Here Are The Best Plants For Your Plano, TX Garden

So you’ve got an area in mind to plant an ornamental tree, flower or shrub. Maybe you just want something that will give you amazing color… now, and will last. First you need to decide what that perfect plant is to you! This guide is a quick rundown on some of our best ornamental trees and shrubs and flowers for North Texas, with eventual growing sizes, maintenance, and planting tips to get the best out of your new plants. We have installed thousands of plants from varieties of different plants, and each have some look or function that makes it different, but if you want a low maintenance plant that will give you a great look and not require lots of long-term maintenance, that’s what we will be showing you today. Below you will find organized sections of plants that do best in sunshine versus plants that do best in shade. 

Plano Landscaping Company is always here to help you make you landscape beautiful. Give us a call at 214-624-6011

Table Of Contents

Best Plants For Sunlight

Best Ornamentals For Sunlight

Hollies

There are many types of shorter holly that are beautiful and tough as nails! Excellent examples include dwarf Burford, dwarf Yaupon, and needlepoint hollies.

Junipers

Very good for full sun plantings in low irrigation areas, junipers come in a vast array of sizes, but of particular note are the carpeting junipers, like Blue Pacific and Green Mound – ground hugging junipers that drape over walls and edges with interesting textures.

Texas sage

Great for especially dry areas; once well established, it’s fine with just our normal rainfall throughout the year. 4-5’Tx4-5’W, the plant will bloom beautiful lavender/pink blooms after natural rainfalls in the late spring and through the summertime.

Nandinas

Tough plants! Ranging in size from 1.5′ tall all the way to 6’+. Great fall and winter red color during the colder weather, and many of the newer types show pink and red new growth throughout the year.

Sunshine Ligustrum

An ideal low-growing hedge plant,“Sunshine” ligustrum grows to 3-4’ tall x 3-4’ wide and really stands out in the landscape. Bright golden foliage on a sterile, non-flowering plant.

Indian hawthorn (disease resistant types only)

 From 2’T to 10’T, Indian hawthorn bloom soft pink or white bloom clusters in the earliest part of the spring. Not all Indian hawthorns are equal – plant the most disease resistant varieties for our area only, such as Olivia, Eleanor Taber, and Georgia Petite.

Ornamental grasses

Ornamental grasses (many types) – not a shrub, but shrub-sized! There are a huge number of ornamental grasses used in our landscapes that range in size from as short as 1′ tall to as high as 10′, meaning that we use them like shrubs. Most of the grasses we use are perennial and drought resistant when established. Use grasses to add motion and flow to an area – the grass blades move nicely in the breeze. Notable types we recommend: dwarf ‘Hameln’ fountain grass (2-3’T), ‘Adagio’ dwarf maiden grass (3-4’T), and “Ivory Feathers” dwarf pampas (4′-6’T).

Purple Diamond loropetalum

This plant shows good purple color probably nine months out of the year, and at least a modest amount of purplish color year ’round. At 4’Tx4’W, Purple Diamond isn’t huge like the original purple Loropetalum variety sold in our area.

Crape Myrtle

 It’s listed again, because it’s still 3-4 months of beautiful summertime blooming. Weeping and dwarf crapemyrtles grow anywhere from 18″ tall to six feet, best for full sunshine.

Yews (Japanese & other types)

These guys are shade tolerant and a beautiful addition to your landscape. Available in a variety of different sizes. Japanese yew has foliage that looks like nothing else that grows in our area. It will remind you of plants growing around the Pacific Northwest. 

Best Flowers For Sunlight

'Texas Gold' Columbine 

Hinckley columbine is native to only one place in Texas and is very rare in the wild. ‘Texas Gold’ (Aquilegia chrysantha var. hinckleyana ‘Texas Gold’), a selection of this rare plant, has buttercup-yellow flowers with long, attractive spurs and fernlike foliage. The bright blossoms light up a shady border. Columbine can be a short-lived perennial but will reseed itself if you let the seedlings grow. ‘Texas Gold’ reaches 2-3 feet tall. It prefers well-drained soil, part shade, and adequate moisture, though it will tolerate some heat. Zones 5-8

Dianthus

You can get dianthus in a variety of color shades including white, pink, purple, red, lavender and many more. It can do well in sun exposure areas with full partial sun and it can also be perfect for fresh cut flower arrangements. Besides being a great flower to plant in North Texas, it can also be considered as a perennial flower in some other areas of Texas. They can be best used in a number of areas such as flower beds, containers, rock gardens, and borders in North Texas.

