Top Shrubs for Colorado Landscapes: Add Vibrant Color & Style

Welcome to our guide on the top shrubs for Colorado landscapes! If you’re looking to add vibrant color and style to your outdoor space, selecting the right shrubs can make all the difference. Not only do they provide visual interest, but they also offer numerous benefits such as privacy, noise reduction, and even air purification.

However, not all shrubs may thrive in Colorado’s climate, which is why we’ve compiled a list of the best shrubs for this region. These shrubs have been carefully selected for their ability to withstand Colorado’s harsh weather conditions, from hot summers to cold winters. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a beginner, there’s a perfect shrub out there for you!

So, let’s dive in and explore the top shrubs for Colorado landscapes that will transform your outdoor space into a beautiful and inviting oasis.

Native Shrubs for Colorado Landscapes

When it comes to selecting shrubs for your Colorado landscape, choosing native plants is often the best option. Native shrubs are well-suited to Colorado’s unique climate and soil conditions, and they tend to require less maintenance than non-native plants. Furthermore, native plants can attract local wildlife, providing a more natural ecosystem for your garden.

Some of the most popular native shrubs for Colorado landscapes include:

Shrub Name USDA Hardiness Zone Description
Serviceberry 3-8 A small tree or large shrub that produces white or pink flowers in the spring, followed by edible berries in early summer.
Rocky Mountain juniper 4-8 A hardy evergreen shrub with blue-green foliage that can grow up to 25 feet tall.
Chokecherry 2-7 A deciduous shrub that produces clusters of white flowers in the spring, followed by red or dark purple fruit.
Buffaloberry 3-8 A thorny shrub with silver foliage and small red berries that can be eaten fresh or preserved.

These shrubs are just a few examples of the many native plants that can thrive in Colorado. By selecting native shrubs, you can create a beautiful and sustainable landscape that supports local wildlife and requires less maintenance.

Drought Tolerant Shrubs for Colorado Landscapes

Colorado’s arid climate can be challenging for many plants, but there are plenty of shrubs that can thrive in low-water conditions. Choosing drought-tolerant shrubs not only conserves water but also reduces the need for frequent watering, making them a perfect choice for busy homeowners or those with limited gardening experience.

Drought Tolerant Shrubs

Shrub Water Needs Growth Rate Max Height
Manzanita Low Slow 6-8 ft.
Yucca Low Medium 6-12 ft.
Rabbitbrush Low Fast 4-6 ft.
Apache Plume Low Fast 3-5 ft.

These shrubs not only thrive in low-water conditions but also provide visual interest with their unique textures and flowers. Manzanita, for example, features smooth cinnamon-red bark and small pink or white flowers, while Yucca has long, spiky leaves and tall flower stalks. Rabbitbrush and Apache Plume both produce showy yellow flowers in late summer and early fall.

Tip: When planting drought-tolerant shrubs, be sure to provide adequate drainage and avoid overwatering to prevent root rot.

Remember to water newly-planted shrubs more frequently until they are established, and then gradually reduce watering to once a week or less, depending on the shrub’s needs. Applying a layer of mulch around the shrub can also help retain soil moisture and reduce water usage.

Winter Hardy Shrubs for Colorado Landscapes

Colorado’s harsh winters can take a toll on many plants, including shrubs. However, some shrub species are able to not only survive but thrive in these conditions. Consider adding the following winter hardy shrubs to your Colorado landscape:

Shrub Hardiness Zone Benefits
Siberian Carpet Cypress Zones 3-8 Low-maintenance, unique texture and color
Witch Hazel Zones 4-8 Fragrant blooms in late winter, beautiful fall foliage
Rocky Mountain Juniper Zones 3-7 Tolerates drought and deer resistant, attractive blue-gray foliage

When planting winter hardy shrubs, be sure to choose a location with well-draining soil and ample sunlight. Avoid planting in areas with standing water or close to buildings that may reflect heat and cause damage in winter. Water deeply and mulch around the base of the plant to conserve moisture and insulate the roots during cold temperatures.

Pruning should be done in late winter or early spring to avoid damaging new growth that may emerge late in the season. Avoid pruning in fall as it may stimulate new growth that will be susceptible to winter damage.

Low Maintenance Shrubs for Colorado Landscapes

Colorado is known for its harsh climate, so selecting low maintenance shrubs for your landscape can be a smart choice. These shrubs require minimal care, making them perfect for busy homeowners or those with limited gardening experience. Here are a few low maintenance shrubs that are ideal for Colorado gardens:

  • Wine and Roses Weigela: This shrub has dark purple foliage and pink flowers that bloom in late spring to early summer. It requires minimal pruning and only needs to be watered during extended dry periods.
  • Blue Mist Spirea: This shrub produces clusters of small, blue flowers that bloom in late summer to early fall. It’s drought tolerant and requires low maintenance pruning to keep its shape.
  • Russian Sage: This shrub has silver foliage and produces purple-blue flowers that bloom in mid-summer to early fall. It’s drought tolerant and only requires pruning in the spring to remove dead branches.

