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
Biome: Western Native
Native is a relative term. Plants don’t follow political boundaries and in fact they cluster and move according to climate and to a lesser extent soils. Turns out for instance, that the climate of Portland is not too dissimilar from the middle elevations of the Sierra Nevada in California. And as the planet waxes and wanes through ice ages you’d be amazed at the distance plants migrate due to climate. In fact, if you went back in time 11,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age the taxa composition of the Portland area was identical to what you currently find on the upper slopes of Mt. Hood at 6,000′. Cold, snow, montane with Mountain Hemlock, Engelmann Spruce, Lodgepole pine and Aspen. In reality plants are always on the move.
Between ice ages- the last interstadial
More relevant is our most recent interstadial, the warm period between ice ages that peaked around 6500 years ago. Ice ages are broadly caused by the obliquity of the earths orbit (its oblong) and the change in the axis. Serendipitously during the height of this last warm period perihelion (the sun’s closest axis to earth) occurred in the Northern Hemisphere summer increasing solar insolation (sun heat energy). Currently, perihelion occurs in winter (Jan. 5, 2020) over our continent and that somewhat cancels out the effect. This increased solar insolation during the warm interstadial did several things: First, it increased the annual temperatures to those we have only surpassed recently and it decreased precipitation and increased the length of the annual summer drought. During these warm periods there is a great shift in south to north flora movement. At the peak of the interstadial warm period the Eugene area most likely had a climate and flora composition of the Grants Pass area today. Portland likely had a climate and taxa somewhat similar to modern Roseburg. That would be a lot more Oaks and Madrone and much less Maple and Douglas Fir. This passage to the north of flora extends poleward and it is also during this period we see the intrusion of Pacific Madrone Arbutus menziesii and Quercus garryana Oregon white oak into British Columbia. Climate change is mimicking our warm interstadial so far. Species from the south are rapidly moving north- and faster all the time.
Broadening the description
So, we choose to list WESTERN NATIVES and not just Oregon Natives in one category. We should always include natives in our gardens. They are not only climate adapted, they give our gardens a regional identity and most importantly they support indigenous fauna. Climate change adds complexity to the mix. Our planet will be heating up too fast for plants to migrate. That means that many will find the safest homes in our gardens. We seek out the most unusual natives. Our attempt to expand the palette rather than the six same species that are used (abused) over and over. By all means go native!
Climate Adapted Plants for Gardeners in the PNW
Acer glabrum ssp. douglasii
Rocky mountain maple or locally also known as Douglas maple is our form of a widespread and sweet small tree that ranges from the Yukon in Canada to the highest mountains of northern Mexico. Our local variety is found in all of the mountainous parts of the state. This demure tree is the least planted of our native maples and deserves much more inclusion in our gardens. In the coast range it is found primarily above 2000′ and it can even be found lower in the Cascades. It follows the spine of the Ochocos in eastern Oregon up into the Blue mountains and Wallowa Mountains in the far north east. Rarely pole straight in stature its often multi-trunked and single trunked trees are in the minority in the wild. Ours are single trunks but multiple stems do not take away from the fresh green leaves and pretty to stunning fall color. The familiar maple leaves can achieve anything from dull yellow to shots of vermillion. Depending on the weather and tree. Soft gray bark. To 25′ tall moderately fast. Tiny green flowers morph into rosy hued samaras in autumn. Regular water for the first several years. This tree does appreciate rich soil that retains moisture in the Willamette Valley. Excellent woodland tree or even more appropriate on the edge of a stand of trees where it receives at least half a day of sun. The most recent years stems are often sanguine red, nice contrast with the grass green elegant leaves. The most striking fall color is achieved with more sun. A mesic maple that often follows water courses or lines wet ground. Single trunked trees are conical shaped and multi-trunked forms are more rounded and spreading. Deciduous. Avoid blasting heat and drought. Oregon native plant.
This is the green foliage form of our wild yarrow. A rambunctious, easy to grow evergreen perennial for rough sites in well drained soil in full sun. Continuously from spring to autumn ‘umbels’ of pure white flowers rise 18″ above low spreading aromatic, finely divided ferny foliage. Most often it is green with variants that have gray foliage from time to time. Low water perennial that can even be used as a lawn substitute. A single plant spreads to several feet wide. Moderate deer resistance. Butterflies oh the butterflies.This is a pioneer perennial and will often out compete less robust native perennials. Its best use is as a contained weed. It is great for pollinators Individual plants rarely persist more than 3 years. Oregon native plant.
Achillea millefolium ‘Pretty Woman’
Of all the selections of our native yarrow this stands out for many reasons. The ‘umbels’ of flowers are a rich red which holds the color for an extended period. It fades only slightly to a rust red with time. Its vigorous and easy to grow. And it re-blooms reliably if spent flowers are removed. All the way until frost and sometimes longer. A very, very good long-lasting cut flower. To 18″ tall forming spreading colonies. Semi-evergreen. Low water when established in well-drained soils. Excellent to moderate deer resistance. Appreciates an annual application of compost. Oregon native plant.
Achillea millefolium ‘Salmon Beauty’
Yarrow is an unbeatable native perennial that blooms for a LONG time with a minimum amount of effort from the gardener. Foamy, ferny gray green leaves creates a low carpet of evergreen foliage. Rising up on 2′ spikes flat umbels of soft salmon flower create landing pads for pollinators. The flowers fade lightly after opening for a wonderful multicolor effect. Remove spent flowers, apply a little water and it will repeat bloom until frost. Best in lighter soils that are enriched but drain quickly. Best floral displays occur with light consistent summer water though it is very drought tolerant when established. Tolerates the toughest, hottest sites. Admirable if a little pungent cut flower. LOVED by pollinators. Creates a growing patch to several feet wide quickly. Blooms spring- autumn. Moderately deer resistant. Borders, dry borders, hell strips, etc. Oregon native plant.
Greg got seed of this distinctive form of Yarrow near Oregon City. Unlike most garden varieties that are derived from European stock which very much appreciates rich soil and regular water to perform and those forms are also not pungent. We wanted our locally native yarrow that is incredibly durable, has gray foliage that is pleasantly aromatic with broad white flowers. This is a much more climate adapted perennial. Its found throughout all of the state, and can be found anywhere from meadows to surprisingly deep woods. This is a very thrifty plant and once established it really doesn’t need supplemental summer water. Spreads to form finely divided low gray foliage. The flat umbels of pure white flowers are very large and this is a landing pad for all pollinators as well as butterflies. To 20″ tall in bloom. Excellent meadow component with clumping grasses, annuals, and bulbs. A great plant for hell strips and hot aspects too. Very easy and forgiving perennial. Blooms May-August. Mostly evergreen save for the very harshest winters. Not bothered by deer. Oregon native plant.
Xera Plants Introduction
Great Hounds Tongue or Giant Pacific Forget-me-Not is one of our most remarkable native perennials. On the property where I grew up near Eugene it was native. There was a clump of this majestic perennial that was there for nearly my whole life. Unfortunately, we sold the property but this plant was still there last I checked. In the Willamette Valley and out into the Columbia Gorge you see these luminous blue flowers on a sturdy spikes in the dry areas under oaks. Often seen with Wyethia -Mules ears which blooms later. Large fleshy leaves form a substantial clump. In early to mid spring 2′ spikes reveal outrageously large versions of Forget-me-nots. Established plants will then go dormant with summer drought. Adapted to xeric clay soils that dry in summer. Not only does it not require water established plants can resent it and rot. Place in a wild, shady, unwatered part of your garden. Amend the soil lightly with compost and water in well. Pairs with other native perennials such as Sidalceas. In the wild it is accompanied by Erythronium oreganum , Lathyrus nevadensis, Fritillaria affinis, Dodecatheon hendersonii, and Ranunculus occidentalis. That is what grew with our patch, under white and black native oaks, with a madrone here and there. Impressive native perennial whose intense blue flowers are hard to convey in a photograph. It takes an extended time from seed to a growable plant. Patience because of limited quantities. SLOW Oregon native plant.
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.
Agastache ‘Lilac Moon’
Cool bicolored Hummingbird Mint that has masses of flowers that appear from orange buds which quickly change to luminous light lavender when open. To 20″ tall and forming a clump this very, very, long blooming perennial is delightful for hummingbirds, bees and butterflies. A soft pastel coloration that pairs wonderfully with light yellow flowers and even blue. Great in seasonal containers. Blooms non-stop from June to October. Do not remove flower spikes as new flowers will appear continuously from the same spike. Rich, WELL DRAINED soil with light, consistent summer water. Its best to water Agastaches consistently during their first year in the ground- to establish a large root system. Ideal on slopes- to assist in drainage in winter. Double dig soil to incorporate lots of oxygen in the soil. One of our favorite introductions. An amazing combination of flower colors on a single plant. Do not cut back until new growth has flushed out in spring and all threat of a hard freeze has passed.
Xera Plants Introduction
Agastache ‘Berry Princess’
We believe this to be a cross inheriting some of the coloration of A. auranticus as well as A. cana. To 28″ tall this clump forming, everblooming perennial brings bright red buds that open to purple flowers. The colorful combination lasts all summer into autumn. New flowers are born on the same spikes so do not remove. Moderate consistent water through the first summer to establish. Double dig soil to incorporate oxygen into the soil and aid in irrigation to the roots. Established plants get by with a little less. Loved by hummers and pretty decent cutfower as well. Full all day sun for best performance, will not be quite as floriferous in part shade. Sweetly scented foliage is an extra benefit. To 18″ wide and slowly increasing. Excellent on berms as well as slopes. Mulch in fall. Small rosette of winter foliage is protected by the previous years defunct stems. Prune these away after all threat of a hard freeze has passed.
Xera Plants Introduction
Agastache ‘Electric Punch’
One of our all-time best introductions ‘Electric Punch’ is a floral powerhouse of a hummingbird mint with exceptional adaptation to our cold and wet winters. Rising to 34″ tall in bloom, a clump can become enormous in rich, WELL DRAINED soil with light, consistent summer water. Also, accepts no water but with interruptions in bloom. Incorporate plenty of oxygen into the soil and slopes are ideal. Do not remove flower spikes during the season- new orange aging to pink flowers appear from the same inflorescence. Best to wait until spring to cut back the previous seasons defunct stems. Moderate deer resistance. Agastache are best watered well for their first season, in subsequent years they will use much less.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Agastache ‘Mandarin Dream’
This is our selection of an improved form of the species Agastache auranticus. It has deeper orange flowers on taller stems and exhibits excellent winter/cold/wet hardiness. To 30″ tall, the vivid blooms erupt from June to October. Tightly clump forming perennial whose tall wand-like stems require more horizontal room as well. Hummingbird Mint excels in very well-drained soils with consistent, light summer water. Full sun- you can fudge in light shade and still get results. Remove the previous seasons spent stems in March. Agastache are plants that like oxygen in the soil and they often seed themselves happily between large stones. They appreciate soil that is rich but permeable at all times. We advise to wait until March to remove the previous year’s stem. The hollow stems that remain over winter actually provide oxygen to the roots. If you cut them back too early (Fall, winter) you also leave the new growth at the base unprotected from the elements. So, the stems should remain to both give the plant oxygen and protect the next seasons clump of foliage. Double dig the soil heartily and add a little compost and even pumice if your soil is stingy. Water regularly for the first season to establish a large root system which will require less H20 in subsequent years. This is a vibrant orange that mixes well with deep purples and blues.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Agastache ‘Rainbow Sorbet’
One of our larger growing introductions this is a flowering machine with large individual flowers that open pale orange and senesce to pale pink. Overall this is a pastel flower palette. To 36″ tall and as wide in full sun and well drained soil with light, consistent summer water. Agastaches are excellent as container subjects- they will accept the most cramped roots and still perform. Wait until March to remove the previous years spent stems. Give this guy room. Hummingbird nirvana. Good winter hardiness.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Agastache pallida ssp. neomexicana
Cute flowering hyssop that makes a clump of strongly vertical stems clad at the tips with soft mauve/purple flowers. A boon to pollinators as well as hummingbirds. Blooms June to October continuously from the same spikes. To 18″ tall and barely half as wide. Agastaches like light soil. Double dig the soil well to incorporate oxygen and apply a handful of all organic fertilizer at planting. This will establish the plant much faster. Excellent performance on slopes where it achieves the drainage that it likes. Middle of the border or massed in a meadow- this easy to grow perennial performs for a long time. Do not cut back until after Valentine’s Day. Consistent water for the first summer then light water in subsequent years. Excellent performance in mixed container plantings. Moderate deer resistance. Foliage is sweetly pungent.
Agave americana ‘Medio Picta Alba’
Tender <sigh> but perhaps the most spectacular variegated Agave. It makes a great container plant for LARGE containers. To 5′ x 5′, it grows a little slower in containers. Make sure it’s sturdy and well built too because this puppy has been known to grow so vigorously as to shatter its own home. Use well drained cactus mix and add a handful of all organic fertilizer. Move to a freeze free environment such as an unheated garage if temperatures threaten to drop below 20ºF. Otherwise move it to a dry place for winter- under a south facing eave is ideal. Move it back out in the open when rain dwindles. Light summer water will speed growth. Leaves on this form are blue on the edges with a dramatic pure white stripe down the center. Wow.
Spikes! A very upright and pokey Agave with steel blue/gray foliage that forms large rosettes. To 3′ across eventually this cold hardy Agave demands excellent drainage but is worth the effort. VERY well drained soil- amend with liberal amounts of pumice and gravel. Excellent on a slope. Plant with the rosette tilted to shed winter water. Makes new pups happily and they will often come up quite a distance from the parent plant. To 3′ tall when up and established. Great in containers that you protect from winter wet. Move to a covered place in fall- a south facing eave is sufficient. Cold hardy below 0ºF- when established. Best to plant in March or April so that it has the longest possible season to develop a root system going into its first winter. Light summer water to none. High deer resistance.
Agave ovatifolia ‘Frosty Blue’
A real winner in our climate this is perhaps among the easiest bold Agaves to cultivate. Large rosettes of flared deadly leaves are a luminous light blue. The whole rosette can achieve 3′ wide and nearly as tall but smaller is more common. Excellent tolerance of the combination of cold and wet that Agaves mostly despise. This plant also is less prone to injury from necrosis of damage- slugs, snails etc. Full sun to a surprising amount of shade, though you’ll want to avoid the overhead detritus of trees into the rosette. In full sun such as a bare parking strip it revels in heat, exposure and fast drainage. Amend the soil to at least 1/2 pumice and 1/2 virgin native soil. Water to establish then only what falls from the sky. Obviously site away from paths- stab wounds suck, literally. In Mexico they planted large agaves in front of the bedroom windows of their female children. The idea I guess was to deter suitors with bad intentions. But its a neat story and you could see how it would work. Obvious awesome deer resistance. Sometimes called Whale Tongue Agave.
Agave parryi ‘Flagstaff’
From the very far north end of this variable species range in Northern Arizona near—‘Flagstaff’. High elevation form that is found above 7000′ in the wild. Very cold hardy moderately large Agave. Full sun and very well drained soil. You must amend the soil with pumice and gravel to avoid wet accumulating around the crown in winter. This is made all the more easy by placing on a slope. The rosettes should be tilted to shed winter wet. Very stiff and sharply tipped steel blue leaves form a rosette that is at first upright then spreads out a little. Remove leaves from deciduous plants that collect in the rosette in autumn- they blow in from god knows where and leaving them can encourage rot. Excellent in containers. Move containerized plants under an eave or overhang to keep it dry in winter. No water required after initial establishment. Beautiful form of this cold hardy species. High deer resistance.
Agave parryi ssp. couesii
A really pretty pale blue Agave with sharp angular leaves in a remarkably symmetrical rosette with age. Cold hardy and it requires very well drained soil in a hot position. A south facing slope is ideal in soil that has been amended with liberal amounts of pumice and gravel. And you should tilt the rosette so that water does not collect in winter. This variety is a little slower than others. Aside from perfect drainage it requires a little bit of heat and patience. To 20″ tall by 30″ wide in time. Great container subject- make sure the container is sturdy and large enough to accommodate both a spreading primary rosette and prolific pups which crowd the base. In time it can form bold colonies. Move containerized plants to a dry location in winter. Remove deciduous tree leaves that collect in the rosette in autumn to stave off rot. SW U.S. High deer resistance.
Agave parryi ssp. neomexicana
New Mexico Agave is a spike wonder. Much more upright-growing than the species with sharp-tipped leaves that terminate in a blood red thorn. OW. Forms a very symmetrical plant with many leaves of steel blue. Full sun and VERY WELL-DRAINED soil. Excellent on hot slopes where it will tilt the rosette to avoid winter wet. Pups, heh, freely and you will soon have many rosettes. Amend the soil with pumice and gravel. Make sure there is plenty of air in the soil and no place where water could collect. Fantastic specimen plant for a dry garden/gravel garden. Water through the first summer to establish then none in subsequent years. Clean out the rosette when deciduous leaves collect in there- a shop vac works great. The leaves will cause rot when they decompose….so they must go. Great in containers- large, sturdy containers. Cold hardy. High deer resistance.
Agave parryi ssp. truncata
Consistently one of the most successful Agaves for gardens in our region. Soft gray rosettes have leaves with a distinct upright habit. At the tips of the wide leaves is a single (deadly) black thorn. Very nice. Full sun and very well drained soil with little to no summer water when established. This Agave requires soil that is never soggy- amend heavily with pumice and gravel to create air pockets. Plant this (and all) hardy Agaves in our climate on a tilt. The tilted rosette sheds rainwater and it keeps it much drier in winter. Ideally, this Agave should be sited on a hot, south facing slope. In autumn deciduous leaves from (everywhere) seem to blow into the rosette and collect. You must remove these immediately so that they do not rot the center of the plant. A shop vac works wonders…so do bar-B-Q tongs. Excellent in containers. Its best to plant hardy Agaves in early spring to early summer. They require a long season to develop a root system which ensures that they are cold hardy. No root system and not so hardy. Hardy below 0ºF when dry. Highly deer resistant.
This delightful onion has a wide range in our state. Primarily you see it in dry, exposed sites a little way up from the bottom of the Willamette Valley. Mid green slightly fragrant grassy leaves give way to an 8″ stems in May-June with a chalice of multiple pink/lavender pink upward facing flowers. Full sun to part shade and adaptable to many soils as long as there is a dry rest in summer. This onion quickly goes summer dormant directly after seed set and disappears entirely by mid summer. Great pollinator bulb for Willamette Valley meadows. Its nearly always on a slope where it is found. Replicate this and give it only the rain that falls from the sky in subsequent years. In time the bulb multiplies and it can also self sow. Leave a disturbed area around the plant and keep it free of weeds and they can mature and bloom in several years. Light deer resistance. aka Slender leaved onion. Very attractive food source for butterflies. Oregon native plant.
