There are certain Texas perennials that are much hardier than others, and they can really make or break your landscape design when you put them in. This is why it’s so important to pick out hardy and pretty plants that will come back year after year, and we’ve rounded up the best Texas perennials for both north and south Texas on this list. Our 37 picks can add texture, color, and welcome height to any space, no matter which landscape design you pick out.
1. Bee Balm
Bee balm is one Texas perennial that can easily reach up to three feet high at full maturity. It produces bright pink blooms, and it’s a great way to attract pollinators to your garden during the summer months when the blooms are really prominent. It does very well planted in an area that gets full sun, but you may want to give it a little shade during the hottest portion of the afternoon to keep it healthy.
2. Belinda’s Dream Rose
Growing best in zones five to nine, this Texas perennial is one of the first plants to get the Texas Superstar rating. So, it’s one of the best flowering rose plants that requires the smallest amount of care from you to thrive. It’s a very beginner-friendly plant, and it will get roughly three feet wide by four feet tall. The fragrant blossoms are in hues of pink, and they are 100% double with a petal count that easily reaches over 100. The blue-green colored foliage gives you a lovely background to highlight the blooms all spring and summer long, and they’re great to fill in bare spaces in your yard.
3. Bird of Paradise
Birds of Paradise are larger plants that have banana-shaped leaves that add a tropical twist to any garden. This is a very hardy plant that does well in most soil types and amounts of sunlight. It can grow in full shade to direct, full sunlight without burning, and it won’t tolerate wet feet for extended periods of time. It thrives when the humidity levels are higher, and the temperatures should range between 65°F and 80°F.
4. Black-Eyed Susan
If you like how the daisy looks in your garden, the Black-Eyed Susan is one Texas perennial that offers the same types of blooms, but they have color variants. The blooms are a golden color with a darker black center that contrasts nicely and stands out. It grows best when you plant it in full sun, but a slight amount of shade will be good for it during the hottest parts of the afternoon.
5. Blackfoot Daisy
The Blackfoot Daisy is a mounded perennial that is basically the flowers you drew in art class. They have flat, large petals with lemon-yellow centers, and they create a cheerful look. Blackfoot daisies are highly prized for the classic look and the honey-scented flowers they produce. The growth pattern is busy and low, and this makes them a great filler for smaller areas that need a touch of color and light.
6. Blue Princess Verbena
Growing from zones 7b to 10, Blue Princess Verbena thrives in the hottest areas of Texas. Most people make the mistake of babying this Texas perennial, but it can thrive if you plant it in the best-drained, sunniest spot in your garden or landscape. It won’t bloom as prolifically if it gets less sunlight, and you can’t be afraid to prune it back. After the first round of lavender blooms, you want to give the plant a haircut. Pruning will encourage growth of another round of flowers and prevent the plants from being unkempt-looking and lanky. It tops out at roughly a foot tall.
7. Cape Plumbago
Cape Plumbago grows best in zones 8 to 11, and the common name for this plant is the Sky Flower because the blooms are an eye-catching blue. This is a tender Texas perennial that loves the heat, and it’ll flower from early May until the first frost of the season. The flowers look like phlox, and they work wonderfully to help attract all types of butterflies. Deer tend to avoid this plant. You can leave it to sprawl out as a groundcover or fall over a wall. It responds very well to pruning, and you can keep it in a neater mounded form or train it to climb up a trellis. It is best planted in sandy, light soil with excellent drainage as it won’t tolerate wet feet well.
Carnations are pretty death or mourning flowers, and they’re a Texas perennial that is very low-maintenance. They’re known as the “flowers of the God,” and they come in a huge range of colors and patterns that range from yellow and white to pink and red. Loamy, sandy soil is best for this option, but make sure that you avoid overwatering it, especially if you’re growing it in more intense heat.
9. Coral Bells
This pretty purple Texas perennial will look fantastic in a rock garden, and it also comes in shades of white, coral, red, and pink. The blooms attract hummingbirds and butterflies to the space, and it grows best planted in loamy soil under full sun, but it can also tolerate partial shade without any issues. It may not bloom as prolifically though in shade as in sun. This plant will get roughly 12 to 18 inches high at full maturity.
