Texas Living

Texas-tough flowers

By Leslie Finical Halleck 6.20.13

Plants: We can kill ’em like nobody’s business here in Texas! With our climate extremes, there’s just no room for pansies. With water conservation becoming a bigger issue, a focus on using water-wise gardening is the path to success.

Here are a few of my top Texas-tough bloomers to keep your garden water-wise and beautiful across the state.

Lady Banks Rose (Rosa banksiae): Even in the most miserable sun and heat, these tough ramblers will not only survive, but thrive. In spring, this rose will deliver the most abundant shower of double yellow or white rose blooms you can find. Its semi-evergreen habit is perfect for covering an unsightly fence or decorating a trellis.

Crape Myrtles (Lagerstroemia indica): I know, this sounds like a boring choice. But have you seen the new ‘Black Diamond’ series? It is to die for. Gorgeous, almost-black burgundy foliage is pretty enough to stand on its own without flowers. As a bonus, you get blooms in five colors, including a pure white. Plants only reach 8- to 12-feet tall so they make a perfect hedge, foundation, or specimen shrub.

Autumn Sage (Salvia Greggii): This shrubby perennial is a favorite of Texas gardeners and it thrives in a variety of soils. It’s perfect for really hot sunny areas, even close to concrete. You will be rewarded with blooms from early spring till first frost and the hummingbirds will love you for it.  Flowers range in color from pure white to pale yellow to pink and even the deepest red.

Bearded Iris (Iris germanica): Another old-fashioned favorite, you really can’t go wrong with Irises. Bearded Irises are one of our most drought-tolerant yet stunningly beautiful perennials. There are more varieties and colors available today than you could ever possibly plant. Perfect for a sunny location with limited or no automated irrigation. One of my favorites? ‘Blenheim Royal,’ a stunning, deep blue.