Trust the locals
July 24th, 2020
Colorado’s wild temperature swings, hard freezes, and dry conditions make it a challenge to grow plants, especially non-natives that many people expect to see in a beautiful landscape. But as drought spreads throughout the state, it might be time to adjust expectations and consider more native plants.
Native plants, which occur naturally in our region, have a healthy relationship with our ecosystem and wildlife. These plants support native birds, bees and other pollinators and are suited to growing in our state’s unique conditions. 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.
Non-native plants can be beautiful, but they can also require more resources to thrive. As you add new plants to your landscape, consider natives like Rocky Mountain Columbine. It looks delicate, but this beautiful bloom is well-suited to our climate. Yarrow is another flowering native perennial that adds color to your landscape and also can be used as a cut flower indoors.
When you add more natives in our yards, you're supporting the native ecosystem, saving water, and saving work with these lower maintenance “locals.”