Gardening is one of the most beneficial recreational activities you can participate in, especially if you have access to a community garden program. It’s relaxing, promotes physical activity, and gets you outside—an especially significant health benefit. However, we Texas gardeners quickly learn that growing plants in north Texas can be a challenge.
North Texas’ climate is difficult to classify—somewhat of an arid/subtropical hybrid that is prone to drought and high winds—meaning the area’s native plants needed to adapt to high-heat, low-water conditions to survive and thrive.
When choosing plants for your landscape, don’t forget to consider winter temperatures. New Texas gardeners will find this USDA Plant Hardiness Zone map helpful for this task. According to the USDA, North Texas falls in the 7a and 7b range, meaning that the average minimum temperatures are between zero- and 5-degrees Fahrenheit (7a) or between 5- and 10-degrees Fahrenheit (7b).
If you’re like us, you’re left to wonder exactly what plants can tolerate the extremes of North Texas weather? To help you get started quickly, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite plants that can easily withstand the toughest North Texas conditions. Here are the best plants to grow in North Texas:
This drought-tolerant flowering plant comes in vibrant pinks, oranges, reds, and yellows to brighten up any garden. It loves full sun and blooms until frost. This Texas native is one of the most versatile North Texas plants. It is used as an annual in zone 7 but will come back after a milder winter if the roots are mulched. We recommend planting Lantana in the warmest part of your garden to attract birds and butterflies of all shapes and sizes.
For those who love hydrangeas, the Oak Leaf is the worry-free choice for North Texas. It is hardy in zones 5-9. This deciduous shrub changes color throughout the life cycle from green to white, red, and burgundy and even the bare branches are interesting in the winter. A particularly large plant, the mature shrub can grow 6 to 8 feet tall and comparable width so allow plenty of room. This plant will wilt in direct sun during the hottest time of year but will bounce back over night. A location that gets morning sun and afternoon shade is ideal.
Daylilies are one of the best flowering plants for North Texas with yellow or orange flowers and grass-like foliage. It is a favorite perennial of many gardeners here, due to its tolerance of heat. Daylilies are hardy in zones 4-9 and do well in full sun and with well-drained soil. To avoid excessive moisture evaporation during the summer, be sure to mulch well.
One of our favorite heat tolerant plants for North Texas looks like it belongs in a Dr. Seuss book—this mid-to-late summer ornamental grass features showy, whimsical, white, non-seeding tufts. Good for hardiness zones 6-10, this gorgeous grass can thrive in any soil from sandy to loam. It also requires full sunshine but that should not be a problem in North Texas! Peaking at about 36-72 inches tall and 38-48 inches wide, dwarf pampas can be a perfect background plant for your perennial border flowers.
This perennial is one of the best plants to grow in North Texas for one simple reason—versatility. Also known as “purple coneflower,” echinacea thrives in zones 5-8 and is the crown jewel of prairies and drier climates. It also plays well with others—we love to contrast purple echinacea with salvia or another coneflower. On top of their beauty, echinacea attracts birds and butterflies with its colorful blooms and is considered a home remedy for everything from colds to anxiety.
This strangely named shrub is a close relative of the hibiscus. Because it is long-lasting from the start of summer to the first cold snap, Turk’s Cap makes a great landscape plant for North Texas. Watch out—Turk’s Cap can grow up to 6 feet tall and wide. Still, we believe this plant is well worth the square foot investment with its cheerful red blooms and bright green leaves. It is hardy in zones 7-10, tolerates any soil, and grows in any light conditions, from full shade to full sun. Best of all, Turk’s Cap is extremely drought-tolerant once established and requires little upkeep.
Found in delicious dishes the world over, Rosemary is a great “herb garden” staple and should not be overlooked to beautify your Texas property. This fragrant, perennial shrub can reach 3 to 5 feet in height and width but prostrate rosemary is a lower growing plant with a spreading habit. Rosemary thrives in full sun but will tolerate partial shade. It does well in dry or hot temperatures and is drought tolerant once established. Rosemary is cold hardy in zones 7-10.
If you enjoy the simple pleasures of working the soil or think you might benefit from the holistic benefits gardening can bring, take a look at Harvest by Hillwood. We believe in the benefits of an agrarian lifestyle. Residents at Harvest can work in the community garden and have access to their own private garden plot. And our resident expert, Farmer Ross, offers gardening classes and is always here to help with tips and questions. Visit our website to take a virtual tour today or contact us for more information on our gorgeous community designed for the plant lover in you.