Slim leaved onion is very easy to identify in Western Oregon though it occupies more than one biome. Where I grew up it was always found in the same meadow. The meadow was primarily Festuca californica and Festuca roemeri. This onion was found between those grasses and usually intertwined at the base with native mountain strawberriy (Fragaria virginiana var. platyphylla) and rosy plectritis. Its ease of identification comes with a pinch of the leaf or flower- resinous onion odor. This 10″ tall allium supports clear white flowers (occasionally they range to pale pink in these seed grown plants). This is a petite but very ornamental native onion. Its bloom time coincides with onset of summer drought. June into July. It forms enlarging bulbs and as soon as the starry flowers are spent the seed ripens and bursts casting it all around. Full sun and average to enriched soils. Water to establish potted plants then in subsequent years natural rainfall will suffice. This local native is sold in Europe as a cultivar called ‘Graceful Beauty’- its just the species A. amplectens but graceful is a great description of this wildflower. Excellent planted among Rosa nutkana and a perfect and natural accompaniment with native hardy annuals. Each bulb produces multiple flowers which increase over time. Attractive to a vast group of pollinators- local bees and hover flies make repeated visits. Adaptable to all soils that drain. Avoid standing water. Adaptable to clay soils. Oregon native plant
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.
Spreading Dogbane is a pretty semi-shrubby native perennial that is found in every biome in our area. David Douglas mentioned this billowing perennial with clouds of light pink/white bells. Mostly he hated tripping over it in the Willamette Valley. This very permanent plant spreads to form big drifts in the wild. Streambanks, prairies, alpine meadows it can appear. The rounded downward pointing leaves emerge on semi-woody stems. In June-August clouds of flowers appear for weeks. Loved by pollinators and birds specifically attractive to native hummingbirds and butterflies. To 2′ tall and spreading by stolons to a wide area. Water to establish then none in subsequent years. Mulch after planting. Virtually any somewhat rich soil type including amended sand. Full sun to part shade. Wonderful plant and floral texture for meadows. I have great childhood memories of this plant in July in full bloom perched with our huge native black bumble bees. Very convenient bloom time- it begins to bloom just as most other natives are finished. Dogbane is toxic when consumed by humans or animals- hence the common name. When stems are broken a milky sap is exuded. Moderate deer resistance. Distantly related to milkweed. Once very common in the Willamette Valley its territory has shrunk. Great performance in hellstrips and verges that are lightly or completely non-irrigated. Give this plant room to spread and plan ahead. Limited availability. Oregon native plant
Native to the Guadalupe Mountains of New Mexico and extreme west Texas this adorable columbine enchants us with its whimsical soft yellow flowers and fine blue foliage. To 18″ tall in bloom the petite flowers have long fantastic tails. They appear from April-June, and occasionally again if you remove spent flowers and prevent seed set. This smaller plant has wonderful finely divided blue green foliage that forms a fountain before and after bloom. Often self sows in open sites. The original plants live about 5 years but the distinctive leaves will give away the seedlings. They seem to favor cracks in pavement, stones. Full sun to very light shade in rich to average soil with regular summer water. Mix with our native Columbine (Aquilegia formosa) for a color echo on the yellow perianth of both. Very popular with pollinators including native pollinators. Winter deciduous. Moderate deer resistance. Charming and easy to grow wild flower.
Western Columbine is a wonderful native wildflower that forms almost permanent colonies in part shade. 20″ stems support pendant flowers of vivid orange and yellow. Blooms April-June. Rich, well-drained sites that retain moisture in part shade.Little summer water once established. Finely divided, blue-green leaves are pretty as well. Excellent perennial for naturalizing in part shade and cool environs. Often seen living in a basin of moss and this may be repeated in the garden. Self sows and blue green foliage is distinctive almost immediately. Long-lived when established. Associated plants are Sidalcea campestris, Symphoricarpos albus, Tellima grandiflora. Works well with smaller ferns too. Oregon native plant.
Aquilegia longissima ‘Long Spurred’
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.
Aquilegia x ‘Xera Tones’
A little wacky columbine sex in our nursery between our native orange and yellow flowering Aquilegia formosa and the brown and green flowered (and fragrant) Aquilegia viridiflora. The color range of the flowers is truly insane. And many of them are fragrant. They also have inherited the very good leaves of A. formosa- which are decidedly blue and delicate looking. They appear to be long lived perennials just as their parents and you just know that these buggers are going to reseed themselves. Part shade to full sun with regular water.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Elk Clover. Our native large herbaceous Aralia that forms large, tropical-looking clumps along moist places in the central southern part of the state. To 8′ tall and as wide when established in rich soil with an adequate summer moisture supply. A native plant that takes very well to cultivation. In summer 2′ long spikes reveal white orbs. Showy and a little exotic for a native as well. This is a great large scale plant for tropical effects- mix with Hardy Banana (Musa basjoo) and you have got yourself a big bold look. Black berries follow the flowers and are somewhat showy as well. Completely winter deciduous. Native to the southwest part of the state with a disjunct population in the Cascade foothills of Lane county. Oregon native plant.
Pacific Madrone, iconic tree of the Pacific Northwest. Famous for its glossy, russet orange sinuous trunks, exfoliating bark, and round, evergreen foliage. In spring, clusters of white flowers are showy and turn into vivid red berries by autumn. These are loved by birds- especially western tanagers who will quickly strip a tree as flocks move from one to the next. Must be grown from seed and it must be transplanted when small. Just the way it is. Plant it in average, well drained soil. Water lightly through the first summer in subsequent years leave it strictly alone. Full sun is best- tends to wander towards the sun in shade. Underplant with low water natives such as Arctostaphylos, Ceanothus, Vancouveria. Slow at first it picks up speed after about 4 years- then it can grow 2′-4′ a year. Somewhat messy tree- loses older leaves in summer and the bark exfoliates all over the place too. Know this and live with it. Ours are raised from seed of trees native to our wholesale nursery site- so its a local strain. Pacific madrone is native from the highest mountains of southern California to southern British Columbia. It is the northern-most broadleaved evergreen tree (native) in North America. Oregon native plant.
Arctostaphylos glandulosa ssp. glandulosa ‘Demeter’
Our employee Adinah spotted this distinct form of our native glandular manzanita in extreme SW Oregon. This form boasts very silver foliage with sharply pointed leaves and the conspicuous glands that identify the species. In mid winter to early spring clusters of pink buds open to pendant urn shaped white flowers. Loved by over wintering Anna’s hummingbirds. A low and spreading Manzanita to 4′ tall by 6′ wide in 7 years. Not as rapid of growth as other varieties. Full sun and average, well drained soil. Do not amend the soil but rely on our own native soils perfect fertility. To further enhance success double dig a wide area around the plants new home. This incorporates oxygen into the soil in a wide area and also allows the percolation of water. Mulch after planting with a coarse bark. Very pretty, very gray dome shaped shrub which eventually reveals contrasting mahogany glossy peeling trunks. A very pretty species that is uncommon in Oregon but whose range extends south all the way to Baja Norte. Once established, do not water- neglect and perfect climate adaptation will do the rest. Oregon native plant.
Xera Plants Introduction
Very cool and tough Manzanita that is a true dwarf and therefore it is slow to get to market. We anticipate having more of this dense growing, cold hardy, disease-resistant shrub. To 30″ x 30″ with great age forming a perfectly round sphere. New growth is bright red settling to blue green. Leaves are held densely on the stems. Full sun and good air circulation in average, well-drained soil. Excellent cold hardiness to near 0ºF. A natural for hellstrips or anywhere space is a premium. Pink flowers in late winter are showy and profuse. Mahogany glossy bark- in time. Very limited quantities. Probably available in autumn. Very slow growing. Limited availability- Order via email.
She’s a big girl, but so pretty and adaptable and easy to grow we love her. Soaring to 9′ tall and almost as wide the pretty, large, deep forest green foliage is particularly disease resistant. In late winter to early spring profuse clusters of pink flowers transform into russet berries (bird food). Fast growing shrub with amazing glossy mahogany stems and trunks. Full sun, well drained to average soil with no summer water. One of the most garden tolerant of the gigantic cultivars. Cold hardy to at least 5ºF. Spectacular turned into a small tree.
Arctostaphylos auriculata ‘Diablo’s Blush’
Excellent garden-tolerant smaller Manzanita. New growth is blushed pink as are the winter flowers. Settling to soft gray, this dense rounded plant achieves about 5′ x 7′ in 7 years. The bark becomes reddish and shaggy with age. Full sun and very well drained soil with no supplemental water once established. Gray foliage is organized symmetrically around the thick stems. This is a good scale for smaller gardens and a handsome shrub at all times. Provide good air circulation in an uncrowded environment. Found, selected and named by Bart O’Brien. This has been a fantastic shrub in our climate and we’re proud to offer it.
Arctostaphylos auriculata ‘Knobcone Point’
Interesting and very handsome compact Manzanita that retains what appears to be juvenile foliage. Each rounded leaf has small indentations that give the plant a finer mein. Silver/ gray foliage is handsome all the time and the leaves clasp the stems in a symmetrical way. In January to April clusters of pinkish/ white urn shaped flowers appear at the branch tips. Not the heaviest blooming Manzanita. The mature trunks and stems revert to a solid mahogany glossy finish with time. Dense growing to 4′ x 4′ in 6 years- larger in time. Beautiful, architectural shrub for full sun and dry summer conditions. No supplemental water when established. Rounded good looking plant for hillsides, parking strips, dry shrub borders. This species is native to mid to higher elevations of the Bay area and has performed wonderfully in our gardens. A naturally dense growing plant.
Arctostaphylos bakeri ‘Louis Edmonds’
One of the most picturesque Manzanitas, this selection bears lovely gray-green leaves that are nearly circular, held perpendicular to the stems. The bark is one of the best of all species and selections, deep burgundy/purple and smooth. Vivid pink flowers that appear in late winter to spring transform into small russet red apple-shaped fruits. To 6’ tall and 4’ wide in 5 years. Requires well drained soil with little additional irrigation when established. Cold hardy. Good looking year round. Good gray foliage adds contrasts to other Manzanitas and is resistant to black spot. Very upright growing cultivar that can fit in skinnier locales. Either way limit pruning to tip pruning after flowering to control size and remove leafless shaded branches from the base. Adaptable to garden conditions- if you make sure to skip any irrigation during the summer. Brilliant pink flowers are among the most vivid in the genus. aka Arctostaphylos bakeri ssp. bakeri.
Arctostaphylos canescens var. sonomensis
Our very, very favorite Manzanita and one of the very rare ones in the wild. Occurs on two ridges in northern California- Horse Mountain was one of them and Greg’s dad just happened to have a cabin there. Not an easy Manzanita to cultivate. Low, dense, spreading, very gray shrub to 3′ x 5′ wide in time. The bark is a great glossy mahogany and the winter/spring flowers are white tinted pink. Russet berries are quickly consumed by wild life. Spectacular shrub for full sun, average to poor, well-drained soil and absolutely no summer water. Loathes the combination of water and heat. Neglect is its friend and you will reap great rewards with this beautiful shrub by strictly ignoring it once it is established. Ultra cold hardy- hailing from over 4500′ in elevation and recommended for cold gardens. This species is native to southern Oregon, and though not technically native to Oregon this is our favorite form of this species. Not the easiest to propagate so quantities are often limited. Absolutely NO summer water. Ever. Forms rounded balls of soft silver. Dynamic on slopes. Easily prone to death from soil pathogens if watered in summer. Absolute neglect.
Arctostaphylos columbiana ‘Pacific Coast’
This is a compact, dense growing form of Hairy Manzanita from the city of Manzanita on the coast. These are Greg’s collections. He chose several forms that had nice foliage, foliage color, habit, and resistance to disease. This form is one of the most compact of the three. Slightly smaller leaves are born densely on a more reserved growing plant. In late winter to spring clusters of white flowers followed by drupes that turn distinctly red. Inland forms of this Manzanita have maroon to russet berries so this is a distinct difference. Beautiful dark, glossy maroon bark as for the species. To 6′ x 6′ in 7 years. Adapted to average to poor soils which will allow it to grow at a more reserved rate. Arctostaphylos columbiana reacts to richer soils, even clay soils with exuberant growth. Best in our native soils that are unimproved. Dig a large hole and provide regular water until you see good new growth then taper off. In subsequent years only what falls from the sky. Arctostaphylos columbiana (Hairy Manzanita) is a proto species one of the first and it is the most widespread Manzanita in Oregon and Washington. Genetically it dominates and most of Calfiornia’s northern species are derived from ancient Hairy Manzanita. Provide full sun and good air circulation. Excellent underplanted with native annuals and Sedums. Good looking siver/ gray foliage year round. Extraordinarily drought adapted. Associated plants with the coastal species are Vaccinium ovatum, Pinus contorta ssp. contorta Garrya elliptica, Baccharis pilularis and Salal (Gaultheria shallon). Often found with Festuca rubra on stabilized sand dunes. Oregon native plant
Xera Plants Introduction
Arctostaphylos columbiana ‘Parkdale East’
This form of our native Hairy Manzanita was found quite far east of the Cascade crest and offers greater hardiness to cold. Unfortunately, it has the same characteristics of the species- it is unpredictable. To 4′ x 7′ with sage gray leaves and white to pink-tinted flowers in spring. Very well-drained soils in an open position with NO summer water when established. Dramatic smooth mahogany bark is an outstanding feature. This is the variety that is best suited to life in the Columbia River Gorge and possibly eastern Oregon in sheltered sites. It should easily tolerate -15ºF. Best with total neglect and full sun. Russet berries follow the flowers into summer and autumn- always consumed by wildlife. Very limited quantities. This form has been successful in cold gardens east of the mountains where all other California varieties failed. Nice looking shrub. Oregon native plant.
Xera Plants Introduction
Arctostaphylos columbiana ‘Wolf Creek’
Our native Hairy Manzanita is one of the most widespread species in the PNW. It is very susceptible to overwatering and overly enriched soils. .This can be avoided by strictly avoiding all irrigation once established and planting in average, unamended soil. Large-growing shrub with gray green leaves, the telltale hairy leaf petioles and white flowers in spring. Russet berries follow. Its best attribute is its smooth exfoliating mahogany bark. And in time you can remove the tired lower branches to reveal it as well as improve air circulation. To 8′ x 8′ very quickly in average, well-drained soil. No summer water and little intervention from the gardener. Wild areas, dry hillsides. This form we selected from the southern Willamette Valley. It occurs in specific sites around the Valley and is common at the coast /coast range as well as the Cascades. Its populations are most stable on steep rocky slopes and sandy substrates at the coast where plants live longer in impoverished situations. During the warm interstadial (8000-4000 yr BP) when our climate was a bit milder but with a much more pronounced summer drought it was much more widespread- once found in the city limits of Portland at two sites those have been usurped by development. Excellent performance in hot dry urban sites. Oregon native plant.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Arctostaphylos densiflora ‘Type Form’
This is the species that is an important parent in some of the most popular hybrid Manzanitas. From a very restricted range in Sonoma County CA this lovely Manzanita sports gray green sharp tipped foliage and wonderful glossy mahogany bark. Moderately fast growing evergreen shrub to 7′ x 7′. In winter white tinted pink urn shaped flowers occur in conspicuous clusters. Very pretty. Orange tinted glossy berries follow but are quickly consumed by wildlife. Easy shrub for full sun to very light shade and everage, un-amended native soil. Avoid anywhere that there is standing water in winter. Excellent on slopes and somewhat formal in appearance as opposed to many species. Very rare in commerce. Excellent shrub that is beautiful year round. No summer water when established. This species is critically endangered in Sonoma County, CA. In fact it is possible due to extensive fires recently that this plant is functionally extinct in the wild. Handsome shrub.
Arctostaphylos edmundsii ‘Big Sur’
This handsome low growing and compact Manzanita has great performance in our climate. Glossy mid-green foliage clothes a dense growing plant to 2′ x 4′. Admirable low ground cover as a massed subject but individual plants have glossy mahogany trunks that develop character with age. Masses of small light pink urn shaped flowers appear in late winter to early spring. Healthy looking at all times and not prone to black spot. Takes reflected heat well and even tolerates a light amount of shade. No water necessary once established, but it will take light water on slopes. Great small scale for small gardens. In time you can lift the plant up by pruning to reveal the small trunks. Long lived. One of the finest smaller varieties. Central CA coast.
Arctostaphylos hookeri ‘James Roof’
Smaller growing Manzanita that assumes the twisted form of a bonsai with age. In fact this 2′ x 4′ wide decumbent shrub makes a wonderful, long lived container plant. In the ground it excels on slopes and other places where standing water never occurs. Full sun to high overhead shade (a high tree canopy). In late winter scattered smaller white urn shaped flowers decorate the branch tips. They morph into highly prized fruit for wildlife. Sage green diamond shaped foliage it lightly twisted and terminates to a sharp tip. Twigs, branches, and trunks all have a glossy mahogany finish. Great shrub for covering low slopes. Effectively blocks weeds. Water to establish and then set it free. Several plants may be massed to produce a small scale, drought adapted ground cover. Exceptionally garden tolerant selection that is exceptionally handsome. This species is native to the central CA coast and has been one of the best for garden culture in our region. Accepts light irrigation in summer. Excellent performance at the Oregon coast. It thrives on sandy soils. Nice smaller growing selection. Naturally summer drought adapted. Orange drupes are showy.
Arctostaphylos hookeri ‘Wayside’
At the North Willamette Experimental Station in Wilsonville where OSU conducted a trial of scores of Arctostaphylos species and cultivars this special ground cover Manzanita has been consistently one of the best performers. Deep green pointed leaves are held perpendicular to the sun on cinnamon red stems. In time it forms glossy red bark that is very showy. Low and dense growing to 2′ tall and 6′ wide. Excellent bank cover or ground cover in any soil that is not amended or boggy. Profuse white flowers in spring. First rate weed suppressing plant for hellstrips, rock gardens, dry borders. Excellent appearance year round. No summer water. Take advantage of its low dense growth to cover and suppress weeds. Wonderful plant for baking hot locations. Very easy to grow.
