The Q&A Archives: Hot Sunny Texas Perennial Border

Question: I have a brown thumb, HELP. I live in far N.E. Texas and my house faces North. My flower bed goes around (3 sides) of a fairly large porch. About half of that area gets some morning sun the rest gets a lot of afternoon sun (very hot in summer). I would like your opinion of what perennials I could plant that will stay short and not spread over 18", preferrably with blooms (to add color). I can hardly wait for your answer as I know of no resource here to inquire with.

Answer: I'm so glad you found us! I'm always surrounded by experienced gardeners, so I can't imagine being alone in the garden!

You may need to improve your soil somewhat to get the best display from your new flower border. Mix in compost, aged manure or other organic matter, and keep the bed mulched with straw/leaves/grass clippings. All perennials will need some TLC to get started, but these hardy plants will thrive with little care after that: 'Sunray' and 'Moonbeam' coreopsis, 'Basket of Gold' alyssum, shasta daisies, gaillardia, 'Stella de Oro' daylily, achilliea (yarrow). These are all in the yellow/orange range. I also recommend putting in some annuals to fill in the spaces between perennials til they get established (portulaca, pentas, marigolds, zinnias, etc.) Burpee carries many of the plants I've mentioned.

Garden Escape ( has a plant finder page and a free garden design service if you want to expand the list. We're here if you have any more questions about getting your garden started! Good luck!

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