of color and is notably easy to care for, making it a favorite among Texas gardeners.

Texas Superstar Plants is a cooperative program that identifies superior landscape plants for the state of Texas. The program brings together expertise from university and industry leaders and promotes the introduction of these plants in the marketplace. The program relies on input from various experts, including horticulturists from Texas A&M University, nursery professionals, growers, and arboretum and botanical garden representatives, among others. Through an active marketing campaign, the program brings to consumers’ attention superior landscape plants that are suitable for Texas.

blue salvia farinacea flower

‘Henry Duelberg’ Salvia

Zones 7 to 9

Salvia farinacea ‘Henry Duelberg’ is a stunning plant that is native to Texas and is very easy to grow. It is loved by hummingbirds and butterflies and is highly drought-tolerant. It doesn’t attract deer, making it a great addition to your garden. This plant can grow up to 2-3 feet tall and has flower spikes that are 1 foot long. The spikes are covered with dark, purplish-blue flowers. When the flowers are spent, cutting back the spikes encourages the plant to rebloom. This salvia can be in bloom all season long once it is established. It is perfect for water-wise gardeners, as it is highly heat- and drought-tolerant. The only thing to keep in mind is that this plant doesn’t like wet feet.

Lacy Oak

Zones 7 to 9

Some debate continues about the correct botanical name of this Texas native, but the common name is lacey oak (Quercus laceyi, syn. Quercus glaucoides). A smaller oak, it reaches just 25-35 feet tall and wide, making it more in scale with residential gardens. The tree has a beautiful habit, resembling a miniature white oak. It makes a lovely shade tree and is also perfect in a garden of native Texas plants. Although lacey oak can be grown in east Texas, it is best adapted to the Hill Country and cultivated settings in west Texas. Lacey oak is highly tolerant of heat, drought, and high pH soils once established.

‘Texas Gold’ Columbine

Zones 5 to 8

The Hinckley columbine is a rare plant that can only be found in one area of Texas. It has buttercup-yellow flowers with long attractive spurs and fernlike foliage. A selected variation of this plant is known as ‘Texas Gold’ (Aquilegia chrysantha var. hinckleyana ‘Texas Gold’). It is a perfect choice to brighten up a shady border with its bright blossoms. Although Columbine can have a short lifespan, it can reseed itself if you allow the seedlings to grow. ‘Texas Gold’ can grow up to a height of 2-3 feet and thrives in well-drained soil, part shade, and adequate moisture. It can also tolerate some heat.

‘Lord Baltimore’ Hibiscus

Zones 5 to 9

Who says native plants aren’t well-behaved and gorgeous? ‘Lord Baltimore’ hibiscus has enormous 10-foot-wide, bright scarlet flowers that bloom for an extended period—from July until frost. Once established, this tropical-looking perennial provides years of color. It is versatile enough to use in large decorative pots, in a perennial border, or butterfly and hummingbird gardens. You’ll often see ‘Lord Baltimore’ growing near ponds because it loves moist soil. Growing to about 5 feet tall and wide, the plants die back to the ground in winter but regrow quickly each spring.

Turk’s Cap

Zones 7b to 11

Turk’s cap (Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii) is a perennial plant native to southern Texas, that adds an excellent ornamental value to shady areas. Its flowers resemble hibiscus but don’t fully open, giving them a unique turban-like appearance. These flowers come in various colors ranging from red and pink to white and are known to attract hummingbirds and butterflies. This fast-growing shrub can reach a height and width of 3 to 6 feet. Although it might not survive in the northern planting zones of Texas, it can be grown as an annual. Once established, it becomes drought-tolerant.

Cape Plumbago

Zones 8 to 11

Cape plumbago (Plumbago auriculata) is also known as sky flower due to its sky blue blossoms. This tender perennial thrives in the Texas heat and blooms abundantly from May until frost. The flowers bear a resemblance to phlox and attract various types of butterflies. Fortunately, deer are not fond of them. Cape plumbago can be allowed to sprawl as a groundcover or cascade over a wall. It can also be pruned to maintain a neat shape, mounded or trained to climb a trellis. The plant prefers light, sandy soils with good drainage.

