Plant Lists

Plant List for the Texas Panhandle - Flowers

Despite the difficult soil and weather conditions gardeners encounter on the Texas High Plains, we don't lack in the number of plants that can thrive quite well, many with only monthly moisture supplementation. I've compiled lists of annuals, perennials and bulbs, grasses, shrubs, cacti, agaves and yuccas. This is not by any means a complete list. I may have left some of the more common and traditional plants off the list, but hopefully, as time goes by, I will add more. For many of the plants listed below, there are other varieties, cultivars or hybrids that work equally well – as well as some that do not. I apologize in advance for not being as complete or thorough as you might wish. But I don't believe there is any one source or list of plants one could turn to to learn whether it is suitable for our climate. And indeed, more and more species, varieties, cultivars and hybrids come on the market each year.

Appropriate Grasses for the Texas Panhandle

Grasses perform as well in our home landscapes as they do in our prairie biome. No other plant looks as good in the wind as grass! Most of the grass species listed below can be used in beds or borders, some for turf, and some for land reclamation in difficult alkaline and saline soils. Be mindful of any grass that increases by stolons and rhizomes--your flower bed is not the best location. As with any plant, match the grass to its purpose and location.

Shrubs for the Texas Panhandle

Shrubs are well suited to Texas Panhandle gardens, in fact, more so than trees. Native shrubs throughout the West and Southwest will thrive in our gardens and provide food and habitat for native fauna. This is not by any means a complete list. I have left some of the more traditional, non-native shrubs off the list. Both native and many traditional ornamental shrubs are quite water thrifty. Many native shrubs are not available locally, but can be ordered. It may be more convenient to shop at native plant nurseries as one travels for larger size specimens.

Southwest Evergreens, Agaves

Agaves are the star of genus of southwestern evergreen plants. Landscapes designed and populated with Southwest native plants are in sharp contrast to the more foliage intense English, eastern, southern, Pacific northwest and northern areas. Virtually untapped as a means of winter green and winter interest, our native evergreen (or ever-blue, ever-gray) succulents can easily be incorporated into native, low water-use, Western cottage and rock garden designs and styles.

Southwest Evergreens, Yuccas

If agaves are the stars, or darlings, of the native Southwestern evergreen plants, yuccas and cacti are the misunderstood poor step children. Often when I visit with gardeners about xeriscape, they make a point of saying, “but I don't want yucca and cactus”. Yucca is a varied genus of evergreen plants of more than twenty species suitable for the Texas High Plains, ranging from a diminutive 6-8 inch yucca to the very large, multi-branched tree form yuccas reaching 10-15' tall.

Southwest Evergreens, Cactus

It's hard to love a plant that's poised for attack. But hold the disparaging remarks about cactus, please. Cannot we find some measure of love for our native species, a plant primed for protection? Thrust into harsh environments and graced with some of the world's most beautiful flowers, cacti did what they could to survive. Beneath the spiny, prickly, thorny, bristly and hurtful exterior, on some, spines so thick they looks more like an inverse pincushion, lies the heart of succulence. Cacti are loved world wide and are among the most collected of plants. It is rare to find a plant person without a potted cactus on their windowsill at least part of their life.

Other Southwest Evergreens

Most gardeners could recite a list of evergreen shrubs or trees that have been the backbone of gardens since the nineteenth century. Probably none of them, except for a few native pine trees and juniper shrubs are native to North America, and especially not native to the Southwest. I've come to think of many of our Southwest native plants in a non traditional way, that is, as Southwest evergreens. This list of plants are the other Southwest evergreens – plants native to the American Southwest-- are evergreen or ever-gray, but are not yuccas, agaves or cactus.

Gardening With Tulips in the Texas Panhandle, Part 1, Species Tulips

Wildflower tulips, also called species tulips or botanical tulips, are excellent low water, low maintenance tulips for either a medium water or xeric garden. Many of the varieties make excellent rock garden bulbs. These spring blooming geophytes add a spring dimension to the warm season plants that usually compose a xeric garden, expanding the bloom time of these water-thrifty areas.

Gardening With Tulips in the Texas Panhandle, Part 2, Garden Hybrids

Everyone's image of tulips is the long-stemmed, large cupped beauties imported from Holland. Oftentimes they are unreliable in flowering in subsequent years. But all garden hybrid tulips are not alike. Garden hybrid tulips are grouped into fifteen divisions. Learn which groupings are best for your home and garden, for a bedding scheme, potting up or long lasting permanence in your landscape.

Plants for Winter Interest

Winter is a barren season, frequently bereft of even a single flower. When planning a garden, many gardeners design for spring and summer. Fall, though often neglected, shines the brightest and winter is just plain ignored. It is odd that less attention is paid to how it looks in the off season, winter being the one season gardeners can enjoy the garden without being absorbed in its maintenance. A garden designed and composed of plants for winter interest will shine throughout the year.

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