Looking for plants that are suited for our hot summers that don’t require much watering?
Here is our list of ten drought-tolerant native plants for Houston. While most do well in full sun, we’ve included a few that do well in shade too.
Native plants. The term has different meanings for different landscapers. There are Texas natives, US natives, and those plants that act like natives. All in all, what most of us want in our landscape are low-maintenance plants that are attractive and functional. Plants that are not invasive and are beneficial to wildlife. When you plant a landscape, it is not just for you – it is a habitat for all living things around you.
So what native plants work best in Texas landscaping?
Texas Lantana (Lantana horrida also referred to as Lantana urticoides)
A native to Texas, this variety of Lantana has yellow to orange flowers and attracts butterflies. It is very drought tolerant as well as salt tolerant. Hardy in our zone, but may need some protection in severe winters. Prefers well-draining soil. Full to part sun. Spreading shrub 3-6 ft. Blooms all summer long. NATIVE.
Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’)
This perennial coneflower has bright golden yellow flowers with black centers. A drought-tolerant perennial with large blooms up to 5 inches across that makes great cut flowers. Full to part sun. A favorite in native gardens in Houston. NATIVE.
Eastern Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
Drought tolerant native that is a favorite of butterflies. Prolific bloomer from spring through summer. Tall stems with soft lavender petals attached to an iridescent cone. It prefers full sun to partial shade in well-draining fertile soils. 2-5 feet tall. Makes long-lasting cut flowers. An outstanding performer throughout our hot summer. NATIVE.
Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii)
A drought-tolerant perennial that flowers continuously from late spring until hard frost. Prefers full to part sun. Grows about 3 ft tall and as wide. Red flowers with pale green small leaves. Attracts hummingbirds! NATIVE.
Gulf Coast Muhly aka Pink Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris)
This tough native perennial grass with a large, airy seed head grows is stunning when planted in masse. The spikelets are purple and in fall the plant takes on a feathery, deep pink hue. Drought-tolerant. Full to part sun. Clumping habit 2-3 ft. tall. NATIVE.
Chaste Tree, Vitex (Vitex agnus-castus)
This small deciduous tree (or large multi-trunked shrub) blooms with profuse spikes of lavender flowers. It blooms heavily in the early summer, and then sporadically throughout the summer and fall. Vitex is heat, drought, and pest tolerant — which makes it an excellent choice for low-maintenance landscaping. ACTS LIKE A NATIVE.
Firebush, Hummingbird Bush (Hamelia patens)
This tropical produces long tubular flowers in shades of red, orange, and yellow, perfect for attracting hummingbirds. Plants perennialize in Houston gardens, but top growth may freeze to the ground in especially cold winters. Blooms from late spring through late fall. Full sun. NATIVE.
Blue Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata)
Plumbago is basically maintenance-free. No need to fertilize or worry about insects. Once established, it’s fairly drought tolerant, but may need supplemental water when things stay really dry. It grows in sun, but it also grows really well in partial shade, as long as it gets adequate light. At maturity, it will be 3-4 feet high and 4-6 feet wide. ACTS LIKE A NATIVE.
Esperanza, Yellow Bells (Tecoma stans)
This deciduous shrub produces clusters of large tubular flowers in shades of bright yellow, to apricot, orange, and red. A hummingbird favorite in full sun. Blooms from spring through fall. At maturity, it grows 3 to 6 ft in height and 3 to 4 feet in width. Stands up to our Texas heat and is drought tolerant. NATIVE.
If you want a low-maintenance, beautiful garden – start with natives. Our Landscape Consultants are here to help you select the best native choices for your commercial landscaping.