Acer circinatum

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

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Achillea millefolium, common yarrow

Achillea millefolium

This is the locally native form of our wild yarrow. A rambunctious, easy to grow evergreen perennial for rough sites in well drained soil in full sun. Continuously from spring to autumn ‘umbels’ of pure white flowers rise 18″ above low spreading aromatic, finely divided ferny foliage. Most often it is green with variants that have gray foliage from time to time. Low water perennial that can even be used as a lawn substitute. A single plant spreads to several feet wide. Moderate deer resistance.  Butterflies oh the butterflies.This is a pioneer perennial and will often out compete less robust native perennials. Its best use is as a contained weed. It is great for pollinators Individual plants rarely persist more than 3 years.  Oregon native plant.

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Achillea millefolium 'Calistoga'

Achillea millefolium ‘Calistoga’

A fine form of our native Yarrow that has leaves that are a striking gray with pure, clean white flowers. A great combination. Spreads to form a low wide plant that is evergreen (gray). The flat clusters of flowers appear continuously from May to frost. More consistently if you remove spent flowers. The umbels, unusual for the daisy family, are loved by butterflies. Well, actually all pollinators. They are given a flat landing pad and tons of flowers- what more could you want. Excellent for low care areas where this romping perennial will happily out compete weeds and hold ground with very light amounts of water. Full sun and well drained soil. its best to double dig the soil to incorporate oxygen and de-compact the soil. Does not like compacted soil. Light but consistent summer water speeds growth and vigor. Otherwise very drought tolerant. Excellent on slopes. To 20″ tall in bloom on a low spreading foliage plant to 2′ wide or wider. High deer resistance. Great cut flower. Mix with other low water plants. Pretty with other colors of yarrow. Oregon native plant.

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Achillea millefolium 'Pretty Woman'

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.

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Achillea millefolium ‘Salmon Beauty’

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.

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Adiantum aleuticum

Adiantum aleuticum

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.

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Aquilegia formosa

Aquilegia formosa

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.

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Aralia californica

Aralia californica

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.

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Arbutus menziesii

Arbutus menziesii

Pacific Madrone, iconic tree of the Pacific Northwest. Famous for its glossy, russet orange, sinuous, exfoliating bark and round, evergreen foliage. In spring, clusters of white flowers are showy and turn into vivid red berries by autumn. These are loved by birds- especially western tanagers who will quickly strip a tree as flocks move from one to the next. Must be grown from seed and it must be transplanted when small. Just the way it is. Plant it in average, well drained soil. Water lightly through the first summer in subsequent years leave it strictly alone. Full sun is best- tends to wander towards the sun in shade. Underplant with low water natives such as Arctostaphylos, Ceanothus, Vancouveria. Slow at first it picks up speed after about 4 years- then it can grow 2′-4′ a year. Somewhat messy tree- loses older leaves in summer and the bark exfoliates all over the place too. Know this and live with it. Ours are raised from seed of trees native to our wholesale nursery site- so its a local strain. Pacific madrone is native from the highest mountains of southern California to southern British Columbia. It is the northern-most broadleaved evergreen tree (native) in North America. Oregon native plant.

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Arctostaphylos columbiana ‘Wolf Creek’

Arctostaphylos columbiana ‘Wolf Creek’

Our native Hairy Manzanita is one of the most widespread species in the PNW. Unfortunately, its not the most reliable and can be kind of hard to grow. It will grow happily for years and then suddenly decline. No explanation.This can be avoided by strictly avoiding all irrigation once established.  Large-growing shrub with gray green leaves, the telltale hairy leaf petioles and white flowers in spring. Russet berries follow. Its best attribute is its smooth exfoliating mahogany bark. And in time you can remove the tired lower branches to reveal it as well as improve air circulation.  To 8′ x 8′ very quickly in average, well-drained soil. No summer water and little intervention from the gardener. Wild areas, dry hillsides. This form we selected from the southern Willamette Valley. It occurs in specific sites around the Valley and is common at the coast /coast range as well as the Cascades. Its populations are most stable on steep rocky slopes and sandy substrates at the coast where plants live longer in impoverished situations. During the warm interstadial (8000-4000 yr BP) when our climate was a bit milder but with a much more pronounced summer drought it was much more widespread- once found in the city limits of Portland at two sites those have been usurped by development. Excellent performance in hot dry urban sites. Also, courtesy of a study by OSU on ornamental Arctostaphylos for the Willamette Valley we have combined that information with our own 20 years of growing this genus with what are easier to grow Manzanitas. I would confine this native form to wild areas and remediation.  Oregon native plant.

Xera Plants Introduction.

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Aruncus dioicus

Aruncus dioicus

Goats Beard is a big bold and easy to grow perennial for part shade and perpetually wet sites. To 4′ tall and as wide with large fountains of pure white flowers in late spring to early summer. Native in seeps and along watercourses, mimic those conditions in your garden and you’ll have success. Long lived plant that develops a woody base. Completely winter deciduous. Excellent combined with other mesic water loving plants. Tolerates some inundation but not during the growing season. Often found on cliffs away from the browse of deer. Very large permanent perennial in time.  Fall color is often yellow. Widespread in the PNW. Oregon native plant.

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Asclepias fascicularis

Asclepias fascicularis

Native Oregonian butterfly weed that has a great wildflower demeanor and is just as attractive to pollinators as well as Lepidoptera (butterflies). Full sun and well drained soil, though it accepts clay soil on slopes that are strictly unwatered in summer. To 22″ tall and making a clump in time. Mix with fine textured ornamental grasses, tall spiky perennials. Light summer water. Flower color is most often creamy white but ranges to light pink. Often seen on road cuts and in ditches in the Willamette Valley. Blends in with grasses and other plants but pollinators find it no matter what. Nice cutflower. Important food source for Fendler’s Blue Butterfly which is very endangered and locally indigenous. Winter deciduous. Oregon native plant.

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Asclepias speciosa

Asclepias speciosa

This widespread species is native to the floor of the Willamette Valley and is locally common in the Columbia Gorge. and occupies dry rocky hillsides in full sun but tolerates heavy clay soil. In the best conditions (loam) it is huge spreading perennial that requires pre-planning and some real estate. Gray green stalks and leaves rise up to about 4’tall and bear deliciously fragrant pink orbicular flowers. These are irresistible to butterflies, including Monarchs, and if you want one to visit your garden this plant is good insurance. However, all butterflies find it irresistible. Spreads underground vigorously by stolons and can come up quite a way from the initial clump. Full sun and well drained soil. Completely winter deciduous and emerges relatively late in spring. Be patient. Oregon native plant.

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Blechnum spicant (Struthiopteris spicant)

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.

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purple flowers of Brodiaea elegans

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.

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Common Camas one of the wests great wild flowers.  ‘Maxima’ is the form that is most common in the Willamette Valley. In April to June meadows, glens, and floodplains turn sky blue. Occurs natively in vernally wet sites, that means that part of the winter it is submerged or very saturated. However, it does thrive in upland situations in heavy clay soils that are sodden for at least half the year. Prior to European development first nation people relied on this starchy bulb as a food source. They managed it by low intensity fires which cleared away the competition but did not injure the deep bulb. In turn the Camas thrived. They ate it baked or steamed like a small potato. An important pollinator plant that also attracts some critically endangered Willamette Valley butterflies. Nice cut flower.  The spike of flowers opens at the base and moves to the top. To 20″ tall in bloom. The whole plant goes quickly dormant with summer heat. Leaves emerge in early spring and precede the flowers. Full sun. Common associated plants are Ranunculus occidentalis and Hosackia gracilis.  Oregon native plant.

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Carex tumulicola

Carex tumulicola

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.

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Ceanothus cuneatus 'Blue Sierra'

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.

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Ceanothus cuneatus ssp. cuneatus 'Adair Villiage' white flowers

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. It has lost large areas of its northernmost natural range to development and fire suppression. It is a fire adapted species that requires disturbance to distribute. Thats a pity because this is a fantastic native shrub for hot dry sites. It is now employed by ODOT for freeway plantings and we are happy to see that. A large, angular evergreen shrub with small deep green paddle shaped leaves. In April the whole shrub is swarmed with pure white flowers.This is a beacon to all pollinators and the sweetly fragrant flowers will literally be buzzing in bloom.  Fast growing incredibly tough shrub for areas of intense drought and reflected heat. To 8′ x 8′ very quickly in any soil that does not become boggy. Excellent performance in tough urban situations. Irresistible to bees and butterflies. Associated plants in the wild are Rubus ursinus, Dodecatheon hendersonii. ,Extremely cold hardy to below 0ºF. No summer water. Moderate deer resistance. Oregon native plant.

