Tag Archives: Colorado native plants

The Importance of Native Trees and Shrubs

The most beautiful and sustainable gardens always feature a variety of trees and shrubs. These plants play an important role in enhancing both a landscape’s aesthetic appeal, as well as the health of its surrounding ecosystem. Here are some special benefits of planting varieties that are well adapted to our climate.

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Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Stop soil erosion. Tree and shrub roots help keep soil in place. This is especially helpful for gardens located on sloping or hilly landscapes.

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Design by Lifescape Colorado

Native trees and shrubs help sustain native insects.  Insects are a great food source for native birds and other wildlife. Additionally, pollen from native plants attracts helpful bees and beautiful hummingbirds, creating a sustainable, bountiful habitat for a variety of wildlife. Growing native plants in your sustainable garden provides support both directly and indirectly for native creatures.

denver landscape architect

Design by Lifescape Colorado

Native shrubs and trees are more drought-resistant. After hundreds of years, these varieties have adapted to our seasonal temperature fluctuations, as well as times of drought. They also generally require less fertilizer and upkeep because they’ve adapted to the soil type and other growing conditions. Choosing native trees and shrubs means less maintenance work, a higher chance your shrubs will survive and less strain on vital environmental resources.

Contemporary Landscape by Woodinville Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Classic Nursery & Landscape Co. / Alan Burke, asla

Source: Classic Nursery & Landscape Co. / Alan Burke, asla via Houzz

Native trees and shrubs are disease and pest-resistant. These plant varieties have been exposed repeatedly to insects and diseases common to the area. As a result, native plants develop natural defenses that non-native species often don’t have. However, this doesn’t mean your native plants are immune to all pests or diseases. However, as long as these foreign agents are kept in check, native plants tend to do better in our environment.

When you need help choosing or planting the right trees and shrubs for your landscape design, just give Lifescape Colorado a call. We offer exceptional landscaping services for gardens year round.

Popular Plants to Grow in October

October brings chillier weather to Colorado, but that doesn’t mean you can’t continue to enjoy a colorful garden. Many plants offer beautiful fall interest and can thrive well in our climate all year long. Here are five to consider growing in your garden this October.

colorado landscape designers

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Compact White Fir: The compact white fir’s (Abies concolor ‘Candicans’) silver needles can provide an interesting contrast to other plants in your landscape. Placing these near other evergreens or showy fall shrubs can accentuate the colors in your garden.

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Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Cyclamen hederifolium or C. coum: These flowering plants offer attractive foliage in late summer. C. hederifolium’s pink blooms arrive in September, while C. coum blooms in the winter. Plant them in the ground or in containers with well-draining potting soil. Cyclamen is hardy in zones 5 – 9.

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Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Serviceberry: This small tree provides colorful interest with stunning fall foliage, beautiful winter bark, white blooms in the spring and dark berries in the summer. Serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis), is also drought-tolerant, isn’t too picky about sun or shade, is low maintenance and grows well in zones 2 – 9, making it suitable for any Colorado garden.

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Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Oakleaf Hydrangea: Hydrangeas are well known for their large blooms, but the Oakleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) also offers eye-catching, deep red foliage in the fall. As a low-maintenance plant that is hardy in zones 4 – 9, the Oakleaf Hydrangea is an attractive, practical plant to grow here in October.

colorado landscape designer

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Witch Hazel: You may be familiar with witch hazel for its medicinal use as an astringent. However, the shrub’s value goes beyond the medicine cabinet. It is a showy plant with colorful blooms and foliage for visual interest. You might opt for the Ozark (Hamamelis vernalis) variety in the fall for its vibrant orange foliage.

Remember that Lifescape Colorado can help you bring your fall garden dreams to life. We offer many gardening and landscape services, including maintenance packages to meet your needs. Contact us today or visit our landscape services page to learn more.

Wavyleaf Oak

There are roughly 400 species of oak tree (Quercus), all of which are native to the Northern Hemisphere. Oak trees are revered for their lush foliage, their ability to adapt to severe soil and climate conditions and their stalwart personalities. It’s impossible to live with oaks and not fall in love with their beauty.

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Source: Western Explorers

While many oak species do well in our Rocky Mountain climate, only one is considered a Colorado native plant — the Gambel Oak (Quercus gambelii), which is also referred to as a scrub oak. Over time, this hardy hillside-loving survivor has hybridized with other shrub oak species to yield the Wavyleaf Oak (Quercus undulata).

Wavyleaf Oaks are persistent survivors. They thrive in arid climates above 4,000 feet and are found as high as 10,000+ feet. These hybrids have given botanists something to talk about as their inter-breeding habits have yielded virtually unclassifiable subspecies.

