Native & Adaptive Plants for Ellis County

Compiled by Ellis County Master Gardeners

This list of recommended native and adaptive plants for Ellis County is by no means complete.  There are many other natives that thrive in this area.  Most of the following plants are drought-tolerant, have a long bloom season, and feed hummingbirds, butterflies, and birds.

GRASSES AND GROUNDCOVERS

Common
Scientific
Buffalograss Buchloe dactyloides
Horseherb Calyptocarpus vialis
Frogfruit Phyla nudiflora

ANNUALS AND SHORT-LIVED PERENNIALS

Common
 Scientific
Texas Bluebell Eustoma grandiflorum
Ox-Eyed Daisy Chrysanthemum leucanthemum
Indian Blanket Gaillardia pulchella
Black-Eyed Susan Rudbeckia hirta
Bluebonnet Lupinus texensis
Cardinal Climber (Cypress Vine) Impomoea quamoclit

PERENNIAL FLOWERS FOR SUN

Common
  Scientific
Mexican Petunia Ruellia nudiflora or Ruellia brittoniana
Summer Phlox Phlox paniculata
Blackfoot Daisy Melampodium leucanthum
Wine Cup Callifhoe involucrate
Wild Blue Aster Aster spp.
Purple Coneflower Echinacea spp.
Turk’s Cap Malvaviscus arboreus var.drummondii
Butterfly Weed Asclepias tuberose
Four-Nerve Daisy Hymenoxys scaposa
Texas Star Hibiscus Hibiscus coccineus
Mealy Blue Sage Salvia farinacea
Zexmenia Wedelia hispida

PERENNIAL FLOWERS FOR SHADE                                                

Common
Scientific
Louisiana Iris  
Hinkley’s Columbine Aquilegia hinckleyana
Wild Red Columbine Aquilegia Canadensis
Obedient Plants Physostegia virginiana & Physostegia spp.
Inland Seaoats Chasmanthium latifolium
Pigeonberry Rivina humilis
Cedar Sage Salvia roemeriana

PERENNIAL VINES

Common
Scientific
Virginia Creeper Parthenocissus quinquefolia
Trumpet Vine Campsis radicans var. Madame Galen
Carolina Jessamine Gelsemium sempervirens
Coral Honeysuckle Lonicera sempervirens

SHRUBS

Common
Scientific
American Beautyberry Callicarpa Americana
Dwarf Southern Wax Myrtle Myrica pusilla
Gregg’s Salvia (Autumn Sage) Salvia greggii
Texas Sage (Cenizo) Leucophyllum frutescens
Flame Acanthus Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii
Lantana Lantana horrida

ORNAMENTAL TREES

Common
Scientific
Redbud Cercis Canadensis
Yaupon Holly Ilex vomitoria
Possumhaw Holly Ilex deciduas
Flame Leaf Sumac Rhus lanceolata
Mexican Plum Prunus mexicana
Sweet Bay Magnolia Magnolia virginiana
Texas Buckeye Aesculus pavia var. flavescens
Scarlet Buckeye Aesculus pavia
Desert Willow Chilopsis linearis

 Excellent sources for more information:  Native Texas Plants – Landscaping Region by Region by Sally Wasowski (Gulf Publishing Co.)

http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/ornamentals/natives

http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/ornamentals/nativeshrubs

Annuals for Ellis County Landscapes

Annuals complete their life cycles in one season from seed germination through growth, flowering, seed production, and death.  Annuals are referred to as cool season annuals or warm season annuals.
Cool Season Annuals – Planted October through December and again February through March
NAME SUN EXPOSURE HEIGHT, WIDTH (INCHES) NOTES
Alyssum

sun/part shade

2-6; 6-12

white or purple fragrant flowers; attracts butterflies; excellent border
*Bluebonnet

sun

12-24; 8-12

available in transplants or seed; blue, white, pink, or maroon flowers; plant in the fall in well-drained soil; Texas state flower;  Texas SuperStar®
Calendula

sun/part shade

8-18; 8-12

orange or yellow blooms; may freeze in N. Texas; edible flowers
Dianthus

sun/part shade

6-10; 6-12

single carnation flower in red, pink, and white; blooms nearly year-round; must be deadheaded; attracts butterflies; old fashioned garden pinks, carnations, and sweet William are similar, related annuals
Johnny jump-up

sun/part shade

6-12; 6-12

widely adapted and underused; can be seeded easily; miniature pansy flowers in purple, yellow, and blue; will re-seed itself
Kale/Cabbage (flowering)

sun

12-16; 10-12

ornamental foliage in white, green, purple, and red; edible; many new fancy-leafed varieties
*Larkspur

sun

24-36; 6-12

can be seeded easily in the fall and transplanted;  flowers in pink, purple, purple/blue, blue, and white;  ‘Pink Bunny Bloom’,  ‘Blue Bunny Bloom’, and the newest, ‘Rocket’,  are Texas Superstars®

*Plants designated as Texas SuperStar®  have been proven to be super-performing plants under Texas growing conditions.

