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Mountain Gardening: Hardy Plants for a Challenging Climate

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Creating a blooming landscape in the Mountain region takes a lot of planning. Here are the secrets to finding the best climate-adapted plants.

yellow leaves on tree

By Jodi Torpey

The Mountain region is a challenging climate for growing trees, shrubs, and perennial plants. Those plants have to be tough to survive in a climate known for wild temperature swings, harsh winds, and extremely dry conditions. And that’s on a good day.

snow-covered spruce tree

If you want a healthy landscape, select plants that match your area’s eccentricities, from elevation to precipitation. Native plants fit that description best. Regionally suited natives, such as Colorado blue spruce, have grown naturally in a region for many years, especially before European settlers arrived.

However, if you can’t get your hands on native plants, many climate-adapted plants share similar characteristics. Look for trees, shrubs, and perennial plants that originated in a comparable cold-weather climate, or those that are hardy to two zones colder than yours.

white flowers on shrub

One of my favorite shrubs is Nanking cherry, and it arrived here by way of northern and western China. This fruiting shrub is especially welcome in my landscape because the cherry blossoms are the first to appear in spring, giving bees an early supply of nectar.

orange and yellow flowers

Another way you can tell a plant is right for your landscape is . . . look at it. Some tough-as-nails perennials have fine or frilly silvery-gray foliage, all the better to shrug off a pelting of hailstones or intense driving rain. Others may have thick, waxy leaves that insulate against the heat and signal low-water needs.

Sedums are members of a large family of perennial plants known as stonecrops. With a name like that, you know those plants are likely to be adaptable and durable.

ice plant orange flowers

One more tip for choosing plants for the Mountain region is to look for those with a dependable reputation. Varieties of beardtongue (Penstemon), veronica, sage (Salvia), hyssop (Agastache), and ice plant (Delosperma) are among the beautifully resilient offerings available.

What are some of your favorite plants that grow well in the Mountain region? Please share them here!

Choosing Plants That Fit Your Climate: A Regional Guide

Take a big step toward ensuring success in your garden. Stick with plants that are well adapted to your region’s climate.

Learn More

Mountain Gardening

Grow a diverse, colorful and gorgeous garden in the Mountain region.

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Regional Gardening

Check out a variety of garden plans, articles, videos, and special gardening tips for your region.

Learn More