Native plants are used to the soil and weather conditions they have found here in North Texas, but won’t mind if you make their environment just a little less harsh, by adding organic matter to the native black clay. The most important thing to remember about natives is that they can actually drown if they are overwatered. Especially after they are established, less is more, in the water department.
The best time to plant native perennials and trees is about November, when the worst heat is over, and the water requirements are not heavy. Plant them where the sun exposure suits them, and water them in well. Check the soil and let them dry out a little between waterings the first winter. The first summer, keep an eye on them and keep them from severe drying. Most natives won’t need a lot of water aside from rain, after this.
The saying with perennials is that the first year they sleep, the second year they creep, and the third year they leap! It takes patience, but with time, they will come back bigger and better every year. Perennials will pay for themselves in lower and lower maintenance and higher visual appeal as they mature.
Native plants are normally strong in this environment and resist attack by pests, so you should have less need to apply insecticides or fungicides. Natural and organic remedies work well in a native perennial bed.
Popular Natives for North Texas
It's crazy to try to make a list of good native plants for north Texas, because there are just so many. But here is a short list of plants I've used in my own landscape and can speak to their beauty and ease of care. Look through some of the books listed below for a better idea of the incredible range of choices among Texas native plants. Also check out native annuals, trees and vines, to fill out your landscape plan.
Blue Mist Flower
Autumn Joy Sedum
Mexican Feather Grass
Mexican Mint Marigold
Dwarf Yaupon Holly
Soft Leaf Yucca
Mexican Plum Tree
Local Buying Resources
Shades of Green - 7401 Coit Road, Frisco, TX 75035-5843
North Haven Gardens – 7700 Northaven Road, Dallas, TX 75230
Rohde’s Nursery – 1651 Wall Street, Garland, TX 75041-4048
Lynda Strain – LKS Garden Designs
www.lksgardendesigns.com (also includes good plant lists)
Texas Smartscape - http://www.txsmartscape.com/
A comprensive resource with a searchable database of recommended plants and trees. Go here first.
Howard Garrett’s Official Website:
Extensive resource where you can get almost any question answered about native plants and organic techniques for growing just about anything.
Native Texas Plants, by Sally and Andy Wasowski
Native Texas Gardens, by Sally and Andy Wasowski
Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife, by Noreen Damude and Kelly Conrad Bender
Texas Gardening, Answers from the Experts, by Laura Martin
The Dirt Doctor’s Guide to Organic Gardening, by Howard Garrett
Wildflowers of Texas, by Geyata Ajilvsgi