Best Texas Shrubs

 The philosophy of this website is to demonstrate what works in Texas where we generally are in drought conditions from July through September and into October.  Texas represents a vast geographic range, however, these extreme variances are united by homeowners watering, fertilizing and managing their gardens.

Holly fern, spreading yew and Fatsia looking healthy and full.

Holly fern, spreading yew and Fatsia looking healthy and full.

Soil amendments have long been the staple of flourishing Texas gardens and the reality is MOST of the landscaping viewed on these pages have significant soil amendments which include water retention particles, organic matter and sand.

I am able to photograph homes that employ landscape design firms and yard services.  Time and time again I see these professional designs recreated by homeowners in smaller situations.  My choices for best shrubs for Texas are based upon what is available, what works and my subjective choices.  Take them for what they are worth, my perceptions, no more, no less.

Cedars

You may want to view the web page on shrubs and plants that worked in Texas before sprinkler systems and soil amendments.  In the ‘old days’ when gardens were watered by hand.

Gardening in Texas on the early 20th Century: Read more here …

Yew Shrubs

Yews are becoming very popular!  And with good reason, as an ever green shrub they are hardy, hold up in Texas heat and are a lovely shade of green.  They come in all sizes with the Japanese Yew being the tallest with the widest of the needle like leaves of the Yew.

Japanese Yew hedge with Agapanthus after bloom period.

Japanese Yew hedge with Agapanthus Lilies in front after their bloom period.


Holly Fern - Yew - Aspidistra

Spreading yew shrub with holly fern and aspidistra (cast iron plant).

Purple Shamrock, Spreading Yew and Japanese Maple.

Spreading yew shrub with purple shamrock.

Upright Yew shrubs in Dallas Landscaping

Upright Yew shrubs in Dallas Landscaping with Spirea and in the far back a lovely Nandina!  In the lower part of the image is pittosporum.  These are all the best shrubs for Texas in one place and best of all for this homeowner, no lawn to mow!

Poisonous Yew Berries

Poisonous Yew Berries / It is the berry which is poisonous in the Yew.

 Read more on poisonous plants here …
Read more on the Japanese Yew shrub in Dallas Landscaping here …

Variegated Pittosporum

Variegate Dwarf Pittosporum

Creme de Mente dwarf variegated pittosporum.  These are also known as “mock orange.”

Pittosporum comes in solid green or a variegated leaf that creates a light colored palette for color blending in your garden. It also comes in full size (over three to four feet) and dwarf.
Pittosporum with garden gate.

Pittosporum with garden gate in layered planting.

 

Pittosporum comes in solid green or a variegated leaf that creates a light colored palette for color blending in your garden. It also comes in full size (over three to four feet) and dwarf.

Variegated Pittosporum and container gardening!  What a beautiful blending of colors with dark green pots.  This may be Creme de Mente but it looks a little larger though these three pittosporums demonstrate the beautiful creamy gray look of variegated pittosporum.

More Variegated Pittosporum

Pittopsorum also blends beautifully with ferns and barberries.  Below it is seen with Pixie Loropetalum for the burgundy color with the contrasting deep green provided by what appears to be a row of Cherry Laurels or possibly American Hollies but I could be wrong on that one.  Not a fan of Cherry Laurel … those will absolutely over take that bed but maybe the are planning to prune them up like a tree.
  Pittosporum comes in solid green or a variegated leaf that creates a light colored palette for color blending in your garden. It also comes in full size (over three to four feet) and dwarf.
 Professional landscapers layer and layer and layer shrubs.  This is a good example.

A beautiful combination of variegated pittosporum with burgundy Japanese Maple and wood fern.

A beautiful combination of full sized variegated pittosporum with burgundy Japanese Maple and wood fern.  YOu can see the pittosporum get a git thin in the shadier areas.  They do need SOME sun.  Ferns, however will thrive in shade or just morning sun and afternoon shade.

See more on ferns in Dallas Landscaping here …
See more on Japanese Maples here …

Loropetalum

Spreading Dwarf Loropetalum

Pixie Loropetalum layered shrubs.  This image demonstrates professional landscaping layering of shrubs with the tiny little Pixie Loropetalum a spreading shrub.

Unpruned Loropetalum allowed to grow to its natural size and state.

This large unpruned Loropetalum shows its natural shape and size.

 See more on Loropetalum in Dallas Landscaping here …

Dwarf and Miniature Crape Myrtles as Shrubs

Crape myrtles bloom in Texas landscapes for 90 to 120 days beginning in June in Texas.  For the last fifteen years shrub roses have played a large role in Texas landscaping but with Rose Rosette disease these plantings have been wiped out.  Dwarf and miniature crape myrtles are a good substitute for the loss of color associated with the lose of roses from Rose Rosette disease.

