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Spring Plant Selections
Replace parts of your traditional lawns with garden beds made up of hardy, drought-tolerant plants. Here are some favorites.
Almond Verbena with Rare Purple Hairstreak
With a charming informal growth pattern this almond verbena is a large shrub with intensely fragrant white flower clusters from spring to fall. Train as a small tree or restart it from the ground every year to control its large size. A butterfly magnet, almond verbena is seen here with a rare purple hairstreak; attracts storms of eager Lepidoptera (the Butterfly Family) of all kinds.
Barbados Cherry Flowers
Barbados cherry is an evergreen Texas native shrub or small tree with a soft rounded form that can be sheared or left as a specimen. It may drop its leaves in sub-freezing temperatures, but comes back each spring. Pink and yellow flowers (seen here) earn it the name 'wild crape myrtle.'
Barbados Cherry berries
The Barbados cherry is a large shrub, best known for its tiny, tart fruits that are high in vitamin C. The Barbados cherry's fruit is also appealing to many types of wildlife.
Damianita and Four Nerve Daisy in Rock Garden
Damianita here is shown with four-nerve daisy (foreground) in a garden designed to take advantage of the naturally occurring thin soils found on the limestone outcropping, typical of the Texas Hill Country landscape.
Duranta and Black Swallowtail
Seen here with a black swallowtail, this rapid-growing dense shrub has small glossy leaves and a profusion of cascading bunches of small flowers with colors varying from light blue to purple. Some selections fruit heavily and the plant becomes covered with small, golden ball-like drupes.
Esperanza, Blue Salvia in foreground
Few plants can outperform esperanza for floral output, as clusters of yellow or orange flowers barrel their way through any summer. Here, a tall blue sage, indigo spires (foreground), appreciates a bit of summer afternoon shade. Both are a favorite of hummingbirds and bees.
Eve's necklace is a pretty little Texas native related to the showy better known Texas mountain laurel. Eve's necklace produces white and pink fragrant flowers that last a short time in spring. The flowers quickly turn into dangling seedpods persisting until winter.
Inland Sea Oats
Inland sea oats is a native Texan bunchgrass that loves the shade and flaunts drooping, wheat-like seed heads that attract seed-eating birds and other wildlife. Use it in mass in wildscapes and woodland edges.
Lindheimer Muhly with Salvia in foreground
Lindheimer's muhly is hardy and attractive. Seen here with autumn sage in the foreground, it’s good for thin soils. Crop it in late winter to control the size and reduce accumulation of spent leaves.
Little Leaf Sage
Tough selections of salvia such as autumn sage, tropical sage and little leaf sage that are generally less than 30 inches in height. These sages add attractive punches of color, but also appeal to hummingbirds and butterflies.
Mexican Mint Marigold
Use in light shade or sun. Pruning yellow-orange flowers in early summer produces thick blooms through fall. The flavor is distinctive and variously described as anise or licorice; both leaves and flowers are used for teas and seasonings, and especially for offerings during Day of the Dead celebrations.
Oregano is mounding and sprawling, but can be kept compact with regular pinching back. There are a wide variety of oreganos. Greek and Italian oregano do well and are used widely in cooking. Pinch back regularly for your culinary adventures.
The pomegranate is a large tough, fruiting shrub found in our older neighborhoods where it does well with no supplemental water. It has bright orange blooms and shiny, dark green leaves; large, edible fruit; does well in poor soils.
Red Turk's Cap in Shade
Shown here in the shade, the versatile sun or shade tolerant Turk’s cap displays red flowers loved by hummingbirds; may freeze back in cold winters. Once established, needs little to no supplemental water. Leaves may wilt in summer heat especially if planted in the sun.
Spider lilies are an old fashioned flower with white blossoms that appear during mid-summer. Glossy leaves grow in attractive clumps generally up to 2 feet long. They thrive in semi-shady areas. This is a tough plant, but the foliage will melt if not protected during cold snaps.
Sunny Bed Monte Vista Troy House
This yard features Mexican mint marigold (foreground), Lindheimer’s muhly (left) and purple indigo spires (right). To get started, hand-water three times a week for three weeks, then twice weekly for two weeks. Shallow soils may need a little more; deeper soils may do with less.
Tall Blue Velvet Sage in Bed
This group of tall blue salvias is in both the sun and shade coupon package. They can reach 5 feet tall and do well in partial shade. They include indigo spires, giant blue sage, mealy cup sage and velvet sage, pictured here with a firebush and Nelson's nolina. All are attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds; will generally need to be cut back in winter.