What Plants Can I Grow in Denver?

By: Lively Root
October 27, 2021
What Plants Can I Grow in Denver?
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Which Plants Can I Grow in Denver?

The Mile High City and so much more! Denver is a sprawling metropolis with roots dating all the way back to the days of the Old West era. Rich in history and trendy scenes, this city won't disappoint. Whether your fancy is fine dining, art, or taking a journey on the adventurous side with some of the best access to the slopes in the nation, there's sure to be something for both visitor and resident alike. With abundant, natural beauty all around, any aspiring gardeners in this city will have a wealth of resources for growing the garden of their dreams. Flowers, veggies, fruits, and more all thrive here in one of the best growing seasons in the nation, and with a bit of help from you, they will be glad to show you their full potential! Here is why Denver is perfect for your growing goals:


Which Plants Grow Well in Denver?

Snow is an easy association for Denver and the surrounding areas, and it's a wise decision not to take the harsher winters lightly. However, that shouldn't deter you in the slightest, because the cold of the winter season is quickly offset by an amenable and accommodating growing season in spring and summer - one of the most prolonged in the nation. Because of this, it's not a bad idea to check out some of the plants being grown in any number of the local parks and gardens where proven techniques are readily employed. Furthermore, you'll be able to see which plants are already best suited to the area. Go and do some reconnaissance to see what would work best for your area and its distinctive features, and when you're ready, consider a few of these plants for your garden:



English Ivy Gold Child (Hedera helix 'Variegata'): This plant is full of character with its distinctly shaped leaves that resemble stars of lush green lined in white. Quite the climber, it can grow to heights of up to 10 feet in the right conditions, making this one perfect for vertical dimension for your garden! Let it grow near railings, lattices, trellises, and more to show off its full potential. Give it lots of morning sun followed by dappled shade for the rest of the day, and be sure to bring it inside if temperatures drop below 35°F. English Ivy Glacier and English Ivy Green Ideal are two relatives of Gold Child, both just as unique with individual patterns and vibes of their own. Both also love climbing just as much, so use them on patios, ladders, or similar locations for best results!

Rocky Mountain Columbine (Aquilegia saximontana): A beautiful perennial and also the state flower of Colorado, this plant's striking white and lavender petals are sure to bring lovely color to your garden. With bright yellow centers that attract all manner of pollinators, it's also well-adapted to the area. Plant in an area of the partial sun with moderate moisture for best results!

Blazing Stars (Liatris): Forming clusters of pink and lavender blooms along narrow columns, this plant can reach heights of up to 5 feet! Vivid in color and quite hardy, this one is also resistant to pests and is a great low-maintenance option for any garden. It requires little water and does best in well-drained soil. Plus, bees and butterflies love it!

If vegetables were on your list for what to grow this year, Denver has you covered! Capable of nurturing a wide variety, you'll be enjoying a bountiful harvest at the conclusion of your growing season. Give a few of these a try:

  • Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes
  • Beans
  • Beets
  • Soy Beans

Best Landscaping Plants in Denver?

Finding the right plants for your landscaping needs is as easy as a simple glance at your surroundings in the Denver area. A little preparation and environmental awareness will ensure success for your plants, and it all starts by doing some homework on your soil composition and individual climate. Once you've established that, take a look at your local parks or gardens to see what you might want in your lawn or garden, and if you're still looking for some inspiration, give a few of these plants a look:


Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum aethiopicum): A great low-maintenance option that can survive temperatures as low as -10°F, this plant grows beautiful and delicate fronds of lush green that retain their hue even through winter. A perfect plant for lending your garden a spring vibe throughout the year, be sure to keep it in an area of high humidity and lower sunlight for it to thrive!

Twinberry Honeysuckle (Lonicera involucrata): Capable of growing up to eight feet tall, this deciduous plant brings wonderful color with tubular flowers that bloom in shades of yellowish-orange to reddish-purple. It also grows black berries that birds adore and are edible if a bit on the sour side. Plant in partial sun and enjoy!

