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Listing of Texas Super Tough UnStoppable Plants!

15 years ago

Hello Everyone,

I was just wondering what others had in their garden that withstands the Texas heat as well as the cold. One thing I did notice that a lot of the plants that were on my lot that do really well in the heat I also saw at the BG plant sale(I need to take notes the next time they have one!). Here is my list from what I have in my yard that I would highly recommend to others who lost plants from the heat the past few years:

#1. Lady Banks Rose - Unstoppable! I remember in the most miserable heat, mine was sending new canes up like it was springtime or something! I never watered or did anything to it, and it just grows like crazy! I like it because it is evergreen, only has one or two thorns, and has been blooming since the first of spring and still going!

2. Crape Myrtle - This is a no brainer!

3. Rose of Sharon (Althea) - Man, for the large tropical-like flowers that it has, I am really surprise at how well it withstands the TX heat! I have 4 that get the brutal West side sun, and they are far enough away that I couldn't water them regularly, but I have been really impressed at how the hold their own in the miserable heat!

4. Canas - Again, I have these far enough away from my water source that I never watered them, and they do really well and didn't wilt. They are in pretty decent soil though, not the hard orange clay soil.

5. Crossvine - The one I have is partially in the shade, but I never had to baby it, and it blooms from spring all the way through summer, and stays green during the winter, and grows like crazy! They say it IS a TX native, so that must be why.

6. Misc - Catmint:Has nice leaves and really nice blue blooms and can be divide to make more plants really easily!

Copper Canyon Daisy:Pretty tough and leaves have a nice herb fragrance when the wind blows and has nice yellow flowers in the fall

Lantana:Can be pretty tough once you get it established. I never realized that they actually have a nice fragrance, or at least the violet colored ones do!

Wandering Jew:I only know it by this ear catching name, but it is the purple plant that you can just break off and poke in the ground, and start a new plant! This is a pretty nice looking plant that is really tough!

Autumn Sage:Another super tough plant that blooms for a long time and is easy to propagate.

These are some of my newfound favorites, especially after the past couple of brutal summers. I am expanding my sprinkler system to reach all of my plants this year, but I have learned which plants will do OK with extended periods of no water.

Do you have any favorites that you swear by that cannot be stopped by droughts or freezes?

Comments (38)

  • daylily79
    15 years ago

    Ironweed, Frostweed, ruelia, lambs ears, Iris, hollyhocks, Lantana, walking onions, meadow sage, yarrow, goldenrod, vitex, sumacs, ... I am sure there are more but these are the backbone of my garden along with the roses that I baby maybe a little too much...

  • skitter
    15 years ago

    In my garden, Smilax is unstoppable, though I wish I could get rid of it . . .


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  • jblaschke
    15 years ago

    There are a number of passion flowers that thrive in Texas, but I'd put my Texas native incarnata at the top of the list. Once it's established, it's well-nigh impossible to get rid of, and withstands drought and freeze. Not that I'd want to get rid of it, mind you. ;-)

  • denisew
    15 years ago

    Here are some links that provide a listing of plants that do well here in Texas:

    EarthKind Roses:
    Texas Smartscape:

    Here is a link that might be useful: Texas Superstar Plants

  • rumbum
    15 years ago

    Good thread!
    This is definately info I need as a new gardener. Thanks!

  • carla morey
    15 years ago

    Flame Acanthus (which I watered only twice during our 2006 brutal summer). Rose of Sharon. Dwarf Pomegranate. Lantana (once it's established). Possom Haw, Burford, and Yaupon Hollies. As many failures as I've had with other things, it is these plants that keep me interested in gardening.

    Carla in Rowlett

  • wfordgardener
    15 years ago

    I planted a Lady Banks rose for the first time last year, and it's doing great, but no blooms. Just wondering.....does it usually take a couple of years before it blooms?
    I second your comments on the Rose of Sharon.....this plant does not get nearly enough credit for its toughness and beautiful blooms that last all spring and summer. I'm always surprised I don't see it at the top of more lists.
    Also, planted for the first time last year was Zebrina and Mist Flower that thrived right through the heat last summer and are coming back like gangbusters this blooms yet but very healthy and lush so far.
    Coral Honeysuckle - striking orange-red blooms that bloom year round in Weatherford (although fewer in winter). Mine always reduces its blooms during the August drought unless I give it a little TLC (ie: water now and then) and then the blooms are right back.

