Native Colorado Plants and Trees for Gardening and Landscaping

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With Colorado's fickle mother nature it can be difficult to grow and keep plants alive in the intermittent weather conditions. Here is a list of Colorado native wildflowers, shrubs and trees that you can use for your gardening and landscaping this coming spring!

Many of these plants will be available at local nurseries or are easy to buy seeds online. If you are new to our area or just looking for a way to connect with local Colorado gardeners and landscapers to ask specific questions there are events all around Northern Colorado that are focused on local gardening or you can ask your local nursery.

Information for native plants found through USDA Online Plants Database.

Native Wildflowers

Here is a list of just some of our beautiful wildflowers native to Colorado that can be used in gardening and landscaping. It's by no means a full list of all our wildflowers because there are hundreds of wildflowers native to our amazing state!

Common Name Preferred Environment Elevation 
Mountain Iris Moist montane meadows 6,000-9,500 feet
Rocky Mountain Penstemon Dry; Sunny 7,000-10,500 feet
Colorado Columbine Shaded; Moist to dry; Rocky Soils 6,000-10,000 feet
Mountain Lupine Dry; Subalpine areas 8,000- 11,500 feet
Yellow Evening Primrose Sun/ part shade; Dry soils To 7,000 feet
Aspen Daisy Moist to wet; Montane to sub-alpine areas Low Elevation
Pasqueflower Well-drained soil; Montane to tree line areas Dependent on species
Monkshood Moist to wet; Montane to subalpine areas 2,000-9,500 feet
Mountain Harebell Montane to alpine meadows and aspen grove areas To 12,000 feet
Tall Chiming-bells Moist to wet; Subalpine to lower alpine streams Low Elevation
Alpine Forget-me-not Moist to dry; Rocky soils to dry meadows Adaptive, Highly Varied
Blackeyed Susan Moist, well-drained soils; Sunny 5,000-9,500 feet
Indian Blanketflower Moist to dry soils 1,300-9,000 feet
Rocky Mountain Bee Plant  Rocky soils; Moist to dry Adaptive, Highly Varied
Greenthread Dry soils; Dependent on species Dependent on Species
Purple Coneflower  Moist to dry soils; Sun/ part shade  To 6,000 feet
Butterfly Weed  Dry soils; Sun/ part shade To 7,500 feet
Rocky Mountain Penstemon  Sun/ part shade; Dry soils  To 7,500 feet
Poppy Mallow  Moist to dry soils; Sun/ part shade  To 7,000 feet

 

Here is a list of elevations in our Northern Colorado towns so that you can take this into consideration if you are looking to grow these flowers in your landscaping. Please know that this may not be accurate to your home, but if you want to know the exact elevation of your home you can look up your elevation by address here.

  • Loveland: 4,982 feet
  • Windsor: 4,797 feet
  • Fort Collins: 5,003
  • Greeley: 4,658 feet
  • Longmont: 4,984 feet
  • Boulder: 5,430 feet

Native Shrubs

Common Name Preferred Environment Elevation Range
Rocky Mountain Maple Sunny/ partly shaded; Montane areas 5,000-10,500 feet
Curl-leaf Mountain Mahogany Sunny; Dry; Drought tolerant 4,500-9,000 feet
Wild Plum Sunny; Moist to dry; Rocky soils 4,500-8,500 feet
Western Chokecherry Sunny; Moist to dry; Montane areas 4,500-8,500 feet
Rocky Mountain Willow Sunny; Moist to wet; Montane areas 6,000-10,500 feet
Apache Plume Sunny; Moist to dry soils 3.500-8,000 feet
Golden Currant Sunny; Moist to dry; Well-drained soils 4,000-10,000 feet
Silvery Leadplant Sunny; Moist to dry; Drought tolerant 3,500-7,500 feet
Fourwing Saltbush Sunny; Moist to dry soils 4,000-8,000 feet
Juniper Sun/ partly shaded; Well-drained soils 5,000-10,000 feet

 

Native Trees

Here is a list of just some of our beautiful trees that you can use in your spring landscaping!

Common Name Preferred Environment Elevation 
Lanceleaf Cottonwood Sun/ part shade; Moist to wet To 7,500 feet
Narrowleaf Cottonwood Sun/ part shade; Moist to wet To 8,500 feet
Plains Cottonwood Sun/ part shade; Moist to wet To 6,500 feet
Ponderosa Pine Sun/ part shade; Moist to dry To 9,000 feet
Blue Spruce Well-drained, Sandy soils; Moist to wet 6,700-11,500 feet
White Fir Sun/ part shade; Moist to dry 7,900-10,200 feet
Subalpine Fir Cold, high elevation forests 8,000-12,000 feet
Rocky Mountain Maple Moist to dry; Sun/ part shade 3,000-10,000 feet
Rocky Mountain Juniper Rocky soils 5,000-9,000 feet
Quaking Aspen Moist to dry, Sandy and gravelly soil 6,500-11,500 feet
Pinon Pine Open woodland, Dry rocky soils 5,200-9,000 feet
Peachleaf Willow Moist to wet 3,500 to 7,500 feet
Lodgepole Pine Well-drained soils 6,000-11,000 feet
Limber Pine Nutrient-poor soils, rocky soils 5,000-12,000 feet
Gambel Oak Areas of low precipitation 4,000 to 8,500 feet
Engelmann Spruce High, cold; Moist 8,000-11,000 feet
Douglas Fir Rocky soils 6,000-9,500 feet
Chokecherry Moist to dry; various soil types 5,000-10,000
Bristlecone Pine Cold, dry; Rocky soils 9,200-11,800 feet
Boxelder Riparian, floodplains; Moist to wet Adaptive, highly varied

 

A really great resource for plant care and in-depth information is Colorado Native Plant Society. They seek to educate the community through furthering knowledge, appreciation, and conservation of Colorado's beautiful native plants and habitats.

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