Arctostaphylos manzanita ‘Dr. Hurd’
An old and venerable cultivar of this species. This small tree achieves 12′-15′ with great age forming a showy and jaw dropping evergreen. Pale sea foam green/ grayish foliage is large and very circular giving this tree a billowing appearance. In winter white tinted pink flowers erupt from all the branch tips. These morph into large russet berries consumed by birds. The mahogany twisting, muscular bark is the most outstanding feature. Fast growing in youth (2′-5′) per year when excited. Give this dry loving shrub EXCELLENT air circulation in an open exposure. It can be afflicted by black spot in wetter than normal springs. ‘Austin Griffiths’ which is 1/2 this cultivar is more resistant to black spot. In time you can remove the lower shaded branches to show the trunk and improve air circulation as well as general good looks. Tall and often half as wide. Locate in a hot sunny place and water to establish then set it free. Very striking tree that is best planted as a smaller plant. Large specimens will NOT live as long and will be more difficult to establish.
Arctostaphylos manzanita ‘St. Helena’
A tree type manzanita that has been a stellar performer in our gardens. Rapid growth to 10′ x 10′ in 8 years. Broad, rounded sage gray-green foliage is held perpendicular to the cinnamon red stems to avoid moisture loss (no flat leaves baking in the sun). In winter to early spring, clusters of white flowers are effective and visited heavily by pollinators. Russet red berries follow but do not last long because of animal predation. Open habit with time that exposes the muscular, smooth mahogany trunks. (Its thought the bark exfoliates to deter moss and lichen growth). This is a very hardy drought adapted west coast native shrub to small tree for average, well drained soils and NO summer irrigation. Full sun and room to spread. Avoid rich, amended soils- leaner conditions produce a much hardier and longer-lived plant. Very similar in scale to ‘Austin Griffiths’ but leaves are grayer and flowers are distinctly white. Great garden performance. Good air circulation.
Arctostaphylos nummularia ‘Select Form’
Stunning glossy perfectly round leaves line wiry stems on this dense, mounding, very happy low-growing Manzanita. New growth is tinted red and settles to bright green. To 2′ tall and 4′ wide creating a dense weed-suppressing dome of foliage. White flowers in spring. Very garden tolerant for full sun to very light shade. Moderately fast growing. Excellent candidate for hellstrips, hillsides, etc. Great performance at the Oregon Coast. Little to no summer water once established. Very very good looking plant. It thrives in perfect conditions- neglect and sun and is much more fussy in shade. Cold hardy to 5ºF. Nummularia= coin shaped, referring to the leaves Takes a little bit of shade- especially if there is a very high tree canopy. Adapted to coastal conditions including sandy soils. The glossy leaves and dense nature of this shrub make it hard to capture in photographs.
Arctostaphylos pajaroensis ‘Lester Rowntree’
Virtually the same as ‘Warren Roberts’ it is completely interchangeable with that cultivar. Why do we grow ‘Lester’? Aside from having amazing blue foliage and clusters of deep pink flowers from January to March we LOVE Lester Rowntree. She was an amazing, intrepid self-taught botanist who roamed California in the 1930’s in her simple pickup truck camping and botanizing throughout that state. Her incredible book ‘Hardy Californians’ is a must read for any gardener on the west coast. And its not just about plants- Check it out. This shrub is large in time to about 4′ tall by 8′ wide. The pink flowers born on the blue foliage is a sublime combination. Following bloom new spring growth is a fantastic red/ orange before settling to blue. Bark is a smooth mahogany with time and the trunks are sinuous and winding. This is an excellent shrub in our climate. Once established it requires absolutely no supplemental water- ever. Sailing through temps in the 100’s and bone dry with NO visible signs of stress. Our kind of shrub. It is cold hardy and completely climate adapted. Hell strips, dry borders, informal shrubberies. Mix with Ceanothus, Grevilleas, Halimiums. Very pretty year round.
Arctostaphylos pajaroensis ‘Myrtle Wolf’
Always at the top of the list of Arcto Afficianados this is not often seen in gardens. An excellent winter blooming Manzanita that has been a fantastic performer in the PNW. Upright growing shrub with blue foliage- new growth is briefly tinted red. In January to March copious bright pink clusters of urn shaped flowers appear. Anna’s hummingbirds are not far behind. To 5′ x 5′ in 6 years in full sun and average, well drained soil. No summer water when established. Excellent winter blooming shrub that is always good looking. This is a reliable cultivar for spectacular floral shows. Place close to an exit or entrance where you can stare into the pendulous pink flowers and the winding branch structure. Supply good air circulation. Photos by Chris Hembree
Arctostaphylos pajaroensis ‘Warren Roberts’
Big beautiful Manzanita that has thrived at our very cold wholesale nursery for almost 20 years and has never been harmed by weather. To 4′ tall and up to 8′ wide the new growth emerges a fiery orange red before settling down to a nice gray/blue. In late winter pink tinted urn shaped flowers decorate the whole shrub. The combination of the blue foliage and strongly pink flowers is magical in winter. Well drained average to poor soil in full sun is ideal but it can get by with less than ideal conditions. Water to establish the first summer then none in subsequent years. This is a great landscape shrub that retains its good looks year round. Very adaptable to garden situations where water is curtailed. Long season of bloom in February to April. Blushed small apple shaped fruits are stripped quickly by wildlife. Foundations, hillsides, sterile road cuts. Adaptable and very pretty shrub.
Arctostaphylos pumila ‘Grey Leaf Form’
Surprisingly happy in our climate in its native Monterey Bay area of California its known colloquially as Dune manzanita. Very gray blue leaves are not huge and hug the stems tightly on a compact moderately growing Manzanita. To 5′ tall and wider over time. In mid winter to early spring white flowers tinted pink appear in clusters at the tips of the plant. The trunk becomes deep mahogany brown over time and contrasts greatly with the light colored foliage. All around fantastic shrub for full sun and average, unimproved soils with little irrigation once established. Not as fast growing as other Manzanitas, usually less than 5″ per year.Very pretty plant that mixes wonderfully in droughty shrub borders, and even as a foundation shrub. Makes a nice life in a containers for years. Long lived. Probably harbors some deer resistance. Extraordinarily drought adapted. Native to a restricted range on the central California coast. Great performance on the Oregon coast.
Arctostaphylos pumila ‘Small Leaf Form’
Immensely handsome dense rounded Manzanita that has smaller than average silver foliage and fantastic bark. Moderately fast growing shrub to 4′ tall x 5′ wide in 8 years. In late winter each branch tip is bedecked in clusters of small white flowers- they are born in profusion and expand from pink buds. Russet colored berries often follow and are consumed by wildlife. The black/mahogany glossy bark is beyond striking with the silver foliage. It splits, rolls up into ribbons, and exfoliates in late summer. In time it may be pruned to reveal trunks–for most of its youth they are hidden by dense almost formal looking foliage. Adaptable to many soils including clay soils- especially on slopes. Excellent long term landscape plant that looks great year round. Very good cold hardiness enduring 0ºF with no problem. Dig a hole 3x as big as the rootball in the pot to loosen the soil and allow the new roots to penetrate virgin soil. Water regularly through the first summer- then little to none in subsequent years. Combine with green leaved Arctos for great foliage contrast. Perfect on slopes, areas with intense reflected heat such as parking lot planter islands. Great urban shrub. Appreciates good air circulation.
Roughbark Manzanita is a little known species of Arctostaphylos from the central California coast that has turned out to be a great garden plant. Nearly round leaves cling to the winding upward pointing stems. In a short amount of time it forms a rounded, spreading shrub to 3′ tall by 5′ wide (5 years). Late winter bring profuse blush pink urn shaped flowers- followed by clusters of large tight blushed red drupes. Full sun and average, well drained soil with good air circulation. No summer water at all when established. This not only gives it the neglect it adores it increases hardiness to cold in winter. Avoid, exposure to subfreezing winds… not a Manzanita for Gresham or Troutdale but in milder parts a great landscape shrub. Group with other drought adapted shrubs. Handsome smaller scale shrub for hot sunny sites. Develops shredded cinnamon red bark with time. Performs very well in containers. Photo credit below: Lance Wright.
Arctostaphylos silvicola ‘Ghostly’
Ghostly white fur covered foliage is almost too pale to believed and ‘Ghostly’ is an apt name. A distinctive Manzanita to 8’ tall and 4’ wide in 5 years. Fast growing in our climate. Do not be afraid to cut back lanky new growth for a more upright and sturdier plant. Tends to send out a lot of vertical stems, those may be cut to initiate denser branching. Prune in July. In late winter and early spring clusters of white urn shaped flowers appear at the branch tips and delight hummingbirds. There is no more silver/white foliaged Manzania that we have seen. Truly spectacular in well drained soil with good air circulation and little summer water once established. From a species native to the Santa Cruz Mtns. in California and surprisingly cold hardy.
Arctostaphylos x ‘Austin Griffiths’
This is probably one of the very best garden Manzanitas in general. Large growing shrub with sage green foliage, copious, large clusters of pink flowers in winter, and the tell tale famous mahogany peeling bark. To 9′ x 7′ wide in 6 years, fast growing and well adapted to most well drained sites, including heavy clay soils on slopes. Little to no supplemental irrigation. Very resistant to black spot a leaf disease that can afflict Manzanitas. Specimen, or small garden tree. Good looking year round. Flowers appear in late December and are effective through February- not at all affected by cold. Anna’s hummingbirds are immediately in attendance. Provide a wide open exposed site with excellent air circulation. A wonderful garden shrub. We have a large specimen of this shrub in a container at the shop. Though the box it is in is huge it restricts the roots enough to make this Austin smaller than it would be in the ground. It begins blooming in mid-winter just as we open for the new season. Come on in and check out this specimen in person. Excellent garden Manzanita all around. Hybrid between A. manzanita ‘Dr. Hurd’ and A. x densiflora ‘Sentinel’. Wonderful plant. Dependable heavy flowering. Center bottom photo credit: Loree Bohl Danger Garden.
Arctostaphylos x ‘Gunmetal’
This is a mysterious Manzanita and one of the finest. We’ve driven by it for years on the highway to N. California and for years it captured our attention. A smaller rounded shrub of metallic silver gray with white flowers. So far it does not key out to any specific species so we’re pretty sure its a naturally occurring hybrid. And the silver gray foliage could be a result of a little bit of A. canescens. But the area where it lives has about 8 species and god knows how many hybrids in close vicinity. Either way its a stellar garden Manzanita with pointed metallic silver foliage and clusters of showy white flowers in winter/spring. The bark is a wonderful contrasting smooth deep mahogany- a great foil to the foliage. To 4′ x 4′ in 8 years. Moderately slow growing for an Arctostaphylos. In habitat it perches on a nearly vertical cliff of basalt. So, its adaptable. Not prone to black spot and it hails from an area with a naturally high rainfall. Avoid all supplemental water when established. It literally thrives on neglect. Silver foliage shines year round. Limited quantities. A Xera Plants favorite. Oregon native plant.
Xera Plants Introduction
Arctostaphylos x ‘John Dourley’
Exceptional low growing Manzanita with new growth emerging electric red and settling to a mature gray/blue. In late fall to early spring copious pale pink flowers appear- very pretty in concert with the vibrant new foliage and older blue leaves. To just 3′ tall by 6′ wide very shortly. Bark is cinnamon colored in time. Full sun and average well drained soil with great air circulation. Little to no summer irrigation. Extremely drought adapted hybrid that many consider to be one of the best. Excellent slope cover. Good appearance at all times. This durable and adaptable Manzanita is excellent for landscapes where little maintenance is required. Its handsome mounding dense habit precludes pruning and it blooms for an extended period, often beginning as early as November and continuing to spring. Great drought adapted, weed smothering evergreen shrub that is constantly attended by Anna’s hummingbirds in bloom. Very easy to grow.
Arctostaphylos x ‘Pacific Mist’
Wonderful low spreading Manzanita that we have grown for more than 20 years. Silver/gray pointed leaves densely clothe the spreading stems of this adaptable shrub. In time the lax, decumbent stems point upward at the tips. In spring white flowers are a bonus. To 2′ tall and 6′ wide it may be employed as an informal ground cover. Full sun to light shade and well drained soil of average fertility. Little to no summer water when established. Nice looking plant year round. In time it develops glossy cinnamon colored trunks/stems. Excellent on slopes. Takes more shade than most cultivars. Excellent cold hardiness. Plant on 30″ centers for a large ground cover. Tips may be pruned in spring to encourage density, otherwise it covers the ground densely. A hybrid of obscure parentage that has been around for decades.
Arctostaphylos x ‘Pajaro Hybrid’
Amazingly showy Manzanita that is a delight when new growth emerges stained in raspberry red before settling to a soft gray mauve mature tone. A dense and spreading shrub that always seems to be in growth and therefore never without the colorful foliage. From December to March a non-stop copious display of white tinted pink flowers, in concert with the foliage color its a knockout. To 4′ tall and 8′ wide in 7 years. Best in poor soil or native soil that has NOT been amended. Its an adaptable plant. Let it adapt. No summer water once established. Striking colorful shrub year round. Ground cover, hedges, focal points, blasting hot hellstrips. Anna’s hummers are invariably drawn to this showy winter bloomer. Easy.
Arctostaphylos x ‘Sunset’
One of the very best landscape shrubs for western Oregon. Named for the 50th anniversary of Sunset Magazine way back in 1977- its an excellent, garden tolerant Manzanita. Dense growth emerges orange/red before settling to a mature fashionable army green. The stems and leaf margins are outlined in fine white hairs- an elegant detail. In spring sporadic white flowers appear. Rounded dense shrub for full sun and average to poor soils, including the most compacted. This should be a basic landscape shrub in our climate- To 4′ x 6′ it covers the ground well. A perfect candidate for such places as frying hot circular planters in a sea of asphalt. This remarkable shrub will thrive and not flinch without a drop of supplemental irrigation- and it will still always look good. In fact, soil that is too rich or too much additional summer water leads to an initially massive plant that is then not long lived. A little rough living adds years and slows down what has got to be natural hybrid vigor. May be tip pruned to encourage density if required- and may even be sheared quite severely and still maintain its self respect. The shredding cinnamon/brown bark is handsome with time but the foliage mostly obscures it. Excellent cold hardiness. A truly climate adapted shrub. A Xera favorite shrub that we’ve grown for close to 20 years.
Arctostaphylos x coloradensis ‘Panchito’
Several wonderful attributes makes this a great Manzanita for widespread use. Its extremely cold hardy, a naturally occurring hybrid from southern Colorado- it can handle temperatures lower than -20ºF. Its a great size- slow growing to just 3′ x 3′ in 8+ years. The matte green foliage is dense (almost boxwood-esque) and is a great foil for the clusters of pink buds that relax to lighter pink when open. Full sun and average, unimproved soil. Water to establish then only what falls from the sky. This dainty almost formal looking shrub finds a happy home in smaller gardens, rock gardens, and thrives in Central Oregon. In time the trunks exfoliate to glossy maroon- it take quite a few years for this to be an outstanding feature. Mounded and dense for the first part of its life- expect just several inches of growth per year.. Open exposure with good air circulation. Great performance in Gorge outflow. A perfect substitute for ‘Greensphere’ that is both hardier to cold and a little easier to cultivate. Russet red berries that follow are a treat for the birds that get there first. Accepts the hottest aspects, drought, and brutal cold. Bienvenidos, Panchito!
Arctostaphylos x densiflora ‘Sentinel’
Consistently one of the very best performers in Western Oregon. ‘Sentinel’ accepts many soil types and aspects with superior cold hardiness as well as disease resistance. Fast growing rounded shrub to 7′ x 7′ in 4 years. Attractive sage green leaves are held perpendicular to the red stems to avoid moisture loss. The bark exfoliates to a smooth muscular deep mahogany with time. Excellent specimen or even informal hedge row. In late winter pink urn shaped flowers appear in clusters and turn to russet fruits consumed by birds. Little to no supplemental water ever. Easy to grow. Provide good air circulation. A great Manzanita. ‘Sentinel’ can compete with invasive grasses and still grow and perform. Immensely drought adapted. It may be aggressively tip pruned or sheared carefully to produce a smaller, denser plant. First rate landscape evergreen shrub.
Arctostaphylos x densiflora ‘Harmony’
A handsome, easy, and adaptable Manzanita that is a great plant for beginning gardeners. Sharp tipped bright green rounded leaves clothe stems of smooth mahogany/orange. Fast growing evergreen to 7′ x 7′ in 7 years. Average, unimproved soil that has good drainage. Even adaptable to heavy clay soils if strictly unwatered in summer. Urn shaped pink flowers change to white upon opening and draw hummingbirds. The maroon berries that follow are gobbled by birds and seldom spend much time on the shrub. Full sun to light shade and little to NO summer water. Tip prune after blooming to limit size, encourage density. As with all Manzanita it abhors crowding and should be given excellent air circulation. Dependable, hardy and easy to grow.
Arctostaphylos x densiflora ‘Howard McMinn’
A FANTASTIC Manzanita ‘Howard’ forms an extremely handsome evergreen shrub to 7’ tall and as wide in as many years. Striking mahogany bark is smooth with dark glossy deep green leaves. Profuse clusters of pink urn-shaped flowers appear in late winter and change to white over a period of six weeks. Maroon berries follow in summer. One of the most adaptable to landscapes, tolerates some summer irrigation but absolutely avoid boggy conditions and heat. A fantastic performer in our climate. Excellent as a specimen, basic landscaping shrub, or even informal hedge. Tip prune in summer to limit size and shape if required. Somewhat formal appearance year round. Very nice as an informal hedge and wonderfully adapted to steep slopes. Very good black spot resistance. Verdant and healthy year round. Adaptable to very HIGH overhead shade in woodlands. Avoid rich soils and do not improve. Best in un-amended native soils. Great formal looking shrub for rough conditions. Cold hardy to 5ºF. Exceptionally long lived in our climate.
Arctostaphylos x hookeri ‘White Lanterns’
Stellar small scale Manzanita that is a winner in gardens. Smaller leaves have a finer texture than most shrub types. Forms a symmetrical, dense dome to 3′ x 5′ in 5 years of medium green foliage. Massive bloom as clusters of white flowers (tinted pink in cold weather) occur from every branch tip in January to March. Very showy russet/mahogany bark. One of the best performers in our climate and scaled well for smaller gardens. Wonderful performance in Hell Strips, even large rock gardens. In time you may remove the lower tired branches that have become shaded out and reveal the smooth spectacular peeling trunks. Little to no summer water. Full sun to very light shade in well drained to average soil. Excellent cold hardiness as well as resistance to black spot. As with all give it good air circulation. Adaptable.
