Unusual Myrtle from Chile that I’ve grown for many years and though it is difficult to root from cuttings we still offer it. Glossy small leaves have the distinct fragrance of citrus when bruised. A tall rainforest tree in its home, in my garden it is a columnar evergreen shrub to 8′ x 2′ in 7 years. In early summer it produces clusters of pretty off-white flowers that are lightly fragrant too. They often turn into clusters of black berries by autumn. Slow growing in youth it picks up a little with age. Full sun to part shade in a protected location. Mine is against an east facing wall and it’s never been damaged by cold – save for a few burned tips below 10ºF. Surprising. If you are a collector and you’d like something different give this handsome shrub/tree a try. It will thrive at the Oregon Coast and likely grow much, much bigger. A water loving tree that requires regular irrigation during summer- this encourages growth and lustrous foliage. Chile.
Heathmyrtle as it is known is a fine textured shrub that closely mimics Erica (Heath) and is an aromatic member of the Myrtle family- Hence the common name. The fine needle leaves emit a powerfully sweet menthol perfume when bruised. In winter the entire arching dense shrub takes on vivid copper tints. Early summer brings boughs spangled in tiny white flowers like frost. To 3′ tall and 4′ wide in 5 years in rich, well drained soil with light consistent summer water. Pairs perfectly with Heaths and Heathers with identical cultural requirements. Strong deer resistance. Cold hardy to 5ºF or below. Wonderful evergreen shrub. A Xera favorite. High mountains of Tasmania. It would make a fine sheared hedge. Any amount of pruning results in a much denser plant. Plant on three foot centers. Underused wonderful shrub.
Callistemon ‘Wetland’s Challenged Mutant’
A great introduction from the Sequim, WA nursery Desert Northwest. Incredibly showy in bloom this easy to grow shrub produces 4″ long 1″ thick soft yellow colored sweetly scented brushes in late spring and early summer. Moderately fast growing shrub to 7′ tall and 3′ wide in 6 years. The pretty, fine foliage is handsome ochre green and contrasts beautifully with the light taupe colored bark.This is an exceptional shrub out of bloom as well and has a very upright, tidy habit for this genus. From a distance a mature shrub appears like a Podocarpus. Full sun and average to rich soil with light but consistent summer water. Drought adapted. Considering the size of the brushes this is an exceptionally hardy Callistemon taking 5ºF when established. If there is any confusion about which species this appears to be- the foliage is unlike C. pityoides but the large brushes are dense and fragrant just like that species. A hybrid is likely. This very upright shrub would make a fantastic informal hedge/screen with minimal pruning. Great shrub. Pollinated at night by moths who will literally glue themselves to the brushes for hours. Fascinating shrub.
Callistemon ‘Woodlander’s Hardy Red’
This has become the standard cold hardy red flowering bottlebrush in our climate. 4″ brushes of raspberry red occur en mass in May/June and sporadically there after on established plants. Low, spreading arching habit. Give it horizontal space to grow. Virtually any soil type and incredibly drought adapted when established. Accepts regular irrigation as well. Must have full, all day sun to perform. Avoid exposure to subfreezing east winds, err on the side of protection. Cold hardy to a little below 10ºF but has vigorously recovered from subzero lows returning from the base. If damaged by cold cut back in spring- then supply regular irrigation and recovery is rapid. Moderate deer resistance. To 3′ x 5′ wide in 6 years.
Callistemon (formerly sieberi) pityoides ‘Moonlight’
We’ve grown this plant for almost 20 years. In fact I got my original plant in the 1990’s from a rare plant dealer in Vancouver, BC. This fine textured shrub has needles posing as leaves that densely line the lithe arching stems. In early summer the whole plant is alight in 2″ moonlight yellow colored brushes. A hummingbirds dream. Following hot summers it may repeat bloom in autumn. To 3′ tall by 4′ wide with a somewhat twisted habit. Following the bottlebrush flowers small woody seed capsules line the former blooms and persist sometimes for years- it adds interest to this already interesting shrub. Very deer resistant and accepting of quite dry conditions once established. Foliage takes on bronze tints in very cold weather. Grows moderately fast to its ultimate size. Well sized for smaller gardens. Requires full sun- at least 6 hours per day for best bloom. Prune AFTER blooming if necessary. Blooms on wood from the previous season. Alpine Australia.
