Tough, durable, and pretty evergold shrub that becomes a fountain of crystal white tubular fragrant flowers from July to November. Fast growing to 4′ x 4′ in just three years. Gold foliage contrasts well with madder red stems and calyxes of the flowers. Adaptable to both full sun and to part shade. Leaves are more vivid in full sun. Regular water to establish then just occasional water. Amenable to all types of pruning. Sheared, chopped, lightly cut doesn’t matter, it regrows fast and blooms on new wood so you aren’t messing anything up. Hedges, specimens. The parking lot at Fred Meyers. Lovely shrub.
Biome: Low Water/No Water
Rainfall in the Pacific Northwest takes an annual break during our summers when days are longest and hottest and evaporation far exceeds anything that falls from the sky. It makes sense to seek out plants that are adapted to dry summer conditions. A large selection of these plants are from the Mediterranean or are natives of the West Coast. Most importantly, these plants save water and money without sacrificing good looks. And many drought adapted plants actually shun summer water. Its wise to group these plants together and designate a no water zone. You’ll be amazed at what a beautiful vibrant garden you can have without irrigation. Find the right plants and then trust their built in adaptation- its a simple and smart way to garden. And it saves resources- as well as the gardeners precious time. The following plants once established will weather a hotter than normal summer without undue stress. That is one or more years after installation. The better you treat a plant in the beginning the sooner it will develop drought adaptation. The better established the more drought tolerant.
Climate Adapted Plants for Gardeners in the PNW
Abelia (Linnaea) x grandiflora ‘Rose Creek’
Compact and very flowery this form of the dependable Abelia fits into smaller areas and perfumes the late summer to autumn gardens with masses of small white flowers. To just 4′ x 4′ in 7 years for full sun to light shade and most soils. Drought adapted when established, it will also accept regular summer irrigation. Slow growing and cold hardy evergreen. Following the massive bloom, the calyx of each flower remains and turns madder red. A second season of showiness that persists as a red glow through winter. This dense shrub retains its good looks for year without needing much pruning. Pruning should be done in early spring. Blooms on wood from the current season.
An exciting shrub/small tree with paddle shaped blue evergreen phyllodes for foliage and in late winter to early spring a massive display of luminous yellow flowers. I’ve always loved Australian wattles so it was with great excitement that we decided to grow this striking plant. Moderately fast growing to 16′ tall and 8′ wide forming either multiple or a single trunk. The bark is chocolate brown and smooth. Very few Australian Acacias will thrive in Portland, its just about 5 degrees too cold in our coldest years. This one is different, (a few species will live for 4-6 years before they finally succumb to Jack Frost. Acacia pravissima etc.) This, however, is the cold hardiest that we have grown. It is hardy to just below 10ºF for brief stints- good enough for long term survival. This is a rare limited endemic to the high mountains of New South Wales but is popular as a garden subject the world over. The small, fluffy, balls of electric yellow flowers foam among the blue leaves – incredibly pretty. Full sun and a protected location – against a south facing wall is ideal for a very pretty fun to grow tree. Once fully open the flowering stems may be cut for long lasting bouquets. Blooms on wood from the previous season, prune if needed after flowering has ended. Light consistent water to establish . Not fussy about soils and happiest in full, all day sun. Protect from subfreezing east wind. Bloom time is concurrent with several earlier Ceanothus (‘Blue Jeans’, ‘Dark Star’, ‘Concha’) and creates a vivid early spring yellow and blue display not soon to be forgotten. Drought adapted when established. Not bothered by deer/elk- not entirely sure about rabbits- if they are profuse in your neighborhood it wouldn’t hurt to protect the plant with chicken wire when young. Beautiful year round and spectacular in bloom. AKA Blue Bush.
Acanthus mollis ‘Hollard’s Gold’
Bear’s Breeches is a standard perennial in our region for dry shady environs. And though the bold foliage is amazing we’ve been drawn to this form which turns it up a notch. Nearly 3′ long bold leaves are imbued with gold changing to acid green as the season continues. In early summer the fantastic white/mauve/grey chalice-like flower spikes rise to 4′ tall. Forms imposing clumps quickly in rich to average, well drained soil with light, consistent summer water. Takes dry conditions well and will actually resort to summer dormancy in extreme conditions. Evergreen to about 20ºF. Low deer resistance. Shines in the deepest shade. A very permanent plant that will live for decades.
Outrageous Bear’s Breeches for hot and sunny aspects. Forms large rosettes of spiked intricate leaves that almost lay flat on the ground. In summer, enormous chalice-like soft purple blooms rise to 2′ tall. Each flower opens to reveal yellow petals. A beautiful combination. Full sun and rich, well drained soil with light summer water. Give this plant room and air circulation. It does not like to be crowded. Fully cold hardy and completely winter deciduous. Established plants can get by on less water. Moderate deer resistance. To 2′ wide in several seasons. Spectacular cut flower.
Vine Maple is perhaps our most beautiful native maple. Found from SW British Columbia to Northern California in the Shasta area. Its a pervasive understory tree throughout the western part of the state. It derives its name from its almost vine like habit in shade. This winding and sun seeking component leads to the most graceful natural forms. In full sun it is a compact, multi-trunked shrub. In autumn in both habitats it turns to shades of fiery orange and yellow and red. Vivid against the pure green trunks and stems. One of the most dramatic places you will see this shrub is at 4500′ on Belknap crater on McKenzie Pass where it lives among the lava. In early fall the brilliant colors of the maples contrasts wonderfully with the black lava. Its very hot and very dry but its also very high in elevation. The symmetrically serrated round leaves rival any Japanse maple. In shade established trees get by with little summer water. In the sun irrigation is welcome. Rich to average soil with regular applications of mulch. To 16′ tall in shade and again quite a bit shorter in full sun- very wide in shade. Avoid the reflected heat of south facing walls. This shrub/tree belongs on the north side or under substantial shade. Some deer resistance. Excellent underplanted with native ferns and Gaultheria. A common native that should be a more common ornamental. Tiny red flowers turn into sunny orange samaras by autumn and persist past the leaves. Avoid very dry shade of un-irrigated over hangs. This is a semi-mesic maple. Oregon native plant
This is the locally native form of our wild yarrow. A rambunctious, easy to grow evergreen perennial for rough sites in well drained soil in full sun. Continuously from spring to autumn ‘umbels’ of pure white flowers rise 18″ above low spreading aromatic, finely divided ferny foliage. Most often it is green with variants that have gray foliage from time to time. Low water perennial that can even be used as a lawn substitute. A single plant spreads to several feet wide. Moderate deer resistance. Butterflies oh the butterflies.This is a pioneer perennial and will often out compete less robust native perennials. Its best use is as a contained weed. It is great for pollinators Individual plants rarely persist more than 3 years. Oregon native plant.
Achillea millefolium ‘Calistoga’
A fine form of our native Yarrow that has leaves that are a striking gray with pure, clean white flowers. A great combination. Spreads to form a low wide plant that is evergreen (gray). The flat clusters of flowers appear continuously from May to frost. More consistently if you remove spent flowers. The umbels, unusual for the daisy family, are loved by butterflies. Well, actually all pollinators. They are given a flat landing pad and tons of flowers- what more could you want. Excellent for low care areas where this romping perennial will happily out compete weeds and hold ground with very light amounts of water. Full sun and well drained soil. its best to double dig the soil to incorporate oxygen and de-compact the soil. Does not like compacted soil. Light but consistent summer water speeds growth and vigor. Otherwise very drought tolerant. Excellent on slopes. To 20″ tall in bloom on a low spreading foliage plant to 2′ wide or wider. High deer resistance. Great cut flower. Mix with other low water plants. Pretty with other colors of yarrow. Oregon native plant.
Achillea millefolium ‘Pretty Woman’
Of all the selections of our native yarrow this stands out for many reasons. The ‘umbels’ of flowers are a rich red which holds the color for an extended period. It fades only slightly to a rust red with time. Its vigorous and easy to grow. And it re-blooms reliably if spent flowers are removed. All the way until frost and sometimes longer. A very, very good long-lasting cut flower. To 18″ tall forming spreading colonies. Semi-evergreen. Low water when established in well-drained soils. Excellent to moderate deer resistance. Appreciates an annual application of compost. Oregon native plant.
Achillea millefolium ‘Salmon Beauty’
Yarrow is an unbeatable native perennial that blooms for a LONG time with a minimum amount of effort from the gardener. Foamy, ferny gray green leaves creates a low carpet of evergreen foliage. Rising up on 2′ spikes flat umbels of soft salmon flower create landing pads for pollinators. The flowers fade lightly after opening for a wonderful multicolor effect. Remove spent flowers, apply a little water and it will repeat bloom until frost. Best in lighter soils that are enriched but drain quickly. Best floral displays occur with light consistent summer water though it is very drought tolerant when established. Tolerates the toughest, hottest sites. Admirable if a little pungent cut flower. LOVED by pollinators. Creates a growing patch to several feet wide quickly. Blooms spring- autumn. Moderately deer resistant. Borders, dry borders, hell strips, etc. Oregon native plant.
A wonderful relatively new Achillea (Yarrow) from Siberia. It brings not only larger chalk pink flowers in bold umbels it is cold hardy to USDA Zone 2. This plant will never freeze out. Forms expanding clumps with upright stems clothed in glossy long green leaves with small teeth. On 22″ stems umbels of flowers appear from May to August. After the first flush of flowers shear away and water and another round will commence. The long stems make great long lasting cut flowers too. Loved by a bazillion pollinators, hover flies, bees of all kinds swarm the flat landing pad. Full sun to very light shade in rich, soil that drains. Incorporate some oxygen in by double digging. Good companion plants are Agastaches and Penstemons as well as ornamental grasses. Completely deciduous in winter. Light consistent summer H20 to establish. Long lived perennial. Moderate deer resistance. Elegant perennial. Siberian Yarrow.
Great Hounds Tongue or Giant Pacific Forget-me-Not is one of our most remarkable native perennials. On the property where I grew up near Eugene it was native. There was a clump of this majestic perennial that was there for nearly my whole life. Unfortunately, we sold the property but this plant was still there last I checked. In the Willamette Valley and out into the Columbia Gorge you see these luminous blue flowers on a sturdy spikes in the dry areas under oaks. Often seen with Wyethia -Mules ears which blooms later. Large fleshy leaves form a substantial clump. In early to mid spring 2′ spikes reveal outrageously large versions of Forget-me-nots. Established plants will then go dormant with summer drought. Adapted to xeric clay soils that dry in summer. Not only does it not require water established plants can resent it and rot. Place in a wild, shady, unwatered part of your garden. Amend the soil lightly with compost and water in well. Pairs with other native perennials such as Sidalceas. In the wild it is accompanied by Erythronium oreganum , Lathyrus nevadensis, Fritillaria affinis, Dodecatheon hendersonii, and Ranunculus occidentalis. That is what grew with our patch, under white and black native oaks, with a madrone here and there. Impressive native perennial whose intense blue flowers are hard to convey in a photograph. It takes an extended time from seed to a growable plant. Patience because of limited quantities. SLOW Oregon native plant.
Sweet little evergreen shrublet with fine blue foliage. Atop a rounded form in spring, masses of light pink flowers are incredibly showy for such a diminutive plant. To about 8″ x 1′ forming a bun. This member of the brassica tribe is excellent in rock gardens or even on hot dry sunny slopes. Full sun and average, well drained soil. Light to little summer water. Blooms for 3-4 weeks in mid to late spring. Cut back hard after blooming- new blue foliage will flush out almost immediately. Troughs, rock gardens. Low care rock garden classic.
Agapanthus ‘Tall Blue Xera’
This is a strain of Agapanthus from the very cold hardiest varieties that we grow. Not only are these perfectly hardy to cold they are naturally completely deciduous. Even better they wait to emerge until all danger of frost has past. Many ‘hardy’ CA varieties leaf out in the false spring of late winter and then get nipped hard by possible late freezes. Not at all fussy about soil but best in enriched soil with light consistent summer irrigation. Large globes of rich sky blue flowers are bigger than a grapefruit and wave at the top of 3′-4′ stems. Quite a bit taller than other hardy varieties. Full sun to very light shade and not fussy. They will live in containers for eons and bloom like crazy. Flowers appear from late June to early August and are very showy. This is a very pretty tall strain that is reliable and kind of hard to F up. If you’ve lost Agapanthus in a cold garden or unfortunate freeze this is the one to try. As with all Agapanthus they thrive and bloom in neutral to alkaline soil. Incorporate a handful of lime in the hole at planting time. Strappy clumps of mid-green leaves are handsome following bloom. As the plant multiplies it increases its blooms stem count markedly.
Xera Plants Introduction
Agapanthus ‘White Profusion’
Born and bred in the PNW this excellent compact and extremely floriferous white flowered Lily-of-the-Nile is a first rate selection. To 20″ tall and forming an expanding but compact clump. Flowers appear for 4-6 weeks in mid-summer. Clear, pristine white with abundant flower spikes- a small amount of leaves supports copious flower spikes- a great attribute of the best Agapanthus. Lots of flowers/few leaves. Full sun to very light shade in rich, well drained soil with regular summer water. Completely winter deciduous. Handsome pale green matte foliage. Long lived perennial. Mix with Blue Agapanthus for contrast. Bloom stems increase markedly with the size of the clump. Our favorite hardy white Lily of the Nile. Agapanthus do best in neutral to alkaline soil. Incorporate a handful of lime in the planting hole.
Agapanthus x ‘Stripes’
An excellent cold hardy Lily-of-the-Nile that was bred in the PNW. To 3′ tall in bloom from a low basal presence of strappy green leaves. Each flower in the truss is light blue with darker blue stripes. They are pretty up close- from a distance it reads as glowing baby blue. And you can use this luminosity to your advantage. Easy to grow perennial for full sun to very light shade in rich, well drained soil with regular summer water. This cultivar performs even without regular water but the blooms last longer and are larger with it. Completely deciduous in winter. Agapanthus perform best in neutral to alkaline soil, incorporate a handful of lime in the planting hole.
Agastache ‘Lilac Moon’
Cool bicolored Hummingbird Mint that has masses of flowers that appear from orange buds which quickly change to luminous light lavender when open. To 20″ tall and forming a clump this very, very, long blooming perennial is delightful for hummingbirds, bees and butterflies. A soft pastel coloration that pairs wonderfully with light yellow flowers and even blue. Great in seasonal containers. Blooms non-stop from June to October. Do not remove flower spikes as new flowers will appear continuously from the same spike. Rich, WELL DRAINED soil with light, consistent summer water. Its best to water Agastaches consistently during their first year in the ground- to establish a large root system. Ideal on slopes- to assist in drainage in winter. Double dig soil to incorporate lots of oxygen in the soil. One of our favorite introductions. An amazing combination of flower colors on a single plant. Do not cut back until new growth has flushed out in spring and all threat of a hard freeze has passed.
Xera Plants Introduction
Agastache ‘Berry Princess’
We believe this to be a cross inheriting some of the coloration of A. auranticus as well as A. cana. To 28″ tall this clump forming, everblooming perennial brings bright red buds that open to purple flowers. The colorful combination lasts all summer into autumn. New flowers are born on the same spikes so do not remove. Moderate consistent water through the first summer to establish. Double dig soil to incorporate oxygen into the soil and aid in irrigation to the roots. Established plants get by with a little less. Loved by hummers and pretty decent cutfower as well. Full all day sun for best performance, will not be quite as floriferous in part shade. Sweetly scented foliage is an extra benefit. To 18″ wide and slowly increasing. Excellent on berms as well as slopes. Mulch in fall. Small rosette of winter foliage is protected by the previous years defunct stems. Prune these away after all threat of a hard freeze has passed.
Xera Plants Introduction
Agastache ‘Electric Punch’
One of our all-time best introductions ‘Electric Punch’ is a floral powerhouse of a hummingbird mint with exceptional adaptation to our cold and wet winters. Rising to 34″ tall in bloom, a clump can become enormous in rich, WELL DRAINED soil with light, consistent summer water. Also, accepts no water but with interruptions in bloom. Incorporate plenty of oxygen into the soil and slopes are ideal. Do not remove flower spikes during the season- new orange aging to pink flowers appear from the same inflorescence. Best to wait until spring to cut back the previous seasons defunct stems. Moderate deer resistance. Agastache are best watered well for their first season, in subsequent years they will use much less.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Agastache ‘Mandarin Dream’
This is our selection of an improved form of the species Agastache auranticus. It has deeper orange flowers on taller stems and exhibits excellent winter/cold/wet hardiness. To 30″ tall, the vivid blooms erupt from June to October. Tightly clump forming perennial whose tall wand-like stems require more horizontal room as well. Hummingbird Mint excels in very well-drained soils with consistent, light summer water. Full sun- you can fudge in light shade and still get results. Remove the previous seasons spent stems in March. Agastache are plants that like oxygen in the soil and they often seed themselves happily between large stones. They appreciate soil that is rich but permeable at all times. We advise to wait until March to remove the previous year’s stem. The hollow stems that remain over winter actually provide oxygen to the roots. If you cut them back too early (Fall, winter) you also leave the new growth at the base unprotected from the elements. So, the stems should remain to both give the plant oxygen and protect the next seasons clump of foliage. Double dig the soil heartily and add a little compost and even pumice if your soil is stingy. Water regularly for the first season to establish a large root system which will require less H20 in subsequent years. This is a vibrant orange that mixes well with deep purples and blues.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Agastache ‘Rainbow Sorbet’
One of our larger growing introductions this is a flowering machine with large individual flowers that open pale orange and senesce to pale pink. Overall this is a pastel flower palette. To 36″ tall and as wide in full sun and well drained soil with light, consistent summer water. Agastaches are excellent as container subjects- they will accept the most cramped roots and still perform. Wait until March to remove the previous years spent stems. Give this guy room. Hummingbird nirvana. Good winter hardiness.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Agastache ‘Xera Flame’
Our selection of a compact and free flowering cold hardy Hummingbird mint with intense dark orange flowers. Blooms June to October and they rise on spikes to 18″ tall. Does not flop- great for smaller spaces. Regular summer water in well drained, enriched soil. Excellent on slopes which improves winter drainage which increases cold hardiness. Full sun to very light shade. Irresistible to pollinators. Blooms appear from the same spikes all season- do not remove. Wait to cut it back until spring. Then remove dead top growth to make way for the new growth that is pushing from below.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Agastache pallida ssp. neomexicana
Cute flowering hyssop that makes a clump of strongly vertical stems clad at the tips with soft mauve/purple flowers. A boon to pollinators as well as hummingbirds. Blooms June to October continuously from the same spikes. To 18″ tall and barely half as wide. Agastaches like light soil. Double dig the soil well to incorporate oxygen and apply a handful of all organic fertilizer at planting. This will establish the plant much faster. Excellent performance on slopes where it achieves the drainage that it likes. Middle of the border or massed in a meadow- this easy to grow perennial performs for a long time. Do not cut back until after Valentine’s Day. Consistent water for the first summer then light water in subsequent years. Excellent performance in mixed container plantings. Moderate deer resistance. Foliage is sweetly pungent.
Agave americana ‘Medio Picta Alba’
Tender <sigh> but perhaps the most spectacular variegated Agave. It makes a great container plant for LARGE containers. To 5′ x 5′, it grows a little slower in containers. Make sure it’s sturdy and well built too because this puppy has been known to grow so vigorously as to shatter its own home. Use well drained cactus mix and add a handful of all organic fertilizer. Move to a freeze free environment such as an unheated garage if temperatures threaten to drop below 20ºF. Otherwise move it to a dry place for winter- under a south facing eave is ideal. Move it back out in the open when rain dwindles. Light summer water will speed growth. Leaves on this form are blue on the edges with a dramatic pure white stripe down the center. Wow.
Far and away the easiest Agave to cultivate in our climate and the handsome contorted sage green leaves are free of a deadly spike at the tip. Don’t be fooled, though. The leaves are lined in fine serrations that can cause a cut if you rub your person against them. To 3′ tall and as wide for very well-drained soils in full sun to very light shade. Amend the soil with pumice to sharpen drainage if needed. Ideally adapted to slopes. Good dimensions as a large focal point in a rock garden or clustered into clumps in the gravel bed. Accepts the highest reflected heat. Light summer water speeds growth. Often produces offspring from the base. These can be detached and replanted when its truly warm. Bold mature clumps are breathtaking. Wonderful life in hellstrips. Obviously deer resistant, but the tips can be brittle so handle them with care when planting. Excellent year round appearance and texture.
Spikes! A very upright and pokey Agave with steel blue/gray foliage that forms large rosettes. To 3′ across eventually this cold hardy Agave demands excellent drainage but is worth the effort. VERY well drained soil- amend with liberal amounts of pumice and gravel. Excellent on a slope. Plant with the rosette tilted to shed winter water. Makes new pups happily and they will often come up quite a distance from the parent plant. To 3′ tall when up and established. Great in containers that you protect from winter wet. Move to a covered place in fall- a south facing eave is sufficient. Cold hardy below 0ºF- when established. Best to plant in March or April so that it has the longest possible season to develop a root system going into its first winter. Light summer water to none. High deer resistance.
Agave ovatifolia ‘Frosty Blue’
A real winner in our climate this is perhaps among the easiest bold Agaves to cultivate. Large rosettes of flared deadly leaves are a luminous light blue. The whole rosette can achieve 3′ wide and nearly as tall but smaller is more common. Excellent tolerance of the combination of cold and wet that Agaves mostly despise. This plant also is less prone to injury from necrosis of damage- slugs, snails etc. Full sun to a surprising amount of shade, though you’ll want to avoid the overhead detritus of trees into the rosette. In full sun such as a bare parking strip it revels in heat, exposure and fast drainage. Amend the soil to at least 1/2 pumice and 1/2 virgin native soil. Water to establish then only what falls from the sky. Obviously site away from paths- stab wounds suck, literally. In Mexico they planted large agaves in front of the bedroom windows of their female children. The idea I guess was to deter suitors with bad intentions. But its a neat story and you could see how it would work. Obvious awesome deer resistance. Sometimes called Whale Tongue Agave.
Agave parryi ‘Flagstaff’
From the very far north end of this variable species range in Northern Arizona near—‘Flagstaff’. High elevation form that is found above 7000′ in the wild. Very cold hardy moderately large Agave. Full sun and very well drained soil. You must amend the soil with pumice and gravel to avoid wet accumulating around the crown in winter. This is made all the more easy by placing on a slope. The rosettes should be tilted to shed winter wet. Very stiff and sharply tipped steel blue leaves form a rosette that is at first upright then spreads out a little. Remove leaves from deciduous plants that collect in the rosette in autumn- they blow in from god knows where and leaving them can encourage rot. Excellent in containers. Move containerized plants under an eave or overhang to keep it dry in winter. No water required after initial establishment. Beautiful form of this cold hardy species. High deer resistance.
Agave parryi ssp. couesii
A really pretty pale blue Agave with sharp angular leaves in a remarkably symmetrical rosette with age. Cold hardy and it requires very well drained soil in a hot position. A south facing slope is ideal in soil that has been amended with liberal amounts of pumice and gravel. And you should tilt the rosette so that water does not collect in winter. This variety is a little slower than others. Aside from perfect drainage it requires a little bit of heat and patience. To 20″ tall by 30″ wide in time. Great container subject- make sure the container is sturdy and large enough to accommodate both a spreading primary rosette and prolific pups which crowd the base. In time it can form bold colonies. Move containerized plants to a dry location in winter. Remove deciduous tree leaves that collect in the rosette in autumn to stave off rot. SW U.S. High deer resistance.
Agave parryi ssp. neomexicana
New Mexico Agave is a spike wonder. Much more upright-growing than the species with sharp-tipped leaves that terminate in a blood red thorn. OW. Forms a very symmetrical plant with many leaves of steel blue. Full sun and VERY WELL-DRAINED soil. Excellent on hot slopes where it will tilt the rosette to avoid winter wet. Pups, heh, freely and you will soon have many rosettes. Amend the soil with pumice and gravel. Make sure there is plenty of air in the soil and no place where water could collect. Fantastic specimen plant for a dry garden/gravel garden. Water through the first summer to establish then none in subsequent years. Clean out the rosette when deciduous leaves collect in there- a shop vac works great. The leaves will cause rot when they decompose….so they must go. Great in containers- large, sturdy containers. Cold hardy. High deer resistance.
Agave parryi ssp. truncata
Consistently one of the most successful Agaves for gardens in our region. Soft gray rosettes have leaves with a distinct upright habit. At the tips of the wide leaves is a single (deadly) black thorn. Very nice. Full sun and very well drained soil with little to no summer water when established. This Agave requires soil that is never soggy- amend heavily with pumice and gravel to create air pockets. Plant this (and all) hardy Agaves in our climate on a tilt. The tilted rosette sheds rainwater and it keeps it much drier in winter. Ideally, this Agave should be sited on a hot, south facing slope. In autumn deciduous leaves from (everywhere) seem to blow into the rosette and collect. You must remove these immediately so that they do not rot the center of the plant. A shop vac works wonders…so do bar-B-Q tongs. Excellent in containers. Its best to plant hardy Agaves in early spring to early summer. They require a long season to develop a root system which ensures that they are cold hardy. No root system and not so hardy. Hardy below 0ºF when dry. Highly deer resistant.
Albizia julibrissin ‘Summer Chocolate’
Amazing form of Mimosa that seems to thrive in the Willamette Valley. Finely divided foliage is a remarkable maroon/black. The pale pink powderpuff flowers that appear just after the leaves and continue for two months are excellently contrasted by the leaves. A very wide spreading tree to 25′ tall and as wide in 10 years. Full, unobstructed sun and virtually any soil that drains well. It’s vitally important that you water this tree heavily upon planting and into its first autumn. It must be well established to sail through its first winter. I have 4 in my garden and I watered them very heavily for the first summer season and they have never looked back. Creates exotic, beautiful specimens in time.
NOT AVAILABLE 2022/23
This delightful onion has a wide range in our state. Primarily you see it in dry, exposed sites a little way up from the bottom of the Willamette Valley. Mid green slightly fragrant grassy leaves give way to an 8″ stems in May-June with a chalice of multiple pink/lavender pink upward facing flowers. Full sun to part shade and adaptable to many soils as long as there is a dry rest in summer. This onion quickly goes summer dormant directly after seed set and disappears entirely by mid summer. Great pollinator bulb for Willamette Valley meadows. Its nearly always on a slope where it is found. Replicate this and give it only the rain that falls from the sky in subsequent years. In time the bulb multiplies and it can also self sow. Leave a disturbed area around the plant and keep it free of weeds and they can mature and bloom in several years. Light deer resistance. aka Slender leaved onion. Very attractive food source for butterflies. Oregon native plant.