‘Mystic Spires Blue’ Salvia

Zones 7 to 11

Salvia longispicata x farinacea ‘Mystic Spires Blue’ is a selection of another popular salvia called ‘Indigo Spires.’ Besides inheriting an excellent compact form, ‘Mystic Spires Blue’ produces more blooms. Loads of blue flowers touched with silver bloom all season long and mix perfectly with other perennials and annuals as part of a colorful border. Tolerant of heat and humidity and rarely bothered by pests or disease, this perennial has no appeal to deer either. Too much love can kill these plants, so use fertilizer and irrigation sparingly. Cut back to about 1 foot after the first frost.

‘John Fanick’ Phlox

Zones 4 to 9

Named for a San Antonio nurseryman, Phlox paniculata ‘John Fanick’ is a beautiful bicolor with lavender-and-pink blossoms. The foliage has a waxy texture discourages powdery mildew, a disease that lesser phlox often succumb to. It has a compact form, growing about 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide, perfect for the middle or back of a perennial border. This perennial also makes good-cut flowers and is lovely combined with ‘Mystic Spires Blue’ salvia. It tolerates heat and humidity. Grow it in moderately fertile, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade.

Chinkapin Oak

Zones 5 to 7

Considered to be one of the most underutilized native trees, chinkapin oak (Quercus muehlenbergii) can grow quite tall in the East but generally remains in the 30- to 50-foot-tall range in Texas. The foliage is lustrous green and, in some years, develops a pleasing yellow, orange-brown to rich brown fall color. This oak is heat-tolerant and, once established, can tolerate considerable drought. Although adaptable, the tree prefers to grow in neutral to somewhat alkaline soil. It attracts hummingbirds and butterflies.

Deciduous Holly

Zones 5 to 9

A delightful small native tree, the deciduous holly (Ilex decidua) is easy to grow and has an extended period of interest. It is fairly adaptable but prefers moist, acidic soil in sun or part shade. The small white flowers are not very showy, but the female plants’ orange-red berries are stunning. After the foliage drops in autumn, the slim gray branches are covered with berries that persist into winter. This is an outstanding choice if you hope to welcome wildlife, especially birds, into the garden. You need both a male and female plant to ensure good berry production.

‘Lowery’s Legacy’ Cenizo

Zones 8 to 11

Leucophyllum langmaniae ‘Lowery’s Legacy ‘ was selected because it flowers profusely and so often. It is a slow-growing woody shrub that will eventually reach about 5 feet tall. The silvery foliage is quite handsome and provides a lovely contrast to dark green shrubs. The violet-blue bell-shaped flowers stand out beautifully against the silver leaves. Compared to many selections of Texas sage, it is less dependent on changes in humidity for flowering and will bloom more often. This sun-lover resents wet feet; be careful to avoid overwatering.

‘Grandma’s Yellow’ Rose

Zones 6 to 9

‘Grandma’s Yellow’ rose (Rosa ‘Nacogdoches’) has whole, deep yellow, fragrant blossoms that repeat from spring until the first hard frost. Growing 4-5 feet tall and about 3 feet wide, every garden should find a place for this beauty. It needs sunshine – at least six hours a day of good light – and regular watering. Of course, it makes beautiful cut flowers. This rose should be hardy in most of Texas, but in Zone 6, it might be wise to give it some winter protection.

‘Blue Princess’ Verbena

Zones 7b to 10

Verbena x hybrida ‘Blue Princess’ thrives in Texas heat. “Most people make the mistake of pampering it,” says Brent Pemberton, Texas AgriLife Research horticulturist. “It must be planted in your landscape’s sunniest, best-drained spot. It will not bloom profusely unless the plant gets plenty of sunlight.” You can’t be afraid to prune it either. Give the plant a haircut after the first exquisite flush of lavender blooms. Pruning encourages another round of flowers and keeps the plant from getting lanky and unkempt-looking. This perennial grows about 1 foot tall.

Dwarf Mexican Petunia

Zones 8 to 11

Trumpet-shaped, violet-blue flowers are born on the tips of the 1-foot stems and are extremely showy, partly because of the clouds of butterflies they attract. After the plant finishes flowering for the first time, cut it back about halfway to encourage another flush of blooms. Mexican petunia (Ruellia brittoniana) is adaptable and tolerates wet and dry soils. This perennial prefers full sun and will tolerate shade, but it will flower less in low-light situations. This dwarf variety grows less aggressively than the species and is an excellent choice for a long season of color.