  • terryisthinking
    15 years ago

    Bushes I have ignored:
    Winter honeysuckle - big background evergreen bush, sun or shade, fragrant blooms in later Winter
    Mock Orange - Fragrant Blooms right now
    Cramoisi Superieur china rose
    Mexican Oregano
    Fringe Flower in the shade

    Flowers I have ignored:

    Giant Zinnias
    French Hollyhock - Zebrinus something something
    Whirling Butterfly
    Rock Rose

  • angie83
    15 years ago

    Dont forget these guys (simple love hibiscus) they are tuff and fill space fast little or no water .And my favorite Passiflora unstoppable.


    Both these bloom all winter here on coast .

  • carrie751
    15 years ago

    But they both die back here in North Texas !!! They will BE BACK, though !!!!

  • frugal_gary
    15 years ago

    Bermuda grass and nut grass. When do they bloom?

  • jolanaweb
    15 years ago


  • tbader01
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    I'm not sure exactly when Lady Banks start to bloom, since when I bought my place, there was already a white on here that was at least a few years old. BTW, let me tell you about the deal I got this winter on some Lady Banks! You know, that after Christmas until the end of January, most plant places have have really good prices on plants! Lowes had everything 1/2 off, and I managed to get 6 (that was all they had left!) 1gal white lady banks for $3 each, where they are normally $6 each! But I wouldn't let that stop you from buying any now! BTW, they are all growing like crazy, and have gone from having a few "canes" here and there to actually being bushy now! Go Lady Banks Go! :)

  • denisew
    15 years ago

    frugal gary - you are so funny!

    I grew Lady Banks once, but ended up ripping it out because it turned out to be too little sun for it. They really do need a lot of space and some sort of support like a sturdy trellis or fence. I have seen someone here in Allen that put a fence a few feet out from their air conditioner on the west side of their house which faces a busy street and then planted the Lady Banks on the fence. It looks absolutely georgous every spring and provides shade for their air conditioner in the summer.

  • ltcollins1949
    15 years ago

    We planted a yellow Lady Banks at our MG Demo gardens, Green Acres in Rockport. If I remember correctly, it bloomed the very first year. It is beautiful, but it is strictly a spring bloomer, i.e. only once a year blooms. But it is very pretty.

    Another great rose is the climbing pinkie that is a repeat bloomer. Also the mutabilis and the Duchesse de Brabant are non-stop bloomers year round here on the coast. And regarding roses, stay away from the Bourbon roses on the coast. I kept trying to get them to grow and they just died on me. Some years back I was talking to Glenn from the Antique Rose Emporium, and he said to give up on growing Bourbons on the coast. Good advice.

    And regarding lambs ear, which I love, it won't grow for me at all here on the coast. It has to do with the humidity.

    And no one mentioned vitex and the Texas Star Hibiscus, two great beauties!

  • carrie751
    15 years ago

    I have Lady Banks (four) planted outside my 8 foot fence.
    They are 5 years old and have grown over the fence into the inside of the fence making a canopy and lots of shade where I had hibiscus growing. Think I will just unplunk the hibiscus, and make a shade garden there as the roses are breathtaking. Even though they bloom only once a year, they are evergreen and still add beauty to the landscape.

  • gnabonnand
    15 years ago

    Just a thought. I've had more than my share of "unstopable" plants here. As in "run rampant throughout my garden and lawn" until I want to torch the place and start over. I value tough plants, but only ones that will stay exactly where I planted them, and that can be removed successfully when needed.


  • gnabonnand
    15 years ago

    ... I should have given examples of the tough plants that are also MANNERLY plants:

    Savlia greggi (autumn sage)
    Savlia nemerosa 'Marcus'
    Intermediate bearded iris
    Summer phlox 'John Fannick'
    Dwarf daylily 'Mini Pearl'
    Antique roses 'Pink Gruss an Aachen' & 'Mrs Dudley Cross'
    Floribunda rose 'Valentine'
    Oakleaf Hydrangea (in partial shade)
    Nellie R. Stevens holly


  • stitches216
    15 years ago

    Wax myrtle. Gulf muhly grass. Nandina...

