Plants that add color

Just because your sprinkler system has been retired for the year doesn’t mean you have to stop thinking about your landscape. Now is a great time to begin planning and preparing to upgrade your yard to a more water-efficient landscape next season.

We turned to the landscape pros to learn what plants will help you stand out among your neighbors, and found an article from the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado on water-saving plant options that add vibrancy during the fall. Perfect!

Here are some highlights from October is about fall color:

Remember, 2013 began with serious drought in the forecast and that threat will always loom over us. Every time we add a new plant, we can make a smart and sustainable choice to buy plants that add color and beauty while saving water.

Here are four options from Plant Select® that can add great fall interest to any yard.

Giant sacaton (Sporobolus wrightii)

Giant sacaton (Sporobolus wrightii)

Giant sacaton (Sporobolus wrightii)

Size: 5-7 feet tall by 3-5 feet wide

Conditions: Dry to xeric (little to no additional water once established); full sun.

Care: Cut back in late spring/early summer once leaves have started to emerge.

Why grow it: Large, ornamental western native grass that thrives in hot, sunny spots. Much more adaptable than exotic grasses that tend to be invasive and that require more water. Holds shape and offers texture late in season.

Altitude limit: Up to 7,000 feet

 

Coral Canyon® twinspur (Diascia integerrima)

Coral Canyon® twinspur (Diascia integerrima)

Coral Canyon® twinspur (Diascia integerrima)

Size: 12-15 inches tall by 12-15 inches wide

Conditions: Moderate to dry conditions in well-drained soils; rock mulch is best.

Care: Cut back to ground in late spring.

Why grow it: Unusual bubble-gum pink flowers bloom heaviest in spring and fall. Beautiful when contrasted with silver- and purple-foliaged plants such as Sea Foam and Platinum® sage, Herrenhausen or Rotkugel ornamental oregano and Royal Purple smokebush. Blooms late into October in many locations!

Altitude limit: Up to 7,000 feet

 

Pawnee Buttes® sand cherry (Prunus besseyi selection)

Pawnee Buttes® sand cherry (Prunus besseyi selection)

Pawnee Buttes® sand cherry (Prunus besseyi selection)

Size: 15-18 inches tall by 4-6 feet wide

Conditions: Moderate to dry conditions in full sun. Not fussy about soils, but give it plenty of room to spread.

Care: Needs little care once established and a good groundcover shrub for difficult growing areas.

Why grow it: Stems are covered with small white blossoms in spring, summer foliage is glossy green even in very dry conditions, and fall color is a brilliant coppery orange.

Altitude limit: Up to 9,000 feet

 

Wild Thing sage (Salvia greggii)

Wild Thing sage (Salvia greggii)

Wild Thing sage (Salvia greggii)

Size: 16-20 inches tall by 18-24 inches wide

Conditions: Dry to xeric conditions (little to no water needed once established) with good drainage in full sun.

Care: Cut back in late spring once leaves are emerging.

Why grow it: Hot pink/magenta flowers bloom from mid-summer to frost in warmer areas. Excellent for attracting pollinators such as bees, butterflies and hummingbirds looking for that fall burst of energy before heading south. Cooler temperatures in autumn promote intense flowering.

Altitude limit: Up to 6,000 feet. Plant on south sides or in protected areas near rocks or buildings.

 

 

For more ideas, check out Denver Water’s Xeriscape page with resources and plans for your landscape.

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