Note: Research for this list was done through the Wildflower Research Center database, and the Austin Grow Green booklet. Thanks go to both for inspiration and information.
Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis) Medium-sized tree with open, vase-shaped structure and trumpet-like flowers in white, pink, or burgundy. Lightly fragrant flowers are borne spring through fall.
Golden Leadtree (Leucaena retusa) A small deciduous tree growing to 20 feet. Bright yellow ball-shaped flowers are carried over a long season from April-October. Flowers are fragrant and plant is fast growing.
Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) Large evergreen tree with dark green glossy leaves and huge fragrant white flowers over a long season in summer. Requires neutral to acid soil that is deep, and moderate water.
Rusty Blackhaw Viburnum (Viburnum rufidulum) A small tree to 15-20 feet tall, this native provides a long season of interest. Large mounded white flowers are borne in spring, then purple black fruit is produced among red foliage in fall. Needs deep, well drained soil to thrive.
Cherry or Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii) Small to medium mostly evergreen shrub with white, yellow, pink, coral, or red flowers from spring to frost. The foliage is more aromatic than the flowers. Cut back 1/3 to 1/2 in winter to produce a more compact, densely foliaged plant.
Flame Acanthus (Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii) A deciduous small to medium-sized shrub, the flowers are bright orange-red and repeat from summer to fall. Reseeds profusely and draws butterflies and hummingbirds.
Flowering Senna (Cassia corymbosa) A large semi-evergreen shrub that bears showy yellow flowers from summer to fall. Give it room to spread, and a warm/protected exposure to limit damage in especially cold winter weather.
Fragrant Mimosa (Mimosa borealis) Medium-sized deciduous shrub with airy foliage and prickly stems. Pink flowers are borne spring through mid-summer and are very fragrant. Tolerates poor soils.
Fragrant Mistflower/Shrubby Boneset (Eupatorium havanense) A medium-sized deciduous shrub that bears fuzzy white flowers late summer to frost. Beloved by butterflies and hummingbirds.
Globe Mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua) Small to medium-size deciduous shrub bears orange, pink, or purple flowers from summer through fall. Flowers draw bees and butterflies, and seeds are relished by birds and small animals.
Kidneywood (Eysenhardtia Texana) A deciduous large shrub to small tree to 15’. Fragrant white flowers bloom intermittently from spring to fall. The foliage is also fragrant when crushed.
Mountain Sage (Salvia regla) A 3-5 foot tall much-branched deciduous shrub with crimson-red flowers from July-October. The foliage is aromatic and the flowers very showy. Requires good drainage.
Texas Sage (Leucophyllum frutescens) There are now a wide variety of hybrids of this evergreen shrub, growing from 4-5 feet to 8 feet or more. Flowers are either the common lavender purple, or now pink and white in some varieties. Blooms off and on from spring to fall, especially after a substantial rain event.
Angel’s Trumpet (Datura wrightii) A medium-sized branching plant that blooms large, white, fragrant, trumpet-like flowers summer through fall. The flowers protrude from the coarse foliage of the rank-smelling plant. Evening and night blooming. All parts of the plant are very poisonous.
Beebalm/Wild Bergamot (Monarda fitulosa) A tall (2-5 foot) herbaceous perennial bears fragrant white, pink, or lavender flowers that look like “ragged pom-poms” from May-September. The aromatic leaves, smelling of mint, are used to make tea.
Blackfoot Daisy (Melampodium leucanthum) Low-growing evergreen plant with daisy-like white flowers spring through summer. Fragrance is honey-scented.
Brownfoot (Acourtia wrightii) This herbaceous perennial grows from 2-5 feet tall and bears rose-pink fragrant flower heads from March-November. Requires part shade and dry conditions.
Cedar Sage (Salvia roemeriana) Growing 1-2 feet high and wide, this deciduous perennial is adapted to growing in the filtered shade of native cedars. The red flowers begin blooming in March, and are profuse for several months, and then sporadically until late summer. Hummingbirds love them. If grown under trees that shed their large leaves in fall, rake away the leaves so the seedlings can emerge and develop.
