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Herbaceous Perennials – 7.405   arrow

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by L. H. Greene and J. E. Klett* (1/20)

Quick Facts…

  • Perennials on this list are best adapted for Colorado’s lower elevations.
  • Herbaceous perennials differ in bloom period, flower color, height, foliage texture, and environmental requirements.
  • Differing environmental requirements include sun and wind  exposure, soil conditions and water needs.
  • Matching the perennial plant to the site conditions produces a successful perennial garden.
  • Consider using native plants and cultivars from natives in the perennial garden.
Sedum. Photo provided by David Staats.
Penstemon. Photo provided by David Staats.
Salvia. Photo provided by David Staats.

An ever-expanding palette of herbaceous perennials lets home gardeners create a beautiful landscape. Many new hybrids and cultivars for both sun and shade gardens are being introduced regularly. Look for new cultivars of Gaillardia, (blanketflower) Heuchera, (coral bells) Hosta, Penstemon, Salvia and Sedum at your local nursery.

Selecting Perennials

Herbaceous perennials live for many years under normal growing  conditions. Unlike woody plants like trees and shrubs, perennials die back to the ground each winter. Perennials quickly establish themselves in a few growing seasons and create the backbone for the flower garden.

Plants vary in flower color, bloom time, height, foliage texture and environmental requirements. These include sun exposure, soil conditions, and water needs. The key to a successful perennial garden is to choose plants whose requirements match your site’s conditions.

Tables 1-3 list perennials adapted to the broad range of growing conditions in Colorado’s lower elevations. They are readily available to the consumer at local nurseries. Additional varieties may be available by mail order.

Many of these perennials may do well at higher elevations. For a more specific listing of perennials adapted to higher elevations, see Fact Sheet 7.406, Flowers for Mountain Communities. Fact sheet 7.400, Ground Cover Plants  includes herbaceaous perennial groundcovers not listed below. Information on ornamental grasses is included in Fact Sheet 7.232,
Ornamental Grasses. Native plants should be considered whenever possible. Fact sheet 7.242, Native Herbaceous Perennials for Colorado Landscapes has more information on using native perennials in the landscape.

Design and maintenance information for the perennial garden may be found in Fact Sheet 7.402, Perennial Gardening.

Key to Table 1-3:

* Cultivar – a variety of a species that is developed, propagated and maintained under cultivation. The most common cultivars available to consumers are listed here.
** Blooms not important. Barely noticeable flowers. The plant is grown primarily for foliage.
X: Xeric; plants that are adapted to low water conditions once established.
M: Plants that prefer moist soils.
C: Flowers that are good for cutting.

