We live at 6,900 feet and a high elevation winter can be brutal. We seem to always have at least a couple of weeks of -20 to -40 degrees. There are a few things you need to know first about selecting your plants at high elevations whether it be annuals or perennials.
First you must know where the plants you buy come from. If a plant comes from a lower or sea level elevation they may not due too well. When we first moved here in 2005 we brought a lot of house plants. It took two years for them to acclimatize to this elevation. This may show up as annuals that don’t really get to hanging over in your hanging baskets, or perennials that seem to survive but not thrive for a couple of years.
Here’s a little tip you should know also. The plants that are perennial at lower elevations are not at higher elevations. Even though the tags say they are perennial DON’T BELIEVE IT!
Places like your local hardware stores, or grocery stores will sell plants that say they are perennial, but they do not survive up high. Always purchase your plants locally from a Nursery that you know, like and trust. You may also learn how to protect your plants and increase your output by learning how to Garden Ecologically.
The next thing you should know is if you want a plant or shrub to survive the first winter, it may need a little help. The growing season in higher elevations are shortened significantly, this shorter season means some plants may not have had time to “settle in” well.
The first year insulate completely around your plants with leaves. I was able to get 100# coffee bean bags from out local coffee bean roaster. Do NOT use plastic. The tips of your plants will be dead in spring any where they were touching plastic. Make sure you cover COMPLETELY, and watch the weather. The plants need to be covered BEFORE the thermometer dips too low.
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