Arctostaphylos x media ‘Martha Ewan’
Our former employee Dan found Martha growing in the cemetery of the coastal town of Manzanita. It was bound to happen. This naturally occurring hybrid between Hairy Manzanita (Arctostaphylos columbiana) and the ground cover Kinnick Kinnick (Arctostaphylos uva ursi). Fantastic low growing evergreen shrub that is a superior ground cover. Dense growth clad in deep green leaves covers the ground on a 2′ x 6′ framework. White flowers in spring are followed by large red berries which are then consumed by wild life. Full sun to very light shade in most well drained soils. No summer water when established. Fast growing with little care. Amazing on slopes where it efficiently blocks weeds and the best ground cover Manzanita that we grow.. Better, easier, and faster ground cover than Arctostaphylos uva ursi- Kinnick Kinnick- dense growth is more vigorous and requires less maintenance or even supplemental water. Handsome and immensely easy plant. Though not technically a shade plant this variety can handle quite a bit of shade- avoid low dark shade, high overhead shade is best. Oregon native plant.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Arctostaphylos x media ‘Xera Pacific’
Our discovery of a naturally occurring hybrid Manzanita on the Oregon Coast. Low and spreading to 2′ tall and 5′ wide in 5 years. Light green paddle shaped leaves. White urn shaped flowers in spring. Bark exfoliates to mahogany and shredding with time. First rate dense weed smothering groudcover. Black spot resisitant. Full sun to part shade in average, well drained soil. No summer water- though it tolerates it better than most. Great Oregon native shrub. Cold hardy. Russet/red berries follow the flowers and are consumed by wildlife. Very similar in habit and use as ‘Martha Ewan’, they are almost interchangeable. The foliage is more rounded and lighter green than the previous. Oregon native plant.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Aruncus dioicus var. acuminatus
Goats Beard is a big bold and easy to grow perennial for part shade and perpetually wet sites. To 4′ tall and as wide with large fountains of pure white flowers in late spring to early summer. Native in seeps and along watercourses, mimic those conditions in your garden and you’ll have success. Long lived plant that develops a woody base. Completely winter deciduous. Excellent combined with other mesic water loving plants. Tolerates some inundation but not during the growing season. Often found on cliffs away from the browse of deer. Very large permanent perennial in time. Fall color is often yellow. Widespread in the PNW. Native in the Portland City limits. Oregon native plant.
Narrow leaved milkweed is an Oregonian butterfly weed that has a great wildflower demeanor and is just as attractive to pollinators as well as Lepidoptera (butterflies). Full sun and well drained soil, though it accepts clay soil on slopes that are strictly unwatered in summer , otherwise light consistent irrigation to establish- then natural rainfall alone. To 22″ tall and making a spreading plant. Mix with fine textured ornamental grasses,such as Tufted fairy grass – Deschampsia caespitosa and tall spiky perennials such as simultaneously blooming Kniphofias. Light summer water when companion planted. Flower color is most often creamy white but ranges to light pink. Often seen on road cuts and in ditches in the Willamette Valley. Blends in with grasses and other plants but pollinators find it no matter what. Spreads to form colonies by underground stolons to 2′-3′ wide. Nice cutflower. Important food source for Fendler’s Blue Butterfly which is very endangered and locally indigenous. Winter deciduous. Blooms open in June and persist to August. The large seed heads are pointed and release their downy seeds on the wind in August-September. Oregon native plant.
This widespread species is native to the floor of the Willamette Valley and is locally common in the Columbia Gorge where it occupies dry rocky hillsides in full sun but tolerates heavy clay soil. In the best conditions (loam) it is huge spreading perennial that requires pre-planning and some real estate. Gray green stalks and leaves rise up to about 4’tall and bear deliciously fragrant pink orbicular flowers. These are irresistible to butterflies, including Monarchs, and if you want one to visit your garden this plant is good insurance. However, all butterflies find it irresistible. Spreads underground vigorously by stolons and can come up quite a way from the initial clump. Full sun and well drained soil. Completely winter deciduous and emerges relatively late in spring. Be patient. see video below. IMG 6323. Oregon native plant.
Baccharis pilularis ssp. consanguinea
This is the Willamette Valley form of coyote brush (bush)- also known as chaparral broom. A relatively short lived evergreen shrub in the aster family. Indeed this form blooms in autumn through winter with small brushes of white plumed flowers on female plants. Smaller yellow flowers on males. Typical of the steepest cliffs abutting the ocean and in the Willamette Valley it populates recent road cuts and fire zones. Often it will be seen all alone in the center of a Willamette Valley field. Native inland from northern Marion county to Douglas county. Very fast growing and drought adapted daisy bush for rough sites and poor soil. Improved soil will yield an enormous shrub so its difficult to pin point an exact size but everything from 4′ tall in poor soil with no summer water to 12′ x 12′ in rich soil with irrigation. I suggest no irrigation after planting. Excellent fodder for insects and birds. It may be pruned heavily in spring and will quickly regenerate. Foliage is deep glossy green but fine textured. Not bothered by deer. Excellent native companion for Manzanita, Grevilleas. VERY EASY to grow. average life span 10 years. Good instant plant for a native garden, but not long term. Native from N. Oregon coast south to Baja California. A prominent component of the California beach chaparral and on the Oregon coast as well. Common associated plants on the coast are Salal (Gaultheria shallon) and Mahonia nervosa. In the Willamette Valley its primary role has been ursurped by Scot’s Broom. Too bad. Oregon native plant.
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.
Blechnum spicant (Struthiopteris spicant)
The second most common fern in western Oregon Deer fern is a lovely native evergreen clumping perennial that is invaluable. The tiered upright and then settling to horizontal mid green glossy fronds are handsome all the time. To 2′ wide and 2′ tall (when fronds are emerging). Rich, moisture retentive soil high in organic matter. Light summer water in part shade to shade. Familiar fern of the Oregon Cascades but very widespread. High deer resistance. Excellent native fern for life between Rhododendrons and Pieris that are ancient. This fern loves part shade and cool moist soils but has a bit of drought adaptation as well. Its supremely adapted to to the rough life of competition. Useful plant that looks very good year round. Design by Vanessa Gardner Nagel Seasons Design. Oregon native plant.
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.
Crown Brodiaea is in my opinion the more showy of the two that are common in Western Oregon, the other is Brodiaea elegans Harvest lily. This little naked lily inhabits dry hillsides and meadows from British Columbia to California. Cylindrical leaves emerge in autumn and a clump is green until spring. Then as the leaves go dormant it sends up a chalice of rich blue flowers with distinct white petals on the interior of the flower The 4-6 flowers measure nearly an inch wide each when open. To 8″ tall and spreading primarily by seed, this corm will also multiply to form local colonies. Blooms May to July, just as the accompanying grass is going tan summer dormant. Brodiaea has been placed in the Amaryllis family, then the Asparagus family and now it resides, but probably not permanently, in the Lily family. Loved by pollinators and native bumble bees are especially fond of the pretty flowers. Disappears completely after seed set. Full sun and an open aspect. Average soil and tolerant of xeric clay soils that dry to concrete with summer drought. Adored by butterflies. In the Willamette Valley it is common to find this corm among creeping strawberry Fragaria Virginiana platypetala Roemer’s Fescue Festuca roemeri var. roemeri, Prairie stars Lithophragma sp.as well as Ookow Dichelostemma congestum . Once established no supplemental water is required, in fact its best to give this beautiful little flower a dry rest in summer. No summer water zone. Not well adapted to compete with introduced invasive turf grasses. Oregon native plant.
Wonderful native bulb that has several common names. Harvest lily is one as well as cluster lily. This gorgeous inhabitant of dry hillsides from British Columbia to southern California erupts in clusters of blue flowers just as summer drought ensues. To 14″ tall but normally shorter a clump of scrappy green leaves comes out in autumn and persists until bloom time. As the leaves go dormant the bulb sends up its bloom. Easy to grow if you accept its requirements. Bulbs that are potted should be watered after planting but established plants should rely only on what falls from the sky. Best to not irrigate in summer. In time it spreads by both increasing bulblets as well as seed. Excellent planted among Festuca roemeri var. roemeri as well as Festuca californica where it occurs naturally. Excellent pollinator bulb in the lily family. Leaves are deer resistant but flowers are not reliably deer proof. Full hot, all day sun in soils that dry completely in summer. Native throughout the Willamette Valley and into the gorge locally. Oregon native plant.
Mendocino Reed grass is a regal plant from the northern California coast. Well scaled for gardens a 1′ x 2′ wide clump eventually forms with stiff, tidy blue green arching leaves that are blue with purple highlights. In spring to mid-summer 1′ tall spikes of flowers that begin russet and age to soft tan appear and are immensely showy and symmetrical. A back lit plant in bloom is a festival of brilliant tones. Best in light shade and average to rich, well drained soil with light summer water to improve vigor and appearance. A cool season grass that looks wonderful in winter as well as summer. Excellent garden plant that has proven to be easy and adaptable, Unfortunately, it can be hard to propagate and availability is spotty. Evergreen.
NOT AVAILABLE 2022/23
Pacific Reed grass is a large and stately grass that is found close to the coast/ beach. A tall growing species with large flat green foliage and tall flowers that are at first green and then age to straw in summer. To 3′ tall on average, this plant can even perform as an epiphyte as is sometimes seen in forests adjacent to the beach. Spreads to form large clumps that are staunchly evergreen. Native from S. Alaska to N. California. This makes a wonderful casual plant with stiffly upright flower spikes. To 3′ wide and clumping. Average to amended soil, adaptable to clay soils. This is a great first line grass at the beach. It endures salt spray and poor soils. Easy to grow native grass for rough areas, meadows, forest verges. Full sun to quite a bit of shade. It may be cut back hard in the early spring, but appearance is very stable throughout the year. Deer resistant. Very easy to grow. Light consistent water inland, but drought adapted at the coast. Associated plants in the wild are Polypodium scopulorum, Picea sitchensis, Gaultheria shallon (Salal). One of our best native evergreen grasses for our gardens. Oregon native plant.
Cat’s Ear’s or furry mariposa. This bulb is exclusive to the west side of the Cascades from central Puget Sound south to northern California. In Oregon it occupies a host of biomes. Most commonly its seen in grassy places or steep rocky slopes. On our property near Eugene it was primarily a woodland plant with forays out into the sun. We shamelessly picked this delicate flower for short lived bouquets. Picking it snuffs out the plant. To 8″ tall and sporting multiple flowers on a divided stem. The flowers have a peaked sweet fragrance that gives away the species. A fascinating flower for pollinators. Three rounded petals with a sharp tip are layered in purple to white to blue fur. This is imposed over the base color of the petals which is often white shading to purple. When planting from a container water when you plant it and then nature takes its course. It quickly goes summer dormant after setting seeds in downward shaped capsules. Do not disturb once established. Plants can put up leaves for several years before bloom commences. Patience. No summer water. Protect from deer who will snack on the flowers. Native associates are Sanicula crassicaulis, Dodecatheon hendersonii, Lithophragma parvifora, Nemophila menziesii, Iris tenax, and Carex tumulicola. Emerges quickly in spring- does its thing and then goes back to sleep. Charming.A critical bulb for Willamette Valley meadows, excellent under Oregon white oaks.. Oregon native plant.
Camassia leichtlinii ssp. suksdorfii
Great Camas is the larger and some say showier cousin to common Camas (Cammasia quamash ssp. maxima). Its found throughout the western valleys of the state. Rising to 2′ tall in mid spring the petals of great Camas are not only larger they are stiffer as well. The large star shaped flowers open from the base to the top. They range greatly in color from pale blue to the most common dark blue. Its a luminous color that beckons pollinators. Small black hover flies gather on the flowers to collect pollen. Forms increasing colonies in rich soil that retains moisture. Its often seen in winter wet areas, but it can be found under oaks and firs in woodlands as well. It grows and blooms simultaneously with its common associates, Sidalcea malviflora ssp. virgata and occasionally even with Iris tenax (Oregon Iris). Its most striking neighbors in the wild are wild Parsnip (Hieracleum maximum) as well as Ranunculus occidentalis (Western Buttercup). Leaves precede the flowers and the whole plant goes cleanly summer dormant after seed set. Very adapted to heavy soils. No supplemental irrigation is required once established. In the wild it is found from full sun to quite a bit of shade on the verge of woodlands. Oregon native plant.
Camassia quamash ssp. maxima
Common Camas one of the wests great wild flowers. ‘Maxima’ is the form that is most common in the Willamette Valley. In April to June meadows, glens, and floodplains turn sky blue. Occurs natively in vernally wet sites, that means that part of the winter it is submerged or very saturated. However, it does thrive in upland situations in heavy clay soils that are sodden for at least half the year. Prior to European development first nation people relied on this starchy bulb as a food source. They managed it by low intensity fires which cleared away the competition but did not injure the deep bulb. In turn the Camas thrived. They ate it baked or steamed like a small potato. An important pollinator plant that also attracts some critically endangered Willamette Valley butterflies. Nice cut flower. The spike of flowers opens at the base and moves to the top. To 20″ tall in bloom. The whole plant goes quickly dormant with summer heat. Leaves emerge in early spring and precede the flowers. Full sun. Common associated plants are Ranunculus occidentalis and Hosackia gracilis. (Photo credit Guy Meacham) Oregon native plant.
Chamisso Sedge is a wonderful, common and extremely widespread sedge native to the W/NW parts of the US. Upright growing evergreen clumper to 10″ tall x 10″ wide in a season. The complex flowers are brown awns clustered in orbs at the top of very straight 20″ stems. Adaptable to a wide range of conditions from wet riparian zones to drier upland sites. In the wild it accompanies such perennials as Delphinium trollifolium, to Iris tenax. Good looking year round with just a slightly beat up look after the hardest winters. Spreads moderately fast in rich to average soil. Better year round appearance with a light application of compost. Excellent in a Willamette Valley meadow that is wet in winter and bone dry in summer. Each clump is dense enough to inhibit weed competition. Spreads very lightly by seed. Clumps that lose their luster in summer drought can be irrigated. Good garden performance. Great massed plant on 1′ centers. Oregon native plant.
California meadow sedge is native to stream banks, and vernally wet places at the beach from British Columbia south in to Baja. A deep green winter growing sedge which each plant reaches about 18″ across and 10″ or so inches high. It flops over gracefully and has a very uniform appearance through the year with light irrigation. This is a winter growing plant that resumes growing and greens up with winter rains. In very cold weather (below 20ºF) it can take on russet tints. A FANTASTIC LAWN SUBSTITUTE where it has been used extensively for that application in California. We should use it here too. Plant on 1′ centers for a lawn (faux lawn) cover from one gallons and water regularly through the first season. No water plantings can go summer dormant but in wetter environs this can be avoided and it will remain green and verdant. Water once a week in summer to remain green. Fantastic ground cover, slope cover as it will out compete weeds and form a uniform cover. Tolerates clay soils well, but some amending will reap rewards with a faster growing plant. Tolerates mowing very well. Oregon native plant.
Meadow Sedge or Field Sedge is found primarily in meadows and grasslands east of the Cascades. An evergreen fine textured clumping sedge that is gracefully employed in mass plantings, lawn substitutes even freeway margins. Very adaptable plant for average soil with regular water for best appearance. It will make due with conditions that are much less optimal. To 14″ tall but bending immediately in a cascading motion that mimics movement by wind – even when its still. Forest margins, riparian sites. Very useful plant with good winter presence. Full sun to very light shade. Very useful in meadow plantings. Rarely seeds itself and is well behaved. And remember Sedges have edges, rushes are round and grasses like asses have holes. HEH. Oregon native plant.
Carex praegracilis ‘Chisai’
Excellent dwarf form of our native meadow sedge. To just 6″ tall it forms dense spreading evergreen patches. In spring to summer both male and female flower spikes rise to just a few inches above the foliage. Nice looking compact plant that retains its verdancy through the winter. An admirable substitute for lawn and mowing is not necessary. This species is most widespread east of the Cascades. Its native throughout the west and this form was identified in California. Plant on 10″ centers for a modern massed ground cover. The mid green to ochre green leaves are dense and smother competition. This creates less of a hummock affect and more of a small dome. Very easy to grow. Excels in containers. Full sun to light shade, also very high overhead shade (a tall tree canopy). Amending the soil with compost and fertilizer will increase vigor and green appearance and quicken establishment. Spreads by slowly expanding rhizomes. Excellent between stones or pavers. Tolerates light foot traffic. Not really large enough to be bothered by deer once established. Hardy below 0ºF. This useful plant has great smaller scale, ease of culture, and consistent good looks. This would be an excellent smaller grassy component of a meadow. Established plants can take quite a bit of summer drought. Carex praegracilis is an Oregon native plant.
Foothill Sedge is commonly found from the central Willamette Valley south into California. A tightly clumping sedge with medium green foliage and 8″ wiry stems with attending flowers that are tan in spring/summer. In our region this plant can be found in upland situations where it is moist for at least half the year. Its also diminutive and almost hard to find in the wild. Under cultivation its an entirely different beast. Clumps are dense but expand with a pronounced weeping habit. To 8″ tall x 18″ wide for each individual plant. Good massed or as a lawn substitute. Takes mowing if its limited to once a year. Regular irrigation keeps it green and happy. Summer drought sees blades of tan as well as green and not so verdant. It does not run nor become a seeding pest- sticking surprisingly to itself. Plant on 1′ centers for a modern, mounding effect. Takes clay soils well. Water regularly to establish the first summer then taper off (continue watering if you want it to stay staunchly green). Combines well with perennials including native perennials such as Checkermallow (Sidalcea) and, Ranunculus occidentalis (Western Buttercup), as well as Shooting Stars (Dodecatheon) are found in closely related communities with this plant. Full sun to light shade, or high overhead shade. In California it is also known as Berkeley Sedge. Oregon native plant.
Carex tumulicola ‘Willamette Gold’
Wow, when nature smiles on you then you need to take advantage. We found this stable variant of our locally native foothill sedge that is pure gold. As for the species a clumper that forms trailing 12″ foliage. The tight clumps keep to themselves and do not seed or run. Brilliant color all season long in average to enriched soil in full sun to light shade. Water consistently through summer for the best, consistent color. Attending flowers are on wiry straight stems with buff flowers in late spring to early summer. Mass for a much more drought adapted and vivid effect as Hakenochloa- Japanese forest grass. Easy to grow climate adapted native sedge. This is from a seedling batch of Willamette Valley native seed. Tough and good looking all the time. Evergreen- ever gold. To 6″ tall and 1′ wide. Plant on 1′ centers for a massed effect. Excellent in concert with other drought adapted natives, Manzanita etc. A great robust plant. Oregon native plant.
Xera Plants Introduction
Bush Anemone is a locally rare native of the Sierra Nevada foothills in Fresno County in central California. This tough evergreen shrub with thin deep green leaves set against pale exfoliating glossy bark is perfectly hardy to cold and drought. In May/June 3″ wide pure white flowers with a central yellow boss of stamens are sweetly fragrant. Full sun to almost full shade in any soil with adequate drainage. Adaptable to dry clay soils and able to endure extreme drought. Extraordinarily climate adapted- enduring summer drought and winter rain. Appreciates good air circulation. No crowding. To 8′ tall and 5′ wide in 6 years. Often left alone by deer- but they will definitely try newly installed plants. One of our most treasured west coast native shrubs. Very long lived sited correctly and denied summer water. Accepts blasting reflected heat. In time you can limb up the shrub to reveal the white/taupe exfoliating bark which appears glossy with age- this also assists in the air flow that this shrub craves. A monotypic genus. There’s just one species. Limited quantities.
