Fragrant hardy Abelia is just that- not only is it ultra cold hardy, it possesses as far as we can surmise, the best fragrance of an already fragrant genus and basically a spot on redux of citrus blossom sweetness. A long procession of pink buds that open in clusters to powerfully fragrant white flowers. The fragrance carries for quite a distance on the summer air. Blooms June-Sept. Full sun to very light shade in rich soil with regular summer water. Not entirely drought adapted pair with other summer water cohorts. Forms a vase shaped twiggy deciduous shrub to 4′ x 4′ in time. Blooms on wood from the previous season prune after flowering if needed. Usually pruning is limited to tired non blooming wood which is self evident. Cold hardy to below -20ºF Fall color is often dark red with pink tints and often lacking Beware this shrub if drought stressed goes straight to crispy. Establish well before setting it free. One of the most fantastic floral fragrances. Deciduous shrubs are not a hot category for several reasons but the fragrance of this ultra hardy shrub should be enjoyed everywhere. Delicious flower fragrance.
Biome: Oregon Coast
The Oregon Coast is a great place to garden but it has distinct differences from our inland gardens. More than 70″ of rain a year, the modifying influence of the water with less arctic cold and almost no true heat. Most of the coast is Zn8b-Zn9b- we’ve amassed a large collection of plants that thrive on the mild and wild Oregon coast. Lack of summer heat means that some plants are not as hardy to cold- Camellias and Loropetalum are examples. Locate these plants in the warmest possible locations. Wind is a perennial issue too Remember that exposed gardens will be impacted by N/NW winds in spring and summer but the biggest windstorms arrive from the SW.
Salt spray and sandy soils
Salt spray is an issue very close to the strand. Salt tolerance is part of the perameters when we list a plant for the Oregon Coast. One of the boundaries to gardening close to the beach is soil. Sandy soils that drain instantly, lack nutrients are are almost always acidic. Its best to stick with plants that are adapted to these challenging substrates. I list individual plants that are recommended for sand. Two groups of plants that deserve greater recognition on the coast are Callistemons (Bottlebrushes) and Grevilleas. Both are adapted to very poor soils but don’t flinch in more well developed soils. They also sport considerable deer resistance and that includes elk.
Hard freezes are rare but cold near the coast range
Beach side communities hardly ever see a very hard freeze and highs below freezing are very rare. Just inland it gets colder quite quickly. Remember this when planting closer to the coast range. Often it can be one zone colder as well as lack heat for plants to harden for winter. On the ocean most gardens are zone 9a or warmer within 2 miles of the beach.
Less drought, more cool and wet
The season of real summer drought is somewhat muted on the coast. The rainy season begins earlier and ends later. Consistent low temperatures and high humidities mitigate the lack of rain. Also, the coast can be slow to heat in spring time, often lagging behind hotter inland gardens. Heat waves on the coast can be intense but they seldom last more than a day and often only several hours of one day if offshore flow is brief. Somewhat backwards cool air advects north during and after a heat low moves inland. That is the coastal fog moves from south to north at the end of a coast heatwave. These brief soaring temps and low humidity are seldom harmful to plants and cause more worry for the gardener than plants.
Climate Adapted Plants for Gardeners in the PNW
Abelia (Linnaea) x grandiflora ‘Francis Mason’
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.
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.
Abutilon (Callianthe) ‘Nectarine’
One of our very finest Flowering Maple selections. Relatively large pendulous flowers are soft citrus yellow/orange with darker red veining. As this variety blooms out the flowers expand and the petals reflex upward, a very charming look. Vigorous and surprisingly cold hardy Abutilon. To 4′ x 4′ in a season. Rich soil that drains with REGULAR H20. During the growing season Flowering maples very much appreciate at least one application of all purpose organic fertilizer to enhance vigor and blooming. Easy to grow in containers where it will likely perform as a tender annual. In the ground it is different. By the end of winter the plant will look absolutely horrible sticks and maybe a few pieces of tattered dead leaves. The secret to the spring resurrection is to water heavily and consistently until you see new growth. Then you can let the soil dry between irrigation. Loved by Hummingbirds and birds in general. Grows very fast in the correct conditions. Blooms June to October.
Xera Plants Introduction
Abutilon (Callianthe) megapotamicum (a)
Lantern plant. The hardiest flowering Maple by far, sailing through all but our most treacherous winters. Large-growing lax shrub with large red calyxes that contrast with the protruding yellow petals. Masses of flowers appear on new wood from June to frost. To 6′ tall and as wide in full sun to part shade. Plant in a protected spot. Near a wall or within shrubs that can shield the crown. Water winter-damaged plants in the ground very heavily and they will make a surprise re-emergence. Hummingbirds.
Abutilon (Callianthe) x ‘Searchlight’
Clean, clear white pendant flowers face outward on a dense-growing upright flowering maple. To 4′ tall by 3′ wild in a season. Bloom is constant on new growth from May to frost. Dark green foliage is a good contrast to the blooms. Rich, moisture-retentive soil with regular summer water. Add a handful of all organic fertilizer at planting time and you’ll be rewarded with a bigger more vigorous plant. Full sun to part shade. Great in containers- big containers. In the ground plant in a very protected location with shrubs or a wall for added protection. Freeze to the ground in the upper teens. Returns from the base with consistent summer water. Hummingbirds.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Abutilon (Callianthe) megapotamicum (a) ‘Marianne’
Improved selection of the Chinese Lantern Plant- which is actually from South America, and this form has larger more flared yellow petals. They extend and recurve from the bold red calyx. This arching multi-stemmed shrub blooms almost non-stop from June to frost and often longer. Vigorous to 6′ tall and 4′ wide forming a large patch in time. The arching thin stems and skinny pointed leaves display the rows of flowers perfectly. A hummingbird delight. One of the hardiest to cold this behaves as a sub-shrub in the coldest winters- freezing back but returning boldly from the ground when the soil warms. Most winters, damage is restricted to burned tips and the majority of leaves which will drop. Plant with the base in a protected location- for instance between low shrubs to protect the crown, or near the base of a wall. Mulch if arctic (below 20ºF) weather threatens. Following a freeze the plant will look absolutely awful. Refrain from cutting it back until you see new growth emerge- either from the base or vertical stems. In any case water it consistently and heavily until you see vigorous new growth- the transformation with regular water is remarkable. So, don’t by any means give it up for dead. Full sun to quite a bit of shade. A bit tall and lanky for containers- just plan for this. Rich, WELL DRAINED soil improves both cold hardiness and speeds recovery. Excellent performance at the Oregon Coast.
Abutilon (Callianthe) x ‘Jackie O’s Lipstick’
Our selection of a really good pink flowering maple. Tubular flowers are the most ethereal soft pink, with almost sparkly silver highlights. Long-blooming open lax shrub to 4′ tall and as wide in a season. Full sun to part shade. Rich, well drained soil, regular water. Relatively hardy selection. Hummingbirds and JackieOphiles. It’s Camelot in a pot. Heh. Best in a protected site. Often Abutilons look pretty beat up by the end of winter. To revive them you must immediately start watering when truly warm weather arrives. The plant which initially looks like shit goes through a metamorphosis. Add a handful of all organic fertilizer to assist as well.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Abutilon (Callianthe) ‘Nabob’
Odd name for a wonderful flowering maple. This Abutilon has earned its fame with large deep red/black red pendant flowers for months on end. In one season it will form a substantial sub-shrub and bloom continuously as it grows. Rounded habit to 4’x 3′. Its best home is in containers where you can inspect the intensity of the flower color up close. Each globe shaped flower is 1 1/2″ wide and they occur in a huge display for months. Loved by hummingbirds and pollinators as well. Rich soil with regular irrigation. In spring if the winter has been normal to mild it will often resprout from the base when warm weather returns. Mulch in autumn to protect the base. The early spring appearance is pretty awful the solution is to water, water, water, and add a 1/2 cup of all purpose organic fertilizer. Recovery is rapid as the weather warms. If in a mobile container it may be moved into an unheated garage and watered once a month through winter. Bring out, fertilize and water when all threat of frost has passed. Classic flowering maple.
