The Q&A Archives: High Altitude Plants

Question: I am looking for help on what will grow at 9000ft. Seems so many things I like get fried by the sun or eaten by the deer. I can control the deer next year with a fence, but how can I find help in identifying things that can take the high altitude, and therefore increased UV? If things grow wild here (like asters) can I assume that domesticated varieties will also make it? The only thing I have tried that has prospered is Dianthus and the plants remain very small.

Answer: I suggest that you focus on plants that are native to alpine environments. Fortunately, there are LOTS of catalogs and nurseries that specialize in alpine plants! Here are some suggestions for sources:

Alplains, PO Box 489, Kiowa, CO 80117, ph# 303/621-2247

Edge of the Rockies, PO Box 1218, Bayfield, CO 81122

Great Basin Natives, PO Box 114, Holden, UT 84636, ph# 801-795-2236, website

High Altitude Gardens, 2902 Rufina St., Santa Fe, NM 87505, ph# 800/925-9387, e-mail

Also, you may want to take a look at Rocky Mountain Gardener Magazine. It's filled with info for YOU - your library may have a subscription, but in case you want one for yourself, here's their address: Westwind Publishing, PO Box 18537, Boulder, CO 80308, ph# 303/499-3228, website

If you're not yet tired of experimenting, keep it up, because you may find that, like the dianthus, plants will adapt to your growing conditions.

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