Table 1: Sunny Exposure

Botanical and Common Name Flower
Bloom Period

Comments/Cultural Hints
Achillea hybrids
Yellow June-Oct 2.0-3.5′ Moonshine, Coronation Gold Spreads quickly; good for drying. X, C
Achillea Millefolium
Fernleaf yarrow
Pastels-Red-White-Yellow June-Sept. 1.5-2.5′ Papkrika, Summer Pastels Fern-like leaf texture; spreads to 3′. X, C
Agastache Aurantiaca 
Orange-Yellow July-Oct. 2-3’ Coronado® Plant Select®; needs a well-drained site; X
Agastache cana
Double bubblemint
Pink July-Sept. 1.5-2’ Sonoran Sunset® Fragrant foliage; Plant Select®; blossoms smell like bubble gum; X
Agastache hybrids
Blue-Orange-Pink-Red July-Sept. 1.5-2’ Blue Fortune, Coronado® Red Plant Select®; X
Agastache rupestris
Sunset® hyssop
Orange-Pink-Red July-Sept. 1.5-2’ Blossoms smell like root beer; favored by hummingbirds; Plant Select®; X
Alcea rosea
Pink-Red-White June-Aug. 3-6′ Chater’s Double Group, Watchman Biennial or perennial; use as background plant; prone to rust disease; may be invasive in warm climates; short-lived; C
Armeria maritima
Sea pink
Pink-Red-White April-June 6-10” Nifty Thrifty, Splendens, Victor Reiter Dense rounded mat foliage, adapts to dry soil; salt tolerant.
Artemisia x ‘Powis Castle’
Insig** Insig** 2-3′ Powis Castle Gray foliage; mounding habit; X
Artemisia ludoviciana
Prairie sage
Insig** Insig** 1.5-3.5’ Valerie Finnis Upright growth habit; large silver leaves; X
Artemisia schmidtiana
Silver mound sage
Insig** Insig** 8-12″ Soft, feathery, silver gray foliage; used for specimen or contrast.
Artemisia versicolor
Insig** Insig** 0.5-1′ Sea Foam Low, spreading mound of silvery foliage; ideal for rock gardens; Plant Select®; X
Asclepias tuberosa
Butterfly weed
Orange June-Aug. 1.5-3′ Best in well-drained soil; X, C
Aster novae-angliae
New England aster
Pink-Purple-White Sept.-Oct. 1.5-4′ Purple Dome Prefers well-drained soil; may require staking; C
Aster novi-belgii
Dwarf Fall aster
Pink-Purple-White Aug.-Sept 1-2′ Alert, Prof. Kippenburg, Prefers well-drained soil; gray-green foliage; may require staking; C
Aurinia saxatilis
(Alyssum saxatile) Basket-of-Gold
Yellow April-May 9-12″ Compacta, Sulfureum Gray-green mounding foliage; sheer after bloom.
Baptisia australis
False indigo
Blue May-June 2-4.5′ Background plant; interesting seedpods; available by mail order; X, C
Berlandiera lyrata
Chocolate flower
Yellow June-July 18″ Flowers give off the scent of chocolate in the early morning; Very xeric; X
Callirhoe involucrata
Poppy mallow, winecups
Purple-Red-Pink June-Aug. 6-12″ Trailing stems spread to 3′; blooms are cup-shaped. Plant Select®; X
Catananche caeruleal
Cupid’s dart
Blue-Purple June-Aug. 1-1.5’ Dark-eyed blooms; tall clumps with slender leaves; X,C
Centaurea montana
Mountain bluet
Blue-Purple June-July 1-2’ Perennial version of the Bachelor  button; X, C
Centranthus ruber
Jupiter’s beard, red valerian
Pink-Red-White May-Sept. 1-3′ Albus Prefers well-drained soil; gray-green foliage;X, C
Coreopsis auriculata
Dwarf coreopsis
Orange-Yellow June-Sept. 8-12″ Nana Dense, spreading mound of foliage; X
Coreopsis grandiflora
Yellow June-Sept. 1-2′ Early Sunrise, Jethro Tull, Tequila Sunrise Extend bloom by removing spent flowers; X
Coreopsis verticillata
Threadleaf coreopsis
Yellow July-Sept. 1.5-2’ Moonbeam, Zagreb Fine-textured foliage; X, C
Dalea purpurea
Purple prairie clover
Purple June-Aug. 2-3’ Long, thin stems with cylindrical flower heads; thread-like leaves; available by mail-order; X
Delphinium elatum
Larkspur, Delphinium
Blue-Pink-White June-Aug. 2-4′ Magic Fountains Series, Pacific Giant Series, Pacific Black Knight Group Seeds and plant poisonous; may need staking; C
Delphinium grandiflorum Larkspur, delphinium Blue-Pink-White June-Aug. 10-14″’ Butterfly Series Seeds and plant poisonous; lacy foliage; tolerates heat;
Dianthus barbatus
Sweet William
Pink-Purple-Red-White May-July 1′ Midget Group Biennial, clusters of double-flowers; C
Dianthus deltoides
Maiden pinks
Pink-Red-White May-June 6-8′ Brilliant, Flashing Lights, Zing Rose Narrow dark green leaves; slender stems
Dianthus gratianopolitanus
Cheddar pinks
Pink-White May-June 6-12″ Bath’s Pink, Firewitch, Tiny Rubies, Spotty Spreading; grass-like clumps; gray-green foliage; blossoms smell like cloves
