Friday, June 1, 2012


Let's face it, beautiful plants in a zoo are always going to play second fiddle to the main attraction. But let me show you a fine tropical garden that just happens to be called the HOUSTON ZOO. Our kids are finally grown so my wife and I can stroll through the zoo and gardens at our own pace. It's a cozy, medium-sized zoo that takes about 3 hours to fully enjoy.
The exotic plantings, palms, and bamboo provide some of the most beautiful tropical scenery you'll see in Houston.

The colorful entrance

Fan palm and thatched bird houses nestled in a quiet corner

Agaves near the entrance

A beautiful begonia in a planter

With so many plants, sometimes it's hard to find the animals!

A magnificent tree cycad

Banana trees add to the tropical feel. That's my wife in tropicalesque attire.

My  favorite part ~ the open air flamingo ponds.

A nice planting of our native Sabal minor palms under various trees like the live oaks

Even the awnings are green!

Clerodendrum paniculata ? Wow, didn't know it could grow here!

Meerkats from Africa

The zoo? What zoo? Yes, we are still inside the Houston Zoo!

I'm stumped, what is this? I love it!

Persian shield and bamboo

What is this? I'm stumped again!

The African Wild Dogs were fun

Sadly, the giraffes eat ALL the ground cover. They are well cared for and had plenty of hay and mixed greens inside their giant enclosures.

A lovely silver palm.

The American beautyberries were everywhere and in bloom

A famous statue by our friend, Ann Armstrong

So many animals like this duck are free to go anywhere they want.

 Purple Porterweed and Cape Daisy strutting their stuff

What's that you see? Let's have a closer look.

The baby bunnies were everywhere and quite tame.

Rangoon Creeper climbing next to the Meerkats.

The Live Oaks frame my favorite view of the Houston Zoo.

Thanks for visiting Tropical Texana.
Houston Zoo ~ Part II will show scenes from the new African exhibit.



  1. Oh wow! That takes me back to my earliest memories of seeing the animals and feeding the ducks at the Houston Zoo. I should get back there sometime. It always looked so pretty and still does.

    What a great way to celebrate the end of school.

  2. Looks like a great place to visit.
    I think maybe your first plant is Palm Grass. Not sure what the flowering one is. Both are nice.
    Thanks for the tour.

  3. I'd go for the tame baby bunnies alone! What a cutie. Not a big fan of most zoos, though I do know the good ones are playing a big role in species conservation. This one looks like it cares for the animals well.

  4. Really lovely plant designs... I must confess that I was was looking carefully in each picture for a hidden monkey!

  5. It is ironic, but I have always noticed the plants at zoos as well. Great shots!

  6. I don't really like visiting zoos, but I would go to the Houston Zoo to see the beautiful gardens.

  7. What a fun place! I love going to the zoo and seeing all the plantings - the NC zoo has quite a few nice native plants. However, I am still in the phase where I am chasing after our small kids the entire time :) I don't quite remember what leisurely wandering through anyplace feels like!

    I absolutely love that statue!

  8. This hardly looks like a zoo - other than the giraffe enclosure it looks like a botanical garden.

  9. Your second stumper is Justicia betonica. We call it white srhimp plant. It dies back to the ground here and never blooms outdoors. I've been able to take cuttings and bring to bloom in a greenhouse. If I can get it bloom inside, bloom continues outside when the weather warms. (Zone 8b)

  10. Your second stumper is Justicia Betonica. We call it White Shrimp Plant. I can't get it to bloom outdoors here. It dies to the roots in winter. The plants come back but it never blooms unless I take cuttings and keep it in the greenhouse over winter.

  11. That's a nice looking zoo! It's good to see that so many zoos nowadays care about the planting and presentation of the place, not just the animals. Not sure about the foliage plant, it could be a Sasa bamboo although I'm not sure if it's flowers are like that.

  12. Thanks for the tour. I wondered recently how many people look at plants and not just the main attraction. Now here is a post about plants in your zoo. I think most places now take an effort to replicate animal habitats and you can actually see as much diversity in flora as you do in fauna.


I always appreciate your comments & questions! Happy Gardening from David/ Tropical Texana

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