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12 Best Flowering Shrubs for Texas [Grasslands, Wetlands, and Deserts!]

If you call Texas home, especially the drier regions, you may wonder if you can enjoy showy, flowering displays in your gardens. Whether you live in the grasslands, arid deserts, or Eastern piney hills or wetlands, you’ll be happy to know you have many options of stunning flowering shrubs for Texas!

This guide shares my top 12 recommendations for flowering shrubs broken down into three sections of Texas’s broader regions. Before I jump in with the nitty-gritty details on these 12 flowering beauties, I’ll share my list so you have an idea of what we’ll investigate! 

My Pick of the 12 Best Flowering Shrubs for Texas

  1. Coralberry
  2. White prairie rose
  3. Texas mountain laurel
  4. Black Dalea 
  5. Pink fairy duster
  6. Desert ruellia
  7. Woolly butterfly bush
  8. Red yucca
  9. American beautyberry
  10. American elderberry
  11. Buttonbush
  12. Rattlebush

4 Best Flowering Shrubs for North and North-Central Texas Region

Most of North and North-Central Texas gets characterized by grasslands and prairies with periods of drought and intense summer temperatures, so plants that thrive here are typically drought-tolerant. 

Coralberry

pink coralberry shrub symphoricarpos orbiculatus
The best part of growing coralberry shrubs is waiting for the breathtaking berry blossoms to appear in October during lovely autumn weather. Coralberry berries provide a welcome autumn forage for native birds. And plenty of pollen for your garden bees!

Coralberry (Symphoricarpos orbiculatus) is a stunning, woody plant in the honeysuckle family. If you’re looking for a pop of brilliant pinks and corals in your garden, this is your top flowering shrub! 

This deciduous shrub typically grows about two to five feet high. And it usually only needs to be thoroughly pruned (around) every five years.

Enjoy its display of beautiful tiny flowers from spring through autumn. And then watch all kinds of critters feed on the coral berries that fruit into winter (you may feel tempted to join in on the feast! But unfortunately, these berries are known to cause gastric distress in humans).

White Prairie Rose

white prairie maid roses in garden
Here’s one of our favorite flowering shrubs for Texas if you want a climber. We’re talking about white prairie roses! They look beautiful when clambering your garden trellis, fence, or arbor. White garden roses get called rosa foliolosa, meaning roses with many leaves.

If you’re looking to add a low-lying floriferous native shrub to your North Texas garden, I’d recommend checking out the white prairie rose (Rosa foliolosa). 

This hardy shrub is excellent for filling in ground-level areas of your landscape with stunning little white and light pink flowers. This deciduous shrub usually only gets about one foot tall and thrives on the clay-dominant soil of the Texas grasslands. Enjoy the fragrant blooms from late May through July. 

Texas Mountain Laurel

lovely mountain laurel sophora secundiflora
Want deep purple and green shades for your Texas garden? Mountain laurel is one of our favorite options. It sustains deep freezes, smells like grape bubblegum, and it’s one of the hardiest flowering shrubs for Texas on this list.

I remember traveling across Texas by motorcycle many years ago. I remember the stunning sight of blooming Texas Mountain Laurel (Sophora secundiflora) against the high desert landscape.

With its evergreen leaves and clusters of strikingly purple flowers, this robust flowering shrub adds year-round life and color to arid desert gardens. It’s also extremely tough and easily tolerates drought and wide temperature ranges.

As it typically reaches heights of 10 to 15 feet and can grow about 10 feet across, Texas Mountain Laurel can add a gorgeous line of evergreen privacy to your garden. Just make sure to plant them in well-drained soil!

Read More – 18 Beautiful Flowering Herbs. With Yellow Flowers!

Black Dalea

purple black dalea flower with honeybee getting pollen
Black dalea are attractive low-growing evergreen shrubs that love xeriscaping. It’s famous for handling cold – or hot temperatures and being markedly hardy. Beneficial garden creatures also love black dalea flowers! Expect visits from plenty of bees and butterflies. We read from the University of AZ Campus Arboretum that rabbits and deer love them too! (Bunnies are our favorite garden visitors. Even if they steal a veggie or two!)

Sporting a metal name and thriving on neglect, the Black Dalea (Dalea frutescens) is a rough and tumble Texas toughie. This native, low-growing, drought-resistant shrub features legions of tiny, stunning rose to purple-colored flowers from July through autumn.  