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Clarkia amoena 'Dwarf Pink'

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.

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Clarkia amoena 'Dwarf White'

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.

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Clarkia amoena ssp. lindleyi

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 cere grass on hillsides that dot the valley. Little water is needed but a little supplemental water and removing spent flowers will extend the show.  Otherwise it will die upon setting seed. The 2′ tall stems support multiple luminous pink cup shaped flowers. They appear superficially like a poppy. This is the variety that is locally native in the Portland area. The distinctly lavender pink flowers fade to a lighter interior near the center. But it will also appear with a darker pink/red blotch in the center of each petal on a minority of seedlings.  These assist in guiding pollinators and this plant is a prime source for all native bees and butterflies. Excellent cut flower that lasts for quite a while in a vase. This is the source species of all the fancy cultivars that are raised in the cut flower trade. Reseeds happily in open disturbed sites. Excellent plant for wild areas and is often employed on road cuts and freeway embankments in deliberately sown wild flower mixtures. I’ve noticed that this local subspecies re-sows itself annually where other subspecies and especially the showy florist varieties are shy to do so. If you want a robust, climate adapted wildflower then go with this subspecies. It comes back strong. Probably our showiest and longest blooming native annual.  Reseeds- leave stems to dry and disperse seed and remember to leave open spaces for next years show. Wonderful with yellow Madia elegans for a months long display of brilliant native annuals. A Xera favorite plant. See video below (IMG) taken at the William Finley Wildlife Refuge just south of Corvallis.  Oregon native plant.

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Claytonia sibirica

Claytonia sibirica

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. 

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Collinsia grandiflora

Collinsia grandiflora

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.

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Collomia grandiflora

Collomia grandiflora

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.

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Cynoglossum (Adelinia) grande

Cynoglossum (Adelinia) grande

Great Hounds Tongue or Giant Pacific Forget-me-Not is one of our most remarkable native perennials. On the property where I grew up near Eugene it was native. There was a clump of this majestic perennial that was there for nearly my whole life. Unfortunately, we sold the property but this plant was still there last I checked. In the Willamette Valley and out into the Columbia Gorge you see these enormous blue flowers on a sturdy spikes in the dry areas under oaks. Often seen with Wyethia -Mules ears. Large fleshy leaves form a substantial clump. In early to mid spring 2′ spikes reveal outrageously large versions of Forget-me-nots. Established plants will then go dormant with summer drought. Adapted to xeric clay soils that dry in summer. Not only does it not require it established plants can resent it and rot. Place in a wild, unwatered part of your garden. Amend the soil lightly with compost and water in well. Pairs well, of course with other native perennials such as Sidalceas. In the wild it is accompanied by Erythronium oreganum , Lathyrus nevadensis, Fritillaria lanceolata, Dodecatheon hendersonii, and Ranunculus occidentals. That is what grew with our patch, under white and black native oaks, with a madrone here and there. Impressive native perennial whose intense blue flowers are hard to convey in a photograph. Oregon native plant.

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Delphinium trolliifolium

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.

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Deschampsia caespitosa

Deschampsia caespitosa

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.

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Dicentra formosa 'Langtrees'

Dicentra formosa ‘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.

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OOKOW. The common name for this wonderful native bulb. A naked lily closely related to Brodiaea. Also, referred to as cluster lily though that isn’t even remotely as fun to say as OOKOW. Stems to 22″ tall support 6 to 15  showy purple flowers clustered at the stem tip. Dry sunny hillsides in clay soils to meadows throughout western Oregon.  Its native range goes a bit to the north into Washington and south to California but its primary populations are in our state. This happy bulb spreads to form colonies in time. It will also spread by seed. An integral part of Willamette Valley meadows. Excellent cut flower that lasts a week in a vase. Water to establish when planting from containers. In subsequent years it will rely only on what falls from the sky. in habitat it can be found with native clumping grasses such as Koeleria and Festuca roemeri var. roemeri. Sisyrinchium idahoense is a frequent associate. The flowers nod slightly at the end of the stems. Smalll grassy foliage appears in early spring and disappears cleanly following bloom. Adapted to heavy clay soils that are wet for 6 months of the year that dries in summer. Full sun. Loved by Hummingbirds and butterflies.     Oregon native plant.

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Dichelostemma ida-maia

Dichelostemma ida-maia

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.

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Dodecatheon hendersonii flowers

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. 

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Eriophyllum lanatum

Eriophyllum lanatum

Oregon Sunshine is the cheery common name that greets this widespread native perennial. Silvery gray intricate foliage forms a spreading mat. In late spring and early summer brilliant golden yellow daisy flowers spangle 10″ stems. Loved by pollinators and we’ve been impressed with its draw to butterflies as well. To 2′ across and excellent on slopes where water never lingers. In the wild its a frequent of road cuts and other disturbed sites. It also competes admirably with exotic invasive weeds and will persist where other natives are swamped. Rock gardens, dry borders. Water to establish- the first season- but never boggy. The following year it will rely only on what falls from the sky. Full sun to light shade. Adapts to poor soils. Moderate deer resistance. Winter deciduous. Native to the Portland city limits. Very good planted beneath Pinus ponderosa var. benthamiana Pacific Ponderosa Pine this pair can frequently be found in the wild.

Oregon native plant. 

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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

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Eschscholzia californica 'Purple Gleam'

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

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Eschscholzia californica 'Willamette Valley Form'

Eschscholzia californica ‘Willamette Valley Form’

Plants don’t really stay in the same place, They move according to climate and soils and sometimes with the help of humans. This famous poppy carpets meadows and glens and rocky hillsides in brilliant orange from SW Washington through Western Oregon into California to Baja  but is happily grown throughout the globe. Sunny orange flowers with an edge of lighter yellow in our local form appear from mid spring to late summer. This form was identified in 1846 at the former town of Tonquin. Tonquin is about 500 yards from our nursery and this poppy is everywhere. Blue fine foliage on spreading plants to 14″ tall and up to twice that width. Full sun in any soil where water does not collect. Reseeds itself prolifically and can become your own introduced weed. Seedlings are easy to spot and dispatch if unwanted. Nice cut flower if you pick it in bud. Loved by pollinators. Easy to grow native annual/ sometimes a perennial. Water to establish plants then none necessary. Completely deer and rabbit proof. Oregon native plant.

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Festuca californica var. californica

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.

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Festuca roemeri var. roemeri

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 clumps than Festuca californica. Its immediately identifiable by this thin blue green foliage. A cool season grower it spends the winter in its freshest and lushest state by the onset of summer drought it has already gone cere (dry dormant). To 8″ tall and spreading. 1′ spikes with tan flowers appear in late spring and remain erect until the entire plant goes summer dormant. With regular water and good drainage this grass will avoid summer sleep and remain green and lush. A common component of Willamette Valley Oak Savanna and losing ground to invasive weeds. Excellent underplanting for drought adapted shrubs, or for the garden/wild lands interface. It spreads quickly by seed- its from here, you should expect that so keep it away from highly manicured areas. Its habitat in the Willamette Valley has shrunk to almost nothing. Bring this pretty native bunchgrass back to our gardens. Admirable lawn substitute. Evergreen. Oregon native plant.

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Fragaria vesca var. bracteata

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. In France the same species is famous as Fraise du Bois. Our local species in Oregon will produce several rounds of fruit with reliable irrigation. This is not a long lived species and it seems to find its happy place on its own. Expect several years lifespan and leave fruit on the plant annually to ensure reseeding. Great in containers. Use in partly shady borders, its a diminutive plant and fits nicely among larger perennials. Great for fresh eating…and dogs like them too so protect from marauding pooches. Very natural lining woodland paths. Semi-deciduous to winter deciduous. Native to the Portland city limits. Oregon native plant

 

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Gaultheria shallon

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.

