6:00am

Sat January 11, 2014
The Garden Report

A Guide To Plants Ideal For Colorado's Climate

Participants annually vote on plants with sustainable qualities
Credit Tom McSparron/Flickr Creative Commons

Plant Select, a cooperative group of plant lovers from Denver Botanic Gardens, CSU and the greenhouse and nursery industries, have announced their 2014 winning plant selections.

Tom Throgmorton explains why these plants made the cut

These plants are either native or survive well in the Colorado climate, are non-invasive and contain unique characteristics.

Hummingbird trumpet mint is an aromatic ground cover that grows three to six inches tall and a foot wide. The plant is covered with scarlet-orange flowers from late spring through the summer.

Undaunted ruby muhly is a fine textured grass that grows about 18 inches tall. This plant remains durable in sunny and dry weather and has ruby flowers that billow in the wind. 

There are a couple of winning hybrid penstemons which are crosses of Mexican and American plants. Carolyn’s Hope penstemon has clear pink flowers and all sales of the plant partially go to support breast cancer research. Windwalker has trumpet shaped garnet flowers. Both of these plants are summer bloomers and grow about 15 inches tall and wide.

Golden flowering prairie zinnia thrives in hot, dry locations. It's blue-green leaves can reach to 10 inches tall and 18 inches wide. During summer months the plant is covered with golden flowers.

In addition to perennials, shrubs and trees, Plant Select also picks petite plants for rock gardens and small spaces. 

One petite plant perfect for tiny spaces is the dwarf pinon pine. A native to Colorado, these pine only grow 1-to-3 inches a year so they stay small in the garden for a long time. Two other benefits are that they create tight evergreen mounds in a rock garden and are drought tolerant. 

Dwarf beach-head iris is another petite native plant. The attractive green leaves grow about 8 inches tall and it has porcelain blue flowers in late spring. 

You can find these and other Plant Select plants at regional, independent garden centers.

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