Cherry or Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii) Small to medium mostly evergreen shrub with white, yellow, pink, coral, or red flowers from spring to frost. The foliage is more aromatic than the flowers. Cut back to half tall in summer to keep it compact and dense.
Chocolate Daisy (Berlandiera lyrata) Growing 1-3 feet high and wide, this perennial bears yellow daisy-like flowers from April-November. The flowers are chocolate scented. Tolerates most soils as long as they are well-drained.
Coreopsis (C. lanceolata) This south and southeast Texas native grows to 1-2 feet high and blooms from spring though summer with bright yellow daisy-like flowers. Cutting off dead blooms will extend the flowering season. Some newer hybrids (‘Sunray’ and ‘Baby Sun’) are more compact in size.
Damianita (Chrysactinea mexicana) Low-growing to 1-2’ and as wide, evergreen plant with narrow fragrant foliage. Flowers are bright yellow and borne spring through fall. Requires dry conditions and excellent drainage.
Esperanza/Yellow Bells (Tecoma stans) Appearing shrub-like to 4-8 feet tall, this perennial is nevertheless killed back to the ground each winter. Each year it grows rapidly back to its full size, and starts blooming in May or June and onward until frost. Showy yellow (or now orange) trumpet-shape flowers are carried in cluster, and if removed once spent, the plant will repeat flower more readily. Cut back to 3” high after frost and mulch in colder areas.
Fragrant Phlox (Phlox pilosa) A 2’ tall deciduous plant and un-branched. The white, pink, or lavender flowers occur in late spring-summer and are mildly fragrant. Medium water needs. Another native to the SE U.S. Phlox paniculata is even longer blooming and also very fragrant. There are a number of hybrids that do well in our area.
Gayfeather/Blazing Star (Liatrus mucronata) A deciduous perennial that grow from 1-2 feet or more high and wide. The lavender or white flowers are borne from August to December and attract butterflies and other insects. Requires dry soil and excellent drainage.
Hymenoxys/Four Nerve Daisy (Tetraneuris scaposa) A low growing evergreen perennial, the flowers are small yellow daisy-like blooms and repeat from spring to fall. Needs good drainage to thrive.
Lantana species (L. urticoides, L. montevidensis, and L.x hybrid) There are low growing/trailing varieties in white, lavender, and other colors. The taller bush varieties may sprawl and seed themselves around; berries are toxic to animals. All types flower from spring to fall. Cut them back to near the ground each winter to promote compactness and remove damaged stems/foliage.
Lyre-leaf Sage (Salvia lyrata) This low growing perennial is nearly evergreen in Central Texas gardens. The foliage is green with purple veining, and the pale lavender flowers will repeat from spring to fall if the spent flowers are cut off regularly. Self sows readily, but plants are easy to pull if needed. Thrives on more water than most Sages and will grow in sun or shade.
Obedient Plant (Physostegia virginiana) Spreading by runners and growing from 2-4 feet high, this deciduous perennial bears pink to purple flowers from August until hard frost. Cut back to the ground once foliage is damaged by cold. There is also a spring blooming variety P. augustifolia which blooms from May through July.
Penstemon Sage (Salvia penstemonoides) This evergreen perennial sage grows to 3-4 feet high, and keeps a small rosette of foliage through the winter. The purplish-red flowers are borne from June-October, and the foliage is aromatic. Not easy to find as plants in the trade, but can be grown easily from seed.
Perennial Hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos x hybrida) These hybrids of the native hibiscus grow rapidly each year to 4-5 tall and wide. Huge flowers repeat from early summer to frost. Available cultivars are “Flare’, ‘Lady Baltimore’, and ‘Southern Belle’. Cut back to 3” once hard frost damages the foliage.
Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) Both the lavender native and hybrids in many colors are now available. Plants in bloom rise to 3 or more feet high but only 1 ½ feet wide. The blooms are daisy-like with drooping petals and are borne from April through September. Dead-head to increase repeat bloom, and cut back to 3” after frost.