Low maintenance shrubs not only save time and effort but also add color and texture to your landscape without requiring constant attention.

Deer Resistant Shrubs for Colorado Landscapes

If you live in Colorado, you’re likely familiar with the damage that deer can do to your landscaping. While it may seem challenging to protect your plants from these hungry animals, choosing the right shrubs can make a big difference. Here are a few deer-resistant shrubs to consider for your Colorado landscape:

Shrub Name Type Height Bloom Time
Barberry Deciduous 2-6 feet Spring
Juniper Evergreen 3-50 feet Spring/Summer
Spirea Deciduous 2-6 feet Spring/Summer/Fall
Yucca Evergreen 1-3 feet Summer

Barberry is a popular choice for Colorado gardens thanks to its bright red foliage, thorns, and ability to deter deer. Juniper is another great option, offering year-round greenery and berries that attract birds. Spirea is a versatile shrub that comes in many varieties, offering a range of colors and textures throughout the growing season. Finally, Yucca is a hardy, drought-tolerant shrub that adds a unique texture and form to the landscape.

While these shrubs are less attractive to deer, it’s still important to protect them with appropriate fencing or other deterrents to ensure their survival.

Additional Factors to Consider

When selecting shrubs for your Colorado landscape, there are a few additional factors to keep in mind to ensure the success of your plantings.

  • Sun exposure: Consider the amount of sunlight your outdoor space receives throughout the day. Select shrubs that thrive in full sun or shade, depending on the conditions.
  • Soil type: Colorado has a diverse range of soil types, from sandy to clay-heavy. Choose shrubs that are well-suited to the specific soil type in your area.
  • Mature size: Consider the final size of the shrubs when choosing them for your landscape. Make sure to give them enough space to grow and avoid overcrowding.

By evaluating these factors, you can make an informed decision about which shrubs will thrive in your outdoor space.

Best Practices for Planting and Caring for Shrubs in Colorado

Planting and caring for shrubs in Colorado can be challenging, but following these best practices can help ensure your shrubs thrive:

Planting Techniques

When planting shrubs, it’s important to choose the right location. Select a spot with the appropriate amount of sunlight for the specific type of shrub. Dig a hole that is twice as wide as the root ball, but only as deep as the root ball itself. This will allow the roots to spread and establish themselves in the soil.


Most shrubs require regular watering during the growing season. However, be careful not to overwater, as this can lead to root rot. Water deeply and infrequently to encourage deep root growth, and avoid watering during the heat of the day to prevent evaporation.


Shrubs don’t typically require heavy fertilization, but a balanced fertilizer can provide a boost during the growing season. Apply fertilizer in early spring and again in mid-summer, following the manufacturer’s instructions.


Pruning is essential for maintaining the health and appearance of shrubs. Regular pruning can help promote new growth and prevent disease. Prune dead or damaged branches as soon as possible, and avoid removing more than one-third of the shrub’s total growth in a single season.

Design Tips for Using Shrubs in Colorado Landscapes

Shrubs can be incredibly versatile and can be used to create a variety of stunning designs in Colorado landscapes. They can be used as focal points or to create privacy, and they can even be used to form natural hedges. Here are a few design tips to help you make the most of your shrubs:

  • Plan for growth: Make sure to give your shrubs plenty of room to grow to their mature size. This will help prevent overcrowding and ensure that your landscape looks balanced and well-proportioned.
  • Layer your shrubs: Plant shrubs of varying heights to create depth and visual interest in your landscape. Taller shrubs can be planted towards the back of the bed, while shorter shrubs can be used to fill in the front.
  • Mix up colors and textures: Don’t be afraid to mix and match different colors and textures of shrubs. This can create a visually stunning landscape that is bursting with color and life.
  • Use shrubs to frame your house: Shrubs can be used to create a beautiful frame around your house, drawing attention to its unique architecture and design.

Recommended Shrubs for Various Colorado Regions

Colorado is known for its varied landscapes, and the state has several regions with specific climate and soil conditions. Here are some recommended shrubs that will thrive in different regions of Colorado:

Region Recommended Shrubs
Front Range
  • Apache Plume
  • Summersweet Clethra
  • Blue Mist Spirea
Western Slope
  • Utah Serviceberry
  • Golden Currant
  • Wyoming Snowberry
High Country
  • Rocky Mountain Juniper
  • Canada Red Chokecherry
  • Common Ninebark

Note that these are only a few examples of the many shrubs that can thrive in different regions of Colorado. It is important to research and choose shrubs that are well-suited to the specific conditions of your location.