Denver also provides ideal conditions for growing a number of fruit and nut plants, so if you're looking to complement your growing season with some delicious goodies, you're in luck! Here are a few to get you started:

  • Superior and Emerald Beauty Plum Trees
  • Hazelnut Trees
  • Pink Lady and Honeycrisp Apple Trees
  • Walnut Trees
  • Harrow Delight Pear Trees
  • Chestnut Trees

Which Plants are Native to Denver?

Going with native plants for your lawn or garden is a perfect way to guarantee the success of your growing season not only by providing low-maintenance and adapted options for you but also by contributing crucial resources to the local ecosystem. Native plants provide essential and reliable food and habitat for many birds and pollinating insects who need them to thrive and maintain the region's biodiversity and balance. Not only that but these plants are best suited to preventing soil erosion with their adapted roots! If you can help any endangered plant species in the area by planting a few of their number, you'll be quite the environmental MVP. Nurseries are an excellent resource for finding what plants grow natively, so make sure to ask them what works best in your region! Take a look around and see what you can find, and if you need a little help, give some of these plants a look:

Purple Coneflower (Echinacea): You'll be the favorite of bees and butterflies with this perennial, which blooms in shades of white and pink to red and even dark purple! Similar in shape to daisies but named for the distinct shape of its dark center, this plant can reach heights of up to 4 feet! They handle drought and hot conditions with ease, and in full sun, bloom all summer long.

Stone Crop (Sedum): Drought tolerant and able to thrive in even poor soil conditions, these are a standout if you're looking for colorful groundcover. Capable of growing up to 2 feet tall, they're also perfect for areas of full sun. Coming in shades of pink, purple, yellow, and white, they're sure to bring lovely color and dimension to your garden, all with minimal maintenance!

Rocky Mountain Penstemon (Penstemon strictus): With vibrant shades of blue, red, pink, and violet to offer, these unique flowers grow in tall spires of bursting color. Shaped like trumpets, their flowers house lots of sweet nectar, which hummingbirds love. Low-maintenance, drought-tolerant, and beautiful at that, this plant will make your garden shine!

Other Plants That Grow Best In Denver?

Red Twig Dogwood: With vibrant, red coloring as the name implies, the unique hue of this plant's stems will bring beautiful character to your garden. When spring rolls around, white flowers bloom in clusters all over this plant, accompanied by oval leaves and white berries that birds love to feast on. In fall, the leaves shift to a vibrant red. Perfect for a privacy screen if needed, be sure to prune older branches to encourage new growth of brilliant red bark!

Rabbit Bush (Ericameria nauseosa): When you see it, you'll know why the name is so fitting. Quite distinct and stylish, this fluffy plant is great for landscapes and tolerates sandy soils and many weather conditions with ease. Little to no watering required, its stems take on a bluish-green that grows in clusters and blooms beautiful, yellow flowers in late summer to early autumn. On top of all of this, it has a lovely fragrance, particularly notable after storms!

Denver Gardening Tips

Annuals are often utilized in the Denver area as they make spring and summer growing seasons that much easier, perfect for the region. If you're looking for something beyond that, there are a number of beautiful landscaping plants that are just as resilient to go along with them! All it takes is a little homework on your soil and weather conditions, so keep your Farmer's Almanac or similar local resource handy when planning for your growing season. Be sure to start your seeds indoors at least 6 weeks prior to the last frost too! Raised beds, hoop tunnels, and mulching should also be considered to help your plants through colder months.

When Should I Plant My Garden in Denver?

Stay on top of Denver's first and last frost dates and you're well on your way to abundant growth! Be aware that while dates vary from region to region, the first frost date usually lands somewhere in mid-October and the last somewhere in mid-May. However, double-check your area in particular, given variances are frequent, and as mentioned, give your seedlings a 6-8 week headstart indoors to give them the best chance of maturing before the last frost!

Planting in Zone 5b & 6a

Denver falls in Zone 5 and 6 of the USDA Hardiness scale, both of which are divided into two subzones based on their average winter temperature range (Such as 5a and 5b). 5b has a range of -10°F to -15°F, and 6a a range -10°F to -5°F. With colder conditions prevalent in the area, overwintering is common, and other options such as winter mulching, hoop tunnels, and cold frames should be considered. These methods protect your plants and encourage a wider variety of plants to grow in your garden, so don't hesitate to try a few yourself this season!