Plants & Grasses Native to Central Texas

The dry, rocky soils of Central Texas lack the moist fertility of East Texas, yet aren't as arid as West Texas. The limestone hills around the Texas capital of Austin in the central portion of the state are home to a wide variety of native grasses and plants that thrive in the alkaline soil and summer heat. Many of these native plants are popular with homeowners in the area because of the plants' ability to thrive with little care.

Big Muhly

Big muhly (Muhlenbergia lindheimeri) is a native Central Texas grass often used as an ornamental in home landscape. Growing 3 to 5 feet tall, big muhly likes a sunny location. It has delicate blue-green spikes that produce feathery blossoms in the fall.


Agarita (Berberis trifoliata) is a small shrub with spiky leaves and bright red berries. The shrubs grows 3 to 5 feet tall and the narrow leaves resemble holly. The evergreen plants are drought-tolerant.

Black-Eyed Susan

Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida) is a native perennial that grows 1 to 3 feet tall. The golden, daisy-like flowers with brown, velvety centers fill Central Texas fields and line roadsides in the summer months. In the home garden, the flowers will grow large and profuse if the plant receives plenty of water, though black-eyed Susans are also drought tolerant.

Buffalo Grass

Buffalo Grass (Buchloe dactyloides) is a native grass that is now cultivated as a turf grass. The fine-bladed, light green grass forms a thick carpet that requires little water to remain green.


Coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata), also known as tickseed sunflower, produces masses of golden blooms on feathery, gray-green foliage. Plants grow from 1 to 3 feet tall. This perennial does well in full sun to partial shade.


Aster (Aster oblongifolium) is a shrubby perennial that produces masses of lavender, daisy-like flowers with yellow centers. The flowers bloom in the fall until first frost and the plants grow from 1 to 3 feet tall.

Little Bluestem

Little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) is another native grass that has been adapted for use in landscaping as an ornamental. Little bluestem grows up to 5 feet tall. Though the young grass stalks have a blueish appearance, the mature plant has rusty foliage.

Missouri Primrose

Missouri primrose (Oenothera missouriensis) produces large yellow blossoms on low-growing, silver-green foliage. The flowers open in the evening in late spring and early summer.

Keywords: native Texas plants, native garden plants, native Texas grasses

About this Author

Cynthia James is the author of more than 40 novels and her nonfiction work has appeared in publications ranging from Modern Bride to Popular Mechanics. A graduate of Sam Houston State University, she has a degree in economics. Before turning to freelancing full time, James worked as a newspaper reporter, travel agent and medical clinic manager.