Obscure but exceedingly handsome and reliable shrub for hedges, specimens, eventually a small tree. Rounded leaves are good looking year round and especially when they first emerge brilliant salmon red before settling to dark green. This is the most showy display on this plant and it lasts for weeks. In mid-late summer small pendant white/cream flowers are nestled among the leaves, you really have to look to see them. Clean evergreen whose foliage is never marred by fungus or cold. Full sun to high overhead shade. To 8′-10′ tall and about half as wide. With great age and no pruning it can achieve small tree status and it forms attractive cloud like crowns of foliage. As a hedge it excels. Plant 2 gallon plants on 3′ centers and mulch. Irrigate about once a week until you see good new growth. Established plants are very tolerant of dry conditions. Theaceae- Camellia family. Excellent cold hardiness to 0ºF, tolerates some subfreezing wind. Excellent companion plant for Rhododendrons, Pieris, Illicium. Full sun to quite a bit of shade. Native to Japan. Good looking tough plant. Light deer resistance.
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
Tetrapanax papyifera ‘Steroidal Giant’
Big form of the already big Japanese Rice Paper plant. Enormous 3′ wide leaves look jurassic and erupt in spring from seemingly spindly bare stalks. Fast growing deciduous shrub/tree that also suckers to form wide colonies. To 18′ tall in 5 years with multiple trunks in deep rich soil with regular irrigation. Full sun to part shade. Be aware that this plant travels. It moves stealthily underground and can be many feet away from the parent plant before you notice it. The more root disturbance the more errant suckering. Give it room and respect. Light summer water. Almost blooms each autumn before running out of heat and daylength. Bare sticks in winter. It may also be contained the same as bamboo. It is, however, easy to pull the suckers by hand. Wait until they grow several leaves and then grab it by the stem and wiggle, slowly at first then in wide arcs and pull. It will pull right up. Also, there is a conspicuous indumentum (brown fur) all over the plant and especially the leaves, these tiny hairs when rubbed off or disturbed can cause skin irritation in some people. Wear gloves and a rain coat while pruning.
Low ground cover Germander that is at home in hot sunny aspects in well drained conditions. The fine gray foliage rises to 5″ tall and forms a spreading plant. Beginning in early summer and extending to fall soft purple to lavender clusters of flowers cover the surface of the plant. Though small this plant is a huge hit with pollinators. Full, hot sun and light summer water to establish. Not a fan of heavy soils and sodden conditions In the wild this plant is primarily a resident of rocky sites and hillsides of the Mediterranean. This ever gray perennial is good looking in winter. Foliage is aromatic and has fruity tints to the fragrance. Mix with other smaller rock garden plants or develop a small area that acts as a groundcover. Loathes shade. Good container or trough plant. Grows up to 18″ wide in several years. Pollinator masterpiece. Moderate deer resistance.
Silver Germander is a wiry shrub with gray foliage and even lighter gray/white stems. All summer it bears pale blue small flowers with a prominent central lip. Traditionally used in topiary or as a trimmed hedge, it takes amazingly well to heavy shearing. It responds by becoming incredibly dense. Its malleability leads people to also trim it into any whimsical shape they can dream of. Full sun, average, well drained soil. Little to light summer water when established. Requires full sun and a hot position with protection from subfreezing wind. Classic mediterranean shrub. Grows as well at the cool coast as it does in the hot inland areas. To 4′ x 4′ if left unpruned.
Thymus vulgaris ‘Peter Davis’
Form of the useful culinary herb that is also a nice looking little evergreen shrublet. To 6″ x 6″ the gray green foliage is aromatic and most useful before it blooms. In early summer it becomes a ball of light pink flowers- very pretty. Wait a bit until the blooms have receded to harvest again. A first rate, semi-woody evergreen garden plant that is good looking for most of the year. Average to rich, well drained soil in full sun. Light summer water. Very easy go grow. Takes quite a bit of drought when established.