Abutilon (Callianthe) megapotamicum (a) ‘Red’
Everything about this form of hardy flowering maple is identical to the species except the molten red flowers with deeper veins shot through. The 2″ pendant flowers appear from May to October on a large growing sub-shrub. To 6′ in a single season It makes rapid growth as temperature rise above 70ºF. Full sun, in a protected location in rich soil with regular summer irrigation. Abutilons look absolutely horrific in spring even after a normal winter. Expect this. The solution is to water, water, water especially as the temperatures rise. It blooms on new wood and flowers are continuous as the shrub grows. Mostly deciduous but it can be evergreen at the coast or in protected places in mild winters. Loved by hummingbirds who are lured by the lurid red flowers filled with nectar. Cut back by 1/2 after all danger of frost has passed. Supply a handful of all organic fertilizer and water faithfully. Excellent performance at the Oregon coast. Inland it is best with the protection of a shrub covering its roots so that the soil does not freeze. In this situations it can live even thrive for many many years. Mulch with compost. Native to the mountains of Brazil. Root hardy to about 10ºF. Long lithe stems can be woven through a fence or a lattice.
Abutilon (Callianthe) x ‘Smoked Salmon’
A tender abutilon that is best considered an annual but boy howdy is it one of the best flowering maples that we’ve ever seen. Compact growing to 3′ x 3′ in a season at the largest. Profuse, huge flared pendant flowers are the color of smoked salmon on the interior and a distinctively darker orange on the outside. Its a great effect. Full sun and rich well-drained soil with regular irrigation. Excellent container plant that blooms non-stop with little intervention. Not hardy below about 25ºF.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Abutilon (Callianthe) x ‘Tangerine Scream’
A relatively hardy and massive blooming Abutilon that we named for its small but vivid tangerine orange flowers. A tall grower, easily reaching 4′ in the ground in a single season. Excellent in containers in full sun but be warned it gets big, fast. In the ground it has been a great performer. It requires a very protected location- between shrubs that will protect the base or near a house wall- under those conditions it will freeze back below about 20ºF but will be able to return from the base. And don’t be discouraged in spring if this plant looks dead- just water, water, water, in April-June and you’d be surprised at the vigorous recovery that will take place. It helps if it is in rich, well drained soil. Hummingbirds love it. Excellent performance at the Oregon Coast where it will seldom be bothered by cold and can bloom nearly year round.
Xera Plants Introduction.
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.
Mudgee Wattle or simply showy wattle this is an extremely pretty small tree that requires a very protected location to thrive. Blue/green bipinnate leaves are intricate and pretty. In very late winter to early spring a stunning show of electric yellow puff ball flowers. It covers the whole tree weighing down the limbs in full bloom. To 12′-15′ tall in rich to average soil and it absolutely requires full sun. Excellent against a south facing wall. The flowers truly are showy and glow from quite a distance. Native to New South Wales and southern Queensland on table lands. Cold hardy to at least 18ºF- it should take colder temperatures if sited correctly. As with all Acacias it is extremely fast growing when young. Consistent summer water. Loved by hummingbirds and insects in general. This special small tree can begin its life in a spindly way. Full sun and regular water strengthens this growth. Excellent, and best adapted for the Oregon coast. It adapts to life on sand (with supplemental water) as well as well developed soils. Not bothered by deer. The large delicate leaves are blue/gray and are pretty year round. This Acacia is not as cold hardy as Acacia covenyi and is hardier than Acacia pravissima. Following bloom long dusty purple seed pods contrast against the blue/gray foliate. Bark is black to dark brown. Inland it is considered experimental. Eastern Australia.
Acaena ‘Blue Haze’
The blue form of New Zealand Burr with finely divided pinnate evergreen foliage that forms a vigorous creeping ground cover. In summer 3″ stems support round white flowers that appear for several weeks. Easy to grow dense-growing plant to 3″ tall and covering up to 3 square feet in a year. Rich, well drained soil with regular summer moisture to speed growth and keep the appearance fresh. Best in part shade to shade- seems to resent hot sun and permanently dry positions. Excellent for a fast cover that blocks weeds and roots as it grows- perfect erosion control for steep shady slopes. Plant on 1′ centers for a fast cover. Adaptable to dry conditions when established.
Acaena inermis ‘Purpurea’
Such a good good plant. The purple-foliaged New Zealand Burr covers the ground in pinnate dark purple foliage. Low spreading evergreen ground cover for full sun to part shade in rich, well drained, moisture retentive soils. Avoid compacted dry soils- it will die out. Instead provide an annual mulch of compost- put it right over the leaves and let the foliage grow up through it. This will give you a dense spectacular ground cover of purple with blue tints. Excellent as an understory in containers as well. In summer sporadic 4″ stems support spiky maroon orbs- these are the flowers. Best as a small scale ground cover, 3’x 3′ is reasonable. It will flow around low shrubs such as Hebes and around paving stones. Regular water. New Zealand.
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.
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
Acer glabrum ssp. douglasii
Rocky mountain maple or locally also known as Douglas maple is our form of a widespread and sweet small tree that ranges from the Yukon in Canada to the highest mountains of northern Mexico. Our local variety is found in all of the mountainous parts of the state. This demure tree is the least planted of our native maples and deserves much more inclusion in our gardens. In the coast range it is found primarily above 2000′ and it can even be found lower in the Cascades. It follows the spine of the Ochocos in eastern Oregon up into the Blue mountains and Wallowa Mountains in the far north east. Rarely pole straight in stature its often multi-trunked and single trunked trees are in the minority in the wild. Ours are single trunks but multiple stems do not take away from the fresh green leaves and pretty to stunning fall color. The familiar maple leaves can achieve anything from dull yellow to shots of vermillion. Depending on the weather and tree. Soft gray bark. To 25′ tall moderately fast. Tiny green flowers morph into rosy hued samaras in autumn. Regular water for the first several years. This tree does appreciate rich soil that retains moisture in the Willamette Valley. Excellent woodland tree or even more appropriate on the edge of a stand of trees where it receives at least half a day of sun. The most recent years stems are often sanguine red, nice contrast with the grass green elegant leaves. The most striking fall color is achieved with more sun. A mesic maple that often follows water courses or lines wet ground. Single trunked trees are conical shaped and multi-trunked forms are more rounded and spreading. Deciduous. Avoid blasting heat and drought. 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.
Acorus calamus ‘Variegata’
Nifty foliage perennial that can double as a terrestrial border plant (with regular water in rich, moisture-retentive soil) or submerged as a border perennial in a water pot or the edge of the pond. The majority of the spikey 3′ tall leaves are composed of cream/ivory streaks with dramatic stripes of deep green. The effect is ghostly and vivid from quite a distance away. Forms large spreading clumps in time. To 4′ wide when things are going well. Full sun to part shade. Flowers are not very conspicuous spikes that hide within the foliage. Completely winter deciduous- this is nice, it makes cleaning up in late winter/spring easy and and no fuss and the plant begins anew and fresh each season. Not bothered by pests. If sunk in a pond or water pot use heavy clay soil- like from the ground and mulch with a layer of gravel. Long lived plant. High deer resistance. AKA. Ghost Sweet Flag.
