Top 15 Texas Shrubs for Your Yard

Looking for a new shrub or bush to add to your Texas yard? Skip the exotic options and shop local instead! Choose native Texas shrubs to add interest to your landscaping while providing food for pollinators, birds and wildlife.

These 15 shrubs are some of the best that Texas has to offer! Most of these are very low maintenance and tolerate drought conditions like champs. They would make a great addition to your yard.

Top 15 Native Texas Shrubs

You may be surprised to learn that many of the shrubs and bushes found in Texas landscapes are exotic plants from Asia and Africa.

Common landscaping plants from other parts of the world include Nandina, Crape Myrtles, Ligustrum, Chaste Tree, Japanese Boxwood, Indian Hawthorn and more. While these evergreen plants may look nice, they aren’t doing much for our local ecosystems.

Why It Is Important to Grow Native Plants

If you add any new plant to your yard, make it a native! Native plants are the foundation of a healthy ecosystem. These plants have evolved in your local area, while non-native plants were introduced from other countries. Native plants:

  • Are important food source to plant-eating insects and wildlife
  • Serve as host plants to butterflies and moths
  • Require less water and maintenance
  • Support more species than non-native plants

If you are new to native plants be sure to read the Top 6 Benefits of Native Plants in Your Yard. The majority of our yards are currently filled with non-native plants so there are lots of opportunities to swap in some natives and help the environment!

Here are some of the best shrubs you can add to your yard. I’ve included the scientific name in parentheses. Write this down before you go to the nursery to ensure you’re getting the right plant.

Top 15 Native Texas Shrubs

1. Cenizo (Leucophyllum frutescens)

Also known as Texas Sage, this plant happens to be the Official State Native Shrub of Texas! This is a great evergreen option for your yard. It has silvery foliage and is covered with purple blooms after a rain. It is also fairly deer resistant.

Texas native bush

2. Turk’s Cap (Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii)

This pretty native shade plant is one of the few that blooms well in part shade and even full shade. Its tubular red flowers will attract hummingbirds to your yard.

This is a common plant to find at most nurseries in Texas. It requires little maintenance but will need to be cut back to the ground in late winter.

Texas bush - Turk's Cap

3. Agarita

This shrub with unique prickly foliage will be a standout in your garden. In addition to its evergreen silvery sharp spines, it is covered with yellow flowers in the spring that attract bees and red berries in the summer that are enjoyed by birds.

4. Yaupon Holly (Ilex vomitoria)

Yaupon Hollys can be found in yards across Texas. They can withstand a variety of sun and soil conditions. Female plants have pretty red berries in winter that are enjoyed by birds.

Dwarf Yaupon Holly makes for a compact evergreen shrub or a low hedge when planted in a row.

5. American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana)

This is one of my favorite native shrubs due to its gorgeous purple berries in the fall. They add a bright pop of color to your yard when other plants are winding down for the season.

Beautyberry Texas shrub

6. Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)

Have a large space to fill? Try a Buttonbush. This multi-trunked shrub can grow 6-9 feet tall and wide.

It is covered in fragrant white button-shaped flowers starting in early summer. These blooms will be a bustle of pollinator activity.

In the wild you can find it growing along creek banks so it prefers moist soils. You won’t find many of these in the urban landscape, but there needs to be more of them in our yards!

Native Texas bush

7. Flame Acanthus (Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii)

Flame Acanthus is a deciduous shrub native to the Texas Hill Country. The bright red flowers on this deciduous shrub are loved by both butterflies and hummingbirds.

These tough plants are not picky about soil type, need little water, and can handle hot temps!

Hummingbird bush

8. White Mistflower (Ageratina havanensis)

White Mistflower goes by other common names including Shrubby Boneset. It is a rounded shrub that grows 2-6 ft tall. Starting in early fall it is covered in white flowers. This plant provides nectar at the best time for migrating Monarchs!

Great Texas bush for fall

9. Prickly Pear (Opuntia species)

There are different Prickly Pear varieties native to Texas, so find one native to your local area. This evergreen plant can add some great structural interest to your garden. It looks particularly nice in the fall and winter paired with native ornamental grasses.

According to the National Wildlife Federation, the Prickly Pear species are host plants for 27 different butterflies and moths.

10. Rock Rose (Pavonia lasiopetala)

If you are looking for medium shrubs, try Rock Rose. It starts blooming in late spring and flowers until fall.

Rock Rose is a short lived shrub that grows well for 3-4 years before dying. However it reseeds easily and will put off baby plants to replace the original. It adds a pretty pop of pink to your yard!

Rock Rose

11. Esperanza (Tecoma stans)

This is a popular Texas native shrub that you have likely seen in yards. You should also be able to find it easily at most nurseries. It is a big time bloomer in the heat of the summer, with clusters of fragrant yellow flowers April to November.

Texas shrub with yellow flowers

12. Texas Lantana (Lantana urticoides)

There are lots of Lantana varieties available at the nursery, but the only one you want to buy is the native Texas Lantana. Make sure to buy it by its scientific name Lantana urticoides.

