Plants and Flowers in Santa Fe
Why native plants and flowers in Santa Fe?
Whether reviving an established garden or commencing a new landscape design Ecoscapes of Santa Fe understands and respects the land, the plants and flowers in Santa Fe. We are committed to conserving and rejuvenating the natural environment and creating spaces that fulfill the human spirit.
In Santa Fe, native plants have evolved over eons in a specific environment. As a result, they have adapted to a particular set of growing conditions, including soil type, moisture levels, fluctuations in temperature, competitors, and pollinators. Many native plants will flourish without soil amendments or supplemental water once established in the landscape. They require a minimum of effort, but most important, they contribute essential environmental services. Native plants:
- Provide natural habitat for birds and wildlife
- Sustain populations of pollinators
- Attract a variety of other beneficial insects
- Control storm runoff and erosion
- Develop a strong relationship with soil fungi and other native microorganisms
- Sustain a spiritual, recreational, educational, and cultural heritage.
Annuals complete their life cycle—germinating, forming flowers, producing seeds, and dying—in one growing season. Biennials take two years to develop, growing only foliage in the first year and forming flowers and producing seeds in the second. Many annuals and biennials compensate for their short lives by leaving a legacy of seeds to germinate the following year, sometimes popping up in locations not that close to the original plant and providing a delightful surprise in spring. Like perennials, they provide color and texture and attract pollinators.
Perennials provide color, fragrance, and nectar to attract hummingbirds, bees, moths, butterflies, and other pollinators. Select plants that bloom at
different times to create interest throughout the growing season. Many native perennials are easy to grow and may require less maintenance than
non‐natives; they create a living plant community and a sense of place in your yard!
Cacti and Succulents
The most drought tolerant of plants, cacti and succulents have spectacular, though short‐lived, blossoms. They are brilliant in rock gardens and are
so collectible that many have been collected to the brink of extinction. Wild collecting is now illegal or highly regulated throughout the Southwest;
be sure to purchase specimens from a reliable grower, nursery, or cactus rescue organization.
Grass binds the soil, prevents erosion, and feeds both wildlife and humankind. Most grasses are wind pollinated, so the pollinators column has
been omitted. Flowers are inconspicuous, so the bloom color column has been replaced by information about foliage and seed heads. Grasses
designated as warm season have evolved a modified photosynthesis that is water conserving. Warm‐season grasses will be green (actively growing)
at temperatures above 60‐65°F (June‐August); cool‐season grasses will be green when temperatures are 45‐70°F (spring and fall). Height and width
are provided for bunch grasses; only height is given for turf grasses.
Ground covers are like an outdoor carpet, providing colorful flowers and attractive foliage at ground or knee level. What they lack in stature they
make up for in their ability to compete with nearby plants. They have a range of sun requirements and bloom times, with many growing happily
under trees or in other shady areas. They offer a low‐maintenance alternative to traditional lawns, help suppress weeds, and look great tucked in
between flagstones or pavers.
Shrubs can provide shelter and food for wildlife. Use them to define areas in the garden, to provide a backdrop for perennials and smaller plants, or
to provide barriers. Select plants that have a variety of bloom time, height, and texture. Some shrubs are evergreen, and many have persistent fruit
that provides winter interest.
Select Photos Courtesy of Kate Russell Photography