Recommended Plant References
Books for the Central Texas Area
Excellent sources for horticultural
information of any sort include books, internet research and
personal advice from experienced and knowledgeable gardeners. Other
helpful references include maps of climate zones, rainfall, soil
composition and information you can receive from your local
Extension Office or Master Gardener organization. We have provided
separate pages with Recommended Books, Climate Zone information, and
Links to other sites that are educational and non-commercial in
nature, to help you find additional information. If researching a
specific plant in doing internet research, always use the botanical
name as a first resort, and common name only when that is the only
Be weary of the sources of information on the internet. Remember,
anyone can post information whether right or wrong, opinion or based
on research. Go only to trusted source sites and keep them
bookmarked for future reference. We always try to find two or more
sources for information we seek to make sure there is consensus or
agreement on the facts provided.
Manual of Woody Landscape Plants,
Michael Dirr, University of Georgia, 1990, Fourth Edition, Stipes
Florida Landscape Plants,
John Watkins and Thomas Sheehan, University of Florida Press,
Gainesville, FL, 1975, 420 pages.
Exotica, Alfred Byrd Graf,
Roehrs Company, E. Rutherford, NJ., 1976, 1,837 pages (contains
12,000 illustrations and costs close to $200 but is the most
authoritative source on tropical plants).
A Field Guide to Texas Trees,
Benny J. Simpson, Gulf Publishing Co., Houston, TX, 1992, 372 pages
Carolina Landscape Plants,
Gordon Halfacre and Anne Shawcroft, Sparks Press, Raleigh, NC, 325
Ulrich and Ursela Baensch, Tropic Beauty Publishers, Nassau, the
Bahamas, Distributed by Hagen Books, Mansfield, MA., IBSN
0-964-1056-0-8, 265 pages. The best book ever on bromeliads.
The Tropical Look: An
Encyclopedia of Dramatic Landscaping Plants, Bob Riffle, Timber
Press, ISBN 0-88192-422-9, almost 500 pages with 409 color photos,
covering 500 genera and 5,000 individual plants. August 1998. In
March 1999, this book was awarded the American Horticultural
Society's book of the year.
An Encyclopedia of Cultivated
Palms: Bob Riffle and Paul Craft, Timber Press, ISBN
0-88192-558-6, 528 pp.
Agaves, Yuccas, and
Related Plants - Mary and Gary Irish, Timber Press, 2002, 312
pages, color photos and excellent information about these dry
climate plants including identification keys.
Perennials for the Southwest
- Mary Irish, Timber Press, 2006, 312 pages, color photos and
excellent information about arid climate plants.
Trees and Shrubs for the
Southwest - Woody Plants for Arid Climates: Mary Irish,
Timber Press, 2009, 332 pages
Native Texas Plants
- Sally and Andy Wasowski, Second Edition, Gulf Publishing Co.,
407 pages, a comprehensive reference book on gardening with Texas
native plants, region by region.
Xeriscape for Central
Texas, A water-wise approach to home landscaping, Austin Energy
Green Building Program, 248 pages, 2004
Native and Adaptive
Landscape Plants - An Earthwise Guide for Central Texas -
Wonderful information about recommended plants for Central Texas.
It is FREE at any local nursery in Austin and is published by the
City of Austin.
that other book recommendations on specific topics can be found on
the various subject matter pages contained at this site
Of the 100 plus books
on horticultural topics contained in our library, the selections
above have proven to be the most useful and widely used for
researching information on a variety of plants grown in our area.
The listing above may not refer to the most current edition but the
contents should be the same. Certain classes of plants have been
hybridized so much that it is impossible to publish a book about
them that remains timely and up to date. These would include plants
such as bromeliads, orchids, hibiscus, roses, daylilies, plumeria,
and a host of other flowering perennials and tropicals. In such
cases, plant catalogs from specialty growers serve as the best
references and most contain cultural information as well Although
cultivars of trees and shrubs are continually introduced,
information about the species they come from also applies to new
cultivars introductions. No single book will cover all your