Pretty Smart Plants From Plant Select®

by David Salman

Delosperma Granita Raspberry Plant Select®

Granita® Raspberry Ice Plant

Introducing New Plants From Plant Select for Spring 2018

This year, another group of excellent plants has been introduced from Plant Select.

New winners this year include:

Granita® Raspberry Ice Plant (Delosperma hybrid)

I first saw this sumptuously colored Ice Plant in the garden of its discoverer, John Stireman of Salt Lake City. John has one of the finest and most diverse rock gardens in the western US. He is particularly enamored with the South African Ice Plants and has spent several decades growing and testing them in his USDA zone 5 rock garden.

Delosperma Granita Raspberry Plants From Plant Select®

Granita® Raspberry Ice Plant (Delosperma hybrid)

As luck would have it, after many years of cross-pollination by bees, Delosperma Granita® Raspberry appeared as a volunteer seedling. And it's a winner! Durable and cold hardy, the flowers have a unique coloration that sets it apart from other Ice Plants and perennial plants. Use it as a water-wise ground cover, planted in well-drained where it gets full sun. Zones 6-10.

Verbena Valley Lavender® Plains Verbena (Verbena bipinnatifida)

This widespread native species is often considered a biennial. But this selection, found on the Great Plains of eastern Colorado is more perennial and robust. It's best to grow this perennial in "lean" (infertile) fast draining non-clay soils in full, blazing sun. It likes lots of heat and not too much water. After getting it established the first growing season, water deeply but infrequently in subsequent years. Zones 5-8.

Verbena Valley Lavender® Plains Verbena Plant Select®

Verbena Valley Lavender® Plains Verbena

"Tough love" is the best way to grow and enjoy this gorgeous plant. With this in mind, it should not be fertilized with granular or water-soluble chemical fertilizers. This will shorten the plant's lifespan and it will act as an annual. Instead, just top-dress with a little Yum Yum Mix around the plant in fall.

Snowmass® Blue Eyed Veronica (Veronica x PO185)

A wonder hybrid cultivar, this vigorous groundcover Speedwell is a great choice for the xeric (water-wise) garden. It has evergreen foliage and blooms in mid-spring with a flurry of white, blue-eyed flowers that cover the plant for up to a month.

Snowmass® Blue Eyed Veronica (Veronica x PO185) Plants From Plant Select®

Snowmass® Blue Eyed Veronica (Veronica x PO185)

Snowmass® is an outstanding companion plant for spring blooming bulbs (Crocus, daffodils, muscari and wildflower tulips). Plant it in full sun in most soils including clay (when grown on the dry side). Zones 3-10.

About Plant Select®

Plant Select® Logo Plants From Plant Select®


Plant Select® is a regional plant introduction organization founded in 1992.

A collaboration between Colorado State University and Denver Botanic Gardens, the organization has brought together many of the region's best horticulturists, plant breeders, landscapers and commercial plant growers with the goal of introducing regionally suitable plants for the Great Plains and Intermountain states.

The criteria used for the selection process is rather strict and includes the following ten attributes.

The plants must be:

  • Durable
  • Flourish with less water
  • Thrive in a broad range of conditions
  • Habitat-friendly
  • Tough and resilient in challenging climates
  • One of a kind/unique
  • Resist disease & insects
  • Long-lasting beauty
  • Non-invasive
  • Cold hardy

Over the last 25 years, these efforts have been wildly successful, currently having brought to the market 150 noteworthy plants.

While the organization's focus is to introduce plants adapted to western growing conditions, time and the experiences of gardeners elsewhere in the country, have discovered that some of these plants are also suitable for the eastern half of the US as well.

Plants in the program include a wide range of native perennials, shrubs and ornamental grasses in addition to a wide-ranging assortment of cold hardy Old World species from Europe, Asia, and South Africa.

As a founding member of the organization, I have discovered and developed six of the plants that were brought into the program.

Blonde Ambition Plants From Plant Select®

Thin Man Indian Grass PPAF Plant Select® Plants From Plant Select®

Orange Carpet® Hummingbird Trumpet Plant Select®

Red Mountain® Flame cold hardy Iceplant Plant Select®

Wee One English Lavender Plant Select®

And I helped to popularize and create a market through High Country Gardens for another handful of noteworthy plants (Salvia daghestanicaScrophularia macranthaMuhlenbergia reverchonii and others) that were later brought into the program.

See other Plant Select winners that we sell at this link: Plant Select Winners

Note: We don't grow all the plants in the program, but have selected the ones we like the best.

Text and Photos by Founder and Chief Horticulturist David Salman.

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