Stock Up on Native, Drought-Resistant and Pollinator-Feeding Plants at CMZoo’s Annual Plant Sale

April 27, 2023

With buds forming on trees, migratory birds chirping and daffodils starting to emerge, Spring is upon us in Colorado Springs. Although experts recommend waiting to plant new greens in your garden until the end of May, now is the time to start planning for your backyard or patio oasis. CMZoo’s Annual Plant Sale, on May 19, 20 and 21, 2023, is a great place to stock up.

“Our greenhouse is bursting with locally grown native, drought-resistant and pollinator-feeding plants this year, and we’re excited for everyone to join us at our annual Plant Sale in May,” said Denny Patton, senior horticulturist at CMZoo. “Bees, birds and butterflies will be hungry as they emerge and migrate at the end of May, and by planting early blooming perennial plants – which grow back every year – we can all help make their search for food a little easier.”

This year, the Zoo’s fundraising Plant Sale will be behind Water’s Edge: Africa. Zoo admission is not required to attend the Plant Sale, and Zoo guests can stop in to shop on their way out. Plant Sale attendees can access the sale from the far west end of the parking lot.

There are no reservations or tickets required to attend the Plant Sale, which will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fri., May 19, and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sat., May 20 and Sun., May 21 – when the Zoo closes early for Run to the Shrine. Plants will be available on a first-come first-served basis, so don’t be late!

This year’s Plant Sale is in-person only. There will be no online shopping or shipping options available. Come out to the Zoo and chat with our expert horticulturists about which plants work best in your garden, and know you’re supporting the ongoing beautification of the Zoo with your purchases.

The Plant Sale will feature a variety of perennial plants, shrubs, vines and more. Some of Patton’s favorites, which attendees can purchase from the Plant Sale this year, are:

Gaillardia aristata, commonly known as blanket flower, is a peachy orange and yellow daisy-shaped perennial that is native to this region. They’re highly drought tolerant and do best in full sun. Bumblebees and other pollinators are drawn to their bright, plentiful flowers, which typically grow – mostly upright with not a lot of width – to be 12 to 18 inches tall.

Solidago, often called goldenrod, is true to its common name. On a woody base, it features dense wand-like clusters of tiny gold and yellow flowers that make massive meals for pollinators. Goldenrod is drought tolerant and prefers full sun. They can grow to be more than 5 feet tall, but typically grow from 1 to 3 feet high and 3 or 4 feet wide.

Nepeta, better known as catmint, (but not to be confused with cat nip!) is a perennial herb from the mint family. These bushy plants with delicate, blue flowers prefer full sun or partial shade. They do well in dry growing conditions, which encourages more and stronger-scented flowers. They can grow to be 2 feet tall and 2 feet wide. Because they are members of the mint family, they spread easily and make good border or ground cover plants to spruce up any space while feeding hungry pollinators.

Dark Knight spirea, also called salvia or Bluebeard, helps birds, bees and butterflies fuel up in late summer. Its appearance is similar to a butterfly bush, with a woody base and long silver-gray leaves. Deep purplish-blue cone-shaped flowers emerge at the end of summer and continue to bloom until frost. Spirea are exemplary plants for xeriscaping, because they don’t require a lot of water and do well in sandy soil. This shrub is considered small in the shrub world, reaching about 3 feet in height and width at maturity.

Echinacea is a drought-tolerant perennial, and a member of the daisy family. They come in many colors, and the CMZoo Plant Sale is offering a variety with a black center, surrounded by burgundy-orange petals. Their flowers bloom at the ends of long stems, typically mid-summer to early fall. They can grow up to 4 feet high and 36 inches wide.

With a garden of pollinator perennials that bloom throughout the season, you’ll be ready to welcome butterflies, bees, hummingbirds and more to your own personal paradise. Check out the flora options and speak with CMZoo’s expert horticulturists about which plants could work well in your garden at the Plant Sale, Fri., May 19 through Sun., May 21! Get more information at

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