Vine Maple is perhaps our most beautiful native maple. Found from SW British Columbia to Northern California in the Shasta area. Its a pervasive understory tree throughout the western part of the state. It derives its name from its almost vine like habit in shade. This winding and sun seeking component leads to the most graceful natural forms. In full sun it is a compact, multi-trunked shrub. In autumn in both habitats it turns to shades of fiery orange and yellow and red. Vivid against the pure green trunks and stems. One of the most dramatic places you will see this shrub is at 4500′ on Belknap crater on McKenzie Pass where it lives among the lava. In early fall the brilliant colors of the maples contrasts wonderfully with the black lava. Its very hot and very dry but its also very high in elevation. The symmetrically serrated round leaves rival any Japanse maple. In shade established trees get by with little summer water. In the sun irrigation is welcome. Rich to average soil with regular applications of mulch. To 16′ tall in shade and again quite a bit shorter in full sun- very wide in shade. Avoid the reflected heat of south facing walls. This shrub/tree belongs on the north side or under substantial shade. Some deer resistance. Excellent underplanted with native ferns and Gaultheria. A common native that should be a more common ornamental. Tiny red flowers turn into sunny orange samaras by autumn and persist past the leaves. Avoid very dry shade of un-irrigated over hangs. This is a semi-mesic maple. Oregon native plant
This is the locally native form of our wild yarrow. A rambunctious, easy to grow evergreen perennial for rough sites in well drained soil in full sun. Continuously from spring to autumn ‘umbels’ of pure white flowers rise 18″ above low spreading aromatic, finely divided ferny foliage. Most often it is green with variants that have gray foliage from time to time. Low water perennial that can even be used as a lawn substitute. A single plant spreads to several feet wide. Moderate deer resistance. Butterflies oh the butterflies.This is a pioneer perennial and will often out compete less robust native perennials. Its best use is as a contained weed. It is great for pollinators Individual plants rarely persist more than 3 years. Oregon native plant.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cool hybrid between two California native maidenhair ferns that we love because its EVERGREEN! Finely divided soft green leaflets surprise as they sail through the toughest winter with little or no damage. A clumping variety that slowly increases over time in rich, moisture-retentive soil in part shade to shade. Adores moisture but can go much drier than most maidenhairs. To 10″ tall and as wide – then increasing. Lovely thing that works in woodlands to containers. Excellent naturally-occurring hybrid that deserves a place in our gardens. Moderate deer resistance.
Cool bicolored Hummingbird Mint that has masses of flowers that appear from orange buds which quickly change to luminous light lavender when open. To 20″ tall and forming a clump this very, very, long blooming perennial is delightful for hummingbirds, bees and butterflies. A soft pastel coloration that pairs wonderfully with light yellow flowers and even blue. Great in seasonal containers. Blooms non-stop from June to October. Do not remove flower spikes as new flowers will appear continuously from the same spike. Rich, WELL DRAINED soil with light, consistent summer water. Its best to water Agastaches consistently during their first year in the ground- to establish a large root system. Ideal on slopes- to assist in drainage in winter. Double dig soil to incorporate lots of oxygen in the soil. One of our favorite introductions. An amazing combination of flower colors on a single plant. Do not cut back until new growth has flushed out in spring and all threat of a hard freeze has passed.
Xera Plants Introduction
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
One of our all-time best introductions ‘Electric Punch’ is a floral powerhouse of a hummingbird mint with exceptional adaptation to our cold and wet winters. Rising to 34″ tall in bloom, a clump can become enormous in rich, WELL DRAINED soil with light, consistent summer water. Also, accepts no water but with interruptions in bloom. Incorporate plenty of oxygen into the soil and slopes are ideal. Do not remove flower spikes during the season- new orange aging to pink flowers appear from the same inflorescence. Best to wait until spring to cut back the previous seasons defunct stems. Moderate deer resistance.
Xera Plants Introduction.
This is our selection of an improved form of the species Agastache auranticus. It has deeper orange flowers on taller stems and exhibits excellent winter/cold/wet hardiness. To 30″ tall, the vivid blooms erupt from June to October. Tightly clump forming perennial whose tall wand-like stems require more horizontal room as well. Hummingbird Mint excels in very well-drained soils with consistent, light summer water. Full sun- you can fudge in light shade and still get results. Remove the previous seasons spent stems in March. Agastache are plants that like oxygen in the soil and they often seed themselves happily between large stones. They appreciate soil that is rich but permeable at all times. We advise to wait until March to remove the previous year’s stem. The hollow stems that remain over winter actually provide oxygen to the roots. If you cut them back too early (Fall, winter) you also leave the new growth at the base unprotected from the elements. So, the stems should remain to both give the plant oxygen and protect the next seasons clump of foliage. Double dig the soil heartily and add a little compost and even pumice if your soil is stingy. Water regularly for the first season to establish a large root system which will require less H20 in subsequent years. This is a vibrant orange that mixes well with deep purples and blues.
Xera Plants Introduction.
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.
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.
Tender <sigh> but perhaps the most spectacular variegated Agave. It makes a great container plant for LARGE containers. To 5′ x 5′, it grows a little slower in containers. Make sure it’s sturdy and well built too because this puppy has been known to grow so vigorously as to shatter its own home. Use well drained cactus mix and add a handful of all organic fertilizer. Move to a freeze free environment such as an unheated garage if temperatures threaten to drop below 20ºF. Otherwise move it to a dry place for winter- under a south facing eave is ideal. Move it back out in the open when rain dwindles. Light summer water will speed growth. Leaves on this form are blue on the edges with a dramatic pure white stripe down the center. Wow.
Spikes! A very upright and pokey Agave with steel blue/gray foliage that forms large rosettes. To 3′ across eventually this cold hardy Agave demands excellent drainage but is worth the effort. VERY well drained soil- amend with liberal amounts of pumice and gravel. Excellent on a slope. Plant with the rosette tilted to shed winter water. Makes new pups happily and they will often come up quite a distance from the parent plant. To 3′ tall when up and established. Great in containers that you protect from winter wet. Move to a covered place in fall- a south facing eave is sufficient. Cold hardy below 0ºF- when established. Best to plant in March or April so that it has the longest possible season to develop a tap root going into its first winter. Light summer water to none. High deer resistance.
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.
From the very far north end of this variable species range in Northern Arizona near—‘Flagstaff’. High elevation form that is found above 7000′ in the wild. Very cold hardy moderately large Agave. Full sun and very well drained soil. You must amend the soil with pumice and gravel to avoid wet accumulating around the crown in winter. This is made all the more easy by placing on a slope. The rosettes should be tilted to shed winter wet. Very stiff and sharply tipped steel blue leaves form a rosette that is at first upright then spreads out a little. Remove leaves from deciduous plants that collect in the rosette in autumn- they blow in from god knows where and leaving them can encourage rot. Excellent in containers. Move containerized plants under an eave or overhang to keep it dry in winter. No water required after initial establishment. Beautiful form of this cold hardy species. High deer resistance.
A really pretty pale blue Agave with sharp angular leaves in a remarkably symmetrical rosette with age. Cold hardy and it requires very well drained soil in a hot position. A south facing slope is ideal in soil that has been amended with liberal amounts of pumice and gravel. And you should tilt the rosette so that water does not collect in winter. This variety is a little slower than others. Aside from perfect drainage it requires a little bit of heat and patience. To 20″ tall by 30″ wide in time. Great container subject- make sure the container is sturdy and large enough to accommodate both a spreading primary rosette and prolific pups which crowd the base. In time it can form bold colonies. Move containerized plants to a dry location in winter. Remove deciduous tree leaves that collect in the rosette in autumn to stave off rot. SW U.S. High deer resistance.
New Mexico Agave is a spike wonder. Much more upright-growing than the species with sharp-tipped leaves that terminate in a blood red thorn. OW. Forms a very symmetrical plant with many leaves of steel blue. Full sun and VERY WELL-DRAINED soil. Excellent on hot slopes where it will tilt the rosette to avoid winter wet. Pups, heh, freely and you will soon have many rosettes. Amend the soil with pumice and gravel. Make sure there is plenty of air in the soil and no place where water could collect. Fantastic specimen plant for a dry garden/gravel garden. Water through the first summer to establish then none in subsequent years. Clean out the rosette when deciduous leaves collect in there- a shop vac works great. The leaves will cause rot when they decompose….so they must go. Great in containers- large, sturdy containers. Cold hardy. High deer resistance.
Consistently one of the most successful Agaves for gardens in our region. Soft gray rosettes have leaves with a distinct upright habit. At the tips of the wide leaves is a single (deadly) black thorn. Very nice. Full sun and very well drained soil with little to no summer water when established. This Agave requires soil that is never soggy- amend heavily with pumice and gravel to create air pockets. Plant this (and all) hardy Agaves in our climate on a tilt. The tilted rosette sheds rainwater and it keeps it much drier in winter. Ideally, this Agave should be sited on a hot, south facing slope. In autumn deciduous leaves from (everywhere) seem to blow into the rosette and collect. You must remove these immediately so that they do not rot the center of the plant. A shop vac works wonders…so do bar-B-Q tongs. Excellent in containers. Its best to plant hardy Agaves in early spring to early summer. They require a long season to develop a tap root which in turn ensures that they are cold hardy. No tap root and not so hardy. Hardy below 0ºF when dry. Highly deer resistant.
Yerba mansa is a water loving perennial herb that is native in south central Oregon south into California. It comes into our state from the south in Klamath County. There it is found in vernally wet to permanently wet sites. The only member of its genus this plant with large round leathery leaves organized in basal rosettes roams by long runners to colonize large areas. The cheerful flowers appear from late spring into early summer. Excellent perennial for bios wales as it handles inundation and even limited drought. To 5″ tall in the foliage with spikes displaying true flowers on a tall cone surrounded by pure white lower bracts to 14″ tall. This plant performs very well in rich soil with regular summer H20 as well. It has been used as a medicinal herb by both indigenous groups and early settlers. Winter deciduous and cold hardy. Great for sunny stream banks, vernally wet sites, and even containers. Oregon native plant.
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.
Stunning columbine native to the American SW that we cherish for its huge flowers trailed by improbably long tails held against blue foliage. Easy to grow late spring bloomer that thrives in many soil types in part shade to full sun with regular summer irrigation. To 14″ tall and becoming a long lived perennial. Winter deciduous. Mix with gold foliaged plants for- a flower color echo. Lovely flower form that hummingbirds and butterflies find delectable. Easy to grow. High deer resistance. Soaring wonderful, whimsical flowers.
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, 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.
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.
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.
Excellent garden-tolerant smaller Manzanita. New growth is blushed pink as are the winter flowers. Settling to soft gray, this dense rounded plant achieves about 3′ x 3′ in 7 years. The bark becomes reddish and shaggy with age. Full sun and very well drained soil with no supplemental water once established. Gray foliage is organized symmetrically around the thick stems. This is a good scale for smaller gardens and a handsome shrub at all times. Provide good air circulation in an uncrowded environment.Found, selected and named by Bart O’Brien. This has been a fantastic shrub in our climate and we’re proud to offer it. Long lived.
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.
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.
Our very, very favorite Manzanita and one of the very rare ones in the wild. Occurs on two ridges in northern California- Horse Mountain was one of them and Greg’s dad just happened to have a cabin there. Not an easy Manzanita to cultivate. Low, dense, spreading, very gray shrub to 3′ x 5′ wide in time. The bark is a great glossy mahogany and the winter/spring flowers are white tinted pink. Russet berries are quickly consumed by wild life. Spectacular shrub for full sun, average to poor, well-drained soil and absolutely no summer water. Loathes the combination of water and heat. Neglect is its friend and you will reap great rewards with this beautiful shrub by strictly ignoring it once it is established. Ultra cold hardy- hailing from over 4500′ in elevation and recommended for cold gardens. This species is native to southern Oregon, and though not technically native to Oregon this is our favorite form of this species. Not the easiest to propagate so quantities are often limited. Absolutely NO summer water. Ever. Forms rounded balls of soft silver. Dynamic on slopes. Easily prone to death from soil pathogens if watered in summer. Absolute neglect.
This form of our native Hairy Manzanita was found quite far east of the Cascade crest and offers greater hardiness to cold. Unfortunately, it has the same characteristics of the species- it is unpredictable. To 4′ x 7′ with sage gray leaves and white to pink-tinted flowers in spring. Very well-drained soils in an open position with NO summer water when established. Dramatic smooth mahogany bark is an outstanding feature. This is the variety that is best suited to life in the Columbia River Gorge and possibly eastern Oregon in sheltered sites. It should easily tolerate -15ºF. Best with total neglect and full sun. Russet berries follow the flowers into summer and autumn- always consumed by wildlife. Very limited quantities. Oregon native plant.
Xera Plants Introduction
Our native Hairy Manzanita is one of the most widespread species in the PNW. Unfortunately, its not the most reliable and can be kind of hard to grow. It will grow happily for years and then suddenly decline. No explanation.This can be avoided by strictly avoiding all irrigation once established. 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. Also, courtesy of a study by OSU on ornamental Arctostaphylos for the Willamette Valley we have combined that information with our own 20 years of growing this genus with what are easier to grow Manzanitas. I would confine this native form to wild areas and remediation. Oregon native plant.
Xera Plants Introduction.
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.
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 white 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.
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.
At the North Willamette Experimental Station in Wilsonville where OSU conducted a trial of scores of Arctostaphylos species and cultivars this special ground cover Manzanita has been consistently one of the best performers. Deep green pointed leaves are held perpendicular to the sun on cinnamon red stems. In time it forms glossy red bark that is very showy. Low and dense growing to 2′ tall and 6′ wide. Excellent bank cover or ground cover in any soil that is not amended or boggy. Profuse white flowers in spring. First rate weed suppressing plant for hellstrips, rock gardens, dry borders. Excellent appearance year round. No summer water. Take advantage of its low dense growth to cover and suppress weeds. Wonderful plant for baking hot locations. Very easy to grow.
A tree type manzanita that has been a stellar performer in our gardens. Rapid growth to 10′ x 10′ in 8 years. Broad, rounded sage gray-green foliage is held perpendicular to the cinnamon red stems to avoid moisture loss (no flat leaves baking in the sun). In winter to early spring, clusters of white flowers are effective and visited heavily by pollinators. Russet red berries follow but do not last long because of animal predation. Open habit with time that exposes the muscular, smooth mahogany trunks. (Its thought the bark exfoliates to deter moss and lichen growth). This is a very hardy drought adapted west coast native shrub to small tree for average, well drained soils and NO summer irrigation. Full sun and room to spread. Avoid rich, amended soils- leaner conditions produce a much hardier and longer-lived plant. Very similar in scale to ‘Austin Griffiths’ but leaves are grayer and flowers are distinctly white. Great garden performance. Good air circulation.
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.
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 seminal 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.
Always at the top of the list of Arcto Afficianados this is not often seen in gardens. An excellent winter blooming Manzanita has been a fantastic performer in PNW gardens. 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
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.
Surprisingly happy in our climate in its native Monterey Bay area of California its known colloquially as Dune manzanita. Very gray blue leaves are not huge and hug the stems tightly on a compact moderately growing Manzanita. To 5′ tall and wider over time. In mid winter to early spring white flowers tinted pink appear in clusters at the tips of the plant. The trunk becomes deep mahogany brown over time and contrasts greatly with the light colored foliage. All around fantastic shrub for full sun and average, unimproved soils with little irrigation once established. Not as fast growing as other Manzanitas, usually less than 5″ per year.Very pretty plant that mixes wonderfully in droughty shrub borders, and even as a foundation shrub. Makes a nice life in a containers for years. Long lived. Probably harbors some deer resistance. Extraordinarily drought adapted. Native to a restricted range on the central California coast. Great performance on the Oregon coast.
Immensely handsome dense rounded Manzanita that has smaller than average silver foliage and fantastic bark. Moderately fast growing shrub to 4′ tall x 5′ wide in 8 years. In late winter each branch tip is bedecked in clusters of small white flowers- they are born in profusion and expand from pink buds. Russet colored berries often follow and are consumed by wildlife. The black/mahogany glossy bark is beyond striking with the silver foliage. It splits, rolls up into ribbons, and exfoliates in late summer. In time it may be pruned to reveal trunks–for most of its youth they are hidden by dense almost formal looking foliage. Adaptable to many soils including clay soils- especially on slopes. Excellent long term landscape plant that looks great year round. Very good cold hardiness enduring 0ºF with no problem. Dig a hole 3x as big as the rootball in the pot to loosen the soil and allow the new roots to penetrate virgin soil. Water regularly through the first summer- then little to none in subsequent years. Combine with green leaved Arctos for great foliage contrast. Perfect on slopes, areas with intense reflected heat such as parking lot planter islands. Great urban shrub. Appreciates good air circulation.
This little known species of Manzanita from the central California coast 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 white urn shaped flowers- seems not to form berries as frequently in our climate. 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.
Ghostly white foliage is almost too pale to believed and ‘Ghostly’ is an apt name. A moderate growing Manzanita to 8’ tall and 4’ wide in 5 years. Fast growing in our climate. Do not be afraid to cut back lanky new growth for a more upright and sturdier plant. Prune in July. In late winter and early spring clusters of white urn shaped flowers appear at the branch tips and delight hummingbirds. There is no more silver/white foliaged Manzania that we have seen. Truly spectacular in well drained soil with good air circulation and little summer water once established. From a species native to the Santa Cruz Mtns. in California and surprisingly cold hardy.
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.
This is a mysterious Manzanita and one of the finest. We’ve driven by it for years on the highway to N. California and for years it captured our attention. A smaller rounded shrub of metallic silver gray with white flowers. So far it does not key out to any specific species so we’re pretty sure its a naturally occurring hybrid. And the silver gray foliage could be a result of a little bit of A. canescens. But the area where it lives has about 8 species and god knows how many hybrids in close vicinity. Either way its a stellar garden Manzanita with pointed metallic silver foliage and clusters of showy white flowers in winter/spring. The bark is a wonderful contrasting smooth deep mahogany- a great foil to the foliage. To 4′ x 4′ in 8 years. Moderately slow growing for an Arctostaphylos. In habitat it perches on a nearly vertical cliff of basalt. So, its adaptable. Not prone to black spot and it hails from an area with a naturally high rainfall. Avoid all supplemental water when established. It literally thrives on neglect. Silver foliage shines year round. Limited quantities. A Xera Plants favorite. Oregon native plant.
