As Colorado deals with the effects of a historic, multi-year drought and water shortage along the Colorado River, increased scrutiny has been placed on water usage and how to manage our water responsibly. Over the past few decades, xeriscaping has been gaining popularity as an alternative to traditional landscaping. One of the main principles of xeriscaping is creating low-water, low-maintenance landscapes; this is done with proper planning, efficient irrigation, and choosing plants that need minimal water to thrive.
Luckily, Colorado is home to an incredible array of native plants that are well-suited to Colorado’s climate and soil conditions. Many native plants need very little to no watering and do well under the hot sun. There is a common misconception that xeriscaping and choosing low-water plants will leave your property brown and barren – we’re happy to tell you that this couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Here are just a few examples of beautiful low-water plants native to Colorado that can bring life and color to your property:
Low-water Native Plants That Will Thrive on Your Denver Commercial Property
Creeping Mahonia (Creeping Oregon Grape)
Creeping mahonia is a low-growing evergreen shrub that will bring seas of color to your property year-round. In the spring it blooms with bright yellow flowers, which give way to dark blue-purple berries in the late summer. Not willing to go dormant for the winter, the leaves turn mauve and rose-colored in the colder months.
Spreading Daisy (Spreading Fleabane)
Spreading daisies are native to the western half of North America. Its flowers range anywhere from white, pink, light blue, or lavender with a yellow center. Individual stems are slender and generally covered with short, grayish hairs, and a single cluster can easily sprout over 100 flower heads.
Western Sandcherry (Rocky Mountain Cherry)
Western sandcherry is a hardy yet short-lived shrub native to Colorado and much of the Northern Great Plains. It has leathery green leaves and produces small edible cherries in the early summer that ripen to dark purple or black. Purpleleaf sandcherry, a hybrid, is a popular choice for landscaping and gardening due to its color.
Black-Eyed Susan (Ox-Eye Daisy)
Black-Eyed Susans are one of the most popular wildflowers around. They love full sun, can tolerate tough soil conditions, and normally flower from June to October. Named for their black or brown dome in the center, their flowers come in a variety of colors such as lemon-yellow, golden-yellow, dark red, orange, and reddish-brown.
Blue Flax (Lewis Flax)
Known for its sky-blue flowers, blue flax blooms in late spring through early summer. Blue flax loves the sun – its flowers only open fully on sunny days. It can grow from anywhere between 1 to 3 feet, and provides food and bollen for bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.
Prairie Sage (White Sagebrush)
Prairie sage’s distinct silver-green color works as a great accent for larger plantings. Its small yellow flowers bloom through summer and attract many pollinators. It loves full sun, does well in dry soil, and is drought resistant. Prairie sage spreads by rhizomes, so it can be aggressive and quickly take over smaller landscapes without proper care.
Cacti & Succulents
Nipple Cactus (Pincushion Cactus)
A small, round cactus, Nipple cactus is covered in a mat of star-shaped array of spines ⅜ to 1″ long. Their small flowers generally range from pink, to purple, to rose-colored. There is another cactus that’s incredibly similar, Simpson’s Cactus, that has yellow/green flowers.
Plains Yucca (Soapweed)
A member of the agave family, Plains Yucca has long, narrow leaves with a prominent flower stalk of large ivory flowers. A drought-resistant, full sun plant, yucca blooms is easy to grow and blooms from late spring to early summer. It’s also one of the most cold-hardy varieties of its species and is a popular choice in Colorado landscaping.
Prickly Pear (Plains Prickly Pear)
Prickly Pears are found throughout the Great Plains and Front Range and are popular for landscaping. This variety is one of the shorter prickly pear species, rarely growing over 1′ tall, preferring to spread horizontally and form wide clumps. It’s known for its bright yellow flowers with bits of red, and it bears fruit called tuna that are red, juicy, and edible.
Golden Currant (Clove Currant)
Golden currant is a small to medium-sized bush, averaging 6 to 10 feet tall. Its leaves are green, leathery, and turn red in autumn. It blooms in spring with bright yellow flowers that have a strong fragrance resembling cloves or vanilla. The flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies, and golden currant also produces small edible berries in the summer.
Rubber Rabbitbrush (Chamisa)
Closely related to sagebrush, Rubber rabbitbrush is typically identified by its whitish or light green stems, felt-like hairs, and needle-like leaves. It blooms with dense clusters of bright yellow flowers from August to November. Rabbitbrush is well suited for low-water landscaping and thrives in areas with rough soil conditions.
Silvery Leadplant (Prairie Shoestring)
Silvery leadplant is a small shrub. It is covered in short, dense hairs, lending to its silvery appearance. Silvery leadplant is easily recognized by its large spikes of small purple or dark blue flowers that bloom from July to September. It’s a popular landscaping plant not only for its appearance, but because it also helps prevent soil erosion and can regulate nitrogen levels in soil.
Looking to Incorporate Low-Water Native Plants into Your Denver Commercial Property?
Our team of pros at GroundMasters Landscape Services have the expertise needed to make your property stand out from your neighbors. For over 25 years, we have been providing year-round seasonal landscape services to Denver-area businesses and commercial properties. Our services include lawn care & maintenance, sprinkler installation & maintenance, tree & shrub care, and landscape enhancements – along with storm cleanup and snow removal for when the weather takes a turn for the worst. To see what GroundMasters can do for your commercial property, give us a call today at (303) 750-8867 or get in touch with us online today to get started.