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Source: Western Explorers

On average, these oaks grow as low as four feet and as tall as eight feet high. They have broad green leaves, ranging from one- to three-inches in length. Because of hybridizing, their leaf patterns can have deep lobes, shallow lobes or no lobes at all. The Wavyleaf Oak bears fruit in the form of acorns. So, between the leaves and acorns, they have become a favorite food source for mule deer, elk and big horn sheep. They also attract porcupines and rabbits, both of which enjoy making a meal of their inner bark. Additionally, dense branches and foliage provide respite and protection for all kinds of birds.

Landscapers love these trees because they’re virtually pest free and their dried leaves can be mulched and used in plant beds to repel slugs, grubs and other pests (never use their green leaves for mulch as it can inhibit plant growth).

Contact the team at Lifescape Colorado and learn more about how native plants can help enhance your landscape design.

Alpine Forget-Me-Nots

If you’re seeking a pretty flowering plant that grows well in our Colorado landscape, we recommend introducing the Alpine Forget-Me-Not to your landscape. This small, but vibrant perennial is a Colorado native, which means it’s well suited to our climate and growing conditions. This plant also provides much-loved aesthetic appeal with its true blue blossoms.

colorado landscaping service

Source: VRV Forum

Let Alpine Forget-Me-Nots Bring Life to Slopes and Rock Gardens

Alpine Forget-Me-Nots (also known as Eritrichium nanum) grow wild on Colorado mountains, as well as on high-altitude, mountainous terrain in other western states. Their blue flowers, which bloom from April through August, provide splashes of color that stand out vividly against the backdrop of their natural rocky habitat.

By adding these plants to your own sloping or rocky landscape, you can achieve a similar aesthetic effect. While Alpine Forget-Me-Nots share many similarities with standard Forget-Me-Nots, the alpine variety favor different growing conditions and have shorter stalks, growing no higher than 6 inches tall. Dainty leaves covered in tiny hairs add to the flower’s appeal.

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Source: Jerzy Opiola via Flora Finder

This flower’s rich blue blooms offer a simple way to add color interest to an otherwise bland landscape. Since these adaptable plants grow well in either full sun or partial shade, you’ll have some flexibility when choosing their bed. One of the most important considerations is soil, which should be well draining. This is typically not a problem when Alpine Forget-Me-Nots are planted in rock gardens or scree gardens.

You can propagate Forget-Me-Nots by division or by letting them self-sow. If you’re buying new plants and intend to add them to rocky areas of your landscape, make sure you plant true Alpine Forget-Me-Nots and not another species, which may be harder to grow in rock gardens.

Always remember that our professionals at Lifescape Colorado can bring expert care to your garden and landscape. Contact us today to learn about our many services.

Indian Paintbrush

If you’ve spent any amount of time gazing at our beautiful Colorado landscape, no doubt you’ve noticed a couple fiery spots of color dotting the hillsides and valleys from March through September. If so, there’s a good chance you’ve spotted stands of Indian paintbrush (Castilleja ssp).

Upon closer examination, the Indian paintbrush is a small to medium-sized plant with stalks of linear leaves topped by bright red bracts. Fortunately for you, these Colorado plants are easy to add to your own landscape and will thrive happily year after year.

colorado landscape architect

Source: Weather Pics

Looking For a Colorful, Drought-Tolerant Perennial? Meet the Indian Paintbrush

There are over 100 species of Indian paintbrush, but one of the most common and best adapted to our climate is colorful Indian paintbrush (Castilleja angustifolia). This perennial plant prefers dry, loamy soil and plays host to a wide range of pollinators, making it a great plant for backyard designs. Colorful Indian paintbrush grows between 4- to 22-inches high on average.

Here are some other interesting characteristics to note:

colorado native plant

Source: Grow Native

It’s considered hemi-parasitic. Indian paintbrush intertwines its roots with other plants to leach nutrients and water. However, this relationship doesn’t do any damage to unsuspecting neighbor. Consider planting stands of blue gamma grass or sage brush nearby to help the Indian paintbrush thrive.

They don’t have red flowers. That gorgeous red color we so often admire is actually bracts, or specially modified leaves, as opposed to flowers. The plant’s true flowers are actually smaller, slender green growths hidden amongst the bracts.

colorado landscape designer

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

You’ll attract pollinators galore. Because the Indian paintbrush doesn’t have any branches or strong stalks for birds to perch on, they are a favorite food source for hovering pollinators like butterflies, bees and hummingbirds. In fact, they are a preferred nectar source for broad-tailed hummingbirds and a favorite host for Fulvia Checkerspot butterflies, both of which are common in Colorado.

Are you interested in introducing the Indian paintbrush into your garden? Lifescape Colorado’s landscape maintenance team can do it for you. Give us a call at 303.831.8310, or contact us online.