Dwarf Mexican Petunia

These light lavender flowers grow on clumps of dark-green foliage. The Mexican petunia likes full sun, but will grow in part sun, especially with a little afternoon shade. However, the more shade the plant has, the fewer flowers it typically produces. 

Homestead Verbena

These are vividly purple, two-inch clusters on trailing, dark-green foliage which can make it a nice ground cover within a landscape bed. It grows 6 to 10 inches tall and spreads to about 3 feet. 

Black Eyed Susan

Similar to daisies, this native plant is beautiful indoors and out. Black-Eyed Susans get their name from their prominent dark centers. The flowers are most often a golden yellow, but some types have flowers in shades of orange and red.  

Pincushion Flower

Just like it’s name, these flowers resemble a pin cushion in colors of purple, lavender, pink or white. Scabiosa varieties grow to about 18 or 24 inches tall. These durable plants look great in rock gardens or as borders.

Autumn Sage

Autumn Sage is not just for the fall. It will keep blooming in colors of red, purple, lavender, fuchsia or white blooms throughout the summer and into autumn.  

Victoria Blue Sage, Mealy-Cup Sage

This species is Texas native favorite and easy to grow. It has beautiful blue flowers with lots of depth and grows to 1 or 2 feet tall.  

Stella De Oro Daylily

Smaller than standard daylilies, they bloom abundantly into early fall. The foot-high foliage is evergreen; the plants can be used in borders, beds, and containers. 

Pink Skullcap

The rosy red flowers look a bit like snapdragons and are plentiful from now to fall. The plant only grows to about 8 inches tall, but cut it back occasionally to keep the foliage full. 

Blackfoot Daisy

Drought-tolerant Blackfoot Daisy (Melampodium leucanthum) is a must for any Collin County garden. The Texas native is a charmer with honey scented, daisy-like flowers that are white with yellow centers and blooms from March through November. This prolific perennial doesn’t like “wet feet” so plant in full sun in an area with good drainage. It grows to no more than about a foot tall and is a good choice for rock gardens or to mix into a perennial bed. It needs well-draining soil. Attracts honeybees and butterflies.

'New Gold' Lantana

There are lots of choices of color for the Lantana, but New Gold Lantana is the best for the Plano, TX area. The gold-yellow flowers will hold up strongly from spring to fall.  

Turk’s Cap

Turk’s Cap (Malvaviscus arboreous var. drummondii), so called because its spiraled petals resemble a turban, is one of the best flowering perennials for shade gardens in our area. The Texas native sports bright red flowers from May through November, attracting hummingbirds and butterflies throughout the season. Turk’s Cap is drought tolerant and withstands our extreme summer temperatures. Pink and white cultivars are also available.

Esperanza ‘Gold Star’

Heat-loving Esperanza ‘Gold Star’ (Tecoma stans ‘Gold Star’) adds a tropical look to the summer garden, producing striking yellow, trumpet-shaped flowers non-stop from spring until frost. The lightly fragrant blossoms are a favorite of butterflies who are drawn to its sweet nectar. Considered an annual in North Texas, plant this Texas Superstar™ winner in containers in a sunny location around the pool or patio.

Hibiscus ‘Moy Grande’

A Texas Superstar™ perennial or hardy Hibiscus ‘Moy Grande’ (Hibiscus sp) may boast the largest, showiest flowers on earth! Its giant rose-pink blooms measure 12-inches across, and bring splashes of bold color to the landscape from early June through September. The dinner plate size blooms last only one day with several blooms at a time. ‘Moy Grande’ grows to five feet tall and wide, and will light up the garden every day.

Scabosia ‘Butterfly Blue’

If you love butterflies, be sure to plant Scabosia (Scabosia columbaria) in your garden. Also known as Pincushion flower, this long-blooming perennial is a butterfly magnet! The showy, lavender-blue flowers look like a pin cushion surrounded by pretty frilly petals. It prefers full sun, but will tolerate partial shade. Pair with its pink companion, Scabosia ‘Pink Mist,’ for a pretty look.

Cross Vine

Dress up an arbor or pergola with Cross Vine (Bignonia caprolata). This vigorous, semi-evergreen climber features bold orange-red trumpet shaped flowers and blooms all summer. Hummingbirds find this native perennial irresistible, and the tiny birds flock to it for its rich nectar as soon as the flowers open. ‘Tangerine Beauty’ has striking orange blossoms with a yellow throat.

