Plants native to Fort Collins are adapted to our rainfall, temperatures, and soil types. In landscaped areas, native plants generally use less water, are hardier, and are more disease resistant than species native to other regions of Colorado, the United States, or other countries. Planting native species encourages the presence of native insects and microorganisms that benefit the plants and keep them healthy without the need for chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
Re-establishing native species in the urban environment adds food, cover, and nesting sites for native wildlife. These urban plantings also offer refuges and seed banks for native plants, promoting the spread of these species to natural areas (versus promoting the spread of introduced plants, some of which can seriously impact natural areas). A backyard composed primarily of native plants becomes an interacting changing landscape that offers a glimpse into the complexities of the natural world and a haven for native songbirds and other wildlife.
For more information, see our brochure, Fort Collins Native Plants. (PDF format, 2MB)
Come visit the native plant garden at the Natural Areas Department's offices, 1745 Hoffman Mill Road (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.). Native Plant Demonstration Garden brochure.
Design and planning tips are the focus of Welcome to the World of Backyard Wildlife Habitat (originally a brochure that is now out of print. The website features the brochure text).
Have you seen a beautiful yellow flower along the Cache la Poudre River corridor? Unfortunately, this is creeping yellowcress, an invasive exotic plant that does not belong here. This is bad news for wildlife because non-natives crowd out the native plants that support native wildlife. Yellowcress can establish from a piece of root as small as one inch! Learn more in this article >>>
Are you interested in what is blooming and identifying plants? During the warm months, volunteers produce wildflower handouts for Soapstone Prairie. They also maintain the trailhead bulletin boards at Cathy Fromme Prairie.
Are rare plants hiding in Fort Collins? Dedicated volunteers and Natural Areas Department staff are working hard for conservation through the identification of rare plants. If a rare or historic plant is found it will be protected, thus leading to the protection of surrounding habitat. During field season, the team searched for plants daily. The results are amazing. Read more >>>