Transform Your Lawn: How to Buy Houston Native Flowers from Web Sources

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In the post “Houston Native Plants: Live Healthy by Transforming Your Lawn” I shared with you a collection of plants native to the Houston area, hoping that it might help you navigate the path towards a more ecologically integrated lawn.

Nurturing native vegetation is the right thing to do, but it can become a struggle when you can’t get your hands on the right plants. That’s why in this post, the first of two, I’ll show you how you can purchase the most beautiful Houston native flowers online.


Note added on April 27, 2016: Before ordering these flowers, I recommend you read the sections “Buy from Texas” and “Avoid perennial cultivars” in the blog post “Transform Your Lawn Part 2: Perennial Native Flowers.”


List of Houston native flowers

Green Milkweed (asclepias viridis)

How to Buy Houston Native Flowers from Web Sources: Green Milkweed

Green Milkweed by janice75087 / CC BY-NC

Perennial that gets up to 2 feet tall and flowers March through December. Likes silt and clay soil. Goldfinches use the fluff surrounding the milkweed seeds to line their nests.[1] The monarch and queen butterflies love it as well. [2] It is difficult to grow native milkweed from seed. Here are instructions for doing it.

For additional images visit the Encyclopedia of Life.

Where can you buy it?

 

White Gaura (gaura lindheimeri)

How to Buy Houston Native Flowers from Web Sources: White Gaura

White Gaura by Greg Lasley / CC BY-NC

Perennial that’s 20 to 60 inches tall and blooms April through October.[3] Likes rich clay or sandy soil of prairies. Loves full sun and can survive prolonged droughts.[4]

For additional images visit the Encyclopedia of Life.

Where can you buy it?

 

Plains Coreopsis (coreopsis tinctoria)

How to Buy Houston Native Flowers from Web Sources: Plains Coreopsis

Plains Coreopsis by Zoya Akulova / CC BY-NC

Annual that grows in partial shade to full sun in loam and clay and tolerates poor drainage.[5] Grows 1 to 2 feet tall and rarely as tall as 4 feet. Blooms almost all year long.[6]

For additional images visit the Encyclopedia of Life.

Where can you buy it?

 

Swamp Sunflower (helianthus angustifolius)

How to Buy Houston Native Flowers from Web Sources: Swamp Sunflower

Swamp Sunflower by Matthew Herron/ CC BY-NC

Perennial that grows 3 to 6 feet tall with a flower head up to 3 inches across. Blooms July through November. Leaves are narrow for a sunflower. Likes rich, moist soil. [7] Tolerates poor drainage. Birds like this plant for its seeds.[8] Hummingbirds eat its nectar.[9]

For additional images visit the Encyclopedia of Life.

Where can you buy it?

 

Brown-eyed Susan (rudbeckia hirta)

How to Buy Houston Native Flowers from Web Sources: Brown-eyed Susan

Brown-eyed Susan by Robert Sivinski / CC BY-NC

Annual or short-lived perennial that’s 1 to 3 feet tall and blooms from April through August.[10] Likes well-drained loam and clay and thrives in partial shade to full sun. Provides nectar for butterflies. The larvae of the silvery checkerspot butterfly eat the leaves.[11] Rudbeckia also attracts the American painted lady butterfly and the pearl crescent butterfly.[12]

For additional images visit the Encyclopedia of Life.

Where can you buy it?

 

Mexican Hat (ratibida columnifera)

How to Buy Houston Native Flowers from Web Sources: Mexican Hat

Mexican Hat by Robert Sivinski / CC BY-NC

Perennial that can get 4 feet tall but is usually much shorter. Blooms almost all year. The petals can be solid yellow, solid reddish brown, or reddish brown with yellow tip. [13] Loves partial shade to full sun and loam or clay with good drainage. Provides nectar to butterflies.[14]

For additional images visit the Encyclopedia of Life.

Where can you buy it?

 

Butterfly Weed (asclepias tuberosa)

How to Buy Houston Native Flowers from Web Sources: Butterfly Weed

Butterfly Weed by Barry Breckling / CC BY-NC-SA

Perennial[15] that grows up to 3 feet tall. Blooms April through September.[16] Lives in well-drained loam or clay and thrives in partial shade to full sun. Larvae of both the monarch butterfly and the queen butterfly eat the leaves. Various species of adult butterflies enjoy the nectar.[17] So do hummingbirds.[18] It is difficult to grow native milkweed from seed. Here are instructions for doing it.

For additional images visit the Encyclopedia of Life.

Where can you buy it?

 

Indian Blanketflower (gaillardia pulchella)

Striking annual that can get 1 to 2 feet tall but when mowed is shorter. Lives in sandy and clayey soils of prairies and blooms all year. [19] Likes good drainage and partial shade to full sun.[20] Provides nectar for butterflies. The Native Plant Society of Houston recommends it as a ground cover.[21]

For additional images visit the Encyclopedia of Life.

Where can you buy it?

 

Cardinal Flower (lobelia cardinalis)

How to Buy Houston Native Flowers from Web Sources: Cardinal Flower

Cardinal Flower by Matt Flower / CC BY-NC

Perennial that can get 4 feet tall but is usually much shorter. Blooms July to December.[22] Likes rich, moist soils of semi-shaded areas, including edges of streams. The Native Plant Society of Houston recommends it as a pond plant. [23] Attracts hummingbirds, which are its major pollinators. [24] Also attracts the sulphur butterfly.[25]

For additional images visit the Encyclopedia of Life.

Where can you buy it?

 

Purple Coneflower (echinacea purpurea)

How to Buy Houston Native Flowers from Web Sources: Purple Coneflower

Purple Coneflower by Zoya Akulova/ CC BY-NC

Perennial that grows 0.5 to 2 feet tall.[26] Likes well drained loam and partial shade to full sun.[27] A favorite of butterflies.[28]

For additional images visit the Encyclopedia of Life.

Where can you buy it?

 

Sanguine Purple Coneflower (echinacea sanguinea/echinacea pallida)

Perennial, 1.5 to 3 feet tall. Blooms April to July. Lives in sandy or gravelly soil of prairies [29] and likes well-drained loam.[30]

For additional images visit the Encyclopedia of Life.

Where can you buy it?

 

Tall Goldenrod (solidago altissima)

How to Buy Houston Native Flowers from Web Sources: Tall Goldenrod

Tall Goldenrod by Chicago Botanic Garden/ CC BY-NC-SA

Perennial that grows up to 7 feet tall and blooms from August to November. Provides nectar and pollen for many different insects[31] including bees and butterflies. Can grow in loam or clay and tolerates poor drainage.[32] Not a major cause of asthma. [33]

For additional images visit the Encyclopedia of Life.

Where can you buy it?

Just how native are these Houston native flowers?

Perhaps you wonder how I have come to call these flowers native. So here’s my standard. To qualify as native, a plant must be included in the book “Habitat Gardening for Houston and Southeast Texas” by Mark and Mary Bowen, or it must be listed in the 2016 Native Plant Guide of the Houston chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas. As you can see from the table below, most plants in this post fit both criteria.

 

Common nameBotanical nameIncluded in "Habitat Gardening for Houston"?Listed in Native Plant Society's Native Plant Guide?
Green MilkweedAsclepias viridisnoyes
White GauraGaura lindheimerinoyes
Plains CoreopsisCoreopsis tinctoriayesyes
Swamp SunflowerHelianthus angustifoliusyesyes
Brown-eyed SusanRudbeckia hirtayesyes
Mexican Hat/Prairie ConeflowerRatibida columnarisyesyes
Butterfly WeedAsclepias tuberosayesyes
BlanketflowerGaillardia Pulchellayesyes
Cardinal FlowerLobelia cardinalisyesyes
Purple ConeflowerEchinacea purpureanoyes
Sanguin Purple ConeflowerEchinacea sanguineayesyes
Tall GoldenrodSolidago altissimayesyes

Endnotes

The endnotes below will tell you where I found the information I provide in this post. Here is what the abbreviations mean:

Ajilvsgi (2003) stands for Geyata Ajilvsgi’s 2003 book Wildflowers of Texas.

Bowen and Bowen (1998) stands for the 1998 book Habitat Gardening for Houston and Southeast Texas, as summarized in the collection I created on the Encyclopedia of Life.

Native Plant Society (2016) stands for the Native Plant Guide, as updated in February 2016, of the Native Plant Society of Texas, Houston Chapter.

[1] Ajilvsgi (2003, page 17)

[2] Native Plant Society (2016)

[3] Ajilvsgi (2003, page 95)

[4] See Encyclopedia of Life, here

[5] Bowen and Bowen (1998)

[6] Ajilvsgi (2003, page 147)

[7] Ajilvsgi (2003, page 159)

[8] Bowen and Bowen (1998)

[9] Native Plant Society (2016)

[10] Ajilvsgi (2003, page 177)

[11] Bowen and Bowen (1998)

[12] Native Plant Society (2016)

[13] Ajilvsgi (2003, page 177)

[14] Bowen and Bowen (1998)

[15] Bowen and Bowen (1998)

[16] Ajilvsgi (2003, page 287)

[17] Bowen and Bowen (1998)

[18] Native Plant Society (2016)

[19] Ajilvsgi (2003, page 295)

[20] Bowen and Bowen (1998)

[21] Native Plant Society (2016)

[22] Ajilvsgi (2003, page 305)

[23] Native Plant Society (2016)

[24] Ajilvsgi (2003, page 305)

[25] Bowen and Bowen (1998)

[26] See Encyclopedia of Life, here

[27] Bowen and Bowen (1998)

[28] Native American Seeds, here

[29] Ajilvsgi (2003, page 293)

[30] Bowen and Bowen (1998)

[31] Ajilvsgi (2003, page 183)

[32] Bowen and Bowen (1998)

[33] Ajilvsgi (2003, page 183)

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One Response to Transform Your Lawn: How to Buy Houston Native Flowers from Web Sources

  1. Nanette Tashnek March 30, 2016 at 8:29 am #

    What a wonderful source of information. Thank you! How beautiful and enticing the photos are. It makes me want to go out and buy some.

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