A garden is the best alternative therapy.

Flowering Plants for Texas and Natives

A Round Rock Garden Plant Profiles: Flowering Plants for Texas

 

Below is a listing of flowering plants that we are currently growing in our butterfly garden. Many of them are Texas Natives, and many are naturalized for our area and/or are part of the Plants for Texas program. Information regarding their hardiness is based upon experience growing in zone 8b.  Click on any of the links below to jump to the specific plant profile.

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Flowering Plant List

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Alyssum, Sweet (lobularia maritima)

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Annual. Great flowering ground cover for cooler months with lots of dainty white blooms. Full sun to part shade. 4″ tall, space plants 8-10″ apart. If direct sowing, barely cover with soil. 8-10 days germination. Blooms fast from seed to flower and continuously blooms if old blooms are trimmed.

The sweet fragrance of Alyssum attracts bees and butterflies. Although not a Texas native, it is quite common in nurseries in Spring and Fall.

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Aster, Fall (symphyotrichum oblongifolium)

Perennial. Full sun. Grows to 2′ tall x 3′ wide. Space at least two feet apart. May bloom briefly in spring, but is known for its profuse blooming in fall when it is covered in lavender daisy-like flowers with yellow centers. Part of the Plants For Texas program.

Our aster is now two seasons old. It started as a small 4″ plant and has easily quadrupled in size. Each winter, it dies back to the ground, but is one of the earliest to sprout new growth in the fall. It spreads quickly.

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Black-Eyed Susan (rudbeckia hirta)

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Perennial. Full sun. Grows up to 3′ high by 1 1/2′ wide. Direct sow after frost or start indoors six weeks before transplanting. 10-15 day germination. Plant 12-15″ apart. Blooms like crazy summer to fall. Fast growth rate. Butterflies love them.

Black-Eyed Susan is well adapted for Texas with lots of yellow daisy-like blooms. It is part of the Plants For Texas program. Spent flowers can be harvested and seeds dried for later sowing, or simply allow them to fall and reseed themselves.

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Butterfly Weed (asclepias tuberosa)

Tender Perennial. Full Sun. Grows to 2-3′ tall by 2′ wide. Poisonous. Transplant spacing: 18″ after danger of last frost.

Butterfly weed is a member of the milkweed family and one of the Plants For Texas program. It attracts the Monarch family of butterflies (which also includes Queen butterflies and Viceroys) and is a larval food source as well as nectar source.

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Common Milkweed (asclepias syriaca)

Tender Perennial. Full Sun. Grows to 2-3′ tall by 2′ wide. Milky sap is poisonous. Transplant spacing: 18-24″ after danger of last frost.

Milkweed is the favorite food of the Monarch caterpillar, the Monarch host plant and an important nectar plant for many native species of butterfly. I ordered cuttings from livemonarch.com. At $1.30 each, I couldn’t resist, plus the proceeds help fund their efforts for Monarch habitat restoration and raising awareness about these beautiful creatures. They also shipped me about 75 seeds, which I germinated and transplanted along the garden fence. This turned out to be quite a treat for late season monarch caterpillars. As each plant produces a number of seed pods, be sure to collect the seeds to sow later or let the wind carry them to another resting spot.

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Copper Canyon Daisy (tagetes lemonii)

 

 

Perennial. Deciduous. Full tun. Grows 3′x4′ tall by 2-3′ wide with bright yellow flowers in the spring and fall. Blooms profusely. Can be pruned to the size you want. Strongly scented foliage. Low water once established. Fast growth rate.

Part of the Plants For Texas program, this is a great flowering plant for our area. I transplanted two in early April, fairly close together so that they will make one large hedge. As you can see, there are plenty of happy yellow blooms. Copper Canyon Daisies have a very distinct smell to them. Some like it, some don’t. I think it smells kind of like citrus, or tangerines. Take care when handling, as the leaves contain a sticky resin that may cause contact dermatitis. As a precaution, you may want to wear gloves and long sleeves.

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Four-Nerve Daisy (tetraneuris scaposa)

 

 

Mid-March, 2011

Perennial. Evergreen. Full sun to part shade. One foot tall with 18″ spread. Blooms March to June and again from September to October with bright yellow daisy-like flowers. Slow growth.