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Geranium oreganum flower

Not many gardeners are aware that we have our own native hardy Geranium. And its a really good garden plant. Bushy herbaceous perennial that displays nickel sized magenta/blue flowers in late spring to mid summer. It peaks in June and is quite a display. To 2′ x 2′ and completely deciduous in winter. Excellent in manicured borders or areas that receive a bit of extra irrigation in summer. Adapted to clay soils it improves considerably under cultivation. Mix with native Sidalceas for a bonafide native combination. Native throughout western Oregon but also native in the Rocky Mountains. One of our finest natives that should be used more often. Fall color is yellow before going cleanly away. Not bothered by slugs or snails (!) but not entirely deer resistant. Full sun to light shade to very high overhead shade (a tall tree canopy). Best in enriched soil with consistent summer moisture. Associated plants in the wild are Sidalceas, Achillea. Very good performance in rain gardens. Oregon native plant. 

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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.

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Grindelia integrifolia

Willamette Gumweed, Puget Gumweed is an important native late blooming pollinator plant.  A native resident in the Willamette Valley along water courses and marshlands- It seems to excel in areas that are wet in the winter and bone dry in summer. That kind of adaptation begs for its inclusion in bioswales and to stabilize stream banks. In normal garden conditions gumweed – which derives its common name from the gummy exudent on the leaves. It has a  tar-like fragrance and is positioned on the leaves to decrease evaporation. It may also impart some resistance to saline conditions. In June-Sept. this large, spreading plant is decorated with corymbs of bright yellow daisy flowers. Immediately they are attended by pollinators. Its fascinating. The flower bud is densely armed with prickles giving this native daisy kind of a tough look. To 30″ x 30″. Full sun and rich to average conditions. Tolerates clay soils if you water it consistently to get the new roots into the clay soil. Once established it’s a very drought adapted plant. It also improves substantially under cultivation. Combine with Symphyotrichon subspicatum ‘Sauvie Sky’ and Solidago for a native prairie redux. Winter dormant. Seed grown from plants native to the Willamette Valley. Moderate deer resistance. Oregon native plant.

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Heuchera chlorantha

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.

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Heuchera cylindrica

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.

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Holodiscus discolor

Ocean Spray is a well known shrub west of the Cascades. It occupies dry woods in part shade to full sun. Large and spreading it displays foamy white clusters of flowers in early summer. They age to a tan color before falling apart. Handsome small scalloped leaves are very pretty and turn yellow to orange in autumn. To 9′ x 7′ very quickly in virtually any soil type. Extremely drought adapted when established- but amenable to light irrigation in summer. Wild look for wild areas, match with native perennials. Often suckers to form patches and it is common for seedlings to show up around the parent plant. These can be moved when young or dispatched. Birds adore the dried seeds in winter. Pretty native in the Rose family. Moderate deer resistance- but sometimes they attack it if it is newly planted so protect. Winter deciduous. Oregon native plant.

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Hosackia gracilis

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.

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Iris tenax

Oregon iris or Tough leaved iris is the most northerly species of Pacifica Iris- extending its native zone as far as SW Washington. Its common throughout the western part of our state where it decorates grassy hillsides in full sun to quite a bit of shade with jolly purple flowers April-June. That was the most common color where I grew up SW of Eugene. Turns out this Iris comes in quite a few colors. Pink, blue, white, golden yellow, red- all hues that have been recorded for this species. Conspicuous also, among the 11 Pacifica species this is a winter deciduous perennial and its the hardiest of the lot. Forms grassy clumps in fan shaped displays to about 10″ tall.  A large clump can be 30″ across and filled with nearly 100 flowers- these rise on cantilevered stems to 14″ tall. Not very tolerant of disturbance and to be honest it has stymied us quite a few times. They HATE division. Therefore, we feature seed grown plants- local seed. These plants feature extra vigor and usually bloom with in 3 years. They also establish better.  Best in light shade, dappled shade on slopes. Average, clay soil is what it wants and you can increase vigor by double digging the hole very wide to incorporate oxygen in the soil and water lightly and consistently through the first summer. Then none to light in subsequent years. And admirable competitor with introduced invasives and as per all Iris it is supremely deer and even rabbit resistant.  Winter deciduous- also, it may go drought deciduous in extremely dry summers. Mixes well with native annuals. Established clumps live for decades. The flowers have the light fragrance of root beer (at least to me) and are the only fragrant Pacifica species that I can detect.  First nation people used the incredibly tough leaves to braid into ropes, traps. Which is cool.  Photo credit: East Multnomah Conservation District. Oregon native plant.

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Iris x pacifica ‘Baby Lilac’

I found this naturally occurring hybrid at the intersection of the species Iris tenax and Iris douglasiana in the southern Oregon coast range. There are 11 Pacific coast species and finding a true hybrid with knowledge of the parents in the wild is rare. Pacific coast iris are most closely related to Siberian Iris. These guys crossed the land bridge from Alaska and speciated. Its still possible to cross Pacifica Iris with Iris siberica. These are known as Calsib hybrids.  This is a sturdy evergreen large clump forming Iris with large pale lilac flowers with intricate markings on each lower petal. Full sun to part shade in virtually any soil with little summer water. Water to establish the first season and then none necessary in subsequent years.  Excellent plant for wild areas. Cold hardy. Leaf clumps are evergreen and flop a bit in the winter. A very heavy blooming plant- a large clump can have 25-30 flowers.  Highly deer and rabbit resistant. Oregon native plant.

Xera Plants Introduction.

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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.

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Prairie June Grass is a widespread cool season grass that was widespread in the Willamette Valley. A tight clumping grass with soft blue/green foliage that rises to about 18″ tall forming a clump as wide. In June-August feathery gray/tan plume of flowers erupt and soar above the grassy clump. In bloom it is about 30″ tall. A long lived grass for virtually any soil in full sun. Rich soil results in a very large plant. Average soil that has been double dug to add oxygen is usually all thats necessary. Water the first season to establish then none in subsequent years. Mix with other native perennials and annuals. A great companion for Sidalceas as well as Solidago and Douglas aster. Will often self sow. Keep it away from highly manicured areas. Otherwise the clump keeps to itself. Very easy to grow perennial grass that is found throughout the northern hemisphere. An authentic grass for a Willamette Valley prairie. Winter appearance is green and verdant. Summer brings tan drought dormancy.  Oregon native plant.

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Limnanthes douglasii

Meadow foam is a native hardy annual that occupies the flood zones in the valleys in most of Central and northern California up through the Willamette Valley to Portland.  To 4″ tall and up to a foot wide the grass green finely divided leaves are a great backdrop to the yellow flowers which are cleanly tipped white at the edge of the petals. Vigorously reseeds in any soil in full sun to part shade. Leave the dead straw to disperse the seeds or simply shake it where you would like next years display to be. And it WILL RESEED PROLIFICALLY- by early autumn you will achieve an enormous patch. Don’t worry if they are crowded the seedlings seem to work it out.  This is a fantastic method for inhibiting winter weeds- YOU get to chose your weeds and this is an easy to deal with plant. A great annual to eclipse the fading foliage of bulbs.  No supplemental water required. Completes its life cycle by the heat of summer and has already set hundreds of seeds for the following years crop. This from just one 4″ pot.  Winter weeds are the worst cause we aren’t out there on patrol so this is greatly helpful.  And the cycle begins again each year. Meadowfoam honey is wonderful btw. Very sweet with a sharp clover tang.  Oregon native plant

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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.

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Lomatium nudicaule

Bare stem biscuit root is a locally native perennial that is found in rocky dry areas among clumping native grasses. The stemless rosette bears upright trifoliate glabrous blue leaves. 6″ stems rise up in late spring to earl summer with umbels of sulphur yellow flowers (sometimes purple). To establish, water thoroughly through the first month in the ground. Winter deciduous it emerges very early in spring. Loved by pollinators of all kinds. In the Willamette Valley this biscuit root grows in various biomes but is most common on dry hillsides. Festuca californica and Festuca roemeri are two native grasses seen with this plant in the wild. Full sun to light deciduous shade. Avoid standing water in winter. Long lived perennial once established. Excellent in gravel gardens.  Leaves remain handsome after blooming. Spreads slowly to form colonies. Locally native in the Portland city limits. Drought adapted when established. Moderate deer resistance. Resents disturbance once established. Widespread in the west. Important pollinator plant.  Oregon native plant. 

