30 Native Plants for Texas by Region

Prickly pear cactus and Texas lantana in flower

From the Great Plains to the Gulf Coast, the great state of Texas has a diverse range of local climates. Each region has its own beautiful native flora that could make a perfect addition to your landscape.

Plants native to your region of Texas will thrive in your climate with minimal maintenance, and they’ll help you use less water and pesticides in your garden, too. 

We’ve collected 30 of the best native plants for Texas landscapes, divided by which region they thrive in:

Make gardening a little easier on yourself while benefiting local ecosystems with these native Texas wildflowers, shrubs, trees, succulents, and vines.

Native Plants of Central Texas

Bald cypress (Taxodium distichum)

Photo Credit: Bidgee / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.5 AU

This tall conifer with spreading branches creates a spectacular show in fall when its leaves turn a brilliant orange. The bald cypress has a tendency to develop root “knees” that stick out from its tapered trunk. 

Plant type: Tree
Hardiness zones: 4a-10b
Sun: Full sun, partial shade
Soil: Moist sandy, loam, or clay soils 
Duration: Deciduous 
Height: 50-75 feet 
Maintenance: Clean up fallen leaves and cones. 

Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)

Field of black-eyed Susans
Photo Credit: Pixabay

In summer, black-eyed Susans bloom in a blanket of bright yellow, daisy-like flowers. This native Texas wildflower is drought-tolerant and attracts butterflies. 

Plant type: Flower
Hardiness zones: 3a-9b
Sun: Full sun
Soil: Tolerates most soil types 
Duration: Perennial
Height: 1-3 feet
Maintenance: Remove dead flowers to encourage more blooms. 

Mexican buckeye (Ungnadia speciosa)

Photo Credit: Stan Shebs / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Depending on how you prune it, the Mexican buckeye can grow as a large shrub or small tree. The multi-trunked plant has light gray or brown bark and produces fragrant bright pink flowers that attract honey bees and butterflies. 

Plant type: Shrub or tree 
Hardiness zones: 7a-9a
Sun: Full sun, partial shade 
Soil: Dry, rocky soils 
Duration: Deciduous 
Height: 8- 30 feet
Maintenance: Prune as needed to maintain desired shape and height.

Red yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora)

Photo Credit: Fritz Hochstatter / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0 DE

Though not actually a yucca, this succulent gets its common name from its blade-like foliage that resembles a true yucca plant. The red yucca produces tubular coral-colored flowers on tall stalks in late spring and early summer, and the flowers attract hummingbirds. 

Plant type: Succulent 
Hardiness zones: 5b-11b 
Sun: Full sun
Soil: Dry sandy, loam, clay, or limestone soils 
Duration: Perennial 
Height: 2-5 feet 
Maintenance: Remove old flower stalks after flowering season. 

Rock rose (Pavonia lasiopetala)

Photo Credit: Pxhere

This small shrub blooms with pink hibiscus-like flowers in spring and summer that attract butterflies. In landscapes, rock rose works well as a ground cover. 

Plant type: Shrub
Hardiness zones: 8a-9b
Sun: Full sun, partial shade 
Soil: Well-draining limestone soils 
Duration: Perennial 
Height: Up to 4 feet 
Maintenance: Cut back in late winter to prevent excessive growth.

Yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria)

Photo Credit: Luteus / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0

Yaupon holly can be single or multi-trunked, with gray bark, dark green leaves, and bright red berries that attract birds. You can grow this evergreen plant as a shrub with a pop of color or as a specimen tree. 

Plant type: Shrub or tree 
Hardiness zones: 7a-9b
Sun: Full sun, partial shade, full shade 
Soil: Tolerates most soil types 
Duration: Evergreen
Height: 12-25 feet
Maintenance: Prune as needed to maintain desired shape and height. 

Native Plants of North Texas

Ashe juniper (Juniperus ashei)

Photo Credit: micklpickl / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0

Ashe juniper, aka Texas cedar, aka blueberry juniper, has dark green foliage with a pleasant scent. Male ashe junipers turn a burnt gold in winter when they’re covered in pollen (pictured), while female trees grow a blue fruit that resembles blueberries. 

Plant type: Tree
Hardiness zones: 7a-9b
Sun: Full sun
Soil: Any well-draining soil
Duration: Evergreen 
Height: Up to 30 feet
Maintenance: Make sure soil doesn’t stay wet, otherwise roots will rot.

Chinquapin oak (Quercus muehlenbergii)

Photo Credit: Bruce Kirchoff / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0

The chinquapin oak grows relatively fast and has spreading branches, so it makes a perfect shade tree. In fall, its leaves turn vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows. 