Xera Plants Introduction
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Beinvenidos, Panchito!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Oregon native plant.
Xera Plants Introduction.
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. Oregon native plant.
Native 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. To 22″ tall and making a clump in time. Mix with fine textured ornamental grasses, tall spiky perennials. Light summer water. 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. Nice cutflower. Important food source for Fendler’s Blue Butterfly which is very endangered and locally indigenous. Winter deciduous. Oregon native plant.
This widespread species is native to the floor of the Willamette Valley and is locally common in the Columbia Gorge. and occupies dry rocky hillsides in full sun but tolerates heavy clay soil. In the best conditions (loam) it is huge spreading perennial that requires pre-planning and some real estate. Gray green stalks and leaves rise up to about 4’tall and bear deliciously fragrant pink orbicular flowers. These are irresistible to butterflies, including Monarchs, and if you want one to visit your garden this plant is good insurance. However, all butterflies find it irresistible. Spreads underground vigorously by stolons and can come up quite a way from the initial clump. Full sun and well drained soil. Completely winter deciduous and emerges relatively late in spring. Be patient. Oregon native plant.
The so called Chocolate Daisy of the great plains we love for the sweet chocolate scented yellow daisy flowers in summer. Forms a rosette of humble green leaves and then repeatedly in summer it sends up the wonderfully scented flowers on long stems to 1′ high. Full sun and well drained soil of average to rich fertility. Regular summer water encourages more bloom but it takes dry conditions when established. Rock gardens, gravel gardens, borders, containers. To 18″ wide when happy. Full all day sun. Lifespan: 3-5 years in our experience in Oregon. The yellow petals surround a soft green center- makes a nice scented cut flower.
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.
Mosquito Grass or Gramma Grass is a widespread native of the interior west. Slowly spreading to form substantial clumps of fine light green/gray leaves. To 18″ tall the funny flowers born at the tips of the fine stems feature a horizontal inflorescence- to me it resembles a little blond mustache. Blooms appear in midsummer and are attractive well into fall. Full, hot sun and rich to average well drained sites. Mass for a fine textured effect of a blowsy low meadow. In autumn as it enters dormancy it retains a dried to cere presence deep through winter. It may be cut back hard in spring. Light summer water though extremely drought tolerant when established. Oregon native plant.
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.
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.
This one of our NATIVE beach grasses that is found just about everywhere adjacent to the ocean the entire length of the coast. It does duty in Sitka spruce forest as an epiphyte and even a forest floor component. It drapes itself over headlands and is supremely adapted to life in pure sand. This is a rambunctious grass under cultivation. Its best job is erosion control on steep slopes as well as a weed suppressing transition zone to wild areas. Fairly wide, coarse, mid green foliage is evergreen and nearly the same looking year round. In spring, long lasting tan flowers rise up on strongly vertical stems. To 30″ tall- though most often it is laying on its side in a windblown repose. And spreading indefinitely. Spreads by short stolons. Very drought adapted when established. And an important grass for remediation. This grass can be sent to compete with such invasives as Ranunculus and Arum and it will prevail. Not a bad container grass for a very beachy feel. Light deer resistance. Oregon native plant
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. 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 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. And remember Sedges have edges, rushes are round and grasses like asses have holes. HEH. Oregon native plant.
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.
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.
A wonderful selection of Bush Anemone that was chosen because it produces more flowers (though they are a tad smaller than the species) born in multiple sprays. And this form is slightly more compact as well. An evergreen shrub with lanceolate leaves w/ a rolled margin (revolute). The deep green leaves are attached to tan stems and trunks that with age exfoliate to a glossy metallic sheen. To 6′ tall by 4′ wide in 5 years. Full hot sun to very light open shade in average, well drained soil. For clay soils its best planted on a slope. Water to establish then none after the first summer- in fact this extremely drought adapted shrub prefers to go with out water. Provide good air circulation. Adaptable to the hottest sites, including western and southern exposures. Moderate deer resistance- they will try young plants so protect them. Long lived, climate, adapted shrub. Cold hardy to about 0ºF. The white flowers that occur in May/June are sweetly fragrant. Prune, if needed AFTER flowering.
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.
below photo credit: Jane Finch-Howell
One of the cold hardiest blue flowered cultivars and one of the earliest to bloom as well. An open spreading shrub with prickily deep green leaves. In March/April the whole shrub is obscured in violet blue clouds of flowers. Upon first viewing in bloom most people are shocked at how showy this evergreen shrub is. To 7′ x 5′ in five years in any well drained soil with little to no summer water. Very adaptable to clay soils, especially on slopes- as with all Ceanothus avoid boggy sites. One of the toughest cultivars that also takes very well to pruning which should be done after blooming to increase density if needed. Blooms on wood from the previous year and the button shaped flower clusters are so profuse that they obscure the foliage. Tolerates blasting reflected heat and is great in hot urban situations. Makes a wonderful informal hedge for wild areas but is just as at home clipped into urban scenes. Full sun. Moderately deer resistant- unusual for a Ceanothus. Cold hardy to 0ºF. The cultivar name might obliquely refer to the flower color but its an apt comparison to this tough , tough, shrub as well. No summer water. See clipped hedge below.
A UK selection of our own west coast native wild lilac. And they did a good job. Large mounding evergreen shrub that puts on a spectacular display of deep blue flowers for nearly all of April into May. Fast growing to 5′ x 7′ very quickly in average well drained soil. Little to NO summer water. This cultivar has HUGE trusses of scintillating blue flowers. The largest of any Ceanothus that we grow- the reason why it is such a brilliant plant in bloom. Loved by pollinators of all kinds and especially tempting to large black and yellow bumble bees. Prune after blooming if you need to re-size the plant. Good cold hardiness. Best in a hot aspect. Good job to our friends in the UK.
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.
For cold gardens this is an excellent cultivar and its a version of a species native to the Willamette Valley south into California. Small green wedge shaped evergreen leaves on an arching, somewhat angular shrub. In April and May clouds of soft violet blue flowers swarm the whole shrub. Beautiful. To 7′ x 7′ very quickly in poor to average well drained sites. No summer water once established. Handsome at all times. Excellently adapted to rough urban life where compacted soils, reflected heat and little water is present in summer- thrives in all those conditions. Full sun. Easy. Surveys by the California Chaparral Institute report that this is the most common component shrub of that community in both California and Oregon. Fixes nitrogen with its roots and is common following disturbance. Classic west coast shrub. Excellent accompanied by native bulbs and annuals. Beautiful with Pacific Coast Iris. Oregon native plant.
This is a Willamette Valley native form of Buckbrush found in the SW part of the Valley. This species is found historically from the Portland/Oregon City area in the Willamette Valley and throughout the southern half of the state well into California. It has lost large areas of its northernmost natural range to development and fire suppression. It is a fire adapted species that requires disturbance to distribute. Thats a pity because this is a fantastic native shrub for hot dry sites. It is now employed by ODOT for freeway plantings and we are happy to see that. A large, angular evergreen shrub with small deep green paddle shaped leaves. In April the whole shrub is swarmed with pure white flowers.This is a beacon to all pollinators and the sweetly fragrant flowers will literally be buzzing in bloom. Fast growing incredibly tough shrub for areas of intense drought and reflected heat. To 8′ x 8′ very quickly in any soil that does not become boggy. Excellent performance in tough urban situations. Irresistible to bees and butterflies. Associated plants in the wild are Rubus ursinus, Dodecatheon hendersonii. ,Extremely cold hardy to below 0ºF. No summer water. Moderate deer resistance. Oregon native plant.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
Western Redbud is a wonderful showy spring blooming tree that gets by on no summer water. Native to California also Utah, Arizona this is primarily a large shrub in the wild. We have found in our climate with a longer rainy season it forms a small tree. In April this entire tree comes to life smothered in tiny but profuse magenta pink pea flowers. They line all the stems and even appear on the trunk. After three weeks of glory the handsome new leaves appear. Round and blue green they have a slight rubbery texture. To 14′-18′ tall and forming a spreading crown. Fall color is orange to yellow but not reliable. Large purple colored seed pods are showy and persist after the leaves have gone. Moderately fast growing (2′-3′) per year when happy. Full sun and well drained soil of average fertility. Water through the first summer to establish then no summer water in subsequent years. Thrives in our climate.
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.
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.
Western Thistle or Ghost Thistle is native to the mountainous regions of southern Oregon into California. Its frequently seen lining road cuts in recently disturbed very well drained soils. To 3′ tall and all white and cobwebby it produces deep magenta flowers on large candelabra type structures. Flowers appear in June and remain until August. Loved by pollinators as well as birds. Leave the structure to over winter and go to seed and you’ll get even more birds. Forms a rosette the first year and blooms the second. No summer water once established. Loves sharp drainage in average to slightly enriched soils. If you have clay amend the soil with pumice or plant on a steep slope. Avoid competition from other plants. Not a weed. Oregon native plant.
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.
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.
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 cere 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.
Native annuals often get over looked in our gardens. They occupied vast stretches of the Willamette Valley and civilization has caused those displays to suffer. In our gardens they are precious reminders that we should include every category of native plant. Giant Blue Eyed Mary is one of our most delicate looking and stunning in floral detail, It makes a hazy cloud of beautiful blue and white small snapdragon flowers from late April to Mid June. A true annual that dies once the floral display is done. But leave the skeletons of the plant for several weeks longer to form and shed seeds for next years display. This 20″ tall grassy plant occupies open sunny sites as well as the margins of forests. In our gardens it appreciates open slightly disturbed soil. Seedlings germinate in autumn and over winter as small plants. They will heavily occupy an area about the size of a 9″ pie. Excellent plant to succeed mid and late spring bulbs. Water lightly after planting and to establish then none required. Native to the Portland city limits as well. Fantastic displays of this plant can be seen at Camassia in West Linn all through late spring. This is a very reliable re-seeder if you give it some open ground and check for slugs. Seedlings germinate quickly following the first rains and are incredibly cold hardy and drought tolerant. Don’t worry, they are from here, they know what to do. Attracts a wide variety of native pollinators including a wealth of smaller hover flies. Oregon native plant.
Wild Phlox is a native hardy annual that occurs from the prairies of the Willamette Valley to the sage brush country east of the Cascades. Clusters of flowers open sherbet orange and then fade to white with conspicuous blue pollen for a multi colored effect. Adaptable plant that will occupy any open disturbed site. Reseeds prolifically. To 2′ tall. Cute cut flower. Nice native to let wander your garden. Low water. Locally native in the city of Portland and to our nursery site in Sherwood. A charming plant that should be given average conditions and not pampered- otherwise it will contract powdery mildew which is harmless but kind of ugly. The unique, nearly indescribable color of this flower certainly is not. Oregon native plant.
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.
Remarkable form of the hardy Arizona Cypress. This variety has foliage frosted in chartreuse/cream with interior foliage closer to sea green. A great affect. To 15′ tall but only 4′ wide this is a decidedly fastigiate form of this species. Fast growing tree for screens, specimen. Poor to average soil- avoid rich soil- this causes Cypress to grow to fat and fast in our climate- they get rank and rocky. So plant in average to poor soil with light irrigation until you see appreciable new growth and then none- ever. This produces a more measured growth rate and a sturdier plant. Full sun- from ALL directions- no shade at all. Open exposed sites are best. Very pretty plant that adores our climate. Cold hardy below 0ºF. Rare tree and quantities are limited. Completely drought tolerant.
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.
Love this small growing Cholla that has the most amazing luminescent white spines. Densely branching low plant to 2′ tall by 3′ wide in time. Not terribly fast growing. Fast draining soils that have been amended heavily with gravel and pumice and ideally on a slope will make this a focal point in the dry garden. Light summer water will speed growth. Extremely cold hardy and not terribly fussy. Give it an open position with sun all day long. Wonderful in rock gardens. Flowers we have not seen but we assume with this species that they will be pink/purple in summer. Highly deer resistant. Great container plant. Move to a dry position in winter just for extra protection from wet.
Great Hounds Tongue or Giant Pacific Forget-me-Not is one of our most remarkable native perennials. On the property where I grew up near Eugene it was native. There was a clump of this majestic perennial that was there for nearly my whole life. Unfortunately, we sold the property but this plant was still there last I checked. In the Willamette Valley and out into the Columbia Gorge you see these enormous blue flowers on a sturdy spikes in the dry areas under oaks. Often seen with Wyethia -Mules ears. Large fleshy leaves form a substantial clump. In early to mid spring 2′ spikes reveal outrageously large versions of Forget-me-nots. Established plants will then go dormant with summer drought. Adapted to xeric clay soils that dry in summer. Not only does it not require it established plants can resent it and rot. Place in a wild, unwatered part of your garden. Amend the soil lightly with compost and water in well. Pairs well, of course with other native perennials such as Sidalceas. In the wild it is accompanied by Erythronium oreganum , Lathyrus nevadensis, Fritillaria lanceolata, Dodecatheon hendersonii, and Ranunculus occidentals. That is what grew with our patch, under white and black native oaks, with a madrone here and there. Impressive native perennial whose intense blue flowers are hard to convey in a photograph. Oregon native plant.
Sotol or Desert spoon is an excellent Yucca relative that does amazingly well in our climate given the correct conditions. Native to the northern Chihuahuan Desert of northern Mexico into Arizona and stretching to the east through New Mexico into Texas is where you will find this handsome desert dweller. Rosettes of serrated blue green leaves radiate out in a circular orb. The ends of each leaf become frizzy and add an overall hazy texture to the plant. In time, when happy 9′ spikes erupt from the center and display columns of small white flowers. Very well drained soil in a full, hot position. Excellent on hot, south facing slopes but perfectly at home in the dry gravel garden. Foliage to 3′ x 3′ slowly. Evergreen. Light summer water to establish then none in subsequent years. Great in containers. High deer resistance.
LOCO WEED. We discovered this native SW perennial growing very high up east of the cost of the Sierra at above 6500′. Damn it gets chilly up there. Herbaceous perennial that emerges with large, bold, silver-blue leaves. Sprawling to several feet wide in a full, hot position with exceptional drainage. All summer huge white goblet like flowers unfurl from curiously colored gray buds. You can literally watch the flowers open in the evening. They glow in the moon light and emit a soft fragrance. By 2:00 the following day the flower has withered. <sad face> but more are in the wings. Begins blooming in late June and repeats to frost. Completely deciduous (gone) in winter. Good drainage in a hot position- where the soil warms early. Spectacular. Toxic- but what garden plants are not? High deer resistance.
Xera Plants Introduction.
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.
Giant Larkspur or Cow Poison, I prefer the first common name for this stunning large growing native Delphinium. In vernally wet sites to moist upland sites it forms large spectacular colonies. In late spring and early summer stems that soar to nearly 4′ tall are loosely decorated with marine blue flowers with a lighter central bee. In habitat its common associates are Oregon Ash (Fraxinus latifolius) and Oregon white oak (Quercus garryana) where it can be found in the shade of these deciduous trees. The one variable with this Delphinium is that it is found in cool places- never hot and dry. These shadowy environs can make this plant hard to spot even in full bloom. Often they will be in standing water during the winter months and they are adapted to very heavy wet clay soils. In cultivation the need for moist conditions continues and it does appreciate at least an application of all organic fertilizer and compost at planting time. Keep it well watered through its bloom cycle, then it can go drier but never dust dry- in time it can handle much less irrigation. An annual mulch is beneficial. Wonderful, bold cut flower , but its loved by pollinators as well ( what is it about blue flowers? ). Forms spreading colonies in time. Give it room to stretch out. Its often found with our native Cow Parsnip (Hieracleum maximum) and great Camas ( Camassia leichtlinii) in habitat. This could easily be replicated in a garden. Native to the Willamette Valley into the Columbia River Gorge. Once widespread in the Willamette Valley its territory has shrunk precipitously. Long lived perennial. Very good deer resistance. Extremely showy in bloom. Oregon native plant.
Tufted Fairy Grass is an Oregon native that forms bright green fine clumps but is in its glory in bloom when tall vertical stems display hazy tan flowers at the tips. Easy to grow grass that improves under cultivation. Native to semi-shady to sunny aspects in rich soil that drains but also retains moisture. Adaptable to wet sites that dry in summer. To 10″ x 1′ as a clump of foliage but rises to 3′ tall in bloom. Very wild looking grass that can be massed for a hazy meadow effect, or placed in straight lines a modern aesthetic that combines a wild plant with spaced symmetry. Excellent among shrubs and with other wild looking meadow perennials. Winter deciduous. Cut back dead growth in spring. Relatively long lived. Native in the Portland city limits. Graceful. Winter deciduous. A pan global plant- this is our local form. Click on the link for a video of the dried seed heads. Oregon native plant.
Dutch Man’s Breetches. One of the first wildflowers that I learned mostly because of the funny common name. Native to selected spots in Oregon- in the Columbia River Gorge as well as along parts of the Clackamas River. Adorable little thing closely related to bleeding hearts. Ferny blue foliage emerges in early spring and is followed by a precious display of two spurred upside down white flowers. Each patch holds many. By the time hot weather has arrived this true spring ephemeral has disappeared completely- a good rest during the summer drought. Part shade to high overhead shade in a protected location in rich, moisture retentive soil. Occasional summer water is good- even though it is dormant. Mix with other spring delights like Erythronium (Dog tooth violets) and mid spring small bulbs like Scilla or Chionodoxa. Moderate deer resistance. Oregon native plant.
Excellent form of our native bleeding heart that is an incredibly long blooming perennial for gardens. Remarkable blue foliage is beautiful if it never produced 1′ spikes of clear white pendant flowers. Blooms begin in spring and with regular summer water in rich soil continue throughout summer. Shade to full sun (with regular water). Forms widely spreading colonies. Give it room to spread. This tough, adaptable plant handles any soil situation from perpetually moist to quite dry. Resistant to pests- that includes slugs and snails as well as deer. (They will briefly browse it before ditching it for better things- it recovers quickly). Completely winter deciduous. Oregon native plant.