Acorus gramineus ‘Golden Lion’
Is this the best form of golden sweet flag or what? We love the vivid yellow leaves on a dense and arching evergold perennial. Clumps densely but the foliage is born in fans and spreads out. To only 6″ tall but spreading to 1′ wide. Best in part shade and either permanently wet sites or regular consistent water. Mine makes a happy home on the north side of my house at the base of the rain gutter. Plenty of water in winter- and I don’t forget to water it in summer. Good appearance year round. In spring little off-white spikes serve as flowers. Native to permanently wet sites. Give it a bit of shade. Moderately deer resistant.
Western Maiden Hair Fern is native from the Aleutian Islands in Alaska south mainly through shady wet spots in the west south as far as Chiahuahua, Mexico. Its even locally native from Maryland to New Foundland. Its a long lived and vigorous fully deciduous perennial for perpetually wet sites. To 2′ tall and spreading almost indefinitely where conditions suite it. Heavy clay soil that retains consistent moisture in part shade to shade. Often found lining water falls in Oregon or in deep cool moist gullies. The multi fingered leaves are a soft green and are held erect on jet black stems. Very good sited at the bottom of a downspout. Very easy to grow given consistent moisture. Oregon native plant.
Himalayan Maidenhair fern is one of our favorite groundcovers for shade and rich, moist soil. The divided fronds in the shape of an arrow are always soft and fresh. In spring this deciduous variety emerges with tones of amber and soft pink before taking on a mature soft green hue. These delicate leaflets are held on thin, wiry black stems to 10″ tall and it spreads prodigiously to form vast colonies. It doesn’t smother neighboring plants however, instead it seems to just flow around such woodland neighbors as Epimedium, Hellebores, even woodland bulbs like Erythronium. Regular summer water. Avoid hard, compacted dry soils. High deer resistance.
Agapanthus ‘Bee Bop’
I selected this seedling about 8 years ago and its been growing in my garden for all that time. A completely deciduous variety that does not show leaves until all chance of frost has passed. Forms a large clump with strappy arching green leaves – to 2′ across in 5 years. As the clump increases so do the amount of flower stalks. The orbs of flowers are neon to cobalt blue. An arresting, glowing blue. Slightly smaller in diameter than other varieties (about the size of a baseball) this plant packs a LOT of flowers onto a stalk- at least 50 and they reverberate above the clump for weeks in July to August. To 26″ in bloom. The stalks that support the vivid flowers are incredibly strong and they barely bend in a breeze. This is a wonderful perennial for full sun and rich, amended soil. Add a handful of lime at planting time to ensure neutral pH. Disappears cleanly in winter. Regular water though its bloom cycle. Pair with chartreuse foliage for a dynamic contrast. Loved by hummingbirds and bees. Best in the center of an ascending border from low plants to tall. Long lived, cold hardy selection that we love.
Xera Plants Introduction
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 ‘Xera’s Cobalt’
Our own seed strain taken from the very darkest blue flowers in the Agapanthus kingdom. Prolific blooming, long lived, cold hardy perennials that require rich, well drained soil with regular summer water. Full sun to very light shade. Blooms of the deepest cobalt to black rise on average to 30″ tall for 4-6 weeks in mid-summer. Completely deciduous in winter. Wonderful in the middle/back of a border and a natural with ornamental grasses and Kniphofias. Add a handful of lime to the hole at planting time and put the Agapanthus right on top of it. The parents of this strain are all naturally very hardy and do not emerge until all threat of frost has past. Hummingbird plant.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Drooping Agapanthus isn’t exactly a romantic moniker but it aptly describes the dramatic blossoms on this large perennial. Strappy leaves form clumps and rise to 30″ tall. In August bold spikes emerge to 4′ tall with sky blue drooping clusters of flowers. Very pretty. Clumps spread to 3′ wide so give this plant room for the future. As the plant increases so does the flower stem count. The tall strong flowers work wonderfully in arrangements. They are also coveted by hummingbirds. Full sun and rich soil with regular summer water- at least until blooms fade. As with all Agapanthus it blooms better in neutral to alkaline soil. Incorporate a handful of lime in the planting hole. Mulch in very cold gardens. Excellent for the middle or back of a border. Lives in large containers for many years. Native to high elevation grasslands in South Africa. Winter deciduous.
Agapanthus x ‘Exmoor’
Fantastic cold hardy lily of the nile cultivar that is easy to grow and spectacular in bloom. This selection made in Scotland forms large clumps of strappy leaves and deep navy blue buds open to lighter sky blue flowers. Tall growing Agapanthus to 3′-4′ in bloom and flowers appear from late June to early August. Loved by hummingbirds and bees this is naturally deciduous variety. The leaves disappear to nothing in winter- a good trick because this UK variety shares a common trait among those from there, it holds off on sprouting in spring until all threat of a frost has passed. Its very cold hardy too, solidly zone 7. Excellent long blooming dramatic perennial for hell strips, borders. The contrast between the dark buds and lighter open flowers is a joy. Flower heads are about the size of a soft ball or larger. Regular water in rich soil. Apply a handful of horticultural lime in the planting hole. Agapanthus prefer and bloom better in neutral soil (ours are acidic to strongly acidic). A four year old clump will be 2′ across with 10 or more large flower stalks. They increase yearly from there.
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.
Agapanthus x ‘Summer Nights’
A northwest raised cold hardy selection with deciduous leaves and the most intense deep blue flower spikes to 28″ tall in June and July. Full sun, well drained soil and regular water. Deciduous Agapanthus (REALLY) appreciate good soil. Combine with other perennials for love, joy. Best with regular summer irrigation and annual applications of organic fertilizer. Has been a long lived, long term performer in landscapes from Vancouver, BC to Medford , Oregon. Selected for intense deep blue flower color combined with excellent hardiness to cold.
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 ‘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 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 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.
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.
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.
Blue is an elusive color in Alliums but there are several that achieve that hue. This small bunch forming onion is a delight with clusters of nodding blue flower in mid-late summer. To 10″ tall a multiplying clump will spread to 1′ wide over time. Rich, well drained soil with regular summer water. Excellent in rock gardens, the front of borders and even hellstrips. Very easy to grow herbaceous perennial that blooms for 4-6 weeks. Cute little cutflower and loved by pollinators. Winter decidiuous for full sun- no fudging here. Long lived and hardy in containers. Moderate deer resistance.
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..
Alstroemeria psittacina ‘Variegata’
A really multidimensional perennial for part shade, rich soil and light summer water. The sage green, almost rubbery textured leaves are emargined in creamy white. In summer, 2′ spikes support groups of tubular red and green flowers. The interior of the flower is decorated with black hatch marks on a white backdrop. Fantastic long lasting cut flower that should be pulled gently from the base to detach and never cut with a pruner. Spreads somewhat thinly to cover some ground. Posses the ability to compete with other plants and can happily coexist with shorter ground cover- flower spikes coming up right through. Completely winter deciduous. Bait for slugs when it first re-emerges in spring. Once its up a bit you are safe. Long lived cold hardy perennial that is pretty permanent. Hummingbirds love the flowers as much as stylish gardeners.