Plant type: Tree
Hardiness zones: 3a-9a
Sun: Full sun, partial shade 
Soil: Well-draining rocky or sandy soils 
Duration: Deciduous 
Height: 45-110 feet 
Maintenance: Clean up fallen leaves and acorns. 

Crossvine (Bignonia capreolata)

Photo Credit: Pere Igor / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Crossvine is a climbing vine that works well for decorating landscape features such as pergolas, arbors, and trellises. Its dark green leaves change to a purplish color in winter, and showy clusters of trumpet-shaped yellow, red, and orange flowers bloom in spring. 

Plant type: Vine
Hardiness zones: 5a-9b
Sun: Full sun, partial shade 
Soil: Moist but well-draining soils 
Duration: Perennial 
Height: Up to 50 feet (climbing)
Maintenance: Cut back in spring to encourage healthy new growth. 

Dwarf palmetto (Sabal minor)

Photo Credit: David J. Stang / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Dwarf palmetto is a drought-tolerant, cold-hardy, slow-growing palm with fan-shaped pale green or bluish fronds. In a landscape, you can use dwarf palmetto as a specimen planting, for ground cover, or even in a privacy hedge

Plant type: Palm
Hardiness zones: 7a-10b
Sun: Full sun, partial shade 
Soil: Any moist but well-draining soils 
Duration: Evergreen 
Height: 5-8 feet
Maintenance: May need winter protection in below-freezing temperatures.

Lemon beebalm (Monarda citriodora)

Photo Credit: Michael Wolf / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Lemon beebalm, aka lemon mint, aka horsemint, produces unusually shaped flowers in summer that range in color from lavender to pink and attract pollinators like bees and butterflies. The leaves of the lemon beebalm produce a pleasant citrus scent when rubbed or crushed. 

Plant type: Flower
Hardiness zones: 2a-11b
Sun: Full sun, partial shade 
Soil: Dry sandy, rocky, or loam soils 
Duration: Annual
Height: 1-2 feet
Maintenance: Remove dead flowers to encourage more blooms, and cut stems back to the ground after flowering season.

Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

Photo Credit: Pixabay

The purple coneflower, a common Texas wildflower, features lavender petals around a spiny brown center. These flowers are easy to grow and rewarding, with bright blooms that come out in spring and last throughout summer.

Plant type: Flower
Hardiness zones: 3a-9a
Sun: Full sun, partial shade 
Soil: Well-draining dry to medium soils 
Duration: Perennial 
Height: 2-5 feet 
Maintenance: Water 1 inch per week. 

Native Plants of East Texas

Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana)

Beautyberry branches with clusters of bright purple berries
Photo Credit: Donald Lee Pardue / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Beautyberry is a shrub with long, arching branches and bright green foliage. The plant’s main appeal, of course, is its striking clusters of bright purple berries that add an interesting pop of color to your landscape and feed local birds.

Plant type: Shrub
Hardiness zones: 6a-10b
Sun: Full sun, partial shade 
Soil: Prefers rich soils but can sometimes grow in poor, sandy soils as well
Duration: Deciduous 
Height: 3-8 feet 
Maintenance: Prune before flowering season to keep the shrub compact. 

Southern sugar maple (Acer barbatum)

Orange leaves of Florida maple tree
Photo Credit: Florida Fish and Wildlife / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

The southern sugar maple, aka the Florida maple, is a smaller and more heat-tolerant cousin of the northern sugar maple. It makes a great specimen or shade tree, and its leaves turn bright red, orange, and gold in fall.

Plant type: Tree
Hardiness zones: 6b-9a
Sun: Full sun, partial shade 
Soil: Occasionally wet clay or sandy soils 
Duration: Deciduous 
Height: Typically 20 to 30 feet, can sometimes reach 60 feet or even more 
Maintenance: Water regularly during long dry spells, clean up fallen leaves in fall 

Texas lantana (Lantana urticoides)

Photo Credit: Needpix

Also known as calico bush, the Texas lantana is a spreading shrub that blooms from late spring through early fall with clusters of vibrant, tubular flowers that attract butterflies and birds. Texas lantana makes a beautiful addition to any landscape, but don’t plant it near high-traffic areas: Its branches have spines, and its leaves are poisonous. 

Plant type: Shrub
Hardiness zones: 8a-11b
Sun: Full sun, partial shade 
Soil: Dry, poor soils 
Duration: Deciduous 
Height: 2-6 feet
Maintenance: Cut back branches regularly to encourage healthy new growth. 

Texas paintbrush (Castilleja indivisa)

Photo Credit: David R. Tribble / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

The Texas paintbrush is an interesting specimen, with small inconspicuous flowers surrounded by long, leaf-like bracts in vibrant red or orange. This drought-tolerant plant is beautiful but can be unpredictable, blooming perfectly one year and poorly the next for no apparent reason.