Slim leaved onion is very easy to identify in Western Oregon though it occupies more than one biome. Where I grew up it was always found in the same meadow. The meadow was primarily Festuca californica and Festuca roemeri. This onion was found between those grasses and usually intertwined at the base with native mountain strawberriy (Fragaria virginiana var. platyphylla) and rosy plectritis. Its ease of identification comes with a pinch of the leaf or flower- resinous onion odor. This 10″ tall allium supports clear white flowers (occasionally they range to pale pink in these seed grown plants). This is a petite but very ornamental native onion. Its bloom time coincides with onset of summer drought. June into July. It forms enlarging bulbs and as soon as the starry flowers are spent the seed ripens and bursts casting it all around. Full sun and average to enriched soils. Water to establish potted plants then in subsequent years natural rainfall will suffice. This local native is sold in Europe as a cultivar called ‘Graceful Beauty’- its just the species A. amplectens but graceful is a great description of this wildflower. Excellent planted among Rosa nutkana and a perfect and natural accompaniment with native hardy annuals. Each bulb produces multiple flowers which increase over time. Attractive to a vast group of pollinators- local bees and hover flies make repeated visits. Adaptable to all soils that drain. Avoid standing water. Adaptable to clay soils. Oregon native plant
Allium caeruleum ‘Heacock Form’
Probably one of our very favorite bulbs and a gift from a friend w/ VERY good taste and I’m happy to say we are going to have a steady supply in the future. For the moment quantities are limited. Why so special? This is the enormously huge version of that precious blue allium caeruleum. Flower size on the species which is very available are comparable to a nickel to a quarter size. This form cranks it up w/ flowerheads the size of golf balls and larger. Spectacular. This very rare form is so superior and still charming that I’ve put it all over my garden. It needs full sun and rich soil that drains. Not difficult by any stretch- though full sun is required. and I suspect more water than I give mine. I put one in then 3, then like 9 and I had to stop myself. Sky blue orbs. This plant needs to build up some bulk to bloom, which means you need a certain amount of leaves and bulb heft for them to bloom. I say this because its possible to sell them out of bloom because they are that freaking cool. <pant, pant> Semi evergreen leaves are low, thin and pungent. Possibly deer resistant- I don’t know yet. And bunnies. Well, Bunnies suck.
Chives! Everyone needs these easy to grow, long-blooming, edible perennials in their garden. Late spring brings stems clad in rich lavender/purple flowers that are spicy and wonderful in salads. Cut back at any time and a new crop of tasty leaves will appear. To 18″ tall and forming clumps. Full sun and virtually any soil with consistent summer water. Moderate deer resistance. Often seeds around. These are easy to identify and dispatch or share with friends. A first-rate flowering border perennial as well. Winter deciduous.
Aloiampelos (Aloe) striatula
We’ve grown a lot of Aloes with purported cold and wet hardiness and this is the one that has been the most successful. A large succulent shrubby plant with rosettes of deep green succulent foliage. In late summer to autumn a showy display of large yellow flower spikes can occur. Very pretty and loved by all nectar seeking folks. Give this South African perennial VERY GOOD DRAINAGE in full sun and a warm position. A slope is always helpful. Amend the soil with plenty of gravel and sand as well as compost- these guys do need to eat- so a little handful of organic fertilizer is recommended. Capable of freezing to the ground (below 15ºF) and resprouting from the base when truly warm weather arrives. Plant on a south or west facing slope preferably against a warm wall or boulder for added reflected heat. Easy, if large, container plant that you should protect from temperatures in the teens. To 3′ x 3′ on average in our climate. Mostly evergreen here. Combine with Agave, Cactus which will also increase their growth rate if you provide light, consistent water during hot weather.
Alstroemeria ‘The Third Harmonic’
A good Alstro is hard to find. The dwarf varieties are ever plagued by snails/slugs, Many of the most exquisite varieties (patented) are poor garden performers, lacking vigor or something. Enter this most fave cultivar. First of all its orange and many will confuse it with the more diminutively flowering A. aurantiacus which can become an ineradicable weed. THIS IS NOT THAT. Its a polite clumper with enough vigor to send up fully 30″ flowering stems repeatedly for up to 6 weeks in summer. Speaking of which the individual flower will last up to two weeks in a vase. Do not cut them (which injures the plant – it bleeds out) rather gently rock the base of the stem back and forth to detach. This will help and not hurt it. Regular summer irrigation in rich, moisture retentive soil. Winter deciduous. To 2′ wide..
Threadleaf Bluestar is a fantastic native North American perennial with many seasons of interest. To 4′ tall this strongly clump-forming perennial has thread-like green leaves that line the sturdy, very vertical stems. Upon rising in late spring they host clusters of star shaped, fragrant (yep) blue flowers. Very pretty. The green, fine-textured foliage holds space as a blowsy presence in borders, gravel gardens, hellstrips. In autumn the entire plant turns shocking yellow and stays that way for weeks. Fall color at ground level and it rocks. Light but consistent summer water to aid in establishment. Very drought tolerant then. Full sun in any soil type but for permanently boggy. Good deer resistance. They will try it once but not again- for what it’s worth. Completely deciduous in winter. Emerges mid-spring. Very long lived, no-fuss perennial. Mix with ornamental grasses, cacti, just about anything.
Anchusa azurea ‘Dropmore’
Alkanet, Italian Bugloss- neither name is very appealing but I’m here to testify that if you are a connoisseur of the color blue this big showy perennial is for you. To 4′ tall multiple spikes bear rich, deep, true blue flowers in one bodacious cloud. This form is not only a superior blue, but its a more reliable perennial. Most live 2-3 years but this often persists for longer. This borage forms a basal rosette of rough leaves- this is important to identify the inevitable seedlings- they are dark, dark green and spiny. Blooms first year from seed. A Spectacular plant for a young garden, a dry garden, wild border or in its most classic home the cottage garden. Full sun and average to enriched soil that drains quickly. Light consistent water to establish then drought adapted. Long, long blooming plant that often has bumble bees fast asleep in the cup shaped flowers. Very cool. Obvious pollinator gem. Very climate adapted plant.
Pheasant Tail Grass is a clumping large arching grass with colorful surprises throughout the year. To 30″ tall and a little wider the army green arching foliage takes on dramatic orange and red tints if given just a little stress. In summer fine tawny orange/brown glossy seedheads arch gracefully within the foliage. Full sun to very light shade in rich, well drained soil with consistent summer moisture- a little dryness and wham! You get those fiery tints. Requires a protected location in gardens, avoid full on exposure and cold winds. Its best application though is as a large graceful container subject. And the drainage adds to cold hardiness. Remove seedheads before they mature as it does like to seed around. Mulch for arctic weather. Moderate deer resistance. New Zealand.
Anemone nemorosa ‘Alba Plena’
Excellently climate adapted, there are many forms of Anemone nemorosa but this is by far our favorite. Pure white flowers with a congested bunch of petals in the center. Natures pin cushion. Blooms late March to early May. Spreads to form large colonies in rich well-drained soil with ample irrigation. The whole plant goes completely dormant by summer, cleanly disappearing before you have time to notice it. Part shade to full sun. Not bothered by pests or animals. Even though it goes summer dormant it’s still beneficial for these plants to receive regular water. You’ll notice the difference the following spring.
Anemone x lipsiensis
Delicate in appearance but actually pretty tough and long lived, this pale yellow-flowered Anemone spreads to form large colonies. To 5″ tall and blooming from March to April. Remains in bloom for several weeks. Rich, well drained soil that retains moisture. Goes completely dormant by the arrival of hot weather- still keep watering – Anemones appreciate that even though they are fast asleep. Very pretty as a color echo with golden foliage such as the acid yellow emerging foliage of Hakonechloa (Japanese Forest Grass).
A customer of ours from the N. Oregon Coast (Gearhart) brought us divisions of the large, green-flowered Kangaroo Paw species. It had thrived in her garden there for 20 years and formed a huge patch. She had divisions aplenty. We’ve since found that it isn’t quite hardy inland but it’s still a durable, cool, long-blooming plant. Easy container plant that you can protect if the temperature threatens to drop below 20ºF. In summer they send up 4′ spikes with their green, curiously fuzzy paw-shaped flowers. They remain in bloom for weeks. Full sun and fertile well-drained soil with regular water. Easy to divide. Multiples quickly.
Deeply colored foliage and clusters of white umbel flowers combine to give this easy to grow biennial an important place in the garden. The finely divided leaves are almost black but have a bluish hue on the surface that reflects the light in opalescent waves. The first year it produces only this gorgeous foliage. Combine with chartreuse/gold leaved perennials and/or shrubs for excellent contrast. In the second season the foliage extends and masses of pure white umbels wave to 3′ tall above the plant. Light and airy which is cool for a plant with deep, brooding foliage. Self sows prolifically and the seedlings are easy to spot, move, thin, dispatch. Full sun to quite a bit of shade in rich, moisture-retentive soil with light but consistent summer moisture. Excellent in woodlands or sunny borders. It makes a surprisingly good cut flower as well. Umbels…these days its all about umbels. Winter deciduous.
Anthyllis vulneraria var. coccinea
Kidney Vetch is a playful, short-lived perennial with shocking red flowers that come in clusters much like clover. Low, spreading plant that hugs the ground, all the better to see the piercing red flowers on this form. Seeds prolifically, and the seedlings are both easy to identify as well as move or dispatch. To 3″ tall by 18″ wide, when very happy. Loved by pollinators. Forms a vivid patch of color in the most unlikely places. Seeds germinate in autumn and bloom commences in spring. Excellent little nitrogen-fixing temporary plant for new gardens. Enriches soil in a wonderful way. Light to little summer water. Mediterranean.
Cute little perennial Snapdragon species native to the mountains adjacent to the Mediterranean. Gray-green, almost succulent foliage is lush and is great with the profuse white snapdragon flowers which appear from late spring to mid summer. Full sun and rich to average, well-drained soil. Light summer water. Gets by with none but doesn’t look as good. Dies completely to the ground in winter and quickly resprouts from the base in spring. Rock gardens, gravel gardens, borders, hellstrips. Seeds around, and finds places that it likes. That could be the cracks in a wall or even pavement.
Spreading Dogbane is a pretty semi-shrubby native perennial that is found in every biome in our area. David Douglas mentioned this billowing perennial with clouds of light pink/white bells. Mostly he hated tripping over it in the Willamette Valley. This very permanent plant spreads to form big drifts in the wild. Streambanks, prairies, alpine meadows it can appear. The rounded downward pointing leaves emerge on semi-woody stems. In June-August clouds of flowers appear for weeks. Loved by pollinators and birds specifically attractive to native hummingbirds and butterflies. To 2′ tall and spreading by stolons to a wide area. Water to establish then none in subsequent years. Mulch after planting. Virtually any somewhat rich soil type including amended sand. Full sun to part shade. Wonderful plant and floral texture for meadows. I have great childhood memories of this plant in July in full bloom perched with our huge native black bumble bees. Very convenient bloom time- it begins to bloom just as most other natives are finished. Dogbane is toxic when consumed by humans or animals- hence the common name. When stems are broken a milky sap is exuded. Moderate deer resistance. Distantly related to milkweed. Once very common in the Willamette Valley its territory has shrunk. Great performance in hellstrips and verges that are lightly or completely non-irrigated. Give this plant room to spread and plan ahead. Limited availability. Oregon native plant
Native to the Guadalupe Mountains of New Mexico and extreme west Texas this adorable columbine enchants us with its whimsical soft yellow flowers and fine blue foliage. To 18″ tall in bloom the petite flowers have long fantastic tails. They appear from April-June, and occasionally again if you remove spent flowers and prevent seed set. This smaller plant has wonderful finely divided blue green foliage that forms a fountain before and after bloom. Often self sows in open sites. The original plants live about 5 years but the distinctive leaves will give away the seedlings. They seem to favor cracks in pavement, stones. Full sun to very light shade in rich to average soil with regular summer water. Mix with our native Columbine (Aquilegia formosa) for a color echo on the yellow perianth of both. Very popular with pollinators including native pollinators. Winter deciduous. Moderate deer resistance. Charming and easy to grow wild flower.
Western Columbine is a wonderful native wildflower that forms almost permanent colonies in part shade. 20″ stems support pendant flowers of vivid orange and yellow. Blooms April-June. Rich, well-drained sites that retain moisture in part shade.Little summer water once established. Finely divided, blue-green leaves are pretty as well. Excellent perennial for naturalizing in part shade and cool environs. Often seen living in a basin of moss and this may be repeated in the garden. Self sows and blue green foliage is distinctive almost immediately. Long-lived when established. Associated plants are Sidalcea campestris, Symphoricarpos albus, Tellima grandiflora. Works well with smaller ferns too. Oregon native plant.
Aquilegia x ‘Xera Tones’
A little wacky columbine sex in our nursery between our native orange and yellow flowering Aquilegia formosa and the brown and green flowered (and fragrant) Aquilegia viridiflora. The color range of the flowers is truly insane. And many of them are fragrant. They also have inherited the very good leaves of A. formosa- which are decidedly blue and delicate looking. They appear to be long lived perennials just as their parents and you just know that these buggers are going to reseed themselves. Part shade to full sun with regular water.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Pacific Madrone, iconic tree of the Pacific Northwest. Famous for its glossy, russet orange sinuous trunks, exfoliating bark, and round, evergreen foliage. In spring, clusters of white flowers are showy and turn into vivid red berries by autumn. These are loved by birds- especially western tanagers who will quickly strip a tree as flocks move from one to the next. Must be grown from seed and it must be transplanted when small. Just the way it is. Plant it in average, well drained soil. Water lightly through the first summer in subsequent years leave it strictly alone. Full sun is best- tends to wander towards the sun in shade. Underplant with low water natives such as Arctostaphylos, Ceanothus, Vancouveria. Slow at first it picks up speed after about 4 years- then it can grow 2′-4′ a year. Somewhat messy tree- loses older leaves in summer and the bark exfoliates all over the place too. Know this and live with it. Ours are raised from seed of trees native to our wholesale nursery site- so its a local strain. Pacific madrone is native from the highest mountains of southern California to southern British Columbia. It is the northern-most broadleaved evergreen tree (native) in North America. Oregon native plant.
This is the standard small tree form of Strawberry Tree that is so important in PNW horticulture. A good looking evergreen tree that eventually forms a rounded dense crown. To 16′ tall and a third as wide in 10 years. Excellent small patio tree- as long as you account for the prodigious autumn fruit drop. Birds and squirrels consume the fruit which is alluded to in the specific name unedo- which means ‘I eat only one.’ I know people who eat them and claim to like them. So to each their own. No denying the electric neon yellow to bright red fruit is striking September to December. White urn shaped flowers appear simultaneously with the fruits in autumn. In time the bark develops to dark brown and shredding. Native to the Mediterranean with a disjunct population in southern Ireland. Drought tolerant when established.
Arbutus unedo ‘Elfin King’
Compact, everblooming form of Strawberry Tree with a huge attendant crop of vivid fruit in autumn. To 9′ tall and 8′ wide in 10 years in any well drained soil with light summer irrigation- completely drought adapted when established. Good looking, climate adapted evergreen native to the Mediterranean as well as Ireland. Nice specimen or small garden tree. Avoid the coldest, windiest sites. Handsome shredded mid-brown/red bark. Provide good air circulation. Quite a bit slower growing than the species. In time it develops into a rather dense upright shrub- just a tad smaller than the species. Locate away from paths, patios as fruit drop can be messy. A great, easy, dependable broad leaved evergreen for our climate. Related to our native Madrone. Native to Ireland down to Portugal and in to the mediterranean. Prune in early spring if needed.
Arctostaphylos glandulosa ssp. glandulosa ‘Demeter’
Our employee Adinah spotted this distinct form of our native glandular manzanita in extreme SW Oregon. This form boasts very silver foliage with sharply pointed leaves and the conspicuous glands that identify the species. In mid winter to early spring clusters of pink buds open to pendant urn shaped white flowers. Loved by over wintering Anna’s hummingbirds. A low and spreading Manzanita to 4′ tall by 6′ wide in 7 years. Not as rapid of growth as other varieties. Full sun and average, well drained soil. Do not amend the soil but rely on our own native soils perfect fertility. To further enhance success double dig a wide area around the plants new home. This incorporates oxygen into the soil in a wide area and also allows the percolation of water. Mulch after planting with a coarse bark. Very pretty, very gray dome shaped shrub which eventually reveals contrasting mahogany glossy peeling trunks. A very pretty species that is uncommon in Oregon but whose range extends south all the way to Baja Norte. Once established, do not water- neglect and perfect climate adaptation will do the rest. Oregon native plant.
Xera Plants Introduction
Very cool and tough Manzanita that is a true dwarf and therefore it is slow to get to market. We anticipate having more of this dense growing, cold hardy, disease-resistant shrub. To 30″ x 30″ with great age forming a perfectly round sphere. New growth is bright red settling to blue green. Leaves are held densely on the stems. Full sun and good air circulation in average, well-drained soil. Excellent cold hardiness to near 0ºF. A natural for hellstrips or anywhere space is a premium. Pink flowers in late winter are showy and profuse. Mahogany glossy bark- in time. Very limited quantities. Probably available in autumn. Very slow growing. Limited availability- Order via email.
She’s a big girl, but so pretty and adaptable and easy to grow we love her. Soaring to 9′ tall and almost as wide the pretty, large, deep forest green foliage is particularly disease resistant. In late winter to early spring profuse clusters of pink flowers transform into russet berries (bird food). Fast growing shrub with amazing glossy mahogany stems and trunks. Full sun, well drained to average soil with no summer water. One of the most garden tolerant of the gigantic cultivars. Cold hardy to at least 5ºF. Spectacular turned into a small tree.
Arctostaphylos auriculata ‘Diablo’s Blush’
Excellent garden-tolerant smaller Manzanita. New growth is blushed pink as are the winter flowers. Settling to soft gray, this dense rounded plant achieves about 5′ x 7′ in 7 years. The bark becomes reddish and shaggy with age. Full sun and very well drained soil with no supplemental water once established. Gray foliage is organized symmetrically around the thick stems. This is a good scale for smaller gardens and a handsome shrub at all times. Provide good air circulation in an uncrowded environment. Found, selected and named by Bart O’Brien. This has been a fantastic shrub in our climate and we’re proud to offer it.
Arctostaphylos auriculata ‘Knobcone Point’
Interesting and very handsome compact Manzanita that retains what appears to be juvenile foliage. Each rounded leaf has small indentations that give the plant a finer mein. Silver/ gray foliage is handsome all the time and the leaves clasp the stems in a symmetrical way. In January to April clusters of pinkish/ white urn shaped flowers appear at the branch tips. Not the heaviest blooming Manzanita. The mature trunks and stems revert to a solid mahogany glossy finish with time. Dense growing to 4′ x 4′ in 6 years- larger in time. Beautiful, architectural shrub for full sun and dry summer conditions. No supplemental water when established. Rounded good looking plant for hillsides, parking strips, dry shrub borders. This species is native to mid to higher elevations of the Bay area and has performed wonderfully in our gardens. A naturally dense growing plant.
Arctostaphylos bakeri ‘Louis Edmonds’
One of the most picturesque Manzanitas, this selection bears lovely gray-green leaves that are nearly circular, held perpendicular to the stems. The bark is one of the best of all species and selections, deep burgundy/purple and smooth. Vivid pink flowers that appear in late winter to spring transform into small russet red apple-shaped fruits. To 6’ tall and 4’ wide in 5 years. Requires well drained soil with little additional irrigation when established. Cold hardy. Good looking year round. Good gray foliage adds contrasts to other Manzanitas and is resistant to black spot. Very upright growing cultivar that can fit in skinnier locales. Either way limit pruning to tip pruning after flowering to control size and remove leafless shaded branches from the base. Adaptable to garden conditions- if you make sure to skip any irrigation during the summer. Brilliant pink flowers are among the most vivid in the genus. aka Arctostaphylos bakeri ssp. bakeri.
Arctostaphylos canescens var. sonomensis
Our very, very favorite Manzanita and one of the very rare ones in the wild. Occurs on two ridges in northern California- Horse Mountain was one of them and Greg’s dad just happened to have a cabin there. Not an easy Manzanita to cultivate. Low, dense, spreading, very gray shrub to 3′ x 5′ wide in time. The bark is a great glossy mahogany and the winter/spring flowers are white tinted pink. Russet berries are quickly consumed by wild life. Spectacular shrub for full sun, average to poor, well-drained soil and absolutely no summer water. Loathes the combination of water and heat. Neglect is its friend and you will reap great rewards with this beautiful shrub by strictly ignoring it once it is established. Ultra cold hardy- hailing from over 4500′ in elevation and recommended for cold gardens. This species is native to southern Oregon, and though not technically native to Oregon this is our favorite form of this species. Not the easiest to propagate so quantities are often limited. Absolutely NO summer water. Ever. Forms rounded balls of soft silver. Dynamic on slopes. Easily prone to death from soil pathogens if watered in summer. Absolute neglect.
Arctostaphylos columbiana ‘Pacific Coast’
This is a compact, dense growing form of Hairy Manzanita from the city of Manzanita on the coast. These are Greg’s collections. He chose several forms that had nice foliage, foliage color, habit, and resistance to disease. This form is one of the most compact of the three. Slightly smaller leaves are born densely on a more reserved growing plant. In late winter to spring clusters of white flowers followed by drupes that turn distinctly red. Inland forms of this Manzanita have maroon to russet berries so this is a distinct difference. Beautiful dark, glossy maroon bark as for the species. To 6′ x 6′ in 7 years. Adapted to average to poor soils which will allow it to grow at a more reserved rate. Arctostaphylos columbiana reacts to richer soils, even clay soils with exuberant growth. Best in our native soils that are unimproved. Dig a large hole and provide regular water until you see good new growth then taper off. In subsequent years only what falls from the sky. Arctostaphylos columbiana (Hairy Manzanita) is a proto species one of the first and it is the most widespread Manzanita in Oregon and Washington. Genetically it dominates and most of Calfiornia’s northern species are derived from ancient Hairy Manzanita. Provide full sun and good air circulation. Excellent underplanted with native annuals and Sedums. Good looking siver/ gray foliage year round. Extraordinarily drought adapted. Associated plants with the coastal species are Vaccinium ovatum, Pinus contorta ssp. contorta Garrya elliptica, Baccharis pilularis and Salal (Gaultheria shallon). Often found with Festuca rubra on stabilized sand dunes. Oregon native plant
Xera Plants Introduction
Arctostaphylos columbiana ‘Parkdale East’
This form of our native Hairy Manzanita was found quite far east of the Cascade crest and offers greater hardiness to cold. Unfortunately, it has the same characteristics of the species- it is unpredictable. To 4′ x 7′ with sage gray leaves and white to pink-tinted flowers in spring. Very well-drained soils in an open position with NO summer water when established. Dramatic smooth mahogany bark is an outstanding feature. This is the variety that is best suited to life in the Columbia River Gorge and possibly eastern Oregon in sheltered sites. It should easily tolerate -15ºF. Best with total neglect and full sun. Russet berries follow the flowers into summer and autumn- always consumed by wildlife. Very limited quantities. This form has been successful in cold gardens east of the mountains where all other California varieties failed. Nice looking shrub. Oregon native plant.
Xera Plants Introduction
Arctostaphylos columbiana ‘Wolf Creek’
Our native Hairy Manzanita is one of the most widespread species in the PNW. It is very susceptible to overwatering and overly enriched soils. .This can be avoided by strictly avoiding all irrigation once established and planting in average, unamended soil. Large-growing shrub with gray green leaves, the telltale hairy leaf petioles and white flowers in spring. Russet berries follow. Its best attribute is its smooth exfoliating mahogany bark. And in time you can remove the tired lower branches to reveal it as well as improve air circulation. To 8′ x 8′ very quickly in average, well-drained soil. No summer water and little intervention from the gardener. Wild areas, dry hillsides. This form we selected from the southern Willamette Valley. It occurs in specific sites around the Valley and is common at the coast /coast range as well as the Cascades. Its populations are most stable on steep rocky slopes and sandy substrates at the coast where plants live longer in impoverished situations. During the warm interstadial (8000-4000 yr BP) when our climate was a bit milder but with a much more pronounced summer drought it was much more widespread- once found in the city limits of Portland at two sites those have been usurped by development. Excellent performance in hot dry urban sites. Oregon native plant.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Arctostaphylos densiflora ‘Type Form’
This is the species that is an important parent in some of the most popular hybrid Manzanitas. From a very restricted range in Sonoma County CA this lovely Manzanita sports gray green sharp tipped foliage and wonderful glossy mahogany bark. Moderately fast growing evergreen shrub to 7′ x 7′. In winter white tinted pink urn shaped flowers occur in conspicuous clusters. Very pretty. Orange tinted glossy berries follow but are quickly consumed by wildlife. Easy shrub for full sun to very light shade and everage, un-amended native soil. Avoid anywhere that there is standing water in winter. Excellent on slopes and somewhat formal in appearance as opposed to many species. Very rare in commerce. Excellent shrub that is beautiful year round. No summer water when established. This species is critically endangered in Sonoma County, CA. In fact it is possible due to extensive fires recently that this plant is functionally extinct in the wild. Handsome shrub.
Arctostaphylos edmundsii ‘Big Sur’
This handsome low growing and compact Manzanita has great performance in our climate. Glossy mid-green foliage clothes a dense growing plant to 2′ x 4′. Admirable low ground cover as a massed subject but individual plants have glossy mahogany trunks that develop character with age. Masses of small light pink urn shaped flowers appear in late winter to early spring. Healthy looking at all times and not prone to black spot. Takes reflected heat well and even tolerates a light amount of shade. No water necessary once established, but it will take light water on slopes. Great small scale for small gardens. In time you can lift the plant up by pruning to reveal the small trunks. Long lived. One of the finest smaller varieties. Central CA coast.
Arctostaphylos hookeri ‘James Roof’
Smaller growing Manzanita that assumes the twisted form of a bonsai with age. In fact this 2′ x 4′ wide decumbent shrub makes a wonderful, long lived container plant. In the ground it excels on slopes and other places where standing water never occurs. Full sun to high overhead shade (a high tree canopy). In late winter scattered smaller white urn shaped flowers decorate the branch tips. They morph into highly prized fruit for wildlife. Sage green diamond shaped foliage it lightly twisted and terminates to a sharp tip. Twigs, branches, and trunks all have a glossy mahogany finish. Great shrub for covering low slopes. Effectively blocks weeds. Water to establish and then set it free. Several plants may be massed to produce a small scale, drought adapted ground cover. Exceptionally garden tolerant selection that is exceptionally handsome. This species is native to the central CA coast and has been one of the best for garden culture in our region. Accepts light irrigation in summer. Excellent performance at the Oregon coast. It thrives on sandy soils. Nice smaller growing selection. Naturally summer drought adapted. Orange drupes are showy.
