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Why Use Native Plants?

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.

How to find native plants.

Check local nurseries, plant sales at local botanic gardens such as the Gardens on Spring Creek and other non-profit conservation groups in the region. Some native plant species are difficult to find commercially. Contact local nurseries to request the species you want to plant – supply and demand!

Collecting in the wild

Per Fort Collins Municipal Code (Sec. 23-193 (d)), except as authorized by a permit obtained for such use, it shall be unlawful to collect seeds, plants or cuttings of trees, shrubs, vines, grasses, wildflowers or other plants in a natural area, or otherwise remove the same from a natural area. Always get permission from the landowner before collecting plants.

Are Native and Xeric the same thing?

No. Xeric plants are considered low water use plants and may or may not be native. Native plants have evolved in our area and some species may require moderate or high water.

Are non-natives bad for the environment?

Not all non-natives are bad but there is a level of risk involved when planting a species not native to the area. With the introduction of the internet, plants are available to ship from all over the world.  Many noxious weeds are being introduced as an ornamental that can be purchased online. These aggressive plants escape the places they were planted and make their way to our drainages, open spaces and natural areas outcompeting native plants, displacing wildlife and lowering land values. Visit the Colorado Noxious Weed Species site for the most up to date list of noxious weeds and make sure to keep these harmful species out of your landscape. 

Why aren’t all the cultivars or varieties of plants listed on a plant entry?

We recognize that not all cultivars or varieties of a particular plant are listed on each plant entry. It is difficult for us to keep up with the volume of plant varieties introduced to the industry each year and not all varieties have been personally tested by someone on our staff. If you find a variety or cultivar of a plant that is not listed on our plant list, but the genus, species is, do some independent research to understand if that particular plant may be a good fit for your needs.

Where can I find more information on the programs listed in the database?

Xeriscape Incentive Program: Rebate program for conversion of high-water need landscapes to low-water need landscapes.

Nature in the City : Nature in the City: a program that works to increase connectivity across high quality natural spaces, improve access to nature, and inspire stewardship across the community. Learn more about resources, including funding opportunities, to support your project.

Approved Street Tree List: A list of tree species, mostly medium to large maturing, approved by the City of Fort Collins Forestry Division to be planted within the public right-of-way and will be maintained by the Division in the future.