Lisa's Landscape & Design

Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time

Super Drought Tolerant Plants for Central Texas

As a designer it is my job to know plants and in a world that is short on drinkable water, it is everyone’s responsibility to create low water solutions in the landscape. Central Texas is loaded with spectacular drought tolerant plants, shrubs and trees that are low maintenance and stunning with color for both sun and shade gardens. So why do rocks or mulch when you can have a beautiful lush garden loaded with color that attracts wildlife. You can find them if you seek them out but I have simplified it for you. This is my idea of Xeriscape.

Tropical Sage

Tropical Sage is an excellent full sun to shade plant that re-seeds readily. deciduous, 2′ x 2′

Pretty much any variety of sage or salvia, sun or shade loving is drought tolerant and deer repellant. There are many colors and textures as well so seek them out for your perennial beds.

Spectacular Bloom!

Evergreen Wisteria is an excellent vine for full to part sun. Spectacular Bloom! grows to 30′ and must be trained to a trellis. No tendrils so it does not attach to your house or your family 😉


Mexican Mint Merigold

Mexican Mint Marigold, semi evergreen perennial with edible leaves and flowers. Full to part sun grows to 3′



Fire Cracker Fern, deciduous, huge hummingbird attractor 2.5′ x 2′ full to part sun.


Black and Blue Sage

Black and Blue Sage, deciduous shade to part sun. 2′ x 2′


Pink Salvia is the most common, bright pink and a great hummingbird and butterfly attraction.

Pink Salvia Greggi is the most common, bright pink and a great hummingbird attraction. There are also white and red Salvia Greggi which are equally beautiful. Evergreen, full sun, Cut back spent blooms to encourage new growth.


Golden Showers Thryallis

Golden Showers Thryallis, semi evergreen with fall color. Huge butterfly attraction 4′ x 3′


Paprika Yarrow is an excellent plant for Central Texas, evergreen, colorful and medicinal.

Paprika Yarrow is an excellent plant for Central Texas, evergreen, colorful and medicinal. 2′ sun to part shade.


Shrimp Plant

Shrimp Plant is a deciduous perennial that loves shade to part sun. 2-3′


The Jerusalem Sage has a really fabulous flower form and a beautiful true sage color to the leaf.

The Jerusalem Sage has a really fabulous flower form and a beautiful true sage color to the leaf. this full sun, evergreen plant grows to 3′ x 3′.


Saying goodbye (or at least goodnight) to your children for the winter can be tough.

Herbs of all kinds are excellent low water plants for central texas and many can take the full sun to part shade.


Mint is an excellent ground cover though it can take over a space so be careful of placement. full to part sun, evergreen and perennial. Excellent choice instead of Asian Jasmine.


upright rosemary

Upright or trailing Rosemary is a super drought tolerant plant that is also deer resistant. Upright grows 4′ x 4′ and trailing is 2′ x 4′ . Both prefer full to part sun.



Oregano is a stunning landscape plant that is mostly unappreciated by perennial gardeners. They are for the most part evergreen, have these amazing flowers and of course they are edible. Full to part sun, drought tolerant, little to no maintenance.


Blaze Climbing Rose, the gift that keeps on giving all year long.

Blaze Climbing Rose, the gift that keeps on giving all year-long. This upright climbing rose blooms in full sun from spring to fall. Disease resistant and needs to be trimmed every spring. Never cut climbers all the way down as this can do damage to some roses  Instead, cut the main branches down to 3′ (or not at all if prefered) and only the trim off all dead stems. 10′ x 10′


Peach Drift mounding Rose

Peach Drift mounding or carpet rose, this series of roses is used commercially because of the low profile and profuse color. disease resistant and evergreen. 3′ x 3′


Rosa Wekcisbaco

Home Run Rose is unfortunately hard to find but one of my all time faves. Son of the Knock Out it is a true performer in the Texas landscape and a profuse bloomer to boot.


Mutabilis Rose

Mutabilis Rose is another all-star rose providing you have the real estate for it. This massive shrub rose grows to 12′ x 12′ and more and is covered with peach, pink, yellow and fuchsia open faces flowers. super disease resistant and needs to be trimmed every fall to remove the dead wood.


Pink Knock Out

Pink Knock Put rose unlike the more common red KO, the pink variety holds its shape and stays in a 3′ x 3′ shape. Same as any rose you will need to remove the dead wood but you do not need to cut it back in the winter.

Spider Wort

Spider Wort is basically a weed that produces some pretty cool flowers in the shade. 2′ x 2′ deciduous.

Incredibly fragrant, evergreen and beautiful.

Confederate Jasmine is incredibly fragrant when it blooms every spring, it is an evergreen and beautiful vine that grows 20′ x 20′ sun to part shade

Bearded Iris

Bearded Iris is one that is undervalued in the Xeriscape landscapes

Bearded Iris. Very drought tolerant, little to no maintenance. Prefer sun but can take part sun. Blooms in the spring and keeps foliage over the summer and fall. Semi evergreen.