Arctostaphylos hookeri ‘Wayside’
At the North Willamette Experimental Station in Wilsonville where OSU conducted a trial of scores of Arctostaphylos species and cultivars this special ground cover Manzanita has been consistently one of the best performers. Deep green pointed leaves are held perpendicular to the sun on cinnamon red stems. In time it forms glossy red bark that is very showy. Low and dense growing to 2′ tall and 6′ wide. Excellent bank cover or ground cover in any soil that is not amended or boggy. Profuse white flowers in spring. First rate weed suppressing plant for hellstrips, rock gardens, dry borders. Excellent appearance year round. No summer water. Take advantage of its low dense growth to cover and suppress weeds. Wonderful plant for baking hot locations. Very easy to grow.
Arctostaphylos manzanita ‘Dr. Hurd’
An old and venerable cultivar of this species. This small tree achieves 12′-15′ with great age forming a showy and jaw dropping evergreen. Pale sea foam green/ grayish foliage is large and very circular giving this tree a billowing appearance. In winter white tinted pink flowers erupt from all the branch tips. These morph into large russet berries consumed by birds. The mahogany twisting, muscular bark is the most outstanding feature. Fast growing in youth (2′-5′) per year when excited. Give this dry loving shrub EXCELLENT air circulation in an open exposure. It can be afflicted by black spot in wetter than normal springs. ‘Austin Griffiths’ which is 1/2 this cultivar is more resistant to black spot. In time you can remove the lower shaded branches to show the trunk and improve air circulation as well as general good looks. Tall and often half as wide. Locate in a hot sunny place and water to establish then set it free. Very striking tree that is best planted as a smaller plant. Large specimens will NOT live as long and will be more difficult to establish.
Arctostaphylos manzanita ‘St. Helena’
A tree type manzanita that has been a stellar performer in our gardens. Rapid growth to 10′ x 10′ in 8 years. Broad, rounded sage gray-green foliage is held perpendicular to the cinnamon red stems to avoid moisture loss (no flat leaves baking in the sun). In winter to early spring, clusters of white flowers are effective and visited heavily by pollinators. Russet red berries follow but do not last long because of animal predation. Open habit with time that exposes the muscular, smooth mahogany trunks. (Its thought the bark exfoliates to deter moss and lichen growth). This is a very hardy drought adapted west coast native shrub to small tree for average, well drained soils and NO summer irrigation. Full sun and room to spread. Avoid rich, amended soils- leaner conditions produce a much hardier and longer-lived plant. Very similar in scale to ‘Austin Griffiths’ but leaves are grayer and flowers are distinctly white. Great garden performance. Good air circulation.
A very compact and slow growing form of this species.. Round glossy leaves add to the the overall dome shape. In winter into spring a continual procession of whitish-pink flowers. They come in groups and decorate this small shrub evenly. To about 1′ tall by 3′ wide not very quickly. Dense and smothers weeds effectively. Grows about 3″ per year, faster in more fertile soil. Great in year round containers where its restrained growth and ability to adhere to contours makes it perfect for life on the edge. Not quite as vigorous as kinnnick kinnick and actually a better specimen than ground cover. Great in rock gardens. Little summer water when established. Nice resistance to black spot. Appreciates a warm location. Moderately deer resistant. We have yet to see it produce berries. Or they were snagged by birds before we could notice. Demure little shrub. Looks glossy and fresh year round.
Arctostaphylos nummularia ‘Select Form’
Stunning glossy perfectly round leaves line wiry stems on this dense, mounding, very happy low-growing Manzanita. New growth is tinted red and settles to bright green. To 2′ tall and 4′ wide creating a dense weed-suppressing dome of foliage. White flowers in spring. Very garden tolerant for full sun to very light shade. Moderately fast growing. Excellent candidate for hellstrips, hillsides, etc. Great performance at the Oregon Coast. Little to no summer water once established. Very very good looking plant. It thrives in perfect conditions- neglect and sun and is much more fussy in shade. Cold hardy to 5ºF. Nummularia= coin shaped, referring to the leaves Takes a little bit of shade- especially if there is a very high tree canopy. Adapted to coastal conditions including sandy soils. The glossy leaves and dense nature of this shrub make it hard to capture in photographs.
Arctostaphylos pajaroensis ‘Lester Rowntree’
Virtually the same as ‘Warren Roberts’ it is completely interchangeable with that cultivar. Why do we grow ‘Lester’? Aside from having amazing blue foliage and clusters of deep pink flowers from January to March we LOVE Lester Rowntree. She was an amazing, intrepid self-taught botanist who roamed California in the 1930’s in her simple pickup truck camping and botanizing throughout that state. Her incredible book ‘Hardy Californians’ is a must read for any gardener on the west coast. And its not just about plants- Check it out. This shrub is large in time to about 4′ tall by 8′ wide. The pink flowers born on the blue foliage is a sublime combination. Following bloom new spring growth is a fantastic red/ orange before settling to blue. Bark is a smooth mahogany with time and the trunks are sinuous and winding. This is an excellent shrub in our climate. Once established it requires absolutely no supplemental water- ever. Sailing through temps in the 100’s and bone dry with NO visible signs of stress. Our kind of shrub. It is cold hardy and completely climate adapted. Hell strips, dry borders, informal shrubberies. Mix with Ceanothus, Grevilleas, Halimiums. Very pretty year round.
Arctostaphylos pajaroensis ‘Myrtle Wolf’
Always at the top of the list of Arcto Afficianados this is not often seen in gardens. An excellent winter blooming Manzanita that has been a fantastic performer in the PNW. Upright growing shrub with blue foliage- new growth is briefly tinted red. In January to March copious bright pink clusters of urn shaped flowers appear. Anna’s hummingbirds are not far behind. To 5′ x 5′ in 6 years in full sun and average, well drained soil. No summer water when established. Excellent winter blooming shrub that is always good looking. This is a reliable cultivar for spectacular floral shows. Place close to an exit or entrance where you can stare into the pendulous pink flowers and the winding branch structure. Supply good air circulation. Photos by Chris Hembree
Arctostaphylos pajaroensis ‘Warren Roberts’
Big beautiful Manzanita that has thrived at our very cold wholesale nursery for almost 20 years and has never been harmed by weather. To 4′ tall and up to 8′ wide the new growth emerges a fiery orange red before settling down to a nice gray/blue. In late winter pink tinted urn shaped flowers decorate the whole shrub. The combination of the blue foliage and strongly pink flowers is magical in winter. Well drained average to poor soil in full sun is ideal but it can get by with less than ideal conditions. Water to establish the first summer then none in subsequent years. This is a great landscape shrub that retains its good looks year round. Very adaptable to garden situations where water is curtailed. Long season of bloom in February to April. Blushed small apple shaped fruits are stripped quickly by wildlife. Foundations, hillsides, sterile road cuts. Adaptable and very pretty shrub.
Arctostaphylos pumila ‘Grey Leaf Form’
Surprisingly happy in our climate in its native Monterey Bay area of California its known colloquially as Dune manzanita. Very gray blue leaves are not huge and hug the stems tightly on a compact moderately growing Manzanita. To 5′ tall and wider over time. In mid winter to early spring white flowers tinted pink appear in clusters at the tips of the plant. The trunk becomes deep mahogany brown over time and contrasts greatly with the light colored foliage. All around fantastic shrub for full sun and average, unimproved soils with little irrigation once established. Not as fast growing as other Manzanitas, usually less than 5″ per year.Very pretty plant that mixes wonderfully in droughty shrub borders, and even as a foundation shrub. Makes a nice life in a containers for years. Long lived. Probably harbors some deer resistance. Extraordinarily drought adapted. Native to a restricted range on the central California coast. Great performance on the Oregon coast.
Arctostaphylos pumila ‘Small Leaf Form’
Immensely handsome dense rounded Manzanita that has smaller than average silver foliage and fantastic bark. Moderately fast growing shrub to 4′ tall x 5′ wide in 8 years. In late winter each branch tip is bedecked in clusters of small white flowers- they are born in profusion and expand from pink buds. Russet colored berries often follow and are consumed by wildlife. The black/mahogany glossy bark is beyond striking with the silver foliage. It splits, rolls up into ribbons, and exfoliates in late summer. In time it may be pruned to reveal trunks–for most of its youth they are hidden by dense almost formal looking foliage. Adaptable to many soils including clay soils- especially on slopes. Excellent long term landscape plant that looks great year round. Very good cold hardiness enduring 0ºF with no problem. Dig a hole 3x as big as the rootball in the pot to loosen the soil and allow the new roots to penetrate virgin soil. Water regularly through the first summer- then little to none in subsequent years. Combine with green leaved Arctos for great foliage contrast. Perfect on slopes, areas with intense reflected heat such as parking lot planter islands. Great urban shrub. Appreciates good air circulation.
Roughbark Manzanita is a little known species of Arctostaphylos from the central California coast that has turned out to be a great garden plant. Nearly round leaves cling to the winding upward pointing stems. In a short amount of time it forms a rounded, spreading shrub to 3′ tall by 5′ wide (5 years). Late winter bring profuse blush pink urn shaped flowers- followed by clusters of large tight blushed red drupes. Full sun and average, well drained soil with good air circulation. No summer water at all when established. This not only gives it the neglect it adores it increases hardiness to cold in winter. Avoid, exposure to subfreezing winds… not a Manzanita for Gresham or Troutdale but in milder parts a great landscape shrub. Group with other drought adapted shrubs. Handsome smaller scale shrub for hot sunny sites. Develops shredded cinnamon red bark with time. Performs very well in containers. Photo credit below: Lance Wright.
Arctostaphylos silvicola ‘Ghostly’
Ghostly white fur covered foliage is almost too pale to believed and ‘Ghostly’ is an apt name. A distinctive Manzanita to 8’ tall and 4’ wide in 5 years. Fast growing in our climate. Do not be afraid to cut back lanky new growth for a more upright and sturdier plant. Tends to send out a lot of vertical stems, those may be cut to initiate denser branching. Prune in July. In late winter and early spring clusters of white urn shaped flowers appear at the branch tips and delight hummingbirds. There is no more silver/white foliaged Manzania that we have seen. Truly spectacular in well drained soil with good air circulation and little summer water once established. From a species native to the Santa Cruz Mtns. in California and surprisingly cold hardy.
Arctostaphylos x ‘Austin Griffiths’
This is probably one of the very best garden Manzanitas in general. Large growing shrub with sage green foliage, copious, large clusters of pink flowers in winter, and the tell tale famous mahogany peeling bark. To 9′ x 7′ wide in 6 years, fast growing and well adapted to most well drained sites, including heavy clay soils on slopes. Little to no supplemental irrigation. Very resistant to black spot a leaf disease that can afflict Manzanitas. Specimen, or small garden tree. Good looking year round. Flowers appear in late December and are effective through February- not at all affected by cold. Anna’s hummingbirds are immediately in attendance. Provide a wide open exposed site with excellent air circulation. A wonderful garden shrub. We have a large specimen of this shrub in a container at the shop. Though the box it is in is huge it restricts the roots enough to make this Austin smaller than it would be in the ground. It begins blooming in mid-winter just as we open for the new season. Come on in and check out this specimen in person. Excellent garden Manzanita all around. Hybrid between A. manzanita ‘Dr. Hurd’ and A. x densiflora ‘Sentinel’. Wonderful plant. Dependable heavy flowering. Center bottom photo credit: Loree Bohl Danger Garden.
Arctostaphylos x ‘Gunmetal’
This is a mysterious Manzanita and one of the finest. We’ve driven by it for years on the highway to N. California and for years it captured our attention. A smaller rounded shrub of metallic silver gray with white flowers. So far it does not key out to any specific species so we’re pretty sure its a naturally occurring hybrid. And the silver gray foliage could be a result of a little bit of A. canescens. But the area where it lives has about 8 species and god knows how many hybrids in close vicinity. Either way its a stellar garden Manzanita with pointed metallic silver foliage and clusters of showy white flowers in winter/spring. The bark is a wonderful contrasting smooth deep mahogany- a great foil to the foliage. To 4′ x 4′ in 8 years. Moderately slow growing for an Arctostaphylos. In habitat it perches on a nearly vertical cliff of basalt. So, its adaptable. Not prone to black spot and it hails from an area with a naturally high rainfall. Avoid all supplemental water when established. It literally thrives on neglect. Silver foliage shines year round. Limited quantities. A Xera Plants favorite. Oregon native plant.
Xera Plants Introduction
Arctostaphylos x ‘John Dourley’
Exceptional low growing Manzanita with new growth emerging electric red and settling to a mature gray/blue. In late fall to early spring copious pale pink flowers appear- very pretty in concert with the vibrant new foliage and older blue leaves. To just 3′ tall by 6′ wide very shortly. Bark is cinnamon colored in time. Full sun and average well drained soil with great air circulation. Little to no summer irrigation. Extremely drought adapted hybrid that many consider to be one of the best. Excellent slope cover. Good appearance at all times. This durable and adaptable Manzanita is excellent for landscapes where little maintenance is required. Its handsome mounding dense habit precludes pruning and it blooms for an extended period, often beginning as early as November and continuing to spring. Great drought adapted, weed smothering evergreen shrub that is constantly attended by Anna’s hummingbirds in bloom. Very easy to grow.
Arctostaphylos x ‘Pacific Mist’
Wonderful low spreading Manzanita that we have grown for more than 20 years. Silver/gray pointed leaves densely clothe the spreading stems of this adaptable shrub. In time the lax, decumbent stems point upward at the tips. In spring white flowers are a bonus. To 2′ tall and 6′ wide it may be employed as an informal ground cover. Full sun to light shade and well drained soil of average fertility. Little to no summer water when established. Nice looking plant year round. In time it develops glossy cinnamon colored trunks/stems. Excellent on slopes. Takes more shade than most cultivars. Excellent cold hardiness. Plant on 30″ centers for a large ground cover. Tips may be pruned in spring to encourage density, otherwise it covers the ground densely. A hybrid of obscure parentage that has been around for decades.
Arctostaphylos x ‘Pajaro Hybrid’
Amazingly showy Manzanita that is a delight when new growth emerges stained in raspberry red before settling to a soft gray mauve mature tone. A dense and spreading shrub that always seems to be in growth and therefore never without the colorful foliage. From December to March a non-stop copious display of white tinted pink flowers, in concert with the foliage color its a knockout. To 4′ tall and 8′ wide in 7 years. Best in poor soil or native soil that has NOT been amended. Its an adaptable plant. Let it adapt. No summer water once established. Striking colorful shrub year round. Ground cover, hedges, focal points, blasting hot hellstrips. Anna’s hummers are invariably drawn to this showy winter bloomer. Easy.
Arctostaphylos x ‘Sunset’
One of the very best landscape shrubs for western Oregon. Named for the 50th anniversary of Sunset Magazine way back in 1977- its an excellent, garden tolerant Manzanita. Dense growth emerges orange/red before settling to a mature fashionable army green. The stems and leaf margins are outlined in fine white hairs- an elegant detail. In spring sporadic white flowers appear. Rounded dense shrub for full sun and average to poor soils, including the most compacted. This should be a basic landscape shrub in our climate- To 4′ x 6′ it covers the ground well. A perfect candidate for such places as frying hot circular planters in a sea of asphalt. This remarkable shrub will thrive and not flinch without a drop of supplemental irrigation- and it will still always look good. In fact, soil that is too rich or too much additional summer water leads to an initially massive plant that is then not long lived. A little rough living adds years and slows down what has got to be natural hybrid vigor. May be tip pruned to encourage density if required- and may even be sheared quite severely and still maintain its self respect. The shredding cinnamon/brown bark is handsome with time but the foliage mostly obscures it. Excellent cold hardiness. A truly climate adapted shrub. A Xera favorite shrub that we’ve grown for close to 20 years.
Arctostaphylos x coloradensis ‘Panchito’
Several wonderful attributes makes this a great Manzanita for widespread use. Its extremely cold hardy, a naturally occurring hybrid from southern Colorado- it can handle temperatures lower than -20ºF. Its a great size- slow growing to just 3′ x 3′ in 8+ years. The matte green foliage is dense (almost boxwood-esque) and is a great foil for the clusters of pink buds that relax to lighter pink when open. Full sun and average, unimproved soil. Water to establish then only what falls from the sky. This dainty almost formal looking shrub finds a happy home in smaller gardens, rock gardens, and thrives in Central Oregon. In time the trunks exfoliate to glossy maroon- it take quite a few years for this to be an outstanding feature. Mounded and dense for the first part of its life- expect just several inches of growth per year.. Open exposure with good air circulation. Great performance in Gorge outflow. A perfect substitute for ‘Greensphere’ that is both hardier to cold and a little easier to cultivate. Russet red berries that follow are a treat for the birds that get there first. Accepts the hottest aspects, drought, and brutal cold. Bienvenidos, Panchito!
Arctostaphylos x densiflora ‘Sentinel’
Consistently one of the very best performers in Western Oregon. ‘Sentinel’ accepts many soil types and aspects with superior cold hardiness as well as disease resistance. Fast growing rounded shrub to 7′ x 7′ in 4 years. Attractive sage green leaves are held perpendicular to the red stems to avoid moisture loss. The bark exfoliates to a smooth muscular deep mahogany with time. Excellent specimen or even informal hedge row. In late winter pink urn shaped flowers appear in clusters and turn to russet fruits consumed by birds. Little to no supplemental water ever. Easy to grow. Provide good air circulation. A great Manzanita. ‘Sentinel’ can compete with invasive grasses and still grow and perform. Immensely drought adapted. It may be aggressively tip pruned or sheared carefully to produce a smaller, denser plant. First rate landscape evergreen shrub.
Arctostaphylos x densiflora ‘Harmony’
A handsome, easy, and adaptable Manzanita that is a great plant for beginning gardeners. Sharp tipped bright green rounded leaves clothe stems of smooth mahogany/orange. Fast growing evergreen to 7′ x 7′ in 7 years. Average, unimproved soil that has good drainage. Even adaptable to heavy clay soils if strictly unwatered in summer. Urn shaped pink flowers change to white upon opening and draw hummingbirds. The maroon berries that follow are gobbled by birds and seldom spend much time on the shrub. Full sun to light shade and little to NO summer water. Tip prune after blooming to limit size, encourage density. As with all Manzanita it abhors crowding and should be given excellent air circulation. Dependable, hardy and easy to grow.
Arctostaphylos x densiflora ‘Howard McMinn’
A FANTASTIC Manzanita ‘Howard’ forms an extremely handsome evergreen shrub to 7’ tall and as wide in as many years. Striking mahogany bark is smooth with dark glossy deep green leaves. Profuse clusters of pink urn-shaped flowers appear in late winter and change to white over a period of six weeks. Maroon berries follow in summer. One of the most adaptable to landscapes, tolerates some summer irrigation but absolutely avoid boggy conditions and heat. A fantastic performer in our climate. Excellent as a specimen, basic landscaping shrub, or even informal hedge. Tip prune in summer to limit size and shape if required. Somewhat formal appearance year round. Very nice as an informal hedge and wonderfully adapted to steep slopes. Very good black spot resistance. Verdant and healthy year round. Adaptable to very HIGH overhead shade in woodlands. Avoid rich soils and do not improve. Best in un-amended native soils. Great formal looking shrub for rough conditions. Cold hardy to 5ºF. Exceptionally long lived in our climate.
Arctostaphylos x hookeri ‘White Lanterns’
Stellar small scale Manzanita that is a winner in gardens. Smaller leaves have a finer texture than most shrub types. Forms a symmetrical, dense dome to 3′ x 5′ in 5 years of medium green foliage. Massive bloom as clusters of white flowers (tinted pink in cold weather) occur from every branch tip in January to March. Very showy russet/mahogany bark. One of the best performers in our climate and scaled well for smaller gardens. Wonderful performance in Hell Strips, even large rock gardens. In time you may remove the lower tired branches that have become shaded out and reveal the smooth spectacular peeling trunks. Little to no summer water. Full sun to very light shade in well drained to average soil. Excellent cold hardiness as well as resistance to black spot. As with all give it good air circulation. Adaptable.
Arctostaphylos x media ‘Martha Ewan’
Our former employee Dan found Martha growing in the cemetery of the coastal town of Manzanita. It was bound to happen. This naturally occurring hybrid between Hairy Manzanita (Arctostaphylos columbiana) and the ground cover Kinnick Kinnick (Arctostaphylos uva ursi). Fantastic low growing evergreen shrub that is a superior ground cover. Dense growth clad in deep green leaves covers the ground on a 2′ x 6′ framework. White flowers in spring are followed by large red berries which are then consumed by wild life. Full sun to very light shade in most well drained soils. No summer water when established. Fast growing with little care. Amazing on slopes where it efficiently blocks weeds and the best ground cover Manzanita that we grow.. Better, easier, and faster ground cover than Arctostaphylos uva ursi- Kinnick Kinnick- dense growth is more vigorous and requires less maintenance or even supplemental water. Handsome and immensely easy plant. Though not technically a shade plant this variety can handle quite a bit of shade- avoid low dark shade, high overhead shade is best. Oregon native plant.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Arctostaphylos x media ‘Xera Pacific’
Our discovery of a naturally occurring hybrid Manzanita on the Oregon Coast. Low and spreading to 2′ tall and 5′ wide in 5 years. Light green paddle shaped leaves. White urn shaped flowers in spring. Bark exfoliates to mahogany and shredding with time. First rate dense weed smothering groudcover. Black spot resisitant. Full sun to part shade in average, well drained soil. No summer water- though it tolerates it better than most. Great Oregon native shrub. Cold hardy. Russet/red berries follow the flowers and are consumed by wildlife. Very similar in habit and use as ‘Martha Ewan’, they are almost interchangeable. The foliage is more rounded and lighter green than the previous. Oregon native plant.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Moroccan Pineapple Broom is a splendid, hardy NON-INVASIVE tree that we adore for its silver foliage and spicily scented cones of brilliant yellow flowers. Fast growing tree which may also be maintained as a shrub. In our climate with more rain than its native range it usually achieves tree like proportions. To 16′ tall by 10′ wide most often with one to three trunks. Best in poor to average soil with as little irrigation as possible once established. You must treat this plant with a bit of benign neglect. Overly enriched soil and too much supplemental irrigation leads to a rank growing and usually unstable plant that can go over easily in a wet gale. The flower fragrance is definitely pineapple with somewhat salty notes. Blooms appear May-July and are born on wood from the previous year. Prune-if needed AFTER flowering has ended. Full sun is ideal. Wonderful small tree for rough sites- compacted awful droughty soils. Almost always deciduous in our winters and surprisingly hardy taking temperatures just below 0ºF with no ill effects. Moderate deer resistance. Absorbs the blasting heat of south facing walls. Wonderful small tree. Beautiful espalier subject- see pruning above.
Artemesia versicolor ‘Seafoam’
Lovely, soft gray curls make up the foliage of this low spreading perennial. Easy to grow and long lived plant for full sun and well drained soil. Little summer water when established. Takes the hottest aspects with aplomb and remains good looking all season. At the end of summer stems extend to produce small white flowers. Not really showy but it expands the overall texture of the plant. Completely winter deciduous. Cut back hard in early spring. Forms woody stems at the base and is a quite permanent plant. Flows in and around other plants gracefully. Moderate deer resistance. To 1′ x 3′ in a season.
As a dry shade evergreen ground cover foliage plant this wonderful perennial excels. Large heart shaped leaves are marked with silver over a sage green background. Pretty. Spreads to form dense colonies in rich, well drained soil in part shade to full shade. Must have regular water for the best appearance but can endure very dry conditions by wilting and will quickly recover with a drink. Takes the most dense shade and is invaluable in planters, beds, containers that are sited under an overhanging roof. Great winter appearance- it should be used in all sorts of year round containers more often. Spreads underground by stolons but doesn’t travel far. Bait for snails and slugs. Small curious brown flowers occur at ground level under the foliage in summer. To 6″ tall and spreading in ideal conditions to several feet wide.
Narrow leaved milkweed is an Oregonian butterfly weed that has a great wildflower demeanor and is just as attractive to pollinators as well as Lepidoptera (butterflies). Full sun and well drained soil, though it accepts clay soil on slopes that are strictly unwatered in summer , otherwise light consistent irrigation to establish- then natural rainfall alone. To 22″ tall and making a spreading plant. Mix with fine textured ornamental grasses,such as Tufted fairy grass – Deschampsia caespitosa and tall spiky perennials such as simultaneously blooming Kniphofias. Light summer water when companion planted. Flower color is most often creamy white but ranges to light pink. Often seen on road cuts and in ditches in the Willamette Valley. Blends in with grasses and other plants but pollinators find it no matter what. Spreads to form colonies by underground stolons to 2′-3′ wide. Nice cutflower. Important food source for Fendler’s Blue Butterfly which is very endangered and locally indigenous. Winter deciduous. Blooms open in June and persist to August. The large seed heads are pointed and release their downy seeds on the wind in August-September. Oregon native plant.
This widespread species is native to the floor of the Willamette Valley and is locally common in the Columbia Gorge where it occupies dry rocky hillsides in full sun but tolerates heavy clay soil. In the best conditions (loam) it is huge spreading perennial that requires pre-planning and some real estate. Gray green stalks and leaves rise up to about 4’tall and bear deliciously fragrant pink orbicular flowers. These are irresistible to butterflies, including Monarchs, and if you want one to visit your garden this plant is good insurance. However, all butterflies find it irresistible. Spreads underground vigorously by stolons and can come up quite a way from the initial clump. Full sun and well drained soil. Completely winter deciduous and emerges relatively late in spring. Be patient. see video below. IMG 6323. Oregon native plant.
Common butterfly weed native to the central parts of the continent makes a striking long blooming perennial in our gardens. To 2′ tall flat cymes of brilliant orange flowers appear in July and re-bloom until frost. Emerges late – not until May and then rockets out of the ground and almost immediately commences blooming. Fantastic plant for all pollinators. Remarkably showy perennial for very well drained soil- try a slope and deep but infrequent irrigation or add a few handfuls of pumice to the planting hole. Mine thrives in the heat and rigors of my hellstrip. completely deciduous in winter.- its good to remember where you planted it. Butterflies, Oh the god damned butterflies. Excellent combined with blue and purple flowered perennials such as Verbena rigida with the same cultural requirements and bloom time.