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Lomatium utriculatum

Spring Gold or Biscuitroot is a widespread spring perennial from British Columbia south into northern California. In our area it occupies steep slopes and delights in mid-late spring with complex umbels of brilliant gold/yellow flowers. This tap rooted plant requires regular water for the first season- but never boggy, In enriched to average well drained soil. Excellent performance on slopes. Over time the rosette increases in width and spring flowers. Adapted life between native clumping grasses. This is easily replicated in a garden. An important native pollinator plant that was also used by native Americans as a food source. To 6″ tall in bloom a plant will achieve 2′ wide in half a dozen years. Strongly resents disturbance and a happy plant will live for decades. Not bothered by pests. Once native in the Portland area, its original range in W. Oregon has been substantially diminished. Great companion plant with Manzanita. Moderately deer resistant. Winter deciduous. Oregon native plant

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Lonicera ciliosa

PNW Orange Honeysuckle is one of our most showy native vines. Our region is sparse on native vines so this pretty plant is welcome. In late spring to summer clusters of brilliant orange tubular flowers decorate the branch tips. Loved by hummingbirds as well as other birds which is obvious, its also important for all native pollinators. The flowers change to brilliant red fruit which is consumed  by wildlife and seldom lingers.  Deciduous mid green foliage is verdant all through the season. As with the vast majority of Honeysuckle vines this plant nearly always goes leafless at the base. Expect this and plan for it. Strongly twining plant to 12′ tall and almost as wide. Provide strong support. Light consistent summer water to establish then very little necessary once established. (Also accepts regular summer H20). Excellent vine for country fences, decorating mailboxes etc. Protect from deer, otherwise it is pest and disease resistant- occasional mildew in the autumn is virtually harmless – great news for a honeysuckle. Blooms on wood from the previous season, prune if needed after flowering.  Oregon native plant

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Lupinus albifrons

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.

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Madia elegans

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.

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Mahonia aquifolium

Oregon Grape, our ubiquitous state flower. This evergreen shrub can be found almost anywhere aside from the immediate coast to high Cascades west of the mountains. Its native from B.C. to Southern California. Variable shrub to on average 5′ tall and suckering as wide. In rich, happy conditions it will soar to 8′ or more and in more impoverished conditions it makes its life as a spreading low plant. In late February-April the top of the plant erupts in golden yellow incredibly fragrant flowers that are one of the first joys of spring. By late summer this flowers have transformed into clusters of dusty blue incredibly sour fruits. Often employed in the toughest situations where its performance is some what rough. It thrives in cultivation with light, consistent summer moisture. Tolerates heavy clay soils and summer drought. The pinnate leaves often take on purple/maroon tints in winter. Ours are cuttings native to our wholesale nursery site. So its a local plant. Full sun to part shade to quite a bit of shade at the expense of blooming and a lankier outline. Excellent deer resistance when established. Oregon native plant.

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Mahonia nervosa

Cascades Mahonia is found throughout the western part of Oregon occupying shady environs under the tree canopy. Low growing creeping evergreen with large deep green leaves. They emerge in spring tinted bright salmon before settling to their mature color. In spring spikes of fragrant light yellow flowers appear and then turn into small edible blue berries. To just 2′ tall but a single plant can spread to 5′ wide in 6 years. Part shade to shade in rich, humusy soil with regular summer water. Established plants get by with nothing. Takes some patience to establish and a lot of water. Mulch annually.  Moderately deer resistant. Oregon native plant.

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An incredibly widespread North American wildflower that is known by many different common names. In our region the preferred common moniker is Low False Solomons Seal.  This rhizomatous perennial forms expansive colonies when happy. It appears as strongly arching stems clad in alternate wide green leaves. In late spring to early summer and dependent upon altitude small, white, starry flowers appear at the tips. After bloom they slowly morph into black berries. These can easily be dispersed by birds. Part shade in naturally mesic sites, that means woods on the north side of a slope in the Willamette Valley in shade beneath Douglas Firs and often consorting with sword ferns. To 10″ tall and forming expanding colonies. Winter deciduous, fall color is often a lingering gold before the whole plant disappears. Tellima grandiflora (fringe cups) and Claytonia sibirica ( candy flower) are also common associates. Part shade to shade in humus enriched soil with regular summer water. VERY established clumps can get by with natural rainfall. Avoid, hot dry sites, and stubborn dry clay. Mulch heavily after planting. Moderate deer resistance. Oregon native plant.

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Nemophila menziesii

Baby Blue Eyes is a hardy annual wildflower native to the southern coast in the blue form. In the Willamette Valley up to about Portland the variety Nemophila menziesii ssp. Atomaria is the native form.  It has large cup shaped flowers that are white on the inside w/ fine intricate black spotting and blue on the reverse of the petals. That is the form that I grew up with in the country near Eugene. This is a fascinating annual that is adapted to just about any soil that is not boggy. Finely divided foliage forms sprawling rosettes that support the nickel sized sky blue to pale blue flowers. Blooms April to June. Reliably reseeds in open disturbed sites and with a little protection from slugs and lack of competition.  The whole plant is dead and chucking seed by the heat of summer and ultimately disappears on its own. Adaptable to full sun to light shade. Self sown plants get by with no supplemental irrigation- plants from containers seem to like regular water. In habitat it occupies slopes usually under the canopy of Oaks.  To 4″ tall and 1′ wide. Excellent, long, showy display in reconstructed Willamette Valley meadows. and laugh at summer drought by finishing their life cycle and simply spreading anew by seed. We are actively searching for the ssp. atomaria but the seed is hard to obtain. Occurs natively with  Erythronium oreganum, Dodecatheon hendersonii, Ranunculus occidentalis as well as Plectritis congesta.  Oregon native plant.

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Nemophila menziesii ‘Frosty Blue’

Impressive selection of this wonderful native annual. Leaves are brightly frosted in white and make a great backdrop to the sky blue nickel sized flowers. Blooms April-June in part shade to full sun. AKA Frosty Blue Baby Blue Eyes. To 4″ x 6″ forming a spreading plant. Very attractive and it will reseed in the autumn or early spring- the seedlings are immediately identifiable by the silver foliage. Likes to germinate among other small plants/grasses for overwintering protection. Water to establish then only lightly until bloom has ceased and seed is set. The whole plant dies and decomposes almost instantly in the real heat of summer. Excellent in early season containers. This form was found in California but this is also an Oregon native plant.

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Olysinium douglasii

Grass widows or Grass maidens  is a beautiful and fascinating perennial bulb that is native over a wide but scattered part of our region. Most common east of the Cascades it finds a home in several drier portions of the Willamette Valley. The summit of Spencer’s Butte south of Eugene is one location as are appearances in dry prairie in Benton county. One of the very first conspicuous wildflowers to emerge in February/March. From shallow soils, it lifts to 8″ tall with a wide nodding purple flower- the exact hue of each plant is slightly different. A clump of leaves follows the flowers before going neatly summer dormant. Best in rock garden conditions where you rely only on natural rainfall. Spreads in time to form quaint colonies. Once a Sisyrinchium this member of the Iris family is one of the dearest wildflowers for our gardens. Full sun- no shade at all and amend the soil w/ a handful of pumice. Water after planting until summer heat induces dormancy. Then never again.  Seed grown. Avoid crowding from other plants. It can and has been overwhelmed by invasive exotic grasses. High deer resistance. Oregon native plant.

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Oxalis oregana ‘Klamath Ruby’

Far and away our most vigorous clone of our native Oregon Sorrel. So named for the bright red underside of the leaves. In spring and sporadically into summer pure white flowers peek over the foliage. This is a fast colonizing plant that goes by underground stolons and it can cover several feet in a year. In time it will cover anything in part shade to shade in rich, hummus laden, moisture retentive soil. Piles up to about 6″ deep in no time. This form is decidedly evergreen. Use for wild areas  to obstruct smaller weed growth- under decks, shady glens, other areas too dark for plants to grow. Oregon native plant.

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Oxalis oregana ‘Select Pink’

Not the most original cultivar name but its aptly descriptive. Vigorous evergreen ground cover with dramatic hot pink flowers for weeks in spring. Spreads by underground stolons in rich, fertile, woodland conditions with regular summer water. To 4″ high and spreading many feet across shortly (in ideal conditions) . Part shade to shade. Very easy native perennial to grow. This is the second most vigorous Oxalis o. clone that we have behind ‘Klamath Ruby’. Simple pink flowers are pretty and rise up just above the foliage. AKA Redwood Sorrel or Oregon Sorrel. Long lived. Edible. Oregon native plant.

