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rabbitbrushAs our urban landscape stretches towards the plains and into the foothills, the "borrowed view" of the surrounding areas includes native plants that are valuableadditions to the home garden.

One of the most ornamental and useful native plants for a Colorado garden is rabbitbrush. It is a globe-shaped shrub two to six feet wide and two torabbitbrush four feet tall with blue-green, silvery leaves and, in the late summer, clusters of yellow flowers. Rabbitbrush grows from elevations of 5000 to 9000 feet, thrives in full sun and tolerates alkaline soils that drain well. It sports fluffy seed clusters through the winter months, which add texture and interest to the garden.

Cut the plant back to about one foot in the early spring to help maintain the plant's natural globe shape and to keep the plant dense.

Yellow blooms of rabbitbrush with scarlet red bloom of Zauschneria in foreground at Vail Botanic gardenThere are many companion plants that marry well in designs with rabbitbrush. Purple aster and Russian sage are two of the best, as well as winecups and California fuchsia.

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

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Updated Friday, February 28, 2014