The Q&A Archives: High Altitude Plants

Question: A list of flowering perennials, flowering shrubs, and fruit that survive the weather conditions in zone 3, altitude at 4400 ft.

Answer: Some suggestions for a colorful garden include:
Daylilies (Hemerocallis hybrids), perennials --For months of trouble-free color, one day at a time, nothing beats the daylily. Daylilies, as their name suggests, produce colorful flowers that last only a day, but they seem to never stop blooming, pumping out flower after flower, for months on end. Daylily flowers come in endless colors including yellow, pink, red, orange, purple, white, peach and bi-colors of all descriptions. Plant in full sun and moist soil.

Purple Cone Flowers (Echinacea), perennials --An American prairie native, these garden favorites can be counted on to provide non-stop color from July through September. Though cone flowers come in white, pink, purple and even yellow, it is the purple (which is more accurately a pink-orchid color) that is most famous --and enduring! For a dynamic duo in the late summer garden, plant purple cone flowers with golden black-eyed susans (Rudbeckia). Both sport large daisy-like flowers with robust appeal.

Tuberous Begonias, tender summer-blooming bulbs --No shade-loving flower is more velvety than the begonia. With its luscious nodding multi-petaled flowers in the richest shades of deep to pastel pink, red, yellow, peach, champagne, white and orange, begonias often look too good to be real in a shaded setting. And they bloom and bloom and bloom. There's even a kind named "non-stop begonia."

Lilies, cold-hardy summer-blooming bulbs --These glamour gals of the garden are winter-hardy bulbs that can be planted in either spring or fall. Popular favorites, there are numerous types to choose from, providing bloom from midsummer through late fall. For different looks and bloom times, select an assortment of Asiatic, Oriental, longiflorum, trumpet or hybrid species types. Plant in full sun for best performance in the garden or containers.

Liatris, cold-hardy summer-blooming bulbs --Not as well known as it should be, this tall North American native is also known as gayfeather and it's easy to see why: Its four- to five-foot tall spikes are coated with jolly, fuzzy-looking florets that appeal to gardeners and butterflies alike. Liatris thrive in sun or partial shade, blooming July through August. Plant them in groups of 15 or more for best effect.

Heliopsis, perennials --Another North American native, this carefree non-stop bloomer (June through September) is sometimes called the false sunflower. But it's much better suited to the sunny border than its namesake, growing to a manageable four-foot height with brilliant yellow flowers that are actually more daisy-like in appearance. Cut bouquets regularly! A stand of heliopsis produces such an abundant supply of flowers that it's hard to make a dent in it!

Hostas, perennials --For the shaded or partial shade garden or landscape, hostas rule --and with such majesty! Generally native to such places as China, Japan and Siberia, hostas are most treasured around the garden world for their foliage. Their elongated oval leaves come in all shades and combinations of green. Look for variations tinged or variegated with blue, cream, chartreuse, even green-on-green. Unassuming flowers atop tall slender stems have surprising appeal.

Coral Bells (Huechera), perennials --Another master of foliage is the lower-growing Heuchera, which is also known by a nickname, coral bells, in honor of its delicate bell-like flowers that ride high upon slender two to three foot stems. With various varieties sporting leaves of light green, dark green, pewter, silver, bronze or burgundy, there's a Heuchera for every garden. They also make excellent companion plants in containers. Plant in sun or partial shade for a fine performance all season long.

Dahlias, tender summer-blooming bulbs --Dahlias dazzle in the late summer garden with an intoxicating abundance of color and form. These sun lovers come in all sizes, on stems ranging from 12 inches to 5 feet tall. Flowers can be small and spunky or large as dinner plates and come in nearly every color under the sun except true black or blue. But it's their exuberance that wins them fame. In all its forms, the dahlia is a scene stealer in the garden. Plant them in full sun in the garden or containers.

Good luck with your new garden!

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