Texas lies in four USDA hardiness zones ranging from zone 6 in the north, where the nighttime winter temperature gets as low as -10 degrees F, to zone 9 in the south where it gets as low as 20 degrees F.
Even with the 30-degree difference in climate, shrubs solve a variety of problems for the gardener. Tall, sun-loving ones provide shade for shorter plants that need it, cover up unsightly fences and divide properties. Shorter ones go under windows and take the place of fences around the lawn.
Red yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora) is also known as coral yucca, red flowered false yucca, redflower false yucca, samandoque and yellow yucca. The shrub features blue-green evergreen leaves that turn plum in winter and grow up to 2 to 3 feet long. The tube-shaped flowers grow on stalks that grow up to 5 feet tall, are coral-colored and bloom from April through July. Plant red yucca in full sun and a dry soil. Hummingbirds will come for the nectar and the leaves are a favorite meal for deer.
Reeves' spirea (Spiraea cantoniensis) is also known as double bridal wreath and double Reeves. The shrub grows from 3 to 6 feet tall with a spread of about 6 to 8 feet. The plant produces leaves that are dark-green on top, pale blue-green on the bottom, diamond shaped and 2 inches long. The flowers are small, resemble a rose and grow in 2-inch round clusters. Plant Reeves' spirea in full sun or partial shade and in a soil that is dry to moist.
Rose-of-Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) is also known as shrub Althea and grows from 8 to 10 feet tall and 6 to 8 feet wide. The plant produces medium to dark-green leaves that grow from 2 to 4 inches long and turn a yellow-green in the fall.
The white, pink, magenta, violet or blue flowers bloom in July, August and September, measure 2 to 4 inches across and give way to fruits that are brown, 3/4 inch long and stay on the shrub through the winter. Plant Rose-of-Sharon in full sun. The plant does well in any kind of soil.
Hemp tree (Vitex agnus-castus) is also known as the chaste tree, sage tree and monk. The shrub grows from 10 to 20 feet tall, about the same in width and produces palm-like leaves that are grey-green on top and lighter green on the bottom and grow from 3 to 4 inches in diameter.
The white, violet, blue or purple flowers bloom in the spring and early summer through the fall and are followed by a seed-baring fleshly fruit. Plant the hemp tree in full sun to light shade and in any kind of soil as long as it is well drained. The flowers will attract butterflies and bees.