South Texas Native Plants for Erosion

Gardeners in the South Texas region typically experience moderate summers and milder winters than the rest of the state. South Texas falls under the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Zone 9. Many South Texas gardeners and landscapers use native plants to help halt soil erosion. Individuals selecting erosion-control shrubs or perennials must consider the plant's size, appearance and drought tolerance.


Guayule (Parthenium argentatum), a small shrub in the daisy family (Asteraceae), naturally occurs in the dry, rocky soils and limestone bluffs of South and Southwest Texas. The leaves and branches bear silver hairs, while the white or yellow flowers bloom during the summer and the fall. This evergreen shrub tolerates droughts, and generally thrives in the hot, dry South Texas region. This plant reaches up to 3 feet in height and 4 feet in width. Many South Texas gardeners mass plant gauyle shrubs on slopes to control erosion.

Rough Mortonia

Rough mortonia (Mortonia sempervirens), a small to medium shrub in the Celastraceae family, naturally occurs in the dry soils, gypsum ledges and limestone hills of South Texas. This shrub matures up to 6 feet in height with spreads of about 5 feet. The rough mortonia features white stems, bright green leaves and white flowers that bloom in the spring, summer and autumn. The rough mortonia earned its name because of its rough leaves and thorny stems. This plant needs full sun positions and can tolerate very hot temperatures. South Texas gardeners use the rough mortonia for erosion control and hedges.

Creeping Wolfberry

The creeping wolfberry (Lycium carolinianum), also called the Christmas-berry and the matrimony-vine, is a member of the nightshade family (Solanaceae). This plant naturally occurs in South Texas ditches and wet clay soils. This plant features spiny branches and succulent leaves. Large, light purple flowers bloom in the spring, summer and autumn, giving way in the winter to edible, red berries popular with birds. This fast-growing shrub reaches about 3 feet in height and 2 feet in width. It prefers fully sunny positions and tolerates drought and dry soil conditions. Gardeners primarily use creeping wolfberry shrubs for erosion control.

Virginia Sweetspire

The Virginia sweetspire (Itea virginica), a deciduous shrub in the Grossulariaceae family, naturally thrives in South Texas climates. This plant features fragrant, white flowers that bloom in June and July. The Virginia sweetspire reaches between 5 and 9 feet in height and 6 to 10 feet in width. Dark green leaves turn various red and purple shades in the autumn. This plant performs well in dry to moist soils in partially shady to fully sunny locations. South Texas gardeners use Virginia sweetspire plants for erosion control, shrub borders and native plant gardens.

Vinca Major

The vinca major plant (Vinca major), sometimes called the greater periwinkle plant, belongs to the Apoycynaceae family. Naturally occurring in the South Texas region, gardeners often plant vinca major on banks or slopes to help prevent erosion. This plant reaches up to 2 feet in height, and features trailing, long stems that spread out up to 2 feet. Blue to violet flowers bloom in May and June. Vinca major plants perform well in dry to medium most soils in partially to fully sunny locations.

Keywords: South Texas native plants for erosion, South Texas native plants for erosion control, erosion control native South Texas plants

About this Author

Cat Carson has been a writer, editor and researcher for the past decade. She has professional experience in a variety of media, including the Internet, newspapers, newsletters and magazines. Her work has appeared on websites like and, among others. Carson holds a master’s degrees in writing and cultural anthropology, and is currently working on her doctoral degree in psychology.