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Oxalis oregana ‘Wintergreen’

A GREAT PLANT PICK. This staunchly evergreen form of our native sorrel has deep green leaves marked with a silver chevron on each leaflet and large pink flowers in spring. Creeps to form an inpenetrable ground cover. To just 4″ tall but spreading to several feet wide within several years. Spreads underground by traveling stolons. A great native small scale ground cover for part shade to even dense shade. Regular summer water is beneficial but not necessary once the plant is up and going. Very easy to grow climate adapted evergreen perennial ground cover. Oregon native plant.

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Oxalis oregana ‘Xera’s Blush’

I found this form of our native Redwood Sorrel in a drier and hotter part of the Siskiyous than what is normally the range for this woodland plant. Large soft green leaves have a silver chevron in the center of each leaflet. In spring very large pale pink/lavender flowers appear with a central yellow eye. Very showy. ideal candidate for dry shade- give it mulch and plenty of water to established then this form seems much more drought and heat adapted than the familiar forms on the market. Forms a semi-evergreen ground cover in shade. Edible. Part shade, shade, regular summer water. Spreads underground by stolons. Oregon native plant.

Xera Plants Introduction.

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Phacelia californica

Scorpion weed is a beautiful native perennial found on rocky slopes/ hillsides/road cuts throughout California and western Oregon. Handsome corrugated trifoliate leaves are silver and have a pointed tip. In May-July curled flower inflorescences arise unfurling as they bloom to reveal rows of mauve/blue flowers. To 2′ tall in bloom it forms a handsome dome of evergreen foliage to 14″ across. The leaves are the most striking and conspicuous feature of this plant. Pollinators adore the flowers and its especially important for native bees. Full sun to very light shade, average, well drained soil. Light summer water.  Excellent in the front of borders. Wonderful bold contrast with other fine leaved silver beauties- it even shines with lavender. As you hike throughout the mountainous parts west of the Cascade Crest the incredibly handsome leaves are sure to catch your eye. Easy to grow and perfectly climate adapted. Oregon native plant.

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Philadelphus lewisii ‘Snow Velvet’

No offense to natives but I’ve always found our native mock orange to be kind of a dull one note shrub. Sure, its showy in bloom and certain specimens can be sweetly fragrant but once its done blooming…yawn. What do you do with it? Instead plant this highly improved selection with enormous semi-double white sweetly fragrant flowers. Each blossom is fully 2″ across and they come in such abundance in June that whole 9′ x 8′ frame is flocked like an enormous wedding gown. Some repeat bloom through summer. Same wild habit as the species which is nice- but incredibly showy in bloom.  Full sun to part shade in average, well drained soil. Drought adapted. Great scaffold for summer Clematis. Blooms on old wood, prune AFTER flowering if needed. Forms a distinctive large vase shape. Fall color is soft yellow and brief. Adaptable to both cultivated and feral/wild areas. Tough and climate adapted shrub. Oregon native plant.

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Pinus ponderosa var. benthamiana

Pacific ponderosa pine is a lovely tree native west of the Cascades from about the Portland area (with some outliers farther north) south to northern California. Our form is from locally collected seed. Slow growing in youth this pine picks up speed in its teens and grows almost exponentially from there. Pacific ponderosa pine is known for it tall straight crowns of lush green needles in clumps of three. This tree is excellently adapted to our winter wet/summer dry climate and even small trees can endure the very longest, driest, hottest summers with no visible stress. Its adaptable to all types of soil – not fussy and is even found in the most well drained stranded flood cobbles of major rivers. To 125′ in time with ulitimate height of close to 200′ in great age – expect a 3′ tall tree to be about 15′ tall in 10 years. Full sun- not very shade tolerant and when planting with other trees anticipate at least a 25′ wide crown in the future. Needles can drop profusely in September which is a bit of a mess. Take note of this. Underplant with other drought adapted natives. Water to establish for the first summer then none in subsequent years. A regal pine that is among the tallest in the world. Oregon native plant.

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Plectritis congesta

Sea Blush, or more commonly Rosy Plectritis is a locally native hardy annual in the Valerian family. In April-June it swarms meadows and glens with orbicular globes of dense fragrant pink flowers. They rise on average to about 10″ tall.  Rich soil will yield larger plants. Excellent bulb cover for late narcissus, tulips etc. Fun to grow heavily reseeding annual that also makes  a sweet cut flower. It can be found in the western third of the state. Also wonderful with Pacific Coast Iris as they bloom concurrently.  Sets seed and dies by mid summer when the spent carcasses may be removed- when doing that give them a shake where you want next years display to occur. Make sure not to cover the seed, native annual seed requires light to germinate and it will very quickly sprout with the first cool fall rains. Traditionally, Rosy Plectritis can be found in a mix of perennial and annual communities. In its many habitats it can be found with Oregon Iris (Iris tenax) and often Giant Blue Eyed Mary (Collinsia grandiflora). Water to establish as plants- then none. Full sun to very light shade. New seedlings have paddle shaped true leaves with a rubbery texture. High deer resistance. Native in the Portland city limits.  Oregon native plant.

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Polemonium carneum

Our native pink Jacob’s Ladder is a great plant for gardens. Hailing from valleys adjacent to the Cascades as well as the coastal strip the finely divided foliage of this clumping perennial is attractive but enhanced when the clusters of very pretty flowers open the palest pink aging to lavender over several days. Full sun to part shade in rich moisture retentive soil. To 28″ tall and somewhat spreading. Blooms for an extended period from April to June. Summer drought will bring dormancy but a little bit of water keeps it green. Great tolerance to dry clay soils and it persists in conditions that would end lesser perennials. Mixes well at the margins of woodlands or the front of perennial borders. Even in its habitat it tends to flop, or rather lean on its neighbors. Expect this and use it to an advantage. The softly colored flowers will wind into other plants playfully and you can achieve really cool and wild appearing vignettes. Very good in concert with native Geranium oreganum as they bloom simultaneously.  A really pretty native perennial. Adaptable to heavy clay soils. Soars in rich, amended soils and can be quite a bit larger than I’ve listed.  Fairly good cut flower.  Oregon native plant.

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Polypodium glyceryrrhiza

Our native Licorice Fern that has a backwards season. It emerges all fresh and happy with the first cool weather and rains in autumn and persists that way until hot weather takes hold, then it quietly (and cleanly) disappears. Forms spreading colonies on any light surface including the vertical slopes of rocks and trees. The base of the plant forms an interconnected series of rhizomes that cling to anything. It escapes all drought and heat by summer dormancy. Neat trick. If you detach the fronds and bite into the base of the petiole it delivers a strong anise/licorice flavor. This remarkable plant should be common in living walls and green roofs that would require no supplemental irrigation- and actually thrive and look healthy. Excellent performance in the ground in rich, well drained soil. Water as they say is irrelevant. Highly deer resistant. Oregon native plant.

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Potentilla gracilis ssp. gracilis

Slender Cinquefoil is a common, somewhat quiet but easy to grow long lived native perennial. Palmate leaves are conspicuously serrated on long stems. In early to mid summer 20″ stems support multiple clumps of sunny single yellow flowers. Full sun to part shade in average to enriched soil. Water to establish the first season then let it go with seasonal rainfall. Wild looking perennial that shines in borders, among shrubs and along the urban wild lands interface. Very pretty clustered at the foot of Holodiscus whose bloom is simultaneous. Loved by pollinators and an important food source for  many butterflies. Native from SW. British Columbia south to San Diego County California. Often found in Ponderosa pine forests. Blooms much more heavily in full sun and improves under cultivation. Winter deciduous. Little deer resistance. Rose family. These are seed raised from Willamette Valley populations so it is the local form.  Oregon native plant.

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Prunella vulgaris var. lanceolata

As a child in the country near Eugene this was one of the first wildflowers I learned to identify. And its a beautiful and fascinating native perennial. This ‘weed’ circles the world but our locally native form is an exceptional improvement. Lance shaped basal leaves (the trick for identifying our local sub-species) forms stout upright stems. They are crowned with ‘cones’ that have whorls of showy deep purple tubular flowers- they appear continuously for up to 6’weeks into August decorating the tops of a 1′ tall plant. Spreads to form a clump as wide and appreciates average to enriched soil in full sun. Regular summer water increases vigor and lengthens the bloom time. A very charming native cut flower that produces new blooms continuously after its picked. This is a very important plant for native pollinators. Also, it differs from the pan-weedy form in larger cones and much showier flowers. Its a larger plant as well. Adapts to clay soils with regular irrigation to establish. A natural magnet for butterflies. Blooms May-August. In our region it is now found primarily away from the valley in upland valleys to alpine meadows and scree.  A good native weed that is a great garden plant as well.  Oregon native plant.

