Sphaeralcea ‘Newleaze Coral’

An American western native wildflower that was selected for its unique flower color in the UK. Well, welcome home my pretty globe mallow.  A tall growing semi-woody perennial with soft gray/green foliage. From June to September and longer cupped vivid coral flowers line the 3′ stems. It blooms non-stop for up to two months. Very pretty. Full, hot sun and rich, to average WELL DRAINED soil. A natural for a slope or included in a border where you water just on occasion. Very drought adapted for full hot sun. Do not cut this big wavy perennial back in autumn- leave the top growth as added winter protection. Cut back by 2/3 when you see new growth pushing in spring. Good drainage is key for the combination of wet + arctic air. Dry its hardy way below 0ºF- moist- well, a lot warmer. Excellent long blooming tall plant for seasonal containers as well. Does not like shade. Don’t even try. To 2′ wide.

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Sphaeralcea incana

We’ve been impressed with the performance of this striking very upright globe mallow. Spikes clad in soft orange flowers appear continuously for months in summer. To 4′ tall ultimately this forms a semi-woody clump to 2′ wide. Full, HOT sun and WELL DRAINED soil with light summer water. Freezes back in winter almost to the ground and vigorously resprouts for the base and grows quickly when hot weather arrives. Excellent on slopes, hot gravel gardens. Not bothered by rust or other diseases that can afflict mallows. Mulch lightly for the first winter for added protection. Stunning in bloom and carefree once established. Cut back dead top growth in mid-spring. Some deer resistance. Takes blasting reflected heat well.  SW native plant.

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Stachys coccinea ‘Coral’

For flowers in this genus this is THE plant. Upright growing plant from a clump that rises to 2′ and produces multiple spikes of bright coral colored flowers. They are arranged in symmetrical whorls up the stem. Loved by hummingbirds who constantly seek nectar from the flowers that appear from late spring to late summer. When flower spikes are spent simply cut them away and water and more will arrive. Very easy to grow long blooming perennial for full sun to part shade in rich, well drained soil with light but consistent summer water. Very drought adapted when established. Works well in borders and even seasonal containers. The leaves have a very familiar lemon lime aroma. Dies to a low clump of foliage in winter.

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Stachys lavandulifolia

Curious and pretty small perennial that has lovely leaves that have symmetrical black veins. As the plant expands it sends up spikes clad in frosty hairs around violet purple flowers. The don’t exactly go straight up but wind around a little bit. This gives the whole plant an overall haze that is truly fantastic. Appreciate sunny dry environs with sharp drainage but  as rich of soil as you can muster. Ideally it finds a home in a dry border or rock garden. Winter deciduous perennial to 18″ x 18″ in a season. Blooms repeatedly all summer. Light summer H20 and drought adapted when very established. Mixes well with Cranesbill (Erodium) and Scutellaria suffrutescens. Pretty little cut flower that acts as a boa in a small arrangements. Very good butterfly and pollinator perennial. Absorbs blasting hot locations. Flowers when spent turn to light brown wands of fuzz- this extends this plants season of interest.

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Stipa barbata

Silver Feather Grass- our favorite ornamental grass. From humble blue leaves that form an upright grassy clump stems rise to 4′. As the flower open they unfurl- curling 18″ long horizontally and covered in soft downy hairs. The slightest wind puts these streamers into graceful motion. Blooms June-July. When the flowers ripen and begin to detach they can be gathered and made into a bouquet and the tails will curl up and form a soft tan haze. An arrangement lasts forever. Often self sows in open conditions- and this is good because it is not an easy grass to germinate and does not work from division. Easy to move when small. Give it an open position where you can observe the streaming flowers unobstructed. Very hardy and little summer water once established. Full sun. Semi-evergreen foliage in winter. High deer resistance. Spectacular grass. See video below.

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Stipa gigantea

This is the giant straight species that is so popular for its soaring silver stems and golden drooping awns. To 12′ tall in bloom from a tight but large basal clump of fine deep green leaves. Perfectly evergreen with a great winter appearance. Very easy to grow grass that provides spectacular garden effects. Incredibly drought tolerant in any well drained soil- including clay if it is not allowed to become bone dry concrete. Flowers make a great see through “scrim” in gardens. Fun to grow. Moderate deer resistance.