Several of the other varieties including Tropical Lantana (Lantana camara) and Purple Trailing Lantana (Lantana montevidensis) are known to be invasive in Texas. Don’t buy these! They spread into natural areas when birds deposit their berries.

However, native Texas Lantana is a beautiful alternative that has been growing in the wild naturally here for thousands of years. It is drought tolerant, a long time bloomer, and a good pollinator plant.

13. Texas Mountain Laurel (Sophora secundiflora)

The purple flowers of the Texas Mountain Laurel are hard to miss in March and April. While this is really a small ornamental tree, it can be grown as a large evergreen shrub. These multi-trunked plants are known to be slow growers and thrive in rocky, poor soil.

You can create a privacy screen by growing several of them close together.

Texas Mountain Laurel flowers

14. Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii)

Autumn Sage is a great option to incorporate into a flower bed. It thrives in full sun but can handle partial sun or afternoon shade. These relatively small shrubs can have red, pink or white flowers. .

Autumn Sage and Red Yucca

15. Chili Pequin (Capsicum annuum)

Add more pops of color to partial shade areas with the bright tiny red peppers of the Chili Pequin (Capsicum annuum).

This smaller shrub not only looks beautiful, but it can provide you with some yummy (super hot!) peppers to make salsa! Birds love them too.

Chili Pequin
Jumpstart Your Native Plant Garden

Texas is a big state with lots of different ecoregions. While many of the shrubs in the list above work well across the state, below are some more customized lists for each major region including some other ideas for shrubs and small trees to incorporate into your landscaping:

Best Shrubs for North Texas

Live in the Dallas area? Try one of these options in your yard:

  • Agarita (Mahonia trifoliolata)
  • American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana)
  • Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii)
  • Black Dalea (Dalea frutescens)
  • Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)
  • Cenizo (Leucophyllum frutescens)
  • Elbowbush (Forestiera pubescens)
  • Evergreen Sumac (Rhus virens)
  • Flame Acanthus (Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii)
  • Rock Rose (Pavonia lasiopetala)
  • Texas Kidneywood (Eysenhardtia texana)
  • Texas Mountain Laurel (Sophora secundiflora)

Best Shrubs for Central Texas

Live in the Austin area? Try one of these options in your yard:

  • Agarita (Mahonia trifoliata)
  • American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana)
  • Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii)
  • Cenizo (Leucophyllum frutescens)
  • Chile Pequin (Capsicum annuum)
  • Esperanza (Tecoma stans)
  • Evergreen Sumac (Rhus virens)
  • Flame Acanthus (Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii)
  • Possumhaw Holly (Ilex decidua)
  • Red Yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora)
  • Texas Lantana (Lantana urticoides)
  • Texas Mountain Laurel (Sophora secundiflora)

Best Shrubs for Houston / East Texas

Live in the Houston area? Try one of these options in your yard:

  • American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana)
  • Barbados Cherry (Malpighia glabra)
  • Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)
  • Chile Pequin (Capsicum annuum)
  • Coralbean (Erythrina herbacea)
  • Dwarf Palmetto (Sabal minor)
  • False Indigo (Amorpha fruticosa)
  • Farkleberry (Vaccinium arboreum)
  • Possumhaw Holly (Ilex decidua)
  • Strawberry Bush (Euonymus americanus)
  • Yaupon Holly (Ilex vomitoria)

Best Shrubs for South Texas

Live in the Corpus Christi area? Try one of these options in your yard:

  • Agarita (Mahonia trifoliolata)
  • American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana)
  • Barbados Cherry (Malpighia glabra)
  • Cenizo (Leucophyllum frutescens)
  • Coralbean (Erythrina herbacea)
  • Elbowbush (Forestiera angustifolia)
  • Flame Acanthus (Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii)
  • Retama (Parkinsonia aculeata)
  • Spanish Dagger (Yucca treculeana)
  • Texas Lantana (Lantana urticoides)
  • Texas Mountain Laurel (Sophora secundiflora)
  • Turk’s Cap (Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii)

Best Texas Shrubs for Birds

Are you a backyard birder that wants to attract all the songbirds to your yard? These shrubs will be your best bet for providing food and habitat for birds:

  • Agarita (Mahonia trifoliata)
  • American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana)
  • Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)
  • Chili Pequin (Capsicum annuum)
  • Possumhaw Holly (Ilex decidua)
  • Texas Persimmon (Diospyros texana)
  • Yaupon Holly (Ilex vomitoria)

Best Texas Shrubs for Pollinators

Want to attract butterflies and bees to your yard? These shrubs are awesome nectar plants:

  • Agarita (Mahonia trifoliata)
  • Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)
  • Flame Acanthus (Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii)
  • Fragrant Mistflower (Ageratina havanensis)
  • Rock Rose (Pavonia lasiopetala)
  • Autumn Sage (Salvia greggi)
  • Texas Lantana (Lantana urticoides)
  • Turk’s Cap (Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii)

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The best native Texas shrubs and bushes to add to your yard!

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