South Texas has plenty of sunshine, ample rain and a temperate climate that supports a wide range of plant types. To keep maintenance low, choose evergreen plants that will just fill the space you want to screen when they are mature. These evergreen shrubs can grow tall and wide, providing just the right amount of privacy and attractiveness.
The Nerium Oleander plant grows fast in south Texas and stands up to salty soils. Oleander takes high heat, withstands reflected heat from the pavement, and is drought tolerant. It will grow to 12 feet tall and just as wide if you let it. The plant has narrow, shiny leaves that are 4 to 12 inches long and produces flowers up to 3 inches wide. There are 12 common hybrids with distinctly red flowers including General Pershing, Scarlet Beauty and Marakesh. Coral and salmon-colored hybrids include Hawaii, Agnes Campbell and Mrs. George Roeding. There are also pinks, whites, yellows and multicolored oleanders. The varieties range in size from 3 feet to 20 feet tall.
The photinia shrub grows in south Texas even though it is not native to the state. It grows from 6 feet to 35 feet tall and its varieties are known for their attractive and showy leaves. Some varieties produce clusters of small white flowers in spring. Photinia fraseri grows to 10 feet tall with glossy leaves that are 2 to 5 inches long. The new growth is bronzy red and has clusters of white flowers in the spring. Photinia serrulata grows to 35 feet tall with thick growth and spiny-edged leaves up to 8 inches long. The new leaves are copper colored and in the fall it sets showy scarlet leaves in random patterns. Keep it watered when young and it will be reasonably drought resistant once established. Photinia glabra can grow to more than 10 feet tall, but you can easily keep it at 5 feet by pruning it in the summer. Summer pruning also causes it to continually set new red leaves.
Texas Mountain Laurel
Add some nitrogen to the soil and enjoy the fragrance of grape bubble gum in early April as this plant blooms. Flowers come in clusters of purple and develop into pods with two large seeds inside. This mountain laurel is a legume that can grow to 18 feet tall. It has leathery, green leaves. A seedling grows slowly the first two years as it develops its highly adaptive root system that allows it to survive in rocky conditions. It likes well-drained soil. As young plants, they will stretch upward better if they have shade for a third of the day during their first spring and summer.
- "Sunset New Western Garden Book"; Lane Publishing; 1979
- International Oleander Society
- "How To Grow Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest";Jill Nokes; 2001
- Photo Credit lightweight outdoor wooden bamboo privacy fence panel image by Steve Johnson from Fotolia.com oleander image by timur1970 from Fotolia.com photinia flower image by Alison Bowden from Fotolia.com
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