Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Garnettii’

One of the cold hardiest selections of this species native to New Zealand. This stunning evergreen shrub of unknown origin shines in the garden with round leaves edged in white with an interior of soft green. And these bright leaves are held on dramatic black stems. In spring small black to maroon flowers decorate the leaf axils. Moderately fast growing pyramidal shrub to 8′ tall x 4 wide in 7 years- and gradually larger. In winter the leaves become even more colorful taking on bright pink tints. Requires a somewhat protected location- avoid exposure to subfreezing winds directly. Best sited with protection from east winds. Full sun to high over head shade. Accepts regular summer water which will increase the rate of growth- but established plants are remarkably summer drought tolerant. Excellent cut foliage for arrangements. A luminous shrub that virtually glows in the landscape. Cold damage begins at about 10ºF- but spring recovery is rapid.  Limited quantities.

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Pittosporum tobira ‘Variegata’

An old shrub that deserves a new lease on life. Venerable old specimens are found throughout Portland proving its durability over time. The rounded evergreen leaves are edged in cream with an interior of soft sage green. In May/June masses of small white  deliciously citrus-blossom scented flowers perfume a wide area. Not as dense or fast growing as the species- and prone to losing older leaves in colder than normal winters- so it can have an open appearance. Excellent evergreen specimen shrub for a hot location. A south or west facing wall is ideal and it can withstand the most withering afternoon heat. Slow growing to 6′ x 6′ in 10 years. Very drought adapted when established, but it will happily take regular summer water. The foliage is so fetching that it is often seen for sale as cut material in bouquets. It lasts for several weeks in a vase. Full sun to quite a bit of shade. Nice foundation shrub. Established shrubs are cold hardy to about 5ºF. Avoid exposure to strong subfreezing winds. Easy and pretty urban plant.

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Luma apiculata

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.

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Ceanothus ‘Victoria’

This is one of the most popular shrubs in western Oregon of the last two decades. And rightfully so. This wild lilac sports excellent cold hardiness, prolific flowers, and glossy handsome evergreen foliage year round. A strong growing shrub that can literally explode in growth in rich soil but is much more restrained in poorer mediums. Remember this when planting it. It performs the best in average, un-amended soils in full sun with regular summer water for the first season to establish and then none in subsequent years. Sky blue flowers are profuse covering this dense shrub in a haze of color for 3-4 weeks in May to June. Later blooming that most other Ceanothus. This good looking shrub is so durable its made its way as  highway verge mass plantings but it is just as stellar of a garden plant as well. Cold hardy to about 5ºF- it survived -5ºF in the southern Willamette Valley in 2013 by freezing to the snow line and then vigorously re-sprouting. Durable, dependable Ceanothus. Avoid the summer heat + water that it abhors- it leaves it open to root water molds that can do it in and fairly quickly. Excellent shrub for the beginning gardener. Loved by pollinators of all kinds and is virtually rolling in bees during its fabulous bloom. NOT DEER RESISTANT. Most likely a hybrid with C. thyrsiflorus which must be responsible for at least half of its make up. Found in Victoria, Canada- hence the name. Likely it is the old cultivar ‘Skylark’ that was re-named upon its survival there of a hideous winter. The old name was forgotten and the glee of survival and discovery led to the renaming.  To be clear ‘Victoria’ and ‘Skylark’ are exactly the same thing. Very fast growing to on average 8′ x 8′. Excellent with all west coast natives. Blooms simultaneously with yellow Halimiums. A fantastic floral and cultural combination.

