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Gardening

25 Plants That’ll Transform Your Dallas Garden

Local gardeners share the best flowers for privacy, minimal maintenance, pollinators, and more.
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A quick jaunt to your local nursery can quickly turn overwhelming, as in addition to sunlight and soil requirements, home gardeners need also consider what purpose they want their plants to serve. Are you looking to provide privacy from neighbors’ prying eyes, or are you hoping to attract a little more attention from winged species? Whatever your goals, there’s a plant for that. Local pros Glenn Bonick of Bonick Landscaping, Dave Forehand of the Dallas Arboretum, Elizabeth Brune Hark of Splendid Gardens Landscaping, Bethany Mieth and Hannah Street of OASIS Plant Shop, and Mark Ruibal of Ruibal’s Plants of Texas give us the dirt on the best plants for…

Minimal Maintenance

These easy-to-grow or water-conscious varieties make gardening a breeze.

Texas sage (Leucophyllum frutescens)

Its tubular purple blooms tend to blossom a few days ahead of precipitation. That’s why it is aptly nicknamed “barometer bush.”

Esperanza (Tecoma stans)

Attention-grabbing golden bells appear in late spring and last through first frost. 

Turk’s Cap (Malvaviscus arboreus)

A hardy plant in the hibiscus family with red, twisted, mallow-like flowers that flourishes in both full sun and shade.

Daylilies (Hemerocallis)

Long bred by horticulturists and gardening enthusiasts for its attractive flowers, daylily flower buds are also incredibly tasty, notes Forehand.

Moss Rose (Portulaca grandiflora)

Hark recommends this vibrant flowering succulent that looks especially eye-catching around flagstone and pools.

Cuttings

Place a few snipped stems from these plants in a vase for an easy and eye-catching display

Roses

While ‘Knock Out’ are most popular, Ruibal says old-fashioned varieties (such as ‘Drift’), which have a more traditional rose shape, are better for your floral designs.

Rocket Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus)

Tall stalks of regal flowers make this a beloved annual in North Texas and help add vertical height to your garden and arrangements.

Hydrangeas

Alkaline* in Dallas’ clay-rich soil means these elegant blooms often need acidity added (like sprinkling coffee grounds!) to encourage their signature dark blue hue.

Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)

With creamy white flowers and a sweet scent, magnolia branches, Street says, effortlessly add structure and depth to spaces.

Philodendron Monstera

Trim a leaf from this shiny, dark green plant and stand it upright in a vase to give off “all the tropical vibes,” Mieth says.

Privacy

Hide eye sores or create separation with these dense yet delightful choices.

Nellie R. Stevens Holly (Ilex x ‘Nellie R. Stevens’)

“The go-to, number one choice for adding privacy to your landscape,” Hark says.

Savannah Holly (Ilex ‘Savannah’)

Perfect for screening something in your yard at ground level, like that unsightly air conditioner unit.

Maiden grass (Gracillimus)

Tall grasses like Gracillimus (and the smaller Adagio) provide privacy—but steer clear of Pampas grass, Hark says, which attracts mice and other unwanted critters.

‘Sunshine’ Ligustrum (Ligustrum sinense)

This evergreen shrub can handle even the hottest days of summer and adds a pop of year-long golden color to your garden.

Coral honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens)

Vines, like coral honeysuckle, when separated by about 10 feet and given ample room to grow, can provide both color and privacy to a landscape.

Pollinators

Roll out the proverbial welcome mat to tempt flying friends into your garden.

Black and Blue Salvia (Salvia guaranitica)

These perennials, with their deep blue blooms and onyx calyces, is effective as a border, bedding, or container plant.

Carolina Jasmine (Gelsemium sempervirens)

Carolina Jasmine vines are covered in clusters of fragrant, yellow flowers in early spring that attract bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies.

Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)

Its copious nectar production not only smells heavenly but also attracts many varieties of butterflies.

Bachelor Buttons/Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus)

Add these to your vegetable garden, as their nectar attracts “good insects” to help boost yields of tomatoes, squash, and other pollinator-relying plants. 

Pentas (Pentas lanceolata)

These fabulous star-shaped flowers come in a profusion of colors and will add rich jewel tones to your garden.

Adults Only

Keep kids and pets away from these toxic or poisonous plants. 

Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)

Tall and stately foxgloves are commonplace in some local gardens, but ingesting just two grams, Forehand says, can be toxic for humans.

‘Dallas Red’ Lantana (Lantana camara)

Bold and beautiful Lantana blooms are irresistible to hummingbirds, butterflies, and other pollinators; however, ‘Dallas Red’ and other varieties are poisonous if ingested.

Azaleas

Swallowing leaves from beautiful azaleas is toxic for humans and pets.

Daffodils

These happy springtime flowers contain calcium acetate crystals that can stick to your throat and cause severe vomiting if ingested.

Oleander (Nerium oleander)

More commonly found nearer to the Gulf Coast, just one leaf can be enough to poison a small child, Forehand says.

*A previous version of this story stated Dallas has acidic soil Dallas’ soil is alkaline. The story has been updated.

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Brandon J. Call

Brandon J. Call

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Brandon J. Call is the former executive editor for D CEO magazine. An award-winning business and data journalist, Call previously…
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