KUSA - In spite of recent moisture, drought is still a big concern for most of Colorado. We need to be drought-conscious and water wise in our plant choices. That's why Debi Borden-Miller and Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado, recommend planting water-wise perennials in your garden.

Unlike annuals (think petunias) which have to be replanted yearly, perennials are planted once and come back year after year. That alone makes the gardener's job easier. Also unlike annuals, perennials don't bloom all season long.

Some bloom early in May or June and some bloom later in the season. Consequently, the perennial garden needs to be planned so that some plants start blooming as others are fading. This transition keeps the garden interesting.

Consider Plant Select varieties
Colorado State University in conjunction with Denver Botanic Gardens and the green industry have collaborated to develop plants that thrive in Colorado's challenging growing conditions. Most are low water and low maintenance and many grow well at higher altitudes.

Here are some Plant Select varieties to consider for your garden this year:

Sunset hyssop (Agastache rupestris)
Grows 24" tall x 15" wide
Dry to xeric (little to no additional water once established); full sun
Why grow it: Late summer bloomer that thrives in hot, dry sites. Excellent for attracting pollinators - bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.
Good to 7,000 ft. elevation

Hardy ice plants (Delosperma): Fire Spinner, Mesa Verde, Table Mountain
Grows 2" tall x 12-20" wide
Moderate to dry conditions with good drainage in full sun
Why grow them: fast-growing, succulent groundcovers with nearly fluorescent blooms in early summer. Excellent for rock gardens and cascading down walls.
- Fire Spinner®: two-tone purple and orange flowers with apple-green leaves
- Mesa Verde®: salmon-pink flowers with medium green leaves
- Table Mountain®: magenta flowers with medium green leaves
Good to 7,000 ft. elevation - Fire Spinner & Table Mountain may grow higher in protected sites

Colorado Gold® gazania (Gazania linearis)
Grows 8-12" tall x 10" wide
Moderate to dry conditions with good drainage in full sun
Why grow it: Sunny yellow, 2-3" wide flowers start blooming in spring and often continue through summer with cooler nights.
Good to 9,000 ft. elevation

Pike's Peak Purple, Shadow Mountain penstemons (Penstemon x mexicali)
Grows 18-24" tall x 15-18" wide
Moderate to dry conditions with good drainage in full sun
Why grow them: Long-blooming penstemons with glossy green, narrow foliage attractive all season long.
- Pike's Peak Purple® has rich, deep purple flowers
- Shadow Mountain® flowers are lavender blue with dark strips lining the throat
Good to 7,000 ft. elevation

Wild Thing sage (Salvia greggii)
Grows 16-20" tall x 18-24" wide
Dry to xeric conditions (little to no water needed once established)with good drainage in full sun
Why grow it: Hot pink/magenta flowers bloom from mid-summer to frost in warmer areas.
Grows to 6,000 ft. - plant on south sides or in protected areas.

Turkish and Crystal River veronicas (Veronica liwanensis, V. 'Reavis')
Grows 1-2" tall x 18"+
Dry to xeric conditions (little water needed once established) in full sun
Why grow them: Fast growing, stunning blue flowers in spring on lush green, small rounded leaves. Excellent groundcovers for slopes, large rock gardens, walls, between stepping stones.
- Turkish veronica has deep, gentian-blue flowers
- -Crystal River® has paler blue flowers with a white eye
Turkish grows to 10,000 ft. elevation; Crystal River® to 8,000 ft.

Corsican violet (Viola corsica)
Grows 6-8" tall x 6-8" wide
Conditions: Moderate water in loam or clay soils
Why grow it: Long-blooming, hardy violet especially beautiful in higher altitudes with sunny days and cool nights. Striking rich purple color.
Grows to at least 9,000 ft. elevation