Colorado Perennials

Your Colorado garden doesn’t have to be barren and void of beautiful landscaping. Contrary to popular belief, Colorado has more to offer than just xeriscaping. You can add budding flowers that attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies to ensure your garden prospers every year.

In this blog, we’re looking at the most popular perennials that can add some flair to your garden while keeping sustainability in mind. These Colorado native perennials don’t require much water and they can bloom in areas with limited moisture and sun. When it comes to planning your Colorado garden, these perennials should be front and center.

Rocky Mountain Columbine

The white and lavender Rocky Mountain Columbine was designated the state flower of Colorado in 1899 after winning the vote from the Colorado’s school children. It was discovered in 1820 on Pike’s Peak by mountain climber Edwin James. The Rocky Mountain columbine has a strong aroma that attracts bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies.


Liatris is a summer-blooming perennial with mossy foliage and fuzzy flowers. Known as the blazing star or gayfeather, liatris is a perfect addition to flower and cutting gardens, landscaped areas, and informal paintings. The flower stands about tall and it attracts butterflies

Liatris thrives in full sun, though it can tolerate some shade, and the best time to plant it is in the spring. Planting them in the spring ensures the weather stays cool and the soil is fertile to establish young plants. Flowers will typically appear within the first year, approximately 70-90 days after planting. The blooms occur yearly for many years after planting.

Purple Coneflower

The purple coneflower is a native to the eastern United States and planting these perennials in your garden is an excellent way to attract bees and butterflies, ensuring nearby plants have plenty of pollinators.

The purple coneflower provides a tall background with repeating rows of large purple flowers. Its sturdy stalks can reach five feet and rarely bend. Coneflower plants can also display pink flowers when the Echinacea purpurea is planted.


Sedum has different varieties and species. It is also known as stonecrop and they are useful for nearly any conceivable garden design. Sedum is hardy, easy to care for, and attractive to pollinators.

You can divide sedum into two categories based on their growing habits. One is a low-growing sedum and the other is an upright sedum. Low-growing sedum spreads along the ground and only reaches a few inches in height, making them perfect for ground cover along patios, in rock gardens, or draped over a stone wall.

Upright sedum tends to form upright clumps that produce a tight mass of small pink flowers. Their height and alluring flowers attract pollinators.

Russian Sage

Originally from Russia, this sage plant fits in Colorado due to its similarity to Western sagebrush. It thrives in dry landscapes and offsets desert plants and native gardens. Russian sage is a beautiful way to adorn your cottage walkway or serve as a focal point for your Santa Fe style home. You can plant it as a single plant or in clusters to accentuate its presence.

Oxeye Daisy

Oxeye daisy spreads aggressively by producing seeds and disseminating them underground through rhizomes. These Colorado wildflowers can quickly spread too rapidly, so it’s important to understand how to properly limit their spread to ensure you can use them as an aesthetic addition to your garden instead of them taking over.

To prevent oxeye daisy from overtaking your garden, follow these steps:

  • Sow the oxeye daisy seeds in late winter or early spring. You can sow the seeds in average, well-draining or sandy soil.
  • Plant the seeds in a sunny area. Daisies grow best in full sunlight, though they can survive in partial sun as well.
  • Keep the seeds moist until sprouting. After sprouting, reduce watering to one or two inches per week. Oxeye daisies are drought-tolerant, so you should wait until the soil is out before watering.
  • Prune the plants to encourage growth. To extend the flowering season, deadhead the flowers when they wilt. This can encourage more growth.


Fireweed is a showy wildflower that grows from seal level to subalpine zone and is one of the rare flowers. Each flower at the end of a long cylindrical capsule bearing numerous seeds. A single fireweed plant can produce up to 80,000 seeds and the fluffy parachutes can transport seeds far from the parent plant. Fireweed can be a beautiful addition to your home garden, but if you leave it unattended, it can quickly take over a garden.

Rocky Mountain Penstemon

A native of the southern Rockies, the Penstemon can grow over a wide range of the western US and its spikes of intense blue-purple flowers last for over a month in the late spring. The penstemon spreads steadily and it is one of the most easily grown penstemons. To manage the penstemon, you should cut off the flowering spikes after bloom. However, you can keep a few untouched for reseeding purposes.


Dianthus flowers belong to the carnation family and they are characterized by their pungent aroma. Dianthus plants can be annual, biennial, or perennial and they are most often used in borders or potted displays. The plants are smaller and they typically appear in pink, salmon, red, and white hues. Until 1971, dianthus had a short breeding season and modern varieties will typically bloom from May-October.

Bearded Irises

Bearded irises are perhaps the most common form of iris grown in Colorado. They have three petals known as standards, and three drooping petals called falls. The falls have hairy centers, which accounts for the “bearded” portion of their name. These plants do best in full sun and dry, alkaline soils, highly prevalent in Colorado.

Conclusion-Colorado Perennials

Colorado has some of the most versatile perennials for residents to implement into their gardens. Though Colorado has a semi-arid climate, that doesn’t mean you can’t plant a beautiful garden that flourishes for years to come. These Colorado perennials will liven up any garden that brings joy to your living space while keeping the environment in mind.

Russell Chen

With a rich background in Horticulture from the University of Melbourne, Russell Chen has over 18 years of experience in garden design and management. He has been a key contributor to our site, after serving as a chief horticulturist at a renowned botanical garden in Australia. Russell's articles often reflect his passion for eco-friendly gardening and he has been sharing insights into sustainable gardening practices. In his leisure time, he loves exploring herbal gardening and participating in community greening projects.

Leave a Comment