Dianthus hybrids
Pink-Rose-White May-Sept. .05-1.5′ First Love, Kahori, Bath’s Pink Fragrant blooms; slender stems; C
Echinacea hybrids
Orange-Pink-Red-White July-Sept. 2-3′ Cheyenne Spirit, Tomato Soup Erect stems; good in naturalized areas; X, C
Echinacea purpurea
Purple coneflower
Pink-Purple- White July-Sept. 2-3′ Green Twister, Magnus, PowWow, Ruby Star Stiff habit;good in naturalized areas. X, C
Echinacea tennesseensis
Tennessee purple coneflower
Pink July-Sept. 2-3′ Narrow, dark green leaves in clump; pink flowers with black cones; X
Eriogonum umbellatum
Sulfur flower
Yellow May-July 6-12″ Kannah Creek® Dark green foliage below sulfur yellow button like blooms; Plant
Select®; X
Euphorbia polychroma
Cushion spurge
Chartreuse-Yellow April-May 1.5-2′ Bonfire Neat green mounds; red fall color; sap may be a skin irritant; X
Gaillardia aristata
Blanket flower
Orange-Red-Yellow June-Sept. 8-24″ Arizona Sun Native blanket flower; X
Gaillardia x grandiflora
Blanket flower
Orange-Red-Yellow June-Sept. 1-2′ Burgundy, Goblin, Mesa Series Showy, daisy-like blooms; X, C
Gaillardia hybrids
Blanket flower
Orange-Red-Yellow June-Sept. 1-2′ Fanfare Blaze, Spin Top Series Showy, daisy-like blooms; X, C
Gazania linearis
Hardy gazania
Yellow May-Sept. 2-8″ Colorado Gold® A mop of linear leaves; blooms open in sun; Plant Select®. X
Gypsophila paniculata
Baby’s breath
Pink-White June-Sept. 2-3′ Airy plant; delicate blooms; good for drying; X. C
Gypsophila repens
Creeping Baby’s breath
Pink-White June-Sept. 4-6″ Creeping variety; Good for rock gardens and banks; C
Helenium hybrids
Red-Yellow Aug.-Sept. 2-4′ Rotgold Brightly colored, daisy-like blooms; M, C
Helianthemum nummularium
Sun rose
Orange-Pink-red-White-Yellow June-July 0.5-1′ Wisely Pink Low growing; spreading mounds of foliage; good rock garden plant; X
Helianthus maximiliani
Maximilian sunflower
Yellow July-Aug. 6-8′ Strong, branched stems, lance-shaped foliage, may flop over if overhead irrigated, available by mail order; X, C
Heliopsis helianthoides
False sunflower
Yellow July-Sept. 3-4′ Summer Sun Use as specimen planting or at back of garden; C
Iberis sempervirens
White April-June 1-1.5′ Glossy green foliage; shear after blooming.
Iris hybrids
Blue-Red-Purple-White May-June 1-2.5′ Prefers well drained soil; sword-like foliage; X, C
Kniphofia uvaria
Red-hot poker
Orange-Red-Yellow June-Aug. 2-3′ Spikes of flowers arise from clumps of grasslike foliage; X, C
Lavandula angustifolia
Blue July-Oct. 1-1.5′ Hidcote, Munstead Aromatic blooms; semi-evergreen foliage; X,C
Liatris spicata
Gayfeather, blazing star
Pink-Purple-White July-Sept. 2-3′ Clumps of grassy foliage; dense bottle brush blooms; C
Limonium latifolium
Sea lavender
Purple June-Sept. 1.5-2.5′ Blooms create an airy texture; X, C
Linum perenne
Blue flax
Blue-White May-June 2′ Light, airy plant; native; reseeds readily; seeds available by mail order.
White July-Aug 1-3′ Can tolerate some shade; will perform better in full sun; C
Leucanthemum x superbum
Shasta Daisy
White July-Aug 1-3′ Alaska, Silver Princess, Snow Lady Extend bloom by removing spent flowers; C
Lychnis coronaria
Rose campion
Pink-Purple-Red- June-Aug. 1.5-3′ Blood Red Silver gray foliage. X
Monarda didyma
Bee balm
Pink-Red-Violet-White July-Aug. 2-3′ Jacob Cline, Marshall’s Delight Spreads quickly; susceptible to powdery mildew; C
Nepeta species
Blue-Purple May-Oct. 1-2′ Little Trudy® , Six Hills Giant, Walker’s Low Spreading habit; trim back midsummer for repeat bloom; aromatic leaves, Plant Select®; X
Oenothera macrocarpa
Ozark sundrop
Yellow June-Sept. 1-1.5′ Silver Blade® Sprawling habit; 3-4” blooms; Plant Select®; X
Oenothera speciosa
Mexican Evening Primose
Rose May-Sept. 0.5-1′ Siskiyou Pink Spreading; 2″ blooms; subject to powdery mildew.
Origanum laevigatum
Ornamental oregano
Pink-Purple-Red June-July 0.5-1′ Kent Beauty Foliage is very aromatic; trailing habit; well-drained soil.
Paeonia hybrids
Pink-Purple-Red-White May-June 2-3′ Showy, spring blooms; attractive foliage; M.C.
Papaver nudicaule
Iceland poppy
Pastels May-July 1′ Short-lived perennial; fragrant;  X, C
Papaver orientale
Oriental poppy
