Smartscape Plant of the Year

2011-12 Smartscape NICE Plant of the Year - Dwarf Yaupon Holly

NICE = Native Instead of Common Exotic, Smartscape Plants are North Texas native plants or plants adapted to the climate of North Texas

Why have a Smartscape plant of the year?

  • Texas homeowners apply about 4 million pounds of pesticides to their lawns and gardens each year.
  • Pesticides kill more than pests. They also kill beneficial pollinators, insects, and healthy soil microorganisms.
  • Pesticides are dangerous to children and pets and contribute to indoor air pollution. Exposure routes include ingestion, inhalation, and skin penetration.

Chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides contaminate neighborhood streams, ponds, and area lakes and create havoc for local water districts which are responsible for delivering high quality water to your door.

Native Texas landscape plants conserve our precious water resources. They don't need pesticides, require minimal organic fertilizer and usually come back year after year. Native Texas plants supply acorns, nuts, berries , buds, fruit, nectar, and seed for our resident and migrating birds, hummingbirds, butterflies and other wildlife.

Keep Mesquite Beautiful recommends Dwarf Yaupon Holly as our Smartscape NICE landscape Plant of the Year. It is a North Texas adapted adapted plant. Dwarf Yaupon Holly is an evergreen shrub with an attractive mounded compact form. Female plants bloom in the spring, and the white flowers become bright red berries that persist into winter. It does best in full sun and has a low to medium water demand. Mature size is around 3 - 4 feet high with a 3 - 4 foot spread. It does not need pruning and its berries are eaten by birds. Dwarf Yaupon Holly is readily available at area nurseries. Its botanical name is Ilex vomitoria 'Nana'.

Previous KMB NICE Plant of the Year Recommendations include:

Autumn Sage (Salvia gregii)

Hardy Plumbago ( Plumbago auriculata)

Other showy natives include:

Texas persimmon (Diospyros texana)

Cenizo (Leucophyllum frutescens)

Four Nerve Daisy (Tetraneuris scaposa)

Indian Blanket (Gaillardia puchella)

Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

Texas Lantana (Lantana urticoides)

Texas Rock Rose (Pavonia lasiopetala)

See the Smartscape link for the landscape requirements for growing these plants.

The Mesquite Public Library contains several resources for growing native Texas and adapted plants.