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Top 10 Perennials to Grow in Colorado

With all the different types of perennials, choosing the perfect one can be difficult, especially if you are new to gardening! To simplify matters, we have compiled a list of the top 10 perennials to grow in your Colorado garden!

Salvia ‘May Night’:

This vigorous plant is extremely cold and drought tolerant, and is well situated to handle the high clay content of our Colorado soil. These salvia bloom spires of deep indigo in the late spring, and will re-bloom in the late summer if deadheaded.

Monardella marantha ‘Marian Sampson’:

If you need a plant for a rock garden or an edge, this is a perfect choice. Semi-evergreen aromatic foliage forms low mounds. Clusters of brilliant, orange-scarlet trumpet flowers bloom late spring- early summer. Monardella prefers a part sun location. This was a plant Select winner of 2014.

Lavender ‘Phenomenal’:

Since Phenomenal Lavender is so cold hardy it is one of the best lavenders to grow in Colorado. The silvery foliage sets off the long plentiful blue flowers that bloom all summer long. This lavender is easy to grow, highly disease resistant, drought tolerant, deer proof and attracts butterflies. Need we say more?!?

Poppy ‘Spring Fever Mix’:

Vivid large flowers of red, yellow, orange, white, blooms for an early spring display. This plant loves 5 plus hours of sunlight daily in well-drained soil. Beyond keeping their soil damp to the touch, Spring Fever has no need of fertilizer or insecticides as they have no natural predators.

Viola ‘Corsican Violet’:

This happy wild violet is one the first plants to show itself in the spring. It is very hardy, 6 to 8 inches tall, likes part sun, and is more drought tolerant than most other violas. It will bloom all spring, and naturalizes well.

Sedum ‘Tapestry Carpet’:

A mix of hardy sedums in one. The variety of textures and colors make it a pleasing choice as a ground cover or for rock gardens. They will bloom in the summer to fall, with many different colors. These low growing plants prefer a well-drained location, and can perform well in part-sun, or cool sunny location. Perfect for the water wise, xeroscape garden. We use this exact mix in all of the green roof installations that we do, so we know it is the perfect plant for Colorado!

Perovskia ‘Russian Sage’:

Often, in late summer, the brilliant blue purple flowers of this perennial’s stunning displays will turn heads. There are many varieties of size and shape of this plant that it will fit in just about anywhere. It is a bee & butterfly attractor that is deer and rabbit proof. If you plant these next to your vegetable garden, it will insure that your veggies are pollinated. It is also drought resistant, and prefers the hot sun.

Lupine ‘Gallery Mix’:

With dazzling multi-color flower spikes, this is a great dwarf variety so it is perfect for windy areas. The colorful spires are an unforgettable sight in the late spring, early summer garden. These plants prefer morning sun-afternoon shade and average well drained soil. They attract Humming birds and Butterflies, and can re-bloom if old blooms are cut back. They are also beautiful in cut flower arrangements.

Geranium ‘Rozanne’:

This geranium was the Plant Select winner of 2008 and with reason! A tall hybrid clump forming geranium, this is the longest-blooming and most prolific blue-flowered Geranium on the market. Bred to be low maintenance it boasts large 5-petaled violet-blue flowers, and blooms spring through summer. Tolerates deer and rabbits and can be cut back to rejuvenate, shape, or encourage more blooms.

Echinacea ‘Cheyenne Spirit’:

One of our personal favorites, this vibrant mix of hot colors put on their own garden show. Flowers are borne on sturdy, well-branched stems that stand up to sun, wind and rain. They have few insect or disease problems, and are drought tolerant, making them a great choice for sustainable, low-water use garden practices. This is also an excellent plant for your butterfly garden!

33 thoughts on “Top 10 Perennials to Grow in Colorado

  1. Huechera varieties should be on the list. Grow exceptionally well in Colorado. And how about the state flower columbine..should be some space for those

    1. Hey Dan! You are right… there are so many great plants that grow here in Colorado. Next time we will have to do the top 20!

  2. I ha ‘ve peach tree that has a lot of blooms that have flowered is there a spray I can use for bugs at this time to keep bugs away

    1. Hello Liz! Thanks for commenting. If you would like to avoid bugs on edible fruit trees such as apple, peach, pears, etc use a Horticultural Oil Spray in the early spring. Apply the product now and again in 14 days. This product is organic and safe for edible plants. For more information or to purchase online please click here!

  3. Russian sage takes over the entire garden. It is Impossible to control. Don’t plant it unless you want an entire bed of it!

    1. Hey Jean- Thanks for your comment! Russian Sage can be a very large, vigorous plant… which is part of the reason it was chosen for this list! There are many different varieties, some large and some smaller, but they all perform well here in Colorado. Although we have not experienced this plant to be invasive, heavy mulch will help reduce reseeding.

