High-Altitude Flowering Plants
High-altitude landscaping has an unfair reputation of being rocky and sparse. You don't have to give up your gardening dreams if you live in a high altitude. There are many flowering plants, including flowering ground covers, shrubs and perennials, that do very well at altitudes around 7,000 feet and even as high as 10,000 feet.
There are over 175 known species of virburnum. These showy, flowery shrubs (many of which have a pleasing fragrance) are popular for their hardy natures, beautiful flowers and fruit and colorful fall foliage. All cultivers will thrive in altitudes as high as 7,000 feet. Virbunums prefer full sun.
The variegated dogwood is short, compact dogwood that is more commonly grown as a shrub rather than a tree. The shrub grows to a height of five feet tall and features two-inch wide clusters of creamy white blooms in the spring. In the summer, the variegated dogwood shows off bright green leaves edged in white borders. The plant is equally attractive in the fall. When the leaves drop, they reveal red stems. The variegated dogwood prefers to grow in partial shade, where it can be protected from the hot afternoon sun. The plant is hardy to 8,000 feet above sea level.
The common lilac is a very hardy shrub or tree that can grow in altitudes as high as 10,000 feet above sea level. This spring-blooming plant features large masses of highly fragrant, purple flowers that can be as long as eight inches. The common lilac can grow up to 15 feet tall and thrive in full sunlight with well-drained soil.
Hosta Francis Williams
The Francis Williams hosta, like all hostas, is an excellent choice for shady areas. The plant will thrive in full shade, and this cultivator will grow in altitudes of up to 8,500 feet. The Francis Williams features variegated, green and white leaves with stalks of white flowers that bloom in July. This perennial is drought-tolerant, grows up to two feet tall and forms neat clumps.
Blue Bird Delphinium
The Delphinium elatum (often called larkspur) is very popular for its tall stalks of brilliantly blue flowers. They can grow as tall as five feet and in altitudes as high as 10,000 feet above sea level. In windy conditions, they need to be staked, as they have hollow stems. These showy flowers will bloom from June through July and are excellent as cut flowers. Blue birds thrive in full sunlight and are drought-tolerant.