CallistemonClemson’  Zn8b (10º to 15ºF) Myrtaceae
Our favorite red flowered bottlebrush that appears to be as hardy to cold as
‘Woodlander’s Hardy Red’, we await a very harsh freeze for a final assessment.
Compact growing variety to 6’ tall and as wide. Upright and spreading with very large brilliant red flowers that are borne over a very long time beginning in late spring and often continuing until a hard freeze. Flowers are the largest and most vivid of the cold hardy red flowered varieties. Blue green leaves- may be a red variety of C. pallidus. Reputed to have survived -9ºF in the South.
Callistemon pallidus ’Eleanor’ Zn8a (10º to 15ºF) Myrtaceae
Our selection of a bottlebrush that survived 12ºF with no damage in 1998- since then it has yet to be damaged by cold. Large purple “brushes” in May and June are unusual for C. pallidus. Blue gray leaves. To 6’ tall and 4’ wide in 5 years. Full sun in well drained soil. Drought tolerant when established. Very good against a blasting hot south facing wall. Blooms on wood from the previous season, prune after flowering. Hummingbird favorite in our garden.
Callistemon pallidus ‘Blue Leaved Form’ Zn8a (10º to 15ºF) Myrtaceae
From Sean Hogan of Cistus Design Nursery via Mike Lee of Colvos Creek Nursery is this stunning cold hardy bottlebrush with striking blue leaves and new growth that emerges clothed in metallic silver hairs. For the new growth alone this large bottlebrush is a winner- save for Convolvulus cneorum no hardy plant has foliage of as striking true silver. Moderately fast growing to 12’ tall and 8’ wide in 5 years. In May and June large 5” long by 2” wide yellow bottlebrush flowers combine with the blue leaves to great effect. Best in a protected location in full hot sun. May be pruned after blooming to limit size and encourage density. A MUST have shrub for collectors and hard to imagine the possibilites for designers. Regular water, not fussy about soil. Probably not professional but we call this ‘Blue Leaved From’- just to delineate it as an exceptional variety.
Callistemon pityoides ‘Corvallis’ Zn7a (0º to 5ºF) Myrtaceae
Because we grow more than one variety of C. pityoides we’ve decided to designate this variety ‘Corvallis’ where this incredibly cold hardy light yellow blooming variety thrived for 20+ years. A moderate growing fine textured shrub (the leaves are small and needle-like) to 4’ tall and only 3’ wide in 5 years. In May- July profuse and adorable 3” long by 3/4” wide creamy yellow brushes  appear and shoot out at all angles like fire-flies. They have the faint aroma of ponderosa pine. Excellent informal evergreen that very much resembles a conifer. Wonderful underplanted with Origanum ‘Norton Gold’ and Helianthemum ‘Cheviot’. Drought tolerant when established.
Callistemon pityoides ‘Mt. Kosciusco Form’ Zn7a (0º to 5ºF) Myrtaceae
Our friend Sean Hogan from Cistus Nursery knows that we love Bottlebrushes- he gave us this selection from high on  Australias’ tallest peak, Mt. Kosciusko. One of our very favorite of all shrubs that has great potential in this climate. A C. pityoides in miniature with tiny leaves and a very slow growing and compact habit to 2’ tall and as wide in 5 years. 2” light yellow bottlebrush flowers appear en masse in May through July on a tough, drought tolerant shrub that is equally at home in heavy clay or sand. May be sheared to stay VERY compact. Great for ‘Hell Strips’ or baking hot locations. Appearance very much like a Heath, works stupendously with conifers.  As with all Callistemon (family Myrtaceae) it is deer resistant.  Takes regular irrigation or total drought with equanimity. GREAT PLANT!
Callistemon sieberi  Zn7b (5º to 10ºF) Myrtaceae
An usual shrub that we appreciate more for its foliar qualitites and twisting habit than its 2” light yellow bottlebrush flowers. Tight, needle-like foliage clothes the winding stems and is tinted a distinct olive green. The bark is a flaking papery taupe color. To 5’ tall and as wide in 5 years. Very loose informal habit makes it more of a sculpture than a shrub. Very pretty with Bupleurum fruticosum and large ornamental grasses. Full sun and average soil is best- though it is surprisingly tolerant of clay. Little irrigation is needed once established. Often repeat blooms in the fall. Heaviest bloom comes on wood from the previous year. AKA River Bottlebrush as it grows along watercourses in Australia.