Part of the Plants For Texas program. I transplanted one of these plants. It has very bright flowers that start out as “eyes” that grow petals. It kind of looks other-worldly with all of the long flower stalks with eyeballs on them until the petals form! After a year in the garden, I am very pleased with this plant. It bloomed most of the year, the leaves stayed green throughout the winter and in the spring it exploded with forty or so flower stalks and doubled in size.

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Dusty Miller (centaurea cineraria L.)

Annual. Full sun to part shade. 12-18″ tall x 12-18″ wide. Great silvery-gray foliage, but also produced blooms in summer. Easy to grow in well-drained soil. Deer resistant.

You can find this plant in just about any nursery and it’s a great filler for beds that adds interest due to its fuzzy leaves.

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Euryops (a.k.a. Yellow Bush Daisy)(euryops pectinatus)

Annual. Full sun. Can grow quite large in warmer zones, up to 4′ tall by 4′ wide. In our zone, it will probably reach 2′ x 2′. Will not survive the winter. Blooms repeatedly throughout the growing season from Spring to Fall. May require more frequent watering during warmer months. Attracts bees and butterflies.

We have two of these plants – new additions this year. They are originally from Africa, but are part of the Plants for Texas program.

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Gaura (a.k.a. Whirling Butterfly Bush)(gaura lindheimeri)

Perennial. Very hardy. Part of the Plants For Texas program. Full sun, preferably on southerly facing wall. This wonderful grassy shrub adds a whimsical feel to the garden. Flower stalks reach up to 3′ tall and are covered with white blooms about an inch across that resemble butterflies whirling in the breeze. They bloom continuously through the spring, summer and fall. Will die back to the ground, but emerge in spring with a vengeance. Can spread out to 3′ wide and create a nice hedge.

Our two plants grew considerably the first season. Now that spring has arrived, I anticipate (judging from the grown already exploding from the base) that they will easily double in size. The bees love this plant!

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Grass, Mexican Feather (a.k.a. Silky Thread Grass)(Nassella tenuissima)

Perennial ornamental grass.  Grows into a mound up to 3′ high by 1 1/2′ wide.  This beautiful grass becomes a billowing clump of blonde tipped grass that sways gracefully in the wind, offering a unique texture and movement to the garden.  It does reseed itself quite easily and some consider it invasive because of this.  It is, however, very easy to remove if it seeds somewhere you don’t want it.   It is a Texas Native, but as the name suggests, it is also native to Mexico, California and a few other southern states.

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Lantana, Creeping (a.k.a. Trailing Lantana)(lantana montevidensis)

Perennial. Grows to 6-12″ tall and spreads outwards 2-4′. Full sun to partial shade. Violet/lavender blooms all year from Spring to frost. Attracts butterflies, birds and bees. Prune in late winter to contain look. Drought tolerant once established. Great as ground cover. Moderate growth rate.

Part of the Plants For Texas program and a Texas Superstar. I started out with one specimen plant and loved it. It started out in a six inch pot and spread to four feet in diameter the first season. It grew so much, I eventually had to prune it back to keep it off the garden path. The butterflies really loved it, too. I purchased two more for spring 2011.

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Lantana, Texas (lantana horrida)

 

 

Perennial. Dies back to ground at frost. Grows to 4-6′ tall x 4′ wide. Full sun. Yellow, orange and pink flowers Spring to frost. Attracts butterflies, birds and bees. Very fast grower. Poisonous. Prune for a natural look. Low maintenance otherwise.

Part of the Plants For Texas program. I have a couple of lantana bushes that I transplanted in early April 2011 as part of out butterfly garden. They grew like crazy and were covered in flowers that really attracted the bees and butterflies. I suggest not using fertilizer and do not overwater.

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Lavender, Fern Leaf (lavandula pinnata)

Annual. Full sun. This plant is originally from Africa (also known as Egyptian lavender), but is also part of the Plants For Texas program. It is hardy to 20 degrees Fahrenheit, so it will likely not last the winter without a really good mulching and covering. Sends up long flower stems with a few flower stalks at the end of each that later burst into deep purple flowers. It is known for its long flowering period. Bees and butterflies love lavender.

