Earth-Kind® Plant Selection

Yantis Lakeside Gardens

Living and Gardening in the

Beautiful Texas Hill Country

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Texas Tough Plants

By Robert & Sheryl Yantis – Highland Lakes Master Gardeners

We have all seen abandoned gardens which despite being neglected and uncared for are flourishing, flowering and beautiful. The plants you see in these gardens are probably native or adapted plants that are suited to our Texas soils and climate and can survive our long dry summers.

Our busy lives leave us with limited time to spend in our gardens. Plants that are resistant to diseases and pests and thrive with minimal care allow us to have the beautiful gardens we always wanted.

The less water, fertilizer and pesticides we need to use, the more we help to preserve wildlife, preserve the water quality of our lakes and rivers, and conserve water.

The Hill Country of Texas is a unique environment for gardeners. Choosing the right plants is so important to insure a successful garden. Picking the right plants for sun, shade, soil (if you have any) and water requirements is critical.

Most of us have alkaline soil which will not allow us to easily grow some of our favorite plants that thrive in other areas of the country. Unless you are in a rare pocket of acidic soil it will take considerable work and diligence to grow acid loving plants such as azaleas, gardenias, camellias and Japanese maples.

If you select native or adapted plants that are more suited to our climate and soil, you will have more time to enjoy your garden and become more connected to the land of Central Texas. Native plants belong here. Some adapted plants and hybrid plants have native Texas parentage and are equally suited to this area.

There are plants that bloom during all the different seasons of the year and enable us to have almost yearlong color in our gardens.

There are annual seasonal plants that give spectacular shows of color at different times of the year such as bluebonnets that reseed and come up again the next year. We may never be able to grow Lilacs in Central Texas but there is a wide variety of native and adapted plants that we can grow easily and will keep our gardens blooming all year long. 

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