This is a relatively cold hardy and spectacular bottlebrush. Very upright growth on a vertical growing plant with distinctly blue leaves. In late spring soft yellow thick bottle brush flowers appear in a massive display. Hummingbirds and people come running. The glowing flower color set against a blue backdrop is sublime. Full sun (no shade, don’t even try) in a warm, protected location such as a south facing wall or fence. Moderately fast growing in the ground to 12′ tall and 4′ wide in 7 years. It can suffer considerable damage in our coldest winters, but established plants have recovered from temperatures below 10ºF. Blooms on wood from the previous year. Prune if needed after blooming has ended. Rows of button shaped woody seed capsule follow and persist for several years. Spectacular and easy at the coast. Aromatic foliage has some deer resistance. Protect containerized plants from temperatures below 20ºF. Blooms well in a container. Tasmania. Water to establish then occasionally in summer. Avoid strong subfreezing wind.
Callistemon pallidus ‘Eleanor’
More than 25 years ago I raised some Callistemon from seed. This seedling with vivid magenta purple flowers has survived temperatures below 10ºF for all that time but requires a protected spot inland to thrive. Amazing performance at the Oregon Coast where the bright brushes may appear several times a year. To 6′ x 6′ and arching this willowy evergreen accepts light summer water and requires as much sun as possible. Best against a south facing wall in Portland. It may freeze back below about 12ºF, but recovery from the base is rapid. Virtually any soil. Moderate deer resistance. This seedling was planted at our then neighbor Eleanor’s house so it received that name. Photo credit: Evan Bean.
Xera Plants Introduction
Callistemon pityoides ‘Harry’
This is a great dwarf form of Alpine bottlebrush and its most useful for its size and shape than for expansive floral displays. However, when in bloom its beyond adorable. Slow growing rounded shrub to 1.5′ x 1.5′ after 7 years. The small needle-like leaves are medium green with a distinct ochre cast. Very tough evergreen for the most challenging sites. Accepts intense reflected heat, summer drought and arctic cold. This is a true alpine plant. No pruning necessary as it naturally assumes a dense rounded habit with no intervention. Good deer resistance. Excellent as in informal unpruned hedge. Accepts almost all soil types from saturated clay to sand. The diminutive flowers are actually small circular balls of light yellow stamens- adorable. Blooms May- June and possibly again in autumn. Native to the very highest elevations of Australia. Flowers are attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies. Combines well with wild flowers or perennials. Nice looking shrub all the time. This is an introduction from Desert Northwest Nursery. And its an excellent plant. Full sun- not tolerant of shade.
Callistemon pityoides ‘Mt. Kosckuisko’
Dwarf alpine Bottlebrush that we like most as a clipped hedge. Dense rounded shrub composed of fine olive green needles. To 3′ x 3′ in time. Full sun and very little water when established. It can also tolerate regular summer irrigation. Sporadically, in late spring starry cream colored bottlebrush flowers appear. Extremely hardy to cold and very deer resistant evergreen. Alpine Australia. This durable shrub with a fine texture makes a fantastic clipped hedge. It can be trained as one solid shrub or separated into spheres. Pruning is done just once a year in early summer. This can sacrifice blooms but the effect is striking for a small cold hardy, drought tolerant, low prune hedge. In time it blooms more heavily. Give it a few years. The starry white stamens are tipped in yellow for a light yellow overall color. Highly deer resistant shrub. Great year round appearance.
Callistemon pityoides ‘Corvallis’
I found this Callistemon in a garden in Corvallis, OR over 20 years ago. For the previous 30 years it had thrived through the coldest (0ºF or -18ºc) winters. Upright growing fine textured evergreen shrub to 6′ tall and 3′ wide in 7 years. 2″ pale yellow fluffy brushes appear in late spring/summer and again in early autumn. Full sun, average soil – especially good in clay soils and regular summer water- though it can live on no supplemental water in summer irrigation improves fall bloom. Completely deer resistant. Perfectly hardy in all of Western Oregon. Long lived shrub that tolerates heavy snow and ice. Easy shrub. Moderately fast growing. Excellent performance on the Oregon coast. Prune if needed after bloom has ended. Excellent companion shrubs are Ceanothus x ‘Topaz’ and Myrtus communis ‘Andy’s Hardy’ which bloom simultaneously,
Xera Plants Introduction.