Carpenteria californica ‘Elizabeth’
A wonderful selection of Bush Anemone that was chosen because it produces more flowers (though they are a tad smaller than the species) born in multiple sprays. And this form is slightly more compact as well. An evergreen shrub with lanceolate leaves w/ a rolled margin (revolute). The deep green leaves are attached to tan stems and trunks that with age exfoliate to a glossy metallic sheen. To 6′ tall by 4′ wide in 5 years. Full hot sun to very light open shade in average, well drained soil. For clay soils its best planted on a slope. Water to establish then none after the first summer- in fact this extremely drought adapted shrub prefers to go with out water. Provide good air circulation. Adaptable to the hottest sites, including western and southern exposures. Moderate deer resistance- they will try young plants so protect them. Long lived, climate, adapted shrub. Cold hardy to about 0ºF. The white flowers that occur in May/June are sweetly fragrant. Prune, if needed AFTER flowering.
DESERT CANDLES. This fascinating annual thrills us. Most often seen in the wild in its native California, and is commonly seen in the wildflower mecca of Carrizo Plain. Poppies, gillias, Brodiaea accompany this relative of brassicas. A small rosette of fleshy leaves gives way to an extending inflated hollow spike. Its colored bright yellow/chartreuse and glows from a distance. The MAROON flower not only cluster at the top they symmetrically line the tall stems. All together a glowing sentinel of a plant that is almost never seen for sale. The period of exceptional showiness is brief – 4-6 weeks but it such a bizarre and showy display that we wouldn’t be without it for early/mid spring containers. Might self sow in open disturbed sites. Better to save your own seed. Such a cool west coast native it needs to be appreciated for its unique and luminous beauty. To 30″ tall. Draws native insects including hover flies. Sets seed and dies in early summer completing its life cycle.
Big and arching evergreen shrub that becomes an unbelievable sea of ultramarine blue flowers in April. To 8′ x 8′ very quickly in full sun and well drained soil. Amenable to clay if unwatered in summer. Once established NO summer water at all. Grows quickly to its ultimate size give it room. Leaves burn below about 12ºF but recovery is rapid in spring and seldom sacrifices blooms. Rapid growing in our climate it consorts well with native wildflowers and especially bulbs. Completely drought adapted in our climate. One of the most stunning wild lilacs ever released. Pictured below at an elementary school. Planted on the playground, the children use it as a shelter. Kind of cool.
This is one of the most popular shrubs in western Oregon of the last two decades. And rightfully so. This wild lilac sports excellent cold hardiness, prolific flowers, and glossy handsome evergreen foliage year round. A strong growing shrub that can literally explode in growth in rich soil but is much more restrained in poorer mediums. Remember this when planting it. It performs the best in average, un-amended soils in full sun with regular summer water for the first season to establish and then none in subsequent years. Sky blue flowers are profuse covering this dense shrub in a haze of color for 3-4 weeks in May to June. Later blooming that most other Ceanothus. This good looking shrub is so durable its made its way as highway verge mass plantings but it is just as stellar of a garden plant as well. Cold hardy to about 5ºF- it survived -5ºF in the southern Willamette Valley in 2013 by freezing to the snow line and then vigorously re-sprouting. Durable, dependable Ceanothus. Avoid the summer heat + water that it abhors- it leaves it open to root water molds that can do it in and fairly quickly. Excellent shrub for the beginning gardener. Loved by pollinators of all kinds and is virtually rolling in bees during its fabulous bloom. NOT DEER RESISTANT. Most likely a hybrid with C. thyrsiflorus which must be responsible for at least half of its make up. Found in Victoria, Canada- hence the name. Likely it is the old cultivar ‘Skylark’ that was re-named upon its survival there of a hideous winter. The old name was forgotten and the glee of survival and discovery led to the renaming. To be clear ‘Victoria’ and ‘Skylark’ are exactly the same thing. Very fast growing to on average 8′ x 8′. Excellent with all west coast natives. Blooms simultaneously with yellow Halimiums. A fantastic floral and cultural combination.
Ceanothus ‘Blue Jeans’
One of the cold hardiest blue flowered cultivars and one of the earliest to bloom as well. An open spreading shrub with prickily deep green leaves. In March/April the whole shrub is obscured in violet blue clouds of flowers. Upon first viewing in bloom most people are shocked at how showy this evergreen shrub is. To 7′ x 5′ in five years in any well drained soil with little to no summer water. Very adaptable to clay soils, especially on slopes- as with all Ceanothus avoid boggy sites. One of the toughest cultivars that also takes very well to pruning which should be done after blooming to increase density if needed. Blooms on wood from the previous year and the button shaped flower clusters are so profuse that they obscure the foliage. Tolerates blasting reflected heat and is great in hot urban situations. Makes a wonderful informal hedge for wild areas but is just as at home clipped into urban scenes. Full sun. Moderately deer resistant- unusual for a Ceanothus. Cold hardy to 0ºF. The cultivar name might obliquely refer to the flower color but its an apt comparison to this tough , tough, shrub as well. No summer water. See clipped hedge below.
Ceanothus ‘Italian Skies’
A UK selection of our own west coast native wild lilac. And they did a good job. Large mounding evergreen shrub that puts on a spectacular display of deep blue flowers for nearly all of April into May. Fast growing to 5′ x 7′ very quickly in average well drained soil. Little to NO summer water. This cultivar has HUGE trusses of scintillating blue flowers. The largest of any Ceanothus that we grow- the reason why it is such a brilliant plant in bloom. Loved by pollinators of all kinds and especially tempting to large black and yellow bumble bees. Prune after blooming if you need to re-size the plant. Good cold hardiness. Best in a hot aspect. Good job to our friends in the UK.
Ceanothus ‘Midnight Magic’
We’ve been impressed with this extraordinarily deep blue flowered Wild Lilac released by Suncrest Nursery. A fine textured deep green evergreen shrub to 4′ x 8′ and forming a graceful cascading dome. Profuse cobalt blue flowers appear for 2-3 weeks in April. Extremely drought tolerant shrub for full sun and average to poor well drained soil. Little to no summer water required. Locate out of the path of subfreezing gorge winds. One of the most graceful and showiest of the genus. Grows very quickly to its ultimate size. Excellent performance on steep hillsides. Covers the ground like an umbrella with an great, intense, flower color. Excellent underplanted with yellow Pacific Coast Iris.
Ceanothus cuneatus ‘Blue Sierra’
For cold gardens this is an excellent cultivar and its a version of a species native to the Willamette Valley south into California. Small green wedge shaped evergreen leaves on an arching, somewhat angular shrub. In April and May clouds of soft violet blue flowers swarm the whole shrub. Beautiful. To 7′ x 7′ very quickly in poor to average well drained sites. No summer water once established. Handsome at all times. Excellently adapted to rough urban life where compacted soils, reflected heat and little water is present in summer- thrives in all those conditions. Full sun. Easy. Surveys by the California Chaparral Institute report that this is the most common component shrub of that community in both California and Oregon. Fixes nitrogen with its roots and is common following disturbance. Classic west coast shrub. Excellent accompanied by native bulbs and annuals. Beautiful with Pacific Coast Iris. Oregon native plant.
Ceanothus cuneatus ssp. cuneatus ‘Adair Villiage’
This is a Willamette Valley native form of Buckbrush found in the SW part of the Valley. This species is found historically from the Portland/Oregon City area in the Willamette Valley and throughout the southern half of the state well into California.Small isolated populations occur in central Washington- revealing a much larger range at some point. It has lost large areas of its northernmost natural range to development and fire suppression. It is a fire adapted species that requires disturbance to distribute. Thats a pity because this is a fantastic native shrub for hot dry sites. It is now employed by ODOT for freeway plantings and we are happy to see that. A large, angular evergreen shrub with small deep green paddle shaped leaves. In April the whole shrub is swarmed with pure white flowers.This is a beacon to all pollinators and the sweetly fragrant flowers will literally be buzzing in bloom. Fast growing incredibly tough shrub for areas of intense drought and reflected heat. To 8′ x 8′ very quickly in any soil that does not become boggy. Excellent performance in tough urban situations. Irresistible to bees and butterflies. Associated plants in the wild are Rubus ursinus, Dodecatheon hendersonii, Iris tenax and Ranunculus occidentalis. Extremely cold hardy to below 0ºF. No summer water. Moderate deer resistance. Oregon native plant.
This is a different form of our locally native Buckbrush. We found this at approximately 2200′ on Mary’s Peak in the Coast Range in a forest that was comprised primarily of Douglas Fir and Golden Chinquapin. This shorter shrub with smaller deep green leaves is most conspicuous in its slick gray stems. To 3′ tall by 4′ wide in 5 years. Full sun and average to poor soil. Blooms April to May with ivory colored panicles that cover the whole plant on old wood. The sweetly fragrant flowers are always buzzing with pollinators. A true low water shrub that can easily get by on only what falls from the sky, once established. This is a cold hardy and locally native evergreen shrub. Often it grows in an arching and then angular kind of way. This form is less upright. Red seedheads follow the flowers. This is a very well known and stable population in the wild that is regenerating nicely. Extraordinarily tolerant of heat and drought. Traditionally this shrub follows disturbance and was widespread in the Willamette Valley often as a meadow component with Rosa nutkana and Amelanchier, Excellent with native clumping grasses, perennials, and annuals. Oregon native plant.
Xera Plants Introduction
Ceanothus gloriosus ‘Anchor Bay’
A very good looking mounded, evergreen shrub that is best appreciated in milder gardens. In colder gardens provide a warm protected site. The small holly-like leaves are mat green and good looking year round. This moderately fast growing shrub at first spreads out and then with time mounds up. To 30″ tall by 4′ wide in 6 years. Dense growth suppresses weeds. In Apri/May for 3 weeks button shaped flower cluster are pale sky blue and appear on wood from the previous year. Prune, if needed after bloom has ended. This is seldom necessary. Consistent summer water for the first season then none in subsequent years. Excellent adaptation to the Oregon coast. Cold hardy to 8º-10ºF briefly. Very good performance in hot sunny hell strips. Accepts part shade (at the expense of bloom) and poor soils. Somewhat formal in appearance it avoids the brush pile look with dense, closely layered leaves. Not as palatable to deer. Good appearance year round.
Ceanothus gloriosus ‘Emily Brown’
The glory of this large, wild evergreen shrub occurs in April when the branches are awash in deep violet blue flowers.The darkest hue among this species. A fast growing very large shrub to 4′ tall by 12′ wide in time. Excellent for wild uncultivated areas. A handsome spreading deep green evergreen of great drought tolerance. Tolerates most soils that never become boggy. Good cold hardiness to 5ºF. No summer water when established. Loved by bees and butterflies. Takes well to pruning. Blooms on wood from the previous year, prune if needed after blooming. Excellent pollinator shrub for steep hillsides, rough areas. Evergreen foliage is handsome year round. Tolerates part shade. Blooms best in full sun. Photo below by Evan Bean.
Ceanothus gloriosus ‘Pt. Reyes’
The most popular ground cover Ceanothus and an important plant in our climate. Evergreen ground cover shrub that covers the ground densely. In March the entire plant is smothered in light violet blue flowers. Stems root where they touch the ground making it a valuable erosion control. Full sun to light shade in any well drained soil. Excels on steep slopes. To 10″ tall and 3′ wide very quickly. Plant on 3′ centers for a fast dense ground cover. If the shrub grown as a ground cover gets too tall it may be sheared after bloom has ended. Water to establish for the first season, this also speeds growth. Excellent performance in Hellstrips. Little water once established. Moderate deer resistance.Avoid direct exposure to subfreezing east wind. Very well adapted to the Oregon coast.
Ceanothus impressus ‘Vandenburg’
Most Ceanothus are famous for their intense blue and profuse flowers, this interesting shrub has the typical masses of sky blue flowers which obscures the tiny warty foliage. To 5′ x 8′ and spreading wider than tall it becomes a cloud of blue in April and pollinators take notice. Rolling in bees and every other awake pollinator a shrub in full bloom is a buzzing fountain of activity. Fast growing, wiry, dense shrub with extraordinarily dark green tiny leaves. This gives the shrub the distinct appearance of a cloud. Full sun and average to poor soil including heavy clay soils that dry in summer. No summer water once established. Remarkably drought adapted west coast native shrub. Very easy to grow large, showy, shrub for wild areas, blasting hot urban hell scapes. Not totally deer resistant but better than most other species. Excellent performance at the Oregon coast. Endures sandy substrates and even a bit of salt wind. Attracts some of the first butterflies to emerge. Cold hardy to slightly below 10ºF for brief periods. Recovers from cold damage completely by bloom time. NOT FOR SALE 2023
Deerbrush is a widespread species in Oregon favoring areas with extensive summer drought. Its found primarily in the southern 1/3 of southwest Oregon and the north central part of the state into southern Washington. A small population exists on Skinners Butte in Eugene. Wide spreading semi-deciduous to deciduous shrub with young stems that remain green. Locally it is most common from about Dog mountain in the Gorge to the east and is extensive throughout Hood River and Wasco counties. This is an ideal shrub for revegetation areas, it naturally responds to fire, in fact the seeds must be exposed to boiling water to germinate. This species comes in a very wide range of colors. from clear white to deep blue and occasional shades of lilac pink. It may only be raised from seed so flower color is naturally variable. The plumes of flowers are large and airy displaying the color of the flower vividly. The most common flower color in Oregon is light blue. In late May and June a wonderful wildflower drive is up the Hood River Valley. These frothy blue, to pink to white flowers literally foam out from under native oaks and conifers. Its very conspicuous at that time too on the Rowena plateau. A word of warning not only does this shrub encourage deer browse it is also the unfortunate home of many deer ticks. Photograph carefully. Here it is found with such associates as Holodiscus, Toxicodendron, Symphoricarpos and Arctostaphylos. This brushy plant derives its name from the familiar sight of black tail deer breast height chomping away in extensive groves. Not a long lived shrub 7-10 years but it fixes nitrogen efficiently and improves the soil for successors. Full sun to very light shade, best on a dry slope. Water to establish then only what falls from the sky in subsequent years. Very hardy to cold enduring subzero temperatures. Beautiful pollinator heaven in bloom. To 3-7′ tall and as wide in several years. Oregon native plant.
Photo Credit: Dii Mazuz, Bruce Hegna
The most widespread native Ceanothus in our region. Its known by two common names, red stem Ceanothus which is fairly self explanartory and Oregon tea. A large growing shrub to small tree with conspicuous sanguine stems clad in large mid green leaves, this completely deciduous shrub is not known for fall color making due with yellow and off green before abandoning it. Fast growing to 12′ tall in May-July depending on elevation frothy white, fragrant flowers loosely decorate this sparse plant. In full sun and with regular irrigation it achieves tree-like status quickly. In the shade it makes rounded twiggy plant that is much less graceful. A wonderful native for pollinators and birds. Pollinators relish the flowers and birds make off with the black and brown seeds. Very graceful when well grown and that means average soil and water to establish then none in subsequent years. Excellent bordering woods and thickets. Naturally occurring with Frangula (Rhamnus) purshiana and Rosa nutkatensis var. nutkatensis. Tolerates more summer water than most Ceanothus but none is necessary. Not deer resistant. Native in the Portland city limits. Oregon native plant.
Ceanothus thyrsiflorus ‘Oregon Blue’
This form of Blueblossom we found on the southern Oregon coast in the far northern part of Curry County. There seems to be two forms of Ceanothus thyrsiflorus in Oregon. The immediate coastal species up to Lane county has broader leaves. Inland you find a much taller form with smaller juvenile leaves. An example of this is our large selection ‘Oregon Mist’. This is the standard broad leaved form you find adjacent to the beach. Glossy rounded leaves are lustrous and deep green year round. In late April to early June an extended period of profuse sky blue flowers. Adored by pollinators and rolling in grateful bees. A large native shrub with a rounded outline. To 8′ tall and possibly a little wider in AVERAGE soil in 5 years. Amended soil leads to prodigious growth and lack of hardiness. Fast growing low water shrub for full sun to very light shade. This plant that we collected in the wild is actually very similar to the cultivar ‘Victoria’- the primary difference is earlier bloom by several weeks. And a slightly lighter blue flower. This is a good standard form of the beach species as found in our state. Its been cold hardy to 5ºF with good pest free foliage. Ceanothus fix nitrogen with their roots and improve the soil. Also, years of detritus from the shrub collects to form wonderful enriched soil as well. Average life span increases the less this plant is watered once established but expect 9-15 years. Durable shrub for urban to rural places. Extraordinarily drought adapted as well as tolerant of dry clay. Pretty and utilitarian. Available, autumn 2020. Oregon native plant.
Xera Plants Introduction
Ceanothus thyrsiflorus ‘Oregon Mist’
Greg and I found this distinctive form of Coast Blue Blossom in the wild. This species ranges from Lane County, Oregon to Santa Barbara County, California. A fast growing seral species that follows fire and disturbance. Very near the location where we discovered this handsome small tree was to the largest Ceanothus thyrsiflorus ever discovered in 1925- it was nearly 30′ tall. This is a large and fast growing evergreen tree with copious amounts of scintillating flowers. It has smaller deep green leaves and huge trusses of soft turquoise flowers in late April to early June. A tall growing tree/shrub that attains heights of 15′ very quickly if allowed. This drought tolerant native takes very well to pruning too- which should be done after blooming. Full sun and average well drained soil- including clay soils. Little to no summer water when established. Excellent for use as an instant screen or informal hedgerow. Pretty in the background of dry borders. Loved by bees and butterflies in bloom. Very easy to grow native evergreen shrub that should be used more. Life span 15-20 years. Oregon native plant.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Ceanothus thyrsiflorus ‘Rogue Sky’
A selection of Coast Blue Blossom or Ceanothus thyrsiflorus that we made very far inland from its natural range in SW Oregon. Typically relegated to the coastal strip we found this variety more than 35 miles inland. This improves cold hardiness. A rapidly growing shrub/tree to 16′ tall and 8′ wide in 7 years. Robin’s egg blue flowers smother the whole plant in May. Extremely drought tolerant this fast grower may be either used as a cool, evergreen, native, blue flowered tree or it may be pruned aggressively after blooming to limit the size- increase density create a screen or hedge. Loved by honey bees and all pollinators in general. No summer water once established. Excellent background tree that delights in bloom but fades to a green screen the rest of the year. Plant with other drought tolerant plants- Arctostaphylos, Cistus, etc. Grows 3′-4′ per year when established. The flowers are a soothing blue- which is hard to capture in photographs. The effect in bloom is a blue cloud. Takes partial shade and the worst soils. Oregon native plant.