10. Deciduous Holly
Deciduous Holly grows best in zones five to nine, and it’s a small, pretty native tree that is easy to grow while offering an extended interest period during the year. It’s a fairly adaptable Texas perennial, and it prefers acidic, moist soil in sun or partial shade. The small white flowers it has aren’t the main attraction, but the reddish-orange berries the female plants produce are very eye-catching. After the foliage drops in the fall, the gray, slim branches get covered in berries that last well into the winter weather. This is a pretty choice if you want to welcome birds and other wildlife into your garden. You’ll need both a female and male plant to ensure you have berries.
11. Dwarf Mexican Petunia
Violet-blue, trumpet-shaped flowers appear on the tips of one-foot stems that are very eye-catching due to the hordes of butterflies they attract. Dwarf Mexican Petunia grows best in zones 8 to 11, and as it completes the first flowering cycle, you want to cut it back to help encourage another round of flowers. This is a very adaptable plant that will tolerate dry and wet soil without any problems, and it prefers full sun but can tolerate partial shade. It produces less flowers in lower lighting conditions, so this is something to keep in mind. The dwarf variety is much less aggressive as it grows than the normal-sized plant, and it’s a nice choice to give you a full season of color.
12. Fall Aster
As the name suggests, Fall Aster blooms in the fall months from late in September until the first frost. It grows in a mounded habit that is roughly one to two feet tall and two to three feet wide. It produces violet-blue, medium-sized flowers. Fall Aster likes to be in sunny spaces, and it’s very tolerant to drought. This Texas perennial is very pest and disease-resistant, and you want to thin it regularly to control the spread and make it easier to divide.
Firebush shrub is one that offers red to bright orange flowers that bloom from early in the spring until well into the fall. You see it growing mostly in zones 8 to 11, and this Texas perennial won’t tolerate the cold very well. It gets between four and five feet high, and it requires full sun to grow and produce the flowers. You want to shield it from the wind as high winds can damage it.
14. Grandma’s Yellow Rose
As the name suggests, this yellow rose offers a deep yellow and very fragrant blooms that come back again and again from spring until the first hard frost of the season. It tops out at three feet wide and four to five feet tall, and it’s great for filling in spaces in your garden. It requires sunshine, and you want to give it a minimum of six hours of sun each day to encourage healthy growth. Watering regularly is also very important for this Texas perennial, and it makes stunning cut flowers. This rose is hardy in zones six to nine, but you want to give it additional protection during the winter months.
15. Henry Duelberg Salvia
Henry Duelberg Salvia is a gorgeous plant that is native to Texas, and it’s very easy to grow. It is best planted in zones seven to nine, and it attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. As a bonus, it’s an extremely drought-tolerant plant that doesn’t attract deer. It gets between two and three feet tall at full maturity, and it produces flower spikes that are a foot long with purplish-blue, dark-colored flowers. Cutting the spikes back after the flowers die off is a great way to encourage another blooming cycle, and it can bloom all season. Once this plant establishes, it is very drought and heat-tolerant. It doesn’t like wet feet, and it’s great for beginner and veteran gardeners.
16. John Fanick Phlox
Named after a nurseryman from San Antonio, this Texas perennial grows best in zones four to nine, and it’s a pretty bi-color plant with pink and lavender blossoms. The foliage has a very waxy texture to it that helps to discourage powdery mildew growth, and this is a disease the other phlox types have problems with. It has a slightly more compact form, and it gets roughly two feet wide by three feet tall, and it’s perfect for the middle or back of a perennial border. It works well combined with salvia, and it makes a very pretty cut flower. It tolerates humidity and heat well, and you want to put it in well-drained but moderately fertile soil in partial shade to full sun.
17. Lacy Oak
The debate is raging about the correct name for this native Texas tree, but the common name is the Lacy oak. This is a much smaller tree that tops out at 25 to 35 feet tall and wide, and this makes it the perfect scale for residential gardens. It makes a very nice shade tree, and it’s perfect for a garden full of Texas perennials. Although you can grow in east Texas without running into any huge issues, it’s best planted in west Texas in Hill County. It’s very tolerant to drought, heat, and higher pH levels in the soil once it establishes.
