The heat and humidity of a Texas summer – which will officially begin on June 21 – make this season less than optimal for most kinds of planting. Nevertheless, it’s still a good time to consider the types of vegetation you may want to include as part of a long-term landscape update and/or renovation plan.
One succulent you may wish to consider is the scarlet hedgehog cactus. It can form large, mounded clumps of cylinder-shaped dark green stems that are about 16 inches long. In spring, these mounds bloom with 3-inch-wide, red-orange flowers. The red yucca is another fine choice. It forms clumps of slender, tough leaves that can grow up to 3 feet tall. Flower stalks rise above the foliage to bear striking tube-shaped red flowers.
The Texas mountain laurel grows 15 to 20 feet tall and about 10 to 12 feet wide, which makes it a good shrub plant. In the spring, it produces showy, fragrant clusters of purple flowers as well as silvery seedpods. Female yaupon holly bushes grow to about the same height as Texas mountain laurels, but have stiff, gray-green colored leaves. They bear glossy red berries in fall and winter, but only if they have male bushes nearby for pollination.
If you’re looking to add a few trees to your landscape, the plateau live oak will add not only beauty and grace, but eventually shade. A slow-grower, this Texas evergreen tree reaches 20 to 40 feet tall. Another evergreen with scale-like, fragrant leaves is the eastern red cedar. At maturity, the red cedar is 40 to 50 feet tall and 10 to 20 feet wide.
Lindheimer’s muhly grass makes a wonderful, fine-textured landscaping plant. Typically, it grows in clumps 2 to 4 feet tall and 1 to 2 feet wide and produces gray-blue arching leaves. In the fall, flowering stalks grow to 5 feet. If you want a larger grass, try the big bluestem. It has wider, dark green leaves and grows to 6 feet tall, with flower stalks rising even higher.
All of these plants are native to Central Texas. That means that they are all pre-acclimated to our weather patterns (and, in most cases, to drought). Despite recent heavy rains, water conservation remains an ongoing issue for Austin.
For your irrigation system needs, call South Austin Irrigation at (512) 534-7449
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