Top 7 Texas Evergreen Shrubs

One of the questions I get from readers most often is, “What native Texas evergreen shrubs and plants can I incorporate into my yard?” We have become accustomed to evergreen landscapes thanks to non-native shrubs like Sunshine Ligustrum, Nandina, and Japanese Boxwood.

The reality is that there are not a ton of Texas native plants that are evergreen, but there are a handful of great options. Read on for the 7 best evergreen shrubs native to Texas.

Be sure to download my FREE Native Texas Shrubs PDF. You can take this handy one-pager with you to the plant nursery.

These beautiful evergreen shrubs will provide year-round interest to your Texas yard.

Top 7 Texas Evergreen Shrubs

1) Texas Sage (Leucophyllum frutescens)

Texas Sage, also known as Cenizo, is a hardy and drought-tolerant evergreen shrub. It is known for its silvery-gray foliage and delicate tubular purple flowers.

Texas Sage blooms most profusely after summer rains, providing a burst of color during our hottest months. I love when they are all in bloom at the same time throughout San Antonio!

Cenizo evergreen Texas shrub
Cenizo shrubs are covered in purple blooms after a rain.

This shrub is well-suited to the arid and hot climate of central Texas and can handle periods of drought like a champ. Its silver foliage provides year-round beauty. Growing up to 6 feet tall, is a great option for a green screen that requires little maintenance.

2) Agarita (Mahonia trifoliolata)

Agarita is a tough and thorny evergreen shrub, making it ideal for creating a natural barrier or as a backdrop for your garden (don’t plant it near walkways!). It features pretty holly-like, spiny leaves.

Agarita is one of the first Texas native shrubs to bloom in the spring. Starting in February, its fragrant yellow flowers will be covered with bees and other pollinators!

Agarita native Texas evergreen shrub
Agarita’s yellow spring blooms (left). Agarita looks great paired with Prickly Pear (right).

In the summer, the blooms are replaced by bright red berries. The birds love these berries, but they are also edible by humans. I hear that they make a delicious jam!  

Agarita - great evergreen shrubs for Texas
Agarita’s red berries are edible. Birds love the berries, and take cover within the spiny shrubs.

Agarita thrives in well-drained soils and is highly drought-tolerant. It can handle full sun, partial sun, or part shade! I often see it growing as a on the edge of an Ashe Juniper forest.

It is one of the best shrubs for wildlife while being deer resistant. In addition to being an important source of nectar and berries, it provides year-round cover for birds and small mammals. Pair  it with American Beautyberry in a part shade area, or with Prickly Pear in full sun.  

3) Yaupon Holly (Ilex vomitoria)

Yaupon Holly is a versatile evergreen shrub or small tree (growing up to 25′ tall!) with small dark green leaves. It grows in various soil types, from sandy soils to clay, and performs well from south to north Texas.

Female plants produce vibrant red berries that are a great winter food source for birds and other wildlife. Try to make sure you get a female plant at the nursery!

Evergreen shrubs for north Texas - Yaupon Holly
The female plants of Yaupon Holly are covered in bright red berries in winter.

Yaupon Holly is one of the most popular evergreen shrubs used by the landscape trade in Texas. It is a great choice for hedges, screens, or as an ornamental shrub. There is also a dwarf yaupon holly cultivar if you are looking for a small shrub or low hedge option for your garden.

4) Wax Myrtle (Morella cerifera)

Wax Myrtle, also called Southern Bayberry, is a fast-growing shrub native to east Texas and the Gulf Coast. It can reach a mature height of up to 10 feet making it the best option for a privacy screen.

Wax Myrtle can be pruned into a hedge or left to grow naturally, and it’s highly adaptable to various soil types. 

Its waxy, fragrant leaves and small grayish-blue berries provide essential habitat and food for local birds and wildlife. See more information and photos of Wax Myrtle.

5) Texas Mountain Laurel (Sophora secundiflora)

Texas Mountain Laurel is a visually striking Texas native plant with evergreen foliage that can be grown as a large shrub or small ornamental tree (although a slow growing one!).

Texas Mountain Laurel - Evergreen shrubs for south Texas
Texas Mountain Laurel is a beautiful addition to a Texas landscape.

I love its dark green, leathery leaves and clusters of aromatic, purple-blue flowers that appear in early spring. The scent of its fragrant flowers is often compared to grape Kool-Aid! This deer-resistant, drought-tolerant plant thrives in rocky, well-drained soil in part sun to full sun.

6) Evergreen Sumac (Rhus virens)

Evergreen Sumac is a relatively fast growing native shrub with glossy green leaves and red berries in the winter that provide food for local wildlife. It prefers well-drained limestone soils.

You can keep its organic form or prune it into a small tree. Evergreen Sumac grows 8-10 feet tall.

Evergreen Sumac - native Texas shrubs
Evergreen Sumac produces fragrant white flowers in the fall followed by red berries in the winter.

7) Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii)

Autumn Sage is a compact evergreen shrub that is native to central Texas. It is known for its vibrant tubular flowers in shades of red, pink, or purple that cover the plant periodically from late spring through winter.

These beautiful shrubs are a popular choice in Texas yards, and they are a favorite among hummingbirds and butterflies too!

Small Texas evergreen shrubs - Autumn Sage

Light pruning a few times throughout the year can help maintain its shape and encourage continuous blooming. Autumn sage can be a deciduous shrub in cold winters. 

I hope these native Texas shrubs give you some ideas for some new plants to add to your yard this year. All of them require minimal maintenance and care, and would be an excellent choice for wildlife!

Download the Free PDF: 10 Native Texas Shrubs

I created a handy one-page PDF for you to print and take with you to the plant nursery. This download includes a mix of evergreen and deciduous shrubs native to Texas.

It includes a thumbnail photo of each plant along with its common and scientific names, size, sun needs and more! Get it here:

Texas shrubs list

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Top 7 native Texas evergreen shrubs to plant in your yard

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