Broad leaved Penstemon is one of the few species that is actually native in the Portland city limits. In fact it can still be located in its pristine feral state on the  bluff very near the University of Portland.  Its a steep slope on clay and loam with lots of rocks. The patches of this semi-evergreen perennial  are nestled underneath native Ponderosa and Madrone- don’t even try to go down there as the understory is pure poison oak. The broad rosettes produce tall flower trusses that are arranged in whorls on a 30″ stem.  Beautiful luminous blue with lavender mother of pearl tints. Full sun to high overhead shade in average to slightly amended soil. Water  for the first summer to establish , let the soil dry between irrigation.  Soil should never be soggy. Not really that difficult.  Its literally from here so if I ever fail with this perennial god help me. LOVED by all flying things  and an excellent back of the border plant for native beds. Combine with Adelinia , Pectinatia,  Iris tenax for a similar biome and culture. To 30″ tall in bloom the rosettes of broad leaves  expand to several feet wide. Seed grown.  Oregon native plant.

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Elk Horn Cedar is originally from Japan but is grown around the globe This layered and refreshing glossy green conifer grows very slowly and looks fantastic year round. Slow growing to 3′ x 3′ in 10 years. Excellent in mixed borders or shrub borders. Water well to establish the first summer then occasional deep soaks in summer. Unlike any other comfier the name elk horn refers to the flat leaflets that look to me like a form of giant moss. Works well in winter containers. The flattened scales are glossy on the surface and dull beneath. This is the darker green of two varieties in the nursery trade. It would make a challenging bonsai. Full sun to light shade in rich to average soil .  Not often deer food, very worth trying. Cold hardy below 0ºF for short periods. Excellent performance in the Columbia Gorge.

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Timber sedge is an evergreen somewhat floppy Carex that is found extensively in western Oregon. It blooms in spring with  thin green spikes and upward facing catkin like flowers. The rich green smooth foliage is distinctively pleated and about 4mm wide. Forms a sprawling clump and will seed around, especially in moist locations. It is ideal under native oaks and firs where it is found in the wild. Often in clear cuts in the Coast range there is a distinct period when this sedge dominates before being succeeded out. Tolerant of full sun to high overhead shade. Best at the edge of a forest with half day sun Light consistent water to establish then you can set it free. Tolerates heavy clay soils well. To 1′ tall in bloom to 18″ wide and never tidy. Fairly good winter appearance but it can be cut back in early spring to refresh. Plant with Carex lepidota and Aster chilense. Oregon native plant.

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Fantastically  graceful Camellia of complex parentage. Large spreading and arching Camellia with small glossy leaves and from 1″ distinctly pointed flower buds open masses of 2″ wide yawning flowers. The interior of the pure white flower is decorated with the yellow stamens. Most of the flowers point downward in a dainty pose that adds to this Camellias grace. To 8′ tall x 8′ wide and branching in large divided boughs that give the impression of wings. The intensity of the white flower color is amplified in the darkness of winter. Blooms late January through March. Immensely graceful and floriferous this has none of the strict formal look of most other species. (C. tsaiiC. cuspidata) x C. fraterna )  Luckily this Camellia includes the ultra hardy C. cuspidata and is not tender in the slightest. Flowers are hardy into the upper 20’s and masses of incipient buds means that the show starts again post freeze. The small fluted flowers fall cleanly from the shrub and collect in a pure white carpet. Rich soil with regular irrigation. Takes less water as it gains establishment. Part shade to full sun. A protected location helps the flowers deal with the vagaries of winter weather. Wonderful Camellia that we love at Xera.

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Most of us associate Camellias with large shrubs to small trees but this is a true dwarf and it fits in very small sites.  Dwarf (slow growing) shrub with glossy green foliage and in autumn to mid-winter a constant supply of semi double rosy red flowers. To 4′ x 4′ in 10 years. Nice looking shrub that is an exceptionally heavy bloomer. This sport of  ‘Shi Shi Gashira’ which is a dark pink and very popular fall blooming Camellia. ‘Dwarf Shi shi’s ‘ flowers are closer to red than its sport parent. Full sun to very light shade. Occasional deep soaks in summer aids flower bud set.  Takes dry conditions when very established. Water regularly to establish and mulch. Sasanqua Camellias are hardier and bloom more heavily in full hot sun. Good performance at the Oregon coast where most Sasanqua Camellias languish. Not often bothered by deer. The entire floral tube detaches and falls never clinging and turning brown. Limited quantities.

