Which Plants Can I Grow In Dallas?
Dallas is a city with so many opportunities for entertainment, whether you are into sports, dance, music, architecture, or theater! From the Dallas Cowboys to the Kalita Humphreys Theater, the city boasts amazing culture and history. Often when thinking about Texas people think of dry heat, however many parts of the state including Dallas are actually quite humid due to air from the Gulf of Mexico.
The city of Dallas is considered a humid subtropical climate, and the biomes that it holds are very unique. The area around White Rock Lake, for example, is historically called Blackland Prairie, a temperate grassland with uniquely dark soil with great crop potential. In Dallas, the summers can get very hot, fall and spring are mild in temperature, and winter is cool and dry. Extreme weather isn’t totally uncommon in the area, from tornadoes to flooding. Despite all of these challenges, there are hundreds of varieties of plants that grow in this region, making it a very exciting place to be passionate about plants!
Which Plants Grow Well in Dallas?
The volatile weather patterns within Dallas can lead to significant challenges with your plants. The summer months can get hot enough to singe the leaves of even some tougher plants, while the winter can have chilly enough days to freeze out others. Finding hardy plants that can handle both these extremes can help make your plant care much less stressful. There are precautions you can take to protect your plants, such as raised beds and overwintering the more sensitive green children in your collection. The smartest thing you can do is to learn about your specific area and what weather shifts are most common there, from weather to other elements such as soil composition of your yard, bug infestation risks, and usual winter temperatures.
Best Landscaping Plants in Dallas
When you start planning out your yard landscaping in Dallas, your best bet will be plants that are hardy to your area. Look at plants that thrive in your yard’s soil, are native to your region, and will handle your sun or shade coverage. Depending on your space, there are tons of different varieties of plants to try!
If you want some beautiful, flowering plants, the Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) is an amazing choice that has white, fragrant blooms. It loves to trellis, meaning it is a perfect choice for areas such as porch railings, patios, or fences to act as a natural divider. The plant can grow up to 6 feet in one season, making it amazing to watch from season to season! If you are looking for something with a more bush-like structure, the Gardenia Veitchii (Gardenia jasminoides ‘Veitchii’) might be a better choice. Still sporting white flowers that are known for having a beautiful scent, this plant stays in a bush shape. It likes partial shade to full sun, meaning it can live in many places in your yard, and it blooms from mid-spring to fall, adding elegance to your yard!
Looking for something with a more Mediterranean vibe? The Dwarf Olive Tree brings earthy, green vibes to your yard without the mess of fruit! No mess, no fuss. This plant loves bright, direct light and doesn’t require a ton of water or humidity. Easy to care for, the Dwarf Olive Tree is a great addition to help bring together an Italian-style statuesque space or even as a decorative addition throughout your landscaping. Outside of a pot, this tree can reach up to 6 feet tall, making for a great privacy wall or divider!
Which Plants are Native to Dallas?
Dallas has an amazing assortment of plants that grow natively, and many of them are crucially important to the ecosystem. Deciding to plant native plants not only helps ensure that what you are growing has the potential to thrive in your region, but they provide essential food and shelter for local wildlife. Bees, Butterflies, Birds, and other local fauna rely on native plants, and by planting them you are supporting neighborhood pollinators and biodiversity. To learn about what plant varieties specifically are local to your area, talk to a local nursery. Those who work at local nurseries are experts, and will maybe even be able to point you to plants that are endangered and need extra care!
One common native plant you probably have seen around the Dallas area is Texas Sage (Leucophyllum frutescens), which also is called Cenizo or Purple Sage. The silvery-gree leaves are beautiful for your landscaping and this sage blooms in stunning lavenders, whites, and pinks. It likes full sun to partial shade, works wonderfully as a border hedge, and attracts pollinators like hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies to your yard. The Texas Sage is fine with low amounts of water and has evergreen leaves that will keep your spaces looking great year-round.
Another great native blooming option is the Prairie Verbena (Glandularia bipinnatifida), which grows circular clusters of beautiful blooms that can last a full nine months! The flowers can be purple, lavender, or pink, and often show from March to December. Pollinators like butterflies love these blooms. Prairie Verbena likes full sun to partial shade, and doesn’t need much water to be happy!
Other Plants that Grow Best in Dallas
Hardier succulents can actually be grown outside in Dallas, including the very popular Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis). Along with being a beautiful plant that prefers drier soil, it also has a whole ton of medicinal uses! Great as either an indoor addition or another plant for your landscaping, Aloe Vera is often used to treat burns, and the leaves are said to have amazing antibacterial and antioxidant uses! In fact, many health food brands and skincare products use Aloe Vera as the main ingredient!
Another option for Dallas is the Japanese Aralia ‘Fatisa Japonica’ (Fatisa japonica). An evergreen shrub, this plant has large, hand-shaped leaves. Unlike many of the plants we have suggested for Dallas, this one is great for your lower-light areas. If well taken care of, this plant will sprout cream-colored flowers in the fall with blackberries that grow and feed the birds and critters in your yard!
Dallas Gardening Tips
Growing in Houston can require some research before you get started. Since many areas around Houston have very clay-dense earth, many people will build raised beds to help expand the range of plants they can grow. You also can choose native plants or those that can handle more clay-bound soil well!
Check how much sun the different parts of your yard or home get, as the summer sun can be pretty overbearing for some plant varieties. The same goes for water - while Houston often gets enough rain to sustain many plants, extra watering may be needed during dry spells. It also is important to make sure water doesn’t pool anywhere around your yard during larger storms.
When Should I Plant My Garden in Dallas?
Due to the heat, cold-weather plants can struggle in Dallas. If you do plant them, they have to be pretty late in the season to give a good crop. Usually, in the Dallas area, the first frost is around the end of October, while the last frost is towards the middle of April. Always make sure to check yearly for estimated first and the last frost dates as they potentially approach, and bring in any cold-sensitive plants before they get too cold!
With the variance in weather in the Dallas area, paying attention to how things look towards the beginning of the season is going to be vital to making sure you don’t get tricked by what seems to be the last frost. A great way to get things started is to begin your seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost date so that they get a growing head start and you can potentially take advantage of extra harvests!
Planting in Zone 8a & 8b
Dallas falls within the USDA Plant Hardiness Zones of 8a and 8b. These different ratings are picked by looking at the minimum average winter temperature of an area and can help you figure out which plants can be grown outside without getting too frosty in the winter. Zone 8a has a minimum average winter temperature of 10°F to 15°F, while Zone 8b is 15°F to 20°F. Zone 8 is great for winter gardens, something many Zones don’t get lucky enough to take advantage of! Plant cool-loving crops like spinach and broccoli around the beginning of October when your soil is still warm to get an extra harvest season.
To protect your plants from the variable weather in Dallas, consider implementing some raised beds. These containers help not only more closely regulate soil moisture, but can help keep your soil warmer in the cool months and cool it off in the hottest months! Mulch is another great option to help trap in moisture and block out the hot sun, helping to regulate the soil’s temperature. If you are finding that your plants are not getting enough water, implementing a drip irrigation system can help give them a more consistent, reliable source of water.