5 Plants You’ll See Everywhere When You Move to Denver, CO

When adding native plants to your new home in Denver, Colorado, you must consider the type of the plant and time of the year in which it thrives in. A lot of native plants don’t do well in highly-fertilized soil and don’t require added fertilizer.

Start by testing your soil pH levels and then amend it to where it should be for healthy plant growth. Incorporate any soil amendments eight to ten inches when cultivating. If the plant needs a moist soil which is high in organic matter, add in organic compost to fix it.

Here is a list of plants you’ll see everywhere when you move to Denver, that also make for great additions to your new garden:

1. Wyoming Indian Paintbrush

Scientific name: Castilleja linariifolia
Sunlight: Partial shade
Moisture level: Moist
Height: 12-30 in.
Width: 12 in.
Color: Red blooms
Leaves: Pubescent leafy stems

The color on an Indian Paintbrush plant is torch-like spikes of bright red bracts. The bracts hide the insufficient small green flowers. The roots of these plants will grow until they come in contact with another plant. Once they touch another plant, they penetrate the roots of the plant, stealing that plant’s nutrients. This is why if an Indian Paintbrush is moved, it rarely survives the transplanting.

2. Bluebell bellflower

Scientific name: Campanula rotundifolia
Sunlight: Full sunlight – Full shade
Moisture level: Dry
Height: 4-15 in.
Width: 6-12 in.
Wildlife attraction: Hummingbirds

The Bluebell bellflower prefers the cool of the summer climate. They don’t grow well in extreme heat and don’t grow well past Zone 6. They need even, and regular moisture with flowers deadheaded to encourage more blooms. The plant will self-seed and also spread by creeping roots. It doesn’t have any severe disease or insect problems except the occasional snail or slug.

3. Black Samson echinacea

Scientific name: Echinacea Angustifolia
Sunlight: Full sunlight – Partial shade
Moisture level: Dry
Height: 1 ½ to 2 ft.
Width: up to 1 ½ ft.
Health benefits: Used to boost the immune system
Wildlife attraction: Butterflies

The Black Samson echinacea is drought tolerant and will grow in well-drained clay-loam soil and high levels of alkalinity. It’s a medicinal plant as well and is used to ward off the flu and colds. It can be divided into clumps and will continue blooming even without deadheading. Deadheading, though, will give it a neater appearance, but it will self-seed if seeds are left in place. The flower is a pale pink to light pink, and the petals will droop downward. The center cones are orange-brown, and that’s where the seeds are located.

4. Plains Zinnia

Scientific name: Zinnia grandiflora
Sunlight: Part shade
Moisture level: Dry
Height: 6-8 in.
Width: 15 in.
Wildlife attraction: Native bees, butterflies

The Plains Zinna is a perennial which grows in mound shape about 6-8 inches high. It has bright yellow flowers on multi-branched stems, which gives it the appearance of a small shrub. Plains Zinna doesn’t need much water and will grow in a variety of dry soils, such as sand, sandy loam, calcareous soils and dry. It’s a great plant to be used in parkways, medians, gravelly rock gardens and well-drained flower gardens. It spreads by rhizomes, so it can also be used for erosion control.

5. Apache Plume

Scientific name: Fallugia paradoxa
Sunlight: Part shade
Moisture level: Dry
Height: 2-6 ft.
Width: 3-5 ft.
Wildlife attraction: Bees, butterflies, and birds

The Apache Plume a semi-evergreen that has multi-branches with grayish white pubescent branches. It has white two-inch flowers and two-inch fruit heads which look like silvery puffs at the tips of the slender branches. When in full flower, it’s stunning against the dark green foliage. The feathery purplish tails of the fruit clusters resemble an Apache headdress. It blooms from May until December, and it does grow in clumps.  Apache Plume isn’t difficult to grow and will bloom the first year it’s planted from seed. To rejuvenate, cut the oldest of the woody stems to the ground.

When looking for some native plants for your garden or landscaping in Denver, CO, these are an excellent choice. Native plants are always better for a long-lasting garden!

For more information about native plants, gardening, and lawn care in the Denver area, visit LawnStarter Denver.