Colorado is known for its snowy mountain tops that offer world class skiing, but there is much more to the state than just its white winters. Colorado has an extremely varied climate and the Colorado planting zones are just as varied. The eastern region is semi-arid while the rest of the state can range from semi-arid to alpine, with multiple microclimates running the spectrum, from subtropical to humid subtropical to humid continental to mediterranean and even subarctic. The state actually has 300 days of sunshine annually, topping out even California, which is knowing for its sunny days. While they do receive record snowfall most years, the state is well-known for its mild temperatures and sunny days that lend to a pretty terrific planting season.
It is very important to determine which Colorado planting zone your garden will be in before planning a garden. Gilmour’s Interactive Planting Zone Map makes it easy to confidently find a zone, so it is simple to select plants appropriate for the region. Colorado planting zones span 3a to 7a, and knowing this before choosing what plants and vegetables to put into a garden can help eliminate some of the stress and aggravation of a failed garden. Local nurseries are a great place to start, as they will likely only carry varieties that are viable in a specific area. Ask for guidance or help at the nursery if you are unsure about what plants to grow.
While the state has a relatively short growing season, there are dozens of vegetables and flowers that can be successfully grown in Colorado growing zones. Plant grape tomatoes, herbs, lettuce and swiss chard in a vegetable garden. Flowers and plants that will do well include blue salvia, hosta lilies, blue moon wisteria, begonias and primrose, to name a few.
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