You’ll want to ensure you don’t supply black Dalea with much water. Over-watering is about one of the only ways you could harm it. 

4 Best Flowering Shrubs for Southwest Texas Region

Tropical and water-loving plants aren’t the only ones for lovely flowers. Resilient, drought-tolerant shrubs across the deserts of Southwest Texas can also make marvelous flower displays.

Pink Fairy Duster

fairy duster plants with hummingbird
Pink fairy duster is one of the best flowering shrubs for Texas if you love grassland pixies. And garden fairies! Pink fairy duster grows best in sunny and dry settings. And the best news is that hummingbirds can’t resist them.

The pink fairy duster (Calliandra eriophylla) is a fantastic choice for adding a whimsy splash into your desert landscape. These magical little semi-evergreen shrubs display delicate and wispy pink blooms.

Flowering in spring and sometimes again in the autumn, this native Texas shrub will readily attract hummingbirds and other pollinators to your garden. 

Pink fairy duster reaches about two to three feet in height and up to about five feet wide, making it great for colorful ground cover. 

Desert Ruellia

purple desert ruellia flower bloom
Desert ruellia is another flowering shrub for Texans who want more hummingbirds! It’s also famously drought resistant. Perfect for today’s crazy weather. However, we also read that watering your desert ruellia can help prevent a spindly appearance. So – if you can spare the water, give it a drink!

Famous for its heat hardiness and the splash of color it brings to the desert landscape, it’s pretty common to see desert ruellia (Ruellia peninsularis) peppered across Southwest gardens. 

Another favorite with pollinators, desert ruellia, native to the deserts of the Southwest and Northern Mexico, displays its blooms from spring through the fall and even throughout mild winters. 

This lovely shrub naturally grows into a soft, round shape (about four feet wide by four to five feet tall), so minimal pruning is necessary to accentuate the beauty of this plant. 

Woolly Butterfly Bush

striking orange woolly butterfly shrub in garden
Here’s one of the most breathtaking flowering shrubs for Texas gardens. The woolly butterfly bush! These vibrant bushes provide a lovely contrast to other shrubs. And they grow surprisingly large. Expect a shrub of about five feet in length and width.

As its name suggests, the woolly butterfly bush (Buddleja marrubiifolia) is a hot ticket item among southwest butterflies. I’m also smitten with this plant, and it’s easily one of my favorite native flowering shrubs of Southwest Texas. 

With its velvety, pale green-gray leaves, and clusters of tiny orange and yellow flowers, the woolly butterfly bush provides a stunning addition to any desert garden. 

This lovely shrub is highly drought-tolerant, blooms from early Spring through Fall, and once established, only requires watering once every couple of weeks. Make sure to plant in well-draining soil, as this desert beauty does not appreciate wet feet. 

Read More – Here’s How to Attract Bees to Your Garden! Read Our Complete Bee Attraction Guide!

Red Yucca

hummingbird sipping nectar from red yucca plant
Here’s a sizzling succulent perfect for Texas gardens and hummingbirds everywhere. The red yucca plant! The red yucca also gets called samadoque. If you want the best (and brightest) yucca blooms, plant yours in full sun.

Red Yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora), with its showy red flowers rising above its long, slender evergreen leaves, is a darling among many gardeners (and hummingbirds!) of Southwest Texas. 

If you want to celebrate the beauty of the Chihuahuan desert, make sure to dot your landscape with these lovelies. 

Red yucca is an excellent plant for low-effort gardeners! It’s low-maintenance and tolerant of varying soil types and temperatures. And for your low maintenance, you’ll enjoy a plant that blooms from March to July and displays evergreen foliage year-round. Good deal!

4 Best Flowering Shrubs for East & Southeast Texas Regions

If you live in the piney hills of Northeast Texas or the lowland marshes of Southeast Texas, you won’t have to worry much about picking super drought-tolerant flowering shrubs for your garden. 

American Beautyberry

beautyberry shrub growing in orlando florida garden
These delicious-looking beautyberries are growing in Orlando, Florida. But – they also grow productively in Texas gardens! To our surprise, beautyberries are members of the Lamiaceae family – or mint family. We’ve also heard beautyberries referred to as French Mulberry.

