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Sunday - March 08, 2009

From: Killeen, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Container Gardens
Title: Container plants for pool area in Killeen TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


We live in Central Texas (Killeen). We want to put some container plants around our pool. (backyard with pool is all cement). We want some larger stuff, like maybe bamboo, elephant ears, etc. What plants would do well in containers during our Texas summers and be able to survive our short, but sometimes icy winters? Thanks for your help.


First of all, we need to tell you that the focus of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is on plants native not only to North America but to the area in which the plants are being grown. Both Phyllostachys bambusoides (bamboo)  and Colocasia esculenta  (elephant ears) originated in temperate and tropical Asia. Bamboo is the fastest-growing plant in the world, and both plants are considered invasives. However, there are a number of plants native to Central Texas that would work very well around your pool.

We would first suggest reading our How-To Articles Using Native Plants  and then Container Gardening with Native Plants. We are going to go to our Recommended Species for Central Texas, and narrow our search first to "Shrubs" under Habit, and then "Herbs." On both of these, since you say your garden is cement, we are assuming the plants will get full sun all day, and will select for that in our searches. Some of the shrubs are deciduous, others evergreen or semi-evergreen, meaning they will retain most of their leaves in warmer parts of the country. The herbaceous flowering plants (herbs) will all die back in the winter. We have selected only perennials, which will come back in the Spring, and can be divided and transplanted. 


Ageratina havanensis (Havana snakeroot) - deciduous 

Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii (Wright's desert honeysuckle) - deciduous

Chrysactinia mexicana (damianita) - evergreen

Eysenhardtia texana (Texas kidneywood) - deciduous

Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush) - evergreen

Salvia greggii (autumn sage) - semi-evergreen

Pavonia lasiopetala (Texas swampmallow) - semi-evergreen

Tecoma stans (yellow trumpetbush) - semi-evergreen


Coreopsis lanceolata (lanceleaf tickseed)

Engelmannia peristenia (Engelmann's daisy)

Lobelia cardinalis (cardinalflower)

Melampodium leucanthum (plains blackfoot)

Ageratina havanensis

Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii

Chrysactinia mexicana

Eysenhardtia texana

Leucophyllum frutescens

Salvia greggii

Pavonia lasiopetala

Tecoma stans

Coreopsis lanceolata

Engelmannia peristenia

Lobelia cardinalis

Melampodium leucanthum




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