Colorado State University and Denver Botanic Gardens announce the Plant Select Choices for 2004. Plant Select is a program that finds and distributes the best plants to be used in Colorado gardens. The seven chosen plants are ideal for the current drought situation in Colorado because they need only moderate or little watering.
Artemisia versicolor 'Sea Foam' is suitable for planting along rock walls because it will spill and drape over the edge. It is highly tolerant of poor, dry soil conditions and prefers full sun to partial shade. The foliage is 6 inches high and can grow 20-30 inches wide.
Sunset Foxglove (Digitalis obscura) forms an almost shrub-like base and produces burnt-orange flowers on wiry stems. It blooms in late spring to autumn, and prefers soil that drains well in partial shade or full sun and should be trimmed in the spring for new flowers to appear in the summer. It grows 14-24 inches tall and 15-20 inches wide in moderate to dry soil.
Bluestem Joint Fir (Ephedra equisetina) comes from northern China. It is a shrub-like plant with erect blue, leafless stems and displays yellow flowers in the spring. The female plant produces bright red berries that ripen in midsummer. It blooms in the spring and prefers full sun to partial shade in moderate xeric soil climates. It stands 4-6 inches tall and 3-8 feet wide.
Hopflower Oregano (Origanum libanoticum) has interesting hop-like bracts that dangle from thin, wiry stems and have lavender flowers that appear in early summer. It requires little care and is perfect for rock garden slopes or raised walls in full sun to partial shade with moderate soil conditions. It blooms in the summer to fall and can grow 10-15 inches tall and 18-24 inches wide.
Cashmere Sage (Phlmois cashmeriana) is a herbaceous perennial plant with a square stem, two-lipped flowers and felt-like evergreen leaves. It forms a decoration of basal leaves until the flower stalks elongate in the summer and slowly spread. It blooms in early summer and prefers full sun to shade with moderate soil moisture and will reach 3-5 feet tall and 18-30 inches wide, depending on the watering regimen used.
Cherry Skullcap (Scutellaria suffrutescens) is a drought-tolerant plant named for its distinct tubular, cherry red and helmet-like "skullcap" flowers that are seen in warm weather. It blooms in full sun or partial shade, moderate or dry garden loam or dandy soil and grows from summer to fall. It appears all summer and can reach 4-6 inches tall and 10-15 inches wide.
Chocolate Flower (Berlandiera lyrata) is a wildflower native to the Southwest. It produces a continuous series of dark-eyed, yellow daisies over compact foliage. It exudes a rich chocolate aroma in early morning hours. It blooms from May to September, grows best in full sun to partial shade with poor dry soil, and stands 10-20 inches tall and wide.