  • choo
    15 years ago

    Here are some of mine that have thrived with sporadic watering, lots of heat and a few freezes.

    Lantanas (upright and trailing)
    Blackfoot Daisy
    Cedar Sage
    Russian Sage
    Mealy Blue Sage
    Society Garlic
    Blue Plumbago

    Fragrant Mimosa
    Barbados Cherry
    American Beautyberry
    Butterfly Bush

    Mexican Feathergrass (my Favorite)

    Texas Mountain Laurel
    Crape Myrtle

  • tbader01
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    I bought a 1 gal pot of lamb's ear about two years ago, and moved it around and divided it here and there, and now, it covers an area of about 10-15 times the original pot! I have a non-plant person come over and he comments on how neat looking the leaves are! BTW, I never really paid much attention to it, since it never really looked like it suffered the heat. From my experiments, it does like full sun the best! I had it in the shade under my buford hollies on the north side of the house, and the ones in the shade blew away those in coverage area!

  • ltcollins1949
    15 years ago

    I love it, but it just doesn't like the high humidity that we have here on the coast. It actually turns to mush. I'll just have to enjoy other people's lamb's ear.

  • jrmankins
    15 years ago

    all the old bulb plants; spiderlilies, paperwhites, cannas, crinims, saint joseph lilies, snowdrops, the wild onions. i inherited mine from my great grandmother, or maybe further back. once planted, they outlast you.

    i have heard that they don't do well everywhere, but the cape jasmines are bullet proof here, and cuttings always root, and the flowers are just incredible! they get really big, and make good foundation plantings, stay green all year.

    something else that will outlast you are the cemetery roses; especially martha gonzalez, clothilde soupert, louis phillipe, and many more.

    and i collect and grow medicinals, which are mostly weeds, they grow really well, maybe too well, and bear watching so they don't get into territory disputes.

    if you have enough room, the vines are very loyal and long lived; passionflowers, cross vine, tie vines, trumpet vines, wisteria, honeysuckle, all the morning glories, and more. all of these bloom very nicely during the year, and most are fragrant.

    i love the elder, collect the flowers and berries all year. night blooming jasmine in a sheltered place up against the house makes summer nights special. mine made it thru a pretty bad winter this year, tucked up against the outside of the leaky old fireplace.

    bluebonnets, once you get them out of the seed cases, come up good for many years, and are sweet and gorgeous. figs and old pear trees, and dewberries and blackberries which i treat very badly to try to keep in check. but i love the berries!

    these old things will make you look like a good gardener, even if you aren't! this is a great thread--thanks

  • lindseyrose
    15 years ago

    Jeanine--you mentioned St. Joseph Lily and I had to Google to find out...yep, it is the plant I believe was growing under absolute neglect at the Heights home we used to rent. Each spring close to Easter it would burst with beautiful red blooms. It was growing on what was I believe the north side of the home, almost under the house. All alongside it was pure gravel. We didn't once water it while we lived there, yet still it blessed us each spring.

    I wonder, does anyone know how to aquire bulbs of this beautiful red lily? I've heard rumor that it can't really be purchased anymore and is only a pass-along plant.

  • lonestar7
    15 years ago


    Where are you? I'd LOVE some dewberries..can't find any around here. (Corpus Christi)

  • jeep461
    15 years ago

    ltcollins1949, that is funny about lambs ears. I had a patch in my yard when I moved in. It was about 20 x 20. I did not know it was a desiable plant so I kept mowing it down. My sister in law came from San Antonio and immediatly noticed it. She took some back with her. Well I finally killed the patch. Wish I would have saved it. I could have given away a coastal hardy lambs ear.


  • jrmankins
    15 years ago

    the saint joseph lilies we always called old red easter lilies, because they bloom every easter weekend, and lindseyrose, your description sounds right. each 18-24 inch bloom stalk puts out four red fragrant lilies with white lengthwise stripes. the lilies and the dewberries are both blooming right now, and i hope to get some berries soon. after blooming i could make a trade or two, probably in a couple weeks. i can only tell dewberries from blackberries by the early blooming and fruit. my blackberries have not started blooming yet.

