Even brown thumbs can garden when they have our list of 10 of the Easiest Plants to Grow in North Texas. I know, no one likes to see all their hard work go up in a dried crisp in the Texas sun, but over the years I’ve found a few useful plants that are so hard to kill you’ll wonder why no one told you about them before. With just a few tips and the right plants, you’re gonna love gardening again!
Looking for easy landscaping ideas? Here’s our list of the Top 15 Native Plants that Will Make Your Home Look Amazing!
Preparation is essential to growing crop plants successfully in North Texas. There are lots of resources online and in your community that can give you additional guidance beyond this article, however it’s always a good idea to begin with some tips from someone that’s been gardening for years in North Texas successfully. Here are my simple tips that I have used with excellent results year after year, followed by my list of 10 of the Easiest Plants to Grow in North Texas:
North Texas Gardening Tips
First, I absolutely recommend this book. If you are only to ever buy ONE book, then this is it. It’s super easy to read, understand, and it’s the book that “taught” me how to garden. I’ve grown absolutely amazing garden following the advice of Dick Raymond in The Joy of Gardening.
Where to Garden
Location, location, location! All of the plants listed below will thrive best in full sun–even during the hottest months of summer. The most important thing to keep in mind is proximity to a watering source (we’ll go over that in the next section). Even if you don’t have a place in your yard that has full sun, make sure you are choosing a place that gets at least half of the day bathed in sun…so that means either early morning shade or later afternoon shade, not both, for optimal results.
Next thing to consider is whether you are planting in containers, raised beds or directly in the ground. All methods have different pros and cons. To sum it up, container gardens are great for small spaces like balconies, but they also require more frequent watering because they tend to dry out faster. Raised beds are great for amending or fixing soil issues like nutrients and drainage, however you should consider building materials and permanency issues. Directly sowing in the ground isn’t a terrible idea, especially if you amend our hard, compact clay soil beforehand.
Again, The Joy of Gardening has great advice to help you grow a beautiful garden.
Watering Your North Texas Garden
Hand-watering your North Texas garden is easy to do in the springtime, but as it get hotter and hotter outside it’s gonna become a real pain and chore. In my experience soaker hoses are “okay” at best and sprinklers can be alright as well. My suggestion is to purchase a mister and spray garden set like this one that is easily put together by even the novice. You can even put it on time and day control so you can set and forget it. My Best Ever garden came by using a set like this to water my garden. I had so many fresh veggies that my kids made some good summer money selling fresh produce outside our home.
This is the Garden Drip Kit that I use to Grow Incredible Gardens:
While you’re at it, go ahead and grab some of these mister heads–they’ll cool your plants down in the heat and keep your garden growing beautifully:
Harvesting Your Garden
You’ll need to become familiar with what you are growing and how to know when it’s ready to be harvested. Some plants, like herbs, can be given a “haircut” every few days and they’ll continue to grow for months or even years. Other garden plants, like peppers and tomatoes, will only have their “fruits” harvested and will stop producing once the weather turns cool. Again, I love this book:
These pruners are useful all over the garden, and I like to use them to harvest veggies:
Easiest Plants to Grow in North Texas
1. Lemon Balm
This citrus scented herb tastes great in teas, cocktails, salads, and in many savory dishes. Lemon balm can be grown short by keeping it pruned or you can let it grow 3-4 feet tall. Perennial.
Once established, the only thing you really have to worry about with rosemary is it taking over your gardening bed. This can be remedied by cutting it back in the winter before it begins to actively grow in the warmer months. Fresh rosemary compliments many recipes and so not only is it pretty year round (because it is evergreen), but it is also useful. Plan on a single plant growing 2-4 feet around and 2 feet tall. Prune as necessary. Perennial.
This is another herb that once established is hardy to Texas weather. Leaves are a silver-olive hue, and soft to the touch. Young leaves tend to be larger than the previous year’s leaves. Another herb useful in both recipes and beautiful in the home garden or as an easy landscaping plant. Very fragrant leaves. Plan on a single plant growing 2-3 feet around and another couple feet tall. Prune as necessary. Perennial.