Unusual Myrtle from Chile that I’ve grown for many years and though it is difficult to root from cuttings we still offer it. Glossy small leaves have the distinct fragrance of citrus when bruised. A tall rainforest tree in its home, in my garden it is a columnar evergreen shrub to 8′ x 2′ in 7 years. In early summer it produces clusters of pretty off-white flowers that are lightly fragrant too. They often turn into clusters of black berries by autumn. Slow growing in youth it picks up a little with age. Full sun to part shade in a protected location. Mine is against an east facing wall and it’s never been damaged by cold – save for a few burned tips below 10ºF. Surprising. If you are a collector and you’d like something different give this handsome shrub/tree a try. It will thrive at the Oregon Coast and likely grow much, much bigger. A water loving tree that requires regular irrigation during summer- this encourages growth and lustrous foliage. Chile.
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 vulgaris ‘Icy Blue’
Columbines are a blast to grow in the garden. This form we initially selected for its bright, bright, bright chartreuse yellow foliage. The brightest we have seen. In April to June it’s topped with multiple white/green flowers that slowly age to a soft, luminous blue over several days. Very pretty contrast with the foliage and an excellent bold perennial for contrast in a border. Full sun to quite a bit of shade in rich, well-drained soil with consistent summer moisture. When flowers are over you can take advantage of the brilliant leaves. Solidly perennial and the original plant still survives. (We isolate this plant to ensure the babies are as true to the name as possible- and yes it does work). To 20″ tall and half as wide. Self sows and a large percentage of the seedlings are gold. Easy to spot.
Xera Plants Introduction.
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.
Elk Clover. Our native large herbaceous Aralia that forms large, tropical-looking clumps along moist places in the central southern part of the state. To 8′ tall and as wide when established in rich soil with an adequate summer moisture supply. A native plant that takes very well to cultivation. In summer 2′ long spikes reveal white orbs. Showy and a little exotic for a native as well. This is a great large scale plant for tropical effects- mix with Hardy Banana (Musa basjoo) and you have got yourself a big bold look. Black berries follow the flowers and are somewhat showy as well. Completely winter deciduous. Native to the southwest part of the state with a disjunct population in the Cascade foothills of Lane county. Oregon native plant.
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 ‘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 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 ‘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.
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.
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 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 ‘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.
Cobra lily or Jack in the Pulpit from Japan with exotic striped flowers in mid-spring but the bold and glossy foliage steals the show. Forming large patches in rich, WELL DRAINED soil with regular summer irrigation. Shade- protect the amazing leaves from blasting sun. They will stand prominently up to 2′ tall- triple lobed, glossy and good looking. One of the more reliable of the genus in fact we think this is the best adapted Jack in the Pulpit for our climate. Mix with other bold shade perennials. Mulch with compost annually. Disappears entirely in winter. A Xera favorite perennial.
Arthropodium maculatum ‘Purpureum’
AKA Arthropodium maculatum ‘Candidum’ New Zealand Rock Lily. Intersting clump forming lily relative that has fine strappy leaves in a dense configuration that are dotted with brown over a madder red overlay. Wonderful little foliage plant for part shade in rich, moisture retentive soil. In summer masses of 4″ stems support clouds of tiny nodding white flowers. Fun. Rock gardens, the front of borders, massed together for a more profound effect. To about 10″ wide. Completely winter deciduous. Nice summer container plant.
Aruncus dioicus var. acuminatus
Goats Beard is a big bold and easy to grow perennial for part shade and perpetually wet sites. To 4′ tall and as wide with large fountains of pure white flowers in late spring to early summer. Native in seeps and along watercourses, mimic those conditions in your garden and you’ll have success. Long lived plant that develops a woody base. Completely winter deciduous. Excellent combined with other mesic water loving plants. Tolerates some inundation but not during the growing season. Often found on cliffs away from the browse of deer. Very large permanent perennial in time. Fall color is often yellow. Widespread in the PNW. Native in the Portland City limits. Oregon native plant.
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.
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.
Silver Spear. Dramatic silver green monocot spikey plant that we adore for container culture. To 3′ tall and dense the rosettes produce long silvery spiky leaves at a moderate pace. Full sun to light shade in rich, well drained soil. Not completely hardy in Portland, it freezes out at about 18ºF- and containers should be protected over the winter- move into an unheated place. Rich, soil, regular irrigation which speeds growth. In the ground you must choose the most protected urban site possible. Then mulch and cover with an opaque sheeting when temperatures threaten to dip below 20ºF. In town that is about once every four years. It can freeze back quite a way but recovery is dubious and slow at best. Excellent performance at the Oregon Coast where it is a permanent landscape plant.
Astelia nivicola ‘Red Gem’
Smaller growing cold hardy Silver Spear that forms spreading colonies in part shade, rich soil and a protected location. Red tinted silver arching evergreen perennial that requires protection form hot dry conditions in summer and subfreezing winds in winter. To 1′ tall and twice as wide- increasing by expanding rosettes.. Excellent in containers, protect containers from temperatures below 10ºF. This has been a long term performer in protected urban environments. Cover if temperatures threaten to drop below the low teens. Added protection can’t hurt. Regular summer water speeds the increase of the clump. Handsome plant. Try it in a protected woodland- you’ll like it. Trust me. Heh. Wonderful performance at the Oregon Coast. Long lived. Rich soil to average soil. Beautiful in winter.
Astelia nivicola ‘Westland’
Much hardier to cold but quite a bit smaller this Astelia has thrived in Portland gardens for decades. Part shade and rich, moisture retentive soil that drains well is ideal. It seems to adore unamended loam as well. Rosette forming monocot with silver leaves that have a distinct red tint. Avoid blasting hot dry situations- this species hates that. Spreads slowly to form showy evergreen patches. Mix in borders, among shrubs- which adds winter protection or in containers. Protect containers from temperatures below 10ºF. In the ground it is hardy below that. Excellent long term perennial for beds or containers. Little spikes of green flowers occasionally transfer into bright orange fruits. To 1′ x 2′ wide in 4 years. Regular summer water is ideal and will also speed growth. New Zealand
Athyrium x ‘Ghost’
A hybrid fern discovred in Oregon and it has become a garden staple. Soft gray/sage green intricately divided fronds arch out from a central rosette. To 2′ tall and as wide in rich, well drained moisture retentive soil in part shade to shade. Loves regular irrigation and bulks up more quickly then. More adaptable than its harder to grow parent Japanese painted fern. Completely deciduous in winter. Takes poorly drained sites. Mix with chartreuse leaved Lamium maculatum ‘Aureum’ and Vancouveria chyrsantha for wonderful woodland trio. Emerges in March- not bothered by snails/slugs or deer. Excellent in shady, perennial containers. Good appearance thought hot summers with irrigation. A classic.
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.
Toothed leaved Azara is a somewhat obscure evergreen tree native to South America. Closely related to the more common Azara microphylla, this species has much larger leaves and MUCH larger gold flowers. The puff ball gold flowers deck all the boughs in an opulent spring display that lasts for weeks. An upright broad spreading evergreen whose crown usually assumes a conical outline. Spreading branches hold the foliage which is very substantial. To 18′ tall and half as wide in 10 years. Best in a protected location, out of east wind, on the edge of a woodland or near a house. The large flowers truly are a spectacle and emit a light sweet fragrance. Full sun to high overstory shade in rich soil with occasional deep soaks in summer. Grows 1′-3′ per year and faster with attention to water. More tender as a youngster gaining full cold hardiness with age. Established trees endure 5ºF by losing many leaves- they can also disappear in particularly enthusiastic bloom seasons but it regains foliage very fast by early spring. Excellent performance at the Oregon Coast. Very elegant tree. Chile/Argentina.
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.
