Tough Plants

Flame acanthus flower (Anisacanthus wrightii)

All these plants are pretty tough. You won’t have to worry about insects with them.

Cast iron plant

  • Wants dry shade (in fact, it’s perfect for that dark shady spot where nothing else will grow)
  • When leaves start to look battered or brownish, cut them to the ground
  • Evergreen, but cut back in spring to encourage new growth
  • Works indoors too

Flame acanthus (Anisacanthus wrightii)

  • Drought tolerant, doesn’t need a rich soil
  • Deer don’t like it
  • Hummingbirds love the orange tubular flowers
  • Can be a bit invasive; just cut several times a year to control seeding
  • Will freeze back in winter; just cut it down and it comes back in spring
  • Likes sun but will accept some shade or partial day shade


  • Yellow and orange flowering versions
  • Blooms about all year long
  • When they get crowded, thin them and replant
  • They don’t mind drought or lots of rain
  • Sun to part shade

Society garlic

  • There’s a variegated form along with the green one
  • Edible flowers
  • Works well for narrow spaces in sun or shade
  • Nice upright texture against other plants


  • Texas native groundcover
  • Butterfly attractant
  • Member of verbena family; it trails all the ground
  • You can mow it or walk on it
  • Sun or shade, wet or dry
  • Grows easily from cuttings


  • Loves the heat
  • Blooms all summer; yellow daisy like flowers attract butterflies, bees
  • Grayish green leaves
  • Easily seeds out and can become invasive
  • Prune now and then to keep it full and promote more flowering
  • Perennial, but freezes back in winter, quickly returns in spring

Foxtail fern

  • Grows in wet or dry, sun or shade
  • Lovely texture, bright green color
  • May have some freeze damage; just cut back damage and it will re-grow
  • Wonderful in containers and for patios or small balconies; also good in the perennial garden
  • Stunning container plant (or ground plant) where nothing else will grow