Ranging from United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Hardiness Zones 6 to 9, Texas offers a wide variety of climates and growing conditions. While Central Texas experiences a humid subtropical climate, North Texas offers cold winters. The Gulf Coast region enjoys moderate temperatures all year long. Texas gardeners should select plants according to Hardiness Zone, flower and foliage color, bloom time and mature size. Many fall plants bloom well in Texas gardens.
The Japanese aralia (Fatsia japonica), also called the glossy-leaved paper plant, belongs to the Araliaceae plant family. Native to Japan, this plant grows well in Texas USDA Zones 8 and 9. Mature Japanese aralia plants typically reach up to 15 feet in height with similar spreads. Non-showy white flowers bloom in the fall and winter. These blossoms give way to black berries. The Japanese aralia prefers humusy soils in partly to fully shady positions. Potential problems include aphids, thrips and root rot.
The American beautyberry (Callicarpa Americana), also called the French mulberry, reaches between 3 and 5 feet in both height and width. This member of the verbena family (Verbenaceae) features green leaves that turn yellow in autumn. Small pink or white flowers bloom from May through July, followed by purple fruit that persists through fall and winter. Naturally occurring in East Texas thickets, the American beautyberry prefers moist soils in partly shady positions. Texas gardeners in USDA Zones 6 and 7 can plant the American beautyberry in woodland areas and swamplands.
The crimson-eyed rosemallow (Hibiscus moscheutos), also called the marshmallow hibiscus, naturally thrives in wet meadows, marshes and forests. Mature shrubs reach up to 8 feet in height and bear heart-shaped leaves with gray-green tops and white undersides. White to pink flowers feature yellow stamens and burgundy or red bands around their bases. This Malvaceae family member blooms from mid-summer through September. The crimson-eyed rosemallow prefers alkaline, moist soils in partly shady to fully sunny locations. Texas gardeners in Zones 6 to 9 often use this plant as temporary hedges or borders.
Yaupon (Ilex vomitoria), also called evergreen holly, is a versatile shrub or small tree that performs well in Texas USDA Zones 6 and 7. This member of the Aquifoliaceae plant family naturally occurs in low, moist woodlands, but can tolerate various soil conditions. Yaupon plants feature pale bark and dark green leaves. Non-showy, pale green flowers bloom in the spring. Bright red, orange or yellow fruits add color to the fall and winter landscape. The yaupon thrives in partially shady to fully sunny positions. Mature plants reach between 10 and 20 feet in height and 8 to 12 feet in spread. Gardeners often use this holly variety as a hedge.
Purple Heart Vine
The purple heart vine (Tradescantia pallida), a perennial member of the Commelinaceae plant family, features purple or pink summer flowers. The dark purple foliage adds ornamental interest to fall landscapes. Sometimes called the spider lily, these plants reach up to 12 inches in height and 24 inches in spread. While the purple heart vine tolerates drought conditions, it thrives in moist soils in semi-shady to fully sunny locations. Texas gardeners in USDA Zone 10 often use the purple heart vine as a ground cover, edging or container plant.
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