Plant Recommendations

 

Eastern Colorado is part of the shortgrass prairie region of the Great Plains with grama grass and buffalo grass making up 70% to 90% of all plant life. This semi-arid land is in the rain shadow of the Rocky Mountains and because of that it does not typically support trees except along creeks and rivers where there is more moisture. As you go up in elevation into the foothills and mountains you will see that there is much more precipitation that can support large forests and different plant ecosystems. Some of these higher elevation plants can grow in our gardens with supplemental watering and/or correct placement. With a bit of planning you can have a very diverse garden using only native plants if you like. 

Local wildlife and pollinators have evolved alongside native plants and depend on each other to survive. As more and more of the landscape is developed by humans it is important that we help maintain the natural balance by incorporating these native plants into our gardens. Their resilience to local conditions conserves water, enriches soil, and reduces the need for excessive maintenance. Nature's own design has taken millennia to create this landscape and we should take inspiration from it when designing our own gardens.

The buzzing of bees and the fluttering of butterflies are not just sights and sounds of nature - they are essential forces of life. Through pollination, these remarkable creatures enable plants to reproduce, ensuring the continuation of our landscapes and the food systems we depend upon.

Birds and small mammals play a crucial role in plant ecosystems through seed dispersal. As these animals consume fruits and nuts, they inadvertently transport seeds to new locations, aiding in the colonization of diverse habitats. This process enhances plant genetic diversity, fosters plant growth, and supports ecosystem resilience by ensuring the spread of plant species and the renewal of plant populations. In this symbiotic relationship, they contribute significantly to the health and vitality of plant communities.

By emulating the wisdom embedded within the natural world, we embark on a journey to create gardens that echo nature's harmonious and enduring design.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here you will find a list of important native plants to consider for your garden.

 

 

Trees

 

Common Name Scientific Name
American Plum Prunus americana
Box Elder Acer negundo
Chokecherry Prunus virginiana
Colorado Pinyon Pine Pinus edulis
Gambel Oak Quercus gambelii
New Mexico Locust Robinia neomexicana
New Mexico Olive Forestiera pubescens
One-seed Juniper Juniperus monosperma
Rocky Mountain Juniper Juniperus scopulorum
Serviceberry Amelanchier alnifolia

 

      

Quercus gambelii - Gambel Oak, Forestiera pubescens - New Mexico Olive, Juniperus monosperma - One-seed Juniper, Prunus americana - American Plum

 

Shrubs

 

Common Name Scientific Name
Alderleaf Mountain Mahogany Cercocarpus montanus
Apache Plume Fallugia paradoxa
Big Sagebrush Artemisia tridentata
Boulder Raspberry Rubus deliciosus
Fourwing Saltbush Atriplex canescens
Golden Currant Ribes aureum
Mountain Snowberry Symphoricarpos rotundifolius
Red-berried Elder Sambucus racemosa
Red Osier Dogwood Cornus sericea
Rubber Rabbitbrush Chrysothamnus nauseosus
Sandcherry Prunus pumila besseyi
Three-leaf Sumac Rhus trilobata
Wax Currant Ribes cereum
Winterfat Krascheninnikovia lanata
Woods' Rose Rosa woodsii

 

      

Ribes aureum - Golden Currant, Rubus deliciosus - Rocky Mountain Raspberry, Ericameria nauseosa - Rubber Rabbitbrush

 

Common Name Scientific Name
Adonis Blazingstar Mentzelia multiflora
Bee Balm Monarda fistulosa
Black-eyed Susan Rudbeckia hirta
Blanket Flower Gaillardia aristata
Blue Columbine Aquilegia coerulea
Blue Flax Linum lewisii
Colorado Four o'Clock Mirabilis multiflora
Common Harebell Campanula rotundifolia
Common Yarrow Achillea millefolium
Desert Prince's Plume Stanleya pinnata
Dotted Gayfeather Liatris punctata
Firecracker Penstemon Penstemon eatonii
Great Plains Yucca Yucca glauca
Hairy False Goldenaster Heterotheca villosa
Hoary Tansyaster Dieteria canescens
Horsetail Milkweed Asclepias subverticillata
Kinnickinnick Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
Lance-leaved Coreopsis Coreopsis lanceolata
Lanceleaf Stonecrop Sedum lanceolatum
Mountain Springparsley Vesper montanus
Narrow-Leaf Fireweed Chamaenerion angustifolium
Nodding Onion Allium cernuum
Pearly Everlasting Anaphalis margaritacea
Prairie Coneflower Ratibida columnifera
Prairie Pasqueflower Pulsatilla nuttalliana
Prairie Smoke Geum triflorum
Prairie Verbena Glandularia bipinnatifida
Purple Coneflower Echinacea purpurea
Rocky Mountain Iris Iris missouriensis
Rocky Mountain Penstemon Penstemon strictus
Scarlet Gilia Ipomopsis aggregata
Scarlet Globemallow Sphaeralcea coccinea
Scarlet Hedgehog Cactus Echinocereus coccineus
Showy Milkweed Asclepias speciosa
Shrubby Cinquefoil Dasiphora fruticosa
Silver Lupine Lupinus argenteus
Smooth Blue Aster Symphyotrichum laeve
Spreadfruit Goldenbanner Thermopsis divaricarpa
Spreading Fleabane Erigeron divergens
Sulfur Buckwheat Eriogonum umbellatum
Tall Goldenrod Solidago altissima
Tufted Evening Primrose Oenothera cespitosa
Western Red Columbine Aquilegia elegantula
Western Wallflower Erysimum capitatum
White Prairie Clover Dalea candida
Wholeleaf Paintbrush Castilleja integra
Winecup Mallow Callirhoe involucrata 

 

 

      

Aquilegia elegantula - Western Red Columbine, Dieteria canescens - Hoary Tasnyaster, Coreopsis lanceolata - Lance-leaved Coreopsis, Penstemon strictus - Rocky Mountain Penstemon

 

Annuals

 

Common Name Scientific Name
Common Sunflower Helianthus annuus
Firewheel Gaillardia pulchella
Prairie Sunflower Helianthus petiolaris
Rocky Mountain Bee Plant Cleomella serrulata

 

       

Helianthus annuus - Common Sunflower, Cleomella serrulata - Rocky Mountain Beeplant, Gaillardia pulchella - Firewheel

 

Common Name Scientific Name
Alkali Muhly Muhlenbergia asperifolia
Alkali Sacaton Sporobolus airoides
Big Bluestem Andropogon gerardii
Blue Grama Bouteloua gracilis
Indiangrass Sorghastrum nutans
James' Galleta Hilaria jamesii
Little Bluestem Schizachyrium scoparium
Prairie Junegrass Koeleria macrantha
Purple Threeawn Aristida purpurea
Sand Dropseed Sporobolus cryptandrus
Sideoats Grama Bouteloua curtipendula
Switchgrass Panicum virgatum 
Western Wheatgrass Elymus smithii 

 

        

Bouteloua gracilis - Blue Grama, Schizachyrium scoparium - Little Bluestem, Aristida purpurea - Purple Threeawn

 

 

Learn More:

U.S. National Park Service - Planting for Pollinators

Colorado Native Plant Society - Low Water Native Plants for Pollinators

Denver Audubon - Native Plants for Birds

Xerces Society - Native Plants for Pollinators and Beneficial Insects

Colorado State University Extension - Front Range Tree Recommendation List