Where you live in Texas determines how many seasons you get in the year and how you experience them. Central and southern Texas have long, intense summers and hardly any winter, while northern Texas gets snow every year!
This is mostly because Texas spans from USDA Hardiness zones 7a down to 10a, which is a huge range of climates! But, regardless of where you live and how the landscape changes throughout the year, you can rely on evergreen trees to bring green all year long.
There are countless evergreen trees that will thrive in Texas and lots of variations between the different parts of the state. In this article, I’ll talk about nine species that you’re likely to find in Texas and will have no problem growing!
9 Types of Evergreen Trees for Texas Growers
1. Anacahuita (Cordia boissieri)
The Anacahuita tree is little-known but widely found all over southwestern TX. It’s native to Texas and northern Mexico, so it’s very common in the region bordering Mexico.
It’s also a beautiful flowering tree with large, trumpet-shaped white flowers that have a bright yellow center. The flowers will bloom and stay on the tree all through the summer if the tree receives enough water.
Anacahuita trees are commonly planted for landscaping throughout southwestern TX because of their showy flowers. They’re small trees, so they can fit in most yards and can be pruned to be smaller if need be.
These trees also have edible fruits, so they can be planted for fruit and vegetable gardens as well! The fruits have white flesh with a pit in the middle. They’re juicy and are often used for making jelly- if the wildlife doesn’t eat them first!
Other Common Names: Anacahuite, Mexican-Olive, Wild Olive
Growing Zones: 10-11
Average Size at Maturity: 25-30 ft tall by 10-15 ft wide
Season: Fall and Winter
2. Alligator Juniper (Juniperus deppeana)
Juniper trees are very common throughout Texas and the Alligator Juniper is just one of the many species you can find. This is another Texas native that can primarily be found in the high plains and rocky hillsides of western TX.
When they’re young, Alligator Juniper trees have smooth, gray-brown bark. However, as they age, their bark cracks into a checkerboard pattern and resembles alligator skin!
Alligator Juniper trees are tall and have a full crown, providing lots of shade and a green canopy all year long! Their leaves are gray-green with a hint of blue and their berries are dark brown. Juniper berries are edible and can be used in various ways, however wildlife love them too!
Alligator Juniper wood is often used for fence posts or firewood. Although these trees are often grown for landscaping because of their bark, height, and low maintenance.
Other Common Names: Checkerbark Juniper
Growing Zones: 4-9
Average Size at Maturity: 50-60 ft tall by 3-6 ft wide
3. Yaupon (Ilex vomitoria)
Yaupon trees are also native to Texas and to North America in general. Yaupon is considered an evergreen tree or shrub because of its moderate height and bushy growth. You can, of course, prune Yaupon to be more in the shape of a small tree or to grow like a wide bush, depending on your space.
Yaupon trees are native to eastern TX where they thrive in the moist soil and wet climate. They often grow on streambanks and riversides and can be found in abundance in floodplains.
They’re also called “Yaupon Holly” because this is a type of Holly tree and one of the most common varieties in Texas. As such, they have dark green, glossy leaves and bright red berries that are typical of Holly trees.
While the berries are toxic and shouldn’t be eaten, Yaupon twigs and branches contain caffeine and can be brewed into a tea for a local coffee alternative!
Other Common Names: Yaupon Holly, Cassina
Growing Zones: 7-9
Average Size at Maturity: 10-20 ft tall by 8-12 ft wide
Season: Fall and Winter
4. Austrian Pine Tree (Pinus Nigra)
Austrian Pine Trees are just one of many varieties of Pine trees that grow all over the panhandle. These trees can’t handle the heat of southern TX but can grow down to zone 8, central TX, which is further south than most Pines.
This is because Austrian Pines are highly adaptable trees that are drought tolerant and can grow in many kinds of soil. They’re also deer resistant, so they live long.
They make great privacy trees because they have a thick, dense crown of pine needles. Austrian Pines tolerate strong winds very well and can protect structures from intense weather. They’re also very tall, so a row of them is essentially a natural fence!
They’re also beautiful trees to grow for ornamental value! They have pinkish-gray and brown bark that flakes off in scales. Plus, their pine needles stay lush and green all year long.