OOKOW. The common name for this wonderful native bulb. A naked lily closely related to Brodiaea. Also, referred to as cluster lily though that isn’t even remotely as fun to say as OOKOW. Stems to 22″ tall support 6 to 15 showy purple flowers clustered at the stem tip. Dry sunny hillsides in clay soils to meadows throughout western Oregon. Its native range goes a bit to the north into Washington and south to California but its primary populations are in our state. This happy bulb spreads to form colonies in time. It will also spread by seed. An integral part of Willamette Valley meadows. Excellent cut flower that lasts a week in a vase. Water to establish when planting from containers. In subsequent years it will rely only on what falls from the sky. in habitat it can be found with native clumping grasses such as Koeleria and Festuca roemeri var. roemeri. Sisyrinchium idahoense is a frequent associate. The flowers nod slightly at the end of the stems. Smalll grassy foliage appears in early spring and disappears cleanly following bloom. Adapted to heavy clay soils that are wet for 6 months of the year that dries in summer. Full sun. Loved by Hummingbirds and butterflies. Oregon native plant.
This bulb is native from southern Lane County in west central Oregon south into California. Its an easy to grow showy bulb that performs very well in gardens. It should be grown more often. I first saw this plant in the wild near Elkton, Oregon. I was driving by not very slowly and I saw a flash of red in front of a fence. i went back to investigate and found this plant in full bloom. In its habitat it occupies dry sunny slopes that face south. Soil is loam to clay but all of them dry completely in summer. Blooms mid- to late spring for an extended length of time for a bulb. A handful of scrappy leaves forms a rosette . And the blooms extend to about 18″ tall. They are not always straight and can wind, vinelike around and through other plants. The red buds reflex when open to reveal a yellow interior. I’ve had many hummingbirds visit mine. Let it go completely dry in summer- in fact it excels in wild environments and competes very well with weeds. Leaves disappear quickly after bloom. Increases over time. Deer resistant. Oregon native plant.
Slender Monkey Flower is the inland version of the coastal varieties. AKA Azalea flowered Monkey Flower this subshrub blooms continuously through the season with soft apricot colored tubular flower. Blooms May-August- sometimes later. Average to enriched, very well drained soil- excellent on slopes and rock gardens. To 30″ x 30″ when really happy. Loved by hummers and west coast pollinators in general. This species ranges from the coast to the Sierra Nevada in CA- this form is from colder inland areas and is easier to overwinter in our climate. Forms a semi-woody sub-shrub. Cut back the plant hard after all danger of frost has passed. Not palatable to deer. wonderful long blooming plant for low water to no water landscapes. Light summer water increasing blooming but is far from necessary. Many of the apricot flowers are pictoteed in white for an almost florist quality. Thrives in the wild following fires, disturbance. Butterfly food. West coast native- California.
Henderson’s shooting star or more appropriately foothill shooting star. Thats where you see them in meadows and glens usually underneath or near Oregon white oaks. Common composition of the flora seen with this plant are giant baby blue eyes Nemophila m. ‘atomaria’., Ranunculus occidentalis – western buttercup as well as Lithophragma- Prairie Stars. Rubbery near round leaves emerge in mid winter and persist as rosettes for months until real heat pushes them into sleep. The charming flowers rise up to 14″ on tall straight stems. The nodding flowers gives away its familial association with Cyclamen and Primrose and reflexed magenta purple petals shoot straight up. The interior of the flower is a spike decorated like a single cake with a red brick a brack design if you look closely. Great cut flower and where ever you throw the spent flowers they will still ripen and set seed and quickly a new patch will be created. Full sun to part shade in clay soils that dry in summer. No water once established. They quickly go dormant and disappear to escape summer heat and dry. Relatively easy native wildflower to grow. Deer resistant. Native from northern California north to SW British Columbia. Found throughout the western half of the state. This wildflower made extensive colonies around my childhood home near Eugene. It always bloomed around my birthday and over the years I built up huge colonies. It was so charming with Erythronium oreganum- Oregon fawn lily- they grew side by side. In our ‘backyard’ there were huge colonies of native Dodecatheon. I would pick bouquets of them from the backyard and when the flowers were spent I would chuck them off the front deck into the woods. Over time I realized they were still setting viable seed as we had a huge population in the front in a few years, . Blooms late March to early May. Oregon native plant.
We love this seed strain of Echinacea the least of which is that they seem to establish and over winter in a superior way. Multiple colors in these hybrids from reds to orange and yellow. large up facing flowers with a central fragrant yellow cone. Clump forming perennial for rich soil that is very well drained with consistent light irrigation in summer. Blooms naturally appear fro July to September- and occasionally longer. Remove spent flowers and more will likely appear. Great pollinator plant. Awesome cut flower. Over winters better if there is plenty of oxygen incorporated in the soil. Mulch annually with compost. Full sun to light shade. Excellent in our region on slopes.
If shocking vermillion, red, and orange are a bit too vibrant for you enter this softly hued selection. Soft pink tubular flowers appear constantly from early August to October. Low spreading perennial to 8″ tall by 2′ wide in a short time. The very light green foliage is clad in soft hairs giving the whole plant a soft mien. Full sun and rich to average well drained soil is ideal. Slopes, rock gardens, walls, hellstrips all are appropriate for this low water plant. Water diligently to establish but never boggy. In subsequent years only light water on occasion is required. Spreads laterally underground by stolons. Long lived perennial if sited and somewhat cared for. Completely winter deciduous- cut away the previous years dead growth in February. Somewhat deer resistant. Mix with other late blooming perennial. Wonderful combined with Cuphea hirtella and the soft yellow flowers of Erodium chrysanthemum. West coast native plant that calls to hummingbirds far and wide. Takes blasting hot conditions in stride.
Possibly our second most popular California Fuchsia cultivar as it is more upright but also a free and early bloomer. To 20″ tall the fine green leaves that line the stems make the brilliant orange tubular flowers stand out. Blooms early August to October and spreading underground by stolons to form expanding colonies. To several feet wide- give it room. Ideal in full sun, well drained soil- or on a slope which will further assist in drainage. Brilliant flowers are a beacon to Hummingbirds. Completely drought adapted and requires little if any summer water. Long blooming western native perennial.
Cool late blooming California Fuchsia with silver foliage a great foil for the soft coral and prolific September/October flowers. Spreading to 2′ wide and 1′ tall in bloom it prefers very well drained rich soil with little summer water. Full sun including hot aspects for the best results. Winter deciduous. A great flower color for the genus and pairs sweetly with autumn Salvias, such as ‘Playa Rosa’ and ‘Flower Child’. Drought adapted and cold hardy.
No other California Fuchsia has foliage that even approaches being as ashy white as this cultivar. Its as if the foliage is covered in dense white powder. The 1″ long hot orange/red flowers absolutely shine against this ghostly backdrop. Vigorous perennial for well drained sites and just light summer water. Full sun. To 20″ tall in bloom which starts in early August and continues into October. Hummingbirds dive down for this vivid sweet treat. Expanding to a clump 2′ wide in just a few years. Dies completely away in winter…only the stoloniferous roots remain to regenerate this sexy perennial in spring. Moderate deer resistance.
A beautiful color form of California Fuchsia with kind of a creepy name. No idea who named it. But this is a very long blooming, low, spreading perennial with downy gray green foliage and a constant procession of tubular peach/pink flowers. Loved by low flying hummer’s this plant is ideal for hot, locations in soil that never becomes boggy. To 6″ tall x 2′ wide and forming substantial patches in full sun. Excellent performance in hell strips. Most Epilobiums (Zauschneria) in our climate are drought tolerant but they perform better and are showier in bloom with light, occasional summer water. Water during the driest times of the year about once every two weeks. Blooms begin in late July and are resplendent well into autumn. Great long term performance in large containers, planters. Winter deciduous. Remove frost damaged tops when frost kills them. Best to match the vigor of this perennial with vigorous neighbors. It can swamp shy plants. Excellent in rock walls, at the top of walls. Combine with Sedum palmeri, Helichrysum thianshanicum, Chocolate cosmos for a community of perennials with identical requirements. Winter deciduous. Spreads laterally by underground stolons. Give Woody some room.
California Fuchsias are known for their striking hot orange flowers. This variety takes it even further with profuse flowers that range to vermillion red. To 1′ tall and 3′ wide in rich, well drained soil with little summer moisture. Full sun. This spreading gray leaved perennial begins blooming in August and extends to October. Excellent perennial for dry hillsides, large rock gardens. Combines well with Arctostaphylos and other low water plants. Loved by hummingbirds. Completely deciduous in winter. Give it room to spread.
Our most popular hummingbird fuchsia because of its low habit, dense silvery foliage and early and extended bloom period. To just 6″ tall and spreading to form a patch 2′ wide quickly. Well drained rich soil with little summer irrigation once established. Hot vermillion orange tubular flowers are born continuously and en masse from July to October. Completely drought adapted when established. Great on slopes. Light summer water to establish. Winter deciduous. Loved by Hummingbirds. This species is native to the northern California and SW Oregon redwood region.
Such a long, long, blooming tough and dependable native this forgiving perennial outshines all other cultivars in the size of each flower. The many rows of glowing lavender petals that characterize this fabulous perennial outline nearly 2″ wide flowers. They begin in earnest in late May and proceed unabated until early autumn. If the flowers become tired or scorched simply cut it back and wham! You’re quickly back in business. Adaptable to many soil types and will subsist on only natural rainfall but occasional deep soaks in summer reaps rewards. To 10″ tall forming a round perennial to 18″ wide. Full sun, to very light shade. Pollinator masterpiece. Oregon native plant.
Beach Flea Bane or more popularly Oregon Beach Daisy is a phenomenal native perennial for our climate. Low and spreading a continuous supply of periwinkle/violet daisies with a yellow center appear from late spring to autumn and occasionally in winter. To just 8″ tall it forms 2′ wide spreading clumps. Simple spoon shaped green leaves. In its native environs which is the cliffs immediately adjacent to the beach it can cling precariously which shows it has sturdy roots. Full sun to light shade and regular irrigation or absolutely none when established. This floriferous and larger flowering selection is from the southern oregon coast. Excellent performance in hells strips..at the front of borders. This excellent semi-evergreen native perennial should be everywhere. Cut back hard after blooming to tidy the plant, keep it compact and encourage more flowers. Oregon native plant.
Possibly a hybrid this is a spectacular perennial in our climate where it produces a non-stop supply of amethyst blue daisies with a yellow center from spring unabated to autumn. And occasionally in winter. A rosette forming perennial that sends up its clumps of flowers on vertical 6″ spikes. Loved by all pollinators with a special emphasis given to butterfies. Carefree, low water western native perennial with consistent excellent performance. To 18″ wide in time. Light, consistent summer water encourages re-bloom. Nice little cut flower. Rich, to average, well drained soil in full sun. Avoid rambunctious competition from other perennials. Mix with Agapanthus, Calamintha ‘Montrose White’. Even effective in containers. Oregon native plant.
Oregon Sunshine is the cheery common name that greets this widespread native perennial. Silvery gray intricate foliage forms a spreading mat. In late spring and early summer brilliant golden yellow daisy flowers spangle 10″ stems. Loved by pollinators and we’ve been impressed with its draw to butterflies as well. To 2′ across and excellent on slopes where water never lingers. In the wild its a frequent of road cuts and other disturbed sites. It also competes admirably with exotic invasive weeds and will persist where other natives are swamped. Rock gardens, dry borders. Water to establish- the first season- but never boggy. The following year it will rely only on what falls from the sky. Full sun to light shade. Adapts to poor soils. Moderate deer resistance. Winter deciduous. Native to the Portland city limits. Very good planted beneath Pinus ponderosa var. benthamiana Pacific Ponderosa Pine this pair can frequently be found in the wild.
Oregon native plant.
Evergreen Eryngium that we love. The glossy deep green strappy leaves are fiercely armed and form large rosettes. In summer 28″ spikes produce bright green clover like orbicular flowers on a divided scape. You won’t draw rattlesnakes but you will draw bees. Cool looking plant that is easy to grow in rich to average well drained soil Good appearance even during winter. Remove the flower scape when the blooms start to turn brown- not as pretty. Sexy plant that requires no summer water and just full sun. Long lived. I see boulders and Cacti and grasses and gravel. Sexy rosettes.
Henderson’s Fawn Lily or Pink Siskiyou Fawn lily is one of our most beautiful species. Native from the Siskiyous in southern Oregon into extreme northern California. Of the eleven Erythroniums that are native in Oregon this is by far our favorite. In late March to late April umbrella shaped luminous pale pink petals reflex on 10″ stems. The interior of the downward pointing flowers shows markings of yellow and deep maroon. Surprisingly FRAGRANT and the perfume is noticeable at quite a distance in mature stands on warm spring days. Wonderful native bulb that must be grown from seed. The tiny bulb which is no bigger than a very small bean sinks lower into the ground each year. By blooming size the bulb may be 1′ below the surface. It takes approximately 3 -4 years to bloom from seed. Forms open colonies and spreads in the wild and garden by seed. As the bulb enlarges multiple scapes will appear from a single clump. In late winter a basal rosette of mottled leaves appear at ground level. Protect newly planted Erythroniums from slugs. Established plants seem to escape their damage. Best in unamended average soil on a slight slope. In habitat they are almost always under oaks and madrone. So, light shade to afternoon shade. Very light water after planting then none in subsequent years. Rock gardens, dry woodlands. Exquisite fawn lily. Goes quickly summer dormant. Oregon native plant
A very favorite annual or short lived perennial. This excellent California poppy sports ivory to cream large flowers for an extended period in summer. Fine blue foliage is wonderful with the softly colored flowers. Blooms from April to August if you give it a little water- but never soggy. Full sun to the very lightest shade in average to enriched, well drained soil. Un irrigated plants will bloom for a shorter period and set seed. The seed comes true about 90% of the time. Cull orange or other colors that don’t please you. It may become a short lived perennial if treated well. New plants germinate en masse with the first autumn rains. Don’t be afraid to thin your patch a bit then. Rough areas, along gravel paths. Easy to grow. Containers, Hellstrips. Etc. High deer resistance. Oregon native plant.
Spectacular mix of double flowered California Poppy in shades of pink, yellow, apricot, rose, red, orange, and yellow- and more colors than that. Easy to grow plants that can even be perennial if happily sited and cared for. Otherwise an incredibly showy annual that also makes a great cutflower- cut in bud and they will last several days. Sophisticated selection of our own native poppy and they will most likely reseed in open disturbed sites. Blooms May-August and sometimes longer. Remove spent flowers to encourage more. Leave the final round of blooms to set seed for the following season. To 1′ x 1′ with beautiful lacy glaucous foliage. Rough areas in full sun with light summer H20. Highly deer resistant. Oregon native plant.
True pink California poppy. Seed from this exceptional pink flowered selection comes true about 95% of the time. Deep rose pink semi-double flowers appear in late spring and continue sporadically until mid summer. A happy plant can become a short lived perennial but the majority will behave as bloomy annuals. Full sun and rich to average soil with good tilth (crumbly texture). It can even thrive in compacted soils. To 10″ x 10″ forming a compact plant with lacy blue foliage. The strident rose pink flowers are showy from a distance. Leave the last round of flowers to seed for the next several seasons. Excellent wildflower display in rough areas w/ low water. Water plants to establish then taper off. Remove spent flowers to encourage more. Wonderful flower color. Mix with Eschscholzia c. ‘Alba’ the white form. Deer resistant and drought adapted native plant. Oregon native plant.
Xera Plants Introduction
One of my favorite separate strains of CA poppy. ‘Purple’ gleam is a tiny bit of an over statement. More accurate its pink w/ purple overtones and a lighter center. Blooms from April August in a wave of big flowers that tossles over compact plants with filigree blue foliage. Full sun and average to even poor soil. Often potted Eschscholzia will perennialize and live for a year or two in the ground. Otherwise its an annual and will succumb when the whole plant blooms itself out. To 10″ x 12″ forming a spreading plant. Remove spent flowers to continue the show. Many plants will take a break over summer and then resume blooming w/ cooler autumn rains. Great pollinator plant. Containers, dry areas, borders. Reseeds reliably w/ about 80% true to parent type. Wonderful with Clarkia unguiculata ‘White’ and Collinsia grandiflora. High deer resistance. Leave open disturbed soil for it to reseed. Light summer H20. Oregon native plant
Plants don’t really stay in the same place, They move according to climate and soils and sometimes with the help of humans. This famous poppy carpets meadows and glens and rocky hillsides in brilliant orange from SW Washington through Western Oregon into California to Baja but is happily grown throughout the globe. Sunny orange flowers with an edge of lighter yellow in our local form appear from mid spring to late summer. This form was identified in 1846 at the former town of Tonquin. Tonquin is about 500 yards from our nursery and this poppy is everywhere. Blue fine foliage on spreading plants to 14″ tall and up to twice that width. Full sun in any soil where water does not collect. Reseeds itself prolifically and can become your own introduced weed. Seedlings are easy to spot and dispatch if unwanted. Nice cut flower if you pick it in bud. Loved by pollinators. Easy to grow native annual/ sometimes a perennial. Water to establish plants then none necessary. Completely deer and rabbit proof. Oregon native plant.
California Fescue native to the Willamette Valley from Multnomah county south and once widespread before being pushed to the margins by exotics and development. The best place to find this clump forming cool season evergreen grass now is on slopes, almost always underneath native Oaks. As you go farther south it becomes more widespread. Our seed grown plants come from exceptionally blue foliaged plants. Grows during the winter and looks clean and fresh then. In spring 3′ tall inflorescences arrive and are straight and airy. Following bloom in summer the stems of these blooms take on raspberry tints and remain standing. Totally summer drought adapted but a little irrigation will improve summer looks. To 1′ x 2′ as a clump of evergreen foliage. Full sun to part shade in average to enriched, soil where water never stands. Light summer water. Best in wild areas and margins. Looks a tad too wild for some. Check it out in person and see how you feel. Excels around Manzanitas, Cistus, Ceanothus and in dry shade in woodlands. A great garden plant. One of our best native grasses. Oregon native plant.
Roemer’s Fescue is a native bunchgrass found on upland prairies and slopes throughout the PNW. In the Willamette Valley it survives on the upward margins of woods, often under Oaks and accompanying California fescue. Roemer’s Fescue has much finer leaves and a tighter clumps than Festuca californica. Its immediately identifiable by this thin blue green foliage. A cool season grower it spends the winter in its freshest and lushest state by the onset of summer drought it has already gone cere (dry dormant). To 8″ tall and spreading. 1′ spikes with tan flowers appear in late spring and remain erect until the entire plant goes summer dormant. With regular water and good drainage this grass will avoid summer sleep and remain green and lush. A common component of Willamette Valley Oak Savanna and losing ground to invasive weeds. Excellent underplanting for drought adapted shrubs, or for the garden/wild lands interface. It spreads quickly by seed- its from here, you should expect that so keep it away from highly manicured areas. Its habitat in the Willamette Valley has shrunk to almost nothing. Bring this pretty native bunchgrass back to our gardens. Admirable lawn substitute. Evergreen. Oregon native plant.