  • cynthianovak
    15 years ago

    Salvias: Lady in red is VERY invasive, so make sure you love her as much as I do! She also comes in a pink and a white.

    Ruellia and goldenrod are VERY invasive

    English Ivy is VERY invasive

    Salvia Hotlips! she gets bigger each year and flowers in part sun.

    Salvia mystic spires flowers in part sun(new favorite and it has returned yea!)

    Salvia Black and Blue
    Salvia Argentine skies

    Duranta Saphire showers....needs water if in a pot, but don't we all.

    Black Adder Hyssup...back and a good 4 times the size last year

    Mexican Tithonia


    the tall Blue Mist


  • Jermes
    15 years ago

    One of my favorites is Gaillardia 'Goblin'. It is blooming now and will continue to bloom until the first frost. I gave mine extra water thru the hottest part of the summer and it suffered a bit, but once the weather cooled a bit it took off again. I didn't have much luck with 'Fanfare' though. My Lady Banks didn't bloom much last year so I pruned it back quite a bit and started watering with Super Bloom in Feb. and it was gorgeous this spring.

  • tbader01
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    I'm surprised you didn't mention Morning Glory!
    The previous owner of my place sprinkled some Morning Glory seeds about 4 years ago, and I just can't seem to get rid of it! I try digging it up and get as much of the roots as I can, but I think just a tiny bit of root will sprout a whole new vine! I had it in a location where the soil is that orange clay and where the sun is just brutal, and it just grew like crazy, covering my rose bushes. I like tough easy to grow plants that spread, but Morning Glory is just too much! It has even gotten a start in my compost pile and I can't get rid of it!

  • PKponder TX Z7B
    15 years ago

    tbader01...the morning glories are probably coming back from seed. I love them even if they are a thug.


  • tbader01
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    Hello Everyone,
    Since the scope of the listing of unstoppable Texas plants was so broad, I thought I would narrow it down to just super tough plants that add fragrance to your garden!
    My limited personal experience only consists of a few plants, and they only produce fragrance for only a part of a season (I have parts of the year that I need to fill with fragrance)! Hopefully you all can help me expand my garden so that at least I can have something to walk by at any time of the year and have something nice to smell!

    Here is my listing of what I know:

    Lady Banks - My white one actually has some fragrance to it, although it isn't as nice of a smell as some of the other flowers, it does have fragrance. This is a springtime blooming/fragrance plant.

    Wisteria - Again, another super tough plant, but only blooms and has fragrance in the spring. (BWT, my 5 gal plant that I got last year seems to only produce leaves, but no flowers/fragrance! Did I get a lemon, or does it have to mature more?)

    Violet Lantana - I was surprised late last summer(maybe even fall?) last year when I walked by my light purple lantana and couldn't figure out where the nice smell was coming from! I had a mental block thinking that Lantanas only produced nice looking flowers!

    Copper Canyon Daisy - This plant actually has more of an herb fragrance when the wind blows through it, but it does produce fragrance all year (well, actually, I always cut mine back every year, and it takes a few months for it to grow back enough to have enough leaves to create fragrance!)

    Texas Mountain Laurel - I learned of this one from the FW BG, so I bought a couple 1 gals, but it looks like it is going to take forever for it to get big enough to bloom and produce flowers/fragrance! It is tough and evergreen, but it only seems to produce fragrance in the spring as well.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for fragrance the whole year round? Even having different plants with different fragrances at different times would be nice too!

    Here is a link that might be useful: Listing of Texas Super Tough UnStoppable Plants!

  • pricklypearsatx
    15 years ago keeps a data base of many of the plants that we grow here in Texas. It talks about water usage, cold tolerance and heat tolerance:

    My list:

    Full Sun, the inferno strip:

    Salvia Greggi-and Salvia Microphylla
    Bulbine Fructans ( Groundcover-Takes reflective heat)
    Lantana (Takes reflective heat, but the trailing doesn't bloom for me in the summer, only the spring, winter and fall.)
    Skullcap( Groundcover)
    Soft tip yucca
    Yellow Bells
    Pride of Barbadoos (may not be cold tolerant in some areas)

    It sounds a little "deserty". But I picked the hardest area.

