- If you live in Colorado and want to water and fertilize less and have a more sustainable landscape, then growing shrubs native to your state is an excellent plan. Native bushes are also easy to care for, require no pruning and attract wildlife such as butterflies, birds and small mammals to the garden. Just remember: native shrubs should be purchased in local nurseries; never dig them up in the wild.
Rocky Mountain Maple
- Rocky Mountain maple (Acer glabrum) is a deciduous shrub that grows 6 to 10 feet tall. It features gray branches with smooth bark, red blooms and yellow foliage in the fall. It is shade tolerant and is native to Colorado foothills.
New Mexico Privet
- New Mexico privet (Forestiera neomexicana) is deciduous shrub that reaches a mature height of up to 10 feet. Its foliage is dense and gray-green and the shrub produces yellow flowers in the spring, before leaves appear. In the fall, foliage turns yellow. Female privets also offer blackish blue fruit.
- Also called American plum, wild plum (Prunus Americana) is native to Colorado plains and foothills. It grows 6 to 10 feet tall and attracts wildlife. Its flowers--which arrive before leaves in the spring--are white. In the summer, it produces edible plums. Fall foliage turns red. Wild plum is drought and cold tolerant.
- Big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentate) is an evergreen Colorado native with silver-toned, aromatic foliage. The bark is grayish and peels. Big sagebrush attracts wildlife but cannot tolerate clay soils or soggy earth. When mature, it reaches 4 to 6 feet in height.
- Cliffrose (Cowania Mexicana) is an evergreen bush that grows up to 6 feet tall and has an oval shape. It features gnarling branches and lobed, small olive-green foliage. Aromatic flowers in a cream color appear in the spring or early summer.
- Also known as rock-spirea, mountainspray (Holodiscus dumosus) is a deciduous shrub native to Colorado foothills. It grows 4 to 6 feet tall and features slim, arching branches with clusters of white blooms that gradually turn rust-colored. In the autumn, the foliage turns deep red. Mountainspray thrives in full sun or part shade.
- Sometimes called manzanita, bearberry (Arctostaphylos patula) is a small evergreen shrub native to Colorado's foothills. It offers dense, bright green foliage, deep red stems, spring blooms of pink and brown, apple-like fruits in the summer. Bearberry has a spreading growth habit and does not tolerate clay soils well. When mature, it reaches up to 4 feet in height.
- Waxflower (Jamesia Americana) is a deciduous shrub native to the Colorado foothills and grows up to 4 feet tall. It features heart-shaped, veined foliage that is white on the bottom, reddish bark that tends to shred and white, waxy blooms each spring. In the autumn, foliage turns red. Waxflower is shade tolerant, but requires well-draining earth.