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Stipa gigantea ‘Little Giant’

As if a wonderful grass couldn’t get any better this smaller version thrills us with so many more applications. A low clump of arching dense dark green evergreen foliage has a nice presence year round. In spring and continuing all throughout summer into autumn 3′-4′ spikes terminate in clouds of metallic golden awns. They sparkle in full sun and sway in the breeze- but are determinedly upright. The basal clump of leaves spreads slowly to 2′ wide in 5 years. Full sun and well drained soil- bud adaptable to anything but a bog. Evergreen. Cut back spent flowers in winter- or let them stay and wave around beckoning birds and wildlife. Moderate deer resistance. Little to no summer water when established.

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Symphoricarpos albus

Common snowberry is very widespread in our state and is found in a host of biomes This small, deciduous, suckering shrub begins spring with leaves of the freshest green, so fresh they flutter on the late spring early summer breeze. After several weeks of foliage the small white tinted pink flowers are shaped like small bowls and line the stem at every leaf axil. These morph into plush, plump pure white berries that are quite a bit larger than the relatively insignificant flowers. The berries (drupes) are perched in groups on the stems. Their pure white hue is easy to spot for humans and especially birds.They relish the berries while they are toxic for humans.  To 32″ tall forming a dome shaped suckering shrub twice as wide. Water to establish the first season then none in subsequent years. Mulch heavily.  The berries last well into winter before becoming animal snacks. The gray thin arching stems create a haze on the forest floor that becomes acid green as leaves appear. Spreads by stolons underground to expand its territory. Its adaptable to both upland quite dry situations as well as vernally wet spots in floodplains and fields. In the Willamette Valley its common associates are with Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglas Fir)  Quercus garryana  ( Oregon White Oak) and Fraxinus latifolia ( Oregon Ash) as an understory component. Its tolerant of dense shade as long as its deciduous to full hot sun, Very well adapted to the driest summers. In summer the acid green leaves change to a dark blue green and are often afflicted by a strain of powdery mildew- my whole life I’ve known this shrub and I’ve never seen powdery mildew cause any permanent damage- mostly its just a poor aesthetic look for late summer to autumn. Fall color is soft yellow and brief. Branches may be carefully cut in berry and will hold them in arrangements for quite a few days. An excellent forage and cover plant for native fauna.  A great native shrub for beginners. This is the taller form of the two species that we grow. Native to the Portland city limits. Moderate deer resistance. One of our best shrubs for seasonally dry shade.  Oregon native plant.

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Pacific Aster. Our selection of a widespread beach aster species that circles much of the temperate Pacific Rim. This form tops out at a compact 30″ on an upright plant that forms expanding clumps in rich to average soil ‘Short Sands’ is a purple form from seed of a very dark purple specimen that Greg found.  It is by far the darkest purple that we have encountered in this species. The majority are white to very light lavender. Most often its habitat is adjacent or very near the coastal strand. Its adapted to all kinds of soils from sand to clay and it appreciates deep infrequent water during the summer season. Blooms begin in August and open until mid November. This aster is often seen along the sides of HWY 101. In fleeting glimpse you can capture small periwinkle daisies late in the season. A pollinator master piece. All sorts of natives recognize this showy perennial. Full sun to light shade. It seems to be most vertical in full sun and average soil. Over amended soils, too much water, or too much shade will lead to a splaying flop. The flat upturned daisies come in rows of two for a fuller look and are a natural landing pad for butterflies.  Winter deciduous, very tolerant of dry conditions when established but does better with deep infrequent summer drinks. Cut back hard in spring- a new batch of leaves will just be arriving. This sophisticated  native is at home in pampered borders or wild areas. Associated plants in habitat are Mianthemum dilitatum, Calamagrostis nutkensis, and Vaccinium ovatum. Its habitat is dwindling as Everlasting Pea (Lathyrus latifolius) and Ox Eye Daisy (Dendranthema) have crowded this special plant out  Excellent garden plant.  Oregon native plant

Xera Plants Introduction

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Symphyotrichum subspicatum ‘Sauvie Star’

One of our color selections of the locally native Douglas Aster. This cultivar originates from seed collected on Sauvie Island. This is the predominant wild Aster of the Willamette Valley. A boisterous long blooming perennial at home in wild areas. Rich to average soil with light summer water. Blooms- in this case, periwinkle blue open in early August and continue unabated  to October. They are beacons to all pollinators and are constantly in motion as they bloom. To 32″ tall  forming wide patches. Runs by underground stolons. Nice cut flower. Wetland remediation, forest verges, denuded road cuts. Those are jobs for you Douglas Aster. Oregon native plant.

Xera Plants Introduction.

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