Cherry Razzle Dazzle Crape Myrtles as Shrubs

Cherry Razzle Dazzle Crape Myrtles as Shrubs

Read more on crape myrtles in Dallas Landscaping here …
Read more on Rose Rosette in Dallas Landscaping disease here …

Cotoneaster Glaucophyllus

Cotoneaster - Gray spikey shrub for Texas

Native plants in Texas landscaping include the Agave, seen here mixed with cedars and cotoneaster shrubs.

Native plants in Texas landscaping include the Agave, seen here mixed with cedars and cotoneaster shrubs.

Cotoneaster also has a species that is low growing and spreading known as Cotoneaster Dameri.  Cotoneaster Hoizontalis has glossy, bright red berries.  I love every single cotoneaster, even those I have never seen … and base on images but I know so well, those enticing catalog images can disappoint, actually one reason I started this blog.  Let’s see what these plants really do in Texas!

 American Holly

American Holly in Texas Mid-March

American Holly in Texas Mid-March

Spring Berries of the American Holly - for the birds!

American Holly with berries in early spring.

American Hollies reach thirty feet or more.  Once established after two or three years they are hardy.  They require roughly the same space as a Little Gem magnolia, though magnolias are surpassing American Hollies by ten to one for row hedges in Dallas.  Still, American Hollies are a good choice.

Applying large yard gardening concepts to small yards. Magnolia, Japanese Maple and what looks like two American Hollies!

Applying large yard gardening concepts to small yards. Magnolia, Japanese Maple and what looks like two American Hollies that have been shaped into a single trunk and have really taken off in height!

 Pomegranate

Ah, the overlooked and often forgotten pomegranate that can become a beautiful tree!  Lovely orange flowers that mature into beautiful fruit keeps the interest alive in this deceptively simple shrub for Texas.  Hardy!  My goodness, yes.  Very, very, very.
Pomagranate Bush in TexAs

Pomegranate Bush in Texas – you can see the red flowers blooming which will ultimately become lovely round pomegranates.  Notice the burgundy barberry and the Knockout roses? !

  Pomegranate Tree Dallas Landscape Design Pomegranate Tree / Bush Dallas Landscape Design
 Read more on roses in Dallas Landscaping here …

Santolina with Townhouse White Crape Myrtle

Pomegranate Shrub with orange blooms also Santolina, Dusty Miller, Thyme, Boxwoods, Townhouse Crape Myrtle

Pomegranate Tree / Shrub Grove. These are incredibly drought tolerant and heat hardy. They can be pruned up into a tree and I love them, not to mention the pomegranates that are produced in the autumn.

Pomegranate Tree / Shrub Grove. These are incredibly drought tolerant and heat hardy. They can be pruned up into a tree and I love them, not to mention the pomegranates that are produced in the autumn.

 

Read more on Texas perennials in Dallas Landscaping here …
 Dusty miller often acts as perennial in Texas.  Here you see it in late summer with yellow blooms.  Beautiful fall garden with Townhouse white crape myrtle still in bloom.  I wish I were there now.

Spirea Made for Texas

Bridal Wreath Sprirea makes a beautiful corner shrub planting. Please give it room and don not cut its branches after it blooms.

Bridal Wreath Spirea makes a beautiful corner shrub planting. Please give it room — they are so small when you plant them but obviously, the grow…and do not cut its branches after it blooms.  Those arching branches are a huge part of their beauty.  That is Loropetalum in bloom behind the spirea.

Bridal Wreath Spirea with Loropetalum in full bloom. Good example of layered shrubs.

Bridal Wreath Spirea with Loropetalum in full bloom. Good example of layered shrubs.

Read more on Loropetalum in Texas Landscaping here …

Barberry

Barberry is known as a burgandy shrub but it also comes in orange to reddish shades, small and large!  This is a versatile and hardy shrub.  As always be sure to purchase the size that fits your garden spot.  Some specimens of barberry can get leggy, be sure that is what you want.
Large Burgundy Barberry

Large Burgundy Barberry with Nandina and blooming Thrift in a Dallas landscape.

Dallas Landscaping Japanese Maples Lee Ann Torrans

Red Rocket Barberry great for Dallas Landscaping Design

Barberry can get leggy but in the right spot good for Dallas Landscaping Design

Barberry can get leggy but in the right spot good for Dallas Landscaping Design.  These bright colors will fade a bit in the heat of a Texas summer.

