Our Top Evergreen Shrubs for Texas Lawns

Spring has sprung, and green is starting to show everywhere! But what if your landscape could stay green year-round? We’re lucky that many evergreen shrubs thrive in Texas lawns, and spring is the perfect time to add a few to your beds.

Choosing evergreen shrubs in Texas involves a few factors, like heat tolerance, drought resistance, and soil adaptability. Here’s a list of ten options that thrive in Austin’s climate:

1. Texas Sage

Also known as “cenizo,” this native shrub features silvery-green foliage and produces purple flowers a few times a year. Highly heat-tolerant and drought-resistant, Texas Sage can withstand the intense heat of Texas summers. It can also tolerate occasional cold spells, though prolonged freezing temperatures may damage it.

There are different varieties, so make sure you know what you are getting. Some are smaller and more compact. Some are longer and bigger and get “leggy.”

Texas Sage. Image courtesy of rockoakdeer.blogspot.com

2. Dwarf Yaupon Holly

A compact evergreen with small glossy leaves, it’s drought-tolerant once established and thrives in full sun to part shade. Seriously—these are some of hardiest plants in Central Texas next to lantanas. This shrub is quite resilient to both heat and cold once established.

Yaupon Hollies can vary widely in size. And the female variety is the one with berries.

Fun fact: They’re the only native plant in North America that produces caffeine!

3. Dwarf Burford Holly

This holly variety is prized for its dense, dark green foliage and small white flowers, followed by red berries, providing year-round interest. While it’s generally heat-tolerant, young plants may benefit from some protection during extreme heat. It’s also cold-hardy and can withstand occasional frosts.

Dwarf Burford Holly. Image courtesy of stadlergardencenters.com

4. Loropetalum  

Are we talking about plants here or Harry Potter spells? Anyway. Lorapetalum is known for its vibrant pink or red fringe-like flowers and burgundy foliage, which can add nice color contrast to a landscape.

While Loropetalum is heat-tolerant, it may need protection from extreme cold, especially for young plants or during severe winter weather. They’re pretty common around Austin.

The red-purple leaves of the loropetalum plant. Image courtesy of southernlivingplants.com

5. Rosemary

Not just an herb, rosemary can be pruned into a variety of shapes and sizes, offering fragrant foliage and delicate blue flowers. Rosemary is known for its ability to thrive in hot and dry conditions. It can tolerate mild cold spells but may suffer damage in extended periods of freezing temperatures. Our last few big freezes killed quite a few of them, but they do fine in most winters.

Keep in mind that there are both trailing and upright varieties.

Rosemary. Image courtesy of gardendesign.com

6. Texas Mountain Laurel

A slow-growing shrub with dark green foliage and clusters of fragrant purple flowers in spring. Because they’re somewhere between a tall shrub and a small tree, they can make a great centerpiece for your beds. And their blooms smell like grape bubble gum!

They’re drought-tolerant, deer-resistant, and well-adapted to the Texas climate. However, it may need protection from severe freezes, especially when young.

Texas Mountain Laurel. Image courtesy of centraltexasgardener.com

Can Evergreen Shrubs Survive in Texas Year-Round?

Our Austin climate gives plants a run for their money. There’s the heat, of course, but we also get hit by occasional intense cold snaps. These evergreen shrubs are well-suited for surviving in Texas year-round, but it’s worth noting that extreme weather conditions can still impact them.

Make sure to provide extra watering until your plants are well established. After that, things like mulch will help retain moisture and insulate their more delicate roots from both heat and cold.

We’re Here to Help!

Give us a shout if you would like a little expert assistance designing and creating your dream landscape in Austin, TX. We’re here to help your yard look beautiful year-round!

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