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Quercus chrysolepis

Canyon live oak is a vastly underused, beautiful evergreen native tree. Found from Lane county, Oregon south through California, slight parts of Nevada around Lake Tahoe and sporadically in Arizona and even New Mexico. This venerable tree is found on the steepest slopes of canyons and mountain ridges. In Oregon it represents the northern most native Live Oak or evergreen oak in North America. Leaves are glossy army green on the the top with a conspicuous furry gold underside. This is a rugged, tough tree that should be used in both gardens and as a street tree. In the Alameda neighborhood in Portland there is an ancient specimen to 60′ tall and wide with a large trunk. This heritage tree was reportedly brought to the city from southern Oregon via horse and wagon. Slow growing in youth it picks up speed exponentially several years after planting. To 40′ x 20′ in 30 years with a broad spreading crown. In the wild it often forms a gnarled multi-trunked rounded outline. Its very possible to train this tree to a single trunk/leader to extend the crown skyward. Extraordinarily cold hardy enduring temperatures slightly below 0ºF with no difficulty. The large acorns are born in a showy golden hued furry cups- and are produced profusely in banner years. Water to establish for the first season then none in subsequent years. Full sun. Beautiful, native Oak that we cherish at Xera. Oregon native plant.

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Quercus garryana var. garryana

Oregon white oak. A monarch of a tree locally native and forming Qak Savanna communities in the Willamette Valley that preceded european development. Slow growing tree of great age and grace. Deep green foliage forms dappled domes in the high rounded canopy. Birds and wildlife adore this completely summer drought adapted tree. To 130′ but not in your lifetime. Our acorn source is local. Whitish bark in patches and it will often develop pure white patches at the base- an outlet for sodium from the constantly saturated Oregon winter soils. Tolerates the most impenetrable clay and shuns summer irrigation. Fall color is russet orange. Grows just 2′-3′ a year in youth -if really happy. This as all oaks has what are referred to as banner years. In certain years huge amounts of acorns are produced. This is thought to overwhelm predators and at least a fair amount can germinate.  Famous for its moss covered enormous branches which have been likened to the perfect depiction of a Grimm’s Fairy Tale.  Oregon native plant.

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Ranunculus occidentalis

Western Buttercup is our own wonderful wildflower. This is the real thing and NOT the invasive Ranunculus ficaria or repens. Traditionally it occupies open Oregon Oak woodlands and meadows including vernally wet meadows. Though it handles winter inundation it is also adapted to upland situations and in every biome it goes quickly summer dormant. Rosettes of pretty pinked leaves elongate in bloom to an airy spray of bright yellow flowers. Intimately, the petals have a glossy sheen. And growing up in the country it was traditional to put a picked flower under your chin and the reflected color yellow revealed that indeed you did like butter. Great cut flower that peaks on May Day and has made many a wild flower bouquet with purple Oregon Iris and purple Dodecatheon hendersonii- Shooting stars. Pictured here with Common Camas Camassia quamash at the Camassia reserve in West Linn, Oregon. Blooms from mid-April to early June. Vast meadows of western Oregon still harbor this sweet short lived perennial. Adapted to heavy clay soils- reseeds when happy. Suitable for mowed meadows as long as it has gone to seed by the time you mow. Wait until June.  Good competitor with invasives and absolutely integral to a Willamette Valley meadow. High deer resistance. Oregon native plant

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Ribes divaricatum

Coast gooseberry or black gooseberry is an intricately branched native deciduous shrub that is incredibly important to wildlife as well as pollinators. Mounding and spreading with fine and prickly needles housed at each node. The maple shaped leaves have a fine skunk aroma up close. To 4′ x 6′ in the extreme this moderately fast growing plant is best in full sun but can handle quite a bit of shade-especially deciduous shade. This species is never common and its found mainly west of the Cascades The small pendulous flower feature red petals surrounding a white corolla. These morph into prickly sour fruits whose final color ripens to black. Fall color is soft yellow to orange and brief. Light consistent summer water in a average to enriched, well drained soil. The berries are edible but intensely sour and make fine food for a wide range of cool birds. Native to the Portland city limits. Excellent shrub for remediation of wild sites. This pretty shrub makes a great transitional plant for wild areas and has a wild look itself. Blooms on wood from the previous season. Prune if needed AFTER flowering.      Oregon native plant

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Ribes sanguineum ‘Oregon Snowflake’

Excellent improved form of the already popular white flowered Flowering Currant. This form sports foliage that is deeply divided- very pretty- and a more dense and compact habit. Its an incredibly heavy blooming form that has great garden application. To 4′ x 5′ in 7 years with a rounded mounded habit. In late February- April pendant clusters of pure white flowers glow in the early spring sunlight. The buds emerge chartreuse and then become pure sparkling white. This was bred and selected at OSU. And so far has been rare on the market. Full sun to quite a bit of shade with light consistent summer water to establish. Then- it can survive on all that falls from the sky. Takes light irrigation in gardens but never soggy and never soggy during hot weather. Fall color is yellow/orange and brief. Sour fruits are dusky blue in summer. Moderate deer resistance. Derivative of an Oregon native plant. PPAF.

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Ribes sanguineum ‘Xera’s Lime Punch’

As luck would have it this lime/chartreuse foliaged variant of our locally native and cherished flowering currant appeared at our nursery. We’ve grown it for years now and it is so much tougher and more reliable than the closely related R. s. ‘Brocklebankii’. Which seems like such a great idea but that most people kill. This is an easier to grow more robust plant. Hot pink flowers contrast in a great way with the lime colored vivid foliage. To 8′ tall and 4′ wide in 7 years. Part shade and regular water to establish the first year then none in subsequent years. Adaptable to many types of soils. Will not burn in full sun but isn’t as happy. Add pep to wild areas. Brighten up shady environs. Blue,very sour fruits appear in early summer. Grows quickly to its ultimate size. Moderate deer resistance. This is a wonderful shrub. (Big pride). Oregon native plant.

Xera Plants Introduction

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flowers and foliage of Ribes sanguineum

Flowering Currant. One of the most conspicuous flowering shrubs over the western half of Oregon. From extreme Southwest BC to northern California. .This v shaped and arching shrub protrudes from highway plantings like a chandelier of pink flowers. Each chain of flowers is a slightly different shade of pink to white on this batch of seedlings. To 9′ x 9′ forming  somewhat open shade. Blooms on old wood, prune if needed AFTER flowering has ended in late spring. Fall color ranges from pink to orange and quite often yellow. We had several shrubs of this plant where I grew up. We randomly harvested the branches for cute flowers for almost two generations and none of the plants suffered. They were wild plants and as good as any named variety. Blooms March to April and then maple shaped leaves unfurl and are a quilted nice texture. Full sun to quite a bit of shade at the expense of flowering. Dusty blue fruits cascade in chains as the leaves drop in fall. These are immensely sour fruits.  Best on hillsides poking through the rest of the underbrush. Flowers which have a  slight skunk funk force easily if brought inside. One of Oregons greatest native flowering shrubs. Moderate deer resistance. Water to establish then only occasionally. Oregon native plant.

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Romanzoffia californica

Mist Maidens are an integral part of spring in western Oregon. These delicate looking beauties are actually iron tough. Clouds of white flowers sway above rubbery scalloped foliage beginning in early March and continuing to early June. They have the light fragrance of vanilla. Hot weather shuts them down and they quickly retreat to their bulbous roots to wait out summer in dormancy. Once established they require little interevention from humans. Let them romp around in the spring border with such similar perennials as Primula sieboldii and Viola corsica. Just don’t forget that they are there when they magically disappear.  To 10″ tall and about as wide. In favored circumstances this Oregon native will happily self sow. Pretty and fresh as spring. Found locally in the coast range in Washington and Yamhill county. Once much more widespread. Pretty leaves, pretty flowers, easy to please.  Oregon native plant.