Still relatively new this extraordinary perennial has so many fantastic attributes it will become indispensable in our gardens. Glossy concave heart shaped leaves emerge tinted black before settling to a deep forest green. The dense foliage is seldom bothered by pests and appears to be slug/snail resistant. Throughout the growing season 2′ spikes emerge over the dome of dense foilage with small white flowers. The over effect is cool sophistication in the shade garden. Slowly expanding to 2′ wide. Rich, moisture retentive soil with regular summer irrigation. Mix with Hosta, Hakenochloa, Epimedium. Semi-evergreen.
This species is one of the progenitors of modern Tuberous- non-stop Begonias. In of itself a tough perennial that if you are patient will make an appearance year after year. To 2′ tall (slightly taller) angel wing shaped bold green leaves are a wonderful backdrop to the masses of striking orange/red flowers that appear from July to October. Each of five petals recurves as it opens to an elegant effect. Very easy to grow as a container plant. To over winter simply let the plant die back in late autumn and move the container to a sheltered site. Mine goes against the wall of a covered outside patio and in 15 years I’ve never lost a plant. Grows surprisingly well in the ground in well drained rich soil in part shade. Be aware that returning plants emerge late – Often not showing their presence above ground until mid-June. Best with an annual application of organic fertilizer. Regular water, but never permanently boggy. Excellent performance in our climate. The outrageous amount of flowers produced make this plant a regal winner.
Begonia grandis ‘Alba’
Flowers are always at a premium in shade, and late season bloomers for shade are not profuse. This wonderful white flowered form of this hardy Begonia is a sparkling white treat. Masses of snow white flowers on white pendant stems decorate the top of the plant from August to October. The foliage with leaves shaped like large deep green wings are an excellent back drop to feature the contrasting pure flowers. This is a wonderful and very different effect than the the much more common pink flowered selections. The purity of the flowers is divine and they seems to appear from nowhere often in the hottest days of summer. At our wholesale nursery I found myself stopping to look at this beautiful perennial every time I passed it. It is exceptionally pretty Part shade to high overhead shade in rich soil with regular summer irrigation. Though it will arrive smaller with less flowers without water. Not bothered by slugs or snails it rises with the opulent green foliage to about 2′ tall before flowering commences. Very easy and long lived perennial. It persists with quite a bit of neglect. Mulch after planting to even out soil moisture. Avoid blasting reflected heat and drought. Often self sows and also propagates by small bulbils. This is never out of control and is usually welcome. Forms expanding patches to several feet wide. Disappears entirely in winter, nada and it arrives late in spring (be patient) it is more than hardy to cold. Wonderful plant Thank you Peter for this plant.
Begonia grandis ‘Heron’s Piroutte’
Cold hardy Begonia that we love as a dependable and pretty late blooming perennial. Large wing shaped leaves have a reverse of light red. In late summer to early autumn to 30″ tall upright plants produce pendant clusters of pink/off white very showy flowers. Rich moisture retentive soil in part shade to shade. Great long lived plant for borders, shady glens. the shadows of ponds. Disappears entirely in winter. On occasion bulbils that appear in the leaf axils will detach and produce new plants. Move easily or share with friends. Not bothered by snails/slugs.
One of our all time favorite Begonias that is surprsingly hardy when established. Soft green angel wing shaped leaves fan out and are the great backdrop to masses of small, single soft orange flowers. Blooms continuously from late June to frost. Rich soil that drains in part shade to high overhead shade is ideal. Protect from blasting sun. Exquisite container subject that mixes well with other plants and adds a saucy orange to shade plantings. In the ground this plant requires a little more care. Rich soil in protected location – under shrubs or near the house and a little patience. Returns slowly in the ground- not usually showing its face until Mothers Day or later. Once growth proceeds it goes quickly. Nice self cleaning blooming plant. Spent flowers simple tumble off the plant and are replaced by a massive continual display. To 8″ x 8″ and wider with time. Winter deciduous. For plants growing in containers you’ll need to protect the container from excess wet and freezing. The best way to overwinter it is to put it under an eave or an unheated garage or greenhouse. Add organic fertilizer with the onset of growth. Lovely perennial that we adore at Xera.
Bergenia ciliata ‘Susan Riley’
To be honest we had quite a bit of employee pushback when we said we were growing a Bergenia- I’m sure they immediately thought of that hulking, horrible looking, weevil notched ground cover with clouds of pepto pink flowers in winter/spring. That old horribly abused plant is definitely not this. HUGE round leaves have light fur on the reverse and make a wonderful statement in part shade to full sun (with water). In very early spring this cultivar named by Richie Steffan of the Elizabeth Miller Garden in Seattle- sends up wide inflorescences of pink tinted white flowers. Best with overhead protection of trees to ensure a late freeze doesn’t damage the flowers. This is a DECIDUOUS species and doesn’t seem to be root weevil food or suffer a bad looking period. New leaves ensure freshness all season. Give it a LOT of room to spread. Tropical looking foliage adds bold dimension to borders, woodlands. Regular summer water in well drained rich soil. Thanks Richie.
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.
Blechnum penna-marina (Austroblechnum penna-marina)
Antarctic Water Fern is a low creeping evergreen ground cover fern for moist shady sites. To just 5″ tall the new fronds emerge a bright red before settling to soft green. The pointed finely divided leaves overlap densely creating a cover that blocks weeds. Slowly expands up to 3′-4′ wide when really happy. Rich, moisture retentive soil with regular summer water. Avoid compacted dry clay- does not like. Easy to grow in woodlands, Excellent performance under large shrubs. Avoid hot sun. Good small scale shady ground cover. High deer resistance. Chile.
Blechnum spicant (Struthiopteris spicant)
The second most common fern in western Oregon Deer fern is a lovely native evergreen clumping perennial that is invaluable. The tiered upright and then settling to horizontal mid green glossy fronds are handsome all the time. To 2′ wide and 2′ tall (when fronds are emerging). Rich, moisture retentive soil high in organic matter. Light summer water in part shade to shade. Familiar fern of the Oregon Cascades but very widespread. High deer resistance. Excellent native fern for life between Rhododendrons and Pieris that are ancient. This fern loves part shade and cool moist soils but has a bit of drought adaptation as well. Its supremely adapted to to the rough life of competition. Useful plant that looks very good year round. Design by Vanessa Gardner Nagel Seasons Design. Oregon native plant.
Bolax (Azorella) gummifera
Incredibly useful and handsome and tough creeping evergreen ground cover. The fine interlaced leaves have a texture very much like plastic or tupperware. It creeps along forming tight rosettes that join. In summer the whole surface of this flush plant is covered in chartreuse yellow flowers. Not showy but conspicuous for a plant that looks uniform and green all year. One of the best ground covers between pavers as it can handle compacted soil better than other small scale ground covers. And this is a small scale ground cover, don’t try to cover acreage. Be reasonable and expect good coverage over a space no larger than 5′ x 5′. Glossy foliage sparkles when wet. Regular summer water speeds growth though it is tolerant of dry periods but not complete drought. Expect each 4″ plant to expand to the size of an apple pie in a season. Completely deer resistant. Top dress with compost every few years- especially if it is between pavers. To 1/4″ tall by 1′ wide. Full sun to the very lightest shade. Carrot family.
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.
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.
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 sempervirens ‘Graham Blandy’
Hard to find but so useful columnar boxwood. Graham becomes a 10″ wide pillar up to 6′ tall or taller within a decade. Very easy to keep it much smaller. Prune reliably to retain a tidy demeanor. Deep green foliage is thick and handsome year round. Average soil, light summer water. Full sun to full shade- no difference in performance. Very cold hardy. Grows 6″ a year.
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.
