Give your landscape some backbone — with native evergreens for year-round structure and depth.
Is there an area in your garden that looks like a disaster because all the perennials froze back? Planting Texas native evergreen plants in key areas of your garden will hold it together year-round. And winter is the perfect time to assess your current landscape and determine where you need more structure.
During the winter season, it’s easier to see the weak spots in your landscape — the areas that could use evergreen structure, or backbone plants, to carry the garden through every season. Backbone plants provide depth and texture year-round and they set up other plants to look their best when it’s their season to shine.
Five tough Texas native plants that provide great structure include:
Texas mountain laurel
(Sophora secundiflora) Multi-trunked evergreen small tree or shrub valued for its easy care and grape bubblegum-scented flowers in early spring. Every yard needs at least one.
Spineless prickly pear
(Opuntia ellisiana) Light-colored prickly pear that provides evergreen interest without sharp spines. Beautiful green-blue color contrasts nicely with yellow flowers in the spring and dark reddish-purple fruits in the fall.
(Agave americana L.) Icy blue, very large agave serves as a focal point in your yard. Take care not to plant near foot traffic — set back from all sidewalks, driveways, etc.
Big Bend yucca
(Yucca thompsoniana) Icy blue-green foliage on a trunking yucca makes this plant a must-have if you want to add tough, evergreen vertical interest to your garden. Make sure you have good drainage and DO NOT irrigate this plant (unless you want to kill it).
(Leucophyllum frutescens) Beautiful and tough quintessential evergreen Texas shrub for areas of the yard you don’t want to water, or your hose doesn’t reach. Bursts into bloom all at once after rain events, which is why this plant is also fondly known as the “Texas barometer-bush.”
These garden workhorses are able to withstand extreme weather conditions and, in most cases, sail through these extremes where other plants may struggle or go dormant.
San Antonio experiences weather extremes — from a dry, scorching summer to a frigid winter — which often takes its toll on local landscapes. But landscapes that fare the best by far are those with a good backbone of native plants.
There is no time like the present to take a long, hard look at your landscape and assess it for change. Look for the weak spots and plan ahead now on where to plant evergreen, water-saving, structural choices that require less maintenance.