Orange-Pink-Red-White May-June 2-3′ Allegro, Beauty of Livermere, Brilliant, Prince of Orange, Princess V. Louise, Royal Wedding Large papery blooms; foliage goes dormant after bloom; X, C
Penstemon barbatus
Blue-Pink-Red June-Sept. 1-3′ Coral Baby1, Riding Hood, Rondo, Elfin Pink Prefers well-drained soil; 1Plant Select® ; X
Penstemon digitalis
White June-Aug. 1.5-2′ Husker Red This cultivar has distinctive deep-red foliage with tubular foxglove-like flowers on erect stems; X
Penstemon linarioides
Blue May-June 1′ Silverton® Bluemat Well-drained sandy soil; Plant Select ®; X
Penstemon mexicale
Pink-Purple-Red June-Sept. 1-1.5′ Carolyn’s Hope ®, Pikes Peak Purple ®, Red Rocks ®, Shadow Mountain ® Windwalker® Garnet Well-drained soil. Narrow green leaves; Plant Select ®; X
Penstemon pinifolius
Pineleaf penstemon
Orange-Red-Yellow July-Sept. 6-18″ Mersea Yellow, SteppeSuns ® Spreading with needle-like foliage; semi-evergreen in a protected site; Plant Select ®
Penstemon rostriflorus
Bridges penstemon
Red June-Sept. 2-3′ May reseed; Plant Select®; X
Penstemon species
Penstemon, beardtongue
Pink-Red-White May-July 1-3′ Prairie Jewel® Prefers well-drained soil; stalks of tubular blooms; Plant Select®; X
Penstemon strictus
Rocky Mountain penstemon
Blue May-June 2-3′ Early bloomer; stout stalks with gray green foliage; X
Perovskia atriplicifolia
Russian sage
Lavender July-Sept. 4′ Little Spire Silver gray, aromatic foliage; cut back in spring above soil line. X
Phlox paniculata
Garden phlox
Orange-Pink-White July-Sept. 1.5-3′ David, Eva Callum, Starfire Tall stalks with bloom clusters; susceptible to powdery mildew.
Ratibida columnifera
Prairie coneflower
Red-Yellow July-Oct. 1.5-2’ Native; flower has a cone-shaped center; sometimes called Mexican Hat; X, C
Rudbeckia fulgida
Black-eyed Susan
Yellow July-Sept. 1.5′ Goldsturm 3″daisy-like blooms with brown-black centers; X, C
Rudbeckia hirta
Black-eyed Susan
Yellow July-Sept. 1.5′ Daisy like blooms; brown-black centers; X, C
Rudbeckia hybrids
Black-eyed Susan
Yellow July-Sept. 1-2.5′ Denver Daisy Daisy like blooms; brown-black centers; Plant Select ®; X, C
Salvia argenta
Silver sage
White June-Aug. 2-3′ Large, silvery leaves; deadhead before plant goes to seed; Plant Select®; X
Salvia darcyi
Mexican sage
Red June-Sept. 2-4′ Vermillion Bluffs®, Windwalker® Robust grower; may need winter protection; attracts hummingbirds, Plant Select®
Salvia greggii
Pink-Red June-Sept. 1.5-2′ Furman’s Red® , Wild Thing® Attracts hummingbirds; requires well-draining soils; may need winter protection; X
Salvia nemorosa
Blue-Pink-Purple-White May-Aug. 1.5-2.5′ Caradonna, East Friesland Spike-like blooms that repeat if deadheaded; X, C
Salvia x sylvestris
Blue May-Aug. 1.5-2.5′ May Night Spike-like blooms that repeat if deadheaded; X, C
Santolina rosmarinifolia
Green lavender cotton
Yellow July-Aug. 1-2′ Bright green foliage; pungent aroma; X
Scabiosa caucasica
Pincushion flower
Blue-Pink-White June-Oct. 1.5-2′ Blue Perfection Blooms on wiry stems; prefers cool summers; C
Scabiosa columbaria
Pincushion flower
Blue-Pink May-Oct. 0.5-2′ Butterfly Blue, Pink Mist Shorter and more shade tolerant than S. caucasica; X, C
Sedum hybrids
Chartreuse-Pink-Red Aug.-Sept. 0.5-1′ Varied succulent foliage forms in multiple colors; X, C
Sedum reflexum
Yellow June-Aug. 6-8″ Blue Spruce Yellow flowers on blue succulent foliage; well-drained soil; X
Sedum spectabile
Showy Stonecrop
Pink-Red-White Aug.-Sept. 1.5-2′ Autumn Joy, Vera Jameson Succulent foliage; X, C
Sedum spurium
Pink-Red June-Sept. 6-8″ Dragon’s Blood, Voodoo Groundcover sedum; green foligae may turn burgundy in fall; X
Solidago canadensis
Yellow July-Sept. 1.5-2′ Golden Baby Prefers well-drained soil; mistakenly blamed for hay fever X, C
Stokesia laevis
Stokes’ aster
Blue-White July-Aug. 1-2′ Large, frilly cornflowerk-like flowers; X.C
Tanacetum densum amanii
Partridge feather
Yellow June-July 6-8″ Silvery-white foliage; X
Tanacetum niveum
Snow Daisy
White May-July 1.5-2.5′ Lacy, silvery-white foliage; X
Tanacetum x coccineum
Painted Daisy
Pink-Red June-July 1-2′ Robinson’s hybrids Fern-like leaves; daisy flowers; X,C
Zauschneria garrettii
Hummingbird trumpet
Orange Aug.-Oct. .5-1′ Orange Carpet® Tubular flowers, good for cascading over walls; Plant Select®; X


