Texas is a big state. Therefore, it might not surprise you that instead of one state flower, it has five! All five are species of bluebonnet, which means you don't have to worry about memorizing five names. It also means that if you need ideas for your spring garden, you have one species to start with.
But as a gardener in Houston, you probably want to diversify your collection beyond one species. Fortunately, thanks to the mild climate and seasonal weather patterns, creating a beautiful, varied garden is easy. Although there are different climate patterns throughout the state, summers are typically long, hot, and dry. Winters are mild. In most places, snowfall is rare. The warmest month, on average, is August. Average highs in August range between 75°F and 93°F. The coolest month is January when daytime highs range between 45°F and 65°F.
Planting for the Weather
While these weather patterns are fairly predictable and give you some certainty in planting your garden, the state is subject to periodic bouts of foul weather and intense storms. In the arid desert region of western Texas, the risk of forest fires significantly increases between June and August. There is very little rainfall (on average less than nine inches) during the summer months. Hardy species like cacti thrive in this part of the state. Poppy, yarrow, stonecrop, and wooly thyme are beautiful fire-resistant flowers. Raspberry, rose, honeysuckle and Russian sage are fire-resistant shrubs, while fire-resistant trees include maple, honeylocust, cherry, and black oak. Since black oak is also drought-tolerant, it can survive summers with little rainfall. The southern and eastern parts of the state, in contrast, get considerably higher amounts of annual rainfall. In the east, rainfall totals average 37 inches per year. In the south, that number nearly doubles. Beautiful plants that tolerate copious amounts of rainfall include fern, iris, and phlox.
Local Climate in Houston
Houston sits in an area covered by a gulf coastal plain. The landscape in and around the city is primarily flat and dominated by marshland. Snow is uncommon, but the region is subject to hurricanes, intense thunderstorms, and tornadoes. Since temperatures rarely drop low enough for a frost or freeze, it's generally safe to keep plants outside year-round. Therefore, decorative trees and plants, including citrus trees, do well living outside in Texas.
In addition to planting a garden based on weather trends and climate, you can also create a garden based on native species. There are over a dozen indigenous, picturesque species in the Houston area alone that are uniquely adapted to the local climate. Whether you want to create a stunning bouquet, attract pollinators, or impress your neighbors, these plants do it all.
The coneflower resembles a daisy with its cone-shaped center. However, coneflower is distinct for its beautiful lavender-colored petals. If you get impatient waiting for the first colors of spring to arrive, this early bloomer is a good choice. The first buds emerge in early spring, and a full bloom lasts through August. Along with adding color to your garden, coneflower is a pollinator that attracts butterflies and bees.
With bright colors that stand out against soil and grass, the yellow-orange blossoms on this native flower are especially striking. Since this flower thrives in moist soil, it's a perfect choice for the marshy conditions in Houston. Texas Lantana, like the coneflower, blossoms from spring through summer. It's also a great choice of flower for attracting the pollinators. If deer are a problem in your neighborhood, Texas Lantana is one of the best options for keeping deer away.
With its tall, red or pink blooms that emerge in late spring, autumn sage is a feast for the eyes. And with an enticing supply of nectar, it's also a plant that draws hummingbirds. Autumn sage is a good option for enduring a long, hot summer, as it has a high level of drought resistance. It is a sun-loving plant too, and therefore suitable for gardens that get little or no shade.
Texas Olive Blossoms
Vivid colors are indeed lovely to have in a garden. But sometimes, a beautiful white looks just as impressive. Lush, velvety blooms appear around a pale yellow center, which makes for a dramatic summertime garden. By the end of the summer, you'll also be in for another surprise, which is a purple fruit that the plant produces.
Indian blanket, or Firewheel, is a glorious flower with alternating red, yellow, and orange blooms. An interesting fact about Firewheel is that it is a self-propagating flower. Every year, it returns to a brilliant full bloom. Along with adding brilliant color to your garden, it's also a flower that attracts pollinators, namely butterflies.
Gulf Coast Penstemon
If pretty petals are what you're after, the Gulf Coast penstemon is a good option. This flower produces delicate light purple blooms. The center is deep, and each stem produces clusters of colorful blossoms. In addition to drawing your eye, this stunning flower is another one that provides nectar for hummingbirds. If you put this flower in your garden, you'll enjoy its beautiful blooms from spring through fall.
While many flowers in your garden last seasonally, beautyberry is deciduous. This means it grows throughout the year. This native species is technically a shrub and is a bit hardier than other species you might plant in your garden. Beautyberry thrives in the shade, but it can also do well in the sun if it gets sufficient water. Since it can grow tall (six feet), beautyberry should be trimmed if you don't want unkempt shrubs.
With its warm, mild climate, Texas is a perfect place for starting a magnificent garden. And with many beautiful native flowers that are adapted to the local climate, you have many fine options for a garden. And with a diverse range of shade-loving and sun-loving plants, there are native flowers for every Houston neighborhood. Don't have the time or the energy to do you Houston gardening? Try Lawn Love's professional gardening services today.