Callistemon ‘Woodlander’s Hardy Red’ Zn7b (5º to 10ºF) Myrtaceae  
This red flowered bottlebrush has become the standard cold hardy form in climates where the temperature regularly drops below 10ºF. Discovered and named by the late J.C. Raulston following the -9ºF freeze in North Carolina in 1984 where it was the sole survivor. We have seen 15+ year old specimens in Western Oregon that have thrived undamaged by cold. A somewhat awkward spreading shrub to 4’ tall and as wide in 5 years. Red bottlebrush flowers with a distinct raspberry pink cast appear primarily in May-June and sporadically through the season on older plants. This appears to be a form of Callistemon subulatus, but may also be close to the dubiously named species C. rigidus. It has flattened seedpods that make us think that it is closer to C. subulatus. Most distinct is the pinkish cast to the flower color which sets this selection apart. Established plants may be hard pruned after flowering to tidy the plant and encourage a denser habit. Excellent unusual shrub spilling out from behind other shorter plants. Full sun and average soil with little or a lot of summer water.  See photo below.
Callistemon viridiflorus Zn7b (5º to 10ºF) Myrtaceae  
One of our very favorite shrubs that combines ususual foliage, beautiful bark, and a great flower color. Upright growing with small scimitar shaped forest green leaves that  line the wand-like stems. In cold weather this unusual shrub takes on maroon and purple tones, a great foil to the very light tan stems and trunk. In May 4” long by 1” wide chartreuse/yellow bottlebrushes protrude from the tips of the branches shoot out at every angle. In Tasmania where it is native it follows cold air drainages, proving that is requires at least some cold for good flower set. This clone is from a specimen that survived 0ºF in 1989. FULL sun and any soil with occasional summer water. My own receives no irrigation and performs beautifully. Hardier to cold in full sun. Unusual shrub that seems to bridge the aesthetic gap between broad-leaved evergreen and conifer.
Callluna  vulgaris ‘Firefly’ Zn5a (-20º to -15ºF) Ericaceae
Somewhat upright growing heather that is among the most striking. Leaves and stems turn a brilliant salmon to brick red  with the onset of colder weather. To 18" tall and forming a shrub to 20" wide. In late summer deep mauve flowers. Tip prune in late winter to increase density and maintain a clean habit. Full sun and well drained soil with regular summer water. Great winter container plant with Carex testacea.  
Calluna vulgarisLime Glade’ Zn5a (-20º to -15ºF) Ericaeae
Brilliant chartreuse foliage with tips that change to almost white in winter on an upright growing heather to 12" tall and 15" wide. Beautiful surrounded by the blue green leaves of Acaena 'Blue Haze'. White flowers in early autumn. Full sun and well drained soil with REGULAR summer water. Tip prune in winter to maintain a tidy appearance. Great winter container plant. Essential ingredient in a tapestry garden.
Calluna vulgaris ‘Velvet Fascination’ Zn5a (-20º to -15º) Ericaeae
As an evergray foliage plant this heather ranks near the top of the list. Downy silver and blue gray foliage on an upright plant to 20" tall and up to 28" wide.
Full sun and well drained soil. EXTREMELY cool with Hebe 'Pimeba' and Olearia moschata. Trust us. White flowers in late summer. Full sun and well drained soil with occasional summer water. Prune hard in late winter for a compact, tidy appearance.