Tips for Maintaining Shrubs in Colorado’s Changing Climate

As Colorado’s climate continues to change, it’s important to adapt your shrub maintenance routine to ensure the health and longevity of your plants. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Monitor Watering Needs

As temperatures increase and drought becomes more common, it’s important to closely monitor your shrubs’ watering needs. Check the soil regularly and water deeply when necessary, rather than relying on frequent shallow watering. Consider installing drip irrigation systems or rain barrels to conserve water.

Be Mindful of Pests

As Colorado’s climate changes, pests that were once uncommon may become more prevalent. Watch for signs of insect damage and be prepared to take action if necessary. Consider using natural pest control methods to minimize the impact on beneficial insects and the environment.

Choose Resilient Shrubs

When selecting shrubs for your Colorado landscape, prioritize those that are known to be resilient in changing climate conditions. Look for shrubs that are drought-tolerant, disease-resistant, and able to withstand extreme temperatures.

Stay Informed

Stay up-to-date on the latest climate trends and gardening practices in your area. Join gardening groups or attend workshops to learn from other local gardeners and experts in the field. By staying informed, you’ll be better equipped to adapt to changing conditions and keep your shrubs thriving for years to come.


Choosing the right shrubs can greatly enhance the beauty and style of your Colorado landscape. By selecting native, drought-tolerant, winter hardy, low maintenance, and deer-resistant shrubs, you can create a stunning outdoor space that requires minimal upkeep.

Remember to consider additional factors such as sun exposure, soil type, and mature size when choosing shrubs, and follow best practices for planting and caring for them. By incorporating shrubs as focal points, hedges, or for privacy, you can create a cohesive design that adds value to your home.

For the best results, select shrubs that are recommended for your specific region and adapt to the changing climate by following expert advice. With careful consideration and proper care, your landscape will thrive with vibrant color and style for years to come.


Q: What are the best shrubs for Colorado landscapes?

A: The top shrubs for Colorado landscapes include native shrubs, drought-tolerant shrubs, winter hardy shrubs, low maintenance shrubs, and deer resistant shrubs.

Q: Why should I choose native shrubs for my Colorado landscape?

A: Native shrubs are well-adapted to the local climate and soil conditions, making them easier to maintain. They also support local wildlife and are generally more resilient.

Q: Which shrubs are drought-tolerant for Colorado landscapes?

A: Some drought-tolerant shrubs for Colorado landscapes include Russian sage, yarrow, and butterfly bush. These shrubs can thrive in low-water conditions and provide visual interest.

Q: Are there shrubs that can withstand Colorado’s harsh winters?

A: Yes, there are winter hardy shrubs that can survive and even thrive in Colorado’s cold temperatures and heavy snowfall. Examples include juniper, holly, and red osier dogwood.

Q: What are the best low maintenance shrubs for Colorado landscapes?

A: Low maintenance shrubs for Colorado landscapes include dwarf alberta spruce, barberry, and potentilla. These shrubs require minimal care, making them perfect for busy homeowners or those with limited gardening experience.

Q: How can I protect my shrubs from deer browsing?

A: Choosing deer-resistant shrubs can help preserve the beauty of your landscape. Examples of deer-resistant shrubs for Colorado include boxwood, spirea, and Russian almond.

Q: What additional factors should I consider when selecting shrubs for my Colorado landscape?

A: When selecting shrubs for your Colorado landscape, consider factors such as sun exposure, soil type, and the mature size of the shrubs. Evaluating these factors will help you make informed decisions.

Q: What are the best practices for planting and caring for shrubs in Colorado?

A: To successfully plant and care for shrubs in Colorado, follow best practices such as proper planting techniques, watering requirements, fertilization, and pruning. These practices will help maintain healthy and thriving shrubs throughout the year.

Q: How can I incorporate shrubs into my Colorado landscape design?

A: Shrubs can be used as focal points, hedges, or for creating privacy in your Colorado landscape. Consider combining different shrubs to create attractive and cohesive designs.

Q: Are there recommended shrubs for specific regions within Colorado?

A: Yes, certain shrubs may perform better in specific regions of Colorado due to variations in elevation, temperature, and soil conditions. It is recommended to consult regional gardening resources for a list of recommended shrubs in your area.

Q: What tips can you provide for maintaining shrubs in Colorado’s changing climate?

A: To maintain shrubs in the face of Colorado’s changing climate, adapt watering needs, pest pressures, and overall plant health. Stay informed about climate change impacts and make necessary adjustments to ensure the longevity of your shrubs.