Native plants perfect for Valley planting

SAN BENITO — Is it too late to plant in your garden this season?

No, it’s not, says a Valley horticulture expert.

“There’s definitely still time to plant some of the landscape plants,” said Jennifer Herrera, a horticultural agent with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension office in San Benito.

Even in the Valley where temperatures can easily hit triple digits, there really isn’t a deadline to plant.

“It really just depends on the variety of plants you’re planting. Everything has a different time frame depending on the temperature of the soil and the watering requirements,” Herrera said.

In fact, the Valley has several drought-tolerant native plants that can be planted all year round.

Many of these are known as Texas Superstar plants, a registered trademark of Texas A&M AgriLife Research.

“Only the toughest, most reliable and best-looking plants make the cut,” AgriLife Research says.

Herrera says, “The Superstar program is specific to plants that are highly recommended to A&M AgriLife. So some of these plants have been selected very carefully to where they are drought tolerant and don’t require as much water once they’ve been established.”

Because we are entering the hotter months, AgriLife recommends planting native plants.

Herrera’s favorites include wildflowers and groundcovers like the blackfoot daisy and the Texas lantana.

She also recommends vines like the blue passion vine and the crucita, known as one of the best butterfly plants.

She also suggests native shrubs like cenizo and Turk’s cap.

Her tips for planting this season?

“Make sure you keep your newly planted plants well watered for at least a week or two until the roots are established,” Herrera said.

“Also, what really helps is adding a layer of mulch. That will keep the moisture in the ground and also decrease evaporation and keep the soil cool.”

Sixty-seven plants species are considered Superstars under A&M AgriLife. They range from annuals to perennials to pre-annuals to woody shrubs to specialty plants.

Herrera said these plants grow well with the weather conditions of the Valley.

But there is so much more.

Herrera, who has 11 fruit trees growing in her yard, said residents can also grow star fruit, macadamia nuts, avocado and sugar apples in the Valley.

“The best planting season is the fall,” she said.

With planting fruit trees comes some strife, from those pesky black birds.

Herrera said if the birds are eating your fruit, it means they are probably thirsty. So, put out a bird bath for them.

Thirsty birds will drink water rather than the fruit juice, Herrera said.

Through the application of science-based knowledge, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension creates high-quality, relevant continuing education that encourages lasting and effective change.

The extension provides programs, tools and resources — local and statewide — that teach people how to improve agriculture and food production, advance health practices, protect the environment, strengthen communities and enrich youths.

Tips for hot weather planting

Keep newly planted plants well watered for at least a week or two until the roots are established.

Add a layer of mulch to keep moisture in the ground, decrease evaporation and keep the soil cool.

Plants that don’t need much water to thrive

Cool Season Euphorbias



Dakota Gold Helenium



Napier Grass




Lynn’s Legacy Cenizo

Possum Haw Deciduous

Lacey Oak

Chinkapin Oak

Recommended native plants

Wildflowers, groundcovers

Blackfoot Daisy

Texas Lantana


Blue Passion Vine




Turk’s cap

To find out more about the Texas Superstar program, go to