When’s the last time you stopped to smell the roses in Houston? How about any of the native flowers like the purple coneflower or black-eyed Susan? These are the native plants for Houston landscapes that attract birds, bees and other pollinators. Since they grow here naturally, they need little maintenance or water to thrive. Planting native helps the environment and your yard.
When designing your landscape, don’t forget the smaller details that set your property apart from the neighborhood. Native plants in Houston and other cities in Texas are celebrated for their visual appeal, and for being eco-friendly. Since they’re easy to maintain, they’ll increase the curb appeal of your home.
Here are some of the trees, vines, shrubs, and plants that grow easily in H-Town.
There are many species of large trees in Texas; oaks are ones you’ll find everywhere in Houston. They fall into two groups; red and white. Red oaks have jagged leaves with acorns that take two years to mature. White Oaks have smooth foliage with acorns maturing in one season. You’ll also see maple, walnut, ash, cypress, pine, sycamore and tulip trees that typically grow anywhere from 60 to 80 feet tall. The pecan may be our state tree, but don’t forget about the tree that gave Houston one of its many nicknames. The Southern magnolia tree is losing ground to invasive species, but it continues to be the centerpiece in many Houston gardens.
Smaller varieties of native trees include the American holly, with its sharply jagged foliage and bright red berries. Pawpaw gives off a tropical-like appearance that highlights your landscape with maroon-red flowers. Acacia sprouts white-yellow blooms, and crape myrtle comes in a variety of colors including lavender, white, reds and pink. You can’t walk far in Houston without seeing a Basham Party Pink Crape Myrtle — a hybrid that can grow up to 30 feet tall.
Coral honeysuckle has reddish green stems, dark green leaves and looks similar to small shrubs. This vine climbs fences and features red trumpet-shaped blooms that attract hummingbirds. Birds will enjoy a sumptuous feast of orange and red berries during September and October. Coral honeysuckle prefers morning sun and afternoon shade.
Carolina Jessamine climbs high with its long, tapered leaves. In winter, you’ll see bright yellow trumpet flowers tinged with a spicy scent.
Crossvine blooms in spring with dark-red and yellow flowers.
Passionflower vine. With small lavender blooms from April to September, this vine spreads out over fences and trellises. The deep green leaves also attract colorful butterflies. Passionflower vines can grow 10 to 20 feet tall and sprout tiny melon-like edible fruits. A Yellow passionflower vine grows to about 10 feet, blooming in May to September with bluish-black berries.
Texas native grapevines draw the birds! With 15 grape species native to Texas, the most common ones are muscadine grape, riverbank grape, and mustang grape.
Trumpet creeper is a woody vine that climbs trees and fences, producing red-orange flowers. Houston hummingbirds love these blooms! Trumpet creepers thrive in moist soil and partial shade to full sunlight.
Agarita is an evergreen that yields single yellow flowers in the spring and then red berries. Agarita prefers full sunlight and well-draining, alkaline soil.
Gardenia is an evergreen shrub found in many areas of the South. Its white flowers bring about a pleasant scent.
Jasmine shrubs are evergreens that grow in the Houston area. Primrose and Italian jasmine sprout yellow flowers.
Pineapple Guava is a grayish green shrub that produces white flowers with bright red stamens.
The obedient plant blooms in the spring, with some varieties flowering in autumn. Indigenous to Harris County, they spread thickly through their habitats to protect nearby vegetation, especially in winter. Pigeonberry plants develop red fruits to attract birds, and when the sun shines, you can see a red hue on the foliage. Frog fruit perennials grow just about anywhere; it’s an evergreen thatch in the verbena family. If you prefer something with more of a fleshy root system, Mallows hibiscus helps to stabilize the soil in small landscapes.
With thousands of native plants to choose from, there’s no reason to plant anything else in your garden. They’ll bring color to your landscape that will return year after year with little help from you. The native plants for Houston landscapes will thrive in our heat and humidity and keep your yard Texas strong.
Have more questions about landscaping and maintenance? Visit our Houston, TX lawn care page for more guides and additional information.