Some Time Tested Tough Plants for Texas

Compiled by Greg Grant

Early blooming Narcissus (N. tazetta, N. jonquilla, and hybrids), especially ‘Grand Primo’, Campernelle (N. x odorus), and Texas Star (N. x intermedius)

Snowflake (Leucojum aestivum)

Old fashioned iris (Iris x albicans-white, and I. x germanica-purple)

Byzantine gladiolus (Gladiolus byzantinus)

St. Joseph’s lily (Hippeastrum x johnsonii)

Canna (especially older, taller types)

Orange daylily (Hemerocallis fulva, especially double ‘Kwanso’)

Tiger lily (Lilium x lancifolium)

Society garlic (Tulbaghia voliacea)

Old orange montbretia (Crocosmia x crocosmiaflora)

White spider lily (Hymenocallis caribaea ‘Tropical Giant’)

Crinum lily (Crinum sp. and hybrids, especially milk and wine (C. x herbertii)

Oxblood lily (Rhodophiala bifida)

Red spider lily (Lycoris radiata radiata)

Esperanza (Tecoma stans ‘Gold Star’)

Bush morning glory (Impomoea fistulosa)

Firebush (Hamelia patens)

Oxalis (Oxalis crassipes, pink and white)

Tuber vervain (Verbena rigida)

Bouncing bet (Saponaria officinalis ‘Flore Plena’)

Mexican petunia (Ruelllia malacoperma and R. brittoniana)

Turks cap (Malvaviscus drummondii)

Jewel’s of Opar (Talinum paniculatum)

Lantana (especially old bush types of L. camara)

Garden phlox (Phlox paniculata, old garden cultivars only, especially ‘John Fanick’)

Variegated Georgia cane/giant reed (Arundo donax ‘Variegata’)

Four O’clocks (Mirabilis jalapa)

Purple Jew (Setcreasea pallida ‘Purple Heart’)

Obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana)

Cigar plant (Cuphea micropetala)

Mexican bush sage (Saliva leucantha)

Michaelmas daisy (Aster oblongifolius)

Confederate rose (Hibiscus mutabilis ‘Plena’)

Kashmir bouquet (Clerodendrum bungei)

Red yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora) and Prickly Pear (Opuntia sp), especially spineless forms

China rose (Rosa chinensis)

Tea rose (Rosa x odorata)

Polyantha rose (Rosa x polyantha)

Coral vine (Antigonon leptopus)

Lindley’s butterfly bush (Buddleia lindleyana)

Flowering quince (Chanomeles speciosa, especially older, taller cultivars

Crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica and hybrids)

Vitex (Vitex agnus-castus)

Some sources for southern heirloom plants:

Old House Gardens (heirloom bulbs), Ann Arbor, MI 734-995-1486.

Select Seeds, Union, CT 1-860-684-9310.

The Fragrant Path  (seed), P.O. Box 328, Fort Calhoun, Nebraska 68023

Thompson and Morgan (seed)

The Antique Rose Emporium, Brenham/San Antonio, TX, 800-441-0002

Blue Moon Gardens (retail), FM 279, Edom, TX, 903-852-3897

Weston Gardens (retail), Fort Worth, TX

Cedar Creek Nursery (retail), Dallas, TX

Barton Spring’s Nursery (retail), Austin, TX

King’s Nursery (retail), Hwy 84 E, Tenaha, TX, 903-248-3811

Many independent retail nurseries and lots of old gardeners.


For more information on gardening in the South see:

Garden Bulbs for the South (Taylor Publishing, 1994) by Scott Ogden

Passalong Plants (UNC Press, 1993) by Steve Bender and Felder Rushing

Perennial Garden Color (Taylor Publishing, 1989) by William C. Welch

The Southern Heirloom Garden (Taylor Publishing, 1995) by William C. Welch and Greg Grant


Also consider joining the Southern Garden History Society.  Individual dues are $20 and include their excellent quarterly publication, Magnolia.  You can contact them at:

          Southern Garden History Society

Old Salem, Inc. Drawer F,           Salem Station,

Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27108
Phone: 336-721-7328