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Thursday - July 13, 2006

From: Plano, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Drought Tolerant
Title: Drought tolerant plants native to Plano, TX
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live in Plano Texas. We have drought conditions and I would like to redo our landscape with flowers that can handle Texas weather annually. My desire is: 1. Year round blooms 2. The ability to handle drought and below zero weather conditions 3. Preferably, low-maintenance, long-lived plants That is my desire, if it is unrealistic I can live with low-maintenance, long-life, colorful plants that do well in Texas. Looking forward to your expertise. Thanks in advance.

ANSWER:

That's a pretty big order, but I'll see what we can find to fill it. I am assuming you mean below freezing (below 0° C, not below 0° F). Plano is in USDA Hardiness Zone 8a, which has an average annual minimum temperature of 10-15° F (-9.5--12.2° C). There isn't one single plant that is going to bloom for 12 months, but we can find flowers that bloom early in the spring and ones that bloom late in the fall of the year to give you something in flower for most of the year. All of the plants below are reported to have high drought tolerance and all are native to Collin County.

ANNUALS
For the annuals you will need to let the seeds mature and fall to have the plants grow again the following season or else replant each year.

Clasping-coneflower (Dracopis amplexicaulis) bloom period—April through July
Indian Blanket (Gaillardia pulchella) bloom period—April through June
Horsemint (Monarda citriodora) bloom period—May through June
Drummond's phlox (Phlox drummondii) bloom period—March through June
Greenthread (Thelesperma filifolium) bloom period—February through December, mostly spring

PERENNIALS
Butterfly-weed (Asclepias tuberosa) bloom period—May through September
Berlandier's sundrops (Calylophus berlandieri) bloom period—March through September
Blue larkspur (Delphinium carolinianum) bloom period—April through July
Engelmann Daisy (Engelmannia peristenia) bloom period—March through July
Maximilian sunflower (Helianthus maximiliani) bloom period—August through October
Dotted gayfeather (Liatris punctata) bloom period—August through October
Mexican hat (Ratibida columnifera) bloom period—May through December
Mealy sage (Salvia farinacea) bloom period—April through October
Giant goldenrod (Solidago canadensis) bloom period—September through November

SHRUBS and SMALL TREES
American beauty berry (Callicarpa americana) bloom period—May through June, purple berries in fall and winter
Fragrant sumac (Rhus aromatica) bloom period—March, colorful leaves in fall
Rhus lanceolata (Rhus lanceolata) bloom period—June through August, red berries and colorful leaves in fall
Mexican Buckeye (Ungnadia speciosa) bloom period—March through June
Rusty black-haw (Viburnum rufidulum) bloom period—April through May

GRASSES
The first two grasses are bunch grasses with interesting ornamental foliage.

Split-beard bluestem (Andropogon ternarius) bloom period—August through November
Purple threeawn ( Aristida purpurea ) bloom period—April through October

Buffalo Grass (Buchloe dactyloides). This is a turf grass that does well with little water. Here is a quote from Sally and Andy Wasowski's Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region:

"One August Andy saw a 'Prairie' buffalograss lawn in Plano that had been watered just twice all year. It was green. The neighbor's bermudagrass lawn next door had been watered 33 times and looked stressed."

You can visit our National Suppliers Directory to find nurseries and seed companies in your area that specialize in native plants.
 

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