You don’t see this perennial from the middle east very often in our gardens. Its a great, low water long lived plant with dramatic, showy flowers. Spikes to 4′ tall are clouds of large starry yellow fragrant flowers. Blooms appear in May and June and are showy for weeks. Grassy blue green leaves form a clump at the base. Rich, well drained soil with little to no summer water once established. Mass for a very showy effect. Remove spent flowers and you are left with relatively good looking low arching blue green leaves. Must have full sun and a bit of patience to bloom. We try to sell them in bloom to avoid the wait. Moderate deer resistance. Winter deciduous. Long lived.
Cast Iron Plant. Once you realize how incredibly useful and uniformly good looking this perennial of dry shade is- its as if there has been an awakening. Upright wide then tapered deep green evergreen foliage is famous for its ability to thrive in dust dry black shade. Well, its more adaptable than that. It makes a great evergreen texture, presence in any shady setting. It really does require protection from bright hot sun- it will discolor the leaves and recovery is a long slow process. To 2′ tall and forming a slowly spreading clump to several feet wide in a half dozen years. In summer brown, round flowers resemble pepperoni and appear at soil level. Curious. Well known as a houseplant its time to use it more in our gardens. Containers, sites in dense shade. Great winter appearance. To speed growth plant in enriched, well drained soil and water diligently during the heat of summer. Long lived plant.
Aucuba japonica ‘Hosoba Hashifu’
A dazzling female selection of Japanese Aucuba with long, thin, tapered leaves of deep green randomly splashed with yellow spots. Dense and slow growing evergreen to 5′ x 5′ in 7 years. This selection will produce clusters of large red berries if a male is present. Very showy. Tiny brown/green flowers in spring are not conspicuous. Part shade to quite a bit of shade in average to enriched well drained soil. Established plants are incredibly drought tolerant and this striking shrub adds light and texture to dry shade areas. It will take full sun with regular irrigation and the leaves will be not as dark lustrous green. A very handsome shrub year round with great cold hardiness. Regular water through the first season to establish. Then light water. Long lived, easy to grow shrub whose dense habit does not require pruning.
Aucuba japonica ‘Longifolia’
Tough and useful evergreen that is always at its shiny green best. Large growing for an Aucuba exceeding 6′ tall and as wide in 7 years. Moderate growth rate. Long glossy green leaves are slightly serrated and very pretty. Endures the deepest, densest dry shade conditions with no issues. Adaptable to full sun but not reflected heat. Tiny brown flowers are not conspicuous but this is a male and makes a great pollinator for female Aucuba (see A. ‘Rozannie). Established shrubs can get by with little to no summer water and not suffer. Pretty foliage shape is a great medium for contrast. Plant with Japanese Forest Grass or Dicentra formosa ‘Langtrees’. Incredibly cold tolerant- slightly below 0ºF. A good candidate for windy, cold gardens.
Aucuba japonica ‘Rozannie’
Rosanna Rosanna Danna is what I think of when I see this cute tough and useful shrub. I have no explanation, I just do. Slow growing broadleaved evergreen with deep forest green leaves that are glossy and pretty at all times. A female that is pretty much self fertile- My kind of woman, yeah 2018. Small green/brown flowers make themselves into glossy red berries. Bring a man around and the crop multiplies. Best in part shade in rich, well drained soil with light summer water. In reality once established Rozannie can go all summer and not miss a drink. To 3′ x 3′ and dense. Avoid blasting hot exposures which will yellow the leaves and rob the whole plant of luster. Supremely adapted to dry shade. Super cold hardy to quite a bit below 0ºF without any tragedy. Japan.
Azara microphylla ‘Variegata’
Pretty form of the normally deep green small leaved Azara. Tiny round, evergreen leaves are mostly cream with a light splash of dark green. Very pretty fine texture effect. Moderately fast growing tree to 12′ tall in 7 years. Part shade in a protected site. Protect from subfreezing east winds by siting on a south or west aspect. Nice semi-weeping tree for woodland margins, urban courtyards. In March it is smothered in tiny yellow flowers with the powerful perfume of cocoa. Loses some leaves below 15ºF but recovers them quickly in spring. Light summer water. Takes dry shade very well.
Azara microphylla (Upright form)
We’ve chosen this distinct form of Azara microphylla which has a much more upright habit and is also hardier to cold. Fast growing light textured evergreen tree. The tiny leaves are deep forest green and glossy and good looking year round. In March on old wood from the previous year and beyond alights with tiny yellow filament flowers. They have the intense and penetrating perfume of hot candy. Well, thats my take, others frequently chime in that it smells like Cocoa or Vanilla. Its an odd sweet fragrance that carries for many feet on mild early spring days. Explosively fast growing tree for any well drained site with regular deep watering. This speeds up early growth to 3′- 4′ a year. The dark, fine foliage provides a great contrast with the light taupe/tan colored bark. In time it exfoliates to reveal bright orange and tan patterns. Excellent urban tree that is incredibly drought tolerant when established. Locate out of the path of the most violent subfreezing east wind. Ultimate height in 10 years is about 22′ tall and less than half as wide. Easy, satisfying tree native to southern Chile. Great performance at the Oregon Coast as well. Casts very light shade.
Baccharis pilularis ssp. consanguinea
This is the Willamette Valley form of coyote brush (bush)- also known as chaparral broom. A relatively short lived evergreen shrub in the aster family. Indeed this form blooms in autumn through winter with small brushes of white plumed flowers on female plants. Smaller yellow flowers on males. Typical of the steepest cliffs abutting the ocean and in the Willamette Valley it populates recent road cuts and fire zones. Often it will be seen all alone in the center of a Willamette Valley field. Native inland from northern Marion county to Douglas county. Very fast growing and drought adapted daisy bush for rough sites and poor soil. Improved soil will yield an enormous shrub so its difficult to pin point an exact size but everything from 4′ tall in poor soil with no summer water to 12′ x 12′ in rich soil with irrigation. I suggest no irrigation after planting. Excellent fodder for insects and birds. It may be pruned heavily in spring and will quickly regenerate. Foliage is deep glossy green but fine textured. Not bothered by deer. Excellent native companion for Manzanita, Grevilleas. VERY EASY to grow. average life span 10 years. Good instant plant for a native garden, but not long term. Native from N. Oregon coast south to Baja California. A prominent component of the California beach chaparral and on the Oregon coast as well. Common associated plants on the coast are Salal (Gaultheria shallon) and Mahonia nervosa. In the Willamette Valley its primary role has been ursurped by Scot’s Broom. Too bad. Oregon native plant.
Heathmyrtle as it is known is a fine textured shrub that closely mimics Erica (Heath) and is an aromatic member of the Myrtle family- Hence the common name. The fine needle leaves emit a powerfully sweet menthol perfume when bruised. In winter the entire arching dense shrub takes on vivid copper tints. Early summer brings boughs spangled in tiny white flowers like frost. To 3′ tall and 4′ wide in 5 years in rich, well drained soil with light consistent summer water. Pairs perfectly with Heaths and Heathers with identical cultural requirements. Strong deer resistance. Cold hardy to 5ºF or below. Wonderful evergreen shrub. A Xera favorite. High mountains of Tasmania. It would make a fine sheared hedge. Any amount of pruning results in a much denser plant. Plant on three foot centers. Underused wonderful shrub.
Banksia marginata ‘Minimarge’
MINIMARGE! This is a dwarf form of Banksia marginata that has been cold hardy in the Portland area. The key to cold hardiness is to establish the plant well. Unlike other members of the Proteaceae this small shrub likes the soil a bit richer, but that drains well. You can even add a small amount of compost when planting but nothing other than that. Water it until you see good new growth then taper off to once every two weeks. Full sun, in a warm, protected location. A south facing slope with protection from east wind is ideal. To 3′ x 3′ in 7 years. On older wood 4″ tall yellow cones are produced as flowers from spring to autumn. Protect young plants from severe cold. Very good performance on the Oregon coast. In time it will form a small lignotuber. A swollen woody base with dormant buds. It may then be cut back fairly hard and re-growth will commence. Avoid crowding this plant with others. Open and happy is how it likes to be. Great plant for a large rock garden. Hummingbirds adore the spectacular long lasting flowers. Foliage is deep green with an underside of silver and forms winding stems- never tidy. A plant for collectors primarily. This is not a plant for beginners. Heh. Avoid all fertilizers. Limited supply.
Darwin’s Barberry is probably one of the showiest barberries in bloom and has excellent performance in Western Oregon. Deep green, glossy, prickily small leaves clothe the frame of this dense and arching shrub. In March/April the whole plant is alight in chains of vivid orange/yellow pendant small flowers. They come in such abundance as to obscure the foliage. By summer those that found a pollinator transform into blue berries covered in a light powdery bloom. Full sun to very light shade in virtually any soil that does not experience standing water. This Chilean native loves our similar maritime climate and is supremely tolerant of summer drought as well. Typically grows to 4′ x 6′ moderately fast. High deer resistance. Locate out of the path of subfreezing wind (east wind) in Portland as it can burn the foliage in severe arctic events. Recovers quickly. No longer recommended for the Oregon Coast. It has been recorded as escaped in several coastal counties. Inland colder temperatures mitigate invasiveness.
Berberis x lologensis
Very cool, rare evergreen barberry hybrid that is naturally occurring in the far southern Andes of Chile/Argentina. Apparently where B. darwinii and B. linearis grow together you can get this lovely huge evergreen flowering shrub. In early spring the arching stems are lined with pendant flowers that arrive as bright red buds and open to hot orange- both colors are present on the flowers which have the fragrance up close of coconut oil. Large growing arching shrub with kind of a wonky habit. Site it where you can spot the vivid flowers in March and then let this spiny creature fade into the background for the rest of the year. Completely drought adapted but will also take regular water. Virtually any soil apart from standing water. Perfectly hardy to cold. High deer resistance. Very difficult to propagate so we only have this fast growing handsome shrub on occasion. But no one else grows it so we list it. Long lived.
Fascinating daisy from South Africa with intensely thorny, conspicuously ridged stems and throughout summer a long display of large light purple to white daisies. The interior of the flower is much darker than the petals and provides great contrast. Each 4″ wide flower faces outwards and is easy to see. To 30″ tall from a slowly spreading clump. Rich, well drained soil with regular summer water. Drainage is important but so is good care during summer to establish an extensive root system. Excellent on sunny slopes. Add a yearly application of compost to spur vigor and blooms. Full sun to very light shade. All together a very spectacular perennial. Worth the effort to make it happy. Very unusual cut flower. Completely winter deciduous. Rated as zone 6, In our observations over the years it is more like the low end of zone 7. Mulch in autumn. Moderate deer resistance.
The so called Chocolate Daisy of the great plains we love for the sweet chocolate scented yellow daisy flowers in summer. Forms a rosette of humble green leaves and then repeatedly in summer it sends up the wonderfully scented flowers on long stems to 1′ high. Full sun and well drained soil of average to rich fertility. Regular summer water encourages more bloom but it takes dry conditions when established. Rock gardens, gravel gardens, borders, containers. To 18″ wide when happy. Full all day sun. Lifespan: 3-5 years in our experience in Oregon. The yellow petals surround a soft green center- makes a nice scented cut flower.
Little leaf CLUMPING Bamboo has risen to the top as one of our favorite Bamboos. Rapid growing with culms shooting quickly to 10′ tall, they then become clad in masses of tiny mid-green leaves as the culms begin to leaf they slowly sink down. The effect is a a wide spreading fountain. The clump increases painfully slow though and the 1/2″ culms crowd together at the base. Part shade to shade in any well drained soil. Extremely drought adapted for a bamboo. Though it does not run you must give it a wide berth to arch. Amazing texture of green fountains. Culms are purple upon expanding. Light summer water. Protect from reflected heat of hot walls. Takes pruning exceedingly well. Responds almost immediately as a denser plant. It appears best to prune once the culm has completely unfurled. Then head back the culm from the top. If you against pruning it sounds brutal but it actually looks quite natural and does not really diminish the plants grace.
Mosquito Grass or Gramma Grass is a widespread native of the interior west. Slowly spreading to form substantial clumps of fine light green/gray leaves. To 18″ tall the funny flowers born at the tips of the fine stems feature a horizontal inflorescence- to me it resembles a little blond mustache. Blooms appear in midsummer and are attractive well into fall. Full, hot sun and rich to average well drained sites. Mass for a fine textured effect of a blowsy low meadow. In autumn as it enters dormancy it retains a dried to cere presence deep through winter. It may be cut back hard in spring. Light summer water though extremely drought tolerant when established. Oregon native plant.
Excellent grey leaved evergreen low shrub for hot and sunny sites. To 3′ x 4′. Foliage is grey on the top of the rounded leaves with a distinct white undersides. In summer clusters of brilliant yellow daisies are showy and provide excellent contrast. Best in poor to average well drained soils – accepts clay soils with little summer water. Very drought tolerant. Best in the mildest gardens. Dry hillsides, shrub borders, hot aspects. Little to light summer water. Good deer resistance. Cold hardy to about 10ºF or a little lower if soil is strictly un-amended and summer water is sparse- neglect leads to a hardier plant in the long run. New Zealand. Excellent performance at the Oregon Coast. Don’t be afraid to cut back this shrub after blooming has ending. Cut several inches into existing branches this will form a dense upright plant with more foliage and a tidier habit. Very good urban shrub.
Fun small shrub that we love for its wavy (undulate) gray foliage and compact habit. Evergreen shrub to 3′ x 3′ moderately fast. In summer it is topped by clusters of electric yellow daisies- nice contrast with the gray foliage. Full sun and well drained soil with light to little summer water once established. Avoid exposure to subfreezing east winds- site on a south or west facing aspect if you are in the wind zone. Excellent performance on hot dry slopes. Moderate deer resistance. Great at the Oregon Coast. Evergreen. New Zealand.
Crown Brodiaea is in my opinion the more showy of the two that are common in Western Oregon, the other is Brodiaea elegans Harvest lily. This little naked lily inhabits dry hillsides and meadows from British Columbia to California. Cylindrical leaves emerge in autumn and a clump is green until spring. Then as the leaves go dormant it sends up a chalice of rich blue flowers with distinct white petals on the interior of the flower The 4-6 flowers measure nearly an inch wide each when open. To 8″ tall and spreading primarily by seed, this corm will also multiply to form local colonies. Blooms May to July, just as the accompanying grass is going tan summer dormant. Brodiaea has been placed in the Amaryllis family, then the Asparagus family and now it resides, but probably not permanently, in the Lily family. Loved by pollinators and native bumble bees are especially fond of the pretty flowers. Disappears completely after seed set. Full sun and an open aspect. Average soil and tolerant of xeric clay soils that dry to concrete with summer drought. Adored by butterflies. In the Willamette Valley it is common to find this corm among creeping strawberry Fragaria Virginiana platypetala Roemer’s Fescue Festuca roemeri var. roemeri, Prairie stars Lithophragma sp.as well as Ookow Dichelostemma congestum . Once established no supplemental water is required, in fact its best to give this beautiful little flower a dry rest in summer. No summer water zone. Not well adapted to compete with introduced invasive turf grasses. Oregon native plant.
Wonderful native bulb that has several common names. Harvest lily is one as well as cluster lily. This gorgeous inhabitant of dry hillsides from British Columbia to southern California erupts in clusters of blue flowers just as summer drought ensues. To 14″ tall but normally shorter a clump of scrappy green leaves comes out in autumn and persists until bloom time. As the leaves go dormant the bulb sends up its bloom. Easy to grow if you accept its requirements. Bulbs that are potted should be watered after planting but established plants should rely only on what falls from the sky. Best to not irrigate in summer. In time it spreads by both increasing bulblets as well as seed. Excellent planted among Festuca roemeri var. roemeri as well as Festuca californica where it occurs naturally. Excellent pollinator bulb in the lily family. Leaves are deer resistant but flowers are not reliably deer proof. Full hot, all day sun in soils that dry completely in summer. Native throughout the Willamette Valley and into the gorge locally. Oregon native plant.
South African Buddleia that we are not concerned about escape, We’ve had this plant on our propagation hill for 15+ years, and there is even a rich stock bed right beside NEVER had a single seedling. Kind of wish I would. Thin tapered gray leaves are pure white underneath and along the stems. This downy appearance reads as light gray from a distance. Forms a rounded shrub to about 6′ tall x 4′ wide in 4 years. Blooms on wood from the previous year (important)- restrict pruning to directly after you are sick of the flowers. Large clusters of off white faintly fragrant flowers appear in late spring and remain in bloom to August, sometimes longer. Moderately fast growing evergreen for excellently drained soils to rich soils in full sun. I would err on the side of poor soil, its a tough shrub with great drought tolerance. Two ideal companions to our stock plant are Bupleurum fruticosum and Grevillea australis. Not only does it look good this 1/2 gravel 1/2 clay substrate is kind of rough and all three thrive. You may cut back very hard to refresh/resize- May skip a year of bloom but its a fantastic evergreen gray foliage plant on those merits. High deer resistance. Drought adapted and cold hardy. We’ve never irrigated ours. Pretty shrub for texture. Nice transitional shrub with Ozothamnus or Grevilleas and even Manzanitas.
A subtle but very sophisticated hardy evergreen shrub that is found in all the best gardens. Shiny sea-green leaves are reminiscent of a Euphorbia and are handsome year round. In summer long stems sport umbels of chartreuse green flowers gives away its familial affinity to Dill. Tough shrub that is adaptable to all but boggy soils. To 6’ tall and as wide in several years. Blooms on new wood, may be hard pruned in early spring nearly to the ground to refresh and resize. Re-growth is rapid. Equally tolerant of drought and regular irrigation. A great plant that instantly makes a planting look sophisticated. Excellent with Lavenders and Russian sage. An irresistible pollinator plant that will be covered in multitudes of insects while in bloom. Very easy to grow. Water weekly until firmly established.
Buxus sinica ‘Sunburst’
Useful and pretty and so tough this is a yellow variegated form of Korean Boxwood and its a fantastic dwarf shrub. To just 2′ x 2′ in 7 years this slow growing evergreen shrub is ideal as a hedge or trim it into a crazy shape and make a focal point. Adaptable to full hot sun to part shade. Great in winter containers. Hardy way below 0ºF. A good shrub or hedge in cold gardens or areas blasted by subfreezing east wind. Very good deer resistance. Light summer water in rich, well drained soil. Avoid crowding/shading from other plants in too close of proximity. Easy to grow- good looks year round. For a hedge plant on 2′ centers.
Caesalpinia gilliesii (Erythrostemon gilliesii)
Bird of Paradise shrub is an incredibly showy flowering plant that is surprisingly adaptable to the Willamette Valley. Native to Argentina/ Uruguay the exotic large yellow flowers in whorls each with 3″ strings of blood red stamens protruding. Each flower lasts but a day but a truss carries many individual flowers. Fine divided foliage is light gray green and a great foil for the exotic flowers. Full hot, all day sun in a hot site. Ideally, it should be located against a south facing wall- this heat lover is slow to break dormancy in spring and doesn’t normally begin flowering until mid-summer and continuing until cool weather. To 8′ x 8′ drought adapted but water speeds growth. Deciduous. Spectacular. Non-blooming youngsters may need a year or two in the ground to commence blooming heavily. Patience is all that is required. This shrub loves the hottest spot in the garden. Pick a place that would be unbearable on a hot day and you’ve found the home for this sun lover. Bipinnate leaves close with darkness. Each flower opens for just one day but a procession of buds releases them over a period of many weeks. Blooms on new wood, growth from the current season.
Mendocino Reed grass is a regal plant from the northern California coast. Well scaled for gardens a 1′ x 2′ wide clump eventually forms with stiff, tidy blue green arching leaves that are blue with purple highlights. In spring to mid-summer 1′ tall spikes of flowers that begin russet and age to soft tan appear and are immensely showy and symmetrical. A back lit plant in bloom is a festival of brilliant tones. Best in light shade and average to rich, well drained soil with light summer water to improve vigor and appearance. A cool season grass that looks wonderful in winter as well as summer. Excellent garden plant that has proven to be easy and adaptable, Unfortunately, it can be hard to propagate and availability is spotty. Evergreen.
NOT AVAILABLE 2022/23
Pacific Reed grass is a large and stately grass that is found close to the coast/ beach. A tall growing species with large flat green foliage and tall flowers that are at first green and then age to straw in summer. To 3′ tall on average, this plant can even perform as an epiphyte as is sometimes seen in forests adjacent to the beach. Spreads to form large clumps that are staunchly evergreen. Native from S. Alaska to N. California. This makes a wonderful casual plant with stiffly upright flower spikes. To 3′ wide and clumping. Average to amended soil, adaptable to clay soils. This is a great first line grass at the beach. It endures salt spray and poor soils. Easy to grow native grass for rough areas, meadows, forest verges. Full sun to quite a bit of shade. It may be cut back hard in the early spring, but appearance is very stable throughout the year. Deer resistant. Very easy to grow. Light consistent water inland, but drought adapted at the coast. Associated plants in the wild are Polypodium scopulorum, Picea sitchensis, Gaultheria shallon (Salal). One of our best native evergreen grasses for our gardens. Oregon native plant.
Calamintha nepeta ‘Montrose White’
Wow- one of the best perennials that we grow. Easy to grow, so useful, pretty and even a nice edible that we enjoy in summer iced teas. A dome shaped perennial that is virtually everblooming. Clouds of tiny white flowers are absolutely LOVED by pollinators of every kind. A well grown clump in bloom is a buzzing fountain of activity. Blooms May to September unabated. Full sun, rich to average well drained soil with light but consistent summer irrigation. The fine white clouds of flowers work well as filler in borders or as a low cloud supporting taller flowers. Winter deciduous. Loved by the kitties. To 2′ tall and 2′ wide in a single season. Cold hardy and low water. Exceptional plant. See video below. No other plant we grow is as popular with pollinators as this. Takes a second for the video to load.
Callistemon ‘Wetland’s Challenged Mutant’
A great introduction from the Sequim, WA nursery Desert Northwest. Incredibly showy in bloom this easy to grow shrub produces 4″ long 1″ thick soft yellow colored sweetly scented brushes in late spring and early summer. Moderately fast growing shrub to 7′ tall and 3′ wide in 6 years. The pretty, fine foliage is handsome ochre green and contrasts beautifully with the light taupe colored bark.This is an exceptional shrub out of bloom as well and has a very upright, tidy habit for this genus. From a distance a mature shrub appears like a Podocarpus. Full sun and average to rich soil with light but consistent summer water. Drought adapted. Considering the size of the brushes this is an exceptionally hardy Callistemon taking 5ºF when established. If there is any confusion about which species this appears to be- the foliage is unlike C. pityoides but the large brushes are dense and fragrant just like that species. A hybrid is likely. This very upright shrub would make a fantastic informal hedge/screen with minimal pruning. Great shrub. Pollinated at night by moths who will literally glue themselves to the brushes for hours. Fascinating shrub.
Callistemon ‘Woodlander’s Hardy Red’
This has become the standard cold hardy red flowering bottlebrush in our climate. 4″ brushes of raspberry red occur en mass in May/June and sporadically there after on established plants. Low, spreading arching habit. Give it horizontal space to grow. Virtually any soil type and incredibly drought adapted when established. Accepts regular irrigation as well. Must have full, all day sun to perform. Avoid exposure to subfreezing east winds, err on the side of protection. Cold hardy to a little below 10ºF but has vigorously recovered from subzero lows returning from the base. If damaged by cold cut back in spring- then supply regular irrigation and recovery is rapid. Moderate deer resistance. To 3′ x 5′ wide in 6 years.
Callistemon (formerly sieberi) pityoides ‘Moonlight’
We’ve grown this plant for almost 20 years. In fact I got my original plant in the 1990’s from a rare plant dealer in Vancouver, BC. This fine textured shrub has needles posing as leaves that densely line the lithe arching stems. In early summer the whole plant is alight in 2″ moonlight yellow colored brushes. A hummingbirds dream. Following hot summers it may repeat bloom in autumn. To 3′ tall by 4′ wide with a somewhat twisted habit. Following the bottlebrush flowers small woody seed capsules line the former blooms and persist sometimes for years- it adds interest to this already interesting shrub. Very deer resistant and accepting of quite dry conditions once established. Foliage takes on bronze tints in very cold weather. Grows moderately fast to its ultimate size. Well sized for smaller gardens. Requires full sun- at least 6 hours per day for best bloom. Prune AFTER blooming if necessary. Blooms on wood from the previous season. Alpine Australia.
This is a relatively cold hardy and spectacular bottlebrush. Very upright growth on a vertical growing plant with distinctly blue leaves. In late spring soft yellow thick bottle brush flowers appear in a massive display. Hummingbirds and people come running. The glowing flower color set against a blue backdrop is sublime. Full sun (no shade, don’t even try) in a warm, protected location such as a south facing wall or fence. Moderately fast growing in the ground to 12′ tall and 4′ wide in 7 years. It can suffer considerable damage in our coldest winters, but established plants have recovered from temperatures below 10ºF. Blooms on wood from the previous year. Prune if needed after blooming has ended. Rows of button shaped woody seed capsule follow and persist for several years. Spectacular and easy at the coast. Aromatic foliage has some deer resistance. Protect containerized plants from temperatures below 20ºF. Blooms well in a container. Tasmania. Water to establish then occasionally in summer. Avoid strong subfreezing wind.
Callistemon pallidus ‘Eleanor’
More than 25 years ago I raised some Callistemon from seed. This seedling with vivid magenta purple flowers has survived temperatures below 10ºF for all that time but requires a protected spot inland to thrive. Amazing performance at the Oregon Coast where the bright brushes may appear several times a year. To 6′ x 6′ and arching this willowy evergreen accepts light summer water and requires as much sun as possible. Best against a south facing wall in Portland. It may freeze back below about 12ºF, but recovery from the base is rapid. Virtually any soil. Moderate deer resistance. This seedling was planted at our then neighbor Eleanor’s house so it received that name. Photo credit: Evan Bean.
Xera Plants Introduction
Callistemon pityoides ‘Harry’
This is a great dwarf form of Alpine bottlebrush and its most useful for its size and shape than for expansive floral displays. However, when in bloom its beyond adorable. Slow growing rounded shrub to 1.5′ x 1.5′ after 7 years. The small needle-like leaves are medium green with a distinct ochre cast. Very tough evergreen for the most challenging sites. Accepts intense reflected heat, summer drought and arctic cold. This is a true alpine plant. No pruning necessary as it naturally assumes a dense rounded habit with no intervention. Good deer resistance. Excellent as in informal unpruned hedge. Accepts almost all soil types from saturated clay to sand. The diminutive flowers are actually small circular balls of light yellow stamens- adorable. Blooms May- June and possibly again in autumn. Native to the very highest elevations of Australia. Flowers are attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies. Combines well with wild flowers or perennials. Nice looking shrub all the time. This is an introduction from Desert Northwest Nursery. And its an excellent plant. Full sun- not tolerant of shade.
