Be a Good Neighbor to Natural Areas

San Antonio’s natural area parks managed by the City of San Antonio are great places to get some exercise and fresh air for sure. But they are also great places to get an up close look at native plants to incorporate into your landscape. As you hike through the parks, keep in mind none of those plants get watered except by rain.

If you live close to a natural area, lucky you! Help protect these natural areas by not planting aggressive non-native plants in your own landscape. They can escape your yard and become invasive, even harming or crowding out local species. See for yourself how much chaos non-native plants cause by volunteering to help Park Naturalists with invasive species removal.

Common landscape plants escaping into San Antonio’s natural area parks include nandina, vitex, Japanese honeysuckle, ligustrum, yellow trumpet vine and Mexican petunia. Depending on the ecology of the natural area parks (i.e. creekways, hill country, grasslands) some plants are more problematic than others.

Luckily San Antonio gardeners have lots of plant options that provide the same look and feel of their difficult cousins.

Instead of Use This
Japanese Honeysuckle Coral Honeysuckle
Ligustrum Evergreen Sumac
Vitex Desert Willow
Nandina Barbados Cherry
Mexican Petunia Butterfly Weed
Yellow Trumpet Vine Crossvine
Picture of Dana Nichols
Dana Nichols
As conservation manager at SAWS, Dana spent her days promoting beautiful San Antonio landscapes that need little to no water while benefiting Texas wildlife. While she’s no longer whipping up new landscape programs, she’s still cooking up delicious dinners made with fresh herbs from her low-water-use garden or planning the next trip with her husband, Rick -- preferably to some exotic place that requires a passport.
Dig Deeper

Find expert advice on garden basics, landscape design, watering and year-round maintenance.