A west coast native grass that ranges from British Columbia to Southern California- usually near the beach. This form is exceptionally blue and so pretty as a year round evergreen presence. To 9″ tall and spreading at a measured rate by stolons slowly expanding the plant to several feet wide. Forms an incredibly dense cover and weeds will seldom compete with this climate adapted grass. In late summer and not profuse 8″ stems hold gray floral spikes. This is along lived, easy to grow grass that does not die out in the center or poop out after a few years. In fact it would make an admirable lawn substitute. This form is from Humboldt, County in CA and was named for the small town where Greg lived as a child- so we had to grow it. And damn it turned out to be a fine, evergreen, native grass. Full sun to light shade and little to no summer water once established. Not fussy about soil and not a rambunctious thug unless soil is overly enriched- instead give it oxygenated average soil. Excellent among drought adapted shrubs and especially nice interplanted with Pacific Coast Iris. Fine dense foliage is bright blue in summer turning to more of a greenish hue during the cooler months. Excellent winter appearance. High deer resistance. Oregon native plant.
Pacific coastal strawberry is a beach native- in fact it occurs all around the Pacific Rim and makes an adorable and durable ground cover on sand dunes. Well this version is like the giant hulk of strawberries. Huge in every way and vigorous? Wow, plant and get out of the way. The large glossy evergreen leaves are up to 6″ across and the single white flowers in spring and summer (sometimes in winter) are large also. The paltry fruit that follows is far from edible. It won’t kill you but you really have to like sour and gritty with millions of seeds. This is an ideal ground cover for rough sites in full sun to part shade. Don’t bother enriching the soil that will just make this trailing monster roar. Instead err on the side of a little neglect and watch what this native plant can do. Be wary of delicate plants in the vicinity. Evergreen, easy and drought tolerant. Oregon native plant.
Woodland strawberry that is native to large parts of Oregon. This upright growing smaller strawberry is delightful when pristine white flowers morph into sweet pendant red fruits. To 10″ tall and as wide this clumping plant expands at a moderate clip forming patches in rich to average soil with light, consistent summer moisture. Blooms in April- fruit arrives in June. This is the locally native form of this widespread plant. In France the same species is famous as Fraise du Bois. Our local species in Oregon will produce several rounds of fruit with reliable irrigation. This is not a long lived species and it seems to find its happy place on its own. Expect several years lifespan and leave fruit on the plant annually to ensure reseeding. Great in containers. Use in partly shady borders, its a diminutive plant and fits nicely among larger perennials. Great for fresh eating…and dogs like them too so protect from marauding pooches. Very natural lining woodland paths. Semi-deciduous to winter deciduous. Native to the Portland city limits. Oregon native plant
Excellent evergreen west coast native shrub that is always at its best. Large, glossy deep green foliage clothes the stems densely on a compact but large growing form of California Coffeeberry. Insignficiant tiny green flowers in summer/autumn turn into crops of red then brown berries. Very showy until stripped by wildlife. This species is native from SW Oregon through Calfornia west of the mountains. Completely drought tolerant- in fact it resents summer water. To 8′ x 8′ in 5 years. Wild areas, informal low water hedges, blasting urban heat. We should take advantage of these climate adapted west coast plants for the toughest sites.
Oregon native plant
A really cool version of California Coffeeberry which is also native to SW Oregon. Thick deep green rounded leaves cloth madder red stems densely on this large shrub that can achieve tree like status with time. Insignificant green flowers transform into brown then black berries eaten by wildlife. Incredibly drought adapted never needing ANY supplemental water. Well drained soils in full sun. To 9′ x 9′ in 8 years. Pruning can keep it lower and it would make an admirable hedge. Cold hardy.
Oregon native plant
Exotic looking shrub native to California that finds a happy home in the PNW- provided you are committed to almost total neglect. Poor, well drained soil with NO SUPPLEMENTAL water ever. Plant it. Water it. Leave it alone. Known and grown for its HUGE golden yellow flowers. The form a rounded bowl and are wonderful for the 4-6 weeks they occur in May-June. If you apply summer water you could easily kill this plant- its a victim of water molds that thrive with water + heat. Cold and wet- not such a problem. And if it survives summer water then it will grow fast and rank and not be hardy to frost at all. Grow it lean and mean- no love, no favors. Flannel Bush is evergreen and the whole plant is covered in a silica based fur. Avoid this. The hybrids get enormous in the PNW. Allow for this. 16′ x16′ is not unheard of in 6 years. Moderate deer resistance.
For people with HUGE gardens that they don’t want to water but still require a floral show there is this west coast native Flannel Bush to occupy beautiful space. Fur covered maple shaped leaves are deep green on top with a reverse of tawny brown. Avoid this fur it causes dermatitis and you don’t need that. Rapid growing evergreen shrub for full sun and poor soils and absolutely NO summer water. That can lead to root molds and death and at the very least rank growth that does not harden for winter cold. Instead neglect and stand back as this 15′ x 15′ monster of the Chaparrel produces a two month parade of 4″ wide cupped gold flowers. A large specimen in full bloom causes the heart to stop. Nice espalier too. Moderate deer resistance. Neglect is the flannel bush’s friend.
Wavy Leaf Silk Tassel is a beautiful winter blooming evergreen shrub native to the Oregon coast from Lincoln county south to Santa Barbara county California. Amazing 1′ long silver gray tassels from late fall last through winter. Large shrubs have the appearance of a chandelier. Tassels dry and abort the plant by late spring, then its just a clean evergreen To 12′ x 12′ for well drained soil in full sun with good air circulation. Some leaf burn in the coldest winters. Eventually it can become a multi-trunked tree. Extremely drought tolerant when established, never needing supplemental summer water. Prune AFTER flowering. Excellent espalier. Spectacular in full bloom– which lasts for two months in mid-winter. Full sun to quite a bit of overhead shade. Avoid strong subfreezing east wind. Oregon native plant.
Mountain Silk Tassel is an evergreen shrub that can be found in the mountainous regions of western Oregon at elevations below 4000′. Rounded large evergreen shrub with handsome mid-green glabrous leaves. In early spring 3″ silver/green tassels decorate the whole shrub. Male and female plants are a little different. Male plants (which is our clone) have longer, showier tassels and female plants bear clusters of small blue berries. Full sun to light shade in average well drained soil. Best on slopes and it is found on steep grades throughout its range. Little to no summer water when established. Great tough, native shrub for hot urban sites with no water. Good clean, green foliage. Thrives in less than perfect conditions. Much hardier to cold than Garrya elliptica. To below 0ºF slightly when established. Thanks to our friend Patricia for giving us this clone. To 7′ x 7′ in time. Oregon native plant.
Large exceptional evergreen shrub that is a hybrid selection between two native west coast species. To 12′ tall and nearly as wide the merlot red stems support wavy deep green leaves. From December to April 3″ long wine red tassels are graceful and showy. Fast growing shrub for average to rich well drained sites in full sun to high overhead shade. Little water when established. Slightly hardier to cold than G. elliptical ‘James Roof’. Great low water hardy fast screening shrub. Easy to grow. Give it space to fill out. Prune AFTER flowering has ended in spring if needed. Appreciates good air circulation. An open exposure is best. This is a great plant for the high dry shade of native Oaks.
Oregon native plant
Salal. An iconic native shrub that occupies the understory of the forests from the coast to the Cascades- in the Willamette Valley its restricted to the shadiest, mesic environs. A mounding evergreen that forms large colonies in time. Ranges in height from 2′ to 6′ depending upon its situation. Spread is indefinite when happy. In spring chains of white urn shaped flowers transform into edible berries. Very handsome foliage is used as long lasting cut material and is sometimes marketed as ‘lemon leaf’. Can be tricky to establish. Shade to part shade is best in rich, humus rich soil with regular water. To establish water, water, water. And apply a liberal deep mulch. Avoid hot sun and compacted dry soils. Once it gets going, its yours forever. Occurs naturally in mesic/shady environs around Portland. Mulch annually to accumulate a layer of organic material that this spreading shrub craves. Oregon native plant.
Not many gardeners are aware that we have our own native hardy Geranium. And its a really good garden plant. Bushy herbaceous perennial that displays nickel sized magenta/blue flowers in late spring to mid summer. It peaks in June and is quite a display. To 2′ x 2′ and completely deciduous in winter. Excellent in manicured borders or areas that receive a bit of extra irrigation in summer. Adapted to clay soils it improves considerably under cultivation. Mix with native Sidalceas for a bonafide native combination. Native throughout western Oregon but also native in the Rocky Mountains. One of our finest natives that should be used more often. Fall color is yellow before going cleanly away. Not bothered by slugs or snails (!) but not entirely deer resistant. Full sun to light shade to very high overhead shade (a tall tree canopy). Best in enriched soil with consistent summer moisture. Associated plants in the wild are Sidalceas, Achillea. Very good performance in rain gardens. Oregon native plant.
From one of our favorite mountain ranges in Oregon The Ochocos Greg spotted this great form of Prairie Smoke. Pretty spreading perennial with gray green divided leaves and in summer upright then nodding pink fur covered buds that mostly overlap small pink petals. Its glory shines when these flowers go to seed. The stems turn straight up and fluffy silver seed heads puff up and wave in the breeze like smoke. Full sun and well drained soil of average fertility. Light summer water. To 2′ x 2′ slowly. Completely deciduous in winter. Ultra cold hardy Oregon native plant.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Yarrow Gilly Flower as the 49ers named this sweet little annual California wildflower. Frilly green foliage gives rise to 10″ stems supporting violet to sky blue flowers. Blooms May-July in our climate. Very easy to naturalize in open disturbed sites. A great reblooming pollinator wild flower. Makes sweet little bouquets as well. Full sun and loose un-compacted soil- turn the soil to incorporate oxygen before planting. Light summer water keeps things going. Or it will finish with drought setting seed for the next years performance. A reliable and useful re-seeding plant for open, rocky places, where no sane plant can find purchase. Often comes up in the ‘Alba’ white form which is fantastic and makes the blue form seem more intense. Great little cut flower. Very light H20 extends the show.
Globe Gilia or Bluefields is a widespread annual wildflower from British Columbia to Baja. To 30″ tall and forming a substantial plant very quickly. From April to July and sometimes longer these striking sky blue flowers appear and rise on tall stems displaying the orbs of flowers. If you apply light consistent water and remove the spent flowers they can re-bloom. Otherwise, they persist until hot weather and then set seed and die. Studies at OSU on native pollinators ranked this #1 as their source for pollen/nectar. That alone gives you reason to include this re-seeding plant in your garden. Rich, to average disturbed sites are ideal. It often grows and self sows in the disturbed slopes of road cuts, dry hillsides. In the garden it LOVES good conditions and will be much larger, bloom longer, with flowers of a darker hue of blue. A great wildflower for the garden that makes a sweet cut flower. Loved by pollinators of all kinds. Wild areas, hell strips, dry gardens. Easy to naturalize if you contain the competition from other plants. Locally native in the Portland city limits. New plants germinate in autumn and overwinter happily. Oregon native plant.
We once grew this form of Gilia capitata as our own local species. WRONG. We compared it to the southern Oregon Coastal variety ssp. Pacifica. That form is shorter but blooms are a distinctly darker blue. Everything as for the species Reseeds faithfully in OPEN disturbed sites with little competition from invasive weeds/turf grasses. This thick, stout variety makes a wonderful cut flower. It also has the same attractive properties that make it one of the best native pollinator plants. To 18″ tall and forming patches that reliably re-sows each year. See above care. WE love both forms of this Gilly Flower made famous by early European settlers. They’ve spread this wild flower around the globe where it has become naturalized in parts of New England into E. Canada. Not a bad weed but an example of something from here with adaptation to another climate. Oregon native plant.
Bird’s Eye Gilia is a showy and delicate appearing but tough hardy annual from the central valley of California into the Coast Ranges as well as Sierra Nevada foothills. To 6″ tall each stalk bears multiple gorgeous purple to white flowers with a distinct dark eye. Give your pollinators a treat this diminutive plant will bloom for 4-6 weeks in late spring to summer in our climate. Give it open disturbed soil without competition form invasive grasses to complete its life cycle, where it will reseed with abandon. Lovely little west coast native annual for sunny, wild sites. Good in containers for a brief but brilliant wildflower display. Excellent in parking strips where it will love the reflected heat. Light consistent water until its time to go quietly to sleep. Good drainage helps.
Willamette Gumweed, Puget Gumweed is an important native late blooming pollinator plant. A native resident in the Willamette Valley along water courses and marshlands- It seems to excel in areas that are wet in the winter and bone dry in summer. That kind of adaptation begs for its inclusion in bioswales and to stabilize stream banks. In normal garden conditions gumweed – which derives its common name from the gummy exudent on the leaves. It has a tar-like fragrance and is positioned on the leaves to decrease evaporation. It may also impart some resistance to saline conditions. In June-Sept. this large, spreading plant is decorated with corymbs of bright yellow daisy flowers. Immediately they are attended by pollinators. Its fascinating. The flower bud is densely armed with prickles giving this native daisy kind of a tough look. To 30″ x 30″. Full sun and rich to average conditions. Tolerates clay soils if you water it consistently to get the new roots into the clay soil. Once established it’s a very drought adapted plant. It also improves substantially under cultivation. Combine with Symphyotrichon subspicatum ‘Sauvie Sky’ and Solidago for a native prairie redux. Winter dormant. Seed grown from plants native to the Willamette Valley. Moderate deer resistance. Oregon native plant.
Serpentine Sunflower or Bolander’s Sunflower. Who doesn’t like sunflowers? I don’t know about you but they make me smile. There are several native sunflowers but this one is the cream of the crop. Native to extreme S. Oregon and extreme N. California this wonderful plant shines on the most difficult soils. Known as Serpentine Sunflower – Serpentine soil is a special substrate full of heavy metals- zinc, iron, copper. It prevents many plants from growing. These conditions are widespread in Southern Oregon into California, where this soil reaches the surface it produces zones of very specialized plants- they LOVE the harsh conditions and poor nutrients and tolerate the toxic elements. It can be quite a transition in plant communities from normal soil to serpentine- in just a few steps. This lovely annual sunflower though is EASY to grow in average to enriched soil- It handles just about everything so long as there is full sun. To 3′ tall and forming multiple spikes of 3″ electric yellow flowers with a contrasting black center. Amazing cut flower and if you remove flowers it will encourage more . Nice long stems for summer bouquets- they appear floppy but are in fact wiry and stiff- perfect for arranging. And a pollinator madhouse. Blooms June- October- one of our longest blooming native annuals. Forms a multibranched plant with shining flowers sticking out in all directions. Light consistent irrigation in summer. Makes a fantastic hedge of flowers. Re-seeds in open disturbed sites. Moderate deer resistance. Easy to grow. Oregon native plant.
Red Yucca. Who would have thought that this remarkably adaptable plant would grow perfectly in such places as Phoenix, AZ AND Portland? We’re amazed and this excellent semi-succulent plant is one of our favorites for hot dry landscapes. The evergreen leaves form rosettes that spike up to about 2.5′ tall- blue green turning purple in colder weather. They are lined with little white hair filaments that add to the appeal. in summer flower spikes rise to 4′- many of them and hold tubular flowers that are succulent and red on the outside, when each yawns open it reveals a yellow center. Very cool. Full sun and average to poor well drained soil- though it does fine in any soil type that drains well. Excellently adapted to life in the blasting hot hellstrips. It can take any kind of reflected heat with no summer water and still perform beautifully. Clumps increase slowly in our climate. Excellent in containers as well. Loved by hummingbirds. Little to no supplemental water ever. Cold hardy below 0ºF. High deer resistance.
Toyon. One of the most widespread shrubs in California this plant also known as Christmas berry ranges right up to the Oregon State line and appears just inside our border. Large evergreen shrub with finely serrated large green leaves. In late spring flat clusters of white flowers appear- they are pretty but nothing compared to the brilliant red berries that follow and ripen in early autumn- remaining showy through winter. Most often they are eaten by birds. AKA Hollywood this shrub is where that city got its name. heh. Fast growing to 13′ tall by 10′ wide in 10 years in our climate if left strictly unpruned. Slightly tender it requires a protected location. Most large established specimens I’ve seen around Portland are placed on the west or south side of large trees. They get the protection of the overstory and it shields them from the coldest winds. No water or regular water- either way, very adaptable shrub that really likes cultivation. Small tree in time. West coast native evergreen shrub for the mildest gardens. Oregon native plant.
One of our prettiest native Heucheras that can be found in partly shady locations from the Willamette Valley to the Cascades. A low rosette of handsome maple shaped leaves looks good for most of the year. In late spring very vertical straight stems erupt and cruise to 14″ tall. They terminate in rows of green flowers. As the flowers fade and change to seed the erect stems turn a soft red. Blooms are effective for months. A colony forming plant that spreads in rich to average soil with regular summer irrigation. Best in moist shady locations but is amenable to full sun- which will dramatically increase the number of flowers. Climate adapted perennial that improves under cultivation. Mass for a soft green floral effect. Mix with other woodlanders or even in full sun in rock gardens. Semi-deciduous. To 18″ wide. Moderate deer resistance. Excellent plant for partly shady meadows, which is its native haunt. Native to the city limits of Portland. Excellent plant. Oregon native plant.
Green Alum Root. Fantastic native Heuchera found east of the Cascades but a stellar garden plant on the west side too. Handsome scalloped leaves form a tight evergreen clump. For weeks and weeks in late spring to summer 20″ spikes have columns of small green flowers at the top. Very pretty. Amazing massed in part shade and rich to average well drained soil. Regular summer water though established plants thrive on very little. A pretty Oregon native perennial. Thrives in such diverse places as partly shady hellstrips to the front of borders. Not bothered by pest and disease and much more durable than the hybrids. Easy to grow. Climate adapted. Oregon native plant.
