There are many varieties of roses for Texas gardens, but the flowers known as Texas roses are not actually roses (Rosa spp.) at all. Texas Rose is a cultivar of cherry skullcap (Scutellaria suffrutescens). The Texas rose is a member of the mint family (Lamiaceae), and it grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 to 9. Some consider it to be a native Texas flower, but the plant actually originated in Mexico.
Texas Rose Plant Description
The Texas rose is a perennial that is often used as a ground cover, a border or as part of a container garden. In cooler climates, the plants grow as annuals. The plant is resistant to many garden pests, including deer and rabbits.
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The cherry skullcap features small pink flowers on spikes that have a similar shape to helmets or skullcaps from the Middle Ages. The Texas Rose cultivar features darker flowers. This plant is a popular choice to bring color to many gardens because it blooms from spring until fall. The blooms attract beneficial pollinators, including hummingbirds, bees, butterflies and other insects.
The Texas rose is a woody plant with narrow gray-green leaves. In parts of Texas that don't get frost, the plants are evergreen or semievergreen. Plants grow 4 to 8 inches tall and spread 12 to 18 inches.
How to Grow Texas Rose
Texas rose plants are drought tolerant and do best in rocky or sandy soil that drains extremely well. Water as needed when there is not sufficient rainfall but take care to avoid wet soil and standing water, which will harm the plants. Plant the flowers in full sun. Consider a location where they can get afternoon shade if you live in a hot climate.
If you are growing the plant as a perennial, be aware that it will self-seed and spread in your garden. You can cut back the plant in the spring after new growth has started.
The Texas rose is low maintenance and has few pest and disease problems. In wet conditions, leaf spot and powdery mildew are a concern. Aphids are a common pest for which to look out.
Yellow Rose of Texas Plant
The yellow rose of Texas is not only a well-known song dating back to 1853 but it is also another Texas flower. A few different flowers have been referred to as the yellow rose of Texas. In 1918, the flower that held the name was the coneflower (Rudbeckia spp., USDA zones 4 to 9). However, by the 1960s, two other species held the name.
The first plant is the Japanese kerria (Kerria japonica, USDA zones 4 to 9). While this plant is not a rose, it is in the same family as Rosa spp. (Rosaceae). This plant grows up to 10 feet tall and features yellow pompom-shaped blooms in the spring.
The other plant known as the yellow rose of Texas is Harrison's yellow rose (Rosa x harisonii). This plant is a rose hybrid that grows in USDA zones 4 to 7. This rose bush grows 4 to 6 feet tall.
- North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension: Scutellaria suffrutescens
- Backbone Valley Nursery: Growing Roses in Central Texas
- Meadows Farms: Texas Rose Pink Skullcap
- Texas State Historical Association: Yellow Rose of Texas
- Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service: Rudbeckia
- University of Illinois Extension: Selecting Shrubs for Your Home: Harrison's Yellow Rose
- Washington State University Clark County Extension: Japanese Kerria