Evergreen shrubs are a good choice for a Texas garden. Even the coldest areas of the state, temperatures do not get that low and many of the other plants stay green into the winter. Shrubs can be groomed to grow the way you want them. Keep them short, let them grow high or sculpt them to different shapes.
Yaupon holly (lex vomitoria) is also known as yaupon. The plant grows from 20 to 25 feet tall and produces dark-green oval-shaped leaves that grow to 1 inch long. Each plant will only have male or female flowers. Both flowers are small and white and bloom in the spring. The female flowers produce small red berries that last all through the winter. Plant yaupon holly in full sun or shade and in moist to wet soils. The berries provide meals for wildlife though the winter. Yaupon holly is recommended for all of Texas.
Texas Mountain Laurel
Texas mountain laurel (Sophora secundiflora) is also known as mountain laurel, mescal bean, mescal bean sophora, frijolillo and frijolito. The plant grows from 10 to 30 feet tall and produces dark green leaves that are made up of 7 to 9 leaflets. The fragrant blue or purple flowers appear in February and March and grow in clusters that measure from 3 to 7 inches long. Plant Texas mountain laurel in full sun or partial shade and in a soil that is dry to moist and well-drained. The flowers will attract butterflies. The shrub is recommended for South Texas around Corpus Christi, Brownsville, Laredo and Del Rio, Central Texas around Austin, Waco, College Station and San Antonio and West Texas around El Paso, Lubbock, San Angelo, Midland and Abilene.
Heavenly bamboo (Nandina domestica) is also known as nandina and grows from 6 to 8 feet tall. The plant has lance-shaped leaves that create a lacy backdrop for the small white flowers growing at the end of the stems. The flowers produce green berries that turn red when ripe. Plant heavenly bamboo in sun or shade and in soil that is kept dry to moist. Mockingbirds, cedar waxwings and robins will make a meal out of the berries and bees will come for the nectar. Heavenly bamboo is recommended for all of Texas.
India hawthorn (Rhaphiolepis indica) grows from 3 to 5 feet tall and almost as wide. The leaves grow from 3 to 4 inches long with a dark-green color on the top and a lighter one on the bottom. The star-shaped flowers appear in early spring growing in clusters at the ends of the branches. When the flowers are done, they leave behind blue-black fruits that the local birds crave. The plant will grow in full sun or partial shade as long as the soil is well drained so the roots do not sit in water. It is better to let the soil go dry than to give the plant too much water. India hawthorn does have the advantage of being able to be planted near the coast line and is recommended for all areas of Texas.