Coral Bells. This is the original species that lept into gardens nearly a century ago. Native to the mid and higher elevations of the southwestern U,S. this is a tough, beautiful, long blooming species that will live for decades in a garden. Maple shaped leaves, occasionally decorated with white form rosettes and in time colonies. In April to July a fantastic display of red flowers on 16″ straight stems. They create a pool of color above the plants. We love this species also for its ease of cultivation. Full sun to part shade in rich to average soil with light summer water, or none when a patch is established. Excellent long lasting haze of red color for the front of a border or with in other perennials. Adored by hummingbirds and moderately deer resistant. Very easy to transplant and move around where you need some color. Evergreen to semi evergreen foliage. Rosettes to 1.5′ wide. Indispensable, old fashioned but always beautiful and reliable. Avoid heavily compacted soils.
We found this vigorous seedling in a batch of Heuchera sanguinea. The leaves are pale green and liberally splashed with white. Unlike, the species straight spikes of HOT PINK flowers rise in a cloud above the playful foliage. This is just a seedling and unlike many variegated plants it shows excellent vigor and longevity. Evergreen clumps of foliage. Loved by hummingbirds in bloom from April to mid-July. Tolerates full sun to quite a bit of shade at the expense of blooming Excellent paired with ferns Hosta, Tiarella. To 14″ tall in bloom and spreading to about 2′ wide when happy. Rich, moisture retentive soil high in organic matter. Established plants are surprisingly drought adapted. Do not let other plants crowd or over top this perennial. The lack of light and competition will take it out. Instead match it with a similar sized perennial. See above. Easy, forgiving perennial.
Xera Plants Introduction
This is a really good garden Fairy Bells that has performed for years in our garden. Its derivative of two western species and boy does it know how to bloom. From a low evergreen matt of nice looking maple shaped green leaves it send many many 2′ stems bearing clouds of true red flowers. Each flower is clad minute fur giving the extra substance. A saturated color that appears in our climate for up to two months beginning in April. Full sun to quite a bit of shade in rich, well drained soil with light summer water. Avoid boggy soils in summer. Its a carefree, long lived perennial that really performs in landscapes. Visited frequently by hummingbirds (yep). Create a clouds of rich red. Evergreen.
Ocean Spray is a well known shrub west of the Cascades. It occupies dry woods in part shade to full sun. Large and spreading it displays foamy white clusters of flowers in early summer. They age to a tan color before falling apart. Handsome small scalloped leaves are very pretty and turn yellow to orange in autumn. To 9′ x 7′ very quickly in virtually any soil type. Extremely drought adapted when established- but amenable to light irrigation in summer. Wild look for wild areas, match with native perennials. Often suckers to form patches and it is common for seedlings to show up around the parent plant. These can be moved when young or dispatched. Birds adore the dried seeds in winter. Pretty native in the Rose family. Moderate deer resistance- but sometimes they attack it if it is newly planted so protect. Winter deciduous. Oregon native plant.
Curious and rare western oregon native plant that can be found in permanently wet sites. This gives you a clue about how to grow this striking little pea. Wide stretching arms deliver pink and yellow flowers in clusters at the tips. Blooms April to July. Native along the immediate coast from the Bay Area in California north to British Columbia Inland it clusters around permanently wet sites. . Never common in its range. Stream banks, seeps, the margins of ponds for full sun and perpetually moist soil. Excellent for use in rain gardens (bioswales). Often short lived in gardens where it is dry. You must supply constant moisture. To 8″ tall by 4′ wide. Not difficult to grow and very climate adapted pea that is welcome in gardens. Oregon native plant.
A groovy selection of our coastal native evergreen douglas iris. From spikey grassy clumps rise 2′ tall flower spikes topped with multiple blooms that are amber and maroon, intricately marked on the interior falls. Blooms April to June. Vigorous clump forming perennial for any soil type where there is not standing water. Regular water to establish the first season then none in subsequent years. Full sun. High deer resistance. To 2′ wide in a few years. Oregon native plant.
Pretty, floriferous and reliable form of Pacific Iris that forms large impressive evergreen patches and in April/May large white flowers with a touch of yellow on the lower petal. To 18″ and spreading to form large colonies in full sun to quite a bit of shade. Virtually any soil. Tolerates summer irrigation if the drainage is excellent otherwise follow a dry summer regime. High deer resistance. Evergreen. Oregon native plant.
Oregon iris or Tough leaved iris is the most northerly species of Pacifica Iris- extending its native zone as far as SW Washington. Its common throughout the western part of our state where it decorates grassy hillsides in full sun to quite a bit of shade with jolly purple flowers April-June. That was the most common color where I grew up SW of Eugene. Turns out this Iris comes in quite a few colors. Pink, blue, white, golden yellow, red- all hues that have been recorded for this species. Conspicuous also, among the 11 Pacifica species this is a winter deciduous perennial and its the hardiest of the lot. Forms grassy clumps in fan shaped displays to about 10″ tall. A large clump can be 30″ across and filled with nearly 100 flowers- these rise on cantilevered stems to 14″ tall. Not very tolerant of disturbance and to be honest it has stymied us quite a few times. They HATE division. Therefore, we feature seed grown plants- local seed. These plants feature extra vigor and usually bloom with in 3 years. They also establish better. Best in light shade, dappled shade on slopes. Average, clay soil is what it wants and you can increase vigor by double digging the hole very wide to incorporate oxygen in the soil and water lightly and consistently through the first summer. Then none to light in subsequent years. And admirable competitor with introduced invasives and as per all Iris it is supremely deer and even rabbit resistant. Winter deciduous- also, it may go drought deciduous in extremely dry summers. Mixes well with native annuals. Established clumps live for decades. The flowers have the light fragrance of root beer (at least to me) and are the only fragrant Pacifica species that I can detect. First nation people used the incredibly tough leaves to braid into ropes, traps. Which is cool. Photo credit: East Multnomah Conservation District. Oregon native plant.
I found this naturally occurring hybrid at the intersection of the species Iris tenax and Iris douglasiana in the southern Oregon coast range. There are 11 Pacific coast species and finding a true hybrid with knowledge of the parents in the wild is rare. Pacific coast iris are most closely related to Siberian Iris. These guys crossed the land bridge from Alaska and speciated. Its still possible to cross Pacifica Iris with Iris siberica. These are known as Calsib hybrids. This is a sturdy evergreen large clump forming Iris with large pale lilac flowers with intricate markings on each lower petal. Full sun to part shade in virtually any soil with little summer water. Water to establish the first season and then none necessary in subsequent years. Excellent plant for wild areas. Cold hardy. Leaf clumps are evergreen and flop a bit in the winter. A very heavy blooming plant- a large clump can have 25-30 flowers. Highly deer and rabbit resistant. Oregon native plant.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Astonishing flower color is one reason to love this large flowered Pacifica hybrid. Orange/coral/pink all morphed into one hue with a central zone of deep purple near the center. To 1′ tall and forming spreading clumps of evergreen foliage. Blooms April-June. The large flowers are showy from quite a distance. Part shade is ideal but endures full sun and tolerates total shade. Water regularly through the first summer to establish- the clump should increase by twice its size then none in subsequent years. Resents disturbance best left where it is to live. Great deer resistance. A very unusual color for a PCI.
How can you not fall in love with a blue iris? Its so classic. This vigorous and easy to grow Pacific Coast Iris does blue very well. The large sky blue flowers are marked in the center of the fall with more intricate yellow and black hatch marks. Large growing PCI to 16″ tall and forming imposing clumps of tall evergreen foliage. Blooms late April through May. Full sun to part shade in any soil that drains. Not fussy but dislikes standing water. Water though the first summer to establish then none in subsequent years. Evergreen foliage is nice looking- dies down a bit in winter and returns in spring. Highly deer resistant.
Our good friend Geoff Beasley gave us this very easy to grow, pretty and floriferous selection of Pacific Coast Iris. The broad flowers are a combination of amber, maroon and even black hatch marks. To 14″ tall and produced from grassy spreading evergreen clumps. Full sun to part shade in virtually any soil with a modicum of drainage. Long lived perennial that is best left undisturbed once established. Blooms appear from late April through May. Highly deer resistant. Water for the first year to establish then none in subsequent years.
Kind of an obscure Pacific Coast Iris that Greg claims is a little more orange with brown striations than this picture depicts. Grassy leaves are evergreen and in May/June a continual parade of multi-colored flowers on 14″ cantilevered stems. Very easy to grow west coast native Iris hybrid that increases its bloom as the clump increases. The orange/ and maroon/cranberry flowers are visible from a distance and are particularly fetching when back lit. Completely deer and rabbit resistant perennial for part shade to full sun. Rich to average soil. Water diligently for the first summer, in subsequent years leave it strictly alone. Wonderful between and near Manzanitas, other west coast drought adapted shrubs.
This is our own seed strain of Pacific Coast Iris. We save from specific plants and aim to include as many unusual colors as possible. Typically 1/3 are deep purple, 1/3 are amber/yellow and 1/3 are combinations of the two- whats left is the odd deep blue. Full sun to part shade in any reasonably well drained soil. Adaptable to clay. Regular summer water for the first year to establish then none in subsequent years. Blooms appear from late April through May. Height is variable but all make large clumps of grassy foliage over time. Do not disturb once established and remember that Pacific Coast Iris thrive on neglect. Excellent and wild looking cut flowers. Highly deer resistant. Xera Plants Introduction. The plant pictured is an example of an Amber seedling. Oregon native plant.
Xera Plants Introduction.
One of the most striking pacific coast cultivars. Large somewhat flat flowers are a saturated orange/ rust color with contrasting purple nectary guides. Excellent plant that is not only extraordinarily heavy in bloom it blooms the LONGEST of any PCI that we grow. Often repeat blooming 1-3 times following the grand first display. Grassy evergreen leaves form spreading clumps to several feet wide. The large flowers rise on 10″ stems. Loved by pollinators. This intense flower color and propensity for heavy bloom endears this wonderful cultivar to gardeners and its often on the list of favorites. Full sun to light shade- ideally it may be grown best in an open north exposure. Such as the north side of a house with no overhead shade. Blooms late April-early June. Very deer resistant. Water consistently through the first summer than none in subsequent years. And once established it resents disturbance.
Pacific Coast Iris can be dodgy to divide. You have to do it at the exact correct time in the fall just before they grow roots for the new year. Even then it takes a careful and gentle hand to produce viable divisions that will grow on and bloom. Native warrior must derive its name from from its ease of division. Either way its a fantastic PCI that begins blooming in late April and continues almost to June. Red and raspberry colored flowers are dramatic on a very compact plant to just 10″ tall. Grassy evergreen clumps of foliage do not obscure these precious flowers. Full sun to quite a bit of shade in any soil with reasonable drainage, including clay soils. Water for the first season to establish then none in subsequent years. Highly deer resistant. Long lived. Do not disturb once established. Neglect is its friend.
Yellow is a special color for Pacific Coast Iris and this selection does a great job at producing profuse large luminous yellow flowers for an extended period. To 14″ tall and forming spreading clumps. The vivid flowers are showy from a distance and resonate with the candy-like colors of other Pacific Iris. Mix with ‘Blue Moment’ for a classic blue and yellow combination. This Iris also blooms simultaneously with the clouds of blue flowers of Ceanothus. And they appreciate the same cultural conditions- a late spring vignette that gets by on no summer water! Evergreen. Not fussy about soil. Water consistently through the first summer to establish (established Iris will double their clump size in the first summer). Then only what falls from the sky in subsequent years. Heavy bloomer in April-June. High deer resistance.
Our first deliberate cross of two Pacifica species has yielded a real looker. Half Iris innominata and half Iris tenax. It inherits the incredible amount of flowers from the first parent which is yellow and more intricate markings and purple hues of the latter. Fun to grow colony producing grassy iris for full sun to part shade. Begins blooming in late April and continues for 3 to 4 weeks. Adaptable to many types of soil, including clay soils. Water regularly through the first summer to establish then none in subsequent years. This little iris ( to 8″ tall) is very wild looking and reminds us of natural hybrids that occur in the wild. In time when you have many flowers per clump it makes a charming cut flower. Two Oregon native perennials. Heh. High deer resistance. Oregon native plant.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Far and away the darkest purple PCI that we’e encountered. This hybrid heavily draws fro the excellent and floriferous species Iris inanimate. Grassy fine foliage is evergreen forming substantial clumps in virtual any soil in part shade to full sun. One clump produces many flowers of the the deepest black purple. To 1′ tall and 2′ wide in time; Little to no summer water when established. Resents disturbance. Highly deer resistant.
Of the 11 species of Pacifica species on the west coast the species I. munzii from the central Sierra Foothills imparts the best blue flower color. Typically a tall growing species to 16″ this cultivar creates amazing large flowers of soft washed blue with ivory edges. A very pleasant color that shows up well in gardens. Full sun to part shade in rich to average soil. This cultivar likes a bit more drainage than others- a product of its I. munzii parentage. Blooms late April through May. Upright grassy deep green foliage is evergreen and forms large clumps over time. Best with a good amount of neglect as all Pacific Coast Iris demand. High deer resistance.
Low growing incredibly blue common juniper that we found on the slopes of Mt. Hood on the eastern side of Multnomah county. To just 10″ tall but usually much lower it creeps slowly and densely to 3′ wide in 5 years. Rich, well drained soil in full sun though it makes due with less than ideal conditions. Handsome blue cast to the foliage is nice looking all the time. Growth is dense and blocks out weeds. Nice to have a locally native Juniper from a relatively low elevation. Long lived and care free. Water or once established do not. Oregon native plant.
Alligator Juniper. So called for the rough pattern that develops on the trunk. A remarkable upright growing juniper that stuns with ghostly white foliage. Finely branching open habit on an 14′ tall by 6′ wide structure. Fast growing. POOR soil that has NOT been amended is ideal. In fact it thrives in heavy clay soils if on slopes. Enriched soil causes this shrub to grow prodigiously fast leaving it vulnerable to wind toss. Mixes well with other shrubs, makes a great light textured nearly white focal point. Good looking year round and ultra cold hardy. Little to no summer water once established. (Just makes it grow too fast) This is one elegant but tough shrub. Moderate deer resistance. This selection has extraordinarily blue foliage for the species. In time this forms a large tree- with a lot of years. Native to Texas and New Mexico into Mexico. Very difficult plant to root. So, we seldom have this tree/shrub in quantity. Even prior to developing the famous bark the over foliage is so brilliantly light blue that it is a first rate ghostly gray shrub.
Prairie June Grass is a widespread cool season grass that was widespread in the Willamette Valley. A tight clumping grass with soft blue/green foliage that rises to about 18″ tall forming a clump as wide. In June-August feathery gray/tan plume of flowers erupt and soar above the grassy clump. In bloom it is about 30″ tall. A long lived grass for virtually any soil in full sun. Rich soil results in a very large plant. Average soil that has been double dug to add oxygen is usually all thats necessary. Water the first season to establish then none in subsequent years. Mix with other native perennials and annuals. A great companion for Sidalceas as well as Solidago and Douglas aster. Will often self sow. Keep it away from highly manicured areas. Otherwise the clump keeps to itself. Very easy to grow perennial grass that is found throughout the northern hemisphere. An authentic grass for a Willamette Valley prairie. Winter appearance is green and verdant. Summer brings tan drought dormancy. Oregon native plant.
Tidy Tips a SW american desert daisy that puts on massive displays in famous high rainfall years. In our climate this hardy annual continues blooming for months as our cool summer nights seem to trick into an eternal spring. To 10″ tall forming a spreading plant in full sun and rich to average, well drained soil. Good drainage assists it in setting seed and that seed over wintering for germination the following spring. Remove spent flowers to spur more. Light consistent summer water. Otherwise let it go to seed. Nice cut flower. Loved by butterflies. Easy to save seed and toss out in spring in open sites after all threat of frost has passed.
BABY STARS! Cute hardy annual that is actually a west coast native. Also known as Stardust this little plant produces adorable stars in pink, orange, yellow, and white. All together a tapestry of color on just 3″ tall plants. Reseeds prolifically in open disturbed sites. Just one potted plant will yield hundreds of seedlings for the following year. Blooms May- July then dies, goes to seed, is no longer there. Great bulb cover. Little to no summer water for self sown seedlings. Primarily composed of Leptosiphon parviflorus which is native to central California. Our own locally native Leptosiphon bicolor is similar and In the wild the flowers are primarily pink with a yellow eye- occasionally other colors. Adorable. Baby stars. Leave cleared space in your garden near these plants to allow these plants room to re-sow. Competition from other plants is the main reason that this plant loses its grip in the garden. Simply scratch a bare area near each patch and do not remove the spent plants until they are properly straw and dropping their fine seed. Delightful lining paths. Creates the most honest looking wildflower vignettes possible in our gardens. Full sun.
This strain of our native Siskiyou Lewisia contains a stunning range of flower colors. Pink to orange to white to yellow and permutations in-between. One of our most cherished wild flowers this plant is found at high elevations in the southern part of the state. A succulent that forms an evergreen rosette it displays its flowers for literally months on end beginning in spring. Excellent, long blooming, easy to grow container plant but not difficult in the ground given rock garden conditions. Drainage is crucial, in average to enriched soil. Drought adapted but it blooms longer with light summer water. Full sun to very light shade. Excellent at the top of walls, spilling out of cliffs as it does in nature. To 6″ tall forming multiplying rosettes up to a foot across. Moderate deer resistance. Oregon native plant.
Willamette Valley white Meadowfoam is such an unassuming plant with an incredible tough streak. Finely divided grass green leaves are completely obscured by the copious cup shaped white flowers. Opulent bloom begins in April and extends to early June. Forms connecting mounds that knit together into one sheet of ivory petals. Native to the central and southern Willamette Valley. It can be seen occasionally on road cuts and the gravel on street margins. But planted en masse it is spectacular. Excellent plant for tough, compacted, clay soils. To 4″ tall and each plant is about 1’wide. Leave spent dried stems where you want the next years display to be. Germination in autumn precedes most cold season weeds and forms an effective cover crop. Though prolific its well behaved enough to live between shrubs and even perennials. Excellent mixed with Baby Blue Eyes and Yellow and white Limnanthes douglasii. Water containerized plants at installation then none necessary. Self sown seedlings are MUCH more drought adapted and can germinate on soil as hard as concrete. Moderate deer resistance. Beautiful native wildflower.
