Best natives for Mountain gardens

Native plants are wise additions to gardens in the Rocky Mountain region. The eight species listed on this page are naturally suited to the cold-winter, short-summer climates in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming. Many of their flowers attract butterflies or hummingbirds― or both. Many of them thrive on rainfall alone. Plant them in spring; if you start with nursery-raised plants, remember that even drought-tolerant natives need to be watered during the dry season for a year or two until they're established.

Blue flax
(Linum lewisii) 1 1/2 feet tall and wide. Blue flowers in spring. Sun to partial shade; little water. Climate zones 1-3.

Butterfly weed
(Asclepias tuberosa) 1 1/2 to 3 feet tall, 2 feet wide. Orange flowers in summer. Attracts masses of butterflies. Needs good drainage. Sun; moderate water. Zones 1-3, 10, 11.

Dotted gayfeather
(Liatris punctata) 6 inches to 3 feet tall and equally wide. Purplish pink flower spikes in late summer. Sun; little water. Zones 1-3.

Mountain spray
(Holodiscus dumosus) Deciduous shrub; 3 to 6 feet tall and as wide. Creamy white flowers in summer. Partial shade; little to regular water. Zones 1-3, 10.

Prairie smoke
(Geum triflorum) Mounding perennial; 20 inches tall and wide. Maroon flowers in spring. Sun to partial shade; little water. Zones 1-3.

Rocky Mountain columbine
(Aquilegia caerulea) 1 1/2 to 3 feet tall, 2 feet wide. Blue and white flowers in spring. Sun to partial shade; regular water. Zones 1-3, 10, 11.

Small-flowered penstemon
(P. procerus) 1 foot tall and wide. Bluish purple flowers in late spring. Partial shade; moderate water. Zones 1-3.

Tufted evening primrose
(Oenothera caespitosa) 8 to 12 inches tall, 2 feet wide. Fragrant white flowers all summer. Sun; little water. Zones 1-3, 10, 11.

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