Callistemon pityoides ‘Excellent’
This form of alpine bottlebrush has flowers that truly are excellent. Fine grass green needle like foliage on a spreading shrub to 5’ tall and 6’ wide. In early summer to early autumn 3” yellow bottlebrush flowers decorate the stems. Sometimes they are as long as 6″ and wind around like a serpent. Woody seed capsules that follow persist on the branches. Blooms on wood from the previous year and then sporadically on new growth. May be damaged below 10ºF but has recovered fully from much lower and has actually bloomed fantastically the following spring. Full sun and adaptable to many kinds of soil including heavy clay. Occasional summer water encourages growth. Wonky twisting habit is fascinating. Like nothing you’ve ever seen. Very informal and wild.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Callistemon subulatus ‘Dark Red’
There are several hardy red flowered bottlebrushes on the market but if you really like red this is the one. Small gray thin leaves densely clothe the arching stems of this clumping multi branched low shrub. In spring and then sporadically all summer deep red 2″ long and wide bottlebrush flowers appear. Happiness and hummingbirds ensue. To 3′ x 3′ in 5 years and strongly arching. Full sun and a protected location- against a south or west facing wall is ideal. Light summer water. Excellent performance in containers- hardy Callistemon often are shy to bloom in containers but this girl is not shy at all. Brilliant, Brilliant red. Freezes to the ground below about 10ºF- returns vigorously from the base in spring. Excellent performance at the Oregon Coast. Moderately deer resistant.
Mountain bottlebrush or Green bottlebrush is one of our very favorite shrubs that combines unusual foliage, beautiful bark, and a great flower color. Upright growing with small diamond shaped forest green leaves that line the wand-like stems. In cold weather this unusual shrub takes on maroon and purple tones, a great foil to the very light tan stems and trunk. To 8′ x 6′ in 6 years. In May 4” long by 1” wide chartreuse/yellow bottlebrushes protrude from the tips of the branches shoot out at every angle. In Tasmania where it is native it follows cold air drainages, proving that it requires at least some cold for good flower set. This clone is from a specimen that survived 0ºF in 1989. FULL sun and any soil with occasional summer water. My own receives no irrigation and performs beautifully. Hardier to cold in full sun. Unusual shrub that seems to bridge the aesthetic gap between broad-leaved evergreen and conifer. (Syn. Melaleuca virens)
Callistemon viridiflorus ‘Shamrock’
Our selection of a very compact, dense and tidy growing Mountain Bottlebrush. Moderately slow growing shrub to 5′ x 3′ in 7 years. In May-July 3″ acid green bottlebrush flowers decorate all the branch tips. A thrill for hummingbirds. In winter the small pointed deep green leaves take on dramatic maroon tints- great contrast with the white, cork-like bark.New growth is tinted red and is furry and with a silver sheen. Very tidy compared to the species which can be somewhat wild and unkempt. If you don’t want that try ‘Shamrock’. It fits in small sites well and is adaptable to all types of soil, including heavy clay. Great cold hardiness- suffering no injury at 5ºF. Excellent landscape shrub or foundation plant. Tidy and dense. Moderate deer resistance. Light water requirements. Very good as a hedge or screen with a uniform dense habit. Blooms when young.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Callistemon viridiflorus ‘Xera Compact’
One of our very best selections of the cold hardy mountain bottlebrush from Tasmania. This unusual variant has smaller leaves held closer together on a compact and dense growing shrub. To 4′ tall and 3′ wide in 7 years. In May-June every branch tip is decked in 3″ chartreuse green bottlebrush flowers. An incredibly heavy bloomer – even when very young. Full sun and virtually any soil with REGULAR summer water. Definitely not as drought tolerant as other hardy Callistemons. Slow growth. Moderate deer resistance. Cold hardy to 5ºF. Combine with other full sun shrubs that require moderate summer water- a good soak once every two weeks. Excels in hell strips. A great texture for borders or even an informal low hedge. Little pruning required. (Syn. Melaleuca virens- they are attempting to lump all Callistemons into Melaleuca- we’re still waiting.) Wildly showy shrub in bloom. Hummingbird delight.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Callistemon viridiflorus ‘Xera’s Hedgehog’
We love this cold hardy species also known as mountain bottlebrush. This is our selection of a dwarf form and it achieves a very dense, compact habit at just 2′ tall by 3′ wide in 7 years. In May/June 1″ acid green bottlebrush flowers illuminate the tips of the branches. Pollinated by birds in nature it is a beacon to our local hummingbirds as well. Following the flowers rows of button shaped seed pods become woody and add to the shrubs interest. Full sun and rich to average soil with light consistent summer water for the first few years. It can tolerate regular irrigation but is summer drought tolerant when established. A great plant for foundations, rock gardens, hell strips. The pointed forest green foliage takes on maroon tints in the coldest weather. Cold hardy to 5ºF. Moderately deer resistant.