Carpentaria californica Zn7b (5º to 10ºF) Philadelphaceae
One of the great advantages of living in our favorable climate is that we are able to grow much of the fascinating flora of California; Bush Anemone is one such shrub.  A monotypic species that is native to a very limited area of the Sierra Nevada foothills. Carpentaria has been grown successfully in W.OR and WA for more than 75 years, established plantings have frozen to the ground at 0º and returned. A beautiful broad leaved evergreen for hot locations in very well drained soil with little summer irrigation. Its primary requirement for best culture in our climate is good air circulation. 3” wide pure white flowers with a central yellow boss of golden stamens appear at the tips of the stems in May-June. The blossoms have a lovely haunting fragrance (they remind me a bit of pound cake) and give a great wildflower-like display. Taupe stems have papery bark that peels with age. To 7’ tall and 5’ wide in 5 years. Prune after flowering.
Carpentaria californica ‘Elizabeth’ Zn7b (5º to 10ºF) Philadelphaceae  
A named form of Bush Anemone that was selected for its more compact habit, to 5’ tall and as wide in 5 years and more profuse flowering. The individual flowers are smaller than the species but there are more of them and they have the same amazing fragrance. Cultural requirements as the species.
Cassinia fulvida Zn7b (5º to 10ºF) Asteraceae
A dramatic foliage and architectural shrub with a very fine texture overall. Glowing olive-gold stems and leaf undersides with very tiny rounded leaves make this New Zealand daisy shrub a great feature in a dry border. Wonderful mixed with grasses and such shrubs as Arctostaphylos ‘John Dourley’. To 4’ tall and as wide in 5 years. The tips of the branches are clad in multple tiny buff white flowers in mid-summer to early fall. Blooms on new wood. Tip pruning and even severe pruning leads to great results. Best in poor soil with little summer irrigation when established. Rich soil leads to rank growth.
Ceanothus West coast home of the best blues.
While most  Wild Lilacs with the deepest blue flowers are derivatives of California species Oregon has several of its own. Ceanothus thyrsiflorus- the species from which ‘Skylark’, ‘Victoria’, and ‘Oregon Mist’ were selected is native to a very large area of SW Oregon. As far north as Lane County “BlueBlossom” adorns hillsides and bluffs with powder blue flowers in April and May. We continue to make selections from the far northern range of this and other species to ensure more hardiness to cold. There are several important things to know about Ceanothus before you make them part of your garden. First, is that they are successional plants in the wild. Often they are the first woody shrubs to occupy areas following disturbance such as fire. All are nitrogen fixers and aside from improving the soil some species actually provide shading  for trees such as Alder and Douglas Fir which will eventually overtop and shade them. Contrary to popular belief they tolerate many types of soil so long as they are all well drained to dry in summer. Over-improved soil will lead to prodigious growth, less hardiness to cold, and can leave the larger varieties susceptible to wind-rock. Tip pruning Ceanothus yearly (after blooming has ended) will often ensure a more compact, wind-fast plant and create more  growth which supplies blooms. As a group expect them to live as little as 7 years and as much as 20 if they are strictly unwatered.  There are two distinct types of Ceanothus found in the wild-those with holly-like leaves have been casually designated as Cerastes-types in the past. C. gloriosus, is an example of this designation. The other type is known as, well, Ceanothus ssp. Ceanothus.
Ceanothus x ‘Blue Jeans’ Zn7b (5º to 10ºF) Rhamnaceae (Cerastes)
An excellent and underused cold hardy Ceanothus with small dapper holly-like leaves on angular wiry stems. To 5’ tall and as wide over time. May be tip  pruned to ensure a fuller habit. One of the earliest to bloom with vivid violet blue flowers that open in March and continue through April in the Willamette Valley. Adaptable evergreen shrub that is AMAZING underplanted with early blooming yellow narcissus. Tolerates subfreezing wind in the Portland area and has been an excellent long term performer. Alright with some summer water.  As with all Cerastes types, it blooms heaviest on old wood. Takes 1-2 years to show its full bloom potential in the landscape. Good informal hedge.
Ceanothus x ‘Centennial’  Zn7b (5º to 10ºF) Rhamnaceae
In constant search of Ceanothus that are small we’ve decided to grow this selection. Low and creeping to only 6” tall it eventually spreads out to 5’ wide. Beautiful shiny green leaves and in mid-spring copious amounts of intense deep cobalt blue flowers. The darkest blue of any that we grow. Low spreading habit makes it ideal for dry sunny banks and along walls where stems will cascade over the edge. Fast growing and requires pruning to keep it in bounds. Forms a dense enough cover to smother weeds. Adapted to NO summer water once established.