Xera Plants Introduction
Ceanothus thyrsiflorus ‘Umpqua Sky’
A very large growing, vigorous and pretty tree type Ceanothus native to the extreme SW part of the state. This fast growing evergreen tree (3′-4′ per year) puts on a huge display of soft blue flowers in late April to early June. Full sun to light shade (high overhead shade) and average soil that drains. Adaptable to clay soils, especially on slopes and not watered at all in summer. Completely drought adapted, no water necessary once established. To 18′ tall and half as wide in 7 years. Great screen, blue flowered tree that is beautiful in bloom but fades to a background for the rest of the year. Prodigious pruning can keep it much lower and it makes a great large hedge in no time. Good cold hardiness to 5ºF. We chose this variety in the wild because it was found quite a bit away from the coast which increases cold hardiness and it was immensely heavy in bloom. Prune AFTER flowering if needed. As a hedge or smaller plant it only requires pruning once a year- especially if strictly unwatered. Extraordinarily heavy bloomer and the trusses of flowers are often divided into six or more sub-branches for a very full look in bloom. Pairs well with Madrone and Arctostaphylos. Oregon native plant.
Xera Plants Introduction
Ceanothus thyrsiflorus var. griseus ‘Kurt Zadnick’
What a surprise this very dark, dark, dark blue flowered Ceanothus has turned out to have excellent cold hardiness. In our climate it is a low and spreading evergreen shrub with glossy leaves. To 3′ tall by 6′ wide in 6 years. In April/May a profuse display of the darkest cobalt blue flowers mass over the whole plant. Its so dark that it can seem like shadows over the plant but closer inspection reveals the intensity of the color blue. Full sun to light shade in average soil. Tolerates clay soil as well as withering summer drought. Prune if needed lightly after blooming has ended. This is a great drought tolerant, heat tolerant low shrub for hell strips. No summer water please. Well scaled for hell strips, low massing or a higher ground cover for hillsides. Fast growing to its ultimate size.
Wonderful and extremely showy wild lilac that has shown superior performance in our area. Small deep green warty leaves are glossy and are the ideal back drop to the foaming cobalt blue flowers that erupt from red tinted buds in April. Fast growing evergreen that is wider than tall. Typically 6′ tall and 8′ wide in 5 years. This begs for its use on steep unwatered slopes or as a dramatic backdrop to a wildflower garden. Full sun to very light shade in average soil with water to establish then none in subsequent years. Loved by all pollinators and insects will be rolling on the flowers to collect pollen. Avoid direct exposure to subfreezing east wind. Very good in urban situations where it performs in poor soils, little irrigation and reflected heat. In colder gardens place near a south facing wall or at the top of a hill where cold air drains away. Blooms simultaneously with Pacifica Iris and they match each other well in cultural requirements. Remember Ceanothus do best in average unimproved soil. Rich soil can lead to prodigious growth and quite a bit less hardiness to cold. Wonderful cultivar. This and many cultivars will lose flower color with very heavy rain. It literally washes some of the blue color away. Ceanothus blossoms mixed with water will yield blue soap suds ( there are saponins in the flowers).
Ceanothus x ‘Peg’s Pride’
Beautiful ground cover Ceanothus that bears dense sky blue flowers in a vivid carpet in April to May. To 2′ tall and mounding it stretches out to 8′ wide. The dense evergreen growth blocks weeds effectively. Very good on steep slopes. Loved by all pollinators and especially important to native bees. This is one of the cold hardier ground cover hybrids taking 5ºF with no issue. Excellent combined with Cistus and Halimiums. Fast growing to its ultimate size. Best in full sun but will tolerate light shade with sparser bloom. Regular water for the first season to establish then none in subsequent years. Supremely drought adapted. Very good at the Oregon coast and adaptable to sandy substrates.Mid green round leaves are semi gloss and handsome year round. Spectacular in bloom. Plant on 4′ centers for a large evergreen groundcover.
Ceanothus x ‘Xera Azul’
Very fortuitous, we planted 5 species/cvs of Ceanothus in our stock beds and they of course got a little frisky. We ended up with one stellar seedling that has impressed us so much that we showed it to Ceanothus Guru Dave Fross of Native Sons Nursery and he was impressed. In its 3rd year its produced copious blooms that are about the darkest blue that I’ve seen. Only the cultivar ‘Kurt Zadnick’ has deeper tones but this plant displays them differently. Large fluffily black/blue trusses of flowers on a lower and spreading plant. To 4′ tall by 6′ wide very fast. Glossy undulate leaves look nothing like their prospective parents. It has shown great cold hardiness as well as drought adaptation. Um…..we’ve never done anything to it. It hasn’t ever even had supplemental irrigation. So, extraordinarily climate adapted. Also, most Ceanothus seedlings require 3-4 years to commence bloom. This precocious little seedling bloomed its second year. All of this adds up to a great new cultivar. Full sun to very light shade and average soil. Water for the first season to establish then none in subsequent years. Blooms late March to late April and occasionally on new wood through summer. This would make a great bank cover with Cistus and Helianthemum, Eriogonums. So cool we named it Azul. The beginning of a GREAT Ceanothus.
Xera Plants Introduction
Ceanothus x deslilianus ‘Topaz’
Possibly the darkest blue flowering cultivar that blooms in the summer. This hybrid is technically supposed to be deciduous but for us it never has been. Large panicles of cobalt blue flowers erupt from the current seasons growth in June to July. Remove spent flowers and more may follow. To 5′ x 3′ in average to enriched soil with REGULAR summer water. Good drainage. Easy to resize as it blooms on new wood, it may be cut to as low as 18″ in early spring. Black seed capsules follow the flowers and persist until birds relieve them of their contents in autumn. Excellent in borders, as a specimen, or informal hedge-row. Not as drought adapted as most of the genus. This plant is best with consistent moisture through its bloom period- not boggy (ever) but consistent. Remarkable flower color- moody, deep indigo. Click on Ceanothus video in green script.
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.
Chamaecyparis lawsoniana ‘Barry’s Silver’
Most native Port Orford Cedars that are grown eventually die out of the root pathogen phytophthera so imagine our delight when this small shrub form with gorgeous white foliage has persisted. Not that its totally resistant but it doesn’t just up and die when it gets water on the first 85ºF day. Really at its best as a stunning container subject where one can appreciate the almost white foliage that slowly morphs to aqua green. A nice bicolor effect. Unlike other variegated conifers this one does not get nasty after exposure to an arctic winter and summer sun. Instead it remains fresh. To 5′ tall and 3′ wide in 7 years- in the form of a tear drop. No summer water once established. Regular water is safe in containers. Part shade to full sun and average, well drained soil. Slow growing conifer that always looks good. Oregon native plant.
Choisya x ‘Aztec Pearl’
Interesting hybrid between two Mexican Oranges and wow, you get an incredible shrub that adores this climate. Rounded evergreen shrub to 5′ x 5′ after 6 years. In spring (and again in autumn) the whole bush becomes a cloud of fragrant white blossoms. They show up well with the finely divided leaves. Easy to grow shrub that is very forgiving. Drought tolerant when established and it has been hardy to near 0ºF. It takes very well to pruning which will increase both the shrubs density but the amount of flowers as well. The palmate leaves look like thin fingers or even bamboo especially as it becomes dense and layered. Moderate deer resistance. Perfectly adapted to the climate of Western Oregon. Full sun to part shade. Any reasonably well drained soil. Blooms on both old and new wood. Prune after the first flush of spring flowers has ended.
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.
Clarkia amoena ‘Dwarf Pink’
Farewell-to-spring is a common wildflower of meadows and glens in Western Oregon. It gets its name because it is often the last wildflower to bloom before the summer drought ends the show. This form differs by its pure pink profuse flowers on a dwarf plant. (The wild form is lavender with a red blotch in the center of each petal.). An amazing display of bloom that appears as if someone dropped a bouquet on the ground. You see no evidence of leaves when its in full fettle. Blooms June to October in a garden setting with regular summer water and rich soil and the gardeners diligence removing spent flowers. Reseeds in open disturbed soil. to 10″ tall and a little wider forming a dome. Nice cut flower. Fun variation on a native. Very attractive to native pollinators. True hardy annual. Oregon native plant.
Clarkia amoena ‘Dwarf White’
Excellent little selection of our locally native wildflower ‘Farewell to Spring’. To just 10″ tall this plant(s) become a solid dome of white flowers from May-August. Cute little cut flower. Full sun in rich, to average well drained soil with just light competition from other plants. Re-seeds reliably in open disturbed sites. A great native derivative for hell strips and even containers. Regular summer water – or it will shut down go dormant and think its time to set seed and then make its melon. Rough areas, cut flower. Oregon native plant.
Clarkia amoena ssp. lindleyi
Farewell to Spring is so called because it is one of the last conspicuous native wildflowers to bloom before the onset of summer drought. And bloom it does all the way to late August. Its seen in mass populations waving above the already sear grass on hillsides that dot the valley. Little water is needed but a little supplemental water and removing spent flowers will extend the show. Otherwise it will die upon setting seed. The 2′ tall stems support multiple luminous pink cup shaped flowers. They appear superficially like a poppy. This is the variety that is locally native in the Portland area. The distinctly lavender pink flowers fade to a lighter interior near the center. But it will also appear with a darker pink/red blotch in the center of each petal on a minority of seedlings. These assist in guiding pollinators and this plant is a prime source for all native bees and butterflies. Excellent cut flower that lasts for quite a while in a vase. This is the source species of all the fancy cultivars that are raised in the cut flower trade. Reseeds happily in open disturbed sites. Excellent plant for wild areas and is often employed on road cuts and freeway embankments in deliberately sown wild flower mixtures. I’ve noticed that this local subspecies re-sows itself annually where other subspecies and especially the showy florist varieties are shy to do so. If you want a robust, climate adapted wildflower then go with this subspecies. It comes back strong. Probably our showiest and longest blooming native annual. Reseeds- leave stems to dry and disperse seed and remember to leave open spaces for next years show. Wonderful with yellow Madia elegans for a months long display of brilliant native annuals. A Xera favorite plant. See video below (IMG) taken at the William Finley Wildlife Refuge just south of Corvallis. Oregon native plant.
Lovely ubiquitous woodland flower that brings waves of glorious airy stars for weeks in late spring to mid summer. Occasionally pink the flowers most often are white. Handsome somewhat bold foliage provides a plant that is more than suited to competition on the forest floor. Often self sows and this is welcome. Plant containerized plants in spring and water faithfully through the first summer- but never boggy. Then it is yours. Let it romp among ferns, Hosta, Japanese Forest Grass for a sparkling NATIVE treat. Mix with other natives such as Vancouveria and deer fern. Very easy to grow. Blooms for a very long time and longer if we have a cool beginning to summer. AKA Candy flower. To 10″ x 10″ on average. Summer deciduous and emerges early in spring. Not bothered by pests. Forms spreading colonies in rich, humus enriched soil in part shade to shade. Locally native in the Portland city limits. Oregon native plant.
Clinopodium (Satureja) douglasii
Yerba buena is a fine trailing herb native to southeast Alaska south into northern California. Its a common scrambling component of woods and forest margins. The round slightly scalloped leaves emit a sweet herb/mint fragrance that reminds me of childhood and they line trailing stems. This 4″ tall by 2′ wide perennial is commonly found among shrubs and clumping grasses as well as perennials. It can be found in the wild with such plants as Vancouveria hexandra (Inside out flower) and Whipplea modesta (Whipple Vine). In late spring to early summer barely conspicuous tiny white snapdragon flowers appear in the leaf axils. Evergreen. Often the leaves turn maroon red in cold weather. The sturdy semi-woody stems root where they attach to the ground and it may be used as a deer resistant small scale ground cover for stabilizing smaller scale slopes. This member of the mint family can be used to flavor iced tea or any cold drink. Shade to part shade in average to slightly enriched soil. Combines well with clumping grasses and smaller scale shrubs such as Symphoricarpos (Snow Berry). Good in containers as well. Yerba buena (the good herb). Excellent native pollinator perennial in the mint family. Oregon native plant.
Native annuals often get over looked in our gardens. They occupied vast stretches of the Willamette Valley and civilization has caused those displays to suffer. In our gardens they are precious reminders that we should include every category of native plant. Giant Blue Eyed Mary is one of our most delicate looking and stunning in floral detail, It makes a hazy cloud of beautiful blue and white small snapdragon flowers from late April to Mid June. A true annual that dies once the floral display is done. But leave the skeletons of the plant for several weeks longer to form and shed seeds for next years display. This 20″ tall grassy plant occupies open sunny sites as well as the margins of forests. In our gardens it appreciates open slightly disturbed soil. Seedlings germinate in autumn and over winter as small plants. They will heavily occupy an area about the size of a 9″ pie. Excellent plant to succeed mid and late spring bulbs. Water lightly after planting and to establish then none required. Native to the Portland city limits as well. Fantastic displays of this plant can be seen at Camassia in West Linn all through late spring. This is a very reliable re-seeder if you give it some open ground and check for slugs. Seedlings germinate quickly following the first rains and are incredibly cold hardy and drought tolerant. Don’t worry, they are from here, they know what to do. Attracts a wide variety of native pollinators including a wealth of smaller hover flies. Oregon native plant.
Wild Phlox is a native hardy annual that occurs from the prairies of the Willamette Valley to the sage brush country east of the Cascades. Clusters of flowers open sherbet orange and then fade to white with conspicuous blue pollen for a multi colored effect. Adaptable plant that will occupy any open disturbed site. Reseeds prolifically. To 2′ tall. Cute cut flower. Nice native to let wander your garden. Low water. Locally native in the city of Portland and to our nursery site in Sherwood. A charming plant that should be given average conditions and not pampered- otherwise it will contract powdery mildew which is harmless but kind of ugly. The unique, nearly indescribable color of this flower certainly is not. Oregon native plant.
Oregon cut leaf gold thread is a widespread but not common evergreen perennial that is found in dry shade on the west side of the Cascades. Native primarily to Oregon it extends north into Washington and is rare south into California. A colony creating perennial that has handsome, intricate deep green foliage. The arrow shaped leaves are arranged in rosettes along the expanding yellow stolons. The effect is a dense cover that expands at a slow rate. In spring sparse thread like flowers are curious followed by swollen seed pods arranged in a circle. Rich to average soil in shade to dappled shade, though if pushed it can tolerate a little sun. Good year round appearance. It may be cut back at the end of winter, but I haven’t really found this to be necessary. Use its best attributes, adaptation to dry shade and evergreen good looks as a limited groundcover beneath woodland perennials or at its best on the forest floor. Not a wide scale groundcover and clumps expand at a slow/moderate pace. Not adapted to compacted or clay soils. Best in heavy duff on the forest floor. Great in shade containers at the foot of Aspidistra . Not bothered by deer. Limited quantities. It derives its common name from the bright yellow roots and stolons. Water until you see good new growth then set it free. Oregon native plant.
Coreopsis tinctoria var. atkinsoniana
Columbia Coreopsis or Columbia tickseed is a locally native annual but more often biennial that is found along the Columbia River and into the gorge. Also, native throughout eastern North America. Its first season is spent as a rosette of curly, finely divided leaves that have a glossy sheen. The following early summer it erupts into groups of gold flowers, slightly reflexed petals and a red dot that surround a brown protruding cone. Loved by pollinators and they come en masse. To 22″ tall on average in bloom. For rich to average soil in full sun. The sun part is non-negotiable. Mix with native Oregon perennials and annuals such as Sidalcea virgata or Clarkia amoena var. lindleyi as well as Madia elegans for a summer long show. Very good butterfly plant. It has a scattered population in the Willamette Valley but should be grown here much more often. Self sows in open disturbed sites. Very prolific in bloom with clouds of golden flowers unobscured by pesky foliage. Nice cut flower. One stem can be an entire bouquet. light consistent summer water improves the show but this is a tough, climate adapted biennial. Moderate deer resistance. Oregon native plant.
Pacific Dogwood is one of our most beloved native flowering trees. From BC south to the Sierra Nevada of California this understory to margin tree alights in April and May in pristine white flowers. They perch on upward arching stems for a perfect display. This large conical shaped tree can achieve 35′ in great age. Water deeply and infrequently during its first summer in the ground, once it is firmly established it can go with natural rainfall. In full hot sun more irrigation may be needed. Native to the Portland city limits and a firm spring decoration on our freeways. Pacific dogwood contrasts wonderfully in bloom with deep green conifers. Average growth when young is 2′-3′ per year. In certain seedlings this spectacular species may re-bloom in August/September. Its a fairly small percentage but when it occurs its a refreshing display at the end of hot summer. Fall color is pink/red/orange and is conspicuous in the understory. Full sun to overhead shade in the understory. In autumn red fruits decorate the branch tips and are food for birds. Give this native tree good air circulation and mulch after planting. Oregon native plant.
Cupressus (Hesperocypress) macrocarpa ‘Citriodora’
Fantastic form of the incredibly tough Monterey Cypress. Foliage on this fast growing large evergreen tree is brilliantly hued in chartreuse/gold and acid green. Pinch the foliage and the fragrance of lemons is released. Fast growing tree for poor to average well drained soil. Avoid overly rich soils- which causes rank, unsteady growth. Average un-amended native soils are best. Light summer water to initiate growth and then completely drought tolerant. To 35′ tall x 25′ wide in 15 years. In time it develops a really cool flat spreading crown that this species is so famous for. Great drought and cold tolerance at our nursery. Give it amble room, full all day sun and not much else. Cold hardy to 0ºF. Long lived tree. This species has been placed in the genus Hesperocypress.
Cupressus glabra ‘Sulphurea’
Remarkable form of the hardy Arizona Cypress. This variety has foliage frosted in chartreuse/cream with interior foliage closer to sea green. A great affect. To 15′ tall but only 4′ wide this is a decidedly fastigiate form of this species. Fast growing tree for screens, specimen. Poor to average soil- avoid rich soil- this causes Cypress to grow to fat and fast in our climate- they get rank and rocky. So plant in average to poor soil with light irrigation until you see appreciable new growth and then none- ever. This produces a more measured growth rate and a sturdier plant. Full sun- from ALL directions- no shade at all. Open exposed sites are best. Very pretty plant that adores our climate. Cold hardy below 0ºF. Rare tree and quantities are limited. Completely drought tolerant.