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 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 Compact’
One of our very best selections of the cold hardy mountain bottlebrush from Tasmania. This unusual variant has smaller leaves held closer together on a compact and dense growing shrub. To 4′ tall and 3′ wide in 7 years. In May-June every branch tip is decked in 3″ chartreuse green bottlebrush flowers. An incredibly heavy bloomer – even when very young. Full sun and virtually any soil with REGULAR summer water. Definitely not as drought tolerant as other hardy Callistemons. Slow growth. Moderate deer resistance. Cold hardy to 5ºF. Combine with other full sun shrubs that require moderate summer water- a good soak once every two weeks. Excels in hell strips. A great texture for borders or even an informal low hedge. Little pruning required. (Syn. Melaleuca virens- they are attempting to lump all Callistemons into Melaleuca- we’re still waiting.) Wildly showy shrub in bloom. Hummingbird delight.
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
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.
Camassia quamash ssp. maxima
Common Camas one of the wests great wild flowers. ‘Maxima’ is the form that is most common in the Willamette Valley. In April to June meadows, glens, and floodplains turn sky blue. Occurs natively in vernally wet sites, that means that part of the winter it is submerged or very saturated. However, it does thrive in upland situations in heavy clay soils that are sodden for at least half the year. Prior to European development first nation people relied on this starchy bulb as a food source. They managed it by low intensity fires which cleared away the competition but did not injure the deep bulb. In turn the Camas thrived. They ate it baked or steamed like a small potato. An important pollinator plant that also attracts some critically endangered Willamette Valley butterflies. Nice cut flower. The spike of flowers opens at the base and moves to the top. To 20″ tall in bloom. The whole plant goes quickly dormant with summer heat. Leaves emerge in early spring and precede the flowers. Full sun. Common associated plants are Ranunculus occidentalis and Hosackia gracilis. (Photo credit Guy Meacham) 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 ‘Nuccio’s Pearl’
One of the finest Camellias ever created. ‘Nuccio’s Pearl’ thrills us with perfectly symmetrical flowers that are technically a formal double. The outside petals are blushed with pink and as the center of the flower unfurls it becomes pearly white. The perfectly formed flowers appear in March and politely drop before discoloring. To 8′ tall and 4′ wide in 7 years in full sun to quite a bit of shade. Rich to average well drained soil that retains moisture. Moderately fast growing formal looking evergreen that is naturally dense with deep green glossy leaves. Light, consistent summer water. Late blooming. Excellent, long lived shrub.
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.
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 ‘Yume’
This exceptional hybrid between C. yuhsienensis x C. hiemlis ‘Kan tsubaki’ truly does bridge the winter gap blooming heavily from November to February. Each single flower is composed of alternating light pink and white petals and is imbued with a sweet rich fragrance. Low spreading evergreen for full sun to full shade. To 5′ x 5′ in 7 years. Excellent espalier subject which can protect the blossoms from the vagaries of weather. Rich, moisture retentive, but fast draining soils. Very heavy blooming, including in shade. In full sun it can set so many flower buds that blooms obscure the foliage. Deep almost black green leaves. The open flowers are cold hardy to about 26ºF but more will open if those are frozen. Very easy and carefree shrub. Drought tolerant when established.
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 lutchuensis ‘Cinnamon Cindy’
She’s a great girl this Cindy. Small semi-double flowers open blush and change to sugar white. Intimately, they have the spicy sweet fragrance of cinnamon – especially on the warmest winter days. A profuse bloomer that grows as an open small tree in time. The handsome deep green semi-glossy foliage is good looking at all times. Before the flowers discolor they drop cleanly to the ground. Blooms late December to March. To 6′ tall and 3′ wide in 5 years. Average to rich, well drained soil with light, consistent summer moisture. Easy to grow wonderful fragrant reward of winter.
Camellia x lutchuensis ‘Minato no Akebono’
This lovely winter blooming Camellia hybrid includes the fragrant species C. lutchuensis and has simple HIGHLY perfumed pink flowers. The 4″ open single flowers have fluted petals that are medium pink with darker pink stains at the petal tips. Fast growing shrub that shows excellent hybrid vigor. Glossy evergreen leaves are perfect year round. Open branching pattern features the clusters of cinnamon scented flowers from December to March. To 9′ tall and 4′ wide in 8 years. Full sun to quite a bit of shade in rich to average well drained soil. Consistent summer moisture ensures superior flower bud set. Elegant Camellia that will perfume a wide part of the garden. Mine is visited by happy hummingbirds in winter. Open growing shrub. Flower fragrance is spicy, sweet cinnamon and wafts on the winter breeze. Very heavy blooming cultivar.
Camellia x lutchuensis ‘Spring Mist’
Exceptional C. lutchuensis hybrid that imparts sweet fragrance to the profuse semi double blush flowers in late winter to early spring. Extremely heavy bloomer the smaller flower cluster in groups along the boughs- quite unlike other Camellias with a massive display . These sprays of fragrant flowers weigh down the boughs and the whole shrub is covered in blooms. Grass green matte foliage is a handsome backdrop to the small (3″) but profuse bloom. Part shade to shade in rich, moisture retentive soil with adequate drainage. Not as tolerant of full sun as other Camellias. Consistent summer irrigation ensures a larger flower set. To 6′ x 4′ in 6 years. Tough and elegant. Takes dry shade very well and still blooms profusely.
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 ‘Tulip Time’
Big graceful open growing Camellia with exceptional open single flowers. The long petals are fluted and arc outwards. The effect is very much like an open tulip. Soft pink flowers on a heavy blooming shrub to 12′ tall and 9′ wide. Less dense than other cultivars. Density increases in full sun. Handsome glossy deep green foliage. Blooms February to April in an average year. Grows 1′- 2′ per year. Full sun to full shade in rich, well drained soil with regular irrigation to establish. Older plants take summer drought in stride. Rare Camellia that is worth seeking out for its fascinating, elegant flower form.
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.
Campanula garganica ‘Dickson’s Gold’
Not many Campanulas that we really taking a liking to but this one is distinctly different. Low mounds of scintillating gold foliage become a sea of light purple/blue star shaped flowers in May-June. Part shade to shade with protection from hot sun. Rich, WELL DRAINED soil that is fertile and regular summer water. Apply a handful of organic fertilizer around it in spring- this perks up vigor and ramps up bloom. Striking plant for a shady rock garden or the front of a woodland border. A great combination of colors in one compact plant. To 5″ tall x 1′ wide in a season.
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 )
Carex comans ‘Olive Oil’
We found this unique foliage color in a seed batch of regular old green Carex comans. Such a cool khaki/olive color that we named it ‘Olive Oil’ and have been producing it ever since. To 1′ tall by up to 3′ wide in rich, moist soil in full sun to part shade. In summer much longer trailing stems hide little brown blooms that morph into very fecund seeds. Excellent combined with chartreuse/gold leaved plants. Great in containers. Not drought tolerant. Evergreen.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Carex conica ‘Snowline’
Aka ‘Hime kan suge’ Small clumping evergreen sedge that forms adorable fountains of fine green leaves lined in white. To 6″ x 6″ slowly increasing in rich, well drained moisture retentive conditions. Regular summer water. Wonderful massed in a local way or lining a path in a shady woodland. Good year round appearance. Not the fastest sedge so be patient and give it the conditions it wants. Full sun- with regular water to quite a bit of shade. 4″ spikes of tan flowers are cute in spring. Moderate deer resistance.
Carex oshimensis ‘Evergold’
Common variegated sedge that is useful. The arching thin leaves have an interior of rich yellow with green lines on the sides. Dense forming evergreen tuft to 1′ tall by up to 2′ wide. Rich, moisture retentive soil with regular water in full sun to part shade. Tidy discolored leaves individually in spring- do not cut to the ground. It hates this. Gold stems support tan flowers in summer. Unfortunately, this sedge is often thrown into new landscapes and is marketed as a low maintenance carefree drought tolerant thing. Its not. It likes good care to look its best. Moderate deer resistance. Evergreen.