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Rosa nutkana ‘Xera Pink’

Silently living its beautiful life in a seasonally flooded ditch near our wholesale nursery we spotted this deep pink flowering variant of our locally native Nootka rose.  Intensely fragrant deep pink single flowers appear from May-July. followed by brilliant red hips that ripen in fall. The first and second year canes carry a heavy mahogany tone that is as conspicuous as the deep pink showy flowers. An incredibly tough and adaptable native rose that can endure both seasonally flooded locations and desiccating summer drought. Even the foliage has a sweet fragrance. Carefree shrub that spreads to form colonies and rises to about 4′ tall on average. Laughs at the heaviest, driest clay soils. Red/orange fall color. Not a shrub for shy neighbors, this rose will win. Give it ample room and plan ahead.  Oregon native plant.

Xera Plants Introduction

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Rubus spectabilis ‘Golden Ruby’

This golden leaved form of our native Salmon Berry is an exciting variation for wild areas. The brilliantly colored foliage sparkles with deep pink flowers in spring. In summer it produces salmon colored sweet, edible berries. To 7′ tall and spreading as wide as it would like. Full sun (with irrigation) to quite a bit of high overhead shade. Give this colonizing plant room to spread. It appreciates moist soil but is very tough when established. Deciduous- though it is a short period and the brilliant new leaves begin emerging in late winter.  Stream banks,  the back area of woodlands, wild areas. Moderate deer resistance. Increases by suckering stolons. Easy native to brighten wild woods. Oregon native plant.

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Sambucus mexicana ssp. cerulea

Our locally native blue elderberry makes a good very large shrub or small garden tree. It has beautiful pinnate foliage, large fragrant umbels of white flowers followed by large clumps of edible blue fruit.These appear in May/June quite a bit later than the red druped species S. racemosa.  Incredibly fast growing in youth it responds in a robust way to extra water in summer. Adaptable to nearly any soil type. And very drought tolerant as it matures. Fall color is often yellow but also lacking. Birds feast on the berries through winter. Otherwise they hang ornamentally on the bare twigs- also very showy. To 14′-18′ tall and naturally forming a vase shape. Lifespan is typically less than 30 years. Give it room to spread. Edible real fruit set occurs in more well established plants. Widespread throughout the west. Spreads liberally by bird droppings.  Oregon native plant.

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Sedum oreganum

Not hard to tell where this stone crop is endemic. It resides mostly in the middle elevations of the western Cascades. Rocky slopes, cliffs, and road cuts is where you find the clusters of small green rosettes that makes large colonies. In summer 4″ stems arrive topped with bright gold/yellow flowers- a pollinators dream. Little spreading plant to just inches high but expanding to several feet wide in well drained, somewhat enriched soil with light summer water. Full sun to quite a bit of shade. Forms a dense mat and may be used as a small scale weed blocking ground cover. Easy to grow plant. Roots into the ground as it spreads- evergreen. Oregon Native Plant.

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Sedum spathulifolium ‘Cape Blanco’

An old standard form of our native and widespread Stonecrop. This form is unique for its very pale gray almost white rosettes of leaves. It spreads vigorously in rich to average well drained soil with light summer water. Soil should be light and not compacted. It makes a very good small scale ground cover. Also excellent in rock gardens and even winter containers. Great long lived and easy container subject. To just inches high a single plant can reproduce to several feet wide. In late spring 6″ stems grow upright to display masses of brilliant yellow flowers. Adored by all pollinators. When cold wet weather arrives the entire plant takes on red/raspberry tones. Very pretty. Easy to grow native perennial. Full sun to quite a bit of shade. Oregon native plant.

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Sedum spathulifolium ‘Carnea’

Interesting form of Stone crop that has foliage that takes on brilliant red/purple tints in cold weather or with drought stress. Powdery blue foliage is arranged in rosettes at the end of 3″ stems. Starting with the outer most leaves the vivid tints become most apparent in mid-late summer through winter. Red stems support clusters of gold/yellow flowers in early summer. Excellent pollinator plant as are all Sedums. Easy to grow in any soil that drains reasonably well. In regular ground double dig the soil to incorporate oxygen into the soil and avoid compaction. It will spread to multiple feet across in short order. In rock gardens it can be a little rambunctious around delicate plantings. Give it room and plan for it to spread. Great in seasonal containers, troughs, rock walls. Light summer water speeds the growth rate- it also inhibits the bright color. Oregon native plant.

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Sedum spathulifolium ‘Rogue River’

Would it surprise you that I found this form of native stonecrop on cliffs above the Rogue River? It fascinated me how tightly to the ground this spreading succulent occurred. Gray green foliage appears to be almost rubbery and it grows in a dense pile. Very nice. To just inches high it eventually makes large colonies in rich, to average well drained soil. Light to little summer water. In late spring 4″ stems support hot yellow sunny flowers for weeks. Loved by pollinators of all types. Evergreen and ever lovely form. Perennial borders, rock gardens, containers. Easy and climate adapted native succulent that loves to be in gardens. Oregon native plant.

Xera Plants Introduction.

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Sidalcea campestris

The Willamette Valley is the center of the Sidalcea universe. Willamette Checker Mallow is a fantastic long lived native perennial that thrives in gardens. In May-July and sporadically later stems rise up from low foliage to 14″-36″  and support many soft pink flowers. Loved by pollinators and very easy to grow. This perennial inhabits slopes around the Willamette Valley in very heavy clay soil that dries out to concrete in summer. Adaptable to richer conditions, it also encourages a longer bloom season. Full sun to part shade. Native in Oregon Oak woodlands with Oregon Iris, Shooting Stars (Dodecatheon hendersonii). Pretty meadow flower that combines well with native grasses and the aforementioned perennials. Established plants can get by with very little water. Forms a spreading clump to 2′ wide. This species and several others have a natural range that is defined by the Willamette Valley. Its a special member of the Valley biome. Common associates in the wild are Rosa nutkana var, nutkana as well as Lupinus of various kinds.  Good cut flower. Winter deciduous Long lived perennial. Very important for native butterflies. Its a host plant for gray hairstreaks and a nectar source for Fendler’s Blue butterfly.  Oregon native plant.

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Sidalcea malvaflora ssp. virgata

Rose checker mallow is one the showiest summer perennials native to the western part of the state. This ‘wild hollyhock’ decorates meadows and swales from slightly south of Portland to the Rogue Valley in SW Oregon. A low rosette of mallow-esque leaves are glossy. The tall straight 36″ spires of densely arranged hot pink flowers wave in the early summer breeze.(Blooms May-July)  A great cut flower this obvious mallow relative is among our natives that improves under cultivation. And it is rust resistant. Double dig a wide hole to incorporate oxygen in the soil add a handful of all purpose organic fertilizer into the hole and mix with the existing soil. Water regularly and deeply for the first few months. Allow the ground to dry some between irrigation Loved by butterflies and pollinators and actually one of the host plants for the endangered Willamette Valley ‘Fendler’s Blue’ butterfly. Continuously irrigated plants will have successive flushes of bloom. For native rainfall only plants the show is a little shorter. Long lived, resents disturbance. Excellent with Iris tenax, Penstemon kunthii and all Achilleas. Native to clay soils that dry in summer. Oregon native plant. 

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Solidago canadensis var. elongata

Our own west coast form of Golden Rod which can be found in vernally wet locations or even fence rows. Vigorous, strong growing perennial that erupts in plumes of golden flowers from August to October.  Spreading via runners it can take up quite a bit of space in lush environs. Best to grow it in un-amended soil with light summer water. Full sun to very light shade. Handsome mid-green leaves line nearly woody stems to 32″ tall. Spreads as far as you let it. Sleeps the first year- LEAPS the second and you have been warned. That having been said its a wonderful romping native perennial for late season pollinators. Its very easy to grow and long blooming. I wouldn’t plant a Willamette Valley meadow without this plant. And my, do you get good bugs. VERY good bugs. Lightly fragrant flowers are great in late season arrangements. Best to pair it with a companion that is just as rambunctious- we select Symphyotrichum subspicatum our native Douglas Aster. Not only do they match each other they make a splendid floral complement and bloom simultaneously. And it will triple the amount of pollinators. Foliage can take on orange/yellow tints in late fall. Cut back in early spring. – but fairly self sufficient.  Oregon native plant.