Callistemon pityoides ‘Mt. Kosckuisko’
Dwarf alpine Bottlebrush that we like most as a clipped hedge. Dense rounded shrub composed of fine olive green needles. To 3′ x 3′ in time. Full sun and very little water when established. It can also tolerate regular summer irrigation. Sporadically, in late spring starry cream colored bottlebrush flowers appear. Extremely hardy to cold and very deer resistant evergreen. Alpine Australia. This durable shrub with a fine texture makes a fantastic clipped hedge. It can be trained as one solid shrub or separated into spheres. Pruning is done just once a year in early summer. This can sacrifice blooms but the effect is striking for a small cold hardy, drought tolerant, low prune hedge. In time it blooms more heavily. Give it a few years. The starry white stamens are tipped in yellow for a light yellow overall color. Highly deer resistant shrub. Great year round appearance.
Callistemon pityoides ‘Corvallis’
I found this Callistemon in a garden in Corvallis, OR over 20 years ago. For the previous 30 years it had thrived through the coldest (0ºF or -18ºc) winters. Upright growing fine textured evergreen shrub to 6′ tall and 3′ wide in 7 years. 2″ pale yellow fluffy brushes appear in late spring/summer and again in early autumn. Full sun, average soil – especially good in clay soils and regular summer water- though it can live on no supplemental water in summer irrigation improves fall bloom. Completely deer resistant. Perfectly hardy in all of Western Oregon. Long lived shrub that tolerates heavy snow and ice. Easy shrub. Moderately fast growing. Excellent performance on the Oregon coast. Prune if needed after bloom has ended. Excellent companion shrubs are Ceanothus x ‘Topaz’ and Myrtus communis ‘Andy’s Hardy’ which bloom simultaneously,
Xera Plants Introduction.
Callistemon pityoides ‘Excellent’
This form of alpine bottlebrush has flowers that truly are excellent. Fine grass green needle like foliage on a spreading shrub to 5’ tall and 6’ wide. In early summer to early autumn 3” yellow bottlebrush flowers decorate the stems. Sometimes they are as long as 6″ and wind around like a serpent. Woody seed capsules that follow persist on the branches. Blooms on wood from the previous year and then sporadically on new growth. May be damaged below 10ºF but has recovered fully from much lower and has actually bloomed fantastically the following spring. Full sun and adaptable to many kinds of soil including heavy clay. Occasional summer water encourages growth. Wonky twisting habit is fascinating. Like nothing you’ve ever seen. Very informal and wild.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Callistemon subulatus ‘Dark Red’
There are several hardy red flowered bottlebrushes on the market but if you really like red this is the one. Small gray thin leaves densely clothe the arching stems of this clumping multi branched low shrub. In spring and then sporadically all summer deep red 2″ long and wide bottlebrush flowers appear. Happiness and hummingbirds ensue. To 3′ x 3′ in 5 years and strongly arching. Full sun and a protected location- against a south or west facing wall is ideal. Light summer water. Excellent performance in containers- hardy Callistemon often are shy to bloom in containers but this girl is not shy at all. Brilliant, Brilliant red. Freezes to the ground below about 10ºF- returns vigorously from the base in spring. Excellent performance at the Oregon Coast. Moderately deer resistant.
Mountain bottlebrush or Green bottlebrush is one of our very favorite shrubs that combines unusual foliage, beautiful bark, and a great flower color. Upright growing with small diamond 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. To 8′ x 6′ in 6 years. 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 it 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. (Syn. Melaleuca virens)
Callistemon viridiflorus ‘Shamrock’
Our selection of a very compact, dense and tidy growing Mountain Bottlebrush. Moderately slow growing shrub to 5′ x 3′ in 7 years. In May-July 3″ acid green bottlebrush flowers decorate all the branch tips. A thrill for hummingbirds. In winter the small pointed deep green leaves take on dramatic maroon tints- great contrast with the white, cork-like bark.New growth is tinted red and is furry and with a silver sheen. Very tidy compared to the species which can be somewhat wild and unkempt. If you don’t want that try ‘Shamrock’. It fits in small sites well and is adaptable to all types of soil, including heavy clay. Great cold hardiness- suffering no injury at 5ºF. Excellent landscape shrub or foundation plant. Tidy and dense. Moderate deer resistance. Light water requirements. Very good as a hedge or screen with a uniform dense habit. Blooms when young.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Callistemon viridiflorus ‘Xera’s Hedgehog’
We love this cold hardy species also known as mountain bottlebrush. This is our selection of a dwarf form and it achieves a very dense, compact habit at just 2′ tall by 3′ wide in 7 years. In May/June 1″ acid green bottlebrush flowers illuminate the tips of the branches. Pollinated by birds in nature it is a beacon to our local hummingbirds as well. Following the flowers rows of button shaped seed pods become woody and add to the shrubs interest. Full sun and rich to average soil with light consistent summer water for the first few years. It can tolerate regular irrigation but is summer drought tolerant when established. A great plant for foundations, rock gardens, hell strips. The pointed forest green foliage takes on maroon tints in the coldest weather. Cold hardy to 5ºF. Moderately deer resistant.
Xera Plants Introduction
Cat’s Ear’s or furry mariposa. This bulb is exclusive to the west side of the Cascades from central Puget Sound south to northern California. In Oregon it occupies a host of biomes. Most commonly its seen in grassy places or steep rocky slopes. On our property near Eugene it was primarily a woodland plant with forays out into the sun. We shamelessly picked this delicate flower for short lived bouquets. Picking it snuffs out the plant. To 8″ tall and sporting multiple flowers on a divided stem. The flowers have a peaked sweet fragrance that gives away the species. A fascinating flower for pollinators. Three rounded petals with a sharp tip are layered in purple to white to blue fur. This is imposed over the base color of the petals which is often white shading to purple. When planting from a container water when you plant it and then nature takes its course. It quickly goes summer dormant after setting seeds in downward shaped capsules. Do not disturb once established. Plants can put up leaves for several years before bloom commences. Patience. No summer water. Protect from deer who will snack on the flowers. Native associates are Sanicula crassicaulis, Dodecatheon hendersonii, Lithophragma parvifora, Nemophila menziesii, Iris tenax, and Carex tumulicola. Emerges quickly in spring- does its thing and then goes back to sleep. Charming.A critical bulb for Willamette Valley meadows, excellent under Oregon white oaks.. Oregon native plant.
Camassia leichtlinii ssp. suksdorfii
Great Camas is the larger and some say showier cousin to common Camas (Cammasia quamash ssp. maxima). Its found throughout the western valleys of the state. Rising to 2′ tall in mid spring the petals of great Camas are not only larger they are stiffer as well. The large star shaped flowers open from the base to the top. They range greatly in color from pale blue to the most common dark blue. Its a luminous color that beckons pollinators. Small black hover flies gather on the flowers to collect pollen. Forms increasing colonies in rich soil that retains moisture. Its often seen in winter wet areas, but it can be found under oaks and firs in woodlands as well. It grows and blooms simultaneously with its common associates, Sidalcea malviflora ssp. virgata and occasionally even with Iris tenax (Oregon Iris). Its most striking neighbors in the wild are wild Parsnip (Hieracleum maximum) as well as Ranunculus occidentalis (Western Buttercup). Leaves precede the flowers and the whole plant goes cleanly summer dormant after seed set. Very adapted to heavy soils. No supplemental irrigation is required once established. In the wild it is found from full sun to quite a bit of shade on the verge of woodlands. Oregon native plant.
Camellia japonica ‘Black Magic’
If you’ve never been to the Camellia festival at the Portland Japanese Garden in Feb/March you really wouldn’t know that there are fantastic Camellias out there (not just the raw hamburger colored doubles that you see in front of every house). We got this amazing cultivar there and we are always on the lookout for the very true reddest Camellia. This is one of those. Glossy bright green serrated leaves make a wonderful upright growing shrub to 8′ x 4′ in 7 years. In February-April semi double huge true deep red/black flowers appear- they are profuse over the whole plant. Full sun to shade in rich, well drained soil. Regular summer water to establish then a bona fide low water plant. Woodlands, Ann Amato’s garden. Wonderful color early in the season.
Camellia japonica ‘Yamoto Nishiki’
Extraordinary Higo Camellia that is wildly showy and fun to grow. Higo Camellias are a form where the stamens rather than being clustered together in the center are instead splayed out in the shape of a star against smaller flat petals. They are surprisingly rare in the United States. Its a different look for a japonica and we love it. Moderately fast growing handsome glossy evergreen shrub for full sun to shade. To 8′ x 5′ in 7 years. Regular summer water speeds growth and increases flower bud set. Mid-season bloomer with flowers opening from February on. Rich to average soil, definitely apply ample mulch when planting. Good looking shrub at all times- w/ a somewhat formal appearance until the blooms open. 4″ wide flowers have flat petals that are white striped and stippled in peppermint red. Takes low water conditions when established. Long lived.
Camellia sasanqua ‘Double Rainbow’
This is an extraordinary fall blooming sasanqua Camellia with very showy flowers and a nice upright habit. Large double cupped flowers emerge from a pink bud and unfurls to a pink edge with a white center. As the bloom ages it turns mostly to white with pink tinted flowers. Bloom appears from late September to late November. Glossy, very dark green leaves are formal in appearance and a great backdrop to the profuse 4″ wide flowers. Full sun to light shade in rich to average soil with regular summer water. This improves fall bloom. Otherwise very established shrubs can get through summer with just a few drinks. As with most sasanquas the flowers have an earthy, light, sweet scent. Long lived, hardy, easy to grow evergreen with a great season of bloom. Prune if needed AFTER flowering has ended. Wonderful as a stiff upright espalier which will protect the flowers from the vagaries of weather. Stunning in bloom. Tolerates hot aspects.. To 7′ x 6′ in 8 years.
Camellia sasanqua ‘French Vanilla’
A really cool winter blooming Camellia that has several surprises. The pure white single flowers that open from December to February are HUGE- up to 5″ across in full bloom. They have a boss of yellow stamens in the center that emit a light sweet scent. When blooming is over the new growth is the next surprise. Glossy deep black leaves emerge and fade slowly to deep green. Its a great foliage transition and gives the shrub extra depth. Large growing upright sasanqua to 8′ tall and 4′ wide in 7 years. Much wider with time. Great espalier subject with vigorous lithe growth. Sets tons of flower buds and if flowers are ruined by frost more will open in sequence. Full sun to part shade in rich, well drained soil. Light but consistent summer moisture. Very easy to grow shrub with spectacular flowers at a good time of the year. Fast growing to 1′-3′ per year when young. Evergreen.
Camellia sasanqua ‘Hugh Evans’
Rare, obscure, insanely heavy blooming fall and winter blooming Camellia sasanqua. Individual flowers are not formal or stiff, instead the the petals are separated, loose and vivid pink. They appear en masse from October to January and decorate the lithe arching stems in pretty cascades of flowers. Blooms are exceptionally cold tolerant for a sasanqua enduring temperatures into the low 20’s and still remaining fresh. No bother though as a parade of buds exists to replace spoiled blooms. Full sun to quite a bit of shade- without the expense of blooming. Fast growing, vigorous open shrub that takes well to pruning in spring to encourage density- build blooming wood. Rich, to average well drained soil with light consistent summer water. A very wild and informal appearing Camellia and we love it. Glossy deep green foliage. To 5′ x 7′ and arching. Light flower fragrance.
Camellia sasanqua ‘Li’l Rose’
Obscure and stunning DWARF Sasanqua Camellia. Beginning in October and opening blooms through December and sometimes even later. Smaller stature than a standard Sasanqua. The double glistening pink flowers decorate the shrub in a dense way. To 4′ x 4′ in 8 years- but growing larger. Deep, deep green glossy leaves are pretty on this open and lax evergreen shrub. Full sun to light shade in rich to average well drained soil; light consistent summer water increases fall bloom set. Excellent and dainty espalier subject. Very pretty blooms.
Camellia sasanqua ‘Otome Sazanka’
This is one of my favorite fall blooming sasanquas. Beginning in November and continuing to about the first of the year it produces copious double flowers of a soft, antique pink. The shading of the petals give the impression of an aged flower. VERY pretty. Very dark green foliage is glossy on an upright and then distinctively arching shrub to 3′ x 5′ in 6 years. Give this elegant shrub room to spread, it will grow faster than you think. Full sun to part shade in rich soil with regular summer irrigation. Established plants can survive on just several drinks per summer. This sasanqua does not have the sweet earthy fragrance that many do. The soft pink 3″ wide flowers are born in profusion. Very easily trained as an espalier. Open flowers are cold hardy to about 27ºF. Incipient flower buds are much hardier. Good looking shrub year round. Very elegant late blooming sasanqua that is welcome late in autumn. A very old Japanese selection where this species is native.
Camellia sasanqua ‘Setsugekka’
One of the most successful and spectacular of the autumn/winter blooming Camellias. This classic semi-double white variety begins blooming in early November and finishes in January. The 4″ wide flowers are surprisingly and wonderfully fragrant up close- the fragrance seems to be different for everyone. For me its a sweet note with a background of moist potting soil…see? At any rate its a vigorous evergreen shrub for full sun to light shade. Sasanqua Camellias really do better in full sun- trust me. Light summer water but very drought adapted when established. To 8′ x 6′ in 6 years. Excellent as an espalier which will protect the open flowers from ungodly cold if it occurs. If flowers are frozen existing buds will usually open when it warms above freezing. Good looking tough shrub for year round appeal.
Tea, the commercial source of black tea is a fine ornamental shrub in our climate as well. Its more than welcome in autumn when the small cup shaped fragrant white flowers peek from the stems. A rounded, good looking clean shrub with leaves that are deep green with more conspicuous venation on the surface. To 8′ x 8′ in 10 years for light shade to full sun. Great on an eastern exposure. Commercial black tea is produced by the fresh tips of the plant. These then go through a process of fermentation before it is edible. See more research. Easy to grow and somewhat more open than more commonly grown Camellias. And the leaves appear more matte as well. Regular summer water for the most verdant growth. Otherwise it accepts the same conditions as any Camellia. Blooms August to November. Blooms on wood from the previous year, prune if needed after flowering.
Camellia x ‘Coral Delight’
Brilliant flower color cast on huge semi-double flowers are but one advantage to this handsome evergreen shrub. An upright pillar shaped habit makes it a great plant for tight spots or as a hedge or screen. To 8′ tall by 3′ wide in 8 years. The enormous 5″ wide opulent flowers are a a clear and ringing coral. Showy from quite a distance and the entire shrub is clad in blooms from late January to March. Glossy pointed foliage is handsome year round. Somewhat formal dense habit lends it to small gardens, structural shrub. Full sun to quite bit of shade in rich to average soil with regular summer water for the first several seasons. Benefits greatly from a layer of mulch after planting. Tosses its spent flowers which do not cling and discolor. Excellent shrub for Japanese themed gardens. Long, period of bloom.
Camellia x cuspidata ‘Magi’s Mystery’
Our friend garden designer plantswoman extraordinaire Magi Treece spotted this Camellia and observed it over time. I too had noticed it around town- always large and VERY old. Its most conspicuous trait is to produce simple single fluted ivory flowers from pink buds. Up close these 3″ wide flowers have a decadent sweet scent. Its appearance is most like the species Camellia cuspidata which is a very cold hardy species known for its fragrant white flowers. Blooms appear from December (Often as early as November) and open until the end of February. The elegant flowers are tough and it takes some serious weather to impede or even damage the flowers. Deep green leaves are long and thin and very glossy/handsome with a sharp tip. The entire plant is good looking at all times. Ancient varieties around town are upwards of 15′ tall and 3/4 as wide. I’d say it would be an 8′ x 8′ shrub in 10 years. Regular water speeds growth and assists in bud set for the following season, this is only important in summer. Excellent specimen or hedge. This is one tough and beautiful Camellia. Dig a large hole to disturb the soil around the planting site and set the plant in the hole even with the soil horizon. Backfill, water and mulch. Magi queried Camellia Forest about this plant with no luck. I queried Nuccio’s and their best guess was that it was a form of C. cuspidata or a hybrid close with it. Either way its one of our most favorite Camellias and we have our sweet friend Magi to thank. This Camellia looks and acts very much like an evergreen Magnolia and it could be used as a smaller substitute. The flower fragrance on warm days is a bit like a Gardenia. Moderately fast growing.
Xera Plants Introduction
Camellia x williamsii ‘Brigadoon’
HUGE. The flowers on this Camellia are HUGE. Semi-double pink flowers are up to 5″ across. Don’t diss pink. No other flower does pink quite like Camellias. ‘Brigadoon’ is a spectacular hybrid that blooms for the last month of winter and the first two months of spring. Clean, glossy, deep green foliage is handsome at all times on a dense growing shrub to 8′ x 4′ in 6 years. Grows about 1′ per year. Full sun to part shade to quite a bit of overhead shade so long as it isn’t oppressive. Huge amounts of buds open to these voluptuous blossom. Excellent cold hardiness enduring temperatures just right below 0ºF with no damage. Excellent resistance to subfreezing gorge wind- it would be a great windbreak to stop that arctic blast. Flowers fall completely off of the shrub never clinging and turning brown. Easy, long lived, climate adapted shrub.
Camellia x williamsii ‘Buttermint’
Unusual, profuse and a great color for a Camellia, ‘Buttermint’ produces fully double, but small flowers that deck all the stems for months in mid-winter to spring.The flower color is elusive with warm tones of light yellow on the interior fading to a bone color farther out on the petals. Moderately fast growing evergreen shrub to 6′ tall and 4′ wide in full sun- but not reflected heat, part shade to quite a bit of shade. Regular, consistent summer irrigation for the first few years to establish. Older plants can get by without summer irrigation- but bud set and flowering is improved with such. The flower color is aptly described by its name. Pale yellow to buff to off white as they unfurl. Flowers do not turn brown and cling when spent instead they drop cleanly so in bloom there is a uniform fresh appearance. Long lived shrub that grows about 1′ a year when young. Give it room in time. Exquisite winter blooming companion for Hellebores, Grevilleas, Iris lazica, Iris unguicularis. Small glossy deep green foliage is fetching year round. Sets many, many flower buds in autumn.
Camellia x williamsii ‘Little Lavender’
Interesting, hardy, and very bloomy Camellia that enchants us with anemone style flowers with a distinct lavender cast. Upright growing shrub to 8′ tall by just 3′ wide in 7 years. Glossy foliage looks good year round. Full sun to quite a bit of shade. Regular water to establish then deep and sporadic during summer. Excellent skinny Camellia for tight quarters. Takes quite a bit of summer drought when established. Excellent tolerance of sub-freezing wind and this upright plant would make a showy hedge or screen. Little pruning needed. Flowers shatter cleanly, never clinging and discoloring- one of the best traits of any Camellia. The lavender hue of the flowers is most pronounced in full sun. The ‘Little’ part of the name refers to the size of the adorable flowers which appear en masse February-March.
Camellia x williamsii ‘Night Rider’
One of the very best of all Camellias. This remarkable hybrid bears small semi double black/red flowers with petals that have a glossy rubbery quality. The thin foliage is deep green black as well and new growth is brilliant red before settling down. Slow growing shrub for shade to full sun to 6′ tall by 4′ wide in 8 years. Regular summer water speeds up the growth rate. Otherwise light consistent summer water is recommended. There is so much of the chemical that makes up the hue red that even the roots are brilliant blood red. Handsome at all times and cold hardy. Not an easy Camellia to produce in a container- easy and adaptable in the ground. Blooms late for a Camellia- March to April.
Camellia x williamsii ‘Waterlily’
Extraordinary hybrid that combines all the great attributes of a Camellia with larger, more dramatic flowers and more of them. It also possesses excellent cold hardiness as well as garden adaptation. Large growing glossy evergreen shrub with fetching deep green leaves. In late January to early March- and often longer than that depending on the weather 5″ flat fully formal double clear pink flowers are stunning. You really have to see them up close to get a handle on the size and perfection of each flower. Upright growing shrub to 9′ tall by 7′ wide in 10 years. Full sun to quite a bit of shade in well drained soil that retains moisture. Light consistent summer moisture aids establishment and also increases the amount of flowers the following season. Established plants can endure quite a bit of drought. Exceptional cold hardiness, slightly below 0ºF. . Flowers shed cleanly- they shatter without clinging and discoloring. Excellent candidate for a large espalier. Exquisite large shrub.
Don’t let this cute little demure ground cover fool you. This is one tough little plant. An evergreen mounding perennial that throws up 6″ clouds of white flowers in very early spring. So fresh and welcome along side other early bloomers for part shade to shade. Very slow growing to 1′ wide for rich, well drained soil with regular summer water. However, if you skip watering this little gem no harm will come. Incredibly drought adapted. I mean withering drought. And it may wilt a little but it seems to recover from just about anything. Deep green leaves. Bait for slugs if needed. SE Europe.( kar-DAM-ih-nee )
Chamisso Sedge is a wonderful, common and extremely widespread sedge native to the W/NW parts of the US. Upright growing evergreen clumper to 10″ tall x 10″ wide in a season. The complex flowers are brown awns clustered in orbs at the top of very straight 20″ stems. Adaptable to a wide range of conditions from wet riparian zones to drier upland sites. In the wild it accompanies such perennials as Delphinium trollifolium, to Iris tenax. Good looking year round with just a slightly beat up look after the hardest winters. Spreads moderately fast in rich to average soil. Better year round appearance with a light application of compost. Excellent in a Willamette Valley meadow that is wet in winter and bone dry in summer. Each clump is dense enough to inhibit weed competition. Spreads very lightly by seed. Clumps that lose their luster in summer drought can be irrigated. Good garden performance. Great massed plant on 1′ centers. Oregon native plant.
California meadow sedge is native to stream banks, and vernally wet places at the beach from British Columbia south in to Baja. A deep green winter growing sedge which each plant reaches about 18″ across and 10″ or so inches high. It flops over gracefully and has a very uniform appearance through the year with light irrigation. This is a winter growing plant that resumes growing and greens up with winter rains. In very cold weather (below 20ºF) it can take on russet tints. A FANTASTIC LAWN SUBSTITUTE where it has been used extensively for that application in California. We should use it here too. Plant on 1′ centers for a lawn (faux lawn) cover from one gallons and water regularly through the first season. No water plantings can go summer dormant but in wetter environs this can be avoided and it will remain green and verdant. Water once a week in summer to remain green. Fantastic ground cover, slope cover as it will out compete weeds and form a uniform cover. Tolerates clay soils well, but some amending will reap rewards with a faster growing plant. Tolerates mowing very well. Oregon native plant.
Meadow Sedge or Field Sedge is found primarily in meadows and grasslands east of the Cascades. An evergreen fine textured clumping sedge that is gracefully employed in mass plantings, lawn substitutes even freeway margins. Very adaptable plant for average soil with regular water for best appearance. It will make due with conditions that are much less optimal. To 14″ tall but bending immediately in a cascading motion that mimics movement by wind – even when its still. Forest margins, riparian sites. Very useful plant with good winter presence. Full sun to very light shade. Very useful in meadow plantings. Rarely seeds itself and is well behaved. And remember Sedges have edges, rushes are round and grasses like asses have holes. HEH. Oregon native plant.
We playfully refer to this large sedge as rootbeer grass. Its that color of ochre brown and it shine on this plant all year. One of the hardiest and longest lived New Zealand sedges for full sun, well drained soil and light consistent summer water. To 14″ tall but spreading up to 3′ across. Trailing stems hold little brown flowers in summer. Very good winter appearance and it has survived temperatures below 10ºF with good drainage and full sun. Elegant trailing down a hillside. Very good in large containers including winter containers. Easy to grow. Moderate deer resistance. Give it room to spread.
Foothill Sedge is commonly found from the central Willamette Valley south into California. A tightly clumping sedge with medium green foliage and 8″ wiry stems with attending flowers that are tan in spring/summer. In our region this plant can be found in upland situations where it is moist for at least half the year. Its also diminutive and almost hard to find in the wild. Under cultivation its an entirely different beast. Clumps are dense but expand with a pronounced weeping habit. To 8″ tall x 18″ wide for each individual plant. Good massed or as a lawn substitute. Takes mowing if its limited to once a year. Regular irrigation keeps it green and happy. Summer drought sees blades of tan as well as green and not so verdant. It does not run nor become a seeding pest- sticking surprisingly to itself. Plant on 1′ centers for a modern, mounding effect. Takes clay soils well. Water regularly to establish the first summer then taper off (continue watering if you want it to stay staunchly green). Combines well with perennials including native perennials such as Checkermallow (Sidalcea) and, Ranunculus occidentalis (Western Buttercup), as well as Shooting Stars (Dodecatheon) are found in closely related communities with this plant. Full sun to light shade, or high overhead shade. In California it is also known as Berkeley Sedge. Oregon native plant.
Carex tumulicola ‘Willamette Gold’
Wow, when nature smiles on you then you need to take advantage. We found this stable variant of our locally native foothill sedge that is pure gold. As for the species a clumper that forms trailing 12″ foliage. The tight clumps keep to themselves and do not seed or run. Brilliant color all season long in average to enriched soil in full sun to light shade. Water consistently through summer for the best, consistent color. Attending flowers are on wiry straight stems with buff flowers in late spring to early summer. Mass for a much more drought adapted and vivid effect as Hakenochloa- Japanese forest grass. Easy to grow climate adapted native sedge. This is from a seedling batch of Willamette Valley native seed. Tough and good looking all the time. Evergreen- ever gold. To 6″ tall and 1′ wide. Plant on 1′ centers for a massed effect. Excellent in concert with other drought adapted natives, Manzanita etc. A great robust plant. Oregon native plant.
Xera Plants Introduction
Bush Anemone is a locally rare native of the Sierra Nevada foothills in Fresno County in central California. This tough evergreen shrub with thin deep green leaves set against pale exfoliating glossy bark is perfectly hardy to cold and drought. In May/June 3″ wide pure white flowers with a central yellow boss of stamens are sweetly fragrant. Full sun to almost full shade in any soil with adequate drainage. Adaptable to dry clay soils and able to endure extreme drought. Extraordinarily climate adapted- enduring summer drought and winter rain. Appreciates good air circulation. No crowding. To 8′ tall and 5′ wide in 6 years. Often left alone by deer- but they will definitely try newly installed plants. One of our most treasured west coast native shrubs. Very long lived sited correctly and denied summer water. Accepts blasting reflected heat. In time you can limb up the shrub to reveal the white/taupe exfoliating bark which appears glossy with age- this also assists in the air flow that this shrub craves. A monotypic genus. There’s just one species. Limited quantities.