Xera Plants Introduction
Alpine Cider Gum from high elevations in Tasmania has proven to be one of the reliable species of Eucalyptus for our region. Juvenile (young) growth is perfoliate and very very light gray blue- this is the foliage used as popular cut material. The tree may be cut back nearly to the ground regularly to retain this foliage- The tree must be established at least a year before you do this. Otherwise the adult foliage is totally different. Bright green and elongated leaves with a round tip hang densely on an upright growing nice looking tree. Eventually, the bark becomes amazing with pink and gray striations. Blooms in early spring with white flowers. Extremely fast growing tree to 35′ tall + that is a great evergreen garden tree. Good looking year round. Handles ice and snow like a champ- shedding snow and bending under ice without breaking. Full sun and rich to average soil with regular summer water through the first year. High deer resistance. Hardier to cold with age.
Mountain white gum or just Mountain gum is a wonderful cold hardy Eucalypt that can achieve the largest proportions of any that we grow. In Portland specimens of 60′ occur and it presents as a large spreading tree with sickle shaped leaves of deep green and glossy. Very aromatic when crushed and excellent material for wreaths. In time it develops fantastic powder white bark. Fast growing in youth to 6′ a year in rich soil with regular irrigation. Once established it is very drought tolerant. In time it forms a large spreading crown on a majestic and easy to grow tree. Requires a large site. Eucalyptus are intolerant of all shade and should be hit from all sides by sunlight. Otherwise they will grow sparsely and lean towards the sun. White flowers occur in late winter and are more curious than showy. Does have some leaf drop- take note near patios. Cold hardy to 5ºF when established. Gains cold hardiness with age. Moderately deer resistant.
Cider gum. This is a very successful Eucalyptus in Western Oregon. Native to the high central plateau in Tasmania it forms a handsome tree to 35′ tall and 20′ wide in 10 years. As with many Eucalypts this species begins with very different juvenile foliage that is bright blue/gray with rounded leaves. After several years of vigorous growth foliage morphs to longer, greener leaves with a somewhat weeping habit. In order to retain juvenile foliage for cut material let the tree establish well for a year or two. In March to April 15 the whole tree may be coppiced to the ground. Re-growth is rapid with the arrival of truly warm weather and light applications of water. Left strictly alone Cider Gum becomes large and stately. One of its most striking features is blue/gray stems which are visible at quite a distance. Mature trees have clumps of foliage at the end of longer stems. A distinct look. Very fast growing in youth- 3′-5’per year. Growth slows with maturity but it achieves tree like stature very fast. Excellent in snow and ice. Cold hardy to about 5ºF – provide a warm microclimate in cold rural gardens. Excellent performance in urban areas. Not as messy of a Eucalyptus as some. As the tree matures the trunk exfoliates to smooth gray/tan with pink mottling. Excellent performance on the Oregon coast. Not bothered by deer or elk. A very pretty tree in a short amount of time. Drought adapted with age.
Excellent little multi-trunked hardy Eucalyptus that we love for its height, graceful foliage, and handsome bark. To just 15′ tall after many years it grows quickly when young. The 3″ long medium green glossy leaves are thin and slightly curved. In winter the interior twigs are lined with wispy white flowers in clusters of six. Seldom sets seed in our climate. Excellently adapted and scaled for urban gardens. Very graceful and pretty year round. The leaves are held by vivid red petioles and cut material from this tree is excellent- if somewhat limited from size and slower re-growth. This small tree forms multiple trunks- no single trunk ever happens, and the bark is a soft glossy taupe. Very pretty tree. Related to and included in the category Snow Gum. Hardy without damage to just below 10ºF- and likely much lower.