NAME SUN EXPOSURE HEIGHT, WIDTH (INCHES) NOTES
Pansies

sun/part shade

6-10; 6-12

time tested hardy annual; old-fashioned “happy faces” type with colorful combinations of purple, yellow, maroon, and black; modern single-color varieties come in many colors.
Poppy

sun/part shade

24-36; 12-18

can be seeded easily or transplanted; good cut flower in red, pink, purple, and white; fancy carnation-form flower and simple peony type available; closely related Iceland and California poppies also adapted in Texas
Snapdragon

sun/part shade

6-24; 6-12

dramatic spike flower in all colors but blue; attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, shorter varieties are easier to grow; taller varieties have a longer bloom season
Stock

sun/part shade

12-24; 8-12

dense, spiked bloom, fragrant blooms in soft red, pink, and white
Sweet Pea

sun

24+-24

mounding or climbing vine; fragrant flowers in all colors; can be planted from seed easily
Viola

sun/part shade

6-8; 6-12

a smaller version of the pansy and larger than Johnny-jump-up; solid colors of yellow, white, purple, and blue
Torenias

sun or shade

12 inches by 24 inches

golden, white, purple, violet, blue , yellow flowers; plants can be lifted for winter bloom indoors
Warm Season Annuals – Planted outdoors in spring once danger of frost is past
NAME SUN EXPOSURE HEIGHT, WIDTH (INCHES) NOTES
Ageratum

sun

6-20; 8-20

good source of blue color; spider mite problem
Amaranthus or Joseph’s coat

sun

36-48; 12-18

brilliant foliage of reds, yellows, and greens
Baby’s breath

sun

24-24

quick flowering; mass of small flowers
Begonia

shade/sun

6-12; 6-12

sun tolerant new varieties available; flowers in red, pink, and white; bronze foliage on some varieties can take more sun
Caladium

shade/sun

18-20; 12-16

sun-tolerant varieties available; bold foliage, varieties of white or red/pink combined with green
*Caricature plant

full sun to dense shade

24-48

dark green to chocolate bronze foliage with white, cream, or pink centers; likes moist soil
Cockscomb or Celosia

sun

8-24; 8-12

crested and plume type flowers in red, pink, orange, yellow, and purple
*Coleus

sun to shade

24-36; 12-18

grown for its many different colors of foliage; many new varieties are sun tolerant; ‘Plum Parfait’ and ‘Burgundy Sun’ are super-sun coleus and Texas SuperStars®
Copper plant

sun

24-36; 24-30

large plant with bold, multicolored foliage of copper, maroon, bronze, green, and cream
Cornflower

sun

24-36; 12-15

blooms pink, blue, white; attracts butterflies and seed eating birds;  easily grown from seed; self-sows eagerly
Cosmos

sun

18-36; 12-24

can be seeded or transplanted; wide variety of flower colors in red, pink, orange, yellow, and mixtures

*Plants designated as Texas SuperStar®  have been proven to be super-performing plants under Texas growing conditions.

NAME SUN EXPOSURE HEIGHT, WIDTH (INCHES) NOTES
Cypress vine

sun

vine

fernlike leaves; colorful flowers; attracts butterflies and hummingbirds
*Fan flower or Scaevola     

full sun to part shade

6-8; 12-18

blue, purple, pink, and white fan shaped flowers; superior in containers or baskets where the stems are allowed to cascade over the rim; ‘New Wonder’ is a Texas SuperStar®
*Firebush or Hamelia

sun

18-30; 12-18

Scarlet red, tubular blossoms with deep red throats; foliage turns blood red in the fall; attracts hummingbirds
*Firecracker Jatophra

full sun to part shade

36-60; 36-48

spectacular in bloom with glossy leaves and clusters of star-shaped bright scarlet or vermillion flowers; attracts butterflies and hummingbirds
Four o’clock

sun to part shade

20-26; 20-36

bright flowers; open in evening; pleasant scent; can be a pest
Geranium

part shade

12-18; 12-18

red, pink, or white flowers; needs shade to endure summer; attracts butterflies
Globe amaranth or Gomphrena

sun

8-24; 12-24

red, purple; attractive cut or dried flowers
*Gold Star Esperanza

sun

36-48; 24-36

yellow bell-shaped flowers; butterflies and hummingbirds relish the nectar;  to promote new blooms  remove the seed pods or leave them for the birds
Impatiens

part shade/ shade

12-24; 12-16

brightly colored flowers in red, pink, salmon, white; sensitive to salty irrigation water; best in containers; New Guinea impatiens also available
Love-in-a-Mist

sun

14-18;  8-12

sow seeds in the fall for early spring bloom; blooms in blue, white, and rose; dies out and re-seeds in hot weather
*Marigold (Mari-mum)

sun/part shade

12-24; 8-12

simple or pompom flowers of yellow and orange; performs particularly well in late summer to fall; spider mites often a problem; Mari-mum, a fall bloomer, is a Texas SuperStar®
Mexican heather

sun/part shade

12-24; 10-12

tiny purple blooms and fine textured green foliage; sometimes perennial in  zone 8A; tropical look for a pool

