South Texas experiences hot, humid summers and mild, dry winters. Gardeners in this area face the challenge of finding plants that perform well in United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Hardiness Zone 9. South Texas gardeners should choose plants according to bloom time, flower color and general culture. Various flowering plants perform well in South Texas gardens.
Autumn sage (Salvia greggii), also called cherry sage, is an evergreen shrub that thrives in the rocky soils of South Texas. This sage variety features dull green, aromatic leaves often used in teas and seasonings. Red, orange or pink flowers bloom from spring through the fall. This Lamiaceae plant family member forms mounds reaching about 3 feet in both height and spread. Autumn sage plants prefer dry, well-drained soils in full sun positions. South Texas gardeners often plant autumn sage in herb gardens.
The heartleaf rosemallow (Hibiscus martianus), a member of the Malvaceae plant family, reaches between 1 and 3 feet in height. This everblooming perennial features red flowers and heart-shaped, silvery leaves. This hibiscus variety tolerates drought and thrives in well-drained, limestone soils that receive partial to full sun. Heartleaf rosemallows perform well in South Texas perennial flowerbeds.
Wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) features clusters of pink, white or purple flowers on top of stems ranging from 2 to 5 feet in height. These flowers bloom from May through September. This aromatic member of the mint family (Lamiaceae) is often called beebalm because the fragrant flowers attract large numbers of bees. The grayish-green leaves work well in teas and seasonings. Wild bergamot thrives in South Texas fields, wet meadows and ditches that receive part or full sun.
Mealy Blue Sage
Mealy blue sage plants (Salvia farinacea), also members of the mint family, reach between 2 and 3 feet in height. Fragrant blue flower clusters bloom intermittently from April through October. This herbaceous perennial also bears aromatic, grayish-green leaves. This sage variety naturally occurs in pastures, prairies and meadows across South Texas. Gardeners often mass plant mealy blue sage in wildflower gardens, naturalized areas and borders.
Texas Wild Olive
The Texas wild olive tree (Cordia boissieri), sometimes called the Mexican olive tree or the anacahuita, actually belongs to the borage family (Boraginaceae). Funnel-shaped, white flowers with yellow throats appear intermittently throughout the year. The flowers give way to red-brown or purple fruits that attract wildlife. Mature Texas wild olive trees reach between 12 and 36 feet tall. This tree likes well-drained soil that receives full sun. Cold hardy to South Texas, this perennial tree works well planted along roads and highways.
The purple sage plant (Leucophyllum frutescens), also called the Texas barometer bush, often blooms profusely after rainy weather. This figwort family member (Scrophulariaceae) features vibrant pink to lavender flowers that appear periodically from spring through autumn. This perennial shrub generally grows between 2 and 5 feet tall and prefers well-drained, rocky soils in partially shady to fully sunny positions. South Texas gardeners often mass plant this tree to form screens.
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