Carpenteria californica ‘Elizabeth’
A wonderful selection of Bush Anemone that was chosen because it produces more flowers (though they are a tad smaller than the species) born in multiple sprays. And this form is slightly more compact as well. An evergreen shrub with lanceolate leaves w/ a rolled margin (revolute). The deep green leaves are attached to tan stems and trunks that with age exfoliate to a glossy metallic sheen. To 6′ tall by 4′ wide in 5 years. Full hot sun to very light open shade in average, well drained soil. For clay soils its best planted on a slope. Water to establish then none after the first summer- in fact this extremely drought adapted shrub prefers to go with out water. Provide good air circulation. Adaptable to the hottest sites, including western and southern exposures. Moderate deer resistance- they will try young plants so protect them. Long lived, climate, adapted shrub. Cold hardy to about 0ºF. The white flowers that occur in May/June are sweetly fragrant. Prune, if needed AFTER flowering.
Cupid’s Dart is a simple to grow and wonderful perennial that blooms non-stop all summer long. The papery blue flowers with a deeper blue center attract all kinds of pollinators and are a specialty of Butterflies. Clump forming plant with tall wand like stems that support the flat flowers. Remove spent flowers to encourage more. Full sun and a host of soils that are sharply drained. Regular summer water though it makes due with dry conditions when established. Highly deer resistant. Wonderful companion for roses and perfect with Lavenders for a long blooming light textured wave of flowers. Each flower closes tightly at night. To 20″ x 20″ forming substantial clumps.
Big and arching evergreen shrub that becomes an unbelievable sea of ultramarine blue flowers in April. To 8′ x 8′ very quickly in full sun and well drained soil. Amenable to clay if unwatered in summer. Once established NO summer water at all. Grows quickly to its ultimate size give it room. Leaves burn below about 12ºF but recovery is rapid in spring and seldom sacrifices blooms. Rapid growing in our climate it consorts well with native wildflowers and especially bulbs. Completely drought adapted in our climate. One of the most stunning wild lilacs ever released. Pictured below at an elementary school. Planted on the playground, the children use it as a shelter. Kind of cool.
This is one of the most popular shrubs in western Oregon of the last two decades. And rightfully so. This wild lilac sports excellent cold hardiness, prolific flowers, and glossy handsome evergreen foliage year round. A strong growing shrub that can literally explode in growth in rich soil but is much more restrained in poorer mediums. Remember this when planting it. It performs the best in average, un-amended soils in full sun with regular summer water for the first season to establish and then none in subsequent years. Sky blue flowers are profuse covering this dense shrub in a haze of color for 3-4 weeks in May to June. Later blooming that most other Ceanothus. This good looking shrub is so durable its made its way as highway verge mass plantings but it is just as stellar of a garden plant as well. Cold hardy to about 5ºF- it survived -5ºF in the southern Willamette Valley in 2013 by freezing to the snow line and then vigorously re-sprouting. Durable, dependable Ceanothus. Avoid the summer heat + water that it abhors- it leaves it open to root water molds that can do it in and fairly quickly. Excellent shrub for the beginning gardener. Loved by pollinators of all kinds and is virtually rolling in bees during its fabulous bloom. NOT DEER RESISTANT. Most likely a hybrid with C. thyrsiflorus which must be responsible for at least half of its make up. Found in Victoria, Canada- hence the name. Likely it is the old cultivar ‘Skylark’ that was re-named upon its survival there of a hideous winter. The old name was forgotten and the glee of survival and discovery led to the renaming. To be clear ‘Victoria’ and ‘Skylark’ are exactly the same thing. Very fast growing to on average 8′ x 8′. Excellent with all west coast natives. Blooms simultaneously with yellow Halimiums. A fantastic floral and cultural combination.
Ceanothus ‘Blue Jeans’
One of the cold hardiest blue flowered cultivars and one of the earliest to bloom as well. An open spreading shrub with prickily deep green leaves. In March/April the whole shrub is obscured in violet blue clouds of flowers. Upon first viewing in bloom most people are shocked at how showy this evergreen shrub is. To 7′ x 5′ in five years in any well drained soil with little to no summer water. Very adaptable to clay soils, especially on slopes- as with all Ceanothus avoid boggy sites. One of the toughest cultivars that also takes very well to pruning which should be done after blooming to increase density if needed. Blooms on wood from the previous year and the button shaped flower clusters are so profuse that they obscure the foliage. Tolerates blasting reflected heat and is great in hot urban situations. Makes a wonderful informal hedge for wild areas but is just as at home clipped into urban scenes. Full sun. Moderately deer resistant- unusual for a Ceanothus. Cold hardy to 0ºF. The cultivar name might obliquely refer to the flower color but its an apt comparison to this tough , tough, shrub as well. No summer water. See clipped hedge below.
Ceanothus ‘Italian Skies’
A UK selection of our own west coast native wild lilac. And they did a good job. Large mounding evergreen shrub that puts on a spectacular display of deep blue flowers for nearly all of April into May. Fast growing to 5′ x 7′ very quickly in average well drained soil. Little to NO summer water. This cultivar has HUGE trusses of scintillating blue flowers. The largest of any Ceanothus that we grow- the reason why it is such a brilliant plant in bloom. Loved by pollinators of all kinds and especially tempting to large black and yellow bumble bees. Prune after blooming if you need to re-size the plant. Good cold hardiness. Best in a hot aspect. Good job to our friends in the UK.
Ceanothus ‘Midnight Magic’
We’ve been impressed with this extraordinarily deep blue flowered Wild Lilac released by Suncrest Nursery. A fine textured deep green evergreen shrub to 4′ x 8′ and forming a graceful cascading dome. Profuse cobalt blue flowers appear for 2-3 weeks in April. Extremely drought tolerant shrub for full sun and average to poor well drained soil. Little to no summer water required. Locate out of the path of subfreezing gorge winds. One of the most graceful and showiest of the genus. Grows very quickly to its ultimate size. Excellent performance on steep hillsides. Covers the ground like an umbrella with an great, intense, flower color. Excellent underplanted with yellow Pacific Coast Iris.
Ceanothus cuneatus ‘Blue Sierra’
For cold gardens this is an excellent cultivar and its a version of a species native to the Willamette Valley south into California. Small green wedge shaped evergreen leaves on an arching, somewhat angular shrub. In April and May clouds of soft violet blue flowers swarm the whole shrub. Beautiful. To 7′ x 7′ very quickly in poor to average well drained sites. No summer water once established. Handsome at all times. Excellently adapted to rough urban life where compacted soils, reflected heat and little water is present in summer- thrives in all those conditions. Full sun. Easy. Surveys by the California Chaparral Institute report that this is the most common component shrub of that community in both California and Oregon. Fixes nitrogen with its roots and is common following disturbance. Classic west coast shrub. Excellent accompanied by native bulbs and annuals. Beautiful with Pacific Coast Iris. Oregon native plant.
Ceanothus cuneatus ssp. cuneatus ‘Adair Villiage’
This is a Willamette Valley native form of Buckbrush found in the SW part of the Valley. This species is found historically from the Portland/Oregon City area in the Willamette Valley and throughout the southern half of the state well into California.Small isolated populations occur in central Washington- revealing a much larger range at some point. It has lost large areas of its northernmost natural range to development and fire suppression. It is a fire adapted species that requires disturbance to distribute. Thats a pity because this is a fantastic native shrub for hot dry sites. It is now employed by ODOT for freeway plantings and we are happy to see that. A large, angular evergreen shrub with small deep green paddle shaped leaves. In April the whole shrub is swarmed with pure white flowers.This is a beacon to all pollinators and the sweetly fragrant flowers will literally be buzzing in bloom. Fast growing incredibly tough shrub for areas of intense drought and reflected heat. To 8′ x 8′ very quickly in any soil that does not become boggy. Excellent performance in tough urban situations. Irresistible to bees and butterflies. Associated plants in the wild are Rubus ursinus, Dodecatheon hendersonii, Iris tenax and Ranunculus occidentalis. Extremely cold hardy to below 0ºF. No summer water. Moderate deer resistance. Oregon native plant.
This is a different form of our locally native Buckbrush. We found this at approximately 2200′ on Mary’s Peak in the Coast Range in a forest that was comprised primarily of Douglas Fir and Golden Chinquapin. This shorter shrub with smaller deep green leaves is most conspicuous in its slick gray stems. To 3′ tall by 4′ wide in 5 years. Full sun and average to poor soil. Blooms April to May with ivory colored panicles that cover the whole plant on old wood. The sweetly fragrant flowers are always buzzing with pollinators. A true low water shrub that can easily get by on only what falls from the sky, once established. This is a cold hardy and locally native evergreen shrub. Often it grows in an arching and then angular kind of way. This form is less upright. Red seedheads follow the flowers. This is a very well known and stable population in the wild that is regenerating nicely. Extraordinarily tolerant of heat and drought. Traditionally this shrub follows disturbance and was widespread in the Willamette Valley often as a meadow component with Rosa nutkana and Amelanchier, Excellent with native clumping grasses, perennials, and annuals. Oregon native plant.
Xera Plants Introduction
Ceanothus gloriosus ‘Anchor Bay’
A very good looking mounded, evergreen shrub that is best appreciated in milder gardens. In colder gardens provide a warm protected site. The small holly-like leaves are mat green and good looking year round. This moderately fast growing shrub at first spreads out and then with time mounds up. To 30″ tall by 4′ wide in 6 years. Dense growth suppresses weeds. In Apri/May for 3 weeks button shaped flower cluster are pale sky blue and appear on wood from the previous year. Prune, if needed after bloom has ended. This is seldom necessary. Consistent summer water for the first season then none in subsequent years. Excellent adaptation to the Oregon coast. Cold hardy to 8º-10ºF briefly. Very good performance in hot sunny hell strips. Accepts part shade (at the expense of bloom) and poor soils. Somewhat formal in appearance it avoids the brush pile look with dense, closely layered leaves. Not as palatable to deer. Good appearance year round.
Ceanothus gloriosus ‘Emily Brown’
The glory of this large, wild evergreen shrub occurs in April when the branches are awash in deep violet blue flowers.The darkest hue among this species. A fast growing very large shrub to 4′ tall by 12′ wide in time. Excellent for wild uncultivated areas. A handsome spreading deep green evergreen of great drought tolerance. Tolerates most soils that never become boggy. Good cold hardiness to 5ºF. No summer water when established. Loved by bees and butterflies. Takes well to pruning. Blooms on wood from the previous year, prune if needed after blooming. Excellent pollinator shrub for steep hillsides, rough areas. Evergreen foliage is handsome year round. Tolerates part shade. Blooms best in full sun. Photo below by Evan Bean.
Ceanothus gloriosus ‘Pt. Reyes’
The most popular ground cover Ceanothus and an important plant in our climate. Evergreen ground cover shrub that covers the ground densely. In March the entire plant is smothered in light violet blue flowers. Stems root where they touch the ground making it a valuable erosion control. Full sun to light shade in any well drained soil. Excels on steep slopes. To 10″ tall and 3′ wide very quickly. Plant on 3′ centers for a fast dense ground cover. If the shrub grown as a ground cover gets too tall it may be sheared after bloom has ended. Water to establish for the first season, this also speeds growth. Excellent performance in Hellstrips. Little water once established. Moderate deer resistance.Avoid direct exposure to subfreezing east wind. Very well adapted to the Oregon coast.
Ceanothus impressus ‘Dark Star’
Easily one of the showiest wild lilacs commonly grown in our climate. Tiny almost black/green warty foliage is completely covered by masses of foamy deep cobalt blue flowers for several weeks in April into May. One of the showiest cultivars. The depth of blue is amazing. Very few plants can match the intensity of the hue blue. Fast growing evergreen shrub to 6′ x 8′ in three years. Full sun and average, well drained soil. Light consistent water to establish then none. Site out of subfreezing east wind which will not kill it but can burn it badly. Easy, spectacular, fast, west coast native shrub. Note: The size of Ceanothus has everything to do with the fertility of the soil and access to water. Poor to average soil is best for a more moderate rate of growth and not as huge of a shrub.
Ceanothus impressus ‘Vandenburg’
Most Ceanothus are famous for their intense blue and profuse flowers, this interesting shrub has the typical masses of sky blue flowers which obscures the tiny warty foliage. To 5′ x 8′ and spreading wider than tall it becomes a cloud of blue in April and pollinators take notice. Rolling in bees and every other awake pollinator a shrub in full bloom is a buzzing fountain of activity. Fast growing, wiry, dense shrub with extraordinarily dark green tiny leaves. This gives the shrub the distinct appearance of a cloud. Full sun and average to poor soil including heavy clay soils that dry in summer. No summer water once established. Remarkably drought adapted west coast native shrub. Very easy to grow large, showy, shrub for wild areas, blasting hot urban hell scapes. Not totally deer resistant but better than most other species. Excellent performance at the Oregon coast. Endures sandy substrates and even a bit of salt wind. Attracts some of the first butterflies to emerge. Cold hardy to slightly below 10ºF for brief periods. Recovers from cold damage completely by bloom time. NOT FOR SALE 2023
Deerbrush is a widespread species in Oregon favoring areas with extensive summer drought. Its found primarily in the southern 1/3 of southwest Oregon and the north central part of the state into southern Washington. A small population exists on Skinners Butte in Eugene. Wide spreading semi-deciduous to deciduous shrub with young stems that remain green. Locally it is most common from about Dog mountain in the Gorge to the east and is extensive throughout Hood River and Wasco counties. This is an ideal shrub for revegetation areas, it naturally responds to fire, in fact the seeds must be exposed to boiling water to germinate. This species comes in a very wide range of colors. from clear white to deep blue and occasional shades of lilac pink. It may only be raised from seed so flower color is naturally variable. The plumes of flowers are large and airy displaying the color of the flower vividly. The most common flower color in Oregon is light blue. In late May and June a wonderful wildflower drive is up the Hood River Valley. These frothy blue, to pink to white flowers literally foam out from under native oaks and conifers. Its very conspicuous at that time too on the Rowena plateau. A word of warning not only does this shrub encourage deer browse it is also the unfortunate home of many deer ticks. Photograph carefully. Here it is found with such associates as Holodiscus, Toxicodendron, Symphoricarpos and Arctostaphylos. This brushy plant derives its name from the familiar sight of black tail deer breast height chomping away in extensive groves. Not a long lived shrub 7-10 years but it fixes nitrogen efficiently and improves the soil for successors. Full sun to very light shade, best on a dry slope. Water to establish then only what falls from the sky in subsequent years. Very hardy to cold enduring subzero temperatures. Beautiful pollinator heaven in bloom. To 3-7′ tall and as wide in several years. Oregon native plant.
Photo Credit: Dii Mazuz, Bruce Hegna
This is a fascinating shrub for several reasons. AKA Ladybush or Parry’s Ceanothus was discovered in Oregon in the central Oregon Coast Range in 1982. The last shrub to be discovered in our state. What is more fascinating is that the next closest population of this Ceanothus begins in Sonoma County California – 500 miles to the south. This disjunct appearance of what was thought to be a California species only was a bit of a surprise. Located in the Preacher Creek drainage in the Siuslaw National Forest this formerly logged area holds several populations. A very wild looking shrub that is semi-deciduous to deciduous in our winters- the tiny leaves (1/2″ long) attach to stems that are bright light green and in fact in the winter the whole shrub has the look of a rush or a broom. Known for its very large trusses of light blue to dark blue flowers each flower cluster can measure 1′ long. Our native form of C. parryi is light blue and covers itself in pollinator loving bloom in May. To 6′ x 6′ in average soil. Water to establish and then none in subsequent years. There is nothing formal about this plant, very wild and it mixes well with other native shrubs in full sun to very light shade. Very easy to grow- avoid overly enriched soil and too much irrigation or this big wild shrub will soar. Average soil with water for just the first summer leads to the best incremental growth and a plant that doesn’t get out of hand. In habitat in Oregon this shrub is associated with Douglas fir, Vine Maple, and Vaccinium. In bloom this Ceanothus is literally swarmed by pollinators. Easy to grow very pretty native shrub. Blooms on wood from the previous year, prune if needed AFTER flowering has ended. Excellent see through shrub for hell strips. Oregon native plant.
The most widespread native Ceanothus in our region. Its known by two common names, red stem Ceanothus which is fairly self explanartory and Oregon tea. A large growing shrub to small tree with conspicuous sanguine stems clad in large mid green leaves, this completely deciduous shrub is not known for fall color making due with yellow and off green before abandoning it. Fast growing to 12′ tall in May-July depending on elevation frothy white, fragrant flowers loosely decorate this sparse plant. In full sun and with regular irrigation it achieves tree-like status quickly. In the shade it makes rounded twiggy plant that is much less graceful. A wonderful native for pollinators and birds. Pollinators relish the flowers and birds make off with the black and brown seeds. Very graceful when well grown and that means average soil and water to establish then none in subsequent years. Excellent bordering woods and thickets. Naturally occurring with Frangula (Rhamnus) purshiana and Rosa nutkatensis var. nutkatensis. Tolerates more summer water than most Ceanothus but none is necessary. Not deer resistant. Native in the Portland city limits. Oregon native plant.
Ceanothus thyrsiflorus ‘Oregon Blue’
This form of Blueblossom we found on the southern Oregon coast in the far northern part of Curry County. There seems to be two forms of Ceanothus thyrsiflorus in Oregon. The immediate coastal species up to Lane county has broader leaves. Inland you find a much taller form with smaller juvenile leaves. An example of this is our large selection ‘Oregon Mist’. This is the standard broad leaved form you find adjacent to the beach. Glossy rounded leaves are lustrous and deep green year round. In late April to early June an extended period of profuse sky blue flowers. Adored by pollinators and rolling in grateful bees. A large native shrub with a rounded outline. To 8′ tall and possibly a little wider in AVERAGE soil in 5 years. Amended soil leads to prodigious growth and lack of hardiness. Fast growing low water shrub for full sun to very light shade. This plant that we collected in the wild is actually very similar to the cultivar ‘Victoria’- the primary difference is earlier bloom by several weeks. And a slightly lighter blue flower. This is a good standard form of the beach species as found in our state. Its been cold hardy to 5ºF with good pest free foliage. Ceanothus fix nitrogen with their roots and improve the soil. Also, years of detritus from the shrub collects to form wonderful enriched soil as well. Average life span increases the less this plant is watered once established but expect 9-15 years. Durable shrub for urban to rural places. Extraordinarily drought adapted as well as tolerant of dry clay. Pretty and utilitarian. Available, autumn 2020. Oregon native plant.
Xera Plants Introduction
Ceanothus thyrsiflorus ‘Oregon Mist’
Greg and I found this distinctive form of Coast Blue Blossom in the wild. This species ranges from Lane County, Oregon to Santa Barbara County, California. A fast growing seral species that follows fire and disturbance. Very near the location where we discovered this handsome small tree was to the largest Ceanothus thyrsiflorus ever discovered in 1925- it was nearly 30′ tall. This is a large and fast growing evergreen tree with copious amounts of scintillating flowers. It has smaller deep green leaves and huge trusses of soft turquoise flowers in late April to early June. A tall growing tree/shrub that attains heights of 15′ very quickly if allowed. This drought tolerant native takes very well to pruning too- which should be done after blooming. Full sun and average well drained soil- including clay soils. Little to no summer water when established. Excellent for use as an instant screen or informal hedgerow. Pretty in the background of dry borders. Loved by bees and butterflies in bloom. Very easy to grow native evergreen shrub that should be used more. Life span 15-20 years. Oregon native plant.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Ceanothus thyrsiflorus ‘Rogue Sky’
A selection of Coast Blue Blossom or Ceanothus thyrsiflorus that we made very far inland from its natural range in SW Oregon. Typically relegated to the coastal strip we found this variety more than 35 miles inland. This improves cold hardiness. A rapidly growing shrub/tree to 16′ tall and 8′ wide in 7 years. Robin’s egg blue flowers smother the whole plant in May. Extremely drought tolerant this fast grower may be either used as a cool, evergreen, native, blue flowered tree or it may be pruned aggressively after blooming to limit the size- increase density create a screen or hedge. Loved by honey bees and all pollinators in general. No summer water once established. Excellent background tree that delights in bloom but fades to a green screen the rest of the year. Plant with other drought tolerant plants- Arctostaphylos, Cistus, etc. Grows 3′-4′ per year when established. The flowers are a soothing blue- which is hard to capture in photographs. The effect in bloom is a blue cloud. Takes partial shade and the worst soils. Oregon native plant.
Xera Plants Introduction
Ceanothus thyrsiflorus ‘Umpqua Sky’
A very large growing, vigorous and pretty tree type Ceanothus native to the extreme SW part of the state. This fast growing evergreen tree (3′-4′ per year) puts on a huge display of soft blue flowers in late April to early June. Full sun to light shade (high overhead shade) and average soil that drains. Adaptable to clay soils, especially on slopes and not watered at all in summer. Completely drought adapted, no water necessary once established. To 18′ tall and half as wide in 7 years. Great screen, blue flowered tree that is beautiful in bloom but fades to a background for the rest of the year. Prodigious pruning can keep it much lower and it makes a great large hedge in no time. Good cold hardiness to 5ºF. We chose this variety in the wild because it was found quite a bit away from the coast which increases cold hardiness and it was immensely heavy in bloom. Prune AFTER flowering if needed. As a hedge or smaller plant it only requires pruning once a year- especially if strictly unwatered. Extraordinarily heavy bloomer and the trusses of flowers are often divided into six or more sub-branches for a very full look in bloom. Pairs well with Madrone and Arctostaphylos. Oregon native plant.
Xera Plants Introduction
Ceanothus thyrsiflorus var. griseus ‘Kurt Zadnick’
What a surprise this very dark, dark, dark blue flowered Ceanothus has turned out to have excellent cold hardiness. In our climate it is a low and spreading evergreen shrub with glossy leaves. To 3′ tall by 6′ wide in 6 years. In April/May a profuse display of the darkest cobalt blue flowers mass over the whole plant. Its so dark that it can seem like shadows over the plant but closer inspection reveals the intensity of the color blue. Full sun to light shade in average soil. Tolerates clay soil as well as withering summer drought. Prune if needed lightly after blooming has ended. This is a great drought tolerant, heat tolerant low shrub for hell strips. No summer water please. Well scaled for hell strips, low massing or a higher ground cover for hillsides. Fast growing to its ultimate size.
Ceanothus var. roweanus ‘Cynthia Postan’
One of our favorite wild lilacs with flowers as deep blue as any and great glossy dark, evergreen foliage. Not as big as Concha it is a large shrub none-the-less. To 5′ x 7′ and spreading. In April to May masses of intense cobalt blue flowers open from showy red buds. Amazing floral display that draws bees and pollinators from 5 counties around. Full sun and average to poor well drained soil. No summer water when established. Hardy to 5ºF and any winter damage that occurs (below 10ºF) recovers quickly and still blooms prolifically in spring. Excellent for no-water wild areas, for large hellstrips, sunny hillsides. The roots fix nitrogen and though its lifespan is but 10 – 12 years on average it enriches the soil in a wonderful way. Great shrub for a new garden. Avoid subfreezing wind.
Wonderful and extremely showy wild lilac that has shown superior performance in our area. Small deep green warty leaves are glossy and are the ideal back drop to the foaming cobalt blue flowers that erupt from red tinted buds in April. Fast growing evergreen that is wider than tall. Typically 6′ tall and 8′ wide in 5 years. This begs for its use on steep unwatered slopes or as a dramatic backdrop to a wildflower garden. Full sun to very light shade in average soil with water to establish then none in subsequent years. Loved by all pollinators and insects will be rolling on the flowers to collect pollen. Avoid direct exposure to subfreezing east wind. Very good in urban situations where it performs in poor soils, little irrigation and reflected heat. In colder gardens place near a south facing wall or at the top of a hill where cold air drains away. Blooms simultaneously with Pacifica Iris and they match each other well in cultural requirements. Remember Ceanothus do best in average unimproved soil. Rich soil can lead to prodigious growth and quite a bit less hardiness to cold. Wonderful cultivar. This and many cultivars will lose flower color with very heavy rain. It literally washes some of the blue color away. Ceanothus blossoms mixed with water will yield blue soap suds ( there are saponins in the flowers).
Ceanothus x ‘Peg’s Pride’
Beautiful ground cover Ceanothus that bears dense sky blue flowers in a vivid carpet in April to May. To 2′ tall and mounding it stretches out to 8′ wide. The dense evergreen growth blocks weeds effectively. Very good on steep slopes. Loved by all pollinators and especially important to native bees. This is one of the cold hardier ground cover hybrids taking 5ºF with no issue. Excellent combined with Cistus and Halimiums. Fast growing to its ultimate size. Best in full sun but will tolerate light shade with sparser bloom. Regular water for the first season to establish then none in subsequent years. Supremely drought adapted. Very good at the Oregon coast and adaptable to sandy substrates.Mid green round leaves are semi gloss and handsome year round. Spectacular in bloom. Plant on 4′ centers for a large evergreen groundcover.
Ceanothus x ‘Xera Azul’
Very fortuitous, we planted 5 species/cvs of Ceanothus in our stock beds and they of course got a little frisky. We ended up with one stellar seedling that has impressed us so much that we showed it to Ceanothus Guru Dave Fross of Native Sons Nursery and he was impressed. In its 3rd year its produced copious blooms that are about the darkest blue that I’ve seen. Only the cultivar ‘Kurt Zadnick’ has deeper tones but this plant displays them differently. Large fluffily black/blue trusses of flowers on a lower and spreading plant. To 4′ tall by 6′ wide very fast. Glossy undulate leaves look nothing like their prospective parents. It has shown great cold hardiness as well as drought adaptation. Um…..we’ve never done anything to it. It hasn’t ever even had supplemental irrigation. So, extraordinarily climate adapted. Also, most Ceanothus seedlings require 3-4 years to commence bloom. This precocious little seedling bloomed its second year. All of this adds up to a great new cultivar. Full sun to very light shade and average soil. Water for the first season to establish then none in subsequent years. Blooms late March to late April and occasionally on new wood through summer. This would make a great bank cover with Cistus and Helianthemum, Eriogonums. So cool we named it Azul. The beginning of a GREAT Ceanothus.
