Plant Palette: 3 tough native beauties

Houston's soil is mucky, silty, and full of clay that's nutrient dense, but typically has poor drainage. I approach landscape design for residential gardens in Houston by selecting plants that thrive in the native soil and in the rain extremes. In 2004, Houston received 12 inches of rain in one day. Not long after, our city had a drought year with only 14 inches of rain in 12 months. 

To help you choose plants for our wonderfully hot and humid climate, I am creating these short plant palettes to showcase groups of plants that work well together in the garden. This first palette of three sun-loving flowering plants are all native and tolerate clay soil, high humidity, and drought. 

Lindheimer's Gaura, Gaura lindheimeri, a flowering perennial with sprays of elegant white to whitish-pink flowers on long nodding stalks. Use gaura with low native grasses for a flowing meadow.

Texas Ranger, Leucophyllum frutescens, a fantastic woody shrub with purple-pink flowers that bloom for most of the growing season. Don't prune this into a hedge. Instead, let it grow freely as a large flowering shrub that creates a spread of silver foliage.

Louisiana Irs, Iris brevicaulis, an extra tough Iris that can handle drought and water inundation. Perfect for a rain garden or as a great sumptuous filler for the butterfly garden.