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Lavender, Spanish (lavandula stoechas)

Perennial. Evergreen. Can grow to 2′ high x 3′ wide. Hardy to 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Prefers drier, fast-draining, lean soil. Mulch with gravel. Prune by 1/3 every year to maintain compact, dense growth or else it tends to get leggy. Can be pruned before new growth begins in spring, or after its spring flowering season. If done right, it may also produce another round of flowers in summer or fall. Bees LOVE this lavender. Be sure not to prune any lower than the tops of the freshest green growth.

We keep ours in a container because, inevitably, I over-water our lavender and it ends up with root rot and dies. In a container, over-watering is a little harder to do!

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Mexican Heather (a.k.a. False Heather)(cuphea hyssopifolia)

Tender Perennial. Up to 18″ high, space 12″ apart. Full sun to part shade. Medium water requirements, so water regularly, but do not overwater.

Part of the Plants For Texas program. This low bushy plant produces hundreds of lavender blooms continuously until frost, which the bees simply adore. I planted two in spring 2010 and as of the end of March 2011, I’m waiting to see if they survived the winter. In the meantime, I purchased two more for another area

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Mexican Mint Marigold (a.k.a. Texas Tarragon)(tagetes lucida)

Tender Perennial. Plant in full sun. Although it can be used as a tarragon substitute, it also produces beautiful yellow blooms. Will grow into a compact bush up to 3′ x 3′ wide. Bloom time is from late summer through fall. Average water needs, and is drought-tolerant. Very attractive to bees and butterflies during bloom period. Part of the Plants For Texas program.

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Rose, Double-Knockout

Perennial. Evergreen. Blooms continuously from spring through late fall. A Texas Superstar. If fed regularly (monthly), it can be absolutely covered in red blooms. Plant in full sun. Can grow to be 3′ tall x 4′ wide – perhaps larger. Prune to maintain size or let it do its thing. It is a rather low-maintenance and low-pest plant. Do not let it dry out between watering for best results. Deadheading is not necessary with these roses. A great addition to the garden.

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Sage, Autumn (salvia greggii)

Perennial. Evergreen. Up to 24-36″ high, space 24-36″ apart. Full sun to part shade. Suitable for Xeric gardens because it is drought tolerant.
Part of the Plants For Texas program. This is a beautiful salvia that comes in different colors. We have two: one red and one white. Slower growing than other salvias, it is a favorite of bees and hummingbird. These can be pruned to maintain a compact, rounded shrub.  The flowers are also edible. 

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Salvia, Desperado (leucophyllum frutescens)

a foot high and wide, surrounded by red pillar salvia and lobelia

Perennial shrub.  Evergreen.  This salvia is a fast grower that reaches a height of 6′ x 4′ wide.  Plant in full sun.  Drought tolerant.   Fragrant lavender to light pink flowers from spring through summer.  Attracts hummingbird, butterflies, bees and songbirds (due to the seeds it produces).   Silvery gray/green foliage throughout the year.  This salvia is a native of California where it is found as a coastal shrub.  It is a hybrid of white sage and purple sage.

We have two of these planted in a front bed.  They are space 3′ apart and should eventually grow together to form a hedge in front of our bedroom window.  They were transplanted late last fall and struggled a bit to root through the winter.  They have now begun sending out lots of green growth, so check back later in the season for a better photo.

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Salvia, Indigo Spires

Tender perennial. Up to 36-48″ high, space 36-48″ apart. Full sun to part shade. Suitable for Xeric gardens because it is drought tolerant.

Part of the Plants For Texas program. Another stunning salvia that produces beautiful 10″ long purple spires of flowers that attract bees and butterflies. Indigo Spires is an incredibly fast growing plant and will fill in a 3′x3′ space in one season if grown from transplant. Ours were transplanted from two 6″ pots in March 2010 and by the beginning of June had to be cut back! Flowers are long-lasting and dry nicely. To encourage the best-looking blooms, trim the fading flowers spires off and the plant will start blooming again within just a few weeks! Blooms Spring through Fall. They died back completely to the ground in winter and I pruned them back to a few inches. As of the end of March 2011, they have come back and are almost a foot tall.

