September 1, 2022 Colorado native plants are those that have grown naturally in Colorado without human interference. Plants thrive in their native habitats and ecosystems due to long-term adaptations and familiarity. Over time, native plants develop symbiotic relationships with wildlife and growing requirements based on the environment. Correspondingly, native plants help support wildlife, manage rainwater runoff, and maintain healthy soil. They also require less maintenance since their native regions provide the most sustainable growing conditions. Native plants play an especially prominent role in Colorado due to the diverse habitat, climate, soil, and other conditions. To grow plants that will thrive and support the local ecosystem, consider landscaping with Colorado native plants. Blue Spruce Tree Blue Spruce trees were discovered in 1862 growing in enchanted meadows high up in the Rocky Mountains. Since their debut, they have become one of the most widely planted trees, and the state tree of Colorado. These silvery blue-green trees are rated one of the most popular evergreens due to their spectacular coloring. They require full sun and thrive in soil with normal moisture. In return, blue spruces provide food and shelter for various species of birds and privacy and windbreak for homes. Silver Sagebrush Shrub Sagebrush is common in Colorado’s Western Slope and Great Plains and covers over 100 million acres of the American West. Wildlife habitats, ecosystems, and creatures rely on Sagebrush for food, water, and healthy soil. In addition, Sagebrush has a rich background and holds significant value and symbolism across various cultures. Historically, Indigenous cultures have used Sagebrush to craft clothing and shelters, conduct traditional ceremonies, and in medicinal or spiritual practices. Rocky Mountain Maple Tree Rocky Mountain Maples are small, delicate trees that sprout greenish-yellow flowers in early spring. These trees grow naturally on wetlands, streambanks, canyons, and upland mountain slopes. Their ideal growing conditions are minimal water, full sun, and moist, well-drained soil. In the mountains of the western U.S., Rocky Mountain Maples benefit deer, elk, cattle, and sheep as they browse the foliage. For home landscapes, these trees have subtle qualities that add a stunning element when planted next to pathways or stairs. Apache Plume Shrub This shrub exists in the rose family and is native to the Southwestern United States. Apache Plumes showcase white flowers and silvery puffs of fruit heads with purple accents. Following peak blossom, they display feathery, pink-plumed seeds. To thrive, Apache Plumes require minimal water, full sun, and well-drained soil. They grow well without any supplemental irrigation and are highly drought resistant. Quaking Aspen Tree The Quaking Aspen Tree is record-breaking! These trees have the widest natural span of any tree in North America and are also the largest living organism. In addition, Quaking Aspens can reproduce via root sprouting which creates genetically identical trees! Quaking Aspens’ ideal conditions consist of full sun with partial shade and moist soil. They are not fit for all environments, but in Colorado, these trees emit a delight of color, movement, and sound. Western Chokecherry Shrub Western Chokecherry shrubs display glossy, dark green leaves, buttery white flowers, and violet sour berries. Their preferred habitats are within rocky slopes or canyons with access to full sun and partial shade, minimal moisture, and well-drained soil. Wildlife animals such as birds, rabbits, rodents, and bears rely on these shrubs for food, cover, and nesting. Furthermore, their quick growth, mature size, and beautiful white flowers make them the perfect addition to any landscape. Bristlecone Pine Tree These long-lived trees are known as the oldest non-clonal species on Earth. The oldest one on record is estimated to be over 4,789 years old! Bristlecone Pines hold a strange, twisted shape due to exposure to wind, snow, and rain over many years. Correspondingly, they have adapted to living in extremely harsh conditions. Bristlecone Pines are an ancient wonder with a fascinating history! If learning about these Colorado native plants has piqued your interest, you may be starting to think about your own landscape. Let Front Range Arborists help! At Front Range Arborists, we are a team of experts passionate about all things trees and shrubs. For professional advice and landscape services, fill out our online form or give us a call today! A member of our team will be in touch to recommend solutions based on your unique landscape needs.