Other Common Names: Black Pine, Calabrian Pine, Corsican Pine, Larch Pine, European Black Pine
Growing Zones: 4-8
Average Size at Maturity: 40-60 ft tall by 25-40 ft wide
5. Mescalbean (Sophora secundiflora)
Another Texas native, Mescalbean trees can be found all over the state. These trees are well-adapted to the heavy limestone soil in most of Texas, so they can grow from western to eastern TX and are found all over the heart of the state.
Mescalbean trees are gorgeous and are often planted for landscaping. Their light purple flowers bloom in the spring and blossom in clusters all over the tree’s canopy. Many say that the sweet fragrance of these flowers is like the smell of grape flavoring!
These trees have dark brown, blackish bark that makes the evergreen leaves stand out even stronger. Mescalbean trees have several trunks, so they take on more of a large shrub form than a tree.
Despite their toxicity, native people have used the beans in many ways, including ceremonially. They would be combined with mezcal into a drink, which is where their name comes from.
Other Common Names: Texas Mountain-Laurel, Mescal Bean Sophora, Frijolillo, Frijolito
Growing Zones: 7-10
Average Size at Maturity: 20-25 ft tall by 10-15 ft wide
6. Arbequina Olive (Olea europaea Arbequina)
Surprised? Yes, olive trees are also evergreen trees and can grow very well in Texas! There’s actually a lot of olive oil production in Texas and several varieties of olive trees that will thrive in southern Texas.
The Arbequina Olive is certainly the most popular cultivar grown in Texas and is even one of the most common in Spain, where it originates from. These trees are best suited for Texas because they’re more cold hardy, so there’s a wider range of where they can grow.
The fruits of Arbequina Olive trees are quite small, so they’re more often used for pressing oil. Although, the fruits are still delicious and can be brined for eating!
This variety is also very low maintenance, making it easy for gardeners of any level. Plus, Arbequina Olive trees are self-fertile so you’ll only need one to have olives! Although, these trees are beautiful just on their own and can be planted simply to admire!
Other Common Names: Arbequí, Arbequín and Blancal
Growing Zones: 8-11
Average Size at Maturity: 20-25 ft tall by 12 ft wide
7. Dahoon Holly (Ilex cassine)
The Dahoon Holly is one of the taller varieties of Holly trees and is one of the few that grows more like a tree than a shrub. It has a single trunk with a wide, open canopy, providing gentle spotted sunlight.
Dahoon Holly trees are also considered more ornamental because of their unique looks. Their flowers are small and white but they bloom profusely, so the Dahoon Holly is grown as a flowering tree.
These trees have softer leaves with a rounded edge versus the sharp and pointed leaves of most Holly trees. Dahoon Holly also has a very heavy berry production and is covered in bright red berries throughout the fall and winter.
They’re also easy trees to grow- highly disease and pest resistant. Most Holly trees only grow in acidic soil, but Dahoon Holly is more adaptable to neutral soils.
Other Common Names: Alabama Dahoon
Growing Zones: 7-11
Average Size at Maturity: 20-30 ft tall by 8-12 ft wide
Season: Fall and Winter
8. Harvey Lemon Tree (Citrus limon ‘Harvey’)
So, lemon trees aren’t always evergreen trees but when they’re grown in the right conditions, they can keep their leaves plus produce fruit all year long! An evergreen and ever-fruit tree!
When it comes to lemon trees, the Harvey Lemon is one of the best cultivars to grow. Its fruits are super juicy and they have little rind and smaller seeds.
It’s one of the most commonly grown cultivars in Texas because it’s more cold hardy than others. Harvey Lemon trees can tolerate cold temperatures down to 10 F, so it’s actually possible to grow them in central TX.
Harvey Lemon trees are taller than many varieties, so they’re a great option if you want to grow a full fruit tree. However, they’re only 14 feet at maximum height and can also be pruned to be smaller if you only have a tiny space.
Other Common Names: Harvey’s Lemon
Growing Zones: 8-10
Average Size at Maturity: 12-14 ft tall by 8-10 ft wide
Season: Fall through winter
Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees
9. Eastern White Pine Tree (Pinus strobus)
Lastly, another Pine tree variety because Pines are exemplary evergreen trees! Their year-long beauty also attracts lots of wildlife: porcupines, hares, squirrels, and many more love to eat the bark and pinecones.