Tigrida x pavonia
Is this hardy? Why, yes, yes it is. Mexican Shellflower or just Tigridia is a fun bulb that produces large, immensely showy flowers that last but a day. Three large petals emanate from a wildly speckled center. White, red, orange, yellow, and pink flowers are all represented in this mix. Rich, well drained soil in a warm position- mine are on the south side of my house in average soil and they not only multiply year to year they self sow. The wonderful flowers appear individually for weeks in mid to late summer. Add a handful of all purpose fertilizer when planting and water consistently through bloom. Full sun- no fudging here. Very easy to grow. To 20″ tall in bloom on average. Flowers 3″ wide. -Emerges late in the spring- usually mid-May. Patience.
Piggy Back plant is what we called this moisture loving woodland plant. Its famous for its ability to sprout a new plant right from the leaf petiole, it forms roots and drops off the plant and roots into the ground. Its also commonly known as a very easy to grow houseplant. Native from Southern Alaska to Northern California. In moist, cool climates like the coast it can grow just about anywhere. The distinctly arrow shaped leaves cover the ground densely on a wide spreading perennial. In mid-spring 2′ spikes erupt with rows of brownish-red flowers. A member of the Saxafrage family and closely related to Heucheras and Tiarellas. this is as superb a garden plant. Evergreen and consistently moist shady sites are where it thrives. Though with some supplemental water it can make its home in some pretty challenging dry shade. Foliage forms spreading mounds to 10″ tall and spreads laterally 2′-3′ when happy. Plants shrink somewhat in winter, and not as verdant but they do cover the ground and out compete weeds. Great container plant. Very nice naturalized among ferns of any kind. Native to the Portland city limits. Oregon native plant.
Trachelium caeruleum ‘Dark Purple’
Florists variety of Flossflower that we think makes a nifty garden plant too. Large rich violet umbels repeat through summer. Remove spent flowers to encourage more. Full sun and rich, well drained soil. Lightly fragrant and a stupendous cut flower. To 30″ tall and 20″ wide. Deep green foliage and black stems are handsome. Short lived perennial- approximately 3-4 years per plant. Freezes to the ground below 20ºF- resprouts from the base if temperatures never drop below about 10ºF. Often self sows in open disturbed sites- even following hellacious winters that compromise the parent plant. Best in rich, soil that drains, double dig the soil to incorporate oxygen into the root zone and allow water to penetrate deeply. Light summer water- extends bloom. If you cut the main bloom on each stem- and it will last for 10+ days in a vase, the sides of the plant will erupt in further bloom and continue to autumn. Loved by butterflies who find an accommodating landing pad and copious amounts of nectar filled flowers. Iberian peninsula and Mediterranean.
A cute gold leaved form of asian star jasmine that makes a dainty evergreen vine for a trellis or arbor. Dense layered foliage is bright gold/chartruese and is best with some protection from hot afternoon sun. This is a slower growing Star Jasmine with a smaller dimension over all. This makes it a great candidate for smaller trelliage that you don’t want to obscure or cover entirely. Bone colored lightly fragrant flowers occasionally occur in late spring on wood from the previous season. To 9′ tall and 3′ wide in 7 years. Rich, well drained soil with regular summer water. Part shade to shade or an open north exposure. May be self clinging in wind free situations. Very good cold hardiness and drought tolerant when established. Valuable little vine for shade. Lights up dark corners and even makes a handsome ground cover.
Trachelospermum asiaticum ‘Chirofu Chirimen’
Cool little Asian Star Jasmine with tiny variegated leaves that forms dense mounds as a ground cover or in time it can reach up as a cute and not strangling vine. Each leaf is margined and splashed with white. New growth has distinct pink tints for a distinct multicolor effect. Forms a fine textured plant but as a small scale ground cover it will block weeds. To 1′ tall x 30″ wide as a ground cover. To 8′ tall or higher as a self clinging vine in wind free places. Rich, well drained soil with regular summer water. Definitely double dig the soil before planting to incorporate oxygen as well as assist in absorption of water. Add organic fertilizer as well. Trachelospermums appreciate good drainage and regular summer irrigation to do their best. Otherwise drought tolerant but slow growing. Nice on fences or screens or up the trunk of a Trachycarpus (Windmill Palm). Good deer resistance. Evergreen.
- « Previous Page
- Next Page »