The Texas summer heat has arrived, and your lawn or garden may be looking a little thirsty. Instead of reaching for your garden hose, think about replacing non-native plants that require lots of water with drought tolerant natives. There are many native and adapted plants that can help you preserve water resources.
Grow Green, a gardening education program promoting sustainable landscaping practices, provides resources for those who want to find drought tolerant plants for their gardens. The less watering, fertilizing and chemical control needed in your lawn, the more conservation and preservation of Texas streams, lakes and aquifers.
Below is a list of native Texas plants that are easy to find and require very low (water occasionally during very dry conditions) and low (water every 3-4 weeks if no rainfall) water usage.
- Montezuma Cypress – This plant can take full sun and has been known to grow in warm climate areas such as New Mexico and Mexico. The Montezuma Cypress grows faster than other cypress trees.
- Cedar Elm – This tree is the most widespread native elm in Texas. Cedar Elm is an adaptable shade tree that can withstand heavy, poorly drained clay soils and soils that are moderately compacted.
- Bur Oak – These large trees are very adaptable and need plenty of space and deep soil to grow.
Small Trees/Large Shrubs
- Desert Willow – This trumpet-shaped plant has 3-inch white, pink or burgundy flowers and needs a well-drained site to grow properly.
- Goldenball Leadtree – The fast-growing plant blooms fragrant gold flowers, and its airy foliage casts light shade.
- Texas Persimmon – Female Persimmons are fruit-bearing. The plant is normally wildlife food and grows best in shallow, rocky limestone soils.
- Black Dalea – With long roots that find water some distance away, the Black Dalea requires very little water and does well in poor soils.
- Flame Acanthus – The plant’s red and orange flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies, and the Flame Acanthus reseeds aggressively.
- Primrose Jasmine – This white-flowered plant needs sufficient room to grow to its full size and is good for hanging over walls.
You don’t have to give up your green thumb this summer! For a complete guide on plants native and adapted to Texas, and for more information on how to conserve water this summer, visit the Grow Green website.