Seven native plants for gardening in Austin
Recent warm weather and rain has Central Texans busy in their yards, preparing their landscape for guests and outdoor gatherings.
Yes, but: Before you get to work, consider native plants that will thrive and create an eco-conscious garden.
- Selecting plants native to Texas not only means less watering, fertilizing and pest control, but also a higher chance of survival in extreme temperatures.
- Plus, multiple plants in a backyard or one on an apartment overlook can make a difference for pollinators.
Details: With summer heat on the way, consider what's possible to plant right now. If you're not ready to plant just yet, hold off until the fall.
What they're saying: "It is too late for the spring annuals, but perennials can be planted at any time," Samantha Elkinton, the gardens manager at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, tells Axios.
- For the gardening novice — perennials come back every year while annuals complete their life cycle in one year.
- Plants adjust better when they're not blooming and winter precipitation helps get them established.
- "It is easier to care for plants over the summer if they were planted in the fall because they will need less water in the summer," Elkinton added.
Here are some of Elkinton's favorite native perennials for Central Texas landscaping:
1. Rock Rose (Pavonia lasiopetala)
This small shrub can thrive in sun or shade and grows 2-3 feet tall.
- Pink blooms last from April through November.
2. Gregg’s mistflower (Conoclinium greggii)
The palm-leaf mistflower needs plenty of sun and grows about 2 feet tall.
- Small purplish flowers bloom in March through November.
3. Liatris (Liatris punctata var. mucronata)
Known as the Texas Blazing Star, this plant needs sun and gravelly, well-drained soil to flower in succession from top to bottom over several weeks.
- It reaches about 2 feet tall and blooms between August and November.
4. Mealy Blue Sage (Salvia farinacea)
This 2-3 foot shrub needs full sun and usually forms a mound as wide as the plant is tall.
- Blue or white tubular flowers bloom April to October.
5. Shrubby Boneset (Ageratina havanensis)
The Havana snakeroot or mistflower is a drought-tolerant, rounded shrub that can grow in the sun or shade.
- It grows about 4 feet tall and blooms white in October through December.
6. Turk's Cap (Malvaviscus arboreus)
For a shady yard, try this spreading shrub that typically grows 2-3 feet tall, occasionally reaching 10 feet.
- It blooms red in June through November.
7. Velvet leaf mallow (Allowissadula holosericea)
Also great in the shade, this eye-catching shrub reaches about 6 feet in height.
- It blooms yellow in May through November.
The bottom line: Watering and maintenance vary for each native plant, Elkinton says.
- "As a very general rule, most native shrubs need to be cut back in late winter or early spring," Elkinton said, adding that watering is highly variable. "Most natives that need moderate amounts of water, need about 1 inch of water every week. In the extreme heat of summer, plants may need more water. Also native plants that naturally occur in wet soils will need more water."
More Austin stories
No stories could be found
Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Austin.