Cupressus macrocarpa ‘Wilma Goldcrest’
We love Wilma and have found that she’s a great landscape plant and not just relegated to seasonal containers. Fast growing dense, columnar acid green/gold tree to 9′ tall and 2′ wide in 7 years. Average, well drained soil. Do not plant this in rich amended soil, it will grow rapidly and rank and likely tip over in the first windstorm of the autumn. Instead rely on its adaptation to poorer soils to create sturdy, measured growth. You’ll thank yourself in the end. Foliage can be burned by strong subfreezing wind- plant this out of the path of east wind. It recovers quickly in spring and you’d never know there was winter burn by about May. The foliage has an intense lemon fragrance. Great in containers. Little to no summer water. Moderate deer resistance- they won’t eat it but they may rut on it.
Cylindropuntia whipplei ‘White Spine’
Love this small growing Cholla that has the most amazing luminescent white spines. Densely branching low plant to 2′ tall by 3′ wide in time. Not terribly fast growing. Fast draining soils that have been amended heavily with gravel and pumice and ideally on a slope will make this a focal point in the dry garden. Light summer water will speed growth. Extremely cold hardy and not terribly fussy. Give it an open position with sun all day long. Wonderful in rock gardens. Flowers we have not seen but we assume with this species that they will be pink/purple in summer. Highly deer resistant. Great container plant. Move to a dry position in winter just for extra protection from wet.
Sotol or Desert spoon is an excellent Yucca relative that does amazingly well in our climate given the correct conditions. Native to the northern Chihuahuan Desert of northern Mexico into Arizona and stretching to the east through New Mexico into Texas is where you will find this handsome desert dweller. Rosettes of serrated blue green leaves radiate out in a circular orb. The ends of each leaf become frizzy and add an overall hazy texture to the plant. In time, when happy 9′ spikes erupt from the center and display columns of small white flowers. Very well drained soil in a full, hot position. Excellent on hot, south facing slopes but perfectly at home in the dry gravel garden. Foliage to 3′ x 3′ slowly. Evergreen. Light summer water to establish then none in subsequent years. Great in containers. High deer resistance.
Datura wrightii ‘High Altitude Form’
LOCO WEED. We discovered this native SW perennial growing very high up east of the cost of the Sierra at above 6500′. Damn it gets chilly up there. Herbaceous perennial that emerges with large, bold, silver-blue leaves. Sprawling to several feet wide in a full, hot position with exceptional drainage. All summer huge white goblet like flowers unfurl from curiously colored gray buds. You can literally watch the flowers open in the evening. They glow in the moon light and emit a soft fragrance. By 2:00 the following day the flower has withered. <sad face> but more are in the wings. Begins blooming in late June and repeats to frost. Completely deciduous (gone) in winter. Good drainage in a hot position- where the soil warms early. Spectacular. Toxic- but what garden plants are not? High deer resistance. Native to the american southwest and northwest Mexico. It has become naturalized in arts of the Willamette Valley, Columbia Gorge, and Eastern Oregon. Rarely seeds itself in our climate. The seedpods that develop following the flowers are round and spiney.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Menzie’s Larkspur is one of the most widespread species west of the Cascades. That doesn’t mean it easy to grow, and as a crop it can be a pain, That said its one of the ultimate spring flowers and its lost immense amounts of its range in the Willamette Valley to development. This widespread perennial is a grassland Delphinium that can be found in oak woodlands with Dodecatheon hendersonii, and Plectritis congesta and Romanzoffia californica. The soils that it inhabits run the gamut from sand near the beach to xeric clay in and around the Willamette Valley. This can be a tricky species to establish, my best advice is to double dig a wide area where there is very little competition from other plants. Add a small amount of all organic fertilizer to the hole. Water in well and water again once a week until June. Then you can permanently taper off. That means in subsequent years it will rely on natural rainfall alone. Upright perennial to 20″ tall multiple brilliant blue flowers often with a lighter bee. I’ve also seen them in a deep black/blue velvet purple. Sets seed and goes dormant in mid-summer. Its very very important to protect the emerging plant or seedling from snails and slugs. Bait heavily when you first see growth in late winter. Though widespread but no longer common this Delphinium seems to adapt best to cultivation with a light gravel mulch. This protects the plant from slugs and provides a perfect medium to germinate the seeds. Very popular pollinator plant visited by all sorts of bees, fly bees, hover flies, butterflies and more. The seedlings are conspicuous and the leaves mimic the parent plant. Full sun to light shade. Oregon native plant.
Brilliant orange/red tubular flowers each with two spurs on the rear of the flower. They appear to be swarming around the green wiry stems that support them. To 20″ tall, blooms rising from a basal rosette of leaves. Blooms May-July in Portland. Somewhat tricky southern Oregon native wildflowers that needs a bit of care and correct siting to establish and become perennial. Rich, well drained soil with light but consistent summer moisture. Native to very steep slopes and cliffs with excellent drainage but with groundwater in the form of seeps near by. Wild areas, gravel gardens for the ultimate wildflower effect. Established plants will often re-bloom if spent flower spikes are removed. Hummingbirds. Moderate deer resistance. Oregon native plant.
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.
Oregon bleeding heart is a widespread lush, long blooming perennial wildflower for moist conditions in shade to full sun. A somewhat rambunctious plant that spreads quickly by stolons. Do not plant it near shy or small plants that can become swamped. It tolerates quite a bit of shade and if in full sun it thrives with supplemental water and a massive flower display. Divided soft green foliage is very good looking, in April-July a continuous supply of rose colored downward pointing clumps of flowers on an 18″ spike. The foliage rises on average to half that height. Responds vigorously to amended soils and regular irrigation. In hot dry situations it will go quickly summer dormant. In the shade with water leaves persist to autumn and re-bloom occurs. Not bothered by pests, including deer and snails and slugs. Frequently found in shady ditches in the Willamette Valley. Winter deciduous, if not already summer drought deciduous. An easy to grow, self sufficient perennial for wild areas. Mix with other vigorous and scaled plants. Very easy to grow. Oregon native plant
Dicentra formosa var. oregana ‘Langtrees’
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 central California. 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 do not nod on the stems as other closely related species 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. Native to the Portland city limits. Oregon native plant.
Firecracker flower. 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.
Calico flower is a widespread showy annual of vernally wet sites throughout our region. A low spreading plant that rises up in bloom to reveal shovel shaped blue and white flowers. They closely resemble annual Lobelia (Lobelia erinus) to which it is closely related. Blooms appear from Mid May to early August. Rich soil with regular summer water. Downingia is native to areas that are often submerged in winter. And in the garden it appreciates ample water. Full sun and resists competition from other plants. Very good in rain gardens. One potted plant will expand to 2′ with rising showy flowers. Loved by pollinators of all kinds. Excellent container plant. You can simply remove it when it has completed its life cycle- replace with warm season annuals. A food source for the endangered Willamette Valley endemic Fendler’s Blue Butterfly. Leave established plants in place once they have died to distribute seed for the following year in the ground. Oregon native plant
Giant Chalk Dudleya or Giant Live Forever, this is in our estimation the largest and showiest of this genus native to the West Coast of North America from Oregon to Mexico. This spectacular succulent is native to the northern coast of Baja where it attaches to volcanic cliffs above the ocean. To 12″-18″ wide in a year or two the softly spiked rosette is covered in fine white powder (bloom) that can be rubbed off- that can result in a less pristine white form. Avoid pawing or poking the foliage. In spring to summer 18″ stems support clusters of orange/pink/yellow downward pointing flowers. Very pretty and it draws hummingbirds and butterflies. A fantastic container plant that can live for years happily in succulent cactus mix. Protect from severe cold (below 26ºF) and put containers in a cool unheated greenhouse in autumn. Or move to a dry under eave position. Water deeply and infrequently and able to tolerate summer water much better than others. Our Oregon native Dudleya farinosa can be kind fussy about that. Very easy to grow. Part shade to full sun. Shockingly beautiful plant. This and many Dudleyas have been vastly and illegally over collected in the wild. Ours are raised from seed which is not difficult and is even more of a pity that they are stolen in the wild.
Echinacea x ‘Cheyenne Spirit’
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.
Epilobium (Zauschneria ) ‘Solidarity Pink’
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.
Epilobium (Zauschneria) ‘Bowman’
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. Rather than running over neighboring plants ‘Bowman’ flows around other plants never over topping or even crowding the. 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. Water regularly to establish the first year.
Epilobium (Zauschneria) ‘Carmen’s Gray’
California Fuchsia that is an excellent combination of hot orange tubular flowers set agains dusty gray foliage. To 18″ tall in bloom this Epilobium is a spreader especially in light to rich soil. Adapted to life on slopes and often between boulders on cliffs. There its roots penetrate the cool, wet cracks and that provides sustenance. Give this perennial at least 2′ x 3′ feet to roam. Wonderful performance in hell strips. Add a little compost and organic fertilizer and you’ll be off to the races. Most (Zauschnerias) require irrigation about once a month and no more than once a week to look and bloom their best. Though it is supremely drought adapted this occasional irrigation substantially improves looks. Loved by hummingbirds and bush tits too who play with the flowers and rip them apart- their goal I have no idea. Dies to the ground in winter- the only presence then is spent stems. Cut these away in early spring after a threat of a hard freeze has passed Companion plants in the wild are Diplaucus, Delphinium cardinalis, Sedum spathulifolium. California Fuchsias range into southern Oregon and technically they are native to our state. This is an excellent perennial with great contrast between the masses of hot flowers and gray foliage. Not bothered by deer. Loved by hummingbirds Oregon native plant.
Epilobium (Zauschneria) ‘Sierra Salmon’
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.
Epilobium (Zauschneria) ‘Silver Select’
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.
Epilobium (Zauschneria) cana ‘ Peach Surprise’
A beautiful color form of California Fuchsia. This is 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.
Epilobium (Zauschneria) latifolia ‘Calistoga’
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. The vermillion orange flowers are larger than other cultivars and its impressive.
Epilobium (Zauschneria) septentrionalis ‘Select Mattole’
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. Clumps expand stoloniferously (underground). Light summer water improves bloom in very hot locations.
Erigeron glaucus ‘Bountiful’
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.
Erigeron glaucus ‘Bright Lights’
Beach fleabane or beach daisy normally runs in a mauve, to periwinkle vein. This lovely selection turns it up with crystal white daisies and a bold yellow center. Long lived perennial that is very adaptable. To 6″ tall a happy clump will spread to 2′ wide or more. Low and spreading it displays the flowers upright in a mass. This beckons pollinates and they always find this easy going daisy. Full sun, rich to average soil with regular irrigation through the bloom period. This not only keeps the plant verdant it encourage re-bloom which can occur until September. The initial huge show of flowers begins in late May into July. Excellent perennial for the top of a wall where it will happily creep over the edge and follow the contours on the way down. It may be cut back hard after the initial large flush of flowers, this tidies the plant and sets the stage for another big show. Not bothered by deer and often left alone by rabbits. This daisy is most conspicuous in habitat on the cliffs adjacent to the beach. It also perches on sea stacks. Beach fleabane ranges from the Northern Oregon coast south all along the California coast. Mix with other Erigeron glaucus cultivars for depth of contrast- this is when all the flower colors look the most distinct. Very easy to grow and it also absorbs the heat of parking strips with no issues. Cold hardy. Oregon native plant
Erigeron glaucus ‘Cape Sebastian’
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.
Showy daisy- though that is far too vague for this tough and graceful wildflower. Native in separate parts of the state this summer blooming perennial inhabits meadows and fields of the Willamette Valley. Rows of very fine soft pink petals surround a green/yellow center on 18″ stems June-August. The pretty daisies come in a group and then appear sporadically until frost. Loved by pollinators this is an authentic component of Willamette Valley meadows. Average to enriched soil with regular water to establish, in subsequent years it can survive on rainfall alone. Plant with Prunella vulgaris var, lanceolata, and Erigeron glaucus for a midsummer blooming native vignette. Long lived low maintenance perennial that goes completely deciduous. Widespread in the northwestern states of the US. Our version is from seed native to the Willamette Valley. Loved by butterflies and even good beetles. Clump expands to 2′ wide in time. Not bothered by deer. Simple, tough, wonderful native perennial. Full sun. Oregon native plant.
Erigeron x glaucus ‘Wayne Roderick’
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.
Our native Sulphur Buckwheat that is among the best for general garden culture in our climate. This ubiquitous creeping plant of alpine areas of Oregon celebrates spring with umbels of (sulphur) yellow flowers on long stalks. The low and spreading rosette of leaves are thick green on top with silver indumentum on the reverse. Full sun in fast draining conditions- ideally rock garden conditions because that is where you find it. Crevasses between rocks is where it lives. This is easily reenacted in your garden at the top of a porous rock wall. Blooms May-July for an extended time. The flowers go through a fascinating metamorphosis in color as they open, reach their peak of hot yellow and then turn to russet/red seed heads. These abandon the spike through autumn and spent flower spikes may be removed in winter. Water until you see the rosettes actively increasing. Then taper to once in a while. This species has a total of 13 (!) subspecies in Oregon alone. We have yet to delve into specific subspecies but if we did I would look for Eriogonum umbellatum var. modocensis and Eriogonum umbellatum var. umbellatum. Both are endemic to Mary’s Peak the tallest point in the Coast Range (4097′). So, I know that those (with immaculate drainage) can easily cope with higher rainfall. Rock garden staple and can also self sow in happy places. Very fun, sunny, satisfying native to grow. Associated plants in habitat are Prunella vulgaris var. lanceolata and Achillea millefolium, Sedum oreganum, Castilleja minuta and Penstemon cardwelii. Excellently adapted to gravel, crevice, gardens with an arid aesthetic. Amend the soil as for Agaves and it will thrive. Pronounced Air-e-OG-oh-num. Rosettes to 3″ tall, blooming stems to 1′ tall. Spreads, give it room. 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. Add compost and this perennial will soar- give it room in that case.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. Goes quickly dormant following bloom. 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
Oregon fawn lily is widespread in the western third of the state. In late winter and early spring leaves arrive mottled like a spring fawn. Soon the flowers follow on straight stems and yield a cream colored umbrella of petals. They reflex around a yellow center with protruding stamens. This glorious little plant is perfectly adapted to our climate. By mothers day it has set seed and gone back to sleep. Flowers are single on average plants or in poorer soil. In rich soil it soars to 20″ tall and can have a spike with two flowers. Gorgeous ephemeral plant that requires a dry rest period in summer. Competes well with invasives and in time it will seed itself to form patches. Seedlings of this bulb take approximately 2-3 years to bloom. Water to establish potted plants. Once established, only the rain that falls from the sky. Full sun to full shade in average soils, including clay soils. Do not water in summer or it will rot and die. In the wild its found under Oaks where it competes on the forest floor with Lonicera hispidula and other forbs. Blooms from early April to early May in the Willamette Valley- later at higher elevations. A wonderful native plant that should grace every garden. Found in the wild with Dodecatheon hendersonii, Nemophila menziesii var. atomaria, Carex tumulicola, Festuca roemeri var. roemeri and Festuca californica. Occurs on upland soils, never boggy. Extremely well adapted to our soils and climate. Wonderful woodland bulb. Best in part shade to shade, where the flowers last longer. Oregon native plant.
Golden poppy is native to the inland valleys of southwest Oregon. This charming annual is much more delicate in habit and color than its more common bolder cousin Eschscholzia californica the ubiquitous California poppy. This little jewel demands a hot sunny location in soil that is average, and not improved. It will self sow locally but nothing like its cousin. This demure little poppy blooms from late April to mid-June. Full sun is vital. Mix this charmer with other similarly adapted annuals. Collinsia grandiflora, Plectritis congesta, Gilia capitata. Very deer and rabbit resistant. Water potted plants to establish, resown babies in the future can get by on natural rainfall alone. Oregon native plant
Eschscholzia californica ‘Cream’
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.
Eschscholzia californica ‘Jelly Beans’
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.
Eschscholzia californica ‘Pretty in Pink’
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
Eschscholzia californica ‘Purple Gleam’
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
Eschscholzia californica ‘Willamette Valley Form’
Plants don’t really stay in the same place, They move according to climate and soils and 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.
Just about every gardener is aware of our west coast native California Poppy. It has a huge range from far southern Washington State to Mexico. There are several subspecies, but this one is exceptional. This PERENNIAL California Poppy is very different than the species. ‘Martima’ or Coastal California Poppy is a low, tidy, mat that erupts in wave after wave of flowers from spring to autumn. The tight congested foliage is handsome blue green and pairs well with the golden flowers that have a central area of orange. This plant is native to sand/very well drained soils and if you replicate that in your garden this is a very long lived plant. It also excels in the very well drained soil of containers and will drape over the edge and follow the contours closely. Ideally this plant is adapted to slopes with just light water during the summer. No need to dead head this plant is naturally remontant- re-blooming without any intervention from the gardener. Loved by all native pollinators and cherished by big black and yellow native bumbles. To 4″ tall as foliage – 8″ in flower its spread on average is about 2′ x 3′ in a year. Detests all shade, do not even try. Eschscholzia californica maritima is native to the northern and central California coast. Avoid compost and enriched soils, average soil is best. Not bothered by deer, rabbits, slugs, snails. So, why isn’t everyone growing this fantastic plant?
Festuca californica var. californica
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.
Festuca roemeri var. roemeri
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 clump 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 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.
Festuca rubra var. juncea ‘Patrick’s Point’
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.
Fragaria chiloense ‘Aulon’
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.
Fragaria vesca var. bracteata
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. it differs from the European version in that it produces runners. I 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. It will increase by RUNNERS, the european variety does not run, but clumps. 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 and nurture new plants at the end of stolons. This is our local selection and it is very drought adapted. The European variety much less. 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
Fragaria virginiana var. platypetala ‘Mt. St. Helens’
Broadleaved strawberry or mountain strawberry is a widespread native species with large white flowers in spring that turn to small delicious red fruits in June. A low spreading perennial that also spreads liberally by runners. This tendency ramps up in richer conditions. This tough native form was found by our employee Brandon at Mt. St. Helens. This clone shows impressive vigor and is useful in a number of ways. A tough species that naturally thrives in clay soils (and clay strawberry pots). It competes admirably with grass and is best between native clumpers. Associated plants in the Willamette Valley are Dichelostemma congestum, Carex tumulicola , Lathyrus nevadensis, and Calochortus tolmiei. Mostly evergreen with many bright red leaves in winter but leaves remain present in all but the coldest situations. In the garden give it rich to average soil and regular irrigation to establish. This variety has enough summer drought adaptation that it will grow sufficiently with little summer water. Cold hardy, tough little plants. Bears one crop of fruit per year. Rescue them from snails and ants. Widespread throughout the region. On the west side it is found everywhere from oak savannas to alpine meadows. In the eastern part of the state it is primarily in the mountains in partly shaded zones where there is adequate moisture. Each plant spreads to about 6″ across and runners expand out more than a foot from that. Oregon native plant.
