November 30, 2021

The Best Heat Tolerant Plants for Texas (And How to Help Them Thrive)

It has been said that Texas has two seasons: summer and summer-light.

To say that our trees, shrubs, and flowers need to hold up under intense heat is an understatement. If you’re not careful, you can choose plants that will die quickly in our hot, dry climate. That’s why we’ve put together this list of the best heat-tolerant plants for Texas.

We have decades of experience landscaping in and around Dallas/Fort Worth, so we know firsthand how well various plantlife fares through the seasons. Even though the temperatures are cooling off now and we’re headed into winter, it’s not too soon to begin planning ahead for what you’ll be planting in the spring.

Around here, we’re never too far away from hot days. So here are some plants that can take whatever Texas throws at them and still keep looking good!

Best Heat Tolerant Plants for Texas

All plants need three things to thrive: sunlight, air, and water. Unfortunately, too much of any of those can cause problems.

  • Too much water…they can drown.
  • Too much air…they can blow away.
  • Too much sun…they can cook.

We enjoy abundant sunlight here In Texas. And while this is one of the many benefits of living in this area, it also means that there is no shortage of heat. In order to have a thriving landscape that looks good even during the most intense days of summer, you need to be sure to plant things that are known to grow well in our extreme conditions.

But before we begin, please understand that no plant is guaranteed to live if the conditions get extreme enough. In 2020, Texas endured freezing single-digit temperatures in the winter followed by record-breaking summer heat a few months later. Sometimes, in spite of your best efforts, nature wins in the end and your plants don’t make it.

Regardless of what shrubs and flowers you select, here are a few key rules to keep in mind:

  1. Put the right plant in the right place. Read the tags carefully, and look for plants that can withstand 6-10 hours of direct sunlight with little to no irrigation.Keep an eye out for tags that mention “heat tolerant” and “low water.” These selections will endure much less stress in our summer conditions than less hardy plants.
  2. Don’t give up when they look weak. Even the toughest shrubs and flowers can start looking sad when the heat turns up. Often, they’ll go into a protective sort of hibernation mode in order to conserve energy during the hottest parts of the season. When this happens, they may stop blooming and green leaves may curl or shrivel.If that happens, don’t immediately assume the plant is dying and get rid of it. Keep it watered and fertilized (but don’t overdo it). Then watch it throughout the summer to see if it begins to bounce back once things cool down again.

Now let’s take a look specifically at shrubs and flowers. You can use these lists when you do a consultation with your landscape designer or on your next visit to your local nursery.

Heat Tolerant Shrubs for Texas

Here is a list of heat resistant or tolerant shrubs as recommended by the Texas Superstar program of Texas AgriLife Research:

  • Blue Angel™ Althea
  • Lynn’s Legacy Cenizo
  • Belinda’s Dream Rose
  • Grandma’s Yellow Rose
  • KNOCK OUT® Rose
  • ‘Marie Daly’ Rose
  • Rock Rose
  • Texas Lilac Vitex

Next, here is a list of solid choices for heat-resistant flowers:

Heat Resistant Flowers

This list is divided into two categories: perennials and annuals. Perennial flowers will come back every year (or continue to grow nonstop under the right conditions), making them easy to grow. Annuals only last for one season, so they need to be planted year after year. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, so we’ll cover those as we go along. Here are the flowers that seem to do best in hot Texas weather.

  • Heat Tolerant Perennials
    • Lantana
    • Aloe
    • Black-eyed Susan
    • Butterfly Bush
    • Columbine, Texas Gold
    • Cone Flower
    • Goldstrum Rudbeckia
    • Hibiscus – varieties: Flare, Lord Baltimore, Texas Star, Moy Grande
    • Mealycup Sage
    • Pink Muhly Grass,
    • Purple Fountain Grass
    • Verbena – Blue Princess
    • Yucca
  • Annuals for Texas Heat
    • Begonia
    • Caladium
    • Coleus
    • Impatiens / Sunpatiens
    • Lantana* – Northern parts of Texas may encounter winter temperatures low enough to keep it from surviving. In planting zones 6 & 7, lantana is considered an annual.
    • Marigold
    • Petunia
    • Salvia – varieties: Henry Duelberg, Mystic Spires Blue
    • Zinnia

Need Landscaping Services Near Dallas?

To get personalized recommendations for the best heat tolerant plants for Texas, schedule a free estimate with one of our landscape experts!

Our teams provide professional landscape services in Dallas, Fort Worth, and surrounding areas and we’d love to put together a custom plan for your property. We’re dedicated to delivering the lawn and landscape your property deserves!


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