En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - September 01, 2010

From: Jonestown/Leander, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Drought Tolerant
Title: Native plants for Jonestown/Leander
Answered by: Nan Hampton


Dear Mr.Smarty Plants, I am new to Texas we bought a house here in Jonestown/Leander that has absolutely no plant life whatsoever I was wondering if you could provide me with the names of some drought tolerant plants preferably perennials for different seasons and shrubs so I may add color and beauty to my growing landscape design for most of the year anyway. I was also wondering if cherry blossoms would fair well in this area? Thank You.


First, to answer your question about cherries.  There are two cherries, Prunus serotina (black cherry) and Prunus caroliniana (Carolina laurelcherry), native to your area with attractive flowers, but neither is really edible.  Indeed, both P. serotina and P. caroliniana are considered poisonous, at least parts of them are.  You may be thinking of the flowering cherries of the Washington DC area, but these are Asian species.  Since they aren't native, we wouldn't recommend them.  Besides, they probably wouldn't do very well in our very hot, dry climate.

You can do your own searching for appropriate plants on the Texas-Central Recommended page.  This list includes plants native to your area that are commerically available and suitable for landscaping.  You can use the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option and limit your results by choosing, for instance, 'Herb' from GENERAL APPEARANCE, 'Perennial' from LIFESPAN and 'Dry - no signs of moisture' from SOIL MOISTURE.

Here are some suggestions from that list:

Asclepias asperula (spider milkweed)

Echinacea purpurea (eastern purple coneflower)

Liatris mucronata (cusp blazing star)

Melampodium leucanthum (plains blackfoot)

Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot)

Oenothera speciosa (pinkladies)

Salvia coccinea (blood sage)

Wedelia texana (hairy wedelia)

You can do a similar search for shrubs.  Here are some suggested ones:

Chrysactinia mexicana (damianita)

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon)

Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush)

Rhus virens (evergreen sumac)

Also, you can limit your search to trees.  Here a few:

Cercis canadensis var. texensis (Texas redbud)

Quercus muehlenbergii (chinkapin oak)

Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain-laurel)

Ungnadia speciosa (Mexican buckeye)

Additionally, at the bottom of the Recommended Species page you will find a section, Just for Central Texans, you will find several special lists of plants for Central Texas.  You can perform the same NARROW YOUR SEARCH search on those lists to limit the list to those characteristics you want (or need) in your plants.

Asclepias asperula

Echinacea purpurea

Liatris mucronata

Melampodium leucanthum

Monarda fistulosa

Oenothera speciosa

Salvia coccinea

Wedelia texana

Chrysactinia mexicana

Ilex vomitoria

Leucophyllum frutescens

Rhus virens

Cercis canadensis var. texensis

Quercus muehlenbergii

Sophora secundiflora

Ungnadia speciosa



More Drought Tolerant Questions

Do I need to cover my Habiturf planting with straw?
March 02, 2012 - I'm preparing to seed the Habiturf in my front yard in a couple of weeks. My dad has suggested I spread some straw to help protect the seeds. Your thoughts? Thanks!!!
view the full question and answer

Plants for a Austin thicket underlayer
July 25, 2014 - We live in Austin, west of 183. We are planning to put a thicket in our backyard, where there is no threat of deer. Anchoring the thicket are a clump of live oaks, a Texas persimmon, an Eve's Necklac...
view the full question and answer

Deer and Drought Resistant Natives for San Marcus, Texas
February 15, 2012 - Hi there, Do you have a list of plants and ground covers (deer/drought resistant) for the San Marcos area? Much as I love grass, it's impossible with this drought. I'd love to have lots of flowers ...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Blackfoot daisy seed
July 21, 2015 - I have a three yr old Blackfoot daisy. How do you root Blackfoot daisy seeds? When is the best month to grow these seeds?
view the full question and answer

Due to drought is pruning live oaks beneficial from Houston
December 07, 2011 - Would it be beneficial (presuming a continued spring drought) to prune live oak trees more severely than usual this winter? I'm thinking that it might help them to have less mass to support.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center