We have so many plant choices in Colorado, it’s easy to lose track of plants that have always grown here. Yet, there are good reasons to have a few native plants growing in our yards.
The No. 1 reason to plant natives is that Colorado is NOT an easy place to grow plants. We have wild temperature swings, hard freezes, a dry climate and harsh winters. We can and do grow non-natives here, but non-natives can take more work, develop diseases that require us to buy expensive treatments and most important, they often need more water.
Natives are the plants that occur naturally in our region and they have a natural relationship with our ecosystem and wildlife. Some species like Monarch butterflies deposit their eggs on only one kind of plant – milkweed. Others aren’t quite so picky, but still prefer certain plants for their eggs. Without the plants they need to lay their eggs, we won’t have the food source of those emerging caterpillars and insects that feed 96% of our songbirds.
One of the best examples of a native plant is our state flower – the Colorado Columbine. As dainty as it looks, you would never expect it grows in our harsh growing conditions. Yet it is one of our prettiest natives.
Use other flowering perennials to dress up your yard and don’t be afraid to cut them for bouquets. Yarrow, for example, provides great color outdoors, can be used as a cut flower – and even dried for fall arrangements.
When we add more natives in our yards, we’re being Colorado-friendly, have less maintenance to do – and we save water.
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