Plant type: Flower
Hardiness zones: 6a-11b
Sun: Full sun 
Soil: Dry, well-draining sandy, loam, or clay soils 
Duration: Annual or biennial 
Height: 6-24 inches 
Maintenance: Allow the plant to reseed after flowering season if you want it to bloom again the next year.

Trumpet creeper (Campsis radicans)

Photo Credit: Needpix

This fast-growing (sometimes even aggressive) vine is perfect for climbing up trees, walls, fences, or other landscape features. It produces showy, trumpet-shaped, bright red flowers that attract hummingbirds, but beware: Trumpet creeper can overtake other plants and become weedy, earning it the colorful nicknames hellvine and devil’s shoestring. 

Plant type: Vine
Hardiness zones: 4a-10b
Sun: Full sun
Soil: Tolerates most soil types but flowers best with moisture 
Duration: Perennial 
Height: Up to 40 feet (climbing)
Maintenance: Prune regularly to keep it contained, cut back branches in late winter or early spring to encourage bushier growth and more flowers.

Winecup (Callirhoe involucrata)

Photo Credit: Wing-Chi Poon / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

These cup-shaped, deep purple wildflowers have stems and foliage that spread along the ground and form a thick mat, making them a great choice for ground cover in landscaping. The drought-tolerant winecup, aka purple poppy mallow, blooms in spring, when its flowers open each morning and close each night.

Plant type: Flower
Hardiness zones: 4a-8b
Sun: Full sun
Soil: Well-draining rocky or sandy soils 
Duration: Perennial
Height: 8-12 inches 
Maintenance: Remove dead flowers to prolong growing season. 

Native Plants of South Texas

Coral bean (Erythrina herbacea)

Red tubular coral bean flowers
Photo Credit: Everglades National Park / Flickr

In South Texas, coral bean grows as a low shrub with glossy leaves and thorny branches (so be careful not to plant it in high-traffic areas). When the coral bean’s branches are bare in spring, the plant produces spikes of showy, bright red, bean pod-shaped flowers that can add an interesting element to your landscaping.

Plant type: Shrub
Hardiness zones: 8a-11b 
Sun: Full sun, partial shade
Soil: Well-draining or sandy soils 
Duration: Deciduous 
Height: 5-15 feet
Maintenance: Prune as needed to maintain desired shape and height.

Heartleaf rosemallow (Hibiscus martianus)

Photo Credit: Pixabay

The heartleaf rosemallow is a type of hibiscus that produces beautiful bright red flowers year-round (as long as temperatures don’t dip below freezing). This drought-tolerant plant can add a tropical touch to your Texas landscape in every season. 

Plant type: Flower
Hardiness zones: 8a-10a
Sun: Full sun, partial shade
Soil: Dry, well-draining gravelly or limestone soils 
Duration: Perennial
Height: 1-3 feet
Maintenance: Prune lightly to encourage compact growth and more blooms. 

Texas mountain laurel (Sophora secundiflora)

Photo Credit: William Herron / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Also known as mescal bean, this multi-trunked plant can grow as either a large shrub or small tree depending on how you prune and train it. Texas mountain laurels have rounded, shiny leaves and clusters of small lavender flowers with a strong grape-like scent that attracts butterflies. 

Plant type: Shrub or tree
Hardiness zones: 7b-10b
Sun: Full sun, partial shade
Soil: Any well-draining soil
Duration: Evergreen
Height: 10-35 feet 
Maintenance: Prune as needed to maintain desired shape and height.

Texas palmetto (Sabal mexicana)

Photo Credit: Whitney Cranshaw / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0 US

The Texas palmetto is a very slow-growing palm that can eventually grow large, but typically, its trunk won’t even show above ground until it’s about 10 years old. When mature, the tree has a stout, thick, spiny trunk and fan-shaped fronds that can provide shade or simply add a tropical aesthetic to a landscape. South Texas is the only place in the United States where this palm grows naturally. 

Plant type: Palm
Hardiness zones: 8a-11b
Sun: Full sun, partial shade 
Soil: Tolerates most soil types 
Duration: Evergreen
Height: Up to 50 feet
Maintenance: Remove dead fronds and fruit stems. 

Texas prickly pear (Opuntia engelmannii var. lindheimeri)

Photo Credit: Billy Hathorn / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0

Texas prickly pear is a colorful specimen cactus with green or blue-green pads, bright red, orange, or yellow flowers, and purple fruits. The cactus can grow in an erect or spreading habit, and there are some with and some without spines. 

Plant type: Succulent
Hardiness zones: 8b-10b
Sun: Full sun
Soil: Dry soils
Duration: Perennial
Height: 3-9 feet
Maintenance: No required maintenance 

Texas sage (Leucophyllum frutescens)

Photo Credit: 0pen$0urce / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Texas sage, aka cenizo, aka Texas barometer bush, is not in fact a true sage (or Salvia) plant. It’s actually a small shrub with soft, hairy silver-gray leaves and bell-shaped flowers of violet, purple, lavender, or pink that bloom year-round, even in winter. 

