Adapted: plants originally found in other parts of the nation or world that thrive in the North Texas area.

Annual: a plant that completes its life cycle in one growing season (germinates, matures and dies).

Compost: organic material that has decomposed and is used for soil enrichment.

Deciduous: plants that shed all their leaves every year in a specific season.

Evergreen: plant that retains its foliage/leaves year round.

Ground cover: low growing plants and trailing vines used for covering the ground.

Mulch: a protective layer of organic matter (shredded bark, leaves, straw, peat, etc.) placed around plants to conserve soil moisture, suppress weeds and regulate soil temperatures (during both hot and cold weather).

Native: plants that originate or grow naturally in a defined area (without human intervention).

Perennial: a plant that lives for two years or more. Many will flower and seed once a year and many will flower for a long period of time.

Shrub: a woody plant, normally smaller than a tree, usually having multiple permanent stems branching near the ground.

Texas SmartScape™: the use of native and adapted plants to provide beauty as well as economic, ecological and stress relief benefits. A SmartScape limits the need for water, fertilizers, and pesticides while also attracting wildlife such as hummingbirds, butterflies, and lizards. To sum it up, a SmartScape is a good place for humans, animals, and plants.

Vine: a plant with a long stem that grows along the ground or that climbs a support by winding or by climbing with tendrils or claspers.


Plant List Search Parameter Descriptions

Region: Experienced horticulture and landscape experts have evaluated the plants contained in this database to grow well in these particular regions of the state (North Central Texas and West Texas).

Plant Type: The classification of a plant based on its characteristics. For example, herbaceous perennials are plants that can live for many years. Usually the top part of the plant dies back but the roots live throughout the winter and produce new growth in the spring.

Light Requirement:

Type of light requirement Hours of sunlight per day
Full sun 6 or more hours of direct sunlight on the plant
Partial shade
(also known as partial sun
or dappled shade)
4-6 hours of direct sunlight on the plant.
Full shade Less than 4 hours of direct sunlight on the plant.
Dense shade No direct sunlight on the plant with very little reflected light.

While "dense shade" is not a selection in the Texas SmartScape™ database, it is provided in the definition table above to show the difference between full shade and dense shade.

Water Demand: Experienced horticulture and landscape experts evaluated the water needs of these plants and supplied a relative ranking for each plant, ranging from very low to high. These rankings should provide guidance for those who are selecting plants to help conserve water. They can also serve as a guide in grouping those plants with similar water needs together in the landscape (i.e., creating similar hydrological zones for efficient irrigation purposes once established).

Landscape Use: Provides a list of various needs (such as erosion control or a privacy screen) that a plant can fulfill in a person's yard.

Ornamental Color: The decorative value that a plant could provide for your landscape. This could be the color of the flowers, leaves, or fruit.

Native or Adapted: A native plant is a species that grows in the region without human introduction. Adapted plants are not native, but can still thrive in local conditions.

Wildlife Value: The types of wildlife (bees, butterflies, and birds) that the plant attracts.

Season: The general time of year that a plant is at its full potential.

Deciduous or Evergreen: Deciduous means the plant sheds its leaves annually. Evergreen means the plant has leaves throughout the year.

Plant Form: The general shape of the plant.

Plant Spread: The approximate width of a fully grown plant. Use this as a guide for the amount of room to allow when planting.

Plant Height: The approximate height of a fully grown plant.


About the Texas SmartScape Plant List

Texas SmartScape is a landscape program that promotes the use of plants suited to the region's soil, climate, and precipitation. The goal is to improve water quality by reducing runoff and conserve local water supplies by selecting ecologically appropriate native or adapted plants that require less water, pesticides, and fertilizers. The list focuses on perennials because they offer variety and diversity, blooming cycles for 7-8 months of the year, as well as foliage rich in color, texture, and shape. (For information on wildflowers, visit the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center website.)

The plant list was first created in 2001 for the North Central Texas region. A few years later, a West Texas list was added to the database. As of early 2016, the North Central Texas plant list has been reviewed and updated by a group of horticulture and landscape professional experts who generously volunteered their time. Special thanks go to Matt Grubisich, Texas Trees Foundation; Dean Minchillo, Tarrant Regional Water District; John Snowden, Bluestem Nursery; Randy Weston, Weston Gardens; and Dotty Woodson, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Laura Campbell with Berry Family of Nurseries and Mollie Dornak with Tree Town USA also provided helpful feedback regarding commercially available varieties.

To provide comments for future consideration for either current plant entries or new plant suggestions, send us an email.

Note regarding invasive plants: The plants included on the Texas SmartScape list do not currently appear on the Texas Department of Agriculture's list of invasive and noxious plants. For additional information on plant invasiveness, visit, a website that maintains an online database of plants suspected of causing invasive problems in or around Texas. That site is informational and is not intended to be a regulatory tool. Species on that list may even be economically important horticultural plants, but they may cause problems when they establish in natural areas.