Salvia ‘Indigo Spires’ (Salvia farinacea hybrid) Perennial killed back to near the ground each winter, it grows rapidly in spring to 4-5 feet high and even wider. Do not crowd it and it will give almost continuous bloom with deep blue/purple flowers from spring until frost. Foliage is aromatic. Responds well to cutting back by 1/3 to ½ in mid-summer.
Skeleton-leaf Golden Eye (Viguiera stenoloba) A semi-evergreen shrubby plant, it grows to 3-4 feet high and wider. The yellow daisy-like flowers are borne from June-October. Needs good drainage and very little water.
Spiderwort (Tradescantia species) There are a variety of related species that are native to Texas. Flowers grow in part shade, some go dormant in summer, and flowers in pink, blue, and purple are borne from spring to fall.
Texas Betony (Stachys coccinea) A semi-evergreen perennial growing to 1 ½ feet tall and 2-3 feet wide. The coral-red flowers are borne almost constantly from March-October, with heaviest show in spring. The grey-green foliage is aromatic. Hummingbird magnet.
Turk’s Cap (Malvaviscus arboreus) This perennial grows rapidly to 4-6’ tall each year after being killed to the ground by frost most winters. It bears red (white or pink hybrids are now available) turban shaped flowers from late spring until fall. Small fruits are also relished by wildlife, and hummingbirds and butterflies are attracted to the colorful blooms.
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium and hybrids) This evergreen perennial grows from 1-2 feet high and spreads to as much as 3 feet wide. The ferny grey-green foliage is aromatic, and flowers are white, or hybrids are available in many colors of pink, red, and blends. The flat clusters of bloom are borne from April- September.
Zexmenia (Wedelia texana) A semi-evergreen perennial growing to 2 ½ feet tall and as wide. The golden yellow flowers are in bloom from May-November. Requires well drained and dry soil to thrive.
American/Texas Wisteria (Wisteria frutescens) A deciduous vine growing 25-30 feet and bearing pale purple 1” long flowers with a nice fragrance. Not as aggressive as the Asian species. Flowers in spring and intermittently thereafter. In Texas, the Dam B cultivar has blue flowers in racemes and flowers late May to June and sporadically throughout the summer and fall. A cultivar called Nivea has white flowers.
Balsam Gourd (Ibervillea lindheimeri) This deciduous perennial vine is a member of the Cucumber family. The yellow blooms are present from April-September, and are followed by a 1-2” globular fruits. The fruits are green-striped when young and mature to a bright red globular “gourd”. It grows well in part-shade, but sets more fruit in a sunnier location. Climbs by tendrils to 6-10 feet.
Coral Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) This semi-evergreen climber to 20 feet carries its long tubular-shaped orange-red flowers from March-June. Heaviest bloom is in spring, intermittent thereafter. Red berries follow the flowers and are relished by birds. Hummingbirds are drawn to the vibrant flowers. There is a yellow cultivar available, as well.
Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) A very aggressive vine growing rapidly to 15-30 feet. The intricate flowers in pink, blue, or purple are borne intermittently from April-September. A fleshy yellow fruit follows the bloom. Foliage is food for a variety of butterfly larvae/caterpillars.
Purple Clematis/Purple Leatherflower (Clematis pitcher) A mannerly climber to 10 feet, the delicate-looking purple pendant urn-shaped flowers are borne from May-September. Require moist soil and in nature found at woodlands edge. Delicate vines need support and die to the ground in winter.
Scarlet Clematis (Clematis texensis) A delicate climber from 6-9 feet, the urn-shaped red flowers are in bloom from March-July, and occasionally until first frost. Feathery seed heads follow the flowers. Does best in half-sun and should be cut back to the ground in winter, as it blooms on new wood.
Trumpet Creeper/Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans) An aggressive deciduous climber to 25-35 feet, this vine bears orange-red flowers from June-September. Give it room to climb, and avoid contact with the sap which can irritate skin and mucous membranes. There are hybrids like ‘Madame Galen’ and ‘Georgia’ with larger blooms. C. radicans ‘Flava’ has yellow blooms.