Xera Plants Introduction
A very unusual plumbago species that we love for its clouds of sky blue flowers on long wand-like stems in autumn. A rounded bushy plant that usually starts from the base each spring. Over summer it develops into a rounded plant. By late summer long thread like wands push up to 14″ long and erupt in clusters of sky blue flowers. The display is light and flowery and it makes a fantastic compatriot with fall asters and and mums. Very easy to grow late blooming perennial from SW China. This does not spread like the much more common Ceratostigma plumbaginoides… instead it forms a distinct shrublike plant unto its own. The luminous flowers have intricately patterned petals which are conspicuous. To 22″ tall and about 1/2 as wide. Rich to average soil that is never boggy. Mulch in November in very cold gardens. Otherwise we’ve not lost it to cold. Great in autumn bouquets. The long stemmed flowers last well in a vase. A welcome color, texture, and height for the autumn garden. Even visited by hummingbirds. Leaves often turn bright red in winter following bloom. Full sun to very light shade. Light summer water- tolerates heat and drought when established. Blooms better in the autumn with deep infrequent soaks if fall rains stall.
Western Redbud is a wonderful showy spring blooming tree that gets by on no summer water. Native to California also Utah, Arizona this is primarily a large shrub in the wild. We have found in our climate with a longer rainy season it forms a small tree. In April this entire tree comes to life smothered in tiny but profuse magenta pink pea flowers. They line all the stems and even appear on the trunk. After three weeks of glory the handsome new leaves appear. Round and blue green they have a slight rubbery texture. To 14′-18′ tall and forming a spreading crown. Fall color is orange to yellow but not reliable. Large purple colored seed pods are showy and persist after the leaves have gone. Moderately fast growing (2′-3′) per year when happy. Full sun and well drained soil of average fertility. Water through the first summer to establish then no summer water in subsequent years. Thrives in our climate.
Cerinthe major var. purpurescens
Cool mediterranean annual that we love for its complex combination of bract and flower colors. To 14″ tall the nodding bell shaped flowers are blue with a white ring around the lip. The base of these flowers is yellow. Large bracts protect the flowers and turn from blue green to shades of indigo as they mature. A cool season annual that often self sows. These seedlings cruise through winter without much of a hitch and are up and blooming by mid spring. By the heat of july they quickly die setting profuse seed and disappearing. Light additional water besides rainfall will lengthen the show. Seedlings appear where they are happy- this can even be the cracks in the sidewalk. Seedlings are easy to spot and move or dispatch if unwanted. Nice in spring containers. Plant with early blooming Euphorbias for a real picture of yellow and blue contrast.
Chamaecyparis lawsoniana ‘Barry’s Silver’
Most native Port Orford Cedars that are grown eventually die out of the root pathogen phytophthera so imagine our delight when this small shrub form with gorgeous white foliage has persisted. Not that its totally resistant but it doesn’t just up and die when it gets water on the first 85ºF day. Really at its best as a stunning container subject where one can appreciate the almost white foliage that slowly morphs to aqua green. A nice bicolor effect. Unlike other variegated conifers this one does not get nasty after exposure to an arctic winter and summer sun. Instead it remains fresh. To 5′ tall and 3′ wide in 7 years- in the form of a tear drop. No summer water once established. Regular water is safe in containers. Part shade to full sun and average, well drained soil. Slow growing conifer that always looks good. Oregon native plant.
Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Iceberg’
We are so pleased with this useful and striking dwarf conifer. New growth is strongly tipped in white before settling to a sea green. Slow growth to 3′ x 3′ in 6 years. Full sun to quite a bit of shade. Soft mein and compact habit make it a great versatile plant. Light summer water though tolerant of regular irrigation. Average soils with reasonable drainage .Good looking year round. Accepts regular irrigation and is wonderful in mixed borders. Easy to grow.
Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘White Pygmy’
Always on the lookout for dwarf conifers that really are dwarf and that are easy to grow with a minimum amount of water. This little gem does just that. Forming a spreading and arching shape- much like an anvil, the new growth on this slow grower is tipped in white. It remains showy throughout the year. To 2′ x 3′ in 10 years. Full sun to light shade in any soil. Light summer water to none when established. Adaptable to dry shade conditions as long as the shade is not too deep. Excellent, easy to grow small evergreen. Fits in the smallest gardens. Great in containers, especially winter containers.
Cliff and rock dwelling elegant evergreen silver fern. Forms a tight clump and the silver gray fronds are slender and rise to about 8″ tall. It is capable of going summer or dry dormant when established. At its best in well drained rock gardens with some protection from blasting sun. In the wild the cliffs they occupy often shade them for half the day. Its a great container fern where it thrives and always looks nice. Best with consistent light moisture. Deer resistant.
Wooly Lipfern. yeah. This pretty and felty gray fern is widespread over North America. Clump forming gray fern that rises to about 10″ tall. Very elegant plant most often seen in very well drained somewhat dry sites. Full sun to part shade- protection from the most blasting heat. Light, consistent water in summer. Excellent in containers, troughs where it really does its best. Moderately deer resistant.
Chitalpa x tashkentensis ‘White Dawn’
A very pretty intergeneric hybrid tree between Catalpa and Chilopsis (Desert Willow). We really like this small tree that forms an umbrella shaped crown in time. To 20′ tall and continuously producing opulent large white flower clusters- the interior of the flower is marked with purple veining- much like an exotic orchid. The flowers appear on new growth and are continuous from June to September. The long thin tapered light green leaves have a nice texture. They do not color up appreciably in fall- making due with light yellow to off green before abandoning the tree. Excellent garden tree. We prefer the white flowered form as the often planted pink variety …..well, lets just say Portland has a LOT of pink flowering trees. Fast growing in youth-especially if well watered in summer. Otherwise, supremely tolerant of drought as well as rough, hot urban conditions. Casts moderate shade in time. Breaks dormancy late- usually late April. Be patient.
Choisya ternata ‘Sundance’
Gold leaved Mexican orange is a durable fine textured evergreen shrub to light up landscapes. The vivid foliage is wonderful year round and the clusters of white fragrant spring and again in autumn flowers are a delight. Full sun to part shade. Avoid reflected heat if in full sun. Rich, well drained soil and light summer water. To 4′ x 4′ in 5 years. Larger in richer soil. It may be hard pruned in late winter to resize/regrow fresh new leaves. Moderate deer resistance. Cold hardy to 5ºF. Avoid direct exposure to subfreezing winds in areas that are vulnerable. Long lived trouble free shrub.
Choisya x ‘Aztec Pearl’
Interesting hybrid between two Mexican Oranges and wow, you get an incredible shrub that adores this climate. Rounded evergreen shrub to 5′ x 5′ after 6 years. In spring (and again in autumn) the whole bush becomes a cloud of fragrant white blossoms. They show up well with the finely divided leaves. Easy to grow shrub that is very forgiving. Drought tolerant when established and it has been hardy to near 0ºF. It takes very well to pruning which will increase both the shrubs density but the amount of flowers as well. The palmate leaves look like thin fingers or even bamboo especially as it becomes dense and layered. Moderate deer resistance. Perfectly adapted to the climate of Western Oregon. Full sun to part shade. Any reasonably well drained soil. Blooms on both old and new wood. Prune after the first flush of spring flowers has ended.
Choisya x ‘Goldfingers’
Excellent hybrid Mexican Orange selected for glowing golden foliage. The finely divided palmate leaves have the fine texture of bamboo. Tolerates full sun and becomes deeper green and less dense in more shade. In March and again in November fragrant clusters of pure white flowers appear. Drought tolerant when established but summer irrigation tolerant as well. Nice clipped hedge (not sheared but thoughtfully clipped) to let the patterns of the leaves layer and reveal themselves. Moderately deer resistant. To 4′ x 5′ in 5 years.
Chondropetalum tectorum ‘Dwarf’
A very nice person from a climate far colder than ours gifted us this cute dwarf Restio. And I have to say it has performed wonderfully in my garden. It froze to the ground at 9ºF- but returned in spring right away. Seems to be one of the hardiest and easiest to grow that we have encountered. Really shines in containers where you can see the sheaths on the blue green segmented stems. Rises to about 20″ tall with many stems. In summer they are topped by clustered brown flower structures. Very nice. Well drained somewhat enriched soil (for a Restio thats odd). Full sun to very light shade. Grows fairly quickly given the conditions stated above. Light summer water. Protect containerized plants from temperatures below about 20ºF. Evergreen most winters including the bummer winter of 16/17. We’ll make as much as we possibly can. South Africa.
Excellent, sophisticated, graceful and cold hardy evergreen tree that thrives in our climate. Large, green pendant leaves are marked with three prominent veins. New growth in spring emerges bright coral red before changing to mid green. Horizontal branching structure in tiers displays the handsome foliage very well. In late spring curious little white/green flowers amuse but are hard to spot. Fast growing straight trunked tree to 25′ tall with a spread half as wide. The crown is conical shaped but becomes more spreading in time. Excellent cold hardiness as well as adaptation to ice and snow. We love this unusual member of the Lauraceae. It should be planted often.
Western Thistle or Ghost Thistle is native to the mountainous regions of southern Oregon into California. Its frequently seen lining road cuts in recently disturbed very well drained soils. To 3′ tall and all white and cobwebby it produces deep magenta flowers on large candelabra type structures. Flowers appear in June and remain until August. Loved by pollinators as well as birds. Leave the structure to over winter and go to seed and you’ll get even more birds. Forms a rosette the first year and blooms the second. No summer water once established. Loves sharp drainage in average to slightly enriched soils. If you have clay amend the soil with pumice or plant on a steep slope. Avoid competition from other plants. Not a weed. Oregon native plant.
Cistus ‘Bennet’s White’
Enormous white flowers are incredible while they are born from May to July on this classic rockrose. Resinous, deep green foliage is fragrant, especially as the temperature climbs. The 4″ wide pure white flowers that appear daily remind many of Romneya coulteri Matilija Poppy. To 4′ x 4′ in 5 years for full sun and well drained soil with light summer water. Extremely showy in bloom. Moderate deer resistance.
Cistus libanoticum ssp. major
Unique in that the leaves are thin and willow-like they still harbor plenty of waxy perfume. A somewhat gnarled looking shrub over time with plenty of character. In May-July 6″ long stems erupt from the top of the shrub, elongate and produce clusters of large pure white flowers. Blooms for an extended period but each open flower lasts only one day but is replaced by a steady supply. Full sun and average to enriched soil. Water to establish then less to none in subsequent years. In time it develops a shredding, twisted, gray trunk. Moderate deer resistance. Aromatic on warm days. Mixes very well with Arctostaphylos as well as Ceanothus. A really great rock rose. Tp 3′ x 3′ in 5 years.
Cistus x ‘Snowfire’
A large growing improved rockrose with huge white flowers with a large red basal blotch on each petal. Deep green foliage takes on maroon tints in cold weather. To 4′ tall and 6′ wide forming a dense outline. Blooms May to July in a daily procession of flowers. Each blossom is 3″ across. Excellent cold hardiness to 5ºF or lower- adaptable to the coldest western Oregon gardens. Grows quickly in average, well drained soil Avoid overly enriched sites which will decrease cold hardiness and lead to rank growth. Lean conditions produce the most dense and cold hardy shrub. Great for rough areas in the back ground. Completely drought adapted- no summer water required. Give it room to spread. I’ve had great success with this shrub on a hillside of rocky clay soil that is strictly unwatered in summer. It and all Cistus present the ability to compete with invasive weeds such as introduced grasses. These invasives quickly out compete many things, but not Cistus. Water deep and infrequently or once established not at all. Rock roses can be prone to breaking in ice/snow. Usually, it is just cosmetic and the plant recovers. Our selections we have observed through many snow events (including a 16″ fall in 2008) and have observed no breakage. One of the very best Cistus selections.
Cistus x bornetianus ‘Jester’
We’ve grown a LOT of pink flowered rockrose. This is our favorite by far. The large flowers are clear pink on the edges fading to near white around the boisterous orange/yellow center. This gives each cupped flower a luminous backlit effect. It blooms profusely and the elegant but subtle flower color virtually marries its gray leaved backdrop. Excellent. To 3′ x 4′ in 5 years ‘Jester’ exhibits great cold tolerance as well as drought adaptation. Full sun and well drained soil with little summer water once established. The large (3″) Pink flowers appear for 4-6 weeks in late spring. Fragrant foliage is waxy and could be unpalatable to deer. Long lived for this genus. Colorful, tough plant. Combine with Ceanothus ‘Victoria’ and Halimium ‘Sarah’. Excellent performance on steep slopes.
Cistus x canescens ‘Albus’
A tough, cold hardy, and spectacular rockrose in bloom. Gray foliage is a great backdrop to the huge (3″) pure white flowers with a central zone of yellow stamens. The flowers appear daily but en masse for weeks in April to early June. Moderate growing evergray shrub to 3′ x 5′ in any well drained soil. Extremely drought adapted and requires NO supplemental irrigation when established. Avoid overly enriched soils which will lead to rank growth and quite a bit less cold hardiness. At our wholesale nursery this wonderful shrub has not suffered cold damage down to 5ºF. Lean conditions increase hardiness. Hellstrips, low water garden sections. Hot dry biomes. A great rockrose.
Cistus x crispatus ‘Warley Rose’
A fantastic low growing Rockrose with superior pink/purple (Pinkle?) flowers for an extended period in May-July. To just 18″ tall it spreads to 3′ wide in average to enriched soil in full sun. The crinkled sage green foliage emits a sweet perfume, especially if you stick your nose right up to it- but mostly it is noticeable on warm days. Its spicy and sweet and adds to the good feelings this very cold hardy selection gives gardeners. One of the last plants to be marauded by deer it makes a great border shrub for rural areas as well. Drought adapted when established, give it one or two good soaks in summer to keep it fresh. Well scaled plant that seldom requires pruning. This selection has survived 0ºF with minor leaf burn and a full recovery by bloom time. Flowers that each last one day come in a weeks long promenade. Rock gardens, hells strips.
Cistus x dansereau ‘Jenkyn Place’
After growing a whole bunch of Cistus this variety has risen to the top. Upright growing deep green evergreen shrub to 5′ tall and 5′ wide. The thin deep green leaves have the sweet fragrance of balsam. Beginning in May a constant procession of 3″ white flowers with a red basal blotch on each petal. Each flower lasts a day but there is a constant supply waiting in the wings. Full sun and average well drained soil. Tolerates clay soils well. If you give it a touch of supplemental summer water it will often extend the bloom season all the way until September. Exceptionally cold hardy. One of the finest rock roses.
Cistus x ladanifer ‘Blanche’
Very large growing deep green aromatic Cistus with enormous clear white flowers for an extended period in May-July. The flowers are so large they are reminiscent of the Matilija Poppy (Romneya coulteri) and they virtually obscure the foliage in bloom. To 8′ tall x 8′ wide very quickly. The winding and shredding trunks that develop are cinnamon brown and have a wild, gnarly appearance with age. Excellent cold hardiness especially if you avoid rich, amended soils. Native unimproved soils that drain are best. Handles clay soils well especially if on a slope. Completely drought adapted, no summer water is required. The resinous deep green foliage emits a sweet balsam aroma on hot days.
Cistus x obtusifolius
Compact white rockrose is a fantastic hybrid that gives this shrub several outstanding attributes. A dense compact habit heavily clothed in small deep green leaves. To just 3′ tall and 4′ wide forming a dome. This dense habit resists splitting in ice and snow. From May to July a massive constant procession of pure white flowers. Often bloom is so heavy that it obscures the foliage. Each flower lasts just a day but is replaced by a seemingly never ending supply. In autumn the spent flower calyxes turn bright orange red and are showy- especially when backlit by the sun. Great landscape shrub for hot sites in any well drained soil that does not become boggy. Avoid overly enriched soils for a more cold hardy and dense growing plant. Easy Cold hardy to near 5ºF. Little to no summer water.
Cistus x pagei
Rockrose are famous for the sweet balsam fragrance emitted from their foliage. The chemical ladanum is responsible and the heart shaped thick leaves of this hybrid are drenched with it. This chemical imparts a certain amount of fire retardant. Hot days bring a wave of perfume from Cistus x pagei long after its profuse display of pale pale pink flowers. Its vaguely pink from a distance. Very heavy bloomer. To 5’x 5′ in 5 years. Exceptionally hardy to cold and very very drought tolerant as well. Tolerates subfreezing wind and temperatures near 0ºF with no harm. Excellent low care shrub for rough areas. Full sun and well drained soil. Light summer water to establish. Moderate deer resistance. Excellent shrub for rural areas. In time it develops gnarled trunks with a shredded exterior. Prune if needed AFTER flowering. Rugged, beautiful, fragrant shrub.
Cistus x pulverulentus ‘Sunset’
Compact low growing Rockrose with spectacular hot magenta flowers from May to July and sporadically after that. The large flowers (3″) cover the handsome felted light green foliage. To 2′ x 3′ in 6 years- wider with time. Full sun and poor to average well drained soil. Light to little summer water. Hardier to cold and more compact if you avoid rich soil. Tough little evergreen plant. Protected locations like a hot south facing hillside are ideal. Scattered flowers in late summer to early autumn.
Clarkia amoena ‘Dwarf Pink’
Farewell-to-spring is a common wildflower of meadows and glens in Western Oregon. It gets its name because it is often the last wildflower to bloom before the summer drought ends the show. This form differs by its pure pink profuse flowers on a dwarf plant. (The wild form is lavender with a red blotch in the center of each petal.). An amazing display of bloom that appears as if someone dropped a bouquet on the ground. You see no evidence of leaves when its in full fettle. Blooms June to October in a garden setting with regular summer water and rich soil and the gardeners diligence removing spent flowers. Reseeds in open disturbed soil. to 10″ tall and a little wider forming a dome. Nice cut flower. Fun variation on a native. Very attractive to native pollinators. True hardy annual. Oregon native plant.
Clarkia amoena ssp. lindleyi
Farewell to Spring is so called because it is one of the last conspicuous native wildflowers to bloom before the onset of summer drought. And bloom it does all the way to late August. Its seen in mass populations waving above the already sear grass on hillsides that dot the valley. Little water is needed but a little supplemental water and removing spent flowers will extend the show. Otherwise it will die upon setting seed. The 2′ tall stems support multiple luminous pink cup shaped flowers. They appear superficially like a poppy. This is the variety that is locally native in the Portland area. The distinctly lavender pink flowers fade to a lighter interior near the center. But it will also appear with a darker pink/red blotch in the center of each petal on a minority of seedlings. These assist in guiding pollinators and this plant is a prime source for all native bees and butterflies. Excellent cut flower that lasts for quite a while in a vase. This is the source species of all the fancy cultivars that are raised in the cut flower trade. Reseeds happily in open disturbed sites. Excellent plant for wild areas and is often employed on road cuts and freeway embankments in deliberately sown wild flower mixtures. I’ve noticed that this local subspecies re-sows itself annually where other subspecies and especially the showy florist varieties are shy to do so. If you want a robust, climate adapted wildflower then go with this subspecies. It comes back strong. Probably our showiest and longest blooming native annual. Reseeds- leave stems to dry and disperse seed and remember to leave open spaces for next years show. Wonderful with yellow Madia elegans for a months long display of brilliant native annuals. A Xera favorite plant. See video below (IMG) taken at the William Finley Wildlife Refuge just south of Corvallis. Oregon native plant.
Clematis cirrhosa ‘Lansdowne Gem’
Extraordinary form of the winter blooming Clematis cirrhosa. A vigorous evergreen vine that thrives in part shade to full sun. Beginning in November and continuing unabated to February a continuous supply of 2″ deep velvet red flowers. They are lighter colored on the outside of the petals. Opulent flowers for winter loved by hummingbirds. Flowers are cold hardy to the upper teens and if frozen more buds are waiting in the wings. Easy to grow but provide support as it is vigorous- to 15′ tall shortly. Light summer water in rich, well drained soil. Position where you can look up into the pendant flowers in winter. Loved by Anna’s hummingbirds.
Clematis cirrhosa ‘Wisley Cream’
Winter doesn’t end the Clematis season and this variety delights from November to February with masses of small cup shaped cream flowers. A very vigorous evergreen vine that prefers part shade to full sun and a large support system. To 15′ tall very quickly. Rich to average well drained soil. Visited by Anna’s hummingbirds. The delicate appearance of this vine belies its vigor. Nice looking glossy foliage. Flowers are cold hardy into the low 20’s and if open flowers are frozen more buds will be waiting for milder weather. in summer this plant goes into a kind of drought dormancy. No water is necessary, the leaves droop and may drop. This is totally normal. This winter growing vine will wake up quickly with the first cool rains. Excellent up a large tree or along a pergola. It may be pruned hard in late summer. Blooms on both old and new wood. Mediterranean.
Glorybower. Iconic in the city of Portland this small umbrella shaped tree lines streets and populates gardens throughout the city. Late summer brings masses of white flowers held in a red calyx that perfume the area for many blocks with a sweet jasmine fragrance. Following the flowers the calyx swells to a red star and a turquoise blue berry forms. To 16′ tall moderately fast in full sun and rich soil with regular summer irrigation. Avoid disturbance around established trees which can cause it to sucker annoyingly. Large tropical leaves have the fragrance of peanut butter when bruised. Little to no fall color. Completely intolerant of shade. Do not even try. Japan.
Clinopodium (Satureja) douglasii
Yerba buena is a fine trailing herb native to southeast Alaska south into northern California. Its a common scrambling component of woods and forest margins. The round slightly scalloped leaves emit a sweet herb/mint fragrance that reminds me of childhood and they line trailing stems. This 4″ tall by 2′ wide perennial is commonly found among shrubs and clumping grasses as well as perennials. It can be found in the wild with such plants as Vancouveria hexandra (Inside out flower) and Whipplea modesta (Whipple Vine). In late spring to early summer barely conspicuous tiny white snapdragon flowers appear in the leaf axils. Evergreen. Often the leaves turn maroon red in cold weather. The sturdy semi-woody stems root where they attach to the ground and it may be used as a deer resistant small scale ground cover for stabilizing smaller scale slopes. This member of the mint family can be used to flavor iced tea or any cold drink. Shade to part shade in average to slightly enriched soil. Combines well with clumping grasses and smaller scale shrubs such as Symphoricarpos (Snow Berry). Good in containers as well. Yerba buena (the good herb). Excellent native pollinator perennial in the mint family. Oregon native plant.
Native annuals often get over looked in our gardens. They occupied vast stretches of the Willamette Valley and civilization has caused those displays to suffer. In our gardens they are precious reminders that we should include every category of native plant. Giant Blue Eyed Mary is one of our most delicate looking and stunning in floral detail, It makes a hazy cloud of beautiful blue and white small snapdragon flowers from late April to Mid June. A true annual that dies once the floral display is done. But leave the skeletons of the plant for several weeks longer to form and shed seeds for next years display. This 20″ tall grassy plant occupies open sunny sites as well as the margins of forests. In our gardens it appreciates open slightly disturbed soil. Seedlings germinate in autumn and over winter as small plants. They will heavily occupy an area about the size of a 9″ pie. Excellent plant to succeed mid and late spring bulbs. Water lightly after planting and to establish then none required. Native to the Portland city limits as well. Fantastic displays of this plant can be seen at Camassia in West Linn all through late spring. This is a very reliable re-seeder if you give it some open ground and check for slugs. Seedlings germinate quickly following the first rains and are incredibly cold hardy and drought tolerant. Don’t worry, they are from here, they know what to do. Attracts a wide variety of native pollinators including a wealth of smaller hover flies. Oregon native plant.
Wild Phlox is a native hardy annual that occurs from the prairies of the Willamette Valley to the sage brush country east of the Cascades. Clusters of flowers open sherbet orange and then fade to white with conspicuous blue pollen for a multi colored effect. Adaptable plant that will occupy any open disturbed site. Reseeds prolifically. To 2′ tall. Cute cut flower. Nice native to let wander your garden. Low water. Locally native in the city of Portland and to our nursery site in Sherwood. A charming plant that should be given average conditions and not pampered- otherwise it will contract powdery mildew which is harmless but kind of ugly. The unique, nearly indescribable color of this flower certainly is not. Oregon native plant.
Convallaria majalis ‘Fernwood’s Golden Slippers’
Usually this old a fashioned species sends chills up our spines. No mind it has one of the best floral fragrances of all time its a known thug. Enter this MUCH more restrained variety with new foliage in a remarkably soft texture with gorgeous citrus/chartreuse foliage that darkens up a bit in summer. To 8″ tall and blooming in mid spring as it emerges. Fragrant! Glowing! Gorgeous! Part shade to shade with light consistent summer water. Handles clay soils with no problems. Very deer resistant.
Convolvulus cneorum ‘Xera Sphere’
Sport! We found a sport and it turned out to be a congested or actually more compact and dense form of Silver Morning Glory Shrub. Woody plant with the most metallic silver leaves possible. Each thin rounded leaf shines virtually like molten lead even in dark rainy conditions. In summer the tight silver foliage plays host to white (with pink stripes on the reverse) morning glory flowers. Full sun, very well drained poor to average soil. Little summer water once established. To 2′ x 2′ forming a perfectly round ball. Hardier to cold in well drained poor soil. Fertility and too much summer water leads to rank growth that does not harden for winter cold. Hillsides are ideal and all day sun and very little water once it has begun to put on growth in earnest. Moderate deer resistance. Mediterranean native.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Coprosma x ‘Black Cloud’
This is a hardy shrub in a genus that is known for being decidedly tender. A fantastic black leaved evergreen shrub from New Zealand which is an exciting hybrid. Small, glossy green leaves stained with black on handsomely patterned branches. Full sun to light shade. Spreading habit is low when young eventually it grows upright to 4′ tall and 5′ wide with a distinctive and beautiful tiered branching pattern. Insignificant small white flowers- they look like little translucent white worms- way more unobtrusive than it sounds. This shrub has shocked us with its hardiness to cold. It survived temperatures in the single digits in a container and didn’t flinch. This is a wonderful foliage shrub that should be more popular. Excellent appearance year round. Drought tolerant. ‘Black Cloud’ Mirror Plant. Use as a small scale ground cover or first rate landscape plant. Very easy to grow.