Ceanothus x ‘Concha’ Zn8a (10º to 15ºF) Rhamnaceae
Unequivocally the showiest and deepest blue of all Ceanothus- unfortunately not the hardiest to cold, but since no other selection has matched it in flower color intensity and shear volume of bloom we think that it is worth a protected  place in the garden. Large specimens up to 15 years old are relatively common.  A large arching shrub with glossy forest green leaves that are smothered with clouds of ultramarine blue flowers in April to early May. To 8’ tall and as wide in 5 years. Best with little or no summer irrigation in soil that has not been over-ammended. Full sun to light shade. Makes a wonderful espalier in locations that may be too cold.
Ceanothus ‘Dark Star’  Zn7b (protected) (5º to 10ºF) Rhamnaceae
Tiny deep black green leaves and a display of intense cobalt blue flowers makes this arching wiry shrub a fantastic element in a spring garden. April through early May it is a cloud of spectacular blue flowers that open from showy red buds. To 8’ tall and as wide in 5 years. Best in poor soil with little irrigation in summer. Benefits greatly from pruning in youth. Head back large arching branches by cutting out the main leader in favor of smaller side branches. Not as tolerant of subfreezing winds in PDX- best sited on a south or west exposure. Full sun to very light shade. Blooms on wood from the previous season.
Ceanothus gloriosus var. exaltatus ‘Emily Brown‘  Zn7b (5º to 10ºF) Rhamnaceae (Cerastes)
One of the very best Ceanothus for PNW landscapes this little known variety has become one of our favorites. Cerastes type spreading shrub with small leaves to 4’ tall and eventually stretching to 8’ wide. Dark violet blue flowers appear early in spring and cover the shrub. Flower color is just one shade shy of ‘Dark Star’. Blooms most heavily on wood from the previous season. Spectacular flowering shrub for March through mid-April. Perfect for dry hillsides. Pruning after flowering  increases density and can control large spread. Great companion shrub for Bearded Iris.
Ceanothus gloriosus ‘Heart’s Desire’ Zn7b (5º to 10ºF) Rhamnaceae (Cerastes)
A low and dense variety of Pt. Reyes Ceanothus, only 4” tall and spreading to 2’ wide. Powder blue flowers appear in March. Great ground cover variety for steep slopes- layers itself and is dense enough to block out weeds. In my own garden it is underplanted with early blooming Crocus- I tuck the spent leaves under the foliage. Useful as a somewhat formal groundcover.
Ceanothus impressus ‘Vandenburg’  Zn7b  (5º to 10ºF) Rhamnaceae
Tiny verruculose leaves adorning wiry stems gives this Ceanothus a distinct identity. In April and May it becomes a cloud of dramatic, clear sky blue flowers. Great contrast with the dark foliage. To 6’ tall and as wide in 5 years. Extremely tolerant of dry conditions after its first season. Best  sited on a south or west exposure.  Brilliant flowers are a beacon to early season bees.
Ceanothus x ‘Italian Skies’ Zn8a (10º to 15ºF) Rhamnaceae
Deep blue thick flower spikes can be up to 6” long  and are among the very finest of all cultivated varieties of Ceanothus. Small glossy grass green leaves on a fast spreading shrub to 6’ tall and quickly as wide. My personal favorite for flowers. May sufffer foliage damage in colder than normal winters (below 10ºF) but recovers VERY quickly in spring and blooms beautifully. Excellent flowers and foliage. Good trained as an espalier. An English selection (hybrid) of a west coast native. The ultimate Ceanothus IMHO- Good show Britskies.
