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Plant Select Plants for 1999

Five plants that will do well in Colorado landscapes have been named to the 1999 Plant Select list.

Plant Select highlights shrubs and flowers that show potential for Colorado mountains and plains regions. Such plants have undergone years of trial at Colorado State University and the Denver Botanic Gardens.

Some are natives; others come from various parts of the world but are adaptable to Colorado soils, climate and moisture availability.

The following are on the 1999 Plant Select list and will be available this year in garden centers and nurseries throughout the region:

Winecups (Callirhoe involucrata) and Silver Blade Evening Primrose (Oenothera macrocarpa v. incana 'Silver Blade'), two native plants that thrive in ordinary soils and that are exceptionally drought-tolerant.

Red Rocks Penstemon x (Penstemon x mexicali 'Red Rocks') and Pikes Peak Purple Penstemon (Penstemon x 'Pikes Peak Purple'), colorful hybrids that offer a succession of bright rose and violet purple flowers throughout the summer. Both penstemons are drought-tolerant and will grow well in a range of sites and soils.

Spanish Peaks Foxglove (Digitalis thapsi 'Spanish Peaks') is native to Spain and is virtually unknown in cultivation. It features raspberry rose-colored flowers in early summer and, with moderate watering, will grow in sun-to-partial shade.

Blue Velvet Honeysuckle (Lonicera korollkowii v. florifunda 'Blue Velvet') is an outstanding shrub that provides a long season of interest. Its springtime pink flowers are followed by bright red berries throughout the summer. Drought tolerance and resistance to aphid damage make this durable shrub especially valuable to the landscape.

For the second year, Plant Select is featuring a recommended annual plant. Silver Dollar Plant (Plectranthus argentatus) is easy to grow and adaptable to a wide range of uses. Heavily textured leaves of plush silver are the showcase of this plant, which can be planted either in the garden or in a container.

The popularity of water gardening prompted the recommendation of Prairie Cordgrass (Spartina pectinata) for use as a container plant for a pond garden. This native grass adds graceful form and end-of-season drama, as it takes on rich golden tints in autumn.

Plant Select is a cooperative program administered by Denver Botanic Gardens and Colorado State University, together with landscape and nursery professionals throughout Colorado. Plant Select, Silver Blade Evening Primrose, Red Rocks Penstemon x, Pikes Peak Purple Penstemon, Spanish Peaks Foxglove, and Blue Velvet Honeysuckle are registered trademarks. Key features of this year's recommendations were ease of growth and drought-tolerance.

For more information and photos of these plants see: Plant Select

Photograph courtesy of Judy Sedbrook.

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Date last revised: 01/05/2010