Botanical and Common Name Flower
Bloom Period

Comments/Cultural Hints
Alchemilla mollis
Lady’s mantle
Chartreuse May-June 1-1.5′ Auslese, Thriller Prefers cool summers; fertile soil; M
Aquilegia caerulea
Rocky Mountain columbine
Blue-White May-June 1.5-2.5′ Prefers well-drained soil; Colorado state flower; C
Aquilegia canadensis
Yellow-Red May-June 1-3′ Dainty downward-facing blooms; C
Aquilegia chrysantha
Yellow May-June 1-3′ Denver Gold® Extend bloom by removing spent flowers; Plant Select®; C
Aquilegia hybrids
Columbine hybrids
Blue-Red-Yellow May-June 1-3′ McKana Group, Songbird Series Prefers well-drained soil; extend bloom by removing spent flowers; C
Astilbe x arendsii
False spirea
Lavender-Pink-Red-White June-July 2′ Fanal Arching plumes of flowers; prefers cool summers, fertile soil; M, C
Astilbe x japonica
False spirea
Pink-Red-White May-June 2′ Deutschland Blooms earlier; compact plumes; fertile soil; M, C
Bergenia cordifolia
Heart-leafed bergenia
Pink April-May 1-1.5′ Deep glossy green leaves with burgundy fall color.
Campanula carpatica
Carpathian harebell
Blue-White June-July 6-12″ Rapido Blue, Blue Uniform Compact mounded habit; small, bell-shaped blooms.
Campanula glomerata
Clustered bellflower
Purple-White May-Aug. 1.5-2′ Superba Clusters of large purple bells.
Campanula persicifolia
Peach-leaf bellflower
Blue-White June-Aug. 1-3′ Large bell flowers; peach-like leaves; C
Campanula rotundifolia
Blue-White May-Sept. 0.5-2′ White Gem Colorado native; X
Diascia integerrima
Pink June-Sept. 1-1.5′ Coral Canyon® Heat tolerant; performs well in poor soils; Plant Select®; X
Digitalis purpurea
Pink-Purple-White-Yellow June-July 3-4′ Excelsior Group Biennial; reseeds readily; parts of plant are poisonous; M, C
Digitalis obscura
Orange-Red June-July 1-2.5′ Sunset® Narrow, willow-like foliage; heat tolerant;Plant Select®; C
Digitalis thapsi
Pink-Rose June-July 1-1.5′ Spanish Peaks® Mat of furry leaves, full perennial; Plant Select ®; C
Gaura lindheimeri
Whirling butterflies
Pink-White June-Sept. 1.5-4’ Siskiyou Pink Slender, gracefully arching stems; delicate blooms; X, C
Geranium cantabrigiense
Geranium, Cambridge cranesbill
Red-Purple-White May-June .05-1′ Biokovo Trailing stems; foliage turns red in autumn; well-drained soil; M
Geranium cinereum
Dwarf cranesbill
Pink-Purple June-Aug. 4-8″ Ballerina Trailing mat of gray-green leaves; shearing in mid-summer may promote re-bloom; X
Geranium hybrids
Geranium cranesbill
Blue-Purple May-June 1-2′ Johnson’s Blue; RozanneTM Mounding clumps of foliage; M
Geranium macrorrhizum
Geranium, Adriatic cranesbill
Magenta April-July 9-12″ Bevan’s Variety Semi-evergreen; aromatic gray-green leaves; long-lasting blooms.
Geranium sanguineum
Bloodred cranesbill
Blue-Red-Purple-White May-June 1-1.5′ Mounding habit; foliage has red fall color; M
Geum hybrids
Geum, Avens
Red-Orange-Yellow June-July 1.5-2′ Mrs. Bradshaw Prefers rich organic soil; dark green foliage; C
Hemerocallis species
Orange-Pink-Red-White-Yellow June-Aug. 1.5-3′ Autumn Red, Happy Returns, Hyperion, Pardon Me, Purple d’Oro, Rocket City, Stella d’Oro Grass-like foliage; trumpet-shaped blooms; cultivars listed include dwarf, reblooming and everblooming varieties; X, C
Heuchera micrantha
