A Guide to Annuals and Perennials

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Successful garden planning requires careful planning and dedication. You need to know which plants grow best in your climate, when they bloom and the difference between those that only live a single season (annuals), versus those that continue to grow and bloom year after year (perennials).

As you while away the winter months, this guide to annuals and perennials can help you make your landscaping plans for next spring. Some of our recommendations include Colorado native plants, others are examples of plants that do well in our unique climate.


Annuals need to be replanted each spring. While this makes them more labor intensive plants, their continuous bursts of vibrant color are worth it. In most cases, these blooms will die out just around the first frost, which usually occurs during the month of October here in Denver.

The following are examples of annuals that do well in our Rocky Mountain climate:

Alpine Ivy Geraniums. These flowers are a popular choice in Europe due to their penchant for high elevations and cooler temperatures. They do well in containers – think gorgeous cascades from window boxes.

Source: Windsor Companies via Houzz

Impatiens. Impatiens are lovely to look at and they grow well in the shade. They can add a cheerful, unexpected spot of color on the ground around your shade-providing trees and shrubs.

Source: Prairie Ridge Landscapes Ltd via Houzz

Vinca. Also known as periwinkle, these sweet flowers have vibrant green leaves and can withstand the hottest summer months.


There are a wide range of perennials that do well in our climate. Once they’re established, you’ll benefit from their foliage and blooms year after year.

Columbines. Our state flower is a beautiful blue perennial that flourishes and reseeds every year. Columbines require a cool winter in the soil to germinate.

Source: Benjamin Vogt via Houzz

Milkweed. In addition to providing lush foliage and beautiful blooms, milkweed is the exclusive diet of monarch butterfly caterpillars.

Source: Genevieve Schmidt via Houzz

Sedum. Another Colorado native plant, Sedum blooms with vibrant yellows, bronzes, white and light purples. It can thrive in dry, rocky soil where other plants can’t.

Would you like some help selecting the right balance of annuals, perennials and Colorado native plants for your garden? Contact Lifescape today so we can get started!