Little Leaf Gum is a handsome, graceful, cold hardy, obscure beautiful Eucalypt for our gardens. Extremely endangered in the wild it survives in just a few locations at high elevations – always above 3500′, in the SE Australian Alps. That alone gives us reason to grow this fantastic little tree. Fast growing small tree of very fine texture. To 22′ tall and half as wide in our climate. Single or multi-trunked the bark becomes glossy and shedding with time. Remarkably fast growing in youth, easily 3′-6′ in a single season- achieving tree status in just a few years. Wonderful fine textured evergreen that casts the lightest shade. Small groups of white flowers bedeck the stems in late summer and autumn- and sporadically through the year when older. Full sun and an open exposure. Very, very hardy to cold when established. There are two of this species planted along I-5 near the Woodburn Factory Outlets that have been there more than 35 years. They have endured temperatures near 0ºF at least twice in that locale with little to no injury. Takes summer drought but prefers a few good soaks when its really dry. Good garden tree. Dislikes shade. Open exposed location. The tree pictured is at the the Oregon Garden in Silverton. Excellent small garden tree.
Eucalyptus pauciflora ssp. debeuzevillei
Jounama Snow Gum is repeatedly one of the cold hardiest Eucalypts and it is excellently adapted to our climate. Gray/blue scimitar shaped leaves are pendant on a spreading umbrella shaped frame of a tree. Often the trunk forks just after emerging from the ground into multiple handsome stems. This increases the surface area where you can enjoy the ravishing exfoliating bark. Bark drops in late summer to reveal python like patches of taupe/grey/green and is showy through winter. In autumn the upper branches are decorated with small fluffy white flowers. One of the few Eucalyptus that will endure subfreezing wind- in fact this tree has been hardy to brief dips to 0ºF (-18ºC). Explosively fast growing when young to 35′ tall in just 7 years. Give it room. Light summer water in virtually any well drained soil- including clay. Do not stake. Let it produce its own sturdy leader. Sheds ice and snow like a champion. Though this is a subspecies of Eucalyptus pauciflora- a snow gum just like E. p. ‘Niphophila’ there are several differences from that tree. The leaves on E. p. debeuzevillei tend to be wider and more substantial than ‘Niphophila’. Also, that gum nearly always forms several trunks. This is less common with Jounama Snow Gum and in my experience it is a slightly taller tree. It can also vary in its habit from being very wide and spreading to skinny and fastigiate- its simply the luck of the draw and you cannot decipher this future habit as a seedling. Avoid heavy watering in hot conditions and site in a well drained place. Its completely drought tolerant and should be treated that way. Winter water when its cool is irrelevant. Overall it is a fast, healthy, and easy to grow tree in just a short amount of time.
Eucalyptus pauciflora ssp. niphophila
Snow gum is a wonderful cold hardy tree for the Pacific Northwest. Lance shaped gray foliage is pendant and handsome year round. This rapidly growing tree thrives in full sun and virtually any soil save for boggy conditions. In just a few years it develops amazing python mottled bark in tones of gray/tan/olive green. The bark sheds in mid-summer and can be a bit messy. Site accordingly. Grows 4′-5′ a year when young. Irrigation just increases this growth rate. Stake only when VERY young then let it form a sturdy trunk on its own. The vast majority of this Snow gum will form multiple trunks. Its possible to select one sturdy main trunk when young- pay close attention as they grow very fast. To 30′ tall and half as wide in 10 years. Snow gums have a weird habit of growing horizontally before reaching upwards. This is natural. Handles ice and snow no problem. Cold hardy to brief dips to 0ºF- but not lower. Mountains of Australia. White fluffy flowers in clusters in winter. Avoid all shade.
Spinning wheel gum is one of the prettiest of the cold hardier Eucalyptus. Named for its striking blue/gray perfoliate round foliage as a juvenile. In time as the foliage morphs to adulthood each new leaf becomes longer and more pendulous. A small tree in our climate to 18′ tall with a widely spreading crown. Fast growing tree, especially in youth. It may be damaged in our coldest winters- losing branches or even freezing to the ground if temperatures drop below about 8ºF. Re-growth which will be juvenile is rapid in spring and it can recover its full height in just two or three seasons. Damage occurs about once every 7 years- and slightly more often in rural settings. Best in the warmest possible part of the garden- and not for cold gardens or subfreezing wind prone sites. Excellent, highly aromatic cut foliage. White flowers line the stems like small sea anemones in winter. In time it develops a strongly weeping habit.
Feijoa (Acca) sellowiana
Pineapple Guava is a remarkable evergreen shrub that is cold hardy in the maritime PNW and is best used as a specimen in a warm position. Slow growing to 7′ tall and 5′ wide in 7 years it produces small but dramatic flowers in summer with bright red stamens and 4-6 swollen red petals that when eaten taste like fruity cotton-candy- excellent for children, fruit salads. These edible petals appeal to birds who unwittingly pollinate the flowers when they are noshing on the sweet treats. Handsome gray foliage. Full sun, regular soil and water. Occasionally fruits in our climate. The fruits are avacado green and about the size of a fuzzy kiwi. If they ripen by November into December they have a spicy sweet pulp- cherished by many. Becomes much more hardy to cold when established. Established shrubs take 5ºF with no damage. Good for hot aspects. Prune after flowering. Dynamic, handsome, and fun shrub to grow. High elevations in Brazil- other S. American countries. Must have full sun- completely intolerant of shade. Drought tolerant when established but regular summer water speeds growth/establishment. Syn. Acca sellowiana.
Yellow Mountain Kunzea is a rare alpine shrub from the very highest and coldest mountains and frosty valleys in the Australian Alps. A very fine textured low shrub with tiny gray leaves that most closely resemble an Erica. To 1′ x 3′ spreading in full sun and rich soil with regular summer irrigation. Bloom is a swarm of starry, stamen laden light yellow flowers. They can obscure the foliage in late spring. Not the easiest plant to establish and virtually unheard of in the United States. A little patience and some diligent water and you are good to go. Perfectly hardy to cold west of the Cascades. A beautiful member of the myrtle family that we are excited to have for sale. Moderate deer resistance.
Leptospermum cunninghamii ‘Silver Form’
Beautiful species of tea tree with tiny leaves of pure silver. Its been grown for eons in England- native to higher elevations in the Great Dividing Range. Great fine textured shrub for a dry and protected area. To 6′ x 5′ in 5 years one of the most silver evergreen shrubs in our climate. Blooms prolifically in June covering the whole shrub in white stars. Easy to grow in full sun and average, well drained soil. Light, consistent summer water. Will often have random flowers year round as well. Fast growing. Avoid the coldest sites- best in warm, sunny, gardens. Mix with other shrubs- especially yellow or chartreuse foliage which really makes this shrub pop. Listed as tender in some fairly famous publications…which don’t know what they are talking about. We’ve had this shrub planted at our very cold nursery in Wilsonville for more than 15 years….and there it still happily thrives. Moderate deer resistance.
Wooly tea tree is a cold hardy member of the myrtle family from Tasmania/Australia. The pewter gray small evergreen foliage creates a cloud like outline on billowing shrub. In June 1″ pure white single flowers spangle the boughs like snow. Woody seed capsules follow and persist. To 12′ tall and 4′ wide in 7 years. May be limbed into a small tree. Full sun and virtually any soil. Light summer water though very drought adapted. Excellent background shrub or screen or large informal hedge. Takes well to pruning which will not mangle the tiny foliage and becomes very dense as a result. Good bet where deer are a problem. Cold hardy to about 5ºF. Grows very fast with regular irrigation which is recommended for the first summer to establish. Does not tolerate shade of any kind. When using as a hedge plant about 2′ apart for a fast screen. Prune after flowering and again in autumn. Tasmania.
Rare shrub that is destined to gain popularity. From the highest elevations of the Australian Alps this large evergreen tea tree is beautiful in all of its parts. Known locally as alpine downy tea tree the fuzzy silver small leaves crowd the stems densely. In early summer masses of 1″ white flowers deck the boughs like snow. To 8′ x 8′ quickly it can also be trained as a small tree which highlights its incredible exfoliating trunks. Silver, copper, green and tan are all present after the bark sheds in mid-summer. Full sun and virtually any soil. Totally summer drought tolerant when established. Great hedging candidate. If sheared it becomes immensely dense. And cutting does not mangle the tiny leaves. Moderate deer resistance. So far undamaged at 5ºF. Photo credit: Evan Bean
Leptospermum rupestre ‘Squiggly’
One of the naturally cold hardiest species of tea tree. This form of Alpine tea tree from Tasmania has a distinctly upright habit. Cinnamon red squiggly stems support tiny pewter colored evergreen foliage. In early summer pink buds spangle the stems opening to pure white single flowers. So prolific is the bloom that the plant appears covered in snow. Vigorous growth to 5′ tall and 3′ wide in 6 years. Full sun and virtually any soil. Summer water is tolerated but far from necessary. Takes pruning incredibly well, including shearing and the leaves are so small that they remain unmangled. It quickly forms a dense hedge that is tough, incredibly dense and drought and cold hardy. Strongly deer resistant. Excellent shrub or hedge for rural areas. It tolerates a wide variety of soils and aspects. Leaves are aromatic when bruised. You achieve a much shapelier plant with even a minimal amount of tip pruning. otherwise it has a very wild habit. It has been undamaged by cold to 0ºF. Drought adapted. Tasmania. Click on the green link below for a video of ‘Squiggly’ in full bloom. Excellent shrub with a number of uses.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Leptospermum rupestre (Low Form)
Creeping form of Alpine tea tree from the highest mountains of Tasmania. Low evergreen shrub with deep green tiny leaves set densely on the stems. Forms a complete ground cover in time with the ability to inhibit weeds. The new stems are an attractive cinnamon red before switching to gray. In early summer tiny pink buds open to starry white flowers. For several weeks they obscure the foliage. To 1′ tall but usually much lower and spreading to 3′ x 3′ in several years. Full sun and rich, well drained soil with light but consistent summer irrigation. Drought adapted when established. Best on warm south or west facing aspects. Avoid exposure to intense subfreezing east wind- in those areas plant it in a protected location. Always handsome ground cover shrub. Amazing at the edge of containers or near boulders as this plant will faithfully follow every contour. Cool.
Leptospermum scoparium ‘Washington Park’
Manuka. This is a wonderful very upright wispy evergreen shrub with tiny leaves that turn maroon in winter and masses of white flowers in early summer. Flowers are born on wood from the previous season and are much larger than the foliage. The effect in early summer is a shrub clad in snow. To 8′ tall x 4′ wide in 5 years. Full sun and a protected position, such as against a south facing wall. This form is from the Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle where it has thrived for many years. A selection made from high elevation inland New Zealand. Grows very fast w/ light summer water. Excellent fine textured plant. Moderate deer resistance. Cold hardy to a little below 10ºF- it has been damaged but recovered from lower temperatures. Very easy to grow wild looking plant. Drought adapted when established.
Chilean Myrtle is a very good looking dense evergreen shrub/tree in our climate. It requires a slightly protected location as it can be tender when young. Protect young plants from temperatures below 15ºF. With age and establishment it gains much, much more cold hardiness enduring 5ºF with just light leaf burn. The leaves are deep, dark green and rounded with a sharp tip. Almost formal looking. In protected gardens it can attain tree like status in about 8 years. Most often in our region its a shrub of about 12′. And perhaps the most impressive thing about this Chilean/Argentinian tree is the exfoliating orange to tan bark it achieves with age. In mid-summer masses of small white fragrant myrtle flowers with a central boss of exerted stamens smother the whole plant. These turn into sweetly edible if not a little mentholated black berries. They can be messy so locate away from paths, pavement. Birds almost always make off with the berries so that is helpful. Avoid direct exposure to subfreezing gorge winds. In gardens subject to that locate on a south or west facing wall. Very drought adapted when established, but consistent water and average soil will yield the best growth. Grows about 1′-3′ per year. Moderate deer resistance. Not a good plant for cold rural gardens. Tree size specimens are phenomenal and worth the effort to protect when young. Excellent performance at the Oregon coast.
Honey swamp myrtle hails from wet locations in Tasmania. Its a tender shrub inland but it thrives in zone 9 on the Oregon coast. A fur clad fine leaved shrub that is a true myrtle. In April-May the whole plant is home to stamen dominated purple bottlebrush flowers. Exquisite. Very easy container subject that can be moved to a protected place if severe cold (below 20ºF) threatens. Excellent shrub for sandy substrates though it takes well to heavy clay too. Light consistent summer water. To 5′ tall by 2′ wide in 7 years. Great plant for hummingbirds and butterflies. Inland we have yet to test the cold hardiness in the ground. It should easily take 15ºF but probably not lower. Evergreen foliage is fragrant when disturbed. Good deer and rabbit resistance. Absolutely titillating in bloom. Native to mid and high elevations of Tasmania. Seed grown.
Myrtus communis ‘Andy’s Hardy’
Sweet Myrtle is a dapper clean evergreen shrub for full hot sun and poor well drained soils. This cold hardy selection of Sweet Myrtle has endured temperatures to 5ºF once established. Formal looking evergreen with sweetly fragrant foliage when disturbed. In summer to early autumn simple white flowers with a protruding showy boss of white stamens appear like little bouquets followed by elongated black berries. Incredibly drought and heat tolerant. Protect from subfreezing east wind. Takes west aspects that are blasting hot – all day or just for part of the day. Not often seen for sale this form grows moderately slowly to 3′ x 3′ in 6 years. Takes very well to pruning which should only be done in late spring. Moderately deer resistant. Little water when established, light irrigation speeds growth. Sweetly aromatic foliage. Damage that occurs from extreme cold events is erased by new growth in spring. Do not cut back burned foliage until new growth pushes. Recovery in one season is remarkable. Wonderful hardy pretty shrub.
Myrtus communis ‘Emerald Compact’
This is a seedling myrtle that showed up in our nursery. I moved it to a stock bed and observed it for several years. Its proven to be hardy to lower than 15ºF and its a dense and compact growing form. Good looking evergreen that has deep forest green foliage with a slight gloss. Dense growth forms a shrub to 3′ x 3′ in 6 years- progressively larger after that. In late summer to early autumn a procession of pure white flowers with a central boss of exerted stamens. This aromatic shrub is adapted to hot dry conditions and light to little water once established. In fact, the more lean the conditions the hardier this myrtle will be to cold. Black elongated drupes follow the flowers. Formal appearance that can be even more formal with pruning. Though, its naturally dense habit makes pruning less likely. Great against baking hot south facing walls. Loves the zone of south facing planters that are asphalt on one side and a hot wall on the other. Best as a specimen- not a hedge as it can be prone to damage in severe winters ( below 10ºF) which recovers quickly in spring but makes it less useful as a hedge. Great container subject. Moderate deer resistance. Tolerates VERY dry summer conditions. Full sun to quite a bit of shade at the expense of a dense habit. Very durable urban shrub. Protected location. Locate out of the path of subfreezing east wind.
Xera Plants Intoduction
Myrtus communis compacta ‘variegata’
We love Myrtles they are so drought tolerant and smell so good and we’re finding more and more cultivars that are hardy in Portland. This one is a real surprise because the green form of ‘Compacta’ is not nearly as hardy as this charming variegated version. A slow growing perfectly round shrub with light green leaves edged in cream- brush them- they smell so good. To 3′ x 3′ in 8 years. In summer small white flowers have a sexy little brush of white stamens. CUTE. Full sun to very light shade in a warm protected position. Mine are against my house on the south side and they’ve grown into a little hedge. They have only had slight tip damage in the coldest winters, but spring recovery is rapid. In fact it can freeze to the ground and resprout and regain its stature in a season. Don’t go planting this shrub out in the open, exposed to wind. It will fry. Instead keep it close and it will be fine. Extremely drought tolerant.
Myrtus communis ssp. Tarentina
Dense, dark green, and aromatic this form of sweet myrtle is also extraordinarily hardy to cold when established. Small glossy deep green foliage is sweetly fragrant when disturbed. Its held densely on upright stems on a compact growing shrub for full sun, a hot position, and average to poor well drained soil. In late summer its decked in white flowers with conspicuous protruding stamens. They are sweetly fragrant and turn into WHITE berries by autumn. This shrub is best in a protected hot spot with as little summer water as possible when established. Too much summer water leads to rank growth that does not harden in time for winter cold. Grow this shrub lean and mean and its perfectly hardy to cold. It can take any amount of summer drought. Slow growing to on average 3′ x 3′ and rounded in 5 years- larger with time and larger in richer soil. Full hot sun all day and good air circulation. Basically plant your myrtle, water it and then leave it strictly alone. Moderate deer resistance. Very good scale and adaptability to topiary. Foliage takes on deep purple tints in winter. Very easy to grow. Plant early so that it is well established going into its first winter