Deb Babcock's gardening column appears Mondays in Steamboat Today.
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Steamboat Springs With the growing season starting out so warm and dry, we might be in for a year that is tough on our plants. This will be true especially if the lack of rain continues and we adhere to requested water restrictions by limiting the added moisture we give to our garden.
If you have established native plants in your garden, chances are they’ll be fine. Their genes are programmed to handle our variable mountain conditions.
If you’re interested in plant varieties that can handle drought conditions, Routt County master gardeners have compiled a list based on experience with these plants and research conducted by the horticulture professionals at CSU and other Colorado-based green industry growers.
■ Artemisias: Silvery gray or while aromatic foliage
■ Ice plant: Flashy rich green leaves, small white summer flowers
■ Blanket flower: Brightly colored red and yellow daisies
■ Lamb's ears: Fuzzy gray leaves with magenta flowers
■ Butterfly flower: Small orchid-like orange, yellow and red flowers
■ Lavender cotton: Whitish-gray leaves, bright yellow flower heads
■ Blue grama: Flowering stems have odd inflorescences springing out at right angles
■ Little bluestem: Clump forming grass with narrow leaves
■ Common thrift: Lilac, rose and white tufted flower mounds
■ Penstemon: Narrowly bell shaped flowers in red, blues and pinks
■ Coneflower: Showy pink, purple and white flowers
■ Poppy mallow: 2-inch purplish red mallow type flowers
■ Coreopsis: Golden yellow daisies, easy to grow
■ Russian sage: Tiny violet blue flowers
■ Creeping Phlox: Showy mat forming pale to deep pink flower clusters
■ Stonecrop (sedum): Star-like flowers yellow, white pink and red
■ Gaura: Branching flower spikes bear blooms of white or pink
■ Yarrow: Flattish flower heads in white, pinks and yellow
■ Bachelor buttons: Narrow gray-green leaves, button flowers in pinks, blue rose or white
■ Mexican sunflower: Bold orange Mexican sunflower
■ California poppy: Single satiny petaled flowers from pale yellow to deep orange
■ Nasturtium: Bright green leaves in long stalks long spurred fragrant flowers in many colors
■ Cock’s comb: Plum flower clusters in brilliant shades
■ Periwinkle: Phlox like flowers in white, pink or bright rose
■ Cosmos: Showy summer and fall blooms in many colors
■ Portulaca (moss rose): Lustrous petal flowers shaped like tiny roses
■ Dwarf “morning glory”: Sun-loving mounded plants in red pink and blue
■ Sanvitalia: Golden trailing zinnia look alike
■ Ganzia: Silvery-gray foliage, trailing stems flowers are yellow, white orange or bronze
■ Spider flower: Fluffy clusters of pink or white flower with long protruding stamens
■ Globe amaranth: Clover like heads in white pink, lavender or purple
■ Sunflower: Giant orange/yellow and black flower
■ Johnny jump-up: Original pansies
■ Sweet alyssum: White pink or violet flower with sweet honey fragrance
To ensure success planting, it helps to first prepare your soil by loosening it down about a foot and amending it with compost. If you apply a couple inches of mulch between the plantings, you’ll help conserve what water is in the soil and help keep weeds from cropping up and stealing water from your plants. Also to help conserve water, keep fertilizer to a minimum since that causes lush growth requiring the plant to take up more water. Slow drip and deep root watering systems also will help keep water evaporation to a minimum.
Deb Babcock can be reached at 970-879-0825.