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Texas AgriLife Extension Service Texas Water Development Board Texas Nursery and Landscape Association Texas AgriLife Extension Service Texas AgriLife Extension Service
A supplement to the Best Management Practices Manual produced by the Texas Water Conservation Task Force.

Select Plants by Adaptability Region

Visit the Earth-Kind Plant Selector

About the Urban Landscape Guide PlantSelector

ThePlant Selector database presents information on many landscape ornamentals that are adapted to the various regions of Texas. A panel of expert plantsmen have rated various attributes of the plants, such as heat, pest, and soil tolerances, and water and fertility requirements. The plant list that you obtain when you search by your locality will vary depending upon these environmental tolerances. The plants will be presented in groups of five in the order of better adapted to poorer adapted.

Search for information by any of the attributes listed on the form, or leave all selections blank to see all the plants in the database, with the better adapted (more Water Wise or EARTH-KINDTM) presented first.

All images are copyrighted © Michael A. Arnold and may not be reproduced in any form without permission.

Appropriate Plant Selection

No strategy creates more controversy than telling people what to plant in their yards and gardens. On the plant selection section of this Web site is a list of common urban landscape plants and their potential water use based on the location of the garden in the state. Use of this type of independent evaluation mechanism also includes additional inputs such as fertilization, pesticides, etc. which impact runoff and the amount of irrigation needed to "water in" the additives. Use of an independent evaluative tool such as the PlantSelector eliminates many arguments over plant lists in ordinance or rule making situations.

Advance work with plant nurseries and retail nurseries is advised before implementing any plant selection strategy. A normal landscape has a lifespan of 5-7 years so water savings actions need to take into account the design and replanting of current landscapes.

The PlantSelector database is regionalized so that the order in which plants are presented to you varies with the locality. The landscape plants in the database have each been rated by a team of plant experts knowledgeable about the best plants for their region.

Another factor important to the success of plants in the landscape is light exposure. Blooming plants flower profusely only when day length and amount of sunlight is right for them. Therefore, sun and shade placement of plants is an essential consideration. Hardscape reflects both light and heat, so plants with little heat tolerance should be placed away from walls and fences, particularly southern or western exposures. Trees and shrubs can be placed strategically to shade western sun and to shield air conditioning units, cutting back on energy use, which in the long run also cuts down on water use by the energy provider. Shade tolerant plantings under natural shade cover reduces water needs and are part of a water wise strategy.