A favorite in Italian style recipes, basil is an herb that you’ll love growing during the warmer months in Texas. This herb is not cold tolerant, but once all chances of freezes has passed, makes an excellent additional to your garden. It comes in a variety of different colors and some very unique scents from peppery to sweet. Keep this plant pruned back and growing bushy and compact by snipping off the top leaves regularly (don’t let it go to flower). Annual.
Unless you’re specifically looking for ground cover…this one you’re gonna want to put in a container of some sort. I love fresh mint in tea and desserts…or as a natural breath freshener. Mint comes in several varieties and colors…and bumble bees (native pollinators) love to hide under them during the heat of the day (ask me how I know).
Forget to water like all the time and have the space for some tall plants with tropical looking flowers? Okra is your friend! The only problem you’re gonna have with okra is having to pick the pods every 1-2 days. If you’re accustomed to spiny okra, well I’m here to tell ya that spineless varieties have been developed that won’t hurt your hands as you harvest. Did I mention the flowers are gorgeous?! Best to directly sow these in the ground after all danger of frost has passed. Annual.
7. Swiss and Rainbow Chard
This veggie looks great whether in the home garden or in your landscaping beds. Their big, wide leaves are disease and pest tolerant, and they can even stand you forgetting to water every once in a while. I love growing rainbow chard because of how pretty it is! I’ve had chard last for up to 3 years in my garden before it turns to seed. Tastes great fresh in a salad or fried with onions and bacon.
Determinate – Basically, this means that your tomato vines will grow to a pre-determined size and then stop. Once they’ve matured, no more tomatoes for you! Perfect for small spaces and container gardens.
Indeterminate – These tomato vines grow and continue to grow until Mother Nature freezes they’re butts to the ground (or you forget to water them). Great for larger spaces or if you want tomatoes for a longer time.
- Tomatoes do not like cold weather and will drop their blossoms if it gets cold.
- Tomato cages will help keep your vines off the ground, which will help at harvest time.
- Tomatoes thrive with consistent watering and will develop rot or they will split if watering isn’t just right.
- Tomatoes may stop producing during the hottest months of summer, but just wait til September when they take off again!
- Prune indeterminate tomato varieties during July when most will stop producing. They’ll come back with a vengeance once it cools off a little.
- Strip most of the leaves off young tomato plants when planting and plant the entire vine in the ground, except the top few leaves. This will establish a strong root system.
- Contrary to popular belief, tomatoes actually ripen from the inside out. So, even if you pick them green…they will eventually ripen to red or yellow or whatever color they are supposed to turn.
These plants only need regular watering a little fertilizer. In fact, you don’t want to over do the fertilizer because you’ll likely end up with too many leaves and not enough peppers. Peppers perform best once the weather warms up and they are not cold tolerant at all. Peppers will start off green and ripen to reds, oranges, and yellows, and purples from there. Avoid ripping plants by using scissors to cut off ripened peppers. Annual…unless you grow in a container and bring indoors.
10. Butternut Squash
Butternuts are FUN and easy to grow! When showing beginner gardeners how to garden in North Texas, I usually choose butternut over all other squashes because in my experience they are pest resistant and produce heavily, which usually brightens the spirits of brown thumbs. One of the easiest ways to obtain seeds is to go to your local grocery store, scoop out the seeds from the inside of one, and then plant them about 1 inch below the ground. Keep the soil moist for a few days and voila you’ve got little butternut sprouts!
Butternut will appreciate any consistent water you give it. You’ll know they are ready to pick when they turn tan all the way around and lose their satin sheen. Either eat right away or allow them to cure for 2-3 days in the warm summer air and they will keep for months. I’ve had butternuts grow from June to first frost. You’ll need a large space and plenty of water for this easy North Texas garden crop.
Our round up of 10 of the Easiest Plants to Grow in North Texas will help you grow your best garden. With just a little prep work and following the tips in this post even brown thumbs can grow a beautiful garden they’ll be proud to show off! Visit our Amazon shop for more great ideas around the home.
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