'Mystic Spires Blue' Salvia
'Lord Baltimore' Hibiscus

Who says native plants aren’t well-behaved and gorgeous? ‘Lord Baltimore’ hibiscus has enormous 10-foot-wide, bright scarlet flowers, and they bloom for an extended period—from July until frost. Once established, this tropical-looking perennial provides years of color. It is versatile enough to use in large decorative pots, in a perennial border, or in butterfly and hummingbird gardens. You’ll often see ‘Lord Baltimore’ growing near ponds because it loves moist soil. Growing to about 5 feet tall and wide, the plants die back to the ground in winter but regrows quickly each spring. Zones 5-9

'Henry Duelberg' Salvia
Lacey Oak Tree

Some debate continues about the correct botanical name of this Texas native, but the common name is the same: lacey oak (Quercus laceyi, syn. Quercus glaucoides). A smaller oak, it reaches just 25-35 feet tall and wide, making it more in scale with residential gardens. The tree has a beautiful habit, resembling a miniature white oak. It makes a lovely shade tree and is also perfect in a garden of native Texas plants. Although lacey oak can be grown in east Texas, it is best adapted to the Hill Country and cultivated settings in west Texas. Lacey oak is highly tolerant of heat, drought, and high pH soils, once established. Zones 7-9

Cape Plumbago

Another common name for cape plumbago (Plumbago auriculata) is sky flower because the blossoms are sky blue. This tender perennial loves the Texas heat and will flower profusely from May until frost. The flowers look a little like phlox and attract all kinds of butterflies. Luckily, deer don’t seem to find them very delicious. Cape plumbago can be left to sprawl as a groundcover or to fall over a wall. It responds well to pruning and can be kept in a neat mounded form or trained to climb a trellis. It does best in light, sandy soils with good drainage. Zones 8-11

Azaleas

Azaleas, a member of the Rhododendron family, are shrubs that feature green, glossy leaves and clumps of colorful flowers–if grown under the right conditions. Once the heavy clay, alkaline Texas soil has been properly prepared to accommodate these picky bushes, the azalea has been planted in the soil properly and the appropriate spot to receive afternoon shade to protect the shrub from the Texas sun has been chosen the shrub rewards with showy flowers that require only a small amount of attention to maintain in Texas.

Impatiens

Impatiens flowers are bright and cheerful annuals that can light up any dark and shady part of your yard. Growing impatiens is quite easy, but there are a few things to know about impatiens care. Let’s take a look at how to plant and how to grow impatiens.

Pansies

Pansies are the colorful flowers with “faces.” A cool-weather favorite, pansies are great for both spring and fall gardens! Here’s how to plant pansies as well as keep them growing and blooming.

Iris

The four irises tough enough to grow in Texas are Iris brevicaulis (zigzag iris) , Iris fulva (copper iris), Iris hexagona (Dixie iris), and Iris virginica (Virginia iris).

(Pictures In Order As Listed Above)

Daffodils

Daffodils go dormant in summer, after they’ve finished blooming in spring. They require a resting period and are in less need of water while dormant. This is one of the reasons daffodils perform so well for us: They’re dormant during our most challenging weather! Many types of daffodils also tolerate our heavy clay soils. 

Some of our favorites include:

‘Erlicheer’ Fragrant, small, double-blooms in pale yellow and white. Blooms early to mid spring.

‘Carlton’ Large, bright yellow flowers in early spring. Great way to welcome the season!

‘Thalia’ Fragrant, delicate, small white blooms. Blooms mid to late spring.

‘Salome’ Pretty white petals with a peachy-salmon center cup. Blooms mid to late spring.

‘Texas Star’ Has unique curved foliage and bright yellow flowers. Very heat tolerant. Blooms early spring.

‘Cheerfulness’ White, heirloom flowers with yellow centers. Blooms late spring.

Grape Hyacinth

One of the hardiest, and dare we say cutest, perennial bulbs is the grape hyacinth. Also known by its genus Muscari, these little guys grow from quarter sized bulbs to heights for 6-8”, blooming early in the season with daffodils. These should always be planted en masse to experience the full effect in the landscape. Muscari comes in white, purples, and light blue but the stunning cobalt blue is a favorite among most gardeners. They should be planted 3-4” deep in sun or shade, and do best when let naturalize.