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Quercus chrysolepis

Canyon live oak is a vastly underused, beautiful evergreen native tree. 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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Ceanothus thyrsiflorus ‘Rogue Sky’

A selection of Coast Blue Blossom or Ceanothus thyrsiflorus that we made very far inland from its natural range in SW Oregon. Typically relegated to the coastal strip we found this variety more than 35 miles inland. This improves cold hardiness. A rapidly growing shrub/tree to 16′ tall and 8′ wide in 7 years. Robin’s egg blue flowers smother the whole plant in May. Extremely drought tolerant this fast grower may be either used as a cool, evergreen, native, blue flowered tree or it may be pruned aggressively after blooming to limit the size- increase density create a screen or hedge. Loved by honey bees and all pollinators in general.  No summer water once established. Excellent background tree that delights in bloom but fades to a green screen the rest of the year. Plant with other drought tolerant plants- Arctostaphylos, Cistus, etc. Grows 3′-4′ per year when established. The flowers are a soothing blue- which is hard to capture in photographs. The effect in bloom is a blue cloud. Takes partial shade and the worst soils. Oregon native plant.

Xera Plants Introduction

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Aucuba japonica ‘Hosoba Hashifu’

A dazzling female selection of Japanese Aucuba with long, thin, tapered leaves of deep green randomly splashed with yellow spots. Dense and slow growing evergreen to 5′ x 5′ in 7 years. This selection will produce clusters of large red berries of a male is present. Very showy. Tiny brown/green flowers in spring are not conspicuous. Part shade to quite a bit of shade in average to enriched well drained soil. Established plants are incredibly drought tolerant and this striking shrub adds light and texture to dry shade areas. It will take full sun with regular irrigation and the leaves will be not as dark lustrous green. A very handsome shrub year round with great cold hardiness. Regular water through the first season to establish. Then light water. Long lived, easy to growth shrub whose dense habit does not require pruning.

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Melianthus major ‘Purple Haze’

Nice selection of Honey Bush that shares tints of purple predominantly when new leaves are unfurling. The enormous blue/lavender serrated leaves are amazing. Lower growing than either the species or ‘Antonow’s Blue’. To 4′ tall (usually shorter) by at least 6′ wide. Red flowers are produced on the black scape that can follow mild winters. Technically a subshrub as it can freeze to the ground and fully recover from the root in a single season. IF it has been well established in its first season. For that reason we only sell Melianthus in 2 gallon sizes. A larger plant establishes faster and has more mass going into winter. Plant in a protected location- against a wall or with light overstory protection. Mulch for the first winter. Freezes to the ground at prolonged temperatures below about 20ºF. Re-sprouts in mid-late spring. Water and fertilize to speed the recovery. South Africa.

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Helianthemum ‘Annabel’

For several reasons this is a fantastic Helianthemum (Sunrose). Felted green/gray foliage is handsome as a backdrop to the masses of fully double pink flowers that appear for weeks. The single forms of Sunrose have flowers that last just one day but this double flowered form has flowers that individually last for days. It significantly lengthens the bloom time on this charming low plant. Blooms appear from mid May to July. To 10″ tall and spreading to an area 2′ x 2′ in several years. Full sun and well drained soil of rich fertility. Beautiful small scale groundcover for banks, drier borders, rock gardens. Its best to cut Helianthemums back hard when blooming has ended. Remove the blooming stems and part of the current seasons growth. In return you achieve a dense compact plant that will yield more flowers the following year. For pink-o-philes this is a must have plant and one of our favorites at Xera. Light summer water. Some deer resistance.

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Lomatia fraseri

Fascinating small tree that is one of the largest members in this genus. This Proteaceous tree harbors interesting irregularly toothed linear leaves and masses of lightly fragrant curly, ivory colored flowers in spring. Moderately fast growing evergreen tree to 18′ tall and 7′ wide in 10 years in our climate. Full sun to high overstory shade is ideal in average, well drained soil. Light supplemental summer water speeds the growth of this elegant plant. Grows on average about 1′-3′ per year. Sophisticated in all its parts it resents soil that is overly enriched (avoid compost) and fertilizer, instead it relished our own unimproved native soils. Simply double dig a wide area before planting to allow oxygen and ease the travel of new roots into virgin soil. Very drought tolerant when established. Avoid exposure to blasting subfreezing east wind. In those zones locate on a west or south facing aspect. Grown for several decades it has never been common in our area. Native from the mountains to the rain forest verges in SE Australia. Cold hardiness increases substantially with age. In time it forms a handsome somewhat conical shaped tree of delightful texture.

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