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.
Carex praegracilis ‘Chisai’
Excellent dwarf form of our native meadow sedge. To just 6″ tall it forms dense spreading evergreen patches. In spring to summer both male and female flower spikes rise to just a few inches above the foliage. Nice looking compact plant that retains its verdancy through the winter. An admirable substitute for lawn and mowing is not necessary. This species is most widespread east of the Cascades. Its native throughout the west and this form was identified in California. Plant on 10″ centers for a modern massed ground cover. The mid green to ochre green leaves are dense and smother competition. This creates less of a hummock affect and more of a small dome. Very easy to grow. Excels in containers. Full sun to light shade, also very high overhead shade (a tall tree canopy). Amending the soil with compost and fertilizer will increase vigor and green appearance and quicken establishment. Spreads by slowly expanding rhizomes. Excellent between stones or pavers. Tolerates light foot traffic. Not really large enough to be bothered by deer once established. Hardy below 0ºF. This useful plant has great smaller scale, ease of culture, and consistent good looks. This would be an excellent smaller grassy component of a meadow. Established plants can take quite a bit of summer drought. Carex praegracilis is an 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.
Wonderful orange Carex that is a great (if temporary] garden plant. Clumping and upright then broadly arching. Leaves take on intense copper tints for most of the year. Excellent plant for containers, winter containers. Evergreen and for full sun to light shade. Regular to rich, well drained soil- average summer water. Not drought tolerant over the long haul, so at least a soak once a week in summer. To 10″ tall x 20″ wide. Give it room to reach its full dimension. Containerized plants will drape gracefully over the edge. Do not cut back hard in spring- limit your tidying to removing dead/ratty leaves. If you do have to cut it back hard then make sure you apply some all organic fertilizer and water consistently to speed recovery. Average lifespan 3-5 years. Avoid full exposure to subfreezing wind. New Zealand.
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.
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 ‘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.
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
Ceanothus x deslilianus ‘Topaz’
Possibly the darkest blue flowering cultivar that blooms in the summer. This hybrid is technically supposed to be deciduous but for us it never has been. Large panicles of cobalt blue flowers erupt from the current seasons growth in June to July. Remove spent flowers and more may follow. To 5′ x 3′ in average to enriched soil with REGULAR summer water. Good drainage. Easy to resize as it blooms on new wood, it may be cut to as low as 18″ in early spring. Black seed capsules follow the flowers and persist until birds relieve them of their contents in autumn. Excellent in borders, as a specimen, or informal hedge-row. Not as drought adapted as most of the genus. This plant is best with consistent moisture through its bloom period- not boggy (ever) but consistent. Remarkable flower color- moody, deep indigo. Click on Ceanothus video in green script.
Centaurea (Psephellus ) simplicicaulis (bella)
This is a really good perennial that combines pretty evergreen foliage and wiry stems that rise to 8″ and open pale pink fluffy Bachelors Button flowers in late spring and early summer. The low mounding foliage is dense and remains good looking through most seasons. It requires full sun and rich, fast draining soils to establish and spread. Line paths, rock gardens, gravel gardens, hellstrips. Light consistent summer water- not at all shade tolerant. Spreads to 2′ wide in time. Perennial containers. Native to Turkey.
Big ass huge tall Scabiosa that is difficult to find. We’re remedying that. Large plant to 6′ tall with long wand-like stems support large (2″ wide ) pale yellow Scabiosa flowers. Full sun and rich well drained soil with regular water. Tough perennial for the back of a border or the back in general. Produces a constant cloud of glowing flowers that nod in the wind. Great cut flower. Blooms June to September. Soft yellow flowers match the color intensity of the gray foliage- a sophisticated match. Revels in hot and dry conditions when established. Dies down to nothing in the fall. Roars out of the ground in spring.
Ceratostigma willmottianum ‘Palmgold’
Striking gold leaved perennial that pairs bright blue flowers for a bold effect. Blooms from late July to October on a spreading, sprawling plant. Freezes to the ground in most winters and returns from the base if in rich, well drained soil in full sun. Excellent perennial in containers. To 1′ tall by 2 wide in a season. Regular summer water. Foliage does not burn in sun. Mulch in autumn. Do not cut back until you see new growth in spring. Then remove winter killed stems. Hardier to cold in rich, very well drained soil. Often overwinters in containers. Striking perennial for contrast, brilliance. AKA Chinese Plumbago.
Ceratostigma willmottianum ‘Xera Sky’
A cool sub shrub that covers itself for months in dime sized sky blue flowers. The intensity of the color is hard to capture- it must be experienced. Forms a rounded wiry shrub with diamond shaped wavy small green leaves. To 2′ x 2′ in a season. Full sun, and rich, well drained soil with regular summer water. Freezes to the ground below about 15ºF- re-sprouts form the base in spring. Great in containers. The better the drainage the hardier this extraordinary plant will be. Provide a warm position and mulch in autumn. Once it has been established through a winter it is a fairly permanent plant. Some deer resistance. Do not cut back until you see new growth in spring- then remove all damaged stems. Great in hot sunny borders. Regular summer water.
Xera Plants Introduction
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.
Snow Tussock from alpine New Zealand is a clump forming grass of great grace and texture. The fine upright growing blades are a soft taupe color that shines in the sunlight. Most often the tips of this grass become cere and it gives it a wilder look. To 2′ x 2′ and a tightly clumping evergreen that increases very slowly. In summer stems clad in tan oat like flowers dangle in a pretty way from the plants top. Full sun to part shade in Well drained, rich soil with light consistent summer moisture. Appreciates an open exposure- avoid neighbors that are too rambunctious or close. Stunning in a mass planting. A great grass for our climate. Do not divide, or move once established.
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.
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.
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 ‘Dwarf White’
Excellent little selection of our locally native wildflower ‘Farewell to Spring’. To just 10″ tall this plant(s) become a solid dome of white flowers from May-August. Cute little cut flower. Full sun in rich, to average well drained soil with just light competition from other plants. Re-seeds reliably in open disturbed sites. A great native derivative for hell strips and even containers. Regular summer water – or it will shut down go dormant and think its time to set seed and then make its melon. Rough areas, cut flower. 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.
Lovely ubiquitous woodland flower that brings waves of glorious airy stars for weeks in late spring to mid summer. Occasionally pink the flowers most often are white. Handsome somewhat bold foliage provides a plant that is more than suited to competition on the forest floor. Often self sows and this is welcome. Plant containerized plants in spring and water faithfully through the first summer- but never boggy. Then it is yours. Let it romp among ferns, Hosta, Japanese Forest Grass for a sparkling NATIVE treat. Mix with other natives such as Vancouveria and deer fern. Very easy to grow. Blooms for a very long time and longer if we have a cool beginning to summer. AKA Candy flower. To 10″ x 10″ on average. Summer deciduous and emerges early in spring. Not bothered by pests. Forms spreading colonies in rich, humus enriched soil in part shade to shade. Locally native in the Portland city limits. Oregon native plant.
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.