‘Belinda’s Dream’ Rose

Zones 5 to 9

‘Belinda’s Dream’ was the first rose named a Texas Superstar. It was also the first rose to receive the prestigious Earth-Kind designation, meaning it’s been proven to be one of the best flowering roses requiring the least care. Earth-Kind’s tagline: If you can grow weeds, you can grow Earth-Kind roses. ‘Belinda’s Dream’ grows to about 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide. The fragrant pink blossoms are doubled, with a whopping petal count of more than 100. The blue-green foliage provides a lovely background for the delightful blooms.

Most Popular Flowers & Plants in the USA

RegionPopular FlowersPopular Plants
Northeast (e.g., New York, Massachusetts)Rose, Purple Lilac, Mountain LaurelSugar Maple, American Elm, White Pine
Southeast (e.g., Florida, Georgia)Orange Blossom, Cherokee Rose, Southern MagnoliaLive Oak, Spanish Moss, Saw Palmetto
Midwest (e.g., Ohio, Illinois)Carnation, Violet, Purple ConeflowerBur Oak, Prairie Grasses, Wild Bergamot
Southwest (e.g., Texas, Arizona)Bluebonnet, Saguaro Cactus Flower, Indian PaintbrushJoshua Tree, Agave, Mesquite
West (e.g., California, Washington)California Poppy, Coast Rhododendron, BitterrootGiant Sequoia, Redwood, Manzanita
Rocky Mountain (e.g., Colorado, Montana)Rocky Mountain Columbine, Bitterroot, Indian PaintbrushBlue Spruce, Aspen, Sagebrush
Great Plains (e.g., Kansas, Nebraska)Sunflower, Goldenrod, Purple ConeflowerCottonwood, Bluestem Grasses, Buffalo Grass
Pacific Northwest (e.g., Oregon, Alaska)Oregon Grape, Forget-me-not, Pacific RhododendronDouglas Fir, Western Hemlock, Ferns

This table includes the most popular flowers and plants in the USA by region, which considers a range of botanical species, including native and widely cultivated varieties.

Most Popular Flowers & Plants in Australia

RegionPopular FlowersPopular Plants
New South WalesWaratah, Bottlebrush, Flannel FlowerEucalyptus, Acacia, Banksia
VictoriaCommon Heath, Waxflower, Pink HeathMountain Ash, Silver Wattle, Victorian Blue Gum
QueenslandCooktown Orchid, Golden Penda, Umbrella Tree FlowerMoreton Bay Fig, Macadamia Nut, Queensland Bottle Tree
South AustraliaSturt's Desert Pea, Kangaroo Paw, Eucalyptus BlossomAdelaide Blue Gum, South Australian Blue Gum, Saltbush
Western AustraliaRed and Green Kangaroo Paw, Mangles Kangaroo Paw, Swan River DaisyJarrah, Marri, Karri
TasmaniaTasmanian Blue Gum, Leatherwood Flower, Tasmanian WaratahHuon Pine, Tasmanian Oak, Myrtle Beech
Northern TerritorySturt's Desert Rose, Frangipani, Desert RoseBoab, Gidgee, Spinifex
Australian Capital TerritoryRoyal Bluebell, Australian Daisy, CorreaSnow Gum, River Red Gum, Black Mountain

This table offers a basic overview of popular flowers and plants in each Australian region, focusing on a combination of state flowers, native species, and other characteristic plants. It's important to note that specific species' popularity and prevalence can vary. This table is a simplified representation. Consulting local botanical gardens or regional horticultural societies in Australia would be ideal for more detailed and accurate information.

Charlotte Gammon

By Charlotte Gammon

Meet Charlotte Gammon, our expert and author. She's our true treasure, as she has got 20+ years of experience in gardening, winery and house design. In early 2000s, she worked for today.com magazine and was in charge of the gaardening section. Later on, Charlotte opened her own designer agency and worked as a designer and decorator. We are happy to have Charlotte with us, as she is our good friend. We value her experience and we're sure you will love the articles she created for our blog.