By Cheryl Conley
If you’re like me, you’re making regular trips to the nursery to replace plants lost during the big freeze in February. I’ve decided to plant more native plants and those specifically recommended for Texas landscapes because of the benefits they offer. Certain plants, trees and shrubs are better suited to our soil and climate conditions and are more resistant to insects and diseases.
Some of the plants, shrubs and trees you might want to consider are:
- Turk’s cap – some nurseries refer to this shrub as a Drummond wax mallow. It gets 2 to 3 feet tall and prefers partial shade. It gets bright red flowers and got its name because the flower resembles a Turkish turban.
- Dwarf Mexican petunia – this plant gets about a foot tall and spreads so make sure you give it plenty of room. If it gets out of hand, you can always dig up the plants that are spreading too far. It likes sandy soil.
- Gulf coast muhly grass – this is a green, airy ornamental grass getting 2 to 3 feet tall. Its real beauty happens in the fall when the top foot or so turns a lovely purple. I love these en masse!
- Texas lantana – talk about a tough plant! Lantana grows best in full sun. It flowers profusely and once established, requires very little care.
- Eastern purple coneflower – This beautiful plant blooms profusely spring through summer and attracts butterflies.
- Heartleaf rosemallow – this is a type of hibiscus. It produces bright red flowers all year as long as it stays above freezing. It’s very drought-tolerant.
- Texas sage – this is a shrub that produces purple, bell-shaped flowers year-round. It can reach 8 feet tall but it looks best if you keep it pruned back.
- Nuttall Oak – this is one of the best large shade trees to plant in the Houston area. It’s a red oak that is native to Houston. It can be difficult to find, however.
- Drake elm – this is a fast-growing shade tree and is also known as a Chinese elm. It’s a beautiful tree and can survive in many soil conditions.
Some nurseries in the area have sections that are devoted to native plants. This makes it much easier to plan your landscaping. You can also do a search on the internet for native Texas plants.