Plant type: Shrub
Hardiness zones: 8a-11b
Sun: Full sun, partial shade
Soil: Dry, well-draining soils 
Duration: Evergreen
Height: 2-8 feet
Maintenance: Prune regularly to keep the plant compact. 

Native Plants of West Texas

Arizona cypress (Hesperocyparis arizonica)

Photo Credit: Yuriy Kvach / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

This deer-resistant, fast-growing tree has the classic pyramid shape of a cypress (think Christmas trees). The Arizona cypress has soft, gray-green to blue-green foliage, and its bark changes color from tan to plum to red as the tree ages.

Plant type: Tree
Hardiness zones: 7a-11a 
Sun: Full sun
Soil: Well-draining sandy, loam, or clay soils 
Duration: Evergreen
Height: 30-40 feet
Maintenance: Water at least every other week during growing season.

Desert willow (Chilopsis linearis)

Photo Credit: Ken Bosma / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

A desert willow can function as a large shrub or small tree in your landscape depending on how you prune it. This fast-growing, drought-tolerant plant has slender branches, a twisting trunk, and exotic-looking flowers in different shades of white, pink, purple, or violet in summer.

Plant type: Shrub or tree
Hardiness zones: 7b-11b 
Sun: Full sun
Soil: Any well-draining soil
Duration: Deciduous 
Height: 15-40 feet
Maintenance: Cut back during winter to encourage new growth and blooms, and water occasionally during long periods of drought.

Flame acanthus (Anisacanthus quadrifidus)

Photo Credit: Krzysztof Ziarnek / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Flame acanthus is a spreading shrub that’s popular in Texas landscapes because of its showy, tubular, bright red flowers that bloom in mid-summer and early fall when many other plants are out of season. Those flowers are highly attractive to hummingbirds, so some people refer to the plant as hummingbird bush. 

Plant type: Shrub
Hardiness zones: 7a-10b
Sun: Full sun, partial shade
Soil: Tolerates most soil types 
Duration: Deciduous 
Height: 3-5 feet
Maintenance: Prune each winter to encourage compact growth and more blooms.

Lechuguilla (Agave lechuguilla)

Photo Credit: Jean-Michel Moullec / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

This yellow-green rosette succulent won’t produce a flower stalk until it’s about 12 to 15 years old, but when it finally does bloom, the flower can reach a spectacular height of 15 feet. Be careful where you plant the lechuguilla, nicknamed “shin dagger” for the sharp spines on its leaves.  

Plant type: Succulent 
Hardiness zones: 8a-10b
Sun: Full sun
Soil: Dry rocky soils 
Duration: Perennial
Height: 1-2 feet without flower stalk, up to 15 feet with flower stalk 
Maintenance: Remove dead growth.

Purple muhly (Muhlenbergia rigida)

Photo Credit: bobistraveling / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Purple muhly is an ornamental grass that grows in tufts, with purple seed heads developing at the tops of stems and giving the grass a cloud-like appearance. As with most muhly grasses, this one is good for mass plantings and landscape bed borders.

Plant type: Ornamental grass
Hardiness zones: 5b-9a
Sun: Full sun
Soil: Dry rocky or gravelly soils 
Duration: Perennial
Height: 2-3 feet 
Maintenance: Cut back to the ground in late winter to prepare for new growth.

Yellow bells (Tecoma stans)

Photo Credit: കാക്കര / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Also known as esperanza, this decorative shrub is useful for landscaping in Texas because it is drought-tolerant and makes a huge visual impact with its showy, trumpet-shaped, bright yellow flowers. Because they’re so popular, there are many cultivars of yellow bells with different characteristics. 

Plant type: Shrub
Hardiness zones: 7a-10b
Sun: Full sun, partial shade
Soil: Well-draining rocky, sandy, loam, or limestone soils 
Duration: Deciduous 
Height: 3-6 feet
Maintenance: Remove spent flowers to encourage more blooms. 

For more information about the hundreds of Texas native plants, check out Texas A&M University’s native plant databases for trees and shrubs. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center’s extensive database of native plants throughout North America is another great resource for Texans, as it includes lists of 100+ plants suited for each specific region of Texas.

Main Photo: Prickly pear cactus and Texas lantana / Credit: Needpix

Jordan Ardoin

Jordan Ardoin

Jordan Ardoin is a writer and indoor plant enthusiast hailing from Florida. She enjoys reading fantasy novels, cuddling with her bulldog, and collecting succulents (because they’re so hard for her to kill).