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Spiraea betulifolia var. lucida

Underused native Spiraea from the western United States and native in Oregon including the immediate Portland area.  Low mounding deciduous shrub to 2′ x 3′. This is the locally native form. Often the straight species is for sale- its from Asia and is 4 times the size of ours. Pink buds open to foamy white flat clusters of flowers appear in late spring. In autumn it turns amazingly vivid colors of red/orange/gold and it holds its color for weeks. One of the most drought tolerant of the genus requiring light summer water to very little. Full sun and rich soil. Spreads to form patches. Locally native and plentiful near the Columbia Gorge and throughout the mountains whose diminutive habit means that pruning is seldom necessary. Blooms on wood from the previous season. Long lived and an excellent landscape shrub. Birch Leaf Spiraea or glossy leaved Spiraea. Native in the Portland city limits. Oregon native plant.

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Symphyotrichum subspicatum ‘Sauvie Sky’

One of our color selections of the locally native Douglas Aster. This cultivar originates from seed collected on Sauvie Island. A boisterous long blooming perennial at home in wild areas. Rich to average soil with light summer water. Blooms- in this case, periwinkle blue open in early August and continue unabated  to October. They are beacons to all pollinators and are constantly in motion as they bloom. To 32″ tall  forming wide patches. Runs by underground stolons. Nice cut flower. Wetland remediation, forest verges, denuded road cuts. Those are jobs for you Douglas Aster. Oregon native plant.

Xera Plants Introduction.

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Symphyotrichum subspicatum ‘Sauvie Snow’

We selected this form of our locally native Douglas Aster for its snow white flowers. The species in our area ranges from blue/lavender/blue-white. So, this is a nice color break. One of the very best pollinator perennials that we grow. In bloom from July-October it is virtually swarmed by every flying insect you can imagine. A constant buzz of activity. This is a large, rambunctious perennial that is not good with delicate neighbors. Douglas Aster belongs in the wild where it can consort with other similarly overly adapted natives. Virtually any soil in full sun to light shade. In bloom it rises to nearly 30″ and the spread is nearly indefinite This is a rugged perennial for tough sites, even areas submerged during the wet season. Not a bad cut flower. Mix with large ornamental grasses such as Miscanthus sinensis  ‘Morning Light’ or Panicum virgatum ‘ Heavy Metal’. Mix with native shrubs- Mahonia aquifolium, Oregon Grape and Holodiscus discolor ‘Ocean Spray’. Drought adapted when established but it appreciates a soak now and again to prolong the bloom period.   Oregon native plant.

Xera Plants Introduction

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Tellima grandiflora

Locally native on our nursery site Fringe Cups or Fairy Bells as they are commonly known are a spreading perennial for moist shady sites. Low mounding maple shaped leaves cover the ground densely and in late spring vertical spikes appear to 18″ tall and sport rows of small green cup shaped flowers which change to white and finish with tints of pink. Closely related to Heuchera and thrives in the same conditions. It will even take full sun in moist conditions. It is a background plant because it often suffers from powdery mildew late in summer which is mostly just ugly and I’ve never seen harm to the plant. The drier the conditions the worse the affliction. Good air circulation helps but its best to just accept that this is how this native perennial rolls. Semi-evergreen in winter. Woodland borders, shady containers. Very easy to grow. Often grows with Claytonia as seen below. Flowers emit a sweet fragrance.  Oregon Native Plant.

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Tolmiea menziesii ‘Taff’s Gold’

An exceptional variegated form of our native “pigaback” plant that is excellent as a groundcover in dense to light shade. Vigorous and evergreen it will spread to 4′ wide in 2 years but stay only 1′ tall. Very easy to grow, works well under established Rhododendrons. Pretty, but not conspicuous brown flowers. Regular water but will take drought if in the shade. Easy, indispensible native plant.  Forms new plants directly from the center of each leaf. Cool trick. Also grown as a houseplant. Good in containers. Oregon native plant.

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Trifolium wormskioldii

Springbank Clover. Fascinating perennial clover that was once widespread in wet areas of the Willamette Valley and is now found in restricted sites there but is much more prevalent on the coast and east of the Cascades.  A pretty spreading spring wildflower with heads of brilliant magenta/purple flowers. Mainly in spring but also in summer if wet. To 4″ tall it can be up to 2′ wide in favorable conditions. Though mostly restricted to seeps and wet areas now it once made life under native white oaks and there indigenous people would use it as a food source. The creeping green stems root where they touch the ground. Stems were harvested and steamed as a vegetable and they replanted as they harvested the remaining stems ensuring another crop. Not a long lived perennial 3-5 years but it sets copious seed. Wet sites in moisture retentive soil. Mainly riparian in habitat.  It can dry considerably in summer and still thrive. But regular water is what it wants. Fun plant to grow that has lost a LOT of its native range. In habitat it is best seen on the wet cliffs adjacent to the beach. Great pollinator plant. Easily overwhelmed by invasive exotics.   Oregon native plant. 

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white flowers of Tritelia hyacinthina

Fool’s Onion, though this close relative of Brodiaea is easy to tell apart from Allium as the leaves and stem have no onion odor. A sunny native perennial bulb that forms colonies of white in May-July in meadows, glens, and swales. To 15″ tall in bloom but usually shorter the leaves emerge in mid winter and persist until summer drought. About that time the flowers erupt into clusters of white flowers. Great native bulb for naturalizing, Water if planting from a pot, otherwise it requires only what falls from the sky with a distinct dry period in summer. Associated  plants are Ranunculus occidentalis- Western Buttercup, and Brodiaea elegans- Cluster lily, and Plectritis congesta- Sea Blush.  Native in clay soils that dry completely in summer. Goes very  neatly dormant in summer- nothing is left. Excellent in rock garden conditions. Full sun to very light shade. Moderate deer resistance. Native though out western Oregon. Sweet cutflower Very good for butterflies as well. This plant once occupied large areas of the Willamette Valley, that territory has shrunk considerably.  Oregon native plant.

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Vancouveria hexandra

Inside-Out-Flower is a commonly seen terrestrial component in dry to moderately moist woodlands in our region. The duck foot shaped leaves are conspicuous and pretty and in late spring to mid-summer a continuous supply of dainty downward pointing white flowers. Spreads in gardens very well in enriched soil with regular summer water where it will quickly assume the role of an intertwining ground cover. Winter deciduous- un-like its close and much more drought adapted relative Vancouveria chrysantha (Yellow inside-out-flower, Siskiyou Vancouveria). This perennial is perfect for life among shrubs or mixing with other woodland perennials in part shade to shade. Adapts well to garden culture and thrives on regular summer irrigation. Locally native in the city of Portland. To 10″ tall and spreading. Some deer resistance.  Oregon native plant.

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Canary violet or upland Violet has many subspecies in the PNW and west in general. This is our own Willamette Valley form of this intriguing handsome perennial. Large spoon shaped leaves have an underside with conspicuous hairs. The top of the leaf is glossier. In April-May bright yellow flowers appear. The bottom petal has conspicuous black whiskers. In our region this violet is local in the most undisturbed sites but it shows very good persistence in competition with non-native introduced grasses. My experience is that it favors rocky and scree sites that remain somewhat cool- for instance the north side of a steep slope. To 6″ tall and forming expanding plants. Winter deciduous. Arrives early in spring and can go summer dormant with high heat. Excellent planted in fall or winter and left to its own devices. Average to enriched soil yields the best results. This is one of the showiest violets native to the Willamette Valley. Fairly long lived. Little deer resistance. Some associated plants are Olysinium douglasii, Sedum spathulifolium, Dodecatheon hendersonii. Oregon native plant.

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Wyethia angustifolia

Mules Ears are rare in cultivation. These cheery bold perennials make the transition of our wild flowers from spring into real summer. So named for its long leaves it forms very permanent spreading colonies in clay soils in habitat. The brilliant yellow sun flower blossoms rise up on sturdy stems directly from the ground. Each ebullient large flower is about 4″ across. Blooms appear from late April to early June. This plant usually finishes blooming just as summer drought commences. Its a memorable sight in wild meadows where it blooms simultaneously with native Rosa nutkana and Farewell to spring (Clarkia amoena var. lindleyi) and Giant blue eyed mary (Collinsia grandiflora). Wonderful cut flower and immediate and popular pollinator perennial. This plant was once very common in the Willamette Valley but civilization has immensely shrunk its native range. Good, long lived garden plant that goes summer dormant quickly after blooming has ended. The leaves turn gray and brittle and can easily be removed then. Give it a summer rest w/ little to no summer water once established. Full sun to very light shade. Water to establish its first season then none in subsequent years. Fun to grow and LONG lived. To 14″ in bloom forming a plant several feet across. Moderate deer resistance. Native to the Portland city limits.  Oregon native plant

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