As our gardens wake up to a fresh Colorado season, we'll be taking a closer look at our plants, shrubs, trees, pathways and so on. We may have lost a perennial or two this winter, or perhaps we're looking at a particular spot in our garden or landscape that might need replacement plants, or it's just time to change it up.
Enter drought-tolerant perennials. These hardy perennials are all good for our lower gardening Zone(s), and bloom despite receiving less water than one would think possible for a plant.
Yarrow - be sure to purchase non-spreading, non-invasive plants or you'll have trouble on your hands. Deer and rabbits don't bother it and it produces pretty tall blooms for a lot of the growing season.
Gaillardia - grows as a native here, so you know it's a survivor. Deer and rabbits avoid this plant that blooms for months in the our growing season.
Penstemon - tall spiky blooms that are serious butterfly and hummingbird attractors. Mine are planted between tall ornamental grasses and nothing has bothered them.
Agastache - wildflower-looking with prolific tall pink/purple blooms and small silvery colored leaves. Gorgeous when planted in groupings of three.
Autumn Joy Sedum - has leaves like a succulent and very pretty flowers in the fall. This plant grows to about 12 inches high and is renowned for how little water it needs. Deer typically leave it alone, although they have munched on mine so we use Liquid Fence on them to deter deer.
Russian Sage - you'll see this growing all over Parker and Colorado. Gets tall with spiky purple flowers and the bees absolutely adore it. At maturity it looks like a shrub. Most everything steers clear of it - animals and pests alike.
Salvia - gorgeous tall flowers. A true hummingbird magnet. Raspberry Delight is my favorite - although it comes in a huge variety of colors and sizes.
Lavender - smells divine and the purple blooms on tall spikes are lovely in fragrant bouquets. Not only is it drought tolerant - it doesn't actually like getting too much water - a real "less is more" water kind of plant. Deer and rabbits don't touch it, but it makes bees happy!
Lamb's Ears - soft, silver colored leaves with tall reddish/purple blooms. A powerhouse in the garden for color and texture. It does spread, but is super easy to pull out. A favorite of little kids for the butter-soft leaves.
Coneflowers - with spiky blooms that look like technicolor daisies and prickly leaves, the deer leave this alone and it requires very little water once established. Great for cut bouquets and comes in an amazing array of colors - from chartreuse to cream to rich red. The image above shows coneflowers.