Discover the 5 Best Summer Plants for Colorado Lawns

Marc LeDue

Owner of A Perfect Landscape

When it comes to maintaining a vibrant lawn in Colorado’s hot and dry summers, Colorado gardeners know that choosing the right plants is essential. Drought resistant and drought tolerant, and also deer resistant, these plants not only survive but thrive in the challenging climate, providing beauty and resilience to your outdoor space. Here are five top picks for summer lawns in Colorado:

1. Blue Grama Grass (Bouteloua gracilis)

Known for its fine texture and drought tolerance, Blue Grama Grass is a native perennial grass that thrives in Colorado’s high plains and dry conditions. It forms dense, low-growing tufts and produces delicate, purplish flowers in summer, adding a low-maintenance touch of elegance to any landscape ground cover.

2. Buffalo Grass (Buchloe dactyloides)

Buffalo Grass is another common option for native plants well-suited to Colorado’s climate. It is low-maintenance and drought resistant, requiring less water and mowing compared to traditional turfgrasses. Its soft blue-green blades turn a beautiful golden hue in the summer, offering a natural, prairie-like aesthetic.

3. Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)

For a splash of color and fragrance, consider planting Russian Sage. This hardy perennial shrub features silvery foliage and spikes of lavender-blue flowers that bloom from mid-summer into fall. It thrives in full sun and well-drained soil, often ranging from three feet wide up to six feet tall making it a perfect choice for Colorado gardens with dry soil.

4. Rocky Mountain Penstemon (Penstemon strictus)

Rocky Mountain Penstemon is a striking perennial known for its tall spikes of tubular, purple-blue flowers that attract pollinators like bees and butterflies. From late spring to early summer, the unique texture and star shaped flowers add a great year round visual interest. It prefers dry, rocky soils and thrives in full sun to part shade, adding vertical interest and vibrant color to your landscape.

5. Blanket Flower (Gaillardia aristata)

Blanket Flower is a tough, drought-tolerant perennial with vibrant red and yellow daisy-like flowers that sprout daisy-like blooms profusely throughout the summer. It thrives in Colorado’s dry, well-drained soils and attracts pollinators, making it a delightful addition to any sunny garden or meadow.

Tips for Planting and Care for Drought Tolerant Plants:

  • Watering: Establish new native plants with regular watering until they are established. Once established, many of these plants require minimal supplemental watering.
  • Soil Preparation: Amend soil with compost to improve drainage and fertility before planting.
  • Mulching: Apply a layer of mulch around plants to retain soil moisture and suppress weeds, making it extremely easy for your plants to thrive.
  • Maintenance: Deadheading flowers, a pruning technique that involves removing old or spent flower blooms from a plant to encourage new growth and re-flowering, encourages continuous blooming. Trim back plants in early spring to promote healthy growth and growing conditions in your Colorado garden.

By selecting these resilient and beautiful plants and providing proper care, you can create a stunning  lawn in Colorado while conserving water and supporting local biodiversity all summer long. Enhance your outdoor space with these Colorado-friendly plants and enjoy a thriving landscape throughout the summer season.