Colorado State University and Denver Botanic Gardens this week announce Plant Select choices for gardeners to consider in 2005. Plant Select is a program that finds and distributes the best plants for gardens in Colorado’s high plains and other intermountain region states with similar climates.
Plants named to the Plant Select list are ideal for Colorado’s dry climate because they need only moderate or little watering. Plants added to the list this year are Mojave Sage, Moon Carrot, Valley Lavender Plains Verbena, Furman’s Red Sage, Wild Thing Sage, Silverton Bluemat Penstemon and Mock Bearberry Manzanita.
Mojave Sage (Salvia pachyphylla) is a substantial, intensely aromatic plant with evergreen silver-green leaves and mauve bracts surrounding its flowers. The plant, a shrubby perennial, grows to about 36 inches high and spans between 24 and 36 inches. It blooms June through November and likes full sun and moderate to xeric soil moisture. It is appropriate for U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 5 to 10 and should be planted in loam or sandy soil that drains well.
Moon Carrot (Seseli gummiferum) has succulent, silvery-blue, lacy foliage and, in its second year, produces a succession of five-inch umbels of pale pink flowers that fade to white. It is well-suited as a focal point in the garden and is a biennial or short-lived perennial that reaches up to 36 inches in height and 10 to 15 inches in width. It blooms in the midsummer to fall and grows best in full sun to partial shade in moderately moist to xeric soil. Grow Moon Carrot in USDA zones 5 to 9 in garden loam, clay or sandy soil.
Valley Lavender Plains Verbena (Verbena bipinnatifida), a perennial, blooms May to October with vibrant, lavender clusters of flowers. This plant is attractive to butterflies and grows as a ground-cover approximately 3 to 6 inches high and 12 to 18 inches wide. Valley Lavender does best in full sun and moderate to xeric soils with garden loam, clay or sandy consistency, in USDA zones 4 to 8.
Furman’s Red Sage (Salvia greggii ‘Furman’s Red’) is a hardy southwestern plant that does well in garden loam, clay or sandy soil. It blooms with crimson to scarlet flowers that appear June to October. Cut Furman’s Red Sage back in the spring. This woody perennial grows to 18 to 24 inches high and 12 to 24 inches wide in full sun to partial shade, moderate to xeric soil in zones 5b to 10.
Wild Thing Sage (Salvia greggii Wild Thing) is a woody perennial that grows in aromatic mounds of dark, semi-evergreen foliage with hot pink flowers May to October. This woody perennial should be cut back in the spring, and will grow to 16 to 20 inches high by 12 to 24 inches wide in full sun to partial shade and moderate to xeric soil. Grow Wild Thing Sage in USDA zones 5b to 10 in loam, clay or sandy soil.
Silverton Bluemat Penstemon (Penstemon linarioides var. coloradoensis), a perennial, grows in spreading mounds of silvery, evergreen leaves that look attractive year-round. Lavender-blue flowers bloom in May and June, and Silverton grows 8 to 12 inches tall and 12 to 15 inches wide in full to partial shade and moderate to xeric soil. Grow Silverton in USDA zones 4 to 10 in sandy soil or loam soil that drains well.
Mock Bearberry Manzanita (Arctostaphylos x coloradoensis) is a native, broadleaf evergreen shrub from the Umcompahgre Plateau. This waxy shrub grows in an urn-shape and, from February to April, blooms in white flowers which produce small red berries. Mock Bearberry Manzanita grows 10 to 15 inches high and 36 to 60 inches wide in full sun to particle shade and grows in xeric soil once established. Grow this plant in USDA zones 4b to 8 in garden loam soil that drains well or sandy soil.