Clethra barbinervis ‘Takaeda Nishiki’
Variegated form of Japanese summer sweet with amazing white splashed foliage and masses of powerfully fragrant white flowers all summer. To 10′ tall moderately fast in part shade to full sun in rich, moisture retentive soil. Regular summer water. In time it forms a trunk that displays mottled exfoliating bark which is very pretty. . Wonderful woodland tree that endures full sun with regular irrigation. Light yellow fall color. Graceful at all times. Nice branching pattern in symmetrical whorls. The clusters of flowers dry and cling to the tree in winter. These can be removed by the fastidious gardener or left to hang and decompose with the effect of spanish moss. Blooms continuously most of the summer. The clusters of pendant white flowers emit an intoxicating perfume that is most notable on warm to hot days. It will perfume the entire garden- its not a cloying sweetness either but a much more sophisticated aroma that has you seeking more. Water regularly, not drought adapted. Lovely, lovely specimen tree. Avoid hot dry sites.
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.
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.
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.
Chocolate Cosmos – one of our favorite seasonal plants. It blooms non-stop from June to frost with copious single deep red/black/mahogany flowers that have the special fragrance of dark chocolate. Forms colonies in well drained, rich soil with regular summer water. Cold hardy to the upper teens it will overwinter most years in very well drained soil- try a hot south facing slope. Otherwise, it forms a tuberous root and may be lifted and stored like a Dahlia in autumn. A great tender perennial for containers, borders. Fantastic cut flower. To 20″ tall in bloom forming a clump to 2′ wide. Mulch in autumn with dry leaves. Best in the hottest possible aspect but with regular water in rich soil. Easy to grow. Mexico.
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.
Crocosmia x crocosmiflora ‘Solfaterre’
The market is full of Crocosmia selections but we think this one is a classic. The foliage is a dramatic bronze color and the spikey leaves are a great backdrop to the apricot yellow flowers that occur in July to September. To 2.5′ tall and forming an expanding clump. Full sun to part shade in rich, moisture retentive soil with light but consistent summer water. It makes a very good cut flower that lasts in a vase. Combine with other sun loving late summer blooming perennials. Completely deciduous in winter. Moderate deer resistance.
Cuphea cyanea var. subhirtella
This plant has been a real surprise. Most Cupheas are decidedly tender to cold in our climate, however, this variety soars above the rest. Its been a long term reliable perennial for us. Perhaps just a smidge hardier than the species. This charming little bat flower delights with multicolor flowers- tubular and shades of pink and yellow. The petals that serve as the bats ears are maroon. Wonderful long blooming plant- flowers continuously all summer to autumn. To 1′ tall and as wide. As a perennial it excels in rich, well drained soil with regular summer water in full sun. Just when you think it won’t return in spring it quickly arrives with warm weather and commences blooming almost straight away. Loved by hummingbirds, butterflies and pollinators in general. Treat it well – water and establish and mulch for the first winter. As an annual it is wonderful as a continuous flowering container subject. Native to Mexico.
Cuphea cyanea ‘Strybing Sunset’
We originally grew this wonderful vivid free blooming bat flower as an annual. But after years of growing it in the ground we’ve found that its remarkably root hardy. To 20″ tall forming a semi-woody shrublet it produces sprays of small but vivid flowers from May to frost. Full sun and rich, WELL DRAINED soil in the ground and patience- it takes a while to come back in spring- usually not until truly hot days appear in May. Once up- with regular supplemental water it zooms and blooms and resumes its previous stature quickly. Good drainage in a hot position seems to be the key as a perennial. Mine has happily lived in the ground in my garden in North Portland for 7 years- returning from the coldest winters. It will freeze to the ground below about 28ºF- but it always returns. Great seasonal plant in containers and it will draw hummingbirds from 5 counties around. Nice plant. Blooms continuously without intervention. My kind of plant.
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 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.
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.
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) coelestis
Wonderful Iris relative from South America that we cherish for its daily large three petalled intricately marked blue flowers. Rising to 2′ tall, corrugated blue green leaves accompany the strong upright stem. Beginning in May a daily procession of flowers that open at sunrise and close and finish by 2 to 3 in the afternoon. Don’t remove the spent flower as curiously more (and more) flowers will appear from the same stem. Large seed pods will form. These may be snipped off to refocus on more blooming. Full sun and rich, well drained soil in a warm position with regular summer water. I add a handful of all organic fertilizer around the base just before blooming. This markedly increases vigor and even the size of the flowers. Freezes back almost to the ground below 20ºF. Moderate deer resistance.
Dahlia ‘Bednall’s Beauty’
We grow just a select few Dahlias now but over the decades we’ve been able to observe hardiness by cultivar. This is consistently one of the hardiest. And its a wonderful perennial. Finely divided foliage is dark, nearly black on a compact plant to 2′ x 2′ with stunning black/velvet red single flowers. These appear consistently from June to frost. Shorter stems lead to a smaller cut flower but it is still wonderful none-the-less. The intense deep flower color is a perfect match for the foliage yielding a dark tinted plant. Provide contrasting light to golden colored foliage for extra depth. Excellent border perennial for full sun and rich, well drained soil with regular summer irrigation. This hardy perennial requires very little protection other than a layer of mulch in autumn. Even a layer of leaves will provide a modicum of cover. Emerges with truly warm weather in spring. Protect emerging plants from snails/slugs. Full grown plants seem less affected. Loved by pollinators and moderately deer resistant. Far from 100% but still one of the last they will munch.
Dahlia ‘Forncett’s Furnace’
We choose the Dahlia varieties that we grow very carefully. Time has taught us that all Dahlia cultivars do not share the same cold hardiness. What we’ve whittled down is a list of Dahlias that have never frozen away for us. This marvelous selection boasts large single firey orange flowers on tall waving stems. The intensity of the flower color is shocking and it make a great denouement to summer blooming well into autumn. To 5′ tall in the ground this robust perennial requires some protection as it first emerges to deter slugs/snails. Once its up and growing fast this is less of an issue. Full sun and rich, well drained soil with regular summer irrigation. Excellent and lurid cut flower. Excellent hardiness to cold- it is not necessary to dig and store the tuber so long as the soil is well drained. Mulch in autumn post first frost adds insurance. Moderately deer resistant.
Dahlia ‘Red Menace’
Our selection of a superior deep black leaved Dahlia. Finely divided leaves are symmetrical on towering stems to 4′ tall. In mid summer to fall a constant procession of vibrant red single flowers. They harmonize greatly with the leaf color. Full sun and enriched soil with regular summer water. Soil that does not become sodden and frozen in winter will yield the cold hardiest plants. Mulch in fall. Nice cut flower, arrangement material. Multiplies into large clumps in time. This selection has survived the coldest winters of the past 15 years. We’ve kind of let Jack frost do our selecting for us.
Xera Plants Introduction
Dahlia ‘Towering Blonde’
We promised this very tall dahlia that it didn’t have to play basketball. And she agreed to produce a constant supply of amber/blonde single flowers that we love. This is a very old variety for us. In the past 20 years we’ve let our original seed and cutting raised plants dwindle as they are taken out by horrible freezes. What we’ve found is that we lose Dahlias by variety which implies two things. One, Dahlia’s cold hardiness is different for every cultivar let alone species. And (two) we’ve let nature do the selecting for us. The varieties that are left are the very cold hardiest Dahlias, and we’ve been very impressed with their performance. Rich soil that is never boggy but is moisture retentive with regular summer irrigation. Full sun and this variety also sports dark foliage which is highlighted by the lighter colored flowers. To 5′ tall with long flower stems. Dahlias as best planted in a warm full sun position in our climate where the soil seldom freezes. A thick mulch in fall is added insurance. Our varieties have been reliably hardy down to 5ºF with no issues. If you live in a colder zone you can lift and store the tubers over the winter. Replant when all danger of frost has past. Mulch annually with compost.
Xera Plants Introduction
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.
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.