Meadow foam is a native hardy annual that occupies the flood zones in the valleys in most of Central and northern California up through the Willamette Valley to Portland. To 4″ tall and up to a foot wide the grass green finely divided leaves are a great backdrop to the yellow flowers which are cleanly tipped white at the edge of the petals. Vigorously reseeds in any soil in full sun to part shade. Leave the dead straw to disperse the seeds or simply shake it where you would like next years display to be. And it WILL RESEED PROLIFICALLY- by early autumn you will achieve an enormous patch. Don’t worry if they are crowded the seedlings seem to work it out. This is a fantastic method for inhibiting winter weeds- YOU get to chose your weeds and this is an easy to deal with plant. A great annual to eclipse the fading foliage of bulbs. No supplemental water required. Completes its life cycle by the heat of summer and has already set hundreds of seeds for the following years crop. This from just one 4″ pot. Winter weeds are the worst cause we aren’t out there on patrol so this is greatly helpful. And the cycle begins again each year. Meadowfoam honey is wonderful btw. Very sweet with a sharp clover tang. Oregon native plant
White meadow foam is a prolific native hardy annual that covers the bottom of inland west coast valleys in white in mid- late spring. Demure plants are actually a floral power house with tons of pure white flowers creating a foaming ivory carpet in bloom. By the heat of summer this true annual ends its life cycle but not before producing millions of seeds to renew the display for the next year. Takes all kinds of soil including compacted dry clay. No additional water is required once established. Each plant is 4″ tall by 6″ wide and they grow together to form an impenetrable layer. One planted potted plant yields hundreds of seedling. White meadow foam is a stunning western native that deserves more use. Native to the Portland city limits. Oregon native plant.
When you want a wildflower effect why not turn to a true native wildflower- one that improves under cultivation. Blue flax is a native of prairies and hot hillsides on the East side of the Cascades. Thin multiple stems rise to 18″ tall and bear a succession of single sky blue flowers. Light and airy and blue and native. Easily grown perennial for full sun and rich well drained soil. Light summer water. Takes summer drought well but after the first round of flowers are spent give it a healthy haircut and the whole clump will bloom again and with irrigation it stays with us blooming until autumn. Drought adapted. Reseeds in open soil. Tiny rosette of leaves or none in winter. Oregon native plant.
One of our earliest blooming perennial umbels. This sweet little wild flower can be found in the central to eastern Columbia Gorge – closest to us. Extremely frilly blue gray foliage emerges in late winter and not far behind are the 8″ spikes of golden umbel flowers. A boone to early pollinators and welcome color in spring. Very well drained soil- best on a slope. In full sun with little to no summer water. Blooms February-April. To 1′ wide. Excellent in rock gardens, troughs, dry gardens. It can go summer dormant if too dry. For the first summer water it lightly but consistently through summer, in subsequent years it will be sustained by natural rainfall. High deer resistance. Oregon native plant.
Bare stem biscuit root is a locally native perennial that is found in rocky dry areas among clumping native grasses. The stemless rosette bears upright trifoliate glabrous blue leaves. 6″ stems rise up in late spring to earl summer with umbels of sulphur yellow flowers (sometimes purple). To establish, water thoroughly through the first month in the ground. Winter deciduous it emerges very early in spring. Loved by pollinators of all kinds. In the Willamette Valley this biscuit root grows in various biomes but is most common on dry hillsides. Festuca californica and Festuca roemeri are two native grasses seen with this plant in the wild. Full sun to light deciduous shade. Avoid standing water in winter. Long lived perennial once established. Excellent in gravel gardens. Leaves remain handsome after blooming. Spreads slowly to form colonies. Locally native in the Portland city limits. Drought adapted when established. Moderate deer resistance. Resents disturbance once established. Widespread in the west. Important pollinator plant. Oregon native plant.
Spring Gold or Biscuitroot is a widespread spring perennial from British Columbia south into northern California. In our area it occupies steep slopes and delights in mid-late spring with complex umbels of brilliant gold/yellow flowers. This tap rooted plant requires regular water for the first season- but never boggy, In enriched to average well drained soil. Excellent performance on slopes. Over time the rosette increases in width and spring flowers. Adapted life between native clumping grasses. This is easily replicated in a garden. An important native pollinator plant that was also used by native Americans as a food source. To 6″ tall in bloom a plant will achieve 2′ wide in half a dozen years. Strongly resents disturbance and a happy plant will live for decades. Not bothered by pests. Once native in the Portland area, its original range in W. Oregon has been substantially diminished. Great companion plant with Manzanita. Moderately deer resistant. Winter deciduous. Oregon native plant
PNW Orange Honeysuckle is one of our most showy native vines. Our region is sparse on native vines so this pretty plant is welcome. In late spring to summer clusters of brilliant orange tubular flowers decorate the branch tips. Loved by hummingbirds as well as other birds which is obvious, its also important for all native pollinators. The flowers change to brilliant red fruit which is consumed by wildlife and seldom lingers. Deciduous mid green foliage is verdant all through the season. As with the vast majority of Honeysuckle vines this plant nearly always goes leafless at the base. Expect this and plan for it. Strongly twining plant to 12′ tall and almost as wide. Provide strong support. Light consistent summer water to establish then very little necessary once established. (Also accepts regular summer H20). Excellent vine for country fences, decorating mailboxes etc. Protect from deer, otherwise it is pest and disease resistant- occasional mildew in the autumn is virtually harmless – great news for a honeysuckle. Blooms on wood from the previous season, prune if needed after flowering. Oregon native plant
Our locally native silver leaved lupine. A wildflower that beckons gardeners with incredible metallic silver foliage and spires of blue and white flowers from late spring into summer. It has some exacting requirements. Its best to know where you find it in the wild. Steep, steep cliffs and steep open road cuts. What do they have in common? Excellent drainage and little summer water. Spreading almost shrubby evergreen plant to 2′- 3′ wide on average. The very pretty fragrant flowers rise up to about 3′. It seems to resent a lot of competition from other plants- give it room, its own space and again, perfect drainage. Highly deer resistant also not as attractive to rabbits. Oregon native plant.
Catalina Ironwood is a tree locally native to the Channel Islands off of Southern California. Surprisingly hardy once established and older this spectacular evergreen tree in the rose family boasts amazing divided foliage with symmetrical scalloped serrations along each margin. Very pretty. The glossy aromatic leaves are seen to great advantage against the straight, red exfoliating trunk. In spring flat umbels of white flowers appear all over the tree. Fast growing in youth to its ultimate size here 25’+ tall in 15 years. Requires a protected location- such as against the wall of a large building. Avoid direct exposure to subfreezing wind. Little water once established. Wonderful tree for courtyards- protected areas. Fantastic performance at the Oregon Coast. Protect young trees from temperatures below 15ºF- wrap or swaddle in burlap or remay until arctic weather has passed. Reaches its full hardiness several years in the ground. There is a wonderful mature specimen of this tree at the McMennamens in St. John in PDX and scattered large specimens occur around the city. Nice, nice urban tree.
Elegant tar weed or Hayfield tar weed is a locally native annual that occupies (or occupied) sunny dry hillsides in selected regions of the western part of the state. Elegant tarweed references both the light tar like fragrance of the sticky 2′ stems and the elegance of the 1″ wide flowers that are the most showy of the genus. Daisy-like flowers range from pure yellow to yellow with a ring of maroon, white, or red around the center. One of our longest blooming annuals flowers appear from April to November. Remove spent flowers apply light irrigation and it will happily continue its show. Nice cut flower- but remember flowers take an afternoon nap and revive with darkness- kind of cool. The dried seeds of this species were a very important food source for native people. They would grind the oily seeds to make a kind of flour or press them to extract oil. To 2′ tall forming multi branched clumps. Re-seeds in places that it likes, mostly sunny, open places with good drainage. Native to the city limits of Portland, though no longer likely present. Fix that. An ebullient pretty native. Moderate deer resistance. Oregon native plant.
Oregon Grape, our ubiquitous state flower. This evergreen shrub can be found almost anywhere aside from the immediate coast to high Cascades west of the mountains. Its native from B.C. to Southern California. Variable shrub to on average 5′ tall and suckering as wide. In rich, happy conditions it will soar to 8′ or more and in more impoverished conditions it makes its life as a spreading low plant. In late February-April the top of the plant erupts in golden yellow incredibly fragrant flowers that are one of the first joys of spring. By late summer this flowers have transformed into clusters of dusty blue incredibly sour fruits. Often employed in the toughest situations where its performance is some what rough. It thrives in cultivation with light, consistent summer moisture. Tolerates heavy clay soils and summer drought. The pinnate leaves often take on purple/maroon tints in winter. Ours are cuttings native to our wholesale nursery site. So its a local plant. Full sun to part shade to quite a bit of shade at the expense of blooming and a lankier outline. Excellent deer resistance when established. Oregon native plant.
Cascades Mahonia is found throughout the western part of Oregon occupying shady environs under the tree canopy. Low growing creeping evergreen with large deep green leaves. They emerge in spring tinted bright salmon before settling to their mature color. In spring spikes of fragrant light yellow flowers appear and then turn into small edible blue berries. To just 2′ tall but a single plant can spread to 5′ wide in 6 years. Part shade to shade in rich, humusy soil with regular summer water. Established plants get by with nothing. Takes some patience to establish and a lot of water. Mulch annually. Moderately deer resistant. Oregon native plant.
Rare but excellent form of Cascades Mahonia that is actually found only in the redwoods of N. California to southern Oregon. A TALL upright growing shrub with thick trunks to 9′ eventually. It forms a clump of stems and can increase by suckering closely to the main clump and sending up new stems. Handsome foliage- pinnate dark green leaves to 1′ + long. In winter the whole shrub takes on great plum purple tones. In mid-spring trailing clusters of yellow flowers are followed by blue berries. Moderately slow growing evergreen shrub for part shade to dense shade. Established plants take dust dry conditions in shade. Accepts regular summer water as well- in well drained soil that is not compacted. Mulch each year with a coarse bark. Easy to grow. Appearance is very much like the M. x media hybrids. New growth emerges red. High deer resistance. Oregon native plant.
An incredibly widespread North American wildflower that is known by many different common names. In our region the preferred common moniker is Low False Solomons Seal. This rhizomatous perennial forms expansive colonies when happy. It appears as strongly arching stems clad in alternate wide green leaves. In late spring to early summer and dependent upon altitude small, white, starry flowers appear at the tips. After bloom they slowly morph into black berries. These can easily be dispersed by birds. Part shade in naturally mesic sites, that means woods on the north side of a slope in the Willamette Valley in shade beneath Douglas Firs and often consorting with sword ferns. To 10″ tall and forming expanding colonies. Winter deciduous, fall color is often a lingering gold before the whole plant disappears. Tellima grandiflora (fringe cups) and Claytonia sibirica ( candy flower) are also common associates. Part shade to shade in humus enriched soil with regular summer water. VERY established clumps can get by with natural rainfall. Avoid, hot dry sites, and stubborn dry clay. Mulch heavily after planting. Moderate deer resistance. Oregon native plant.
Shockingly showy little perennial wildflower that display relatively huge brilliant red tubular flowers from a somewhat demure plant. Deep green/maroon foliage is aromatic but gives no hint at the ultimate showiness of the flowers. Blooms appear continuously from late spring to autumn. Very well drained soil of moderate fertility in full sun. Light summer water but occasional deep soaks spurs flowers. Hummingbirds actually get down to ground level for this 3″ tall by 14″ wide matt forming perennial. Good drainage aids in cold hardiness for this striking California native wildflower. Exceptional and long blooming in containers.
Deer grass is native to large areas of the west coast from west central Oregon south through California. Its a tough and wild looking grass that peaks in autumn with a crescendo of dramatic flowers. Dense and fountain forming evergreen grass. Foliage to 2′ x 3′ very quickly. In autumn spikes of light tan thin but feather columns emerge and point out in every direction. The rise to about 5′ tall and remain as stiff skeletons well into winter. Full sun to very light shade in any soil that drains. Excels on slopes and raised beds. Wonderful lining a path or mass planted. Water to establish the first season then none in subsequent years. Its fully adapted to our dust dry summers. Very wild looking grass which can be tamed somewhat by planting in rows or symmetrical pattern. Otherwise it fits in perfectly between drought tolerant native shrubs like Manzanita and Ceanothus. Oregon native plant.
Pacific Wax Myrtle is native along the direct coast from Santa Barbara California to near Tofino, on Vancouver Island, BC. It forms a large evergreen shrub to eventually a small tree in time and has thin, pretty dark green foliage. Aromatic if bruised the leaves are deep green and lustrous year round. Tiny brown flowers change to waxy gray berries that line the stems but are not terribly conspicuous. Fast growing to 12′ tall and 8′ wide in 7 years. Adaptable to a variety of soils, including winter inundation. Soil that is too rich can lead to prodigious growth and an unsteady plant until it bulks up. Judicious pruning can keep it much smaller. Prune at any time of the year. An excellent, drought tolerant, cold tolerant shrub for a hedge, screen or small garden tree. Our material is from locally cold hardy stock. Easy. Tolerates salt spray- including first line strand conditions. Recently changed from Myrica to Morella. In time it can become a handsome rounded evergreen tree with contrasting pretty white bark. Oregon native plant.
Nodding needlegrass is a clump forming species native to western California south to northern Baja CA. Fine, fine medium green foliage appears in spring and is bright and fresh. In late spring stems rise to display the metallic tan, long needle like awns. They gracefully bend in every direction and are magical when tussled by the wind. They wave and sway gracefully and the light catches glints off the flowers. Very wild looking west coast grass that is at home in any well drained soil in full sun. Adaptable to light summer water and this improves the appearance and amount of blooms. To 2′ tall in bloom the basal clumps spread to about 1′ wide. Winter deciduous. Cut back hard in early spring before new growth starts. Completely adapted to summer drought once established and is a graceful and integral part of dry plantings. Seeds around a bit- expect this. Full sun.
Five spot is a showy and adorable west coast native true hardy annual that delights under oaks with 1″ wide white and blue flowers. One deep blue dot at the tip of each of the five petals. To 4″ tall and sprawling to 8″ wide the cheery flowers appear from late March to June before the plant completes its life cycle and dies and goes to seed. Reseeds reliably in open disturbed sites. Fine leaves on small rosettes tell the story in autumn. Self sown plants require no supplemental water. One potted plant will yield hundreds of seedlings for the following spring. West coast annuals are cool. Found in a small part of Josephine and Jackson counties in southern Oregon. Oregon native plant.
Baby Blue Eyes is a hardy annual wildflower native to the southern coast in the blue form. In the Willamette Valley up to about Portland the variety Nemophila menziesii ssp. Atomaria is the native form. It has large cup shaped flowers that are white on the inside w/ fine intricate black spotting and blue on the reverse of the petals. That is the form that I grew up with in the country near Eugene. This is a fascinating annual that is adapted to just about any soil that is not boggy. Finely divided foliage forms sprawling rosettes that support the nickel sized sky blue to pale blue flowers. Blooms April to June. Reliably reseeds in open disturbed sites and with a little protection from slugs and lack of competition. The whole plant is dead and chucking seed by the heat of summer and ultimately disappears on its own. Adaptable to full sun to light shade. Self sown plants get by with no supplemental irrigation- plants from containers seem to like regular water. In habitat it occupies slopes usually under the canopy of Oaks. To 4″ tall and 1′ wide. Excellent, long, showy display in reconstructed Willamette Valley meadows. and laugh at summer drought by finishing their life cycle and simply spreading anew by seed. We are actively searching for the ssp. atomaria but the seed is hard to obtain. Occurs natively with Erythronium oreganum, Dodecatheon hendersonii, Ranunculus occidentalis as well as Plectritis congesta. Oregon native plant.
Impressive selection of this wonderful native annual. Leaves are brightly frosted in white and make a great backdrop to the sky blue nickel sized flowers. Blooms April-June in part shade to full sun. AKA Frosty Blue Baby Blue Eyes. To 4″ x 6″ forming a spreading plant. Very attractive and it will reseed in the autumn or early spring- the seedlings are immediately identifiable by the silver foliage. Likes to germinate among other small plants/grasses for overwintering protection. Water to establish then only lightly until bloom has ceased and seed is set. The whole plant dies and decomposes almost instantly in the real heat of summer. Excellent in early season containers. This form was found in California but this is also an Oregon native plant.
Excellent Rocky Mountain native that we love for its long long season of bloom. Large luminous light yellow flowers held against silvery fine foliage. Completely deciduous in winter it sprouts anew each spring to form a fairly compact spreading clump. In June and continuously for two months a parade of large flowers obscures the leaves. To just 10″ tall but spreading to about 1/1/2′ wide annually. Full sun, very well drained soil and little summer water when established. Give it an open exposure with little crowding from other plants. Impervious to the most enervating dry heat. Hellstrips, rock gardens, hillsides. Moderate deer resistance. Seed grown.
Excellent form of this sprawling Rocky Mountain native evening primrose. Super silver leaves are held upright on a spreading plant. Beginning in June huge 3″ wide shimmering, luminous light yellow fragrant flowers appear almost daily for months. Full sun and rich, well drained soil with little summer water once established. Excellent performance in rock gardens as well as parking strips. The flowers are a really good shade of yellow and harmonize brilliantly with the silver foliage. Winter deciduous.
Grass widows or Grass maidens is a beautiful and fascinating perennial bulb that is native over a wide but scattered part of our region. Most common east of the Cascades it finds a home in several drier portions of the Willamette Valley. The summit of Spencer’s Butte south of Eugene is one location as are appearances in dry prairie in Benton county. One of the very first conspicuous wildflowers to emerge in February/March. From shallow soils, it lifts to 8″ tall with a wide nodding purple flower- the exact hue of each plant is slightly different. A clump of leaves follows the flowers before going neatly summer dormant. Best in rock garden conditions where you rely only on natural rainfall. Spreads in time to form quaint colonies. Once a Sisyrinchium this member of the Iris family is one of the dearest wildflowers for our gardens. Full sun- no shade at all and amend the soil w/ a handful of pumice. Water after planting until summer heat induces dormancy. Then never again. Seed grown. Avoid crowding from other plants. It can and has been overwhelmed by invasive exotic grasses. High deer resistance. Oregon native plant.
Tall growing hardy Cactus native to cold New Mexico. The pads are armed with 2″ orange thorns that will make you think twice about messing around. To 5′ tall and 4′ wide in 5 years in our climate. Multiplies quickly and large erect pads build up to probably the tallest Opuntia in our climate. In early to mid summer 5″ brilliant yellow flowers are a show stopper. They open just when its hot and sunny enough- closing in any dim conditions. Full, hot, all day sun and very well drained appropriately amended soil. On a slope, double dig the soil to oxygenate it and incorporate hefty amounts of pumice and gravel in the soil. Water regularly through the first summer to establish growth and then none in subsequent years. Extremely cold hardy. Locate away from paths, anywhere you might get too close. Remove deciduous leaves that become ensconced in the pads in autumn. Otherwise it can lead to rot. Long lived. High deer resistance.