Read more on Barberry here …

 Nandina

I love Nandina, and I do not mean the new dwarf variety, I mean the big, old fashioned Nandina.  I also like the purple varieties.  The new dwarfs were over planted by commercial landscapers, mistreated and still leave me a bit cold.  In fairness I will include one image of the dwarf nandinas.  But allow me to share the beauty of the old fashioned nandina with its lucious red berries.

Contrasting Red/Orange Nandina with Purple Nandina. Taken in April.

Contrasting Red/Orange Nandina with Purple, Flirt, Nandina. Taken in April.

Purple Nandina with Fan Palm.  I know I am hopeless instead of photographing the bride I am photographing Nandina.  🙂  I believe that is “Flirt” nandina.

Nandina

Nandina: A perfect Specimen

A beautiful hedge of Nandinas with what is possible one of the most beautiful Japanese Maples in Dallas.

A beautiful hedge of Nandinas with what is possible one of the most beautiful Japanese Maples in Dallas.

The beautiful nandina shrub standing tall as a specimen plant and adding dignity to the Fairy rose.

The beautiful nandina shrub standing tall as a specimen plant and adding dignity to the Fairy rose.  YOu can see the blooms of a Nandina and though it is not grown for flowering, the old nandinas do flower a bit adding a lovely contrast to the varying shades of green leaves.

Highland Park Park Little Gem Magnolia and Nandina

Probably the best use of dwarf nandina located in University Park, Texas.  Little Gem magnolias in the background and Rudbekia the flowering perennial.

Pocket Garden with Nandina

Pocket Garden

Nandinas are so easy to root.  Just break off a branch, stick it in some soft moist earth and voila!  Or dig one up and separate it.  Did you know Mahonias are cousins to the Nandina?
Read more on Nandina here …
Read more on Rudbekia, a Texas perennial here …
Read more on Little Gem Magnolia here … 

Mahonia or Agrita

Mahonia in Texas: Cousin of Nandina

Mahonia in Texas: Cousin of Nandina

Read more on Mahonia here …

Althea

Dallas Arboretum

Althea a blooming shrub that thrives in Texas and is often pruned into a tree.

 Read more about blooming trees in Texas here …

Hardy Hisbiscus

Hardy Hibuscus

Hardy Hibiscus, not to be confused with annual hibiscus is often pruned into a tree. Likes full sun and does very well in Texas and blooms in June with crape myrtles.

Hardy Hisbiscus is a shrub that blooms and comes back unlike the annual hibiscus.
Read more about blooming trees here …

Abelia

Abelia is a shrub that draws bees.  As a child I did not like that but with bees on the list of potentially endangered insects I am all for planting abelia.  Will try to get more images of abelia.  I have let my childhood bias impact my photography!

Dallas Landscaping Design with oak tree and oak leaf hydrangea.

Abelia can be seen to the far right in this Dallas Landscaping Design with oak tree and oak leaf hydrangea.

Hydrangeas


Mophead Hydrangeas

French Hydrangeas bloom in April and May.

Hostas Dallas Landscaping Lee Ann Torrans

Oak Leaf Hydrangea will bloom in mid-May and June.

French hydrangeas bloom first followed by Oak Leaf Hydrangeas.  These prefer a bit of shade.
Read more about hydrangeas here …

Photinias:  Fraser and Chinese Photinias

Red Tip Photinia

Red Tip Photinia Mid-March in Texas.

Spring flowers of the Chinese Photinia. This is really a tree and should be planted as though it was a tree and not a shrub.

Spring flowers of the Chinese Photinia. This is really a tree and should be planted as though it was a tree and not a shrub.

 Read more about Phontinias in Texas Landscaping here …

Cedars and Junipers in Texas

  Dallas Landscaping Rule of THree: River Birches and Cedars
Deodar Cedar
Read more on cedars and junipers in Texas landscaping here …

Texas Sage Shrub

Purple Sage Shrub Texas

Purple Sage Shrub.

Forsythia

Lee Ann Torrans - Forsythia - Dallas Blooms

Forsythia is one of the first blooming shrubs in Texas blooming just after Japonica which is also known as flowering quince and with Tulip Trees and Red Bud trees.  Once established this is a hardy shrub and easy to root!

 I have not included azaleas and camellias, two shrubs I love but they only do well in deep east Texas.  Maybe someday.  If you are successful with Dogwoods, azaleas and camelias you have done a lot of soil improvement, water profusely or live in deep east Texas.
  Best Shrubs for Texas