We have been so impressed with the performance of this small evergreen tree species that when we saw this charming narrow leaved form we snagged it. An upright growing but not wide tree to 18′ tall. The thin leaves are 4mm wide but up to 6cm long and are thinly produced so that the tree has a fine texture and is even better to view the late winter and early spring red brushy, flowers. Moderately fast growing it is also very drought tolerant. Water to establish and in summer  or to speed growth otherwise it can get by on natural rainfall. Very neat and tidy and cold hardy to -5ºF.  This tree is a good candidate for areas affected by subfreezing east wind- its exceptionally tolerant of that for a broad leaved evergreen. Full sun to high overhead shade ( with less of the red flowers). In time the cut branches can be brought inside and forced into bloom for arrangements. Not deer food, but i’m not as familiar with this form. Unusual, tough and beautiful. Narrow leaved Sycopsis.  Tolerates many soil types including heavy soils in upland situations. SW China

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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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Symphyotrichum chilense ‘Short Sands Purple’

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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Tanecetum densum ‘Amani’

You can’t resist the finely divided feathery nearly white foliage of this great small scale ground cover. Foliage to 4″ tall and spreading to 2′ wide in full sun and well drained soil. Light summer water. Small flowers lacking petals have a center of off white/gold in early summer. Excellent performance on slopes as well as rock gardens.  Evergreen. Loves life in the hellstrip.

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Tetrapanax papyifera ‘Steroidal Giant’

Big form of the already big Japanese Rice Paper plant. Enormous 3′ wide leaves look jurassic and erupt in spring from seemingly spindly bare stalks. Fast growing deciduous shrub/tree that also suckers to form wide colonies. To 18′ tall in 5 years with multiple trunks in deep rich soil with regular irrigation. Full sun to part shade. Be aware that this plant travels. It moves stealthily underground and can be many feet away from the parent plant before you notice it. The more root disturbance the more errant suckering. Give it room and respect. Light summer water. Almost blooms each autumn before running out of heat and daylength. Bare sticks in winter. It may also be contained the same as bamboo. It is, however, easy to pull the suckers by hand. Wait until they grow several leaves and then grab it by the stem and wiggle, slowly at first then in wide arcs and pull. It will pull right up. Also, there is a conspicuous indumentum (brown fur) all over the plant and especially the leaves, these tiny hairs when rubbed off or disturbed can cause skin irritation in some people. Wear gloves and a rain coat while pruning.

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Teucridium parviflorum

A stylish shrub/subshrub that is native to the drier parts of New Zealand, and offers great fine texture. The stems which are the only thing that differentiates this from the genus Coprosma- they are square. are golden orange woody stems that  rise up to about 4′ tall by 3′ wide.  Tiny round green leaves decorate these stems and in late spring and early summer small white flowers appear in the leaf axils. This plant can quickly return from the roots if chopped back severely or frozen to the ground. Established plants can regain their stature in several months. Average to enriched soil that is never boggy in summer. The fine foliage  common adaptation in New Zealand, most likely the fine texture of the shrub was to foil grazing giant moa birds and other predators. Very good in containers ( it will be less hardy in a container as with  everything) and it can be crowded heavily and still thrive. In the ground give it enriched soil and regular summer water for its first season. Let it grow as much as possible and develop a resilient root system- in the case of an arctic event it will be well prepared to regrow.. Mulch in fall for the first year. The luminous stems and see through appearance make it combine well with bolder textured plants. Regiar water in summer speeds growth and establishment the first year, in subsequent years it only requires irrigation once every two weeks. Freezes the ground at about 20ºF, returns quickly in spring when the soil warms. Not bothered by deer, not sure about rabbits. Excellent architectural plant. We took a break from growing this plant for years, we’re happy that its back.

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Teucrium aroanum

Low ground cover Germander that is at home in hot sunny aspects in well drained conditions. The fine gray foliage rises to 5″ tall and forms a spreading plant.  Beginning in early summer and extending to fall soft purple to lavender clusters of flowers cover the surface of the plant. Though small this plant is a huge hit with pollinators. Full, hot sun and light summer water to establish. Not a fan of heavy soils and sodden conditions  In the wild this plant is primarily a resident of rocky sites and hillsides of the Mediterranean. This ever gray perennial is good looking in winter. Foliage is aromatic and has fruity tints to the fragrance. Mix with other smaller rock garden plants or develop a small area that acts as a groundcover. Loathes shade. Good container or trough plant. Grows up to 18″ wide in several years. Pollinator masterpiece. Moderate deer resistance.

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Teucrium fruticans

Silver Germander is a wiry shrub with gray foliage and even lighter gray/white stems. All summer it bears pale blue small flowers with a prominent central lip. Traditionally used in topiary or as a trimmed hedge, it takes amazingly well to heavy shearing. It responds by becoming incredibly dense. Its malleability  leads people to also trim it into any whimsical shape they can dream of. Full sun, average, well drained soil. Little to light summer water when established. Requires full sun and a hot position with protection from subfreezing wind. Classic mediterranean shrub. Grows as well at the cool coast as it does in the hot inland areas. To 4′ x 4′ if left unpruned.

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Thymus vulgaris ‘Peter Davis’

Form of the useful culinary herb that is also a nice looking little evergreen shrublet. To 6″ x 6″ the gray green foliage is aromatic and most useful before it blooms. In early summer it becomes a ball of light pink flowers- very pretty. Wait a bit until the blooms have receded to harvest again. A first rate, semi-woody evergreen garden plant that is good looking for most of the year. Average to rich, well drained soil in full sun. Light summer water. Very easy go grow. Takes quite a bit of drought when established.

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