Spectacular in bloom this is one of the easiest Opuntia (Prickily Pear Cactus) for our climate. Pads are fiercely armed and are blue/gray. The 2″ needles are formidable and begs that this plant be place away from paths. Spreading to 2′ tall x 4′ wide in very well drained poor soil with light summer water to establish. Avoid all shade- bright open conditions suite this native of the SW U.S. Avoid placing near deciduous trees where dropped leaves can collect on the plant- they are not only a pain in the ass to remove they must be to avoid rot in winter. Grows relatively fast- increasing before you know it. Amazing in large rock gardens as well as large containers. Amend the soil with pumice and gravel so that winter wet does not collect around the base. It will root through this deep into the ground. Once established it can get by with all that falls fro the sky. Huge yellow flowers with an orange center are 6″ wide an amazing when they appear in late spring to early summer. Highly deer resistant. Long lived.
Far and away our most vigorous clone of our native Oregon Sorrel. So named for the bright red underside of the leaves. In spring and sporadically into summer pure white flowers peek over the foliage. This is a fast colonizing plant that goes by underground stolons and it can cover several feet in a year. In time it will cover anything in part shade to shade in rich, hummus laden, moisture retentive soil. Piles up to about 6″ deep in no time. This form is decidedly evergreen. Use for wild areas to obstruct smaller weed growth- under decks, shady glens, other areas too dark for plants to grow. Oregon native plant.
Not the most original cultivar name but its aptly descriptive. Vigorous evergreen ground cover with dramatic hot pink flowers for weeks in spring. Spreads by underground stolons in rich, fertile, woodland conditions with regular summer water. To 4″ high and spreading many feet across shortly (in ideal conditions) . Part shade to shade. Very easy native perennial to grow. This is the second most vigorous Oxalis o. clone that we have behind ‘Klamath Ruby’. Simple pink flowers are pretty and rise up just above the foliage. AKA Redwood Sorrel or Oregon Sorrel. Long lived. Edible. Oregon native plant.
A GREAT PLANT PICK. This staunchly evergreen form of our native sorrel has deep green leaves marked with a silver chevron on each leaflet and large pink flowers in spring. Creeps to form an inpenetrable ground cover. To just 4″ tall but spreading to several feet wide within several years. Spreads underground by traveling stolons. A great native small scale ground cover for part shade to even dense shade. Regular summer water is beneficial but not necessary once the plant is up and going. Very easy to grow climate adapted evergreen perennial ground cover. Oregon native plant.
I found this form of our native Redwood Sorrel in a drier and hotter part of the Siskiyous than what is normally the range for this woodland plant. Large soft green leaves have a silver chevron in the center of each leaflet. In spring very large pale pink/lavender flowers appear with a central yellow eye. Very showy. ideal candidate for dry shade- give it mulch and plenty of water to established then this form seems much more drought and heat adapted than the familiar forms on the market. Forms a semi-evergreen ground cover in shade. Edible. Part shade, shade, regular summer water. Spreads underground by stolons. Oregon native plant.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Stellar border Penstemon with several qualities that rises above the rest. To 30″ tall forming multiple spikes of deep purple tubular flowers. The flowers appear continuously if spent spikes are removed. Glossy deep green foliage is disease resistant, and for a border type it is exceptionally hardy to cold. Forms a bloomy, long lived perennial for flower borders or hillsides or meadows in full sun to light shade. Light, regular summer water in rich, well drained soil. Cut back hard in early spring. Blooms continuously until frost and beyond.
An easy to cultivate blue flowered Penstemon that is an exhilarating color and is incredibly showy for the 4-6 weeks it remains in bloom. Flowers begin in May and slack off with really hot weather. A semi-woody perennial native to the baking hot Sierra Nevada foothills of California. Full sun and fast draining soil with light summer water. Excellent performance in blazing hot hell strips. To 14″ tall and as wide. Cut back hard in early spring. Mulch annually with compost. Provide good air circulation.Seems to thrive and live longer in average soil, and slope is a plus. I’ve had this west coast native Penstemon persist in my garden for 8 solid years. Very good. Nice cut flower. And if you give it a drink after cutting it back it may reward you with another show. Handles reflected heat very well.
One of our very favorite of all perennials at Xera. This extraordinary Penstemon is actually native to south central Mexico, but glory be its actually cold hardy here. Smaller, profuse tubular intense red flowers line strong stems. This bushy plant expands with the season and there will be scores of bloom spikes. To 2′ x 2′ but it can and has exceeded that. This EVERBLOOMING perennial is incredibly adaptable as well as an almost over performer. The flowers are small enough that they create a haze of red rather than a wall of red and it finds color compatibility with purples, and oranges. Full sun in rich to average soil that is never boggy. Slight improvement to the soil with result in a cloud of flowers for months. Irresistible to hummingbirds and pollinators in general. Bloom which is constant can even extend well into winter shrugging off light frosts. Considering its native origin in Oaxaca its fantastic that it thrives to perfection in our climate. So far its happily weathered temperatures down to 5ºF. This is a outstanding perennial with a sophisticated flower color and a massive display of bloom for months. Cut back by 2/3 in early spring. It will resume growing almost immediately. We obtained this plant form David Mason and we are forever in his debt. Glossy thin foliage in handsome.
Pine leaved Penstemon is a native of the southern Rocky Mountains and its a long lived, easy to grow evergreen perennial for rock gardens, hot aspects and slopes. Well drained soil in full sun to very light shade in rich to average soil. Light but consistent summer moisture increases vigor which in turn increases the amount of flowers. Incredibly heavy blooming wildflower with masses of 7″ spikes holding tubular hot orange flowers. Very showy and irresistible to Hummingbirds. Blooms May to July. Cut back spent flowers to tidy. Low mat forming plant with grass green pine like foliage. Easy to grow perennial with a wonderful wildflower display. Very adapted to our climate. Photo credit: Bob Hyland. Hyland Garden Design.
Excellent and very heavy blooming color form of Pine leaved Penstemon. Forming a spreading evergreen mat of bright green needle like foliage it erupts in a multitude of 8″ spikes with soft melon orange tubular flowers suspended on the wiry stems. Blooms begin in May and extend to July. Full sun and well drained sites in average to enriched soils. In clay soils add a handful of pumice to the planting hole. Full sun and light but consistent summer moisture. A wonderful flower color with a fantastic floral display on this easy to grow long lived perennial. Spreads eventually to about 18″ wide (foliage is low- goes no higher than 4″). Excellent hummingbird plant. Native to the southern Rocky mountains- it loves our climate as well.
A really cool color switch for this normally bright orange species. The dusty red tubular flowers rise taller on this cultivar than others to 18″ and it forms a less dense clump of pine leaved low evergreen foliage. Found and named by David Salman of High Country Gardens we’ve found this to be an excellent performer in our climate. Full sun and enriched, well drained soil with light consistent summer water. The flower appear for weeks from May to July. Very forgiving perennial that thrives in rock gardens or dry slopes. Long lived. Hummingbirds.
Immensely showy and easy to grow Penstemon with many 2′ spikes lined in bright coral tubular flowers. Blooms May to July from a basal rosette of deep green foliage. Full sun and well drained, enriched soil. Add a layer of compost yearly to spur vigor. Good air circulation. Remove spent flowers and often more will appear. Light consistent summer water.
Native perennial with a comfy sophisticated look. In the wild it occupies the land just up the flood plain from rivers in part shade and rich moist soil. Its also found just up on the first bench of land past the beach where it grows among native Cow Parsley and Salal. Under dry conditions it simply goes summer dormant. Large felted leaves form a dome from the top of which pale blue outward facing flowers appear in late spring to summer. To 16″ tall and as wide in part shade and well drained soil. This plant improves under cultivation. Light summer moisture or none when established. Native in the central and southern Oregon coast range with a disjunct population in Grays County, Washington. One of our showiest Phacelias and most garden worthy. Winter deciduous. Oregon native plant.
Scorpion weed is a beautiful native perennial found on rocky slopes/ hillsides/road cuts throughout California and western Oregon. Handsome corrugated trifoliate leaves are silver and have a pointed tip. In May-July curled flower inflorescences arise unfurling as they bloom to reveal rows of mauve/blue flowers. To 2′ tall in bloom it forms a handsome dome of evergreen foliage to 14″ across. The leaves are the most striking and conspicuous feature of this plant. Pollinators adore the flowers and its especially important for native bees. Full sun to very light shade, average, well drained soil. Light summer water. Excellent in the front of borders. Wonderful bold contrast with other fine leaved silver beauties- it even shines with lavender. As you hike throughout the mountainous parts west of the Cascade Crest the incredibly handsome leaves are sure to catch your eye. Easy to grow and perfectly climate adapted. Oregon native plant.
Perhaps there is no more blue flower than desert blue bells. An excellent and long blooming hardy annual that is at home in container as well as the ground. Often it will reseed prolifically from just one pot. To 6″ tall and as wide. Full sun and rich to average well drained soil. Light, consistent summer water keeps it going. Otherwise it will go away but not before setting seed for the following season. The vivid blue bell shaped flowers attract pollinators. Good western wildflower.
Sticky Phacelia is a hardy annual native to southern California chaparral into northern Baja. It bears intense blue flowers in late spring to early summer. It will often reseed in open disturbed sites if we have a mild winter. Incredibly attractive to bees and pollinators as all blue flowers seem to be. Full sun and well drained soil. Mixes well with summer perennials and if you give it a light shear and a drink when the first round of flowers are spent often more will erupt. To 11″ tall and spreading a bit. Fantastic wildflower effect. Native west coast annuals deserve a respected place in our gardens. Blue- scintillating blue. Works well in containers also. Light, consistent water to bloom.
No offense to natives but I’ve always found our native mock orange to be kind of a dull one note shrub. Sure, its showy in bloom and certain specimens can be sweetly fragrant but once its done blooming…yawn. What do you do with it? Instead plant this highly improved selection with enormous semi-double white sweetly fragrant flowers. Each blossom is fully 2″ across and they come in such abundance in June that whole 9′ x 8′ frame is flocked like an enormous wedding gown. Some repeat bloom through summer. Same wild habit as the species which is nice- but incredibly showy in bloom. Full sun to part shade in average, well drained soil. Drought adapted. Great scaffold for summer Clematis. Blooms on old wood, prune AFTER flowering if needed. Forms a distinctive large vase shape. Fall color is soft yellow and brief. Adaptable to both cultivated and feral/wild areas. Tough and climate adapted shrub. Oregon native plant.
Excellent smaller shrub with distinctive very small silver foliage and in June a plethora of single white flowers with the intense, penetrating fragrance of grape soda. To 5′ x 3′ forming an upright rounded deciduous shrub. Full sun and regular water to establish the first year then none in subsequent years. This may or may not be a hybrid- it really looks like the straight species. P. microphyllus which is native to the American Southwest. Tough and hardy and very drought tolerant shrub that is well scaled for smaller gardens. Fall color is bright yellow. Blooms appear on wood from the previous season. Prune directly after flowering is over- if needed. Selected by our friend garden designer Charles Price, he gave this to us and we thought it was distinct enough to deserve his name.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Pacific ponderosa pine is a lovely tree native west of the Cascades from about the Portland area (with some outliers farther north) south to northern California. Our form is from locally collected seed. Slow growing in youth this pine picks up speed in its teens and grows almost exponentially from there. Pacific ponderosa pine is known for it tall straight crowns of lush green needles in clumps of three. This tree is excellently adapted to our winter wet/summer dry climate and even small trees can endure the very longest, driest, hottest summers with no visible stress. Its adaptable to all types of soil – not fussy and is even found in the most well drained stranded flood cobbles of major rivers. To 125′ in time with ulitimate height of close to 200′ in great age – expect a 3′ tall tree to be about 15′ tall in 10 years. Full sun- not very shade tolerant and when planting with other trees anticipate at least a 25′ wide crown in the future. Needles can drop profusely in September which is a bit of a mess. Take note of this. Underplant with other drought adapted natives. Water to establish for the first summer then none in subsequent years. A regal pine that is among the tallest in the world. Oregon native plant.
Gray Pine or Foothill Pine native almost exclusively to the mountains of California- but there are several outlying native populations in Jackson, County Oregon so we can claim it as our own as well. Known as the tree that casts no shade, its almost completely true as the long gray needles allow almost all light through. Large pine tree with gray foliage- usually forks about 1/2 way up into two main trunks, these are buttressed to support the huge cones which can weigh 5lbs or more. Excellent performance in the Willamette Valley where many are seen around old farm houses and older neighborhoods. Perfectly hardy to cold in our climate and incredibly drought adapted. In fact it shuns all irrigation and is ideal for hot dry locations. Grows very fast in youth, settles down a little with age. Its ultimate height is around 35′-45′ in our climate. A smokey, silvery, shadeless skyline tree. Oregon native plant.
This charming true poppy relative is also known as Cream Cups. Easy to see when the cup shaped flowers open during the sunniest time of the day. The petals are various shades of yellow with cream veining. Or is it the other way around? Either way its adorable beyond measure as this little thread leaf clump forming true annual pops into bloom in our climate from late April to early June. Not a prolific self seeder but I’ve heard once you get it where it likes it then its yours. To 5″ tall when the flowers top out. Full sun and average to rich well drained soil. Not difficult. West coast annuals are wonderful not only for their color, texture, and forms but of their endearing nature. They are tough little plants with a delicate appearance. Light summer water extends the bloom before high heat finally ends the show and seeds go flying. No shade. Rock gardens, spring borders. High deer resistance. This little beauty though mainly found in California comes just into Oregon in Curry and Josephine counties. Oregon native plant.
Sea Blush, or more commonly Rosy Plectritis is a locally native hardy annual in the Valerian family. In April-June it swarms meadows and glens with orbicular globes of dense fragrant pink flowers. They rise on average to about 10″ tall. Rich soil will yield larger plants. Excellent bulb cover for late narcissus, tulips etc. Fun to grow heavily reseeding annual that also makes a sweet cut flower. It can be found in the western third of the state. Also wonderful with Pacific Coast Iris as they bloom concurrently. Sets seed and dies by mid summer when the spent carcasses may be removed- when doing that give them a shake where you want next years display to occur. Make sure not to cover the seed, native annual seed requires light to germinate and it will very quickly sprout with the first cool fall rains. Traditionally, Rosy Plectritis can be found in a mix of perennial and annual communities. In its many habitats it can be found with Oregon Iris (Iris tenax) and often Giant Blue Eyed Mary (Collinsia grandiflora). Water to establish as plants- then none. Full sun to very light shade. New seedlings have paddle shaped true leaves with a rubbery texture. High deer resistance. Native in the Portland city limits. Oregon native plant.
Our native pink Jacob’s Ladder is a great plant for gardens. Hailing from valleys adjacent to the Cascades as well as the coastal strip the finely divided foliage of this clumping perennial is attractive but enhanced when the clusters of very pretty flowers open the palest pink aging to lavender over several days. Full sun to part shade in rich moisture retentive soil. To 28″ tall and somewhat spreading. Blooms for an extended period from April to June. Summer drought will bring dormancy but a little bit of water keeps it green. Great tolerance to dry clay soils and it persists in conditions that would end lesser perennials. Mixes well at the margins of woodlands or the front of perennial borders. Even in its habitat it tends to flop, or rather lean on its neighbors. Expect this and use it to an advantage. The softly colored flowers will wind into other plants playfully and you can achieve really cool and wild appearing vignettes. Very good in concert with native Geranium oreganum as they bloom simultaneously. A really pretty native perennial. Adaptable to heavy clay soils. Soars in rich, amended soils and can be quite a bit larger than I’ve listed. Fairly good cut flower. Oregon native plant.
Our native Licorice Fern that has a backwards season. It emerges all fresh and happy with the first cool weather and rains in autumn and persists that way until hot weather takes hold, then it quietly (and cleanly) disappears. Forms spreading colonies on any light surface including the vertical slopes of rocks and trees. The base of the plant forms an interconnected series of rhizomes that cling to anything. It escapes all drought and heat by summer dormancy. Neat trick. If you detach the fronds and bite into the base of the petiole it delivers a strong anise/licorice flavor. This remarkable plant should be common in living walls and green roofs that would require no supplemental irrigation- and actually thrive and look healthy. Excellent performance in the ground in rich, well drained soil. Water as they say is irrelevant. Highly deer resistant. Oregon native plant.
Coast Polypody or creeping leather fern is an evergreen colony forming plant that is native from British Columbia south along the coast to even the Guadelupe Island off of Baja. It makes its home as an epiphyte trees, logs, rocks, the ground almost anywhere it finds adequate moisture and shade. During the summer it will take a surprising amount of dryness but we recommend light consistent irrigation for the best appearance and to spur multiplication. Fronds to 10″ long with rounded lobes. Excellent garden plant, grows very well in rich to average soil as well. Good year round appearance. A native fern that should be grown all the time. Great in winter containers- excellent winter appearance with little maintenance. Protect from hot sun. Highly deer resistant. A natural for the Oregon coast which is its native home. Oregon native plant.
Soft Shield fern is native to Alaska- well points north in general. That means its bone hardy to cold but its also a fantastic evergreen fern for dry shade in our region. Finely divided fronds taper to 2′ long. The central stem is a soft furry brown- good contrast. Spreading colony creating fern to 3′ across. It has the unique habit of vivipary. It makes small new plants spontaneously right off the frond. Useful. Good looking appearance year round. Rich, moisture retentive soil with regular water to establish. Incredibly drought adapted when older – as long as its in shade. High deer resistance. May be cut back hard in early spring to refreshen. Grows very quickly.
Slender Cinquefoil is a common, somewhat quiet but easy to grow long lived native perennial. Palmate leaves are conspicuously serrated on long stems. In early to mid summer 20″ stems support multiple clumps of sunny single yellow flowers. Full sun to part shade in average to enriched soil. Water to establish the first season then let it go with seasonal rainfall. Wild looking perennial that shines in borders, among shrubs and along the urban wild lands interface. Very pretty clustered at the foot of Holodiscus whose bloom is simultaneous. Loved by pollinators and an important food source for many butterflies. Native from SW. British Columbia south to San Diego County California. Often found in Ponderosa pine forests. Blooms much more heavily in full sun and improves under cultivation. Winter deciduous. Little deer resistance. Rose family. These are seed raised from Willamette Valley populations so it is the local form. Oregon native plant.
