Include Beautiful Native Plants In Your Landscape

Yantis Lakeside Gardens

Living and Gardening in the

Beautiful Texas Hill Country

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Include Native Plants in Your Garden

By Sheryl & Robert Yantis

Including native Texas plants in our gardens has many benefits. Native plants are adapted to our primarily alkaline soils and tend to grow with minimal use of pesticides and fertilizers. Native plants have thrived for long periods of time in our harsh temperatures and many of them require minimal use of water. Native plants are as diverse, and beautiful as the Texas hill country we live in.

Because native plants are disease resistant, they provide year round wildlife habitat and help preserve the balance and beauty of our natural ecosystems. Native plants, in addition to all their other attributes, provide us with a sense of place. We live in Texas.

In addition to their diversity and toughness, native plants require less work on our part. They require minimal or no irrigation once established, minimal or no mowing, and no fertilization or pesticides. They save water. Native plants also improve water infiltration, improve air quality and all leaves and pruned material can be reused in your landscape because it is herbicide and pesticide free.

One of my current favorite plants is Blackfoot daisy. It took killing it with kindness and over watering it a few times before I found a dry spot with well-draining soil that had not been fertilized. This plant does not like to be babied and should be watered only rarely in the hottest part of the summer. It has a very long bloom period and the low growing white daisies are very attractive.

In the spring, native wildflowers brighten our gardens. Many wildflowers can be planted in our gardens and if you let them go to seed will bloom every spring. The native red, and a native yellow (Hinckley’s) columbine are also great spring bloomers along with blue bonnets, wine cup, and coreopsis and Mexican hat. Coral honeysuckle and crossvine are beautiful spring blooming vines.

There are many native types of salvia in a variety of colors to choose from. Some of my favorites are mealy cup blue, big red sage, and salvia greggii. Tropical sage is an annual pink and red sage that reseeds itself easily. The advantage of planting sages is that they are usually very deer resistant and most sages have long blooming periods.

If you want to attract butterflies, plant Gregg’s mistflower. Rock penstemen, lantana, skeleton leaf golden eye, flame acanthus, purple cone flowers, rock rose damianita and many other native plants will fill your garden with flowers all summer long. If you have a dry, well drained area plant four nerve daisies and Blackfoot daisies for a summer long show of color.

In the fall, gayfeather and fall aster are a few natives that will fill your garden with an explosion of color.

My favorite fall plant is a small shrub that attracts bees and butterflies in large numbers. White woody boneset is always covered with butterflies. Do not forget to plant native grasses; especially fall blooming pink gulf muhly, and white (big) Lindheimer muhly.

There are even natives that proliferate in the shade. Inland Sea Oats spreads freely under our large trees with a little moisture. Turk’s cap and cedar sage thrive in part shade along with pigeonberry, and coralberry which have colorful berries birds love.

There are beautiful native plants for all areas of your garden.