Xera Plants introduction 2004
Ceanothus thyrsiflorus ‘Oregon Mist’ Zn7a (0º to 5ºF) Rhamnaceae
Very odd that a genus cherished in California and Europe- with many native representatives in Oregon has NO selections made from this state. We’ve decided to change that by selecting a form of Blueblossom from near its northern native limit. From Coos County we chose this variety for its deep green leaves and striking turquoise blue flowers. Large growing evergreen shrub that should provide superior cold hardiness. Also, it is a great representative of this species in the wild. We took cuttings of this plant where it grew simultaneously with a salmon flowered variety of Rhododendron occidentalis inbetween California Bay (Umbelluaria) and blue flowered Iris douglasiana. Interesting that this shrub grew in heavy clay soil where running water flows during winter. To 8’ tall and as wide very quickly. May grow larger in optimum conditions, tip prune to limit size, increase density and blooming wood. Flowers late April to late May. Excellent shrub for low water native gardens. Underplant with Pacific Coast Iris which bloom concurrently and have the same cultural requirements. May also be used as a small garden tree.
Ceanothus thyrsiflorus ‘Skylark’ Zn7a (0º to 5ºF) Rhamnaceae
'Skylark' is a selected form of Ceanothus thyrsiflorus which is native from Oregon south. To 6' tall x 6 'wide with sky-blue, sweetly scented flowers in an initial large flush in late spring and then lightly for the rest of the year! Takes light irrigation but is very drought tolerant. Smaller with less water.  Full sun to light shade. Tip prune to shape after flowering. Cold hardy. Evergreen. Smaller than C. 'Victoria'. Very easy to grow.
Ceanothus thyrsiflorus ‘Repens’ Zn7a (0º to 5ºF) Rhamnaceae
A low spreading selection of one of Oregon's native Ceanothus.  Very fast growing to 1' tall by 8' wide.  Large clusters of powdery-blue flowers appear in April and May.  Give full sun and water until established, thereafter it is very drought tolerant.  Excellent large bank cover. Very showy in spring and combines well with Cistus and Halimium. Much less tender to cold than other creeping varietes.
Ceanothus x thyrsiflorus ‘Tilden Park’ Zn7b (0º to 5ºF) Rhamnaceae
Our continuous search for small Ceanothus brings us to this proported hybrid
between Ceanothus  thyrsiflorus and an unknown suitor found in Tilden Park.
Vivid blue flowers appear in late April and May on a vigorous shrub to 4’ tall and
6’ wide in five years. Leaves are deep green and considerably smaller than other Ceanothus thyrsiflorus. Clean looking shrub. Avoid soil amendments and water only until establishment in its first season.
Ceanothus x ‘Topaz’ Zn7b (5º to 10ºF) Rhamnaceae
A compact  semi-deciduous Ceanothus that blooms in the summer with perhaps some of the darkest flowers of the genus. Deep blue/black flowers appear from late May to frost followed by red seedheads. To only 4' tall and as wide. Full sun and well drained soil. Occasional summer water. Prune after flowering. Blooms on new wood. Protected locaton- takes blasting summer heat well. Favorite food source for butterflies.
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Shrubs play a vital role as the backbone of Pacific Northwest gardens.  Our winters are mild enough to enjoy a multitude of choices. Evergreen to deciduous they offer so much from profuse bloom to handsome structure.
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Callistemon Cold hardy bottlebrushes for the PNW.
Bottlebrushes are often thought of as “California Plants” which is a pity because they are all natives of Australia. Callistemon citrinus ‘Splendens’ and Callistemon viminalis the red flowered varieties planted down south aren’t hardy here and are quite different than the species that we list. Australia is a large continent and the varieties that we grow are mostly from cold alpine areas. In Australia they are often ignored in place of varieties that bloom better in the warmer climates where most Australians live. Most of these varieties have been grown in private gardens (here) for many years. If a colder than normal winter comes along (below 10ºF) winter damaged plants may be cut back in spring and will quickly regenerate, even if cut to the ground. Callistemon offer a texture and flower form unusual for the Pacific Northwest. All require full sun to bloom (at least 5 hours a day) and make excellent companions for Heaths and Heathers and even conifers. Avoid over amended soil. They actually LIKE clay. We offer the following:
Callistemon pityoides
Callistemon ‘’Woodlander’s Hardy Red’
Ceanothus x ‘Blue Jeans’
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