Year-round gardening: Pick plants to meet conditions

By: Fredricka Bogardus Colorado Master Gardener
February 24, 2014 Updated: February 24, 2014 at 3:40 pm
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In this final episode of planning articles, we are going to explore some plant ideas and resources for specific challenges in our Colorado landscapes.

Garden season is almost here. Our monthly calendar will resume next week.

fredricka bogardus,

Colorado Master Gardener

Got sand?

Plant Suggestion: Agastache rupestris or Sunset Hyssop

Zone: 4b-9 (generally up to 7,000 ft in Colorado)

Exposure: Full sun

Water requirement: Low once established

Plant Feature: Plant Select plant, about 2 feet tall. Orange/red flowers from July to September. Smells like root beer. Deer-resistant, attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.

Tips for sand: Sandy soil does not hold moisture. Organic amendment will improve the water holding capacity. Low water plants are desirable. Water for short periods more frequently.

More plant suggestions for sandy soil: Garden/07405.html

Got clay?

Plant suggestion: Miscanthus sinensis or Maiden Grass.

Zone: Most cultivars are Zone 5-9, a few are only 6-7. Check the cultivar before buying.

Exposure: Full sun

Water requirement: Average

Plant feature: Clumping grass, about 5 feet tall, plumes in late summer and fall. Good winter interest. Cut back in late winter. Propagate by division. Deer resistant.

Tips for clay: The main problem with clay soil is compaction. Cultivate around the plants by hand, only when soil is dry. Use raised beds or containers for plants that require better drainage. Water for longer times infrequently.

More plant suggestions for clay soil: Search plants for clay soil.

Got shade?

Plant suggestion: Dicentra spectabilis or Bleeding Heart

Zone: 3-9

Exposure: Full to partial shade.

Water requirement: Average.

Plant features: Flowers in April to May. Fernlike foliage that fades by summer. About 18 inches tall. Dee -resistant. This early bloomer will bring some welcome color in spring. It is a long-lasting perennial, noninvasive. Overall a well-behaved plant.

Tips for shady spots: Pretty obvious - choose plants that don't require full sun. While water conservation is always an issue, evaporative loss will be minimized in the shade, so you can tolerate some shade plants that need a bit more moisture. Foliage plants often tolerate shade better than flowering plants.

More plant suggestions for shade gardens:

Got fire risk?

Plant suggestion: Delosperma nubigens or Hardy Yellow Iceplant

Zone: 4-9

Exposure: Full sun

Water requirement: Average

Plant features: Very low-growing ground cover. Bright yellow flowers in June. Varieties with pink and multicolor flowers are also available. Will hug rocks and create a beautiful mat. Succulent leaves make this ground cover somewhat ignition resistant. Low profile makes it unlikely to produce sparks. Noninvasive.

Tips to manage fire risk: If you live in the Wildland-Urban Interface in the Pikes Peak region, this is a serious issue. Consult the publication below and related publications for additional information on this topic. To evaluate your location check the map at to find your home address.

More suggestions for firewise planting: 06305.html


When you have questions, Colorado State University Extension has research-based answers. Get answers to your horticulture questions by calling a Master Gardener volunteer at 520-7684 or emailing

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