As a child in the country near Eugene this was one of the first wildflowers I learned to identify. And its a beautiful and fascinating native perennial. This ‘weed’ circles the world but our locally native form is an exceptional improvement. Lance shaped basal leaves (the trick for identifying our local sub-species) forms stout upright stems. They are crowned with ‘cones’ that have whorls of showy deep purple tubular flowers- they appear continuously for up to 6’weeks into August decorating the tops of a 1′ tall plant. Spreads to form a clump as wide and appreciates average to enriched soil in full sun. Regular summer water increases vigor and lengthens the bloom time. A very charming native cut flower that produces new blooms continuously after its picked. This is a very important plant for native pollinators. Also, it differs from the pan-weedy form in larger cones and much showier flowers. Its a larger plant as well. Adapts to clay soils with regular irrigation to establish. A natural magnet for butterflies. Blooms May-August. In our region it is now found primarily away from the valley in upland valleys to alpine meadows and scree. A good native weed that is a great garden plant as well. Oregon native plant.
Canyon live oak is a vastly underused, beautiful evergreen native tree. Found from Lane county, Oregon south through California, slight parts of Nevada around Lake Tahoe and sporadically in Arizona and even New Mexico. This venerable tree is found on the steepest slopes of canyons and mountain ridges. In Oregon it represents the northern most native Live Oak or evergreen oak in North America. Leaves are glossy army green on the the top with a conspicuous furry gold underside. This is a rugged, tough tree that should be used in both gardens and as a street tree. In the Alameda neighborhood in Portland there is an ancient specimen to 60′ tall and wide with a large trunk. This heritage tree was reportedly brought to the city from southern Oregon via horse and wagon. Slow growing in youth it picks up speed exponentially several years after planting. To 40′ x 20′ in 30 years with a broad spreading crown. In the wild it often forms a gnarled multi-trunked rounded outline. Its very possible to train this tree to a single trunk/leader to extend the crown skyward. Extraordinarily cold hardy enduring temperatures slightly below 0ºF with no difficulty. The large acorns are born in a showy golden hued furry cups- and are produced profusely in banner years. Water to establish for the first season then none in subsequent years. Full sun. Beautiful, native Oak that we cherish at Xera. Oregon native plant.
Oregon white oak. A monarch of a tree locally native and forming Qak Savanna communities in the Willamette Valley that preceded european development. Slow growing tree of great age and grace. Deep green foliage forms dappled domes in the high rounded canopy. Birds and wildlife adore this completely summer drought adapted tree. To 130′ but not in your lifetime. Our acorn source is local. Whitish bark in patches and it will often develop pure white patches at the base- an outlet for sodium from the constantly saturated Oregon winter soils. Tolerates the most impenetrable clay and shuns summer irrigation. Fall color is russet orange. Grows just 2′-3′ a year in youth -if really happy. This as all oaks has what are referred to as banner years. In certain years huge amounts of acorns are produced. This is thought to overwhelm predators and at least a fair amount can germinate. Famous for its moss covered enormous branches which have been likened to the perfect depiction of a Grimm’s Fairy Tale. Oregon native plant.
Silver Leaf Oak from Arizona is a favorite tree at Xera. Tall, rounded evergreen tree with skinny but thick leaves that are sage green on top and silver white on the underside. Its handsome all the time and even prettier when the gold catkins protrude from the foliage in spring. Naturally develops a straight trunk. Fast growing tree in our climate to 35′ in 12 years. Casts dense shade but tolerates limited summer water. Extraordinarily cold hardy. It has endured subzero readings in Eugene without injury and I even encountered one in a garden in Denver. The leaves were kind of toasted from the previous winters -17ºF(!) but it was obviously thriving. Native to the mountains of SE Arizona at very high elevations and that translates to LOVE for our climate. Exceptional leaf form and shape. Be aware that in time this tree can cast quite dense shade. Wonderful on hot summer days but also inhibiting sun loving gardening. Makes you think. Wonderfully pest and disease resistant foliage- it always looks good.
Photo credit: Amy Campion
I collected the acorns of this tree near Lake Isabella, CA in the southern Sierra Nevada. It was a particularly handsome form of what can be a less than majestic species. Densely foliaged with a straight upright trunk about 25′ tall with a rounded crown. Wow. We hope the progeny are as cool. Interior Live Oak of California. Evergreen tree to 25′-35′ tall with a spreading crown. Was native in Oregon in the past as hybrids known as Mohr Oaks (Quercus kelloggii x Quercus wislezenii) still can be found. Hardy to short shots to 0ºF. Grows about 2′-3′ a year in youth. Water to establish the first year then none in subsequent years.
Western Buttercup is our own wonderful wildflower. This is the real thing and NOT the invasive Ranunculus ficaria or repens. Traditionally it occupies open Oregon Oak woodlands and meadows including vernally wet meadows. Though it handles winter inundation it is also adapted to upland situations and in every biome it goes quickly summer dormant. Rosettes of pretty pinked leaves elongate in bloom to an airy spray of bright yellow flowers. Intimately, the petals have a glossy sheen. And growing up in the country it was traditional to put a picked flower under your chin and the reflected color yellow revealed that indeed you did like butter. Great cut flower that peaks on May Day and has made many a wild flower bouquet with purple Oregon Iris and purple Dodecatheon hendersonii- Shooting stars. Pictured here with Common Camas Camassia quamash at the Camassia reserve in West Linn, Oregon. Blooms from mid-April to early June. Vast meadows of western Oregon still harbor this sweet short lived perennial. Adapted to heavy clay soils- reseeds when happy. Suitable for mowed meadows as long as it has gone to seed by the time you mow. Wait until June. Good competitor with invasives and absolutely integral to a Willamette Valley meadow. High deer resistance. Oregon native plant
Mexican Hats are iconic flowers of the southwest american prairies. Slender plants that rise up to 2′ feet with adorable flowers, red petals reflexed around a black prominent cone. The red petals are mostly outlined in yellow. Forgiving wildflower for full sun any well drained soil with regular summer water. Remove spent flowers to spur more- this will keep it in continuous bloom. Cute cut flower and the little flowers really do look like sombreros. Winter deciduous. Will often self sow in open disturbed soils.
The biggest black eyed susan daisy of them all. Towering to 7’+ the sturdy straight stems of this hardy American plains native perennial displays very large yellow flowers with drooping petals reflexed away from a prominent black central cone. The thick stems rise up from a low mound of foliage. Blooms all summer long and often into October. Loved by pollinators of all kinds it also makes a really cool and surprisingly long lasting cut flower. Put this beauty in the back of a border where its sunny yellow flowers can wave to the sky. Light summer water in any well drained soil. Full sun to avoid flopping.
Coast gooseberry or black gooseberry is an intricately branched native deciduous shrub that is incredibly important to wildlife as well as pollinators. Mounding and spreading with fine and prickly needles housed at each node. The maple shaped leaves have a fine skunk aroma up close. To 4′ x 6′ in the extreme this moderately fast growing plant is best in full sun but can handle quite a bit of shade-especially deciduous shade. This species is never common and its found mainly west of the Cascades The small pendulous flower feature red petals surrounding a white corolla. These morph into prickly sour fruits whose final color ripens to black. Fall color is soft yellow to orange and brief. Light consistent summer water in a average to enriched, well drained soil. The berries are edible but intensely sour and make fine food for a wide range of cool birds. Native to the Portland city limits. Excellent shrub for remediation of wild sites. This pretty shrub makes a great transitional plant for wild areas and has a wild look itself. Blooms on wood from the previous season. Prune if needed AFTER flowering. Oregon native plant
Really excellent form of Chaparral Currant with 3″ soft pink flowers that appear at any point during winter well into spring. A summer deciduous shrub to 8′ x 5′ in 7 years. Leaves drop completely by September and then re leaf as fall rains progress. Surprisingly hardy for its origin- California’s Channel Islands. Full sun to part shade and well drained average soil. Great on a slope. Loved by overwintering Anna’s hummingbirds. Flowers are surprisingly cold hardy and are undamaged to the upper teens. If those that are open are spoiled by frost more will follow after the thaw. Very very drought tolerant, No supplemental water required when established. Loses most of its leaves in summer drought. Grows fairly quickly and is never a dense shrub- all the better to see the pendant flowers. Dry borders, shrub borders, winter gardens. This shrub loves our climate and is supremely adapted to a winter wet/summer dry regime. Moderate deer resistance. Excellent winter blooming shrub. A beacon to Anna’s Hummingbirds.
Excellent improved form of the already popular white flowered Flowering Currant. This form sports foliage that is deeply divided- very pretty- and a more dense and compact habit. Its an incredibly heavy blooming form that has great garden application. To 4′ x 5′ in 7 years with a rounded mounded habit. In late February- April pendant clusters of pure white flowers glow in the early spring sunlight. The buds emerge chartreuse and then become pure sparkling white. This was bred and selected at OSU. And so far has been rare on the market. Full sun to quite a bit of shade with light consistent summer water to establish. Then- it can survive on all that falls from the sky. Takes light irrigation in gardens but never soggy and never soggy during hot weather. Fall color is yellow/orange and brief. Sour fruits are dusky blue in summer. Moderate deer resistance. Derivative of an Oregon native plant. PPAF.
As luck would have it this lime/chartreuse foliaged variant of our locally native and cherished flowering currant appeared at our nursery. We’ve grown it for years now and it is so much tougher and more reliable than the closely related R. s. ‘Brocklebankii’. Which seems like such a great idea but that most people kill. This is an easier to grow more robust plant. Hot pink flowers contrast in a great way with the lime colored vivid foliage. To 8′ tall and 4′ wide in 7 years. Part shade and regular water to establish the first year then none in subsequent years. Adaptable to many types of soils. Will not burn in full sun but isn’t as happy. Add pep to wild areas. Brighten up shady environs. Blue,very sour fruits appear in early summer. Grows quickly to its ultimate size. Moderate deer resistance. This is a wonderful shrub. (Big pride). Oregon native plant.
Xera Plants Introduction
Flowering Currant. One of the most conspicuous flowering shrubs over the western half of Oregon. From extreme Southwest BC to northern California. .This v shaped and arching shrub protrudes from highway plantings like a chandelier of pink flowers. Each chain of flowers is a slightly different shade of pink to white on this batch of seedlings. To 9′ x 9′ forming somewhat open shade. Blooms on old wood, prune if needed AFTER flowering has ended in late spring. Fall color ranges from pink to orange and quite often yellow. We had several shrubs of this plant where I grew up. We randomly harvested the branches for cute flowers for almost two generations and none of the plants suffered. They were wild plants and as good as any named variety. Blooms March to April and then maple shaped leaves unfurl and are a quilted nice texture. Full sun to quite a bit of shade at the expense of flowering. Dusty blue fruits cascade in chains as the leaves drop in fall. These are immensely sour fruits. Best on hillsides poking through the rest of the underbrush. Flowers which have a slight skunk funk force easily if brought inside. One of Oregons greatest native flowering shrubs. Moderate deer resistance. Water to establish then only occasionally. Oregon native plant.
Fuchsia flowering gooseberry is a fantastic shrub for dry shade. Heavily armed arching stems produce rows of pendant blood red flowers beginning in December and continuing to early spring. Retains leaves in winter – loses them in heat and drought. Little to no water once established. Best in part shade with good drainage. The millions of little red flowers are irresistible to over wintering Anna’s hummingbirds. Locate away from paths…the thorns on this California native shrub have a bite. To 5′ x 6′ in 7 years. Dramatic in bloom which lasts for months. Tough and beautiful. A component in my California landscapes. From an understory chapparel shrub in central California to a common component of that community in the south. Remember that it will go drastically deciduous in mid summer. It looks bad but this is temporary. As with many dry/mediterranean climate adapted shrubs it has a reverse dormancy. Fresh green and blooming during the cool wet season and deciduous and resting to wait out the heat. Prone to growing low and spreading at first then it sends up large vertical whips.
One of the most spectacular of the flowering currants. This hybrid between the yellow eastern Ribes odoratum and our locally native pink flowered western Ribes sanguineum splits the good looks with chains of coral orange flowers with a faint yellow center. Salmon up close the color reads as orange from farther away. Blooms March/April for weeks on a large spreading shrub for part shade and rich, well drained soil. Consistent summer moisture- do not let it dry completely nor should it ever be soggy. Extremely cold hardy with orange/yellow fall color. To 8′ x 8′ in 8 years. Blooms on wood from the previous year- prune AFTER flowering if needed.
Mist Maidens are an integral part of spring in western Oregon. These delicate looking beauties are actually iron tough. Clouds of white flowers sway above rubbery scalloped foliage beginning in early March and continuing to early June. They have the light fragrance of vanilla. Hot weather shuts them down and they quickly retreat to their bulbous roots to wait out summer in dormancy. Once established they require little interevention from humans. Let them romp around in the spring border with such similar perennials as Primula sieboldii and Viola corsica. Just don’t forget that they are there when they magically disappear. To 10″ tall and about as wide. In favored circumstances this Oregon native will happily self sow. Pretty and fresh as spring. Found locally in the coast range in Washington and Yamhill county. Once much more widespread. Pretty leaves, pretty flowers, easy to please. Oregon native plant.
Improved version of the Matilija Poppy that we love to let colonize our dry hillsides. Enormous 8″ wide ruffled pure white flower petals surround a furry central yellow zone. This cultivar has bigger flowers, more of them and bluer foliage. Unfortunately, it is no less vigorous and will take all the real estate you can give it. Thats easily 10′ x 35′ in 5 years. Best in contained areas. Full sun and average, well drained soil. To 8′ tall in bloom. Transplant very carefully, do not disturb the roots- rather dig a hole and gently set the whole undisturbed rootball in there. Water regularly for the first season to establish then none in subsequent years. Stems will usually freeze to the ground in winter. Removes these in February before new growth starts. Strongly deer resistant. Native to S.California.
These are seed grown Matilija Poppies. They are very vigorous and will produce 5″ wide pure white flowers with a yellow center from June to September. Soft blue-gray foliage rises on 7′ stems which support the flowers. Full sun and very well drained soil and room to roam. Can travel many tens of feet in unobstructed space. Dies to the ground in winter. Cut back dead stems in spring when new growth emerges. Fried Egg Flower from Southern California. Moderate deer resistance. Wild areas, hillsides, the back 40. Spectacular in bloom.
Silently living its beautiful life in a seasonally flooded ditch near our wholesale nursery we spotted this deep pink flowering variant of our locally native Nootka rose. Intensely fragrant deep pink single flowers appear from May-July. followed by brilliant red hips that ripen in fall. The first and second year canes carry a heavy mahogany tone that is as conspicuous as the deep pink showy flowers. An incredibly tough and adaptable native rose that can endure both seasonally flooded locations and desiccating summer drought. Even the foliage has a sweet fragrance. Carefree shrub that spreads to form colonies and rises to about 4′ tall on average. Laughs at the heaviest, driest clay soils. Red/orange fall color. Not a shrub for shy neighbors, this rose will win. Give it ample room and plan ahead. Oregon native plant.
Xera Plants Introduction
This golden leaved form of our native Salmon Berry is an exciting variation for wild areas. The brilliantly colored foliage sparkles with deep pink flowers in spring. In summer it produces salmon colored sweet, edible berries. To 7′ tall and spreading as wide as it would like. Full sun (with irrigation) to quite a bit of high overhead shade. Give this colonizing plant room to spread. It appreciates moist soil but is very tough when established. Deciduous- though it is a short period and the brilliant new leaves begin emerging in late winter. Stream banks, the back area of woodlands, wild areas. Moderate deer resistance. Increases by suckering stolons. Easy native to brighten wild woods. Oregon native plant.
Our native coneflower found in the Cascades. Look! It forgot the petals. Yup thats our boy. Clump forming tall perennial for moist sunny sites. Rich, soil with ample humus. Easy to grow in a perennial border where you can take advantage of the austere look of the flowers, when they come en masse at the end of 30″ stems they are something to behold. Very good cut flower and it goes with a very modern aesthetic. Full sun. Completely deciduous in winter. Oregon Native Plant.
This species has yielded some very good cold and wet tolerant cultivars. This selection from Monterey Bay Nursery in Watsonville, CA has proved to be one of the best performers. Masses of outward facing candy pink flowers swarm the stems of this large, semi-woody Salvia. The flowers begin in May and continue unabated to frost. This is a very good hue of pink, very mixeable with other colors without clashing. To 2′ tall x 2′ wide in a single season. Well drained soil of rich to average fertility. Double dig the soil before planting to incorporate oxygen and improve drainage as well as water permeability. It excels on slopes in full all day sun with just light summer water. Flowers continue through the hottest weather- good trait in our climate where many others take a break in in the mid to upper 90’s. Drought adapted when established. Do not cut back until new growth emerges in spring- then it can be taken back by 2/3rd. New growth will erupt from semi-woody stems around the base and you are up and running. Herbaceous below about 15ºF. Returns from the base if established. Hummers, butterflies, chicks without bras dancing around like nymphs. Its got it all. Moderate deer resistance.
This purple flowered royal sage has impressed us for years with its hardiness to cold, true purple flowers and tolerance of cold winter wet. A loose spreading perennial that adorns its tips with royal purple flower from June to frost. Never dense it prefers full hot sun and very well drained soils and light but consistent summer water. To 18″ tall by 2′ wide in time. Do not cut back until new growth pushes in spring. It needs a woody framework of branches to protect the overwintering crown. Takes blasting hot conditions. Moderate deer resistance. Very long blooming perennial that doesn’t flinch at heat and drought. The royal purple flowers are held in black calyxes. Excellent on slopes. Some wonderful companions are Epilobium (Zauschneria) septentrionalis ‘Select Mattole’ and Cuphea cyanea ‘hirtella’. Long lived perennial.
Very good Salvia that blooms non-stop medium purple flowers for months in summer well into autumn. Tall growing to 3′ and somewhat wispy. A possible hybrid with the blue flowered Salvia chamaedryoides. Hummingbirds love this free blooming hardy perennial. Freezes to the ground below the mid 20’s. Returns from the base in spring. Rich, WELL DRAINED soil in full sun. Drainage in winter is the key. Add some pumice and gravel to the planting hole and water consistently to this plant good and established. Do not cut back in the spring until you actually see new growth pushing. Then remove all the dead material. Regains stature quickly in spring.