White June-July 1-1.5′ Palace Purple Some cultivars have purple foliage with a rounded habit; M, C
Heuchera sanguinea
Coral bells
Pink-Red-White- June-Aug. 1-1.5′ Snow Angel Small bell-shaped blooms; extend bloom by removing spent flowers; Plant Select®; M, C
Heuchera species
Coral bells
Pink-Red-White- June-Sept. 1-1.5′ Gallery Series, The Governor, Minarette, Russell hybrids Prefers cool summers; large pea-like blooms; M, C
Hibiscus moscheutos
Rose mallow
Pink-Red-White July-Sept. 2-4.5′ Disco Belle Series Prefers moist soil; 6-10 in. blooms; M
Iris sibirica
Siberian iris
Blue-Purple-White June 2-3′ Butter & Sugar, Caesar’s Brother Clumps of slender leaves with striking blooms; M, C
Lilium species
Pink-Red-White-Yellow June-July 1-3′ Stargazer Bulbs with trumpet-like, fragrant flowers. C
Lupinus hybrids
Blue-Red-White-Yellow May-June 2-4′ Gallery Series, The Governor, Minarette, Russell hybrids Prefers cool summers; large pea-like blooms; M, C
Lychnis chalcedonica
Maltese cross
Orange-Pink-Purple-Scarlet-White June-July 2-3′ Bold color in the garden; M, C
Origanum libanoticum
Hopflower oregano
Chartreuse-Purple June-Sept. 1-1.5′ Drooping, hop-like bracts; deadheading encourages bloom; Plant Select®
Origanum rotundifolium
Chartreuse-Pink June-Sept. 1-1.5′ Kent Beauty Well-drained soil; trailing habit, X
Osteospermum barberiae v. compactum
Sun daisy
Purple April-Sept. 8-14″ Purple Mountain® Tidy foliage with bright blooms; deadheading improves repeat bloom; well-drained soils; Plant Select®; X
Osteospermum hybrids
Sun daisy
Lavender-White April-Sept. 8-14″ Avalanche ®; Lavender Mist ® Tidy foliage with bright blooms; deadheading improves repeat bloom; well-drained soils; Plant Select®; X
Phlox stolonifera
Creeping Phlox
Blue-Pink-Purple April-May 6-10″ Ground-cover phlox; shade-tolerant, M
Phlox subulata
Creeping Phlox
Blue-Pink-Red-White April-May 4-6″ Candy Stripe, Emerald Cushion Blue Carpet-like mat of blooms in early spring; needle-like foliage; X
Physostegia virginiana,
Obedient plant
Lavender-Pink-White Aug.-Oct. 2-4′ Dark green foilage; spikes of tubular blooms; may be aggressive; M, C
Platycodon grandiflorus
Balloon flower
Blue-Pink-White July-Sept 1.5-3′ Prefers well-drained soil; balloon-shaped flowers; X, C
Pulmonaria longifolia
Bethlehem sage
Blue-Pink-White April-May 1-1.5′ Bertram Anderson, Roy Davidson Interesting green foliage with white spots; clump-forming; M
Pulsatilla vulgaris
European pasqueflower
Purple-Red-White April-May 0.5-1′ Papageno Fringed, fern-like foliage; fuzzy seed heads endure; X
Thalictrum aquilegifolium
Columbine meadow rue
Lavender May-June 2-3′ Delicate blooms; Columbine-like foliage; M, C
Tradescantia x andersoniana
Blue-Pink-Purple-White May-July 1.5-2′ Blue and Gold Strap-like leaves; cut back in mid-summer; M
Veronica spicata Spike speedwell Blue-Pink-White June-Sept. 1-2′ Goodness Grows, Royal Candles, Sunny Border Blue Upright habit; attractive flower spikes on compact plant; M, C
Viola corsica
Corsican violet
Blue-Purple April-Oct. 6-8″ Low-growing foliage with large flowers above; Plant Select®; C
Viola cornuta
Tufted violet
Blue-Purple April-June 6-9″ Small pansy-like blooms; well-drained soils; M
Viola odorata
Sweet violet
Blue-White April-May 6-8″ Fragrant, pansy-like blooms on rounded foliage; M


