No one ever said that Texas was an easy place to live. At any given time, depending on what corner of the state you’re in, it’s either way too hot, way too wet, way too dry, way too cold, or not nearly cold enough. Rarely is it just right. (OK, maybe it’s just right for a few months in spring and again in fall.) Needless to say, these weather extremes are hard on plants as well as people. And since your plants can’t get up and run indoors every time they get too hot or too cold, it’s best to choose plants that are well-adapted to your area. A certified landscape or nursery professional can help you choose perennials, shrubs and trees that will enhance your outdor living spaces and thrive despite the wily ways of Texas weather. If you’ve got a problem area because of less than ideal growing conditions, you might want to give one or more of these reliable tough guys a try:
Coneflower: Pretty and pink and very versatile. It blooms well in sun or partial sun, and can adapt to just about any soil type or moisture level. It grows taller (up to 3 feet) and blooms bigger when it gets plenty of water, but once established, it will do its best to bloom a little even in very dry, low light conditions. A true troooper. And birds and butterflies love it.
Purpleheart: Careful where you drop a piece of this passionate groundcover. It can set down roots in the blink of an eye with almost no water an very little soil, which explains why this very determined survivor can be a nuisance if it’s not contained. But if you’ve got it where you want it, you will love its reliability and its color. A hard freeze will knock it back, but it will quickly return as soon as nighttime temperatures remain above freezing. Can be trimmed for a tidy look or left wild and unruly.
Cast Iron plant: The perfect plant for deep shade. Even small amounts of summer sun can damage this evergreen plant, leaving brown, crunchy edges on its large, dark green leaves. But in the right spot, it’s a miracle plant that will survive heavy rain, no rain, extreme heat, extreme cold, and even slow draining soil. Just keep it out of direct sun.
Rose of Sharon: Once established, this reliable old-time garden favorite will bloom its heart out during rainy growing seasons and sit quietly during dry growing seasons. It’s not fussy about soil and it will still manage to pop out a few blooms in very low light conditions. It is happiest in dappled sun and partial sun. The lovely hibiscus-like florwers come in many colors and shapes. Considered a small, ornamental tree, but now also comes in dwarf sizes.