Promoting the Use of Utah Native Plants in the Urban Landscape

Utah’s incredible geographic diversity results in a wide range of habitats that support a broad spectrum of native plant material. Over 385 species of native woody plants and over 100 species of Penstemon can be found in Utah alone!

One goal of the Center for Water Efficient Landscaping (CWEL) is to explore potential uses of Utah native plants for Utah's urban landscapes. The Center for Water Efficient Landscaping is investigating select species found in low elevation habitats that are likely to use minimal water and provide aesthetic appeal in urban landscapes.

Once plants with superior landscape characteristics are identified in the field, CWEL researchers determine how they perform in a managed landscape and what their propagation and production requirements are.

Select Species Identified for Further Research

Waterwise and Native Plants Related Peer-Reviewed Publications

Older Publications

Water-Wise and Native Plants Related Extension Fact Sheets

Apache Plume in the Landscape

Apache plume is an evergreen shrub that can reach five feet tall and wide in a landscape setting. This plant’s most distinguishing and attractive feature is the feathery, redturning-pink seedhead that emerges after the white rose-like, five-petaled flower...

Firecracker Penstemon in the Landscape

Bright scarlet flowers that shower from arching stems of firecracker penstemon have made this plant a favorite of many penstemon enthusiasts. The species is found throughout the West at elevations from 3,000 to 11,000 feet.

Little Bluestem in the Landscape

This plant can be found naturally in desert surroundings, along waterways, and in rock crevices. This is a long-living plant that can be used ornamentally as a specimen, in a rock garden, or anywhere soil stabilization is desired. In winter, the seeds are...

Mountain Beebalm in the Landscape

This mound-forming perennial is typically seen in higher elevations in the interior West. The lavender or rose-purple flowers are attractive to insects, especially bees and butterflies. This plant is easy to establish and maintain in Intermountain West la...

Nurturing Native Plants

This publication is a compilation of successful protocols from research literature for native woody plants in Utah. The guide is laid out much like a recipe; listing the various ingredients and materials for each 'dish', and step-by-step instructions to r...

Propagating Bigtooth Maple

The first step in producing native plants with greater application in the landscape industry is to propagate or reproduce exceptional selections of these plants.

Selection and Culture of Landscape Plants in Utah

The purpose of this series of publications is to recommend plants and landscape management procedures for various regions of the state. This edition targets the communities of the high mountain valleys of the state (Rich, Morgan, Summit, and Wasatch count...

Shrub Selection for Utah Landscapes

Urban and suburban landscapes present special challenges concerning shrub selection in Utah. Due to our distinctive climate, shrubs must be able to withstand intense sunlight, low relative humidity, drying winds, and limited seasonal precipitation.

Water-Wise Plants for Utah Landscapes

This fact sheet includes a water-wise list of ornamental trees, shrubs, herbaceous perennials, ornamental grasses, and ground covers. The plants on the list are (1) water-conserving, (2) adapted to Utah’s arid climate and cold winters, (3) available in th...

Utah Native Plant Books

Nurturing Native Plants

This publication is a compilation of successful protocols from research literature for native woody plants in Utah. The guide is laid out much like a recipe; listing the various ingredients and materials for each 'dish', and step-by-step instructions to r...

Water Wise

Convenient and comprehensive, Water Wise provides specific information about shrubs, trees, grasses, forbs, and cacti that are native to most states in the Intermountain West, and that can be used in landscaping to conserve water, reflect and preserve the...