Botanical and Common Name Flower
Bloom Period

Comments/Cultural Hints
Anemone hupehensi
Japanese anemone
Pink-White Aug.-Oct. 2-3′ Mounding dark-green foliage; flowers produced on tall stems; M
Anemone x hybrida
Japanese anemone
Pink-White Aug.-Oct. 2-3′ Honorine Jobert, Whirlwind Mounding foliage; flowers produced on tall stems; M
Brunnera macrophylla
False forget me not
Blue-White May-June 1-1.5′ Jack Frost Heart-shaped leaves form rounded mound; Distinctive foliage for the shade garden with newer cultivars; M
Dicentra formosa
Fringed bleeding heart
Pink-White April-May 1-1.5′ Luxuriant With adequate water will bloom later into the summer; C
Dicentra (Lamprocapnos) spectabilis
Bleeding heart
Red-White April-June 1-1.5′ Alba Plumed foliage; fragrant; M
Helleborus orientalis
Lenten Rose
Purple-White March-April 1’ Ivory Prince Nodding blooms above palmate leaves; early start to the perennial garden; M, C
Hosta species and hybrids
Purple-White July-Aug. 1-2’ Abiqua Drinking Gourd, Aureomarginata, Albomarginata, Blue Mouse Ears, Elegans, Frances Williams, Guacamole, Honeybells, Patriot, Regal Splendor, Royal Standard Long, wide leaves; some with variegation; M
Ligularia dentata
Dark Orange July-Sept. 3-4′ Othello Mounded habit; daisy-like blooms; M
Ligularia stenocephala
Yellow June-Aug. 3-4′ The Rocket Rocket-like blooms reach 4-6′; foliage forms large clump below blooms; M
Lobelia cardinalis
Cardinal flower
Red June-Aug. 2-3′ Queen Victoria Erect spikes of tubular red flowers; M
Polemonium caeruleum
Jacob’s ladder
Blue-Purple-White April-May 1.5-2’ Brise D’Anjou Leaflets are arranged like rungs of a ladder; some varieties are variegated; prefers rich well-drained soils; M
Polemonium reptans
Creeping Jacob’s ladder
Blue-Purple-White May-July 1-1.5’ Self-seeds; bell-shaped flowers on long, loose stems; M

* L. H. Greene, Colorado State University graduate student, J. E. Klett, Extension Landscape Horticulture Specialist and Professor. *Original manuscript written by M. Meehan, former Colorado State University graduate student, and R. A. Cox, former Extension Horticulture
Agent, Arapahoe County. 12/08. Revised 1/20.

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