Xera Plants Introduction
Frangula (Rhamnus) californica ‘Eve Case’
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. Great deer resistance. Oregon native plant
Frangula (Rhamnus) californica ‘Josephine County’
(California) Coffee Berry. Greg collected the berries/seed from this evergreen shrubby species in southwestern Oregon. In Josephine county it is a common dry shade understory component of both the forest and in open stands in chaparral. A light and gaunt evergreen with slightly glossy convex leaves that hang on the tips of the gray branches. In spring/ summer tiny green flowers morph into the familiar berries. They start green move to red and arrive at black/brown. To 6′ tall x 6′ wide on average. Growth in rich soil is much more verdant and dense. In dry shade, its natural haunt, it assumes its most common form. Birds will spread this tough shrub that is ideal for wild scaping, xeric landscaping, rural areas. Perhaps its most wonderful characteristic is that it is deer resistant- they will munch but it will cause the plant to return twice as dense and verdant. Leaves are glossy on top and blue/gray on the reverse and persist for 3-5 years. Full sun to quite a bit of shade in average to slightly enriched soil. Water to establish, or ideally plant in fall then natural rainfall alone. It will tolerate quite a bit of shade as well as root competition but not low shade, high overstay shade is better. . Informal shrub- good year round appearance. Extreme drought adaptation when established. In habitat this shrub is found with Arctostaphylos canescens, viscida, and Rhododendron occidentale and macrophyllum. Overstory is Chamaecyparis lawsoniana, Pseudotsuga, Pinus attentuata, Umbellularia californica. Quercus sp. Cold hardy. Great for wildlife. Seed grown., Oregon native plant
Xera Plants Introduction
Frangula (Rhamnus) californica ‘Leatherleaf’
A really cool version of California Coffeeberry which is also native to SW Oregon. Thick deep green rounded leaves clothe 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 to near 0ºF. Often not bothered by deer and one of the best deer resistant hedges for rural area- put a test plant out first to see if your deer are different It grows quickly with little to no irrigation.
Oregon native plant
Frangula (Rhamnus) purshiana
AKA Cascara or Cascara sagrada. This is a widespread small tree to shrub in the northwestern part of the United States to SW Canada. West of the Cascades its found in almost every biome. It can be a wind contorted shrub on blasting headlands at the coast. In the Willamette Valley its common where birds drop the berries/seeds on fence rows and it borders fields with native roses and Oso Berry. Its even found in the Bitteroot mountains in Montana/Idaho. It was frequently used by indigenous people as a laxative. Cascara is a small round crowned tree/shrub. In drier locations it is more shrub like but in deep, rich soil with access to water it can grow to be a thirty five foot tree. Large round alternate leaves turn dark green and glossy in summer. In May and June the tiny greenish flower appear and transform into red fruits by autumn. This is the mechanism that makes this plant so widespread, its dispersal by birds. A lovely little straight trunked shade tree that requires almost no water once established. It functions as an understory component as well. Full sun to quite a bit of shade, including dry shade. Easy to grow and climate adapted. Average life span 35 years. In winter its very symmetrical open branch structure is handsome. Fall color is soft yellow to chartreuse and not especially showy. Oregon native plant
Fremontodendron x ‘California Glory’
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.
Fremontodendron x ‘San Gabriel’
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.
Mission Bells or Western Checker lily. This is a handsome native bulb that is found extensively throughout the west side of the Cascades. It can inhabit Oregon oak savanna or Douglas fir forests. It is a prime Willamette Valley prairie component. This was one of the first native plants that i ever grew. In our backyard in the country under white/black oaks you would see them sporadically. When I put up a fence to block the voracious deer I inadvertently protected a patch of uncultivated forest floor. Where there was one meager Mission Bell the first year blossomed literally into 25 the next year and 50 the following year. Apparently, the deer had been eating them. So,learn my lesson protect this native plant from deer. To 20″ tall in bloom in April to June. The flowers are large for a Fritillaria and are most often black brown with green checkers and nod dramatically. To be honest this is a flower to view up close, from a distance this mostly green and brown plant blends right in to the forest floor. Tolerant of many soil types, ours grew in heavy silica based clay that dried to concrete in summer. Once established this tough bulb thrives and each lives many years. Spreads by seeds and bulbils and offset bulbs. Goes completely summer dormant with true heat- no presence in summer. Attracts quite a few pollinators including butterflies. No supplemental water in summer.Full sun to quite a bit of shade. Oregon native plant.
Blanket flower or Great Gaillardia is a very showy native perennial that is found over a wide area. It has limited appearances in the Willamette Valley and even prairies in Puget Sound. It becomes much more common in the Columbia Gorge and points east. It is adapted to dry slopes with adequate drainage and the 3″ yellow flowers with a red central cone appear beginning in May with continuous re-bloom until autumn on plants that have had spent flowers removed. To 10″ tall in bloom a happy clump can measure 2′ across. In the wild, without supplemental summer irrigation the yellow flowers appear for 4-6 weeks before setting seed and going summer dormant. Plants that have irrigation will happily continue blooming. Water should be applied deeply but infrequently and the plant should dry between irrigation. This is the native form of Blanket Flower, it has simple yellow petals that surround a red central cone. A very adaptable American native perennial that has undergone extensive hybridization and solid colors from dusky solid red to brown are also available. The most commonly cultivated form has yellow petals with a continuous zone of red around the cone- this is not that. Charming native perennial that attracts a vast amount of native pollinators and is not bothered by deer (not sure about rabbits). Full sun and average to enriched soil. Tolerates extreme drought and cold. Thrives in the reflected heat of hell strips, asphalt, and hot walls. May self sow, and this is welcome. Often it will wind up in cracks and crevices- mimicking this plants life between rocks and boulders. Mix with Agastaches, Origanum, Oregon sunshine (Eriophyllum) for a long blooming pollinator paradise. Easy to grow great garden plant. Frequently visited by butterflies. Native in the Portland city limits. Oregon native plant.
Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’
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.
Garrya x issaquahensis ‘Glasnevin Wine’
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 or this is also 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 very large 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.
Geum triflorum ‘Ochocos’
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.
Gilia capitata ‘Willamette Valley Form’
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.
Gilia capitata ssp pacifica
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 coating 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.
Crevice alum root is one of the most widespread of our native Heucheras. This rosette and colony forming perennial is almost always found on near seeps on wet slopes and cliff faces. The handsome green foliage is typically maple shaped and evergreen. In late spring to early summer clouds of very fine white flowers erupt on 2′ stems. Its a wonderful wispy effect. Rich to average soil with regular summer water. Established plants can handle much drier situations. The rosette colonies can be quite large. Lush and verdant evergreen for shady borders, hillsides, rock walls. Very easy and adaptable. Loved by pollinators and a great native pollinator perennial for part shade to shade. It will also accept full sun, but you have to pay closer attention to irrigation. Not bothered pests. In habitat it is often left alone by deer as it can grow on the most vertical cliffs. It makes a great but limited ground cover and the more plants you have the more flower spikes and the more showy and ethereal the affect. Combine with Struthiopteris spicant (Deer fern) and Oxalis oregana, Tiarella. A good container plant as well. A perennial for the north side of the house. 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.
Heuchera sanguinea ‘Big Red’
This is a very old selected form of Coral Bells. The brilliant red flowers are much larger than the species. A very long blooming perennial beginning in April and contenting solidly to July. The soft green maple shaped leaves are handsome year round. Spreads to form expanding colonies. To 2′ tall in bloom above a congested rosette of leaves. Adored by hummingbirds and a very adaptable plant. Full sun to light shade in rich to average soil. Established colonies of this showy spring perennial can live for decades. Excellent massed tougher for a bold blast of color or spread out for explanation points of bright red. Light consistent summer water. Though established plants make due with much less. Mix with other similarly designed perennials. Very a good with Wulfenia schwarzii, Saxafrage x geum dentata, or even lower and airy growing Dianthus. Light deer resistance. Native to the southwestern United states mountainous areas.
Heuchera sanguinea ‘Count Dracula’
Pale green leaves are striking and fade to cream, the transition appears differently on each leaf and the gradation of colors give you a cool affect. Pair that- pale leaves with the darkest red flowers we have yet to see on this species and you get a phenomenal plant. Adapted to part shade to full sun – and it doesn’t burn or bleach in sun. A long lived perennial with blood red flowers and foliage the color of Draculas skin that spreads to form colonies 1′ x 2 wide. In bloom the straight dark stems rise to 18″ tall. The deep red but small flowers are full of nectar and call hummingbirds, butterflies and a host of other small pollinators. Blooms for an extended period from late April to early July. Rich soil with regular irrigation to establish for the first season then just light summer irrigation. Long lived pest free perennial. We adore it in light shade paired with Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ for a soothing gray blue back drop. A selection from this native of the south western U.S. into Mexico. Semi-deciduous in winter. Leaves shrink but there is a presence. Very showy in bloom. Avoid crowding by other plants.
Xera Plants Introduction
Heuchera sanguinea ‘Hot Mess’
We found this vigorous seedling in a batch of Heuchera sanguinea. The leaves are pale green and liberally splashed with white. Unlike, the red flower of 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
Heuchera x ‘Canyon Delight’
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. Ours are raised from seed native to our wholesale site. 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.
Siskiyou Iris is native to the southwestern part of Oregon. Though its named after the mountain range it is more often a valley species. You see it sparsely under Oaks, Madrones, and especially Ponderosa and Jeffrey Pine woods. Never at high elevations it grows in a host of soil types but the common component is that they all dry thoroughly in summer. Do not irrigate past the Fourth of July when established OR water only to establish the first year and then set it free. Forms almost caulescent evergreen fans that are red at the base. These rise to about 14″ and are not profuse. The plants which we raise from seed are a range of pale ivory to yellow all with conspicuous darker markings on the falls. Blooms April to May. Full sun to part shade and best with some protection from afternoon sun. In habitat it is found with Sidalcea malvifora var. Asprella , Erythronium hendersonii, and Vancouveria chrysantha with interspersed clumping Fescues. Long lived. This Iris among other Pacifica species do not compete well with invasive weeds and grasses. They are native to a fairly invasive free and less competitive balanced biome. Protect them by not allowing weeds grasses from getting a foothold around this Iris. Mulch with gravel to assist. Not bothered by deer or rabbits. Not as floriferous as other species but the flowers which are larger are much showier as well. Drought adapted. Oregon native plant.
Iris douglasiana (Pacifica) ‘Burnt Sugar’
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.
Iris douglasiana (Pacifica) ‘Canyon Snow’
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 20 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. An 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. Oregon native plant.
Clackamas Iris is a rare endemic to only three counties in northern Oregon. Though it appears in scale with Pacific Coast Iris, it is not related and is more closely aligned with bearded Iris. Pale green 15mm wide leaves first emerge vertically before settling to a more horizontal position. Light lavender buds unfurl to white with yellow on the falls in May-July. In its native range this smaller iris is everywhere which begs the question; Why isn’t its natural range larger? Not bothered by deer or pests this is a supremely climate adapted perennial. To 12″ tall in bloom the arching leaves equal that and spreads out. Light consistent summer water to establish, then only what falls from the sky. Full sun to quite a bit of shade. In habitat it is an understory component with Sword Ferns and shrubs such as Hazel, Oso Berry, and Viburnum. Provide deep rich soil and room to spread. This Iris makes very large colonies quickly- to 3′ wide. The broad leaves are winter deciduous. Wonderful Iris for gardens and wild areas. Oregon native plant.
Iris x pacifica ‘Baby Lilac’
I found this naturally occurring hybrid at the intersection of the species Iris tenax and Iris douglasii 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 sibirica. 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.
Iris x pacifica ‘Big Wheel’
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.
Iris x pacifica ‘Blue Moment’
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.
Iris x pacifica ‘Geoff’s’
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.
Iris x pacifica ‘Joey’
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.
Iris x pacifica ‘Meadow Pastels’
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.
Iris x pacifica ‘Multiplicity’
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.
Iris x pacifica ‘Native Warrior’
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.
Iris x pacifica ‘Rio Dorado’
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.
Iris x pacifica ‘Tawny Meadow’
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.
Iris x pacifica ‘Violetta’
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.
Iris x pacifica ‘Watercolor’
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.
Juniperus communis ‘Hoodview’
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 common 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.
Leptosiphon ‘Star Dust’
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.
Lewisia cotyledon ‘Rainbow’
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 to the southern Willamette Valley, mainly in seeps and floodplains, 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
See video click on IMG 4574
Limnanthes douglasii var. nivea
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.
Linum lewisii var. lewisii
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. 20″ 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. Common associates in the wild are Potentilla gracilis ssp. gracilis Slender Cinquefoil, and Sidalcea m. virgata Pictured below. 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 amount of spring flowers. Adapted to 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. Goes quietly dormant over summer. Occurs with both Camassia leichtlinii and quamash, as well as Ranunculus occidentalis, Plectritis congesta, as well as Dodecatheon. Moderately deer resistant.
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. This vine can be very hard to find. We grow it from seed and quantities are limited. Oregon native plant
Not available 2022/23
Hairy Honeysuckle or wild pink honeysuckle is a common vine in the western part of our state. Ranging rom S. British Columbia to California. This sprawling and twining plant is most associated with the cover under white oak woodlands. This vine can crawl to impressive heights into trees. As a child near Eugene this grew extensively on our property. It would climb pole sized trees and I would strip the winding canes off the trees and use them as a trellis for annual vines. The strong wood lasted 10 years or more. It derives its name from the conspicuous hairs on the leaves. At terminal ends of the branches soft pink curly flowers appear in cymes from June to September. These are followed by brilliant red berries that are food for birds. It has no fragrance. Excellent plant for stabilizing banks and hillsides where its incredible tenacity and drought tolerance is an advantage. Never a tidy plant this vine can be sent up a trellis or large tree. Water to establish then set it free. This honeysuckle can be afflicted with aphids early in the season but I’ve never seen it actually inhibit the plant. Just make sure not to look to closely at the plant in May-June. Evergreen to semi-evergreen with round leaves that surrounding the stem nearest the ends just before the flowers appear. Best in wild areas.- for some it can lack the sophistication of our other native honeysuckle Lonicera ciliosa. and is not as immediately beautiful. In habitat it consorts with Oregon White Oak (Quercus garryana) Poison Oak (Toxicodendron diversifolia) and Creeping snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus). Often found clambering up steep rocky slopes in dry woods. 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.
Dwarf Lupine or Pacific Lupine is a widespread small hardy annual that is found all along the west coast from British Columbia to Mexico. In the Willamette Valley its most conspicuous home is along the disturbed soil and gravel of highways/roads. Thats where you see masses of this diminutive lupine that rises to just 1′ tall. The intricate flowers erupt from the top and are mostly blue with purple and the bottom has a white lip. These are displayed above very furry palmate leaves. It forms a small rounded plant. Loved by all pollinators this tough little plant can inhabit the worst, shallow soils and still thrive. If given richer conditions this nitrogen fixer will soar to 1′ tall with a much larger flowers. Excellent in annual containers – it blooms for a long time April-August or until the ground goes completely dry. Horizontal bean pods hold three seeds each. Self sows in open disturbed sites with little competition from other plants. Only water if it is planted from a container otherwise no supplemental irrigation necessary. Very beloved by hummingbirds and butterflies. Mixes well with other long blooming hardy native annuals such as Madia elegans or Clarkia amoena. Seed that is released in summer germinates in autumn with the first fall rains. Easy to spot the palmate leaves. Oregon native plant.
Lupinus polyphyllus ssp. polyphyllus
Large leaf lupine. This is the form that is native to the western part of the state. There are 5 other subspecies, this is the Willamette Valley form. A large bushy perennial famous for the most showy flowers in the genus. This is the direct descendent that forms the colorful clumps along our freeways. A great large garden plant and not a long lived plant. Generally 3-5 years is antiquity for this species. The large palmate divided deep green leaves are coated in fine fur. This makes raindrops turn to pure mercury as they balance on the leaves. The most commonly seen flower color forms in the Willamette Valley are generally blue and purple and solid colors. The multi-color vastly larger selections are just as adaptable as the species. Large rocket like flower trusses rise to 3′ tall in late spring to early summer. Loved by insects the foliage is often fodder for native fauna. Excellent pollinator perennial or cut flower. Large peapods stick out horizontally from the spent flower stems. Reliably self sows if you contain the competition from foreign exotics and turf grasses. Potted plants should be watered regularly through their first summer. In subsequent years it can rely on natural rainfall. Very deer and rabbit resistant. To 3′ wide when happy. Protect from slugs/snails. Oregon native plant.
Streambank lupine or Riverbank lupine is widespread shrubby species native to western Oregon. Its full range is from extreme southwest British Columbia (where it is endangered) to northern California. Large growing, spreading plant that can almost achieve a sub shrubby habit. To 3′ tall in bloom forming an evergreen shrublet to 3′ across. From late April to early July spires of blue flowers with a white keel erupt from the plant. Very pretty in bloom and incredibly important to pollinators and insects who feast on the flowers as well as leaves. The true species has flowers that are all blue, its found primarily on sand bars in major rivers on the west side of the state. Most seed that is grown and dispersed is a selected bicolor flower. Short lived plant 3-5 years. Following the flowers conspicuous seed pods turn a dark color, These may be allowed to open and disperse in the OPEN DISTURBED SITES that it craves. Excellent in concert with California poppies where it has become a famous duo on our freeways in the spring. Good cut flower. Not bothered by deer. Water to estalblish then leave it to natural rainfall. Oregon native plant.
Prairie wood rush is such poetic name for a sedge that is widespread on the west side of the Cascades from BC to N.California.The common name describes its love of both open conditions as well as woodlands. Its adapted to winter wet summer dry conditions and is found in a lot of different biomes. Soft green leaves terminate in a blunt tip. The leaves are covered with fine hairs. In spring wiry stems grow to 11″ tall with tawny black flowers followed by seed heads. that are swollen and brown. A component of oak woodlands in part shade to the verge of wetlands where it is found in full sun. Forms a wispy clump that expands slowly. As with most sedges it will respond to better conditions vigorously. Excellent for insect and wildlife. Semi evergreen., especially if drought stressed, (plants much be established well to do this and survive). Part shade to full sun with regular irrigation to establish then little to none in subsequent years. Pretty wispy sedge with a poetic name. Oregon native plant.
Lyonothamnus floribundus ssp. Asplenifolius
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 these 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. Which also attracts birdlife to the forest floor. 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.
Mahonia nervosa var. mendocinoensis
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.