Palm size and loaded with exquisite color.

Daylilies are another excellent plant for Xeriscape gardens and they come in an array of colors as well. Hand sized blooms loaded with exquisite color. Sun to part sun, semi evergreen


Cotoneaster is an evergreen shrub that grows to about 3′ x 3′ blooms with tiny white flowers in the spring and red berries during the summer.


Althea or Rose of Sharon is a full sun to part shade shrub that grows to 6-8′ x 3-4′. Large flowers in single or double found in white, pink or lavender.


Mexican Bush Sage is a full sun plant that grows to about 4′ tall x 3′ wide. Cut back in the early spring .

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera of all kinds are excellent full to part sun,  low maintenance flowering plants. They are also an excellent medicinal plant. 2′ 3′

Fireman's Cap / Helmet Coral Bean-Full Sun

Fireman’s Cap / Helmet Coral Bean-Full Sun, Stunning foliage and flowers. super drought tolerant. 10′ x 8′

Yellow Bells Esperanza-beautiful and drought tolerant.

Yellow Bells Esperanza is a beautiful deciduous plant that grows best in full sun. 8′ x 6′ Cut back in the spring.

Pride of Barbados-super drought tolerant. Full sun.

Pride of Barbados is a stunning landscape plant that is ideal for a Xerophytic garden. Full sun. 8′ x 8′. Trim back in the spring.

Desert Willow Tree

Bubba Desert Willow Tree grows to 20′, It has beautiful blooms that are fragrant and profusely blooms all summer, little to no maintenance. Full sun, low maintenance. deciduous


Pineapple Guava. This shrub grows to 10′ x 6′ . Full to part sun, evergreen, fruit bearing and sports some stunning bark. Makes a great small tree.


Datura Moon Flower. Deciduous perennial, evening bloomer, full sun and super low water. 3′ x’ 3

There are varieties of Crepe Myrtles for just about any landscape need.

Crepe myrtles are one of the most drought tolerant trees you can plant for beautiful color, fall leaves and interesting bark. Range from 3′ – 30′ in assorted colors. Full sun

4 nerve daisy

4 nerve daisy has interesting foliage and sunny yellow flowers. 2′ x 2′, evergreen


Flowering or fruiting pomegranate is a large shrub to small tree. The fruiting variety grows to 12′ and the flowering only (both flower) can grow to 20′. Deciduous, low maintenance.

For a list of sun to shade, plants, shrubs and trees check out my page at Lisa’s Landscape & Design. If you live in or near Austin give me a call to talk about a landscape consultation and I can help you find the perfect plants for your space and so much more 😉



Lisa LaPaso

Lisa’s Landscape & Design (“like” me on Facebook)

Check me out on YouTube!


  1. Hi Lisa,

    I was wondering if you know whether the evergreen wisteria is toxic to humans or animals? I can’t seem to find any proof one way or the other online and I want to make sure my neighbors kids/dog don’t ingest any part of it and get sick (or worse.)

    • Hi Monica,I have read that parts of the plant (stem and root I believe) are considered to be highly medicinal in China. I found on that the wisteria vine is one of their top 50 toxic plants for dogs. Great question, you taught me something new.

      • Ah, great to know – thanks so much! Disregard my duplicate post 🙂 I didn’t realize the first one took.

      • Kathryn Arrow

        however, evergreen wisteria is not a true wisteria, so what’s true of wisteria may not be true of evergreen wisteria. Common names can be misleading. As in this case, neither is it evergreen.

      • Kathryn, what hardiness zone are you in? Mine got morning sun and was evergreen for 7 years until we got a winter of 19 degrees and less for 72 hours.

  2. Jim Cool

    Have grown these Datura Moon Flower plants for several years in Cedar Park, TX. From my experience they are not very drought tolerant in the heat of the summer, in a large planter or directly in the ground.

    But the sphinx moth that often visits (and the fragrance from the blooms) can often make it worth it.

    Planting them in part sun seems the best. They bloom around sundown. Their blooms will find and move towards light, the moon or other bright light.

    • Hi Jim, you’re so right, they certainly can succumb to wilting in severe heat and drought but they do thrive in morning to mid day sun.
      While considered drought tolerant and heat resistant, those in all day sun may have issues with mites in the long dry heat, but I’ve found those in the sun will also recover and bloom at night, so it’s worth a try in your space to see how they fair.

  3. Anonymous

    Salvia Black and Blue easily outgrows the 2′ x 2′ mentioned above. I have specimens that at the time of writing are 4.5′ x 4.5′. That said, they can be trimmed back. Also, mine will overwinter here in Zone 6 but they die back to the ground every year. I just add about a foot of dead leaves as an insulator every year.

    • Wow, I’ve not seen that here, but I know they can take over a space if allowed. Adding dead leaves is an excellent winterizer and compost treatment as well as protection from cold. Great job!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: