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Stems of native grass against a blue sky

Native Plants

Helping you find native plants that thrive in your landscape

Field of yellow flowers with mountains and blue sky in the background.

What is a native plant?

Native plant means plants that were growing naturally here before European colonization. This is the tacit definition many botanists and native-plant enthusiasts seem to use.

Why are native plants important?

  • Drought-tolerant, naturally conserving our precious water resources
  • Provide habitat and food for birds, butterflies, bees and other wildlife
  • Don’t need special pampering or fertilizing
  • Natural to their eco-system
  • Help us maintain biological biodiversity

What's the rush?

Doug Tallamy presents the science-based solution to the biodiversity crisis and explains why it’s so urgent.

What is an ecoregion?

According to the USDA, “Ecoregions are areas where ecosystems (and the type, quality, and quantity of environmental resources) are generally similar.”

Ecoregions are identified by analyzing the patterns and composition of biotic and abiotic phenomena that affect or reflect differences in ecosystem quality and integrity (Omernik 1987, 1995). These phenomena include the following:

  • geology
  • landforms
  • soils
  • vegetation
  • climate
  • land use
  • wildlife
  • hydrology

What native plants are good for my area?

Find plants that are a good fit for your landscape based on sun/shade, soil type, bloom preference, and more.

Native trees at Green Tree Diversity in Bertram

Where can I find native plants?

NICE! Native Plant Partners is a program where Native Plant Society chapters work with local nurseries to promote the availability of native plants.

Where can I see examples?

Chapter volunteers plant beds of native plants called “Chapter Demonstration Gardens.” Find native plants near you at demo gardens, parks and trails.

What is wildscaping?

Wildscaping is a way of designing your home’s landscape to attract and benefit wildlife, especially birds and butterflies, by providing the required food, water, and shelter. 

Where can I learn more?

Native Landscape Certification Program (NLCP) is a series of day-long classes that teach best practices for native plant landscaping – including wildlife habitat gardening. Each class consists of an indoor training session and an outdoor plant identification section. We show you plants native to the local ecoregion, illustrating their use in the landscape.

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About the Region

New Braunfels, the location of our Fall 2024 Symposium, straddles both the Edwards Plateau Ecoregion and the Blackland Prairie ecoregion. Interstate 35 divides the city of New Braunfels; its path through the city closely parallels the boundary of these two ecoregions, with the Edwards Plateau on the west side and the Blackland Prairies region to the east. The Edwards Plateau area is also called the Hill Country; however, this general term covers a much larger area extending farther north. Spring-fed creeks are found throughout the region; deep limestone canyons, rivers, and lakes (reservoirs) are common. Ashe juniper is perhaps the most common woody species found throughout the region. Additional woody species include various species of oak, with live oak (Quercus fusiformis) being the most common. Sycamores (Platanus occidentalis) and bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) border waterways. This area is well known for its spring wildflower displays, though they may be viewed in spring, late summer, and fall, as well. According to Texas Parks and Wildlife, average annual rainfall in the Edwards Plateau ranges from 15 to 34 inches.

The Blackland Prairie extends from the Red River south to San Antonio, bordered on the west by the Edwards Plateau and the Cross Timbers, and on the east by the Post Oak Savannah. Annual rainfall averages 30 to 40 inches, with higher averages to the east. This region is dominated by prairie species. The most common grass species include little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) and Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans) in the uplands and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) in the riparian areas and drainages. Common herbaceous flowering plants include salvias, penstemons, and silphiums. This area has suffered greatly from overgrazing and agricultural use. Few intact areas remain, though many of the plants can be found along county roadsides throughout the region.

Our four host chapters (New Braunfels, Lindheimer, Guadalupe, and the Hill Country chapters) are located in one or both of the ecoregions above. However, the eastern portion of Guadalupe County also falls within the Post Oak Savanna ecoregion. Annual rainfall averages 35 to 45 inches, with higher averages to the east. A wide variety of hardwood trees are found, including several species of oaks, elms, and in the Bastrop area, loblolly pine (Pinus taeda). Grasses and forbs dominate in the open savannas, with most common grass being little bluestem. Ranching, agriculture, and fire suppression have allowed woody species to encroach on the once-open savannas.

Source: Wildflowers of Texas by Michael Eason