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Mountain perennials: choosing papaver orientale

Plants for mountainous areas must be able to withstand daily temperature fluctuations of 30 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit, high summer heat, intense sunlight and cool nights. Water is one of the most limiting factors for many mountain homeowners with wells.

Several perennials require less water and grow well in gardens above 8,000 feet in elevation.

One example is ground-hugging plants including white-flowered Mount Atlas daisy and pink thrift. Pair them with the compact varieties of lavender-blooming catnip.

Taller water-wise perennials include oriental poppy and yellow's breath

Mauve-flowered beebalm grows on dry hillsides and does well when planted among other tall flowers to conceal the spindly stems. Consider support from baby's breath and tall native daisies.

bee balmDrought-tolerant mainstays for mountain gardens include the deep blue-flowered mountain bluet, orange-yellow blanket flower and white snow-in-summer. Consider planting these with light-green leafed oregano.

For a partially shady spot, try white or blue bellflowers.

Perennials are a sure-fire way to jump-start the high elevation gardening season -- and with careful selection, success is easy.

For more information, see the following Colorado State University Extension fact sheet(s).

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Updated Tuesday, November 19, 2013