Native to the less arid regions of Texas, the American beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) is a popular flowering shrub featuring lovely clusters of white flowers in the spring that give way to stunning purple berries in the fall. The American beautyberry usually grows five to eight feet high and about as wide, making it an excellent border shrub. 

And actually, we can eat the berries too! Most folks harvest the berries at the peak of their ripeness in the fall and make delicious jams, wines, and syrups. Some sources advise eating only a small amount raw or thoroughly cooking first, so enjoy with caution! If making jelly isn’t your jam (sorry, I had to!), you can crush the leaves as a mosquito repellant.

American Elderberry

black elderberry fruit sambucus canadensis growing in florida usa
Here’s an underrated flowering Texas shrub of the Muskroot family. The American elderberry! Elderberry shrubs are beautiful, a boon to your jam reserves, and tremendously easy to grow. Some homesteaders say a little too easy as their constant suckering is potentially weed-like! Many notable publications also advise pruning your elderberry shrub regularly to prevent an unkempt appearance. 

American elderberry’s (Sambucus canadensis) range includes the less drought-prone areas of North and East Texas, thriving in prairies, marshes, and swampy regions. 

If you want to plant a large shrub with lovely crowns of delicate white flowers and extensively studied medicinal properties, then for sure, go for American elderberry!  

And if touting the potential health benefits isn’t enticing enough, elderberry jams, syrups, and wines taste incredible. My Southeast Appalachian homestead has heaps of these plants, and I will never tire of processing the berries into the best-tasting cold and flu syrup ever. If you’ve never worked with them before, check out our guide on How to Harvest and Dry Elderberries!

Depending on how you maintain them, these shrubs can grow up to 12 feet tall with a 10 feet crown width, making them an excellent choice for adding privacy, shade, and beauty to your East Texas landscape.  

Buttonbush

orange fritillary butterfly on buttonbush shrub
Here’s a beautiful gulf fritillary butterfly snacking on the nectar of a buttonbush flower. Buttonbush is an unsung hero as far as garden critters are concerned. Many animals use buttonbush shrubs for food or shelter. Bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies can’t help but stop by and visit. We can’t blame them!

Are you looking for a lovely native flowering shrub with an equally adorable name for your East Texas garden? Look no further than the buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis). These wetland shrubs are a blast to display, with fluffy and showy flowers, resembling puffy white globes or disco balls, that turn deep red and brown as they fruit in the fall. 

These deciduous cuties are water-loving and embrace poor draining, wetland soil like champs. They attract many pollinators, including hummingbirds and butterflies. They are also relatively fast-growing and feature lovely twisting trunks that can grow up to 12 feet high.

If you’re going to plant them away from a wetland, remember that they’ll need consistent watering to thrive.  

Read More – Low Water Pressure in Sprinklers – 7 Culprits! And Fixes!

Rattlebush

yellow sesbania shrub against clear blue sky
Here’s a lovely yellow flowering shrub for areas with plenty of water and moisture. We’re talking about rattlebush! While these flowery shrubs are perfect if your homestead has marshlands – we’ve read from multiple sources that their seeds are poisonous. Avoid these yellow beauties if you have pets or livestock that may ingest them!

Rattlebush (Sesbania drummondii) features willowy, elongated branches, leaves, and sunny yellow flowers. Rattlebush loves to set up shop next to streams and other wet areas. For East Texas gardeners who want to showcase a pond or similar water features, rattlebush is a fantastic option. 

In ideal conditions, this willowy shrub can grow up to 10 feet tall but can get kept at two feet tall for gardeners who want a shorter display. 

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09/27/2022 02:59 pm GMT

Conclusion

And there you have it! The low-down on the 12 best Texas flowering shrubs. I hope this guide has helped you pick the perfect plant(s) for your Texas garden. Just remember to make sure the shrub you choose will thrive well in your climate, and be careful to plant in suitable soil with appropriate light and shade. 

So, did any of these flowering beauties catch your eye? Let us know in the comments! 

Thanks for reading, and happy gardening 🙂 

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Author

  • Cammi Morgan writes about all things animals, plants, and ecological-centered living from the hollers of Southeast Appalachia where she lives off-grid in her self-built cabin. She shares 20 forested acres with her wonderful friends, an ever-growing pack of rescue dogs, and all the plants and critters who call these woods home.