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Gardening in Utah can be very challenging. We love the color and visual interest that comes from a beautiful flower garden, but with some plants, we are in for a difficult battle. The alkaline soil, the late frosts, cold winters, hot summers, minimal water, clay soils, and a whole host of other issues make plant selection very important. Working with you local nursery is always the best bet to select the plants that will grow well in your area. Here are a few that have a pretty good track record in Utah:
Hummingbird fuchsia - This plant is low growing and can be used as partial ground cover or trained to flow over rocks and walls. From August until late fall, it has bright red or orange trumpet flowers. These flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies.
Daylilies - Sometimes these are referred to as the perfect perennial. They are available in a large variety of colors, are drought tolerant, adaptable to various soil and light conditions, and survive with very little care. Daylilies can bloom fromm late spring to mid autumn.
Bee Balm - This is a native prairie flower and is fantastic for attracting hummingbirds, butterflies and helpful bees. It grows between two and three feet in height. This plant is drought resistant and is also not typically eaten by deer. The leaves are light green and the flower is bright pink to red.
Crocosmia - Plant in well drained soil in the fall and it will produce vivid red flowers in July. They have narrow bladed foliage with vertical accents and tubular blossoms four feet high that bring in the hummingbirds. The seedpods in the fall also attract other birds.
Coral Bells - These flowers have tiny, bell shaped, pink, coral, red, or white flowery spikes on wiry stems above low growing, dramatic foliage. Blooming in the late spring, this plant makes excellent ground cover and the delicate flower spikes don't obscure plants behind them, making them a great choice for the front of a border.
Hosta - For shady locations, hosta is a great choice. These Asian native plants are grown for their unique color combinations and leaf shapes. There are 30 - 40 varieties available.
Gaura - White flowers cluster like butterflies atop tall spikes on these 3-4 foot tall plants. Varieties include pink and white flowering plants. Guara bloom in late May until the early frost. They’re good to fill in empty spaces, particularly in the back of flower beds.
Blanket Flower - Blanket flower is a drought and heat-tolerant perennial wildflower that provides long-lasting color in a sunny border with poor soil. Different varieties grow in red, gold, or brown. Its daisy-like flowers bloom through the summer and into the fall. Although often short-lived, it is easy to grow and will flower the first year from seed.
Veronica - The 7-inch spikes of veronica bloom atop 12 to 24-inch plants in shades of blue or red from early summer through fall. Plant in partial shade to full sun and at the front of the bed.
Tall Garden Phlox - These flowers grows three to four feet tall with fragrant flowers from summer to early fall. It's an old-fashioned favorite that has few rivals for its color display, light, and sweet fragrance. It's well suited for the back of the garden and cottage gardens.