18. Lenten Rose
This plant blooms during Lent each year, and this is where the name comes from. It produces rose-like flowers that are red, purple, yellow, pink, lavender, or blue. This plant does require soil that is very nutrient-rich to thrive, and it should also drain well between watering sessions. It grows in partial shade and requires a decent amount of water to thrive.
19. Lord Baltimore Hibiscus
Growing best in zones five to nine, this gorgeous Texas perennial produces bright scarlet flowers that are an impressive 10-inches wide. They also bloom for a very extended period each year from July until the first frost. Once they establish, this tropical plant gives you years of color with little maintenance. It’s versatile enough to go in decorative pots, hummingbird or butterfly gardens, or in a perennial border. You’ll often see this hibiscus plant growing near ponds because it adores moist soil, and it can get up to five feet wide and tall at full maturity. The plants die back to the ground in the winter before regrowing in the spring.
20. Lowery’s Legacy Cenizo
We picked this Texas perennial for the list because it flowers so often and so profusely in the right environment. It grows best in zones 8 to 11, and it acts like a slow-growing woody shrub that will get roughly five feet tall. It offers pretty silvery foliage that creates a nice contrast for any dark green shrubs you have around it. The bell-shaped, violet-blue flowers stand out against the silver foliage very nicely, and many people compare it to Texas sage. However, it’s less dependent on the humidity changes to produce flowers, and it usually blooms more often. This sun-loving plant doesn’t like wet feet, so be careful to not overwater and plant it in well-draining soil.
21. Marshmallow Hibiscus
Marshmallow hibiscus can be white or pink in color with a maroon center that resembles an eye. The blooms usually span between 6 and 10 inches across, and the plant can get up to eight feet tall. It can do well in partial sunlight to full sun, and it adapts very nicely to a range of soils. So, this makes it a nice beginner plant.
22. Mexican Bush Sage
This large Texas perennial is a bush that doesn’t need a lot of care from you, and this makes it ideal for the hotter temperatures during the summer in Texas. Mexican Bush Sage is a very hardy plant that can survive in full sun as well as partial shade. It’s very tolerant to drought too, and it generally doesn’t need a lot of water to thrive, including in intense heat waves. It grows best planted in well-drained soil in an area that gets good air circulation.
23. Mexican Heather
This plant produces very dainty-looking white or pink flowers, but it’s one of the hardiest Texas perennials you can find in this area. It gets roughly 10 to 18 inches tall at full maturity, and it can withstand the hot summer months with some frost during the colder months of the year. Sandy soil and partial shade are great for this plant.
24. Mexican Honeysuckle
Mexican Honeysuckle is a Texas perennial that offers red to orange-hued flowers. It can get between three and six feet high, and you need to plant it in a space in your garden or yard that gets partial to full sun, well-drained soil, and average water. Any parts of your plant that aren’t growing as well as you’d like should get pruned to promote new growth.
25. Mexican Petunia
Mexican Petunias are a Texas perennial that can tolerate high amounts of shade and heat without a problem. The flowers are purple, andthe more heat you expose them to, the more the stem will switch to a purple coloring. In the shade, the stems keep the green color. This is a drought-tolerant plant that doesn’t require a huge amount of water, and it will grow in any soil.
26. Mystic Spires Blue Salvia
Growing on zones 7 to 11, Mystic Spires Blue Salvia is a hybrid Texas perennial that maintains a nicely compact form with a huge amount of blooms. You’ll get a lot of flowers touched with silver coloring all season, and they mix nicely with other perennials and annuals in a border. It’s tolerant of humidity and heat, and diseases or pests rarely bother it. This perennial is also not attractive to deer. Too much fertilizer can kill the plant, so fertilize it sparingly, and cut it back to roughly a foot tall after the first frost.
27. Oxblood Lily
Oxblood Lilies are a very hardy Texas perennial that has bright pink and red flowers that can help brighten up your garden during the fall months. This lily is native to Argentina and Uruguay, so it’s a plant that is very used to a lack of water and heat that you can get growing it in Texas. It grows best planted in a space that gets ample sunlight during the day and partial shade in the afternoon.
