Birds & Blooms — America's # 1 Bird & Garden Magazine — has compiled a list of the top nine plants for Texas that are not only tough as nails, but pretty, too! So turn your black thumb into a green thumb with these top picks:
Coneflower. The coneflower is a low-maintenance star of nature-friendly gardens. They require well-drained soil but will thrive in full sun as well as partial shade. Known for attracting birds, bees and butterflies, coneflowers also make lovely cut blooms. It comes in many colors, and it's easy to find one you — and the birds — will love.
Cosmos. If big, beautiful flowers are one of your top requirements, cosmos is perfect for you! Though it's an annual, it often reseeds on its own. It's easy to grow, so for a couple of bucks, you'll have a gorgeous show in a single season.
Daylily. An excellent choice for a classic garden, daylilies can tolerate flooding, drought and salt and are often used for erosion control on steep hillsides. Their distinctive trumpets may be triangular, circular, double, spidery or star-shaped. Some cultivars attract hummingbirds and butterflies.
Hens and Chicks. Overwatering is the only way to kill this succulent. For best results, plant in well-drained soil that gets full sun to light shade. This low grower works wonders in containers. Since it doesn't have a deep root system, you can plant it somewhere fun. Try growing it in an old birdbath or shoe.
Yarrow. These easy-care, long-lasting flowers come in to their own once summer is on its way. Well-suited to most growing conditions, yarrows provide a long season of bloom. They're a good cutting flower, too. This plant is heat- and drought-tolerant and can survive on benign neglect.
Sedum. Hello, butterflies! If you want flying flowers in your yard, this plant is a slam dunk. You can grow some species as ground cover, while others make good border plants. Take a close look and you'll see this plant's star-shaped blooms, similar to a pentas.
Zinnia. With new heat-, drought- and disease-resistant plants on the market, there's never been a better time to grow zinnias. You'll also save tons of money growing these from seed. For the newest varieties from seed, check your local nursery or favorite garden catalog, or order online.
Petunia. Petunias have been around for decades, but the newer varieties have advanced in leaps and bounds. Days of deadheading and disease-prone plants are long gone. Nowadays, these beauties flourish in both full sun and partial shade without a lot of extra work. And you can find them in almost every color imaginable.
Yucca. There's a good reason so many Southern gardeners use this as a backyard centerpiece. It's about as drought-tolerant as they come — and on top of that, it boasts beautiful white flowers amid its spiky leaves.