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

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Wednesday - September 01, 2010

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

QUESTION:

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.

ANSWER:

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

 

 

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