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Salvia, Red Pillar (salvia splendens)

Perennial. Full sun. Grows to 1 1/2′ x 1 1/2′. Water regularly and do not let it dry out. Long-lasting red flowers from spring to fall. This is a new addition to the garden and I am already in love with its deep red flower stalks. Attracts bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

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Sedum, Autumn Joy (sedum telephium)

Perennial. Succulent. Can grow 2-3′ tall x 2′ wide. Full sun in rich soil with good drainage. Flowers July through Fall in clusters resembling broccoli. Flowers start pink then darken to red in the fall.

We have two Autumn Joy sedum plants in a corner of the yard. They grow rather quickly and add wonderful red hues to the garden. Ours died back to the ground during winter, but regrew very quickly in the spring. Very low maintenance.

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Sunflower, Russian (helianthus annuus)

 

Annual. Grows to 12′ and harvest-able in 80 days. Sow after frost 8″ apart and cover with 1″ fine soil. Germination 7-14 days. Dry seed heads in paper bag for 2-3 weeks.

Sunflowers are heliotropes, meaning their heads face East until sunrise then follow the sun’s movements through the sky, finally returning East again by morning. They do this through the bud stage and then the freeze in one position, often facing East. Keep this in mind when planting them and put them on a side of the yard where you’ll be able to see their faces! Germination rate for the seeds I used last year was 100%.

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Thyme, Mother-of- (a.k.a. creeping thyme)(thymus praecox arcticus)

Perennial. Evergreen. Grows to about 4″ tall, but rapidly spreads to 3′ feet wide, making it ideal ground cover, especially between flagstones. Profuse red blooms in summer almost completely hide its foliage, making it quite attractive.

This was a good idea for the garden, but unfortunately, they didn’t last through the dry fall and winter. I don’t know that I’ll try them again…

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Turk’s Cap (malvaviscus arboreus)

Tender perennial. Full sun to part shade. Continuous red blooms from summer through fall, resembling little hats. Native to Texas and Mexico. Part of the Plants For Texas program and a Texas Superstar. Drought-tolerant. Grows to a height of 4′ x 4′ wide. Grows best in partial shade as it tends to get leggy and mildewy in full sun (ironically!). Attracts hummingbirds and butterflies.

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Verbena, Purple Prairie (glandularia pulchella)

Perennial. Deciduous. 12-18″ high, sprawling to 3′. Naturalized from South America and part of the Plants For Texas program. Does well in rock gardens. Full sun to part shade. Produced clusters of fading purple flowers from March through December in our area. Does not appear to have survived our winter, however. The plant likes to spread out, so give it room and expect low-lying branches to root.

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Verbena, Rose “Homestead Purple” (glandularia canadensis)

Perennial.  Deciduous.  Up to a foot high, sprawling out to up to 4′ across for great ground cover.   This hardy perennial attracts birds, butterflies and bees with its deep purple blooms beginning in spring and continuing up to frost.   Plant in full sun and feed with compost throughout the season for best blooms.  Because of its growth pattern, it tends to get a little leggy, but you can keep it in check by pinching back the growth and producing a more compact plant.

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Verbena Tukana, Scarlet

Annual. Full sun. Grows to 2′ tall x 3′ wide, dependent upon length of growing season. Is hardy to 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Grows clusters of scarlet red flowers from Spring to Fall.

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Wildflowers

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Annuals. I purchased a package of mixed Texas wildflowers, including: Bluebonnets, Indian blankets, Purple Coneflower (Echinacea), Phlox, Cornflower, Cosmos, California Poppy, Daisy, Scarlet Flax, Primrose, Mexican Hat and Indian Paintbrush

I sowed them in the fall of 2009 in mid-October. The only thing I did to prepare the soil was rip up the sod, pour down a thin layer of topsoil and compost, then seeded on top of the soil. They grew like crazy and produced many flowers (bluebonnets, indian blanets, coneflowers, scarlet flax did not germinate or were choked out by the others).