 

NAME SUN EXPOSURE HEIGHT, WIDTH (INCHES) NOTES
Moon vine or Moonflower

sun/part shade

36+; 24

fast growing vine with large, fragrant, white tubular flowers; blooms  after sundown and  into the night
Morning glory

sun

36+; 24

fast growing vine with large purple or white tubular blooms
Nasturtium

full sun to afternoon shade

8-15; 12-18

trailing;  likes cool weather; re-seeding; edible flowers and leaves; attracts hummingbirds
Nicotiana or flowering tobacco

sun/ part shade

18-30; 6-12

tall flower adds height to the garden; star-shaped flowers in white, pink, maroon, lavender, green, red, and yellow; wonderful evening fragrance
*Ornamental peppers

sun

12-36; 12-24

unusual, striking plant; some peppers resemble Christmas light, others – black pearls; ‘NuMex Twilight’ is a Texas SuperStar® with white blooms becoming  purple peppers and maturing to red (hot but edible)
*Penta

sun to part shade

12-48; 10-15

attracts butterflies and hummingbirds; blooms in red, pink, lavender, cranberry, white, and violet; ‘Butterfly Deep Pink’ is a Texas SuperStar®
*Petunia

sun

6-8; 12-24

several types based on bloom size; withstands some frost; Wave and Carpet series is heat tolerant; ‘Laura Bush’, ‘Tidal Wave Silver’ and ‘Tidal Wave Cherry’ are Texas SuperStars®
Pineapple sage

sun to part shade

24-48; 18-24

scarlet red flowers for the hummingbirds; leaves have the aroma of crushed pineapple; young, tender leaves can be used for flavoring; may survive as a perennial if mulched well
Portulaca or      Moss rose

sun

6-8; 6-12

excellent heat tolerance; prolific bloomer in all colors but blue
*Purslane

sun

6-8; 6-12

excellent heat tolerance; prolific bloomer in all colors but blue; only problem is it blooms from midmorning until late afternoon; ‘Large-Flowered Purslane’ is a Texas SuperStar®

*Plants designated as Texas SuperStar®  have been proven to be super-performing plants under Texas growing conditions.

NAME SUN EXPOSURE HEIGHT, WIDTH (INCHES) NOTES
Salvia

part shade/shade

12-18; 8-12

spike bloom in red, pink, purple, and white; will not tolerate summer heat without shade; not be confused with native perennial salvias
Spider flower (Cleome)

sun to part shade

24-48; 12-24

nectar source for butterflies, moths, hummingbirds; blooms in white, pink, violet; grown easily from seed; re-seeds
Sunflower

sun

2 to 10 ft;              18-24

easily grown from seed; new varieties ranging from tall plants with single mammoth flower to shorter plants with masses of flowers; wide range of colors and fancy-form flowers in red, yellow, orange, brown, and multicolor
*Thyrallis or Shower-of-Gold

full sun to very light shade

24-36; 24-36

spikes of bright, yellow flowers; tolerates summer heat in patio container
Torenia or Wishbone flower

sun to shade depending on series

8-12; 18-36

bi-color flowers in blues, pink, rose, violet, burgundy and plum;  ‘Summer Wave’ series makes great groundcover and outstanding in hanging baskets;
*Variegated Tapioca or Manihot

full sun to part sun; more colorful in full sun

36-48; 24-36

non-blooming plant grown for its leaves that form chartreuse/yellow pattern;  clean plant with tropical look for the pool area
Verbena

sun

6-12; 8-12

heat tolerant groundcover; flowers in all colors but blue; annual form is not as tough as native perennial verbenas
*Vinca

sun

12-24; 12-24

many colors; excellent heat tolerance; aerial blight problem; ‘Cora’ and ‘Nirvana’ Texas SuperStars® are new and improved varieties resistant to disease
Zinnia

Sun

6-36; 6-36

easily grown from seed; plant multiple times from spring to late summer; old-fashioned simple and pompom blooms and newer daisy-type blooms; heat tolerant; blooms in all colors but blue; must be deadheaded for continual bloom; attracts butterflies

 

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