Schefflera (Heptapleurum) delavayi

Big bold evergreen shrub that deserves a place in every garden. Tall growing cold hardy shrub with leaves that can be up to 18″ across- all five leaflets. New growth in spring emerges slowly clad in a showy taupe indumentum that clings to the new leaves for quite some time. The ultimate leaf color is deep green with a matte surface. To 12′ tall and branching. Moderately fast growth in rich soil that is well drained with consistent summer moisture- to speed growth. Otherwise established plants are remarkably drought adapted in part shade to shade. Takes full sun but leaves are smaller and the plant grows more slowly. An open north exposure is ideal with cool roots and the tops in the bright sun but not reflected heat. In autumn 3′ long pale yellow flower spikes appear and persist until frost. Excellent, refined shrub that has been perfectly hardy to cold for us for the past decade. Much more heat tolerant than other members of this genus.

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure: ,
Biome: , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn7b 10º to 5ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


Sedum rubrotinctum

One of our favorite trailing succulents for containers. This is a half hardy Sedum (Zn8b) that will persist in most gardens most winters. Rolly poly emerald green foliage takes on dramatic red tints- especially on the older leaves. To 6″ tall and 20″ wide in a season. Rich, WELL DRAINED soil with light summer water. Full sun to part shade. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it bloom and I don’t really care. Trails 1′ over the edge of containers. Mix with other succulents or low water perennials such as Erodium or Scutellaria. Excellent performance at the Oregon coast.

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure: ,
Biome: , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn8b 20º to 15ºF
Foliage color: ,  |  Foliage season:


Sedum stenopetalum var. douglasii

Pine Sedum is common in the rocky outcrops of foothills and mid-elevation mountains throughout the state. You’ll find it clustered around crevices and on scree at the base of cliffs. Fine stems support clusters of deep green pine needle-like foliage. In summer its crowned by clusters of deep yellow flowers. Not as showy as other native Stone crops but pretty none-the-less. To just 3″ tall and forming clumps to 1′ wide. In the garden give it enriched, fast draining soil with light, consistent summer water- this improves the overall appearance. An interesting native Sedum for containers, rock gardens, borders, dry gardens. Evergreen. Very cold hardy. Oregon Native Plant.

My Favorites

Plant type: ,  |  Sun exposure: ,
Biome: , , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn5a -15º to -20ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


Sidalcea hendersonii

Rare native perennial that can be found in wet marginal areas along the coast from Oregon to S. Alaska. Never common it forms large clumps of verdant green scalloped foliage and towers of deep pink hollyhock-like flowers. The flowers are arranged densely on the stem. Blooms repeatedly from June to frost- remove spent flower spikes to encourage more. To 34″ tall in bloom The best Checkermallow for rich, amended borders with regular summer water. Excellent cutflower and a beacon to pollinators-especially natives. Mostly winter deciduous. Combine with other tall spired perennials of similar culture. Very good with border delphiniums or even Penstemons. Tough long lived plant given the correct site. Climate adapted perennial. Rare. Cut back spent stems in winter.  Oregon native plant.  

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure: ,
Biome: ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn5b -10º to -15ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


Sisyrinchium ‘EK Balls’

Diminutive and flowery little Blue Eyed grass that forms dense colonies of grassy green foliage to just 5″ high and is topped with a non-stop display of single purple flowers. Full sun and rich soil with regular summer moisture. Blooms continuously. Forms spreading colonies quickly when happy. Seldom sets seed. Easy to grow long lived plant for a big floral display. Winter deciduous. This cultivar has been grown in England for more than 100 years. Pretty cool.

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure:
Biome: , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn5b -10º to -15ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


Solanum (laxum) jasminoides

White Potato Vine is an incredibly floriferous plant. Large and profuse clusters of stunning star shaped flowers are clear white and appear continuously from May to frost and if winter fails to materialize even longer. Semi-tender in our climate it requires protection for the base and rich, well drained soil. Vigorous climber to 12′ in single season. If it freezes the ground- this happens below about 20ºF it can break from the base and regrow quickly. In Portland this happens about every 3-4 years. Climbs by modified leaf petiole and requires substantial support. Personally, I think the best way to grow this everblooming vine is in containers, even window boxes where the plant will become a trailing cloud of white stars for months. Blooms on new wood, it may be pruned at anytime. Mulch the base in fall with compost or leaves and place against a warm wall or in-between close shrubs that will bolster further protection. Loved by bees and bumbles. Regular deep summer water produces the best results. Full sun to very light shade.  Spectacular performance on the Oregon Coast. Native to Chile/Argentina.

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure: ,
Biome: ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn8b 20º to 15ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


Solierolia soleirolii

Baby’s Tears is a useful and surprisingly hardy small scale ground cover. Famous for its role in terrariums its surprisingly hardy to cold as well. Tiny leaves overlap in a perfectly flat deep green ground cover. Part shade to shade but not terrible dry shade or compacted soils. Spreads to several feet wide in several seasons. Rich, moisture retentive soil that drains is ideal. Mist or water once a week to increase humidity which it very much appreciates. Freezes to nothing below 15ºF- resprouts from bits of root vigorously in spring. Do not try to cover the whole planet with this diminuitive plant. Instead isolate it to cool pools of green several feet wide. Excellent in containers or as an easy houseplant.

My Favorites

Plant type: ,  |  Sun exposure: ,
Biome: ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn7a 5º to 0ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


Stipa gigantea

This is the giant straight species that is so popular for its soaring silver stems and golden drooping awns. To 12′ tall in bloom from a tight but large basal clump of fine deep green leaves. Perfectly evergreen with a great winter appearance. Very easy to grow grass that provides spectacular garden effects. Incredibly drought tolerant in any well drained soil- including clay if it is not allowed to become bone dry concrete. Flowers make a great see through “scrim” in gardens. Fun to grow. Moderate deer resistance.

My Favorites

Plant type: ,  |  Sun exposure:
Biome: , , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn5a -15º to -20ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


A widespread perennial in the Pacific Northwest. There are two subspecies and this larger leaf form is the more common of the two. A mounding deciduous perennial for moisture retentive soils in light shade to shade. This perennial is often seen along creek banks and seeps where access to water is not very far away. In May-July 18″ spikes of clear starry white flowers crowd a vertical stem. Very pretty and light. An excellent native perennial for woodlands, stream banks. riparian areas. Spreads in rich soil to form extensive colonies foliage tops out at 8″. Excellent combined with native and non-native ferns. Very dark green leaves are handsome throughout the season on a tough and easy to grow plant. Fall color is red and orange before leaves go away. AKA Trifoliate Foam Flower, Northwest Foam Flower. Not bothered by disease or pests that includes snails and slugs. YAY. Oregon native plant

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure: ,
Biome: , , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn4b -20º to -25ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


Tibouchina urvilleana

Tibouchina urvilleana

Princess flower is a tender shrub that becomes a rapturous cloud of velvet purple flowers  for all of summer. Three inch wide flowers have the wonderful backdrop of velveteen clad deep green leaves. To 4′ x 4′ in a seasonal container. Full sun to very light shade and rich soil with regular water. Appreciates a handful of all organic fertilizer halfway through the season. Over winter containerized plants in an unheated garage. Cut back hard, fertilize and place outside when all danger of a freeze has passed. In very protected gardens near the beach this shrub may be grown in the ground. To 8′ tall x 4′ wide. Freezes back below 27ºF  and is root hardy to the low 20ºs. Mulch in autumn. Princess flower hails from the mountains of Brazil.

My Favorites

Plant type: ,  |  Sun exposure: ,
Biome:  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn9b 30º to 25ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season: