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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This is a compact, dense growing form of Hairy Manzanita from the city of Manzanita on the coast. These are Greg’s collections. He chose several forms that had nice foliage, foliage color, habit, and resistance to disease. This form is one of the most compact of the three. Slightly smaller leaves are born densely on a more reserved growing plant. In late summer to spring clusters of white flowers  followed by drupes that turn distinctly red. Inland forms of this Manzanita have maroon to russet berries so this is a distinct difference. Beautiful dark, glossy maroon bark as for the species. To 6′ x 6′ in 7 years. Adapted to average to poor soils which will allow it to grow at a more reserved rate. Arctostaphylos columbiana reacts to richer soils, even clay soils with exuberant growth. Best in our native soils that are unimproved. Dig a large hole and provide regular water until you see good new growth then taper off. In subsequent years only what falls from the sky. Arctostaphylos columbiana (Hairy Manzanita) is a proto species one of the first and it is the most widespread Manzanita in Oregon and Washington.  Genetically it dominates and most of Calfiornia’s northern species are derived from ancient Hairy Manzanita. Provide full sun and good air circulation. Excellent underplanted with native annuals and Sedums. Good looking siver/ gray foliage year round. Extraordinarily drought adapted. Associated plants with the coastal species are Vaccinium ovatum, Pinus contorta ssp. contorta Garrya elliptica, Baccharis pilularis and Salal (Gaultheria shallon).  Often found with Festuca rubra on stabilized sand dunes.  Oregon native plant

Xera Plants Introduction

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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. It is very susceptible to overwatering and overly enriched soils. .This can be avoided by strictly avoiding all irrigation once established and planting in average, unamended soil. Large-growing shrub with gray green leaves, the telltale hairy leaf petioles and white flowers in spring. Russet berries follow. Its best attribute is its smooth exfoliating mahogany bark. And in time you can remove the tired lower branches to reveal it as well as improve air circulation.  To 8′ x 8′ very quickly in average, well-drained soil. No summer water and little intervention from the gardener. Wild areas, dry hillsides. This form we selected from the southern Willamette Valley. It occurs in specific sites around the Valley and is common at the coast /coast range as well as the Cascades. Its populations are most stable on steep rocky slopes and sandy substrates at the coast where plants live longer in impoverished situations. During the warm interstadial (8000-4000 yr BP) when our climate was a bit milder but with a much more pronounced summer drought it was much more widespread- once found in the city limits of Portland at two sites those have been usurped by development. Excellent performance in hot dry urban sites.  Oregon native plant.

Xera Plants Introduction.

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Aruncus dioicus

Aruncus dioicus var. acuminatus

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

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Asclepias fascicularis

Narrow leaved milkweed is an Oregonian butterfly weed that has a great wildflower demeanor and is just as attractive to pollinators as well as Lepidoptera (butterflies). Full sun and well drained soil, though it accepts clay soil on slopes that are strictly unwatered in summer , otherwise light consistent irrigation to establish- then natural rainfall alone. To 22″ tall and making a spreading plant. Mix with fine textured ornamental grasses,such as Tufted fairy grass – Deschampsia caespitosa and  tall spiky perennials such as simultaneously blooming Kniphofias. Light summer water when companion planted. Flower color is most often creamy white but ranges to light pink. Often seen on road cuts and in ditches in the Willamette Valley. Blends in with grasses and other plants but pollinators find it no matter what. Spreads to form colonies by underground stolons to  2′-3′ wide. Nice cutflower. Important food source for Fendler’s Blue Butterfly which is very endangered and locally indigenous. Winter deciduous. Blooms open in June and persist to August. The large seed heads are pointed and release their downy seeds on the wind in August-September.  Oregon native plant.

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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 where it occupies dry rocky hillsides in full sun but tolerates heavy clay soil. In the best conditions (loam) it is huge spreading perennial that requires pre-planning and some real estate. Gray green stalks and leaves rise up to about 4’tall and bear deliciously fragrant pink orbicular flowers. These are irresistible to butterflies, including Monarchs, and if you want one to visit your garden this plant is good insurance. However, all butterflies find it irresistible. Spreads underground vigorously by stolons and can come up quite a way from the initial clump. Full sun and well drained soil. Completely winter deciduous and emerges relatively late in spring. Be patient. see video below. IMG 6323.  Oregon native plant.

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This is the Willamette Valley form of coyote brush (bush)- also known as chaparral broom. A relatively short lived evergreen shrub in the aster family. Indeed this form blooms in autumn through winter with small brushes of white plumed flowers on female plants. Smaller yellow flowers on males. Typical of the steepest cliffs abutting the ocean and in the Willamette Valley it populates recent road cuts and fire zones. Often it will be seen all alone in the center of a Willamette Valley field. Native inland from northern Marion country to Douglas county. Very fast growing and drought adapted daisy bush for rough sites and poor soil. Improved soil will yield an enormous shrub so its difficult to pin point an exact size but everything from 4′ tall in poor soil with no summer water to 12′ x 12′ in rich soil with irrigation. I suggest no irrigation after planting. Excellent fodder for insects and birds. It may be pruned heavily in spring and will quickly regenerate. Foliage is deep glossy green but fine textured. Not bothered by deer. Excellent native companion for Manzanita, Grevilleas. VERY EASY to grow. average life span 10 years. Good instant plant for a native garden, but not long term. Native from N. Oregon coast south to Baja California. A prominent component of the California beach chaparral and on the Oregon coast as well. Common associated plants on the coast are Salal (Gaultheria shallon) and Mahonia nervosa. In the Willamette Valley its primary role has been ursurped by Scot’s Broom. Too bad.  Oregon native plant.

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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

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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