Oregon cut leaf gold thread is a widespread but not common evergreen perennial that is found in dry shade on the west side of the Cascades. Native primarily to Oregon it extends north into Washington and is rare south into California. A colony creating perennial that has handsome, intricate deep green foliage. The arrow shaped leaves are arranged in rosettes along the expanding yellow stolons. The effect is a dense cover that expands at a slow rate. In spring sparse thread like flowers are curious followed by swollen seed pods arranged in a circle. Rich to average soil in shade to dappled shade, though if pushed it can tolerate a little sun. Good year round appearance. It may be cut back at the end of winter, but I haven’t really found this to be necessary. Use its best attributes, adaptation to dry shade and evergreen good looks as a limited groundcover beneath woodland perennials or at its best on the forest floor. Not a wide scale groundcover and clumps expand at a slow/moderate pace. Not adapted to compacted or clay soils. Best in heavy duff on the forest floor. Great in shade containers at the foot of Aspidistra . Not bothered by deer. Limited quantities. It derives its common name from the bright yellow roots and stolons. Water until you see good new growth then set it free. Oregon native plant.
Coreopsis tinctoria var. atkinsoniana
Columbia Coreopsis or Columbia tickseed is a locally native annual but more often biennial that is found along the Columbia River and into the gorge. Also, native throughout eastern North America. Its first season is spent as a rosette of curly, finely divided leaves that have a glossy sheen. The following early summer it erupts into groups of gold flowers, slightly reflexed petals and a red dot that surround a brown protruding cone. Loved by pollinators and they come en masse. To 22″ tall on average in bloom. For rich to average soil in full sun. The sun part is non-negotiable. Mix with native Oregon perennials and annuals such as Sidalcea virgata or Clarkia amoena var. lindleyi as well as Madia elegans for a summer long show. Very good butterfly plant. It has a scattered population in the Willamette Valley but should be grown here much more often. Self sows in open disturbed sites. Very prolific in bloom with clouds of golden flowers unobscured by pesky foliage. Nice cut flower. One stem can be an entire bouquet. light consistent summer water improves the show but this is a tough, climate adapted biennial. Moderate deer resistance. Oregon native plant.
Pacific Dogwood is one of our most beloved native flowering trees. From BC south to the Sierra Nevada of California this understory to margin tree alights in April and May in pristine white flowers. They perch on upward arching stems for a perfect display. This large conical shaped tree can achieve 35′ in great age. Water deeply and infrequently during its first summer in the ground, once it is firmly established it can go with natural rainfall. In full hot sun more irrigation may be needed. Native to the Portland city limits and a firm spring decoration on our freeways. Pacific dogwood contrasts wonderfully in bloom with deep green conifers. Average growth when young is 2′-3′ per year. In certain seedlings this spectacular species may re-bloom in August/September. Its a fairly small percentage but when it occurs its a refreshing display at the end of hot summer. Fall color is pink/red/orange and is conspicuous in the understory. Full sun to overhead shade in the understory. In autumn red fruits decorate the branch tips and are food for birds. Give this native tree good air circulation and mulch after planting. Oregon native plant.
Why, its not a Cotoneaster at all, in fact Corokia is a wildly architectural shrub and evolved its twisted zigzagging stems (the official term is divaricating) and tiny leaves to fend off grazing by giant Moa birds in New Zealand. The birds are now extinct and we are left with this shrub as an evolutionary natural bonsai. To 5′ tall and 3′ wide in 7 years. Average to enriched soil. Full sun to part shade. Flowers are more profuse in sun. Regular water. Great container plant. The yellow flowers in May are often followed by red /orange berries that don’t last long. I assume the brilliant color draws birds. Established plants accept both regular irrigation as well as summer drought. Irrigation encourages growth. Left to contend with summer drought the plant is naturally smaller. Cold hardy to 5ºF or lower for brief periods. Excellent landscape or garden plant that imparts a haze on the landscape from a distance but thrills with up close views of the zig zagging branches and tiny black shovel shaped leaves. Excellent long lived container subject and will thrive even with constricted roots. We love this shrub for its silvery winter appearance in containers and in container combinations. Mix with Sasanqua Camellias and Western Blue Fescue (Festuca californica) for months long entertainment. Seldom bothered by deer.
Compact hybrid Corokia that has larger leaves that turn from gray to bronze in cold weather. To 4′ x 3′ in 6 years. The upper parts of the stems are more like soft gray rushes before the foliage elongates. In late spring starry bright yellow flowers spangle the older growth. Occasionally its followed by orange berries. Very forgiving shrub that we have actually grown for years. It has good cold hardiness for a Corokia x virgata hybrid and its compact, dense and good looking year round. Avoid the coldest sites, gains cold hardiness with age, protect the smallest plants from temperatures below 20ºF, after several years it will be hardy to the upper single digits. Makes a great sheared hedge and its used for that purpose in its home New Zealand. Great performance at the Oregon coast. Very good in containers. especially winter containers. This shrub has a much more burgundy hue in winter as opposed to the all gray look of Corokia cotoneaster. Easy to grow. This shrub would be good to try where deer are profuse. Its excels in containers in the urban scape of down town.
Coronilla glauca var. valentina
Demure winter blooming shrub that produces whorls of pea shaped flowers from January to March and sporadically through the rest of the year. The divided leaves are edged in cream making a great backdrop to the soft yellow fragrant flowers. Open lax habit to 3′ tall and 4′ wide for a protected location in full sun to light shade. Great winter container plant and thrives in conservatories where it will bloom non stop. Well drained soil with light summer water. Site out of subfreezing winds- a west or south aspect.
Corydalis solida ‘Purple Bird’
This species of fumitory is so useful as it blooms early and opulently then goes dormant quickly and endures dry summer conditions. The deep smokey purple tones of the nodding scapes of flowers is sublime. Pair with other early spring ephemerals, Erythronium, Calochortus, Dodecatheon, and lesser bulbs. To 6″ tall and forming spreading plant that increase annually. Once this plant is installed and watered in that should be the last liquid that it needs from you. Very easy to grow spring corm that lives for many years. In time it can self sow, never a pest in our climate and these volunteers are welcome. Not bothered by deer or slugs or snails (!) Disappears quickly and cleanly with real heat. Blooms March- May 4-6 weeks, a good long time. Delicate appearance of the foliage belies this plants ultimate toughness. This is a fairly new flower color form and its a winner. Part shade to high overhead shade or morning sun and afternoon shade.
American smoke tree has a surprisingly limited natural range in Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma but its an exceedingly adaptable tree. Large round leaves are soft green when they emerge. In mid summer the tips of the branches are covered in clouds of beige smoke- which is not as prolific as the hybrids or the species Cotinus coggygria. Rounded medium sized tree to 22′ tall and handsome. Moderately slow growing 1-2′ per year when young. Full sun and regular irrigation to established then fully summer drought established. Deep rich soils yield the best performance. Autumn is its time of true glory. The large soft leaves transform into electric shades of orange/red/yellow. It holds this color for weeks before dropping. An amazing show that outshines just about any other deciduous tree. Limited supply. Accepts some summer irrigation. It is being used as a street tree in Portland, where its arboreal habit is superior to Cotinus coggygria and its hybrids.
Cotula ‘Tiffendel Gold’
Low evergreen South African ground cover with 3″ high ferny medium green foliage that densely covers the ground. Beginning in May and repeating heavily through summer wiry stems to 6″ tall are topped by petal free gold rayless disks. Little bobbles. These flowers age to a darker color giving a sea of these curious blossoms extra color depth. Cute little cutlfower that lasts. Vigorous grower that covers ground quickly in rich, well drained soil with consistent summer moisture. Avoid compacted dry soils- it will die out. Excellent weed supresssing ground cover. Good looking year round. Cold hardy to 0ºF. One 4″ pot can cover 2′ x 2′ in a season and beyond. Moderate deer resistance. Not really a whole lot here they can even get to.
Groovy container or rock garden perennial that is basically a silver bun of softness. Even water beads up on the hairy metallic fine leaves. 4″ stems rise to bear petal-less golden yellow disks. whimsical and wonderful and blooms repeatedly all summer in full sun and exceptionally well drained soil with consistent moisture. Let it dry between watering and give this little evergreen plant good air circulation. Very light watering. Actually, this adorable plants best application may be in modern seasonal containers. Improves hardiness too. Silver buns and dancing disks, damn. To 6″ wide.
Chilean Lily of the Valley Tree or Evergreen Snowbell- both descriptive common names for this unusual tree from South America. Fast growing evergreen tree that looks superficially like a live oak. In mid to late summer relatively large pure white waxy bells appear and line the stems like small bells. The bottom of the waxy bloom is deeply serrated. Cool. To 16′ tall and half as wide. Often forms multi-trunks if you don’t want this then diligently prune it until you get one sturdy trunk. Do not site in the direct path of subfreezing east wind- a south or west exposure will do in windy areas. Easy to grow tree that gets by with a minimum of water in summer once established.
What a cool name ‘Sea Samphire’ not sure what that means but I do know this is a beach plant on European shores. Sparse, angular and almost succulent blue foliage forms a ring of upright facing thin leaves. In late spring into summer large soft sulphur yellow umbels arrive. UMBELS UMBELS UMBELS are so in style right now. To 2′ x 2′. Full sun and average to rich well drained soil. Light to little summer water when established. Leave the Sea Samphire strictly alone. Evergreen perennial in the carrot family. Umbels. Its all about umbels. Moderate deer resistance. Edible and a fair substitute for thyme. Excellent in salads as well as cooked.
Cryptomeria japonica ‘Birodo’
Wonderful easy to grow dwarf form of Japanese Cedar. This form has not scales but more like tiny needles. In summer the foliage is deep green. With cooler weather it takes on amazing russet tints. Very slow growing to 3′ x 2′ in 8 years. Incredibly dense growth habit gives the appearance of diligent pruning- but none is required. Extremely drought tolerant. For full sun and little summer water once established. Rock gardens, containers, gravel gardens. With or without other dwarf conifers. High deer resistance. An excellent truly long term dwarf conifer that retains its good looks. It would make a great no prune hedge that maxes out at 4′ tall but provides density. Very good resistance to subfreezing wind. This performs very well in the Columbia River Gorge and eastern suburbs of Portland. Static form but dynamic seasonal color shifts. Cool.
Cupressus (Hesperocypress) macrocarpa ‘Citriodora’
Fantastic form of the incredibly tough Monterey Cypress. Foliage on this fast growing large evergreen tree is brilliantly hued in chartreuse/gold and acid green. Pinch the foliage and the fragrance of lemons is released. Fast growing tree for poor to average well drained soil. Avoid overly rich soils- which causes rank, unsteady growth. Average un-amended native soils are best. Light summer water to initiate growth and then completely drought tolerant. To 35′ tall x 25′ wide in 15 years. In time it develops a really cool flat spreading crown that this species is so famous for. Great drought and cold tolerance at our nursery. Give it amble room, full all day sun and not much else. Cold hardy to 0ºF. Long lived tree. This species has been placed in the genus Hesperocypress.
Cupressus glabra ‘Sulphurea’
Remarkable form of the hardy Arizona Cypress. This variety has foliage frosted in chartreuse/cream with interior foliage closer to sea green. A great affect. To 15′ tall but only 4′ wide this is a decidedly fastigiate form of this species. Fast growing tree for screens, specimen. Poor to average soil- avoid rich soil- this causes Cypress to grow to fat and fast in our climate- they get rank and rocky. So plant in average to poor soil with light irrigation until you see appreciable new growth and then none- ever. This produces a more measured growth rate and a sturdier plant. Full sun- from ALL directions- no shade at all. Open exposed sites are best. Very pretty plant that adores our climate. Cold hardy below 0ºF. Rare tree and quantities are limited. Completely drought tolerant.
Cupressus macrocarpa ‘Wilma Goldcrest’
We love Wilma and have found that she’s a great landscape plant and not just relegated to seasonal containers. Fast growing dense, columnar acid green/gold tree to 9′ tall and 2′ wide in 7 years. Average, well drained soil. Do not plant this in rich amended soil, it will grow rapidly and rank and likely tip over in the first windstorm of the autumn. Instead rely on its adaptation to poorer soils to create sturdy, measured growth. You’ll thank yourself in the end. Foliage can be burned by strong subfreezing wind- plant this out of the path of east wind. It recovers quickly in spring and you’d never know there was winter burn by about May. The foliage has an intense lemon fragrance. Great in containers. Little to no summer water. Moderate deer resistance- they won’t eat it but they may rut on it.
Cupressus sempervirens ‘Glauca’
The most common form of Italian Cypress with a strongly fastigiate (skinny upright habit) and blue green foliage. Fast growing tree that demands average to poor soil and little to no summer moisture. Soil that is too rich and too much water in our climate leads to prodigious rank growth and instability. Dry, poor soils and no summer water leads to steady measured growth and no tipping. Full all day sun from every direction. This will ensure thick foliage from the base to the top. Established plants can easily put on 3′-5′ of growth per year. To 22′ tall and about 18″ wide. Extremely drought tolerant. Does not succumb to spider mites or other diseases as Arborvitae frequently can. If it is too tall you may top it and it will re-grow a new terminal leader quickly. Great in containers. Protect containers from temperatures below 10ºF. Takes intense reflected heat with no problem. Great urban tree.
Cupressus sempervirens ‘Swane’s Golden’
The golden form of Italian Cypress which is a very useful plant for bright vertical effects in gardens. Fast growing fastigiate tree to 18′ tall and just 18″ wide. Full sun and average to poor soil with little to no summer water. If it becomes disheveled in ice or snow simply give it a good hair cut and a denser form will emerge. You may also cut the top to limit size and a new vertical leader will quickly form. Deer resistant. Avoid overly enriched soil and shade or growth will be rank and unkempt. Grows about 2′-3′ in an average year.
Cupressus sempervirens ‘Totem’
A superior form of Italian Cypress that is thinner and more resistant to ice and snow. The foliage is forest green eschewing the blue hue of the more common ‘Glauca’. To just 10″ wide it rises to 16′ tall in a fast growing spire. Full sun (which means all parts of the columnar tree from top to bottom should receive full sunlight) and poor to average, unimproved soil. Avoid overly enriched soil which causes fast rank growth which can make the tree unsteady. Its adapted to the very poorest soils which ensure measured, sturdy growth. Our favorite form of this useful disease and pest resistant columnar tree. Cold hardy.
Winter Cyclamen is a fantastic adaptable bulb that will form impressive colonies in time. The fabulous leaves are marked with silver and deep green designs. This form is known as the ‘Christmas Tree’ for its shape on the rounded leaves. From January to March small nodding purple/pink flowers form groups in concert with the foliage. A tonic for winter. To just 4″ tall in bloom and each corm gets bigger and bigger as years pass. Ants spread the seeds far and wide and new plants appear quite a distance a way. If you begin with a fancy leaved variety chances are most of your seedlings will mimic the parent. Part shade to shade in rich, well drained soil. Goes dormant and can tolerate completely dry conditions in summer. Excellent companion for winter Crocus, Hellebores, Snow drops.
Cyclamen hederifolium ‘Xera’s Silver’
Our seed strain of the fall blooming ivy leaved Cyclamen. After 15 years we’ve separated the best all silver leaf forms. Most have white or light pink flowers that appear from late summer through mid-autumn. In time the corms become enormous and they will seed with a large majority revealing silver or heavily silver marked leaves. Great plant for competition with dry tree roots or anywhere that is dust dry in summer. Leaves appear after blossoms and are showy all winter before going spring/summer dormant. Deer resistant. Excellently adapted to our climate. Mediterranean.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Cylindropuntia whipplei ‘White Spine’
Love this small growing Cholla that has the most amazing luminescent white spines. Densely branching low plant to 2′ tall by 3′ wide in time. Not terribly fast growing. Fast draining soils that have been amended heavily with gravel and pumice and ideally on a slope will make this a focal point in the dry garden. Light summer water will speed growth. Extremely cold hardy and not terribly fussy. Give it an open position with sun all day long. Wonderful in rock gardens. Flowers we have not seen but we assume with this species that they will be pink/purple in summer. Highly deer resistant. Great container plant. Move to a dry position in winter just for extra protection from wet.
Cynara baetica var. morrocana
Fancy and beyond showy ornamental thistle/cardoon. Finely divided silver foliage lines a stem that elongates to bear multiple large violet blue flowers. The calyx (the mechanism that holds the flower (s)) is nothing more than fiercely and lethally armed with razor sharp spikes. They will cut you . Be careful. The violet blue and lower down, pink flowers are host to every pollinator in the neighborhood, Monarch Butterflies, Hummingbirds and even the post person is drawn to this remarkable flower. To 28″ tall for full sun and rich, well drained soil. Drainage must be sharp. Light summer water. Appreciates a hot position. Moderate deer resistance. Winter deciduous. N. Africa.
Cardoon. Big ol artichoke cousin that has amazing architectural bold, silver leaves that are up to 30″ long and half as wide. Forms a large rosette (4′ across) initially then the stem extends rising to 4′ tall bearing huge rich, violet blue flowers that are up to 5″ across held in a cylindrical calyx. Open call to all pollinators. Blooms begin in the second year in May and repeat to August. Full sun, rich, well drained soil with light summer water. Give it room to spread out horizontally because it inevitably will. Light deer resistance. Beautiful perennial in all of its parts. Lifespan (3-5 years ) on average.
Cypella (Phalocallis) herbertii
Adorable little bulb that forms grassy colonies. Beginning in early summer and continuing to fall 10″ stems support amber orange intricate three petalled flowers. Each lasts just one day but new flowers appear seemingly from nowhere from the stems so do not remove- these stems can produce flowers for up to 6 weeks. Grassy medium green corrugated leaves accompany the flowers. Open sites with little competition from other plants. Sharp drainage in average to rich soil with regular summer irrigation. Full sun to light shade. Surprisingly cold hardy. Rock gardens, containers. Native to rocky plains in Argentina and Uruguay. It makes a great candidate for troughs and perennial containers where you can closely inspect the fascinating blooms. Mostly evergreen in our climate. Some deer resistance. Close iris relative.
Japanese Holly fern we love as a great fairly large evergreen. Large glossy fronds extend to 2′ long in a substantial rosette. Part shade to shade in rich, well drained soil with regular summer water. Very heat tolerant- but requires shade. Excellent container fern- great winter appearance. High deer resistance. Mass under shrubs, in woodlands for a great texture and year round good form.
Alexandrian Laurel is the common name for this evergreen shrub that is a member of the lily family. Common as a cut foliage component in bouquets- it lasts for weeks in a vase. Arching glossy evergreen plant with handsome foliage year round. To 3′ x 5′ wide forming expanding clumps. Tiny flowers transform to showy orange/ red fruits which hold for months on the plant. Part shade to full shade- including the worst dry shade. Regular summer water or very little when established. Moderately slow growing- about 2 new stems per year. Rich to average well drained soil. Great plant for dust dry entryways or under stairwells. Very cold hardy and long lived. Moderate deer resistance.
Daphne genkwa ‘Hackenberry Group’
A large flowered form of this excellent deciduous shrub. To 4′ x 4′ in 5 years soft gray buds open to masses of violet blue (non-fragrant) flowers which line the stems. Simple leaves that follow have a fine fur on the surface. Blooms for an incredibly long time from late March to early May. Full sun, very well drained soil in hot sun. Little summer water when established. Fall color is light yellow. Plant with Manzanitas, Grevilleas, Ericas. Low maintenance shrub of great grace and beauty. Willowy shrub that gets by on a minimal amount of summer irrigation.
Daphne odora ‘Zuiko Nishiki’
Excellent all green form of Winter Daphne with dark pink buds that open to softer pink insanely fragrant flowers from January to April. One of the larger growing cultivars 4′ x 4′ in 6 years. Excellent in part shade to shade, including dry shade, where it will continue its fabulous bloom. ‘Zuiko Nishiki’ is known for superior cold hardiness as well, taking temperatures to 0ºF with little harm. This is a great cultivar for colder gardens. Moderate rate of growth about 10″ per year. Supremely deer resistant evergreen shrub that will never be bothered. Prune if needed very lightly after blooming has ended. Regular water to establish then very drought tolerant. Loves clay soils that dry in summer. Irrigate only when very dry. This increases the flower bud set for the following year. The sweet lemon fragrance fills the air for months. Somewhat formal appearance out of bloom.
Daphne odora var. ‘Alba’
The pure white flowered form of winter Daphne that we cherish for its large,profuse clusters of flowers that are intensely fragrant of lemon from February to April. The entire leaves are deep green and lustrous. We have decided this is the most fragrant form of winter Daphne. Dome shaped dense evergreen shrub to 3′ x 4′ for part shade to shade. Amazingly tolerant and adapted to dry shade. Avoid blasting hot afternoon sun. Great on an eastern exposure. Light water to establish. Well drained average soil but at its very best in clay soils that dry in summer- what most people have- do not amend the soil rather dig a wide hole to incorporate oxygen and allow water to percolate to the roots. Remarkably drought adapted when established. Supremely deer tolerant. Fantastic Daphne that we carry very early in the season. Reliable and heavy blooming cultivar. Exquisite.
Sotol or Desert spoon is an excellent Yucca relative that does amazingly well in our climate given the correct conditions. Native to the northern Chihuahuan Desert of northern Mexico into Arizona and stretching to the east through New Mexico into Texas is where you will find this handsome desert dweller. Rosettes of serrated blue green leaves radiate out in a circular orb. The ends of each leaf become frizzy and add an overall hazy texture to the plant. In time, when happy 9′ spikes erupt from the center and display columns of small white flowers. Very well drained soil in a full, hot position. Excellent on hot, south facing slopes but perfectly at home in the dry gravel garden. Foliage to 3′ x 3′ slowly. Evergreen. Light summer water to establish then none in subsequent years. Great in containers. High deer resistance.
Datura wrightii ‘High Altitude Form’
LOCO WEED. We discovered this native SW perennial growing very high up east of the cost of the Sierra at above 6500′. Damn it gets chilly up there. Herbaceous perennial that emerges with large, bold, silver-blue leaves. Sprawling to several feet wide in a full, hot position with exceptional drainage. All summer huge white goblet like flowers unfurl from curiously colored gray buds. You can literally watch the flowers open in the evening. They glow in the moon light and emit a soft fragrance. By 2:00 the following day the flower has withered. <sad face> but more are in the wings. Begins blooming in late June and repeats to frost. Completely deciduous (gone) in winter. Good drainage in a hot position- where the soil warms early. Spectacular. Toxic- but what garden plants are not? High deer resistance. Native to the american southwest and northwest Mexico. It has become naturalized in arts of the Willamette Valley, Columbia Gorge, and Eastern Oregon. Rarely seeds itself in our climate. The seedpods that develop following the flowers are round and spiney.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Delosperma basauticum ‘Sunfire’
Nice compact little ice plant that requires excellent drainage, full sun and regular summer irrigation. In May/June it is covered in bright yellow star shaped flowers. They open in full sun and close when its cloudy or at night. To 3″ tall and 1′ wide in a season. Best in rock garden conditions. Works well in fast draining troughs. Tiny, congested succulent foliage.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Menzie’s Larkspur is one of the most widespread species west of the Cascades. That doesn’t mean it easy to grow, and as a crop it can be a pain, That said its one of the ultimate spring flowers and its lost immense amounts of its range in the Willamette Valley to development. This widespread perennial is a grassland Delphinium that can be found in oak woodlands with Dodecatheon hendersonii, and Plectritis congesta and Romanzoffia californica. The soils that it inhabits run the gamut from sand near the beach to xeric clay in and around the Willamette Valley. This can be a tricky species to establish, my best advice is to double dig a wide area where there is very little competition from other plants. Add a small amount of all organic fertilizer to the hole. Water in well and water again once a week until June. Then you can permanently taper off. That means in subsequent years it will rely on natural rainfall alone. Upright perennial to 20″ tall multiple brilliant blue flowers often with a lighter bee. I’ve also seen them in a deep black/blue velvet purple. Sets seed and goes dormant in mid-summer. Its very very important to protect the emerging plant or seedling from snails and slugs. Bait heavily when you first see growth in late winter. Though widespread but no longer common this Delphinium seems to adapt best to cultivation with a light gravel mulch. This protects the plant from slugs and provides a perfect medium to germinate the seeds. Very popular pollinator plant visited by all sorts of bees, fly bees, hover flies, butterflies and more. The seedlings are conspicuous and the leaves mimic the parent plant. Full sun to light shade. Oregon native plant.
Brilliant orange/red tubular flowers each with two spurs on the rear of the flower. They appear to be swarming around the green wiry stems that support them. To 20″ tall, blooms rising from a basal rosette of leaves. Blooms May-July in Portland. Somewhat tricky southern Oregon native wildflowers that needs a bit of care and correct siting to establish and become perennial. Rich, well drained soil with light but consistent summer moisture. Native to very steep slopes and cliffs with excellent drainage but with groundwater in the form of seeps near by. Wild areas, gravel gardens for the ultimate wildflower effect. Established plants will often re-bloom if spent flower spikes are removed. Hummingbirds. Moderate deer resistance. Oregon native plant.
Underused cold hardy evergreen tree that has fascinating and handsome foliage and tolerates full sun to total shade as well as summer drought. Umbrella shaped tree with glossy large triple lobed leaves that become entire on adult foliage. Slow growing to 17′ tall and half as wide. Attractive pale tan bark. Very tough and adaptable small tree. Green flowers in summer become black berries by autumn but are almost always stripped by birds. Great branching structure and form in time. Very cold hardy and deer resistant. Flowers attract bees and beneficial wasps. Rare but stately evergreen tree. A member of the Aralia family from SW China. Moderately fast growing with supplemental summer water. Excellent small evergreen tree for courtyards.
Tufted Fairy Grass is an Oregon native that forms bright green fine clumps but is in its glory in bloom when tall vertical stems display hazy tan flowers at the tips. Easy to grow grass that improves under cultivation. Native to semi-shady to sunny aspects in rich soil that drains but also retains moisture. Adaptable to wet sites that dry in summer. To 10″ x 1′ as a clump of foliage but rises to 3′ tall in bloom. Very wild looking grass that can be massed for a hazy meadow effect, or placed in straight lines a modern aesthetic that combines a wild plant with spaced symmetry. Excellent among shrubs and with other wild looking meadow perennials. Winter deciduous. Cut back dead growth in spring. Relatively long lived. Native in the Portland city limits. Graceful. Winter deciduous. A pan global plant- this is our local form. Click on the link for a video of the dried seed heads. Oregon native plant.
Dianthus ‘Dainty Dame’
We love this selection of Dianthus that includes masses of white flowers with a bold maroon eye and tight handsome foliage. The incredibly fragrant flowers appear from April to frost- repeating quickly if spent flowers are removed. Good blue foliage is handsome at all times forming a dense dome. To 8″ tall for full sun and rich, well drained soil with light but consistent summer water. Great color echos can be achieved when planted in concert with purple foliaged plants. Cute, fragrant cut flower. One of the best re-blooming pinks.