In a Texas winter garden, there is no need to settle for plants with dry, brown limbs and no foliage. Fill the landscape with plants that add life to the winter season. By planting only a few evergreens, the gardener will add interest and attract wildlife at a time of year when there is little else of interest in the landscape.
Agarita (Mahonia trifoliata)
Agarita is a Texas native. The common name for Agarita is wild currant because of the bright red berries that follow the clusters of yellow spring flowers. Agarita has a rounded habit, growing to six feet tall and wide. It is drought- and heat-tolerant and quite low maintenance.
Cherry Laurel (Prunus caroliniana)
This hardy evergreen tree grows to 40 feet tall; however, it may be pruned to half that size. Leaves are dark green and glossy when the tree is grown in healthy, well draining garden soil that receives regular water. Racemes of fragrant white blooms appear in early spring followed by blue-black berries. Cherry laurel forms colonies when left to grow unchecked. Grow in full sun to light shade. Cherry laurel is drought-tolerant once it is established.
Chinese Photinia (Photinia serrulata)
Better known as the "red tip" bush or tree; this Southern favorite has large, glossy green leaves except for new leaves, which are a lovely dark to medium red color. The bush can 15 feet high and makes a good hedgerow where summers are long and hot. Red tip bushes grow well in an area that receives full sun and has well drained soil. Water regularly until established and the red tip will survive dry spells
Indian Hawthorn (Raphiolepis indica)
A favorite foundation and commercial bush, the Indian hawthorn is a compact evergreen that grows to about five feet tall. Keep the bush pruned to fit the area where it will mature. Clusters of tiny, star-shaped white to light pink flowers cover the bush in spring followed by blue-black berries in the fall. Indian hawthorn will grow in any well-drained garden soil, in full sun to partial shade, and needs average moisture. Indian hawthorn is an easy to grow, ornamental and low-maintenance bush.
Nandina (Nandina domestica)
Nandina is a woody evergreen known as heavenly bamboo. Nandina is semi-evergreen in some areas. The bush can grow to 8 feet tall with an upright habit. Nandina has an airy, lace-like appearance with clusters of small white blooms adorning the bush in the spring. Green berries mature into bright red bird magnets. This bush needs little care once it becomes established. Nandina tolerates the heat and humidity of the South and Southwest very well.
Yaupon Holly (Ilex vomitoria)
Yaupon holly is native to Texas, making it a very good choice for the home landscape. Considered a large bush or small tree, the Yaupon holly can reach 25 feet high. Yaupon has an upright growing habit with dark green leaves all year and dark red to red-orange berries in the late fall and winter. Grow Yaupon in any well-drained soil in full sun to full shade. Yaupon is drought-tolerant.
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