Phlox is a very easy to manage Texas perennial that can attract butterflies and birds to your garden or yard. It grows well planted in loamy soil that drains very well after you water it, and it can survive in full sun, full shade, partial shade, or partial sun. Phlox has a blooming season that happens during the spring and summer months, and the flowers are white, blue, red, pink, and purple.
Plumbago is a Texas native that is a profuse bloomer with a quick growth habit, and you’ll get bright blue flowers that attract butterflies. They handle humidity and heat well, and this makes them a good perennial for the northern part of Texas. You should prune this plant a few times during the growing season to encourage more flower production, and you want to fertilize them using acid-based products like hibiscus food. Plant them in very rich soil with organic matter, and it’s a great filler plant or to use as a spiller over a wall.
30. Purple Fountain Grass
Purple Fountain Grass is an ornamental grass that produces spider-like, spiked foliage that is purple to burgundy in color. This is a one Texas perennial that prefers to be in acidic to neutral soil that drains very well after you water it. It will grow in slight shade or full sun, and it blooms throughout the month of July. When the plant is fully mature, it can easily reach or exceed five feet tall.
31. Salvia Greggii
Also called Autumn Sage, this Texas perennial is actually an evergreen shrub that is a popular choice for gardens and lawns throughout the southwest. The foliage on this plant is slightly aromatic, and it keeps the medium-green, soft color all year-round. The fragrant flowers on this plant attract hummingbirds, and they are available in a huge range of bright flowers. They resist insects, heat, drought, and diseases too. This makes them a very low-maintenance choice.
Skullcap is a Texas perennial that is part of the mint family, and it gets the name from the fuschia-colored flowers that look like a medieval cap men wore. It gets between 8 and 12 inches high, and it’s a great plant for groundcover or edging. Primrose or Skullcap will flower from May to November, and you want to prune it in the early spring months. It does best in soil that drains well, and it has very low water needs once it establishes.
33. Society Garlic
Technically classed as a shrub, herb, or groundcover, this Texas perennial is a very attractive addition to your space. It grows roughly two feet high, and it produces small clusters of star-shaped, lavender flowers. Society Garlic gets the name from the idea that you can eat it without getting garlic breath. The flowers are very fragrant when they bloom, and both the foliage and the petals are edible.
34. Texas Gold Columbine
Hinckley columbine is very rare to see in the wild, and it’s native to only one area of Texas. So, Texas Gold Columbine is a very rare Texas perennial that offers buttercup-yellow flowers with attractive, long spurs with fern-like foliage. The bright blooms work well in a shady border in your garden, and it can be a short-lived perennial that reseeds itself if you let the seedlings grow. It gets between two and three feet tall at full maturity, and it prefers to be in partial shade with a well-drained soil that you keep moderately moist. It can also tolerate some heat in zones five to eight.
35. Texas Rock Rose
The Texas Rock Rose offers hibiscus-shaped flowers that are pink and small. It’s a very popular accent plant, and it gets between 1.5 and 4 feet tall. It’s not picky about the soil type and it’s tolerant to drought. This is a perennial rose bush that will bloom in early spring until late fall. You want to add a layer of mulch to protect this plant through the winter, and you can prune it to keep it more compact.
36. Turk’s Cap
Turk’s Cap grows in zones 7b to 11, and it’s native to the southern portion of Texas. In this area, it’s a perennial that makes a great ornamental plant for shaded areas. The flowers look a lot like hibiscus, but they never open fully to give them the look of small turbans. The flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies, and they appear in shades of white, pink, and red. This is a fast-growing shrub that gets between three and six feet wide and high. It’s not hardy in northern planting zones, but you can use it as an annual in these locations. Once it’s established, it tolerates drought nicely.
The final Texas perennial on the list is Yarrow, and this is a plant that produces tiny flowers in shades of yellow, pink, red, or white. The flowers work well to attract butterflies, and since this plant can get between two and four feet tall, it makes a nice groundcover. They grow well in sandy soil and full sun, so this makes Texas perfect for them.
We outlined 37 pretty and hardy Texas perennials that grow in the Northern and Southern portions of the state. You can take this list and decide which plants are going to work best to fill in your landscape or garden design and offer pops of color and texture all season long.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.