What to grow in SLC?

Ann Arbor, MI

Hello --

I've got a friend out in Salt Lake City that wants to do some gardening (outdoors in her yard, but also "patio" gardening). I'd like to help her out, but don't have a clue about the climate/zone situation out there. In particular, what does well? Hosta? Cactus? Honestly, I don't have a clue .... She's got some yucca in her yard, but beyond that we're kind of at a loss.

I'd like to take her some transplants from my own yard, but only if there's a reasonable chance of success. For instance, would spring woodland wildflowers work? If so, what types?

Any/all suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


PS: Her yard has a nice big shady area, otherwise sun.

Aurora, CO(Zone 5b)

If it can survive winters in Ann Arbor, it should do ok there. Only problem is that with altitude, full sun elsewhere doesn't particularly mean that here. Being higher in elevation, things can get scorched. Also, precipitation is an issue. Xeriscape is the rule of the land. You can check out High Country Gardens for ideas. They are a bit pricey. A good resource is Plant Select. It's a non profit that works with CSU (Colorado State U) and local growers in the region to see what works and what doesn't. Now, I have grown hostas, calla and canna lilies and other such water loving plants. Pretty much treat them as annuals and they have to be started indoors due to our short growing season. I'm sure you know what that is like. Oh yeah, another good source for ideas and plants is Ft Collins Wholesale Nursery. And, of course, check out the local reputable garden nurseries. I've chatted with some local, well meaning employees that have recently transplanted here that still aren't up to speed, yet. Oh yeah, the local Botanical Gardens. Some cities even have demonstration gardens for xeriscape. As they say around here, xeric doesn't mean zero. Best of luck.

Ann Arbor, MI

Thank you! This is very, very helpful. It all makes sense now. SLC and A2 have similar temperature curves and it didn't seem particularly dry when I was there this winter. But I noticed that people grow a lot more agave/yucca/sedum out there. So I figured there had to be some important differences.

PS: I definitely grow some "annual" perennials so I know what you mean.

Pueblo, CO(Zone 5b)

As I recall, there is quite a bit of variation in soils and elevations in Salt Lake City. I think "high" side of town might even be a zone colder than the "low" side of town. I know I read an article on dealing with clay soil & hardpan in Salt Lake City, but when I lived north of there (Clearfield/Hill AFB), my yard was pure blow sand - I gather that area used to be dunes next to the Great Salt Lake. All the interior west is relatively dry.

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