Evergreens are not limited to the trees and shrubs with needles in the northern states. Texas has its fair share of evergreen shrubs with leaves, many of them native to the state. The shrubs make hedges when planted together and are also used as stand-alone specimen plants. They also give you the added bonus of attracting birds to the garden.
India Hawthorn (Rhaphiolepis indica) is a member of the rose family. It is a compact evergreen shrub that will grow to a height of between 3 and 5 feet and a width that is about the same. The leaves are dark green on the top, light green on the bottom, oblong and thick with a leathery feel and serrated edges. They will grow to be 3 to 4 inches long. The plant produces white or pink star shaped flowers in the early spring that grow in clusters. Once the flowers are gone, blue/black fruit appear that are a favorite of many birds. The shrub needs well-drained soil and can take either full sun or partial shade. It is salt resistant, so it can be use on the coast, as long as it is not in a windy location. In Texas, it is hardy in all but the panhandle.
Texas sage (Leucophyllum frutescens) is also known as purple sage, Texas ranger, Texas barometer bush and Texas silverleaf and is native to the state. The leaves are covered with gray hairs, giving the shrub a silvery appearance. The plant produces bell-shaped, pink/lavender-colored flowers that are about 1 inch long and 1 inch wide. The flowers bloom in spurts all year long, depending on the amount of rainfall. The shrub usually grows to between 2 and 5 feet in height, but has been known to grow as tall as 8 feet The leaves are soft and can grow from1 to 1 1/4 inches long. The shrub needs dry, very well drained, soil and sun or partial shade. It is both heat and cold tolerant. The plant is grown all over the state and attracts butterflies.
Agarita (Mahonia trifoliolata) is also known as agarito, algerita, agritos, currant-of-Texas, wild currant and chaparral berry. It is a Texas native, a round shrub with gray/green holly-like leaves that grows to a height of 6 feet. It produces fragrant yellow flowers that grow in clusters and bloom from February through April. When the flowers are gone, bright red berries appear that attract birds and small animals. They are also used to make jelly. It is a low-maintenance plant that is drought-tolerant and can take temperatures as low as 15 degrees Fahrenheit. The plant can grow in different types of soil, as long as it is well-drained. It prefers full sun, but can grow in partial shade as well. Agarita grows in northwestern Texas.
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