When they’re young, Eastern White Pines have a pyramidal shape but as they mature, their crown rounds out to a full oval. These pines grow fast, so you don’t need to wait much time for a mature tree. Unlike many fast-growing trees, Eastern White Pines have lots of longevity and can live for hundreds of years!
These pines can live so long because they’re very strong. They’re highly drought tolerant and can grow in many types of soil. They just can’t grow in hot and dry climates- like the south of the state.
Eastern White Pines are best suited for the cold and dry climate of northern and western TX. They’re very hardy and prefer chill than the heat!
Other Common Names: Weymouth Pine, North American Pumpkin Pine, North American White Pine, White Pine
Growing Zones: 3-8
Average Size at Maturity: 50-80 ft tall by 20-40 ft wide
Table Comparing Texas Evergreen Tree Varieties
Here’s a table summarizing nine types of evergreen trees suitable for Texas gardens, including their descriptions, growing zones, and average sizes at maturity.
|Variety||Description||Growing Zones||Average Size at Maturity|
|Anacahuita||Native to southwestern Texas, it’s a flowering tree with large white trumpet-shaped flowers and edible fruits. Ideal for landscaping, it’s small and can fit in most yards.||10-11||25-30 ft tall x 10-15 ft wide|
|Alligator Juniper||Native to western Texas, known for its bark that resembles alligator skin as it ages. Tall with a full crown, it provides shade and green canopy all year. Its berries are edible and attract wildlife.||4-9||50-60 ft tall x 3-6 ft wide|
|Yaupon||Native to eastern Texas, a type of Holly tree, it thrives in moist soil. It’s an evergreen tree or shrub with dark green, glossy leaves, and red berries. Can be used to brew a caffeinated tea.||7-9||10-20 ft tall x 8-12 ft wide|
|Austrian Pine Tree||Adaptable and drought-tolerant, it’s suitable for creating privacy due to its thick, dense crown. It grows well in various soil types and is deer resistant.||4-8||40-60 ft tall x 25-40 ft wide|
|Mescalbean||A Texas native found across the state, known for its light purple spring flowers and dark brown, blackish bark. It takes more of a large shrub form than a tree.||7-10||20-25 ft tall x 10-15 ft wide|
|Arbequina Olive||Surprisingly, olive trees like Arbequina are evergreen and can grow well in Texas. It’s cold hardy, suitable for southern Texas, and produces small olives used for oil.||8-11||20-25 ft tall x 12 ft wide|
|Dahoon Holly||A taller variety of Holly, it has a single trunk with a wide, open canopy. It produces white flowers and is known for its ornamental appeal. It’s adaptable to neutral soils.||7-11||20-30 ft tall x 8-12 ft wide|
|Harvey Lemon Tree||A lemon tree that can remain evergreen in the right conditions. It’s more cold hardy, suitable for central Texas, and produces juicy lemons with a little rind and smaller seeds.||8-10||12-14 ft tall x 8-10 ft wide|
|Eastern White Pine||Known for its longevity and strength, it’s highly drought tolerant and prefers chill climates. Best suited for northern and western Texas, it has a pyramidal shape when young, maturing to a full oval crown.||3-8||50-80 ft tall x 20-40 ft wide|
And Ever More Evergreens
As I said at the beginning of this article, there is an endless list of evergreen trees that could grow in Texas. With the range of climates and growing conditions that we have, there are so many options to consider!
This article is just a peek at the choices you have for growing an evergreen tree. If you’d like to learn more about trees that you can grow or that grow natively in Texas, you can check out Texas A&M’s Trees of Texas for a full list of trees in our state.
I hope this article helped you learn about trees you can plant so that you can enjoy green scenery all year long! Happy planting!
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- 6 Hickory Tree Varieties That Grow in Parts of Texas
Peyton considers trees not just as plants that provide shade or yummy fruits, but as necessary for a healthy life and community.
Peyton has done most of her research on environmental politics, but recently has shifted her focus towards actual agricultural practices, learning about ideas like agroforestry, food forests, and permaculture gardening.
She’s most often in the kitchen whipping something up, but otherwise can be found on long bike rides or doing research.