'Belinda's Dream' Rose

‘Belinda’s Dream’ was the first rose to be named a Texas Superstar. It was also the first rose to receive the prestigious Earth-Kind designation, meaning it’s been proved to be one of the best flowering roses that requires the least amount of care. Earth-Kind’s tagline: If you can grow weeds, you can grow Earth-Kind roses. ‘Belinda’s Dream’ grows to about 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide. The fragrant pink blossoms are fully double with a whopping petal count of more than 100. The blue-green foliage provides a lovely background for the delightful blooms. Zones 5-9

Best Plants For Shade

Best Ornamentals For Shaded Areas

Hollies

Hollies are very adaptable.  So much that many types tolerate moderate shade just fine. Carissa holly, which reaches 2-3’Tx3-4’W. This is one of the best options for shaded areas. 

Yews (Japanese & other types)

These guys are shade tolerant and a beautiful addition to your landscape. Available in a variety of different sizes. Japanese yew has foliage that looks like nothing else that grows in our area. It will remind you of plants growing around the Pacific Northwest. 

Boxwoods

Many types exist, but two of our favorites are Wintergreen, which is a beautifully dark green variety, and Green Tower, which is a nicely tight columnar grower to 6′ tall.

Pittosporum

These rounded shrubs do well in shade; the dwarf varieties like Wheeler’s and Mojo make nicely compact plants around 2′ tall and look great as a low filler around tall interest items like Japanese maples.

Hydrangeas

Bloom best in morning sun and come in a wide range of sizes. Endless Summer repeat-blooming types get around 4’Tx4’W. Blue and pink standard varieties bloom based upon soil pH and metals present in the soil–feed aluminum sulphate for great blue color, horticultural lime for the deepest pink. Oakleaf hydrangeas are generally taller, with white spikes of bloom. Hydrangeas are deciduous.

Osmanthus

The traditional “tea olive”, the green leafed version is taller and fragrant; Goshiki osmanthus is an interesting dwarfed plant that’s 3-4’Tx3-4’W with nicely yellow variegated leaves. Best in partial sunshine.
• Aucuba (deepest shade) – Large, tropical-looking leaves in both solid green and variegated yellow-green leaf patterns, aucuba must be in full shade or only filtered sunshine, as it easily burns. 4’Tx4’W.

Cleyera

Deep green, waxy leaves are red-bronze on all new growth, on a plant easily maintained between 4 and 6 feet tall. Good as a hedgerow in shade.

Mahonia

Leatherleaf mahonia has a bold, dark green leaf with yellow flowers and blue berries afterwards at 4-6’Tx4-5’W; Oregon grape mahonia is more compact. ‘Soft Caress’ is a Chinese mahonia variety without scratchy points on the leaves and a compact form, 3’Tx3-4’W. A dramatically different foliage pattern from most shrubs grown in our area.

Ferns

not a shrub, but shrub-sized! – Ferns add foliage interest that works well in the shadier areas of the yard. Autumn and holly ferns are evergreen, in the 2-3′ tall height range. Southern wood ferns are the classic fern leaf most of us bring to mind when thinking about a fern, and Japanese painted ferns have grey and maroon highlights on a compact fern from 1.5-2’Tx2’W. Japanese painted ferns were the perennial of the year in 2004.

Best Flowers For Shaded Areas

Amaranthus

These type of flowers are tolerant to full sun, and they have a variety of shades such as red, yellow and green leaves. They can help you to have a great tropical look especially around pools and the back end of borders. They can withstand extreme heat and harsh conditions of the soil, and this makes them be a good flower to be planted in North Texas.

Periwinkle

They are excellent in flowerbeds which are fully exposed to the sun. They are available in a number of different colors such as pink, rose, and white. The variations of white can also be found in a contrasting color to the eye namely pink or rose. They are perfect for hanging containers and baskets.

Coleus

This type of flower can tolerate all the types of sun exposures. It’s a seasonal color plant that is available in a variety of color shades such as pink, red, maroon, and green. They make a perfect contrasting color that works well for containers and borders. As much as coleus does well in all types of sun exposure, it prefers areas with a cool and filtered shade.

Dianthus

These rounded shrubs do well in shade; the dwarf varieties like Wheeler’s and Mojo make nicely compact plants around 2′ tall and look great as a low filler around tall interest items like Japanese maples.

Yews (Japanese & other types)

These rounded shrubs do well in shade; the dwarf varieties like Wheeler’s and Mojo make nicely compact plants around 2′ tall and look great as a low filler around tall interest items like Japanese maples.

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