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Zexmenia (a.k.a. Devil’s River)

Before transplanting March 2010

All new regrowth April 2011 after dying back to ground for winter

starting to bloom summer 2010

Tender perennial. This Texas native produces golden blooms from Spring into fall that are very attractive to butterflies and bees. 24-36″ tall and wide. Full sun to full shade. Will not bloom well in full shade. Drought tolerant once established.

Zexmenia dies back completely to the ground during winter, but sends up fresh growth in early Spring. This plant was a little slow to get going, but really turned on the growth and flowering by late summer.

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Comments on: "Flowering Plants for Texas and Natives" (18)

  1. carol cormier said:

    I learned a lot about winter shrubs. Thanks!

  2. Great list! The photos are super helpful, too. Thanks for putting it together!

  3. Thank you for putting this together and for the pictures

  4. Barbara Matchey said:

    I’ve got some excellent, super ideas from this list. Thank you all who have contributed. Let’s hope we don’t have a severe drought as we had last year.

  5. I’m actualy using this for a Biology prodject, thank you so much!!
    This helped alot with identifying what I have!

  6. roundrockgarden said:

    Excellent, Brenna! Glad I could be of some help for your project! ;D

  7. Anne Fuller said:

    Where can I find creeping lantana near Leander?

    • roundrockgarden said:

      Anne, I think your best bet is your local HEB Plus store if it has a garden center. HEB carries the Plants for Texas line of plants and have carried a couple varieties of lantana for the past several years. Thanks for reading!

  8. email me back here painter_in_oils_925@yahoo.com if i cut the butterfly-weed flower down in the fall time will it come back next year or not or would it die if i cut it down in the fall because in the field where i dug it up from the field never gets mowed or cut and their where tons of flowers so im not sure if i can cut it down in the fall after it had made the seed pods, and i was hoping to get the seeds and spread them in other places besides the south and west side so that we all can see them growing in places besides by the highway or in old fields.

  9. i already new that the butterfly’s eat on the butterfly weed flowers i just need to know is it ok
    to mow down and will it grow back like the tall wild orange flowers do that look like “lilies”.
    butterfly weeds not really poisonous really its more healthy and not poisonous is what i read and heard about it,
    now the tropical butterfly-weed may be poisonous thats what yours looks like with the waxy looking leaves what i have is the wild butterfly weed and a common-milkweed flower that makes a round purplish pink flower ball.

  10. We chose the roses around our varanda and Wow are they so beautiful spring and late fall and they are over six foot tall and about 4 ft wide and all red, we also chose the pinks in the front and one shrub of roses of pinks in back, never have to do anything to these but water we have truily enjoyed them and I even cut a limb and rooted it in powered root starter in a pot on the varenda and it bloomed, I am to excited. We also planted yellow lantana it does so well. we have already gotten our bulbs planted this month oct of daffadils yellow, we can hardily wait to see them. We are in our 60′s and still work in our gardens it is work but we enjoy it watching beautiful plants come alive keeps us alive. Our red lillies have done well and also our iris’s and canna’s along with our berry shrub.

  11. Here it is the middle of March already, our yellow daffadils are beautiful and so big, the blue and white spider Iris are blooming so beautiful, our vegiie garden is started and my herb seeds are up. We planted our rose bush that had growed in the pot and also my red berry shrubs on the side of the house, my lantana from last summer are comiong back and our mums are green, we can tell spring is in the air yeahhhhh already had 80 degrees here in the Dallas Ft Worth Texas area. Happy Spring everyone!!!!

  12. This was so informative for us newbies to TX! Thank you for compiling this list, as well as for the lovely photos!

  13. Adrienne Malmberg said:

    Thank you for your website! I am a native Seattlelite who will be moving to the Dallas area in June. Your lists and photos put me at ease that I will be able to have a flowering garden by next year, complete even with some evergreens!

  14. What is the orange and yellow flower in the background of the Fall Aster picture?

    • Hi Cynthia and sorry for the late response. The orange and yellow flowering bush in the background is lantana – a real butterfly magnet and easy to grow, drought-tolerant plant.

  15. Lida Dosser said:

    Great information. Thank you.

    Lida.

  16. Spade2012 said:

    looking to revamp my mom’s under-loved garden. Loved your page! It helped me to rethink my placement. Thanks!

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