CO-Horts Blog

Monday, August 6, 2018

My Favorite Plant Select Plants

My Favorite Plant Select Plants
By CSU Horticulture Program Associate, Linda Langelo

I have four of my favorite Plant Select Plants that happen to all be good pollinators, drought tolerant and xeric.  In a semi-arid desert, I place a higher value on all those attributes.  

Photo Credit: Linda Langelo   

PlatinumⓇ Sage,   Salvia daghestanica

This salvia is an early summer perennial.  It is xeric and prefers loam or sandy soil.  I have used this as an edging plant in the landscape bed nearby a sidewalk.  It does quite well.  This salvia is drought tolerant and can take the summer heat.  Plants with silver leaves are very drought tolerant.  To be clear, a plant can be tolerant of drought for a significant period.  However, when the plant starts doing poorly that is the end of its tolerance.  Here is a brief list of plant characteristics that allow a plant to be drought tolerant:
  • Reduced surface area
  • Thick waxy cuticle
  • Reduced number of stomata
  • Water storage tissues in the roots or leaves
  • Pubescence or lots of hairs called trichomes on the leaves reduces evaporation by reflecting light 

Photo Credit:  

Kannah CreekⓇ buckwheat,  Eriogonum umbellatum var. aureum 'Psdowns'
I love this groundcover because it is a long flowering perennial that blooms from May through July.  It is xeric and does well in loam, sand or clay soils.  In addition, this plant is a great pollinator plant for those interested in helping pollinators.  In the fall the leaves turn a reddish color.  I use it as another edging plant.  But it can be used in mass as well.  It is a native plant of Colorado.  If you are into dried flowers, the flowers are great to cut and use in dried arrangements.  
Photo Credit: Linda Langelo

Sonoran SunsetⓇ hyssop,  Agastache cana 'Sinning' PP 13,673

Agastache is great for dry landscapes.  The picture above is the front of the Julesburg Elementary School.  We used Plant Select Plants to reduce water use by creating this drier landscape.  This perennial is another long season bloomer.  It blooms from midsummer to frost.  This is a good pollinator plant.  Agastache is also another native.  With most of these Plant Select perennials there is little maintenance to do.  With agastache, prune back the spent flowers in the spring.  

  Photo Credit: Linda Langelo  Phillips County Extension Plant Select Garden

You can tell hyssop is a favorite among favorites because I have two pictures in two different landscapes.  Not really,  I just happened to have a really decent camera to get a good quality picture when it was in bloom.  

Photo Credit: 

Colorado Desert Blue Star,  Amsonia jonesii

Amsonia is a wonderful spring plant.  This light, cool blue flower color for early spring bloom in April and lasting through June.  As the plant sets seeds, you will have lots of seedlings.  But I would not consider this plant to be aggressive.  This is a native plant of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah.  It grows in clay, loam or sandy soil.  It is also a good pollinator plant.  

I hope you try some of these plants in your landscape, if you haven't already.  All these plants need No fertilizing, little to no maintenance other than some supplemental water unless we suffer an extended drought, and grow in a variety of soils.  My kind of gardening.  Plant, water initially, keep the weeds away and sit back and enjoy the view!  

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