    Full sun:

    Rosemary-a little harder to establish than,
    Fall Aster (tough)
    Bearded Irises

    Trees/Shrubs: Mt. Laurel
    Chinkapin Oak
    Cedar Elm

    Many other good plants were mentioned above.

    I recently bought a Mystic Spires Salvia, and I LOVE it, but buyer beware. What you see is what you get. There is a lot of variation in quality of this plant between different growers/retailers.

    The same is true for Salvia Farrinacea.

    Right now, I also have Winecups growing next to my sidewalk. They will go "dormant" when the real heat starts. They have done very well this spring, but we've had a fairly cool spring.

    I also bought this beautiful lantana called "Rose Glow". I LOVE it. It doesn't even look like a lantana!!! It blends in beautifully with my Pavonia, Pink Knock Out Roses and Winecups. But, the cold hardiness of these newer lantana camara hybrids is questionable. Even if it isn't cold hardy, it's ability to quickly adapt and put on a show, is worth it!!!

  • catamount
    15 years ago

    I had to laugh when somebody mentioned smilax. Years ago, on a cemetery plot, I kept cutting one to the ground and it came right back until I decided that wasn't going to work. So I used Roundup several times. Didn't faze it. Finally I took a sharpshooter and dug until I got to the bottom of the root system, and there was a "potato" half the size of my fist, and I've got a big fist. Guess the thing would still be sprouting if I hadn't gotten that modifed root out.

  • pricklypearsatx
    15 years ago

    I'm looking for something evergreen that will cascade down small slope. I was thinking about Carolina Jessamine. But sounds like Lady Banks Rose will also fit the spot.

    I'll probably interplant it with Blue Plumbago, so I can have both spring and summer blooms.

    For North Texans, interplanting with an evergreen is a way to provide extra winter protection to plants like plumbago.

    On Blue Plumbago, it is beautiful, but it can be hard to get established. I think it has something to do with it's root system. By that I mean, if a plant has gotten established, even in a few months, it is next to impossible to transplant it. The roots will be HUGE! And if I try to move it, it often dies.

    However, sometimes newly planted plumbagos just languish. I think they need good well drained, organic rich soil.
    Once they've got their roots established, they are wpnderful, heavenly.

    Last year, on a whim, I bought this plant called "Clerodendrum"-Blue Butterfly.

    I put it in the ground and it took off.

    It's a large subtropical plant (zone 8b/9) with beautiful blue blooms.
    I thought it would be a late summer bloomer.

    Even with all of the cold this winter, it never completely froze. It is blooming already!!! My plumbagos in the same bed are not blooming yet.

    Clerodendrum would probably not be cold hardy in North Texas, but I was suprised at how well it has done down here.

    Cynthianovak, I'm always impressed at what you are growing!! Where are your salvia black and blue? Are they in part shade? I've always been curious about Blue Mist Shrub. There are several types: The Eupoturium is a Texas Native, which does well, but blooms in the fall. The other is Carpotr.....(Sometimes they call it Blue Spirea) Sometimes they call it Longwood Blue etc. I've seen them in the nursery, but haven't seen them in yards around here. Are they in full sun or part shade?

    Also your black adder hyssop? Is that in sun or part shade?


  • west_texas_peg
    15 years ago

    I have many of those mentioned plus Mexican Mint Marigold that is great, Caryopteris Blue Spirea that I love, Mullein, Larkspurs (lots!) and Turk's Cap!


  • starstryker
    15 years ago

    Heh, just wanted to advise you about the wandering jew...or maybe warn you, it is a rather pretty plant, all purple vines and leaves with small purple flowers, but is highly invasive, and for many years in my home, it was known simply, as the purple plant that will not die.


  • rojo136
    15 years ago

    Ones I've gown that won't die

    Vitex Agnus-cstus - will die back in the winter, comes back stronger every ear.

    all your hardy perenial Hibiscus - Texas Five star, etc.

    zebrina mallows

    Cast iron plants