  4. Agree w/ Jean about Russian Sage…bees love it but it cannot be controlled. Our local bane is adeniphora with those innocent looking purple bells AACK!

  5. Mulch does not contain Russian Sage; it sends runners underneath the fabric and then pops up 2 or 4 feet away at the edge of the fabric. That said, bees love this plant and ours is covered every day with hundreds of wild and european honey bees.

  6. Totally agree about the Russian Sage. We had planted these plants in our landscape because I loved the purple flowers and they are so beautiful but they took over!!! We had to resort to digging all of them up because there was no way to control their spreading. They got into everything else and took over. We had also put down fabric and the runners just found a way to the edge and came up. Very sad. They do attract bees.

  7. This thing helped me a lot

  8. I have a patio with a Russian sage that has come back time & again after much abusive trimming, it almost caused problems for the central air unit. The sage IS heavily mulched, cardboard & rocks on top of it… & it still comes out from under, it’s even found it’s way under the wall, to the outside of the patio.
    I much prefer salvia, which bees love tremendously & English lavender for the pretty purple flowers that pollinators love.
    I think the only actual way to control a russian sage would be to embed metal barriers deep around the roots & keep it trimmed so far back that the stems are not rooting where they find soil. Russian sage survives a little too well.

  9. This is funny. We have Russian Sage and it grows well but it has never expanded past where we planted it. It has been in the same spot for the last 7 years. Hmm, I wonder what the difference is?

  10. Im trying to find the zone 5 perennials in Colorado that are rabbit resistant. Are any of these rabbit resistant?

    1. Here are a few plants we’ve found to be more rabbit resistant than others… Salvia, Lavender, Geranium, Russian Sage, Veronica, Monarda, and Nepeta. There are others that are rabbit resistant but these are a good start. Just remember, if rabbits are hungry they’ll try anything!

  11. Hi, do you have ideas for perennial flowers that like the intense sun, garden faces west.

    1. We have so many ideas for full sun perennial flowers! Some of our favorites include Agastache, lavender, Salvia, Achillea, Gaillardia, Echinacea, Sedum, Perovskia, Nepeta, and Gazanias.

  12. […] Cheyenne Spirit– Also known as echinacea, these colorful flowers are native to high country lands. They come in a variety of colors and do well in droughts and high sun. […]

  13. […] Cheyenne Spirit– Also known as echinacea, these colorful flowers are native to high country lands. They come in a variety of colors and do well in droughts and high sun. […]

  14. Do you have plant ideas for a Denver suburban lot that gets water run-off from neighbors making the soil moist? I’d like something with winter interest and would love a perennial garden for color in summer and fall. The Snowball bushes that were there did not survive three late snow storms.

    1. We’re thinking iris would make a great perennial and there are so many colors to choose from. There are also some wonderful willows that would give you some shrub choices.

  15. Hi,
    I live in southeastern Colorado. I believe it’s zone 6, I’m a newb at this gardening stuff. The front of my house faces west and I have 7 trees in my backyard, not a lot of sun. What kind of shade loving plants would work best in my shady backyard. I would like to plant something around the edges of my yard.
    Thanks

    1. Hi Mary! Here are the names of ten shade plants to get you started: Bleeding heart, coral bells, hosta, columbine, lamium, jacob’s ladder, astilbe, spiderwort, geranium, and pulmonaria. Some are taller, some are groundcovers… a good range for both beds and borders.

  16. I have had great luck with penstemons! Hardy, colorful, and the bunnies leave it alone. Also some of the wild/native geraniums are doing quite well.

    1. Those are some other great options! Thanks for sharing!

  17. We love our sunset hyssops! And, so do the hummingbirds.

    1. We agree! You really can’t beat a good hyssop!

  18. I would like to grow some roses in my back yard next year. What kind do well in Colorado?

  19. Will honeysuckle grow in Colorado?

    1. Absolutely! We carry multiple varieties here at Gulleys…

  20. We live in Evergreen (7300 ft) and have new raised beds in a west facing front yard. Because of house orientation and large pines, the beds don’t get sun until about noon and then have periods of shade and intense afternoon sun through the rest of afternoon. Raised beds are 2’ x 4’ and 16” deep. Any recommendations for annuals or perennials in this challenging environment?

    1. Hi Michael! SO some perennials that would work well in your spot are aquilegia, Leucanthemum, campanula, Heuchera, delphiniums, some Penstemons, Corsican violets, which would all do fine at that altitude & sun. Some annuals that would work well are zonal geraniums, Osteospermum, cosmos, and salvia. Let us know if you have any other questions!

  21. I am looking for a perennial that will tolerate clay soil and only two to three hours of afternoon sun. i live at 7100ft of elevation. If possible i would like something with 18 to 24 inches of height.

    1. For a shady spot with a clay soil situation, we would suggest starting with brunnera, astilbe, ajuga, and hosta!

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