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Here in North Central Texas, we are lucky to live in an area with a rich diversity of beautiful native plants.  Whether you’re starting from scratch on a brand-new outdoor space or just looking for a few new additions to your garden, Texas native plants are the perfect starting point.

Dallas boasts a stunning variety of native trees and shrubs, grasses, and flowers, so you can feel confident that there are great native plants for every sort of landscape. Once you start gardening with native varieties, you’ll never look back.

The Benefits of Choosing Native Texas Plants

What’s the benefit of planting native plants? No matter where you live, plants that are native to your region will be far more well-adapted to the climate, soil, and precipitation. Particularly in the ever-changing climate of North Central Texas, native species are a smart way to set your garden up for success.

Here are just a few of the benefits of having plants native to Texas in your garden:

  • Water-wise: Looking to reduce your water bills? The big majority of Texas natives are drought-tolerant, offering an excellent opportunity to cut down on water bills.
  • Low maintenance: We’ve all encountered the frustrating damage that can be done by pests, disease, and poor soil conditions. Native plants have evolved to survive these challenges, and that can significantly lower the maintenance they require.
  • Beneficial to native wildlife: Planting Texas-specific varieties is a positive way to create habitat for the insects, birds, and animals in your area. Some species of native plants are also larval host plants and nectar plants, meaning that they serve as a food source for butterfly caterpillars or as a source of nectar for visiting pollinators.

And of course, we can’t forget the most significant benefit of all: there’s no better landscape designer than nature itself. When planted together, native plants make a stunning addition to any outdoor space.

Plants Native to Texas

There is a plethora of native plants you can incorporate into your Dallas-area landscape, including trees, shrubs, vines, and virtually every type of plant in between. Sometimes, though, having so many options can make the decision process a bit intimidating, especially for the average homeowner. Here’s a handy list of some of our favorite Texas native plants, making it easier to get started on your dream design.

Trees

Rusty Blackhaw Viburnum (Viburnum rufidulum): Rusty blackhaw viburnum is a beautiful part-sun species that thrives in east and central Texas. It can grow well in nearly any kind of soil as long as it has adequate drainage. Depending on the environment, blackhaws can range in size and shape from a 10-foot shrub to a 30-foot tree, making it a versatile addition to many gardens. The highlight of this species is the color it will bring to your outdoor space, with its clusters of white flowers and glossy green leaves in spring followed drooping clusters of black “haw” – fruits – and fall foliage in shades of mauve, deep green, and purple during the fall. 

Eve’s Necklace (Sophora affinis): Named for its necklace-like strands of seed pods, Eve’s Necklace is a graceful understory tree that does well in both shade or full sun. It is extremely drought-tolerant and easy to shape and care for.

Texas Mountain Laurel (Sophora secundiflora): Texas Mountain Laurel is widely popular throughout the South and Southwest, known for both for its beauty and its hardiness. This evergreen shrub can grow as tall as 30 feet, though you’ll typically see it in the 10 to 15-foot range. During the spring, it shows off clusters of bright purple blooms with a sweet, grape Kool-aid scent.

Shrubs

Agarita (Mahonia (Berberis) trifoliata): This native Texas shrub has it all – gorgeous green foliage, attractive flowers, a lovely fragrance, and food for wildlife. You can even use its berries to make homemade jelly!

Turk’s Cap (Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii): Looking for pollinator-friendly plants? Turk’s Cap is a favorite for hummingbirds, and its vibrant red flowers can quickly become a star attraction in your home garden. This perennial shrub does very well in shaded understories, but it can tolerate all but the brightest sun. Though it dies back every winter, it regrows quickly each spring and can reach 5 feet. In a flower bed, it will spread slowly to fill nicely in the space.

Perennial Flowers:

Salvias (Salvia spp.): Salvias come in a rainbow of colors and a wide range of sizes, with many varieties that thrive in North Central Texas. You’ll often see blue and red blooming varieties, but finding shades of yellow, pink, and white is possible as well. 

Coneflowers (Rudbeckia, Echinacea, etc.):

The common name “coneflower” represents several different flowers, all loved for their cheerful blooms and prolific growth rate. A favorite for native pollinators, coneflowers will likely bring butterflies, bees, and songbirds to your garden. Despite their delicate appearance, coneflowers are surprisingly fuss-free. Depending on your garden style, you can choose from coneflowers in bright colors or subtle shades and in many sizes.

Ornamental Grasses

Muhly Grasses (Muhlenbergia spp.): Add almost year-round texture and color to your garden with muhly grasses.  Muhlys come in a range of colors and sizes; all have graceful, fountaining foliage that sways in the breeze and makes a striking accent even in winter when it has turned brown.

Side-oats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula): No list of Texas native plants would be complete without side-oats grama, our official state grass. This bunchy grass grows to a height of 1 foot and pairs wonderfully with springtime wildflowers. During the fall, it sends up stalks up to 3 feet tall with seed heads dangling along both sides of the stalk, then turns a stunning cinnamon color that lasts through winter.

Browse the Best Selection of Native Plants in Dallas at North Haven Gardens

For more information about how to choose plants that are native to North Central Texas, you can explore resources from our blog, in addition to lists provided by the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Better yet, visit North Haven Gardens today to start planning your native Texas garden or outdoor space!

Featured Image: Mizy/Shutterstock

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