Unique Native Plants for Your Yard

Unique Native Plants for Your Yard

At Houston Audubon we believe every greenspace counts. Urban restoration projects can only transform so much of the city into usable habitat for wildlife. The Bird-Friendly Yard program aims to use other available urban landscape, specifically lawns, as wildlife habitat.

The first step of creating a Bird-Friendly Yard is planting native plants. Houston Audubon's Natives Nursery fills the need for these "real-deal" native plants. "Real-deal" refers to the fact that all the plants in the nursery are native to Harris County and are grown from locally collected seed, mostly from native prairie remnants around Houston. These plants are never treated with pesticides and are ready to take on anything Houston will throw at them. They are drought tolerant, flood-tolerant, heat-resistant, and cold-hardy.

Over 60 species of native plant are grown at the Natives Nursery, many of which are well-loved by native plant gardeners. Katy Prairie Conservancy recently released its "Nine Natives" list, which includes some wonderful plants for yards, including Gulf Muhly, Indianblanket, and Lemon Beebalm.

The Natives Nursery not only grows these species, but some lesser-used species that can serve as wonderful and wildlife-friendly additions to your garden. This list is a great mix of real-deal natives that can bring diversity and color  to your yard throughout the year.

This article was first published in the Lazy Gardener and Friends Newsletter on October 26, 2018. See PDF here.

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Zizotes milkweed
Asclepias oenotheroides
The flower of this species is different from other milkweeds as they are long, slender as opposed to short, and clumped. Like other milkweeds, Zizotes milkweed is a host plant for Monarch butterflies.


Missouri ironweed
Vernonia missurica
Missouri ironweed is pollinator favorite. Its bright purple flowers bloom in fall and attract bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects.


Lanceleaf coreopsis
Coreopsis lanceolata
One of a few native forbs that doesn't die back in the winter, Lanceleaf coreopsis provides lovely green foliage all year. The yellow blooms appear in the spring and are popular for visiting pollinators.


Gulf vervain
Verbena xutha
Flowers of this species are small, light purple, and display on tall slender spikes from spring to fall.


Sideoats grama
Bouteloua curtipendula
Sideoats grama is the Texas state grass and a small, bird-friendly grass to add to your yard or garden. This species forms 2-3 ft. tall bunches that form seeds on one side of the stem.


Tropical puff
Neptunia pubescens
A member of the pea family, Tropical puff is an excellent nitrogen-fixer and ground-cover, improving soil quality. The leaves of Tropical  Puff are sensitive, closing up when touched or disturbed. The flowers are bright yellow puffs that bloom from spring to fall.