Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

Native Plants & Trees of Mexico

poinsettia hedge 3. image by mdb from

Mexico is home to a number of plants and trees that grow in the country's varying soils and climate system. Mexico includes beaches, jungles, mountains and deserts. The native plants in each have adapted to their surroundings in remarkable ways. Many of Mexico's native plants, including poinsettias, avocados and cacao, are now familiar around the globe.

Texas Redbud

Although it's called Texas redbud, Cercis canadensis graces the limestone slopes of northeastern Mexico with its early spring bloom. A smaller, drought-resistant version of the Eastern redbuds common in the United States, Texas redbud produces branches lined with clusters of purple blossoms in March and April. Flowers appear just as the trees are leafing out.
The 10-to-20 foot trees have large, heart-shaped, glossy green leaves. Flat 4-inch red seedpods follow the flowers, remaining on the trees into winter. Autumn foliage is yellow or red. This tree provides summer shade, nectar for butterflies and seeds for birds. Plant it in sun to dappled shade and limestone-based sand, loam or clay soil.
Plant the trees in sun to dappled shade and dry, limestone-stone based sand, loam or clay soil. They are both heat and cold tolerant. According to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, young trees benefit from sun protection.

Mexican Evening Primrose

Mexican evening primrose (Oenothera speciosa) is a perennial that's native to northeastern Mexico. Growing up to 18 inches high, it colonizes readily. While its name suggests otherwise, in northeastern Mexico, this plant's flowers open in the morning and close at dusk. This primrose has four-petaled, white or pink, cup-shaped blooms veined with red. Color becomes lighter the further north it grows. Flower are smaller in drought conditions. Blooming season begins in March. In Mexico it lasts as long as temperatures remain above freezing. Green leaves may become red in the fall. Mexican evening primrose won't bloom without full sun. Growing in any soil, it may go dormant in extended drought and re-sprout after rain. This plant is effective as a blooming ground cover for hot, open areas where few other plants are happy.

Autumn Sage

Autumn sage (Salvia greggii) grows as far south as San Luis Potosi in central Mexico. This mint-scented perennial shrub stands between 2 and 3 feet high. It's evergreen in the Mexican climate. Between spring and frost, its branches bear showy spikes of white, pink, red, orange or purple flowers. Blooming autumn sage is a hummingbird magnet. Planted in groups, these shrubs can be trimmed into striking low hedges. They are remarkably disease, pest and drought-resistant, and need no fertilizer once established. If you want a low-maintenance, high-performance Mexican native plant, this is it. Plant autumn sage in full sun and well-drained, dry, limestone-rich rocky soil. It also tolerates sand and loam. If your soil is clay, improve it with organic material and plant the shrubs on a slope to ensure adequate drainage. Autumn sage's flowers and leaves are edible. Fresh or dried leaves make tasty tea.

Garden Guides