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Restios are ancient plants native to South Africa their closest relative is conifers but they look like grass/reeds. None is perfectly hardy in our climate and you should only plant this spectacular evergreen perennial in a protected location. The 9′ stems are clad in curtains of soft fine leaves that hang down. The affect is brilliant. Green/ochre foliage looks good year round or until we drop to 16ºF which is fatal. That being said this spectacular plant can live in gardens for 10 years or more. Its fantastic at the milder Oregon coast. This clumping perennial gains width and height with every year. It prefers average to slightly enriched soil and mulch is beneficial- especially in autumn. Let the plant dry between watering. This bold plant also makes an exemplary container plant.  Definitely plan for it to double in size in a year. Not bothered by deer. Wonderful with other perennials or shrubs that are drought adapted. Inland locate this plant in the most protected spot in your garden preferably against a south or west facing wall. Not permanent but worth it as a risk. Able to freeze to the ground and return.

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Arctostaphylos viscida ‘Sweet Adinah’

White leaved Manzanita is endemic to southern  Oregon into northern California. The leaves are large, round, and very pale blue/gray. This species which also grows on serpentine soil. is incredibly tough and requires special treatment. Adinah found this very pale selection just outside of Ashland, OR.. Extremely drought adapted this species is best in VERY WELL drained soil with light water to establish, Once up and going it will do best with NO SUMMER WATER. This is one of the most striking Manzanitas that we grow.Its also a little bit tough to cultivate, and can up and go away for no real reason, so keep that in the back of your mind- absolute neglect is its best friend. Having said that is easily one of the most striking shrubs native to Oregon. To on average 4′ x 4′ it should be planted in poor to average soil. Avoid all fertilizer,  and rich conditions. New growth emerges striking orange/red following clusters of white tinted pink flowers from January to March. Very cold hardy enduring temperatures near 0ºF with no issues. Rock gardens, dry shrub borders, drought adapted screen or specimen.  A mature shrub kind of gives me the impression of a big white bubble.  Extremely heat and drought adapted native shrub. Limited quantities  Some deer resistance.  Full sun to very light shade. Oregon native plant.

Xera Plants Introduction

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South African Honey Bush that we grow from seed. This bold sub-shrub/perennial entrances people with the large blue symmetrical, pinnate, serrated  leaves. Large plant to 6′ x 6′ in 5 years. Semi-evergreen it can freeze to the ground below about 20ºF and will vigorously regrow from the base in spring. Its important that Melianthus be very well established the first season going into its first winter. A large root mass ensures re-sprouting from the coldest winters. If the winter is mild 1′ tall inflorescences of black and red are odd, spectacular, and an ode to goth gardening in early summer. Rich soil that is never boggy in a warm, protected location with regular water to establish. Even if winter is only semi-cruel and the stems stand but with tattered leaves the whole plant can be cut to the ground AFTER ALL THREAT OF FROST HAS PASSED. Mulch for the first autumn w/ dry leaves and compost. Excellent at the base of a warm wall or a south facing aspect. Appreciates good care and water.. Mix with other large, bold perennials- Aralia californica (Elk clover) and Lobelia tupa (Devil’s tobacco) .  Very dramatic in containers.  Container grown plants should be protected from arctic cold (below 20ºF). The large leaves have the odor of peanut butter when disturbed/bruised. Its pungent and spot on. Not often bothered by deer. Might be somewhat rabbit resistant. Nice bold, tropical affect.We offer two other named cultivars, to be honest any one of these seedlings could be as good or exceed those cultivars.

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Elegant, sturdy mahonia that has wands of small red and yellow flowers in late summer. To 5′ tall give it full sun to part shade. Avoid the reflected heat of walls. The somewhat concave pinnate leaves are frosted on the underside with very light gray blue. The wind, however must really howl to reveal this secret. Stiff  and upright, it flails toward the sun in shade. It is at its best in very high overhead shade or morning sun with afternoon shade (an eastern aspect). Occasional deep soaks in winter ensures the display of fall flowers. The tiny flowers are replaced by oblong small fruits that begin pink and arrive at purple/black upon ripening. Most of these fruits will b consumed by birds. The subtle flowers are a beacon to both hummingbird and Bush tits. Good shrub where heavy snow/ice occur. Cold hardy to slightly below 0ºF. Grows fairly slowly. Mix in shrub borders or low water high shade. Pretty shrub native to China. Not bothered by deer or rabbits. Raised from seed. Limited quantities. Red flowered Mahonia.

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A wonderful sister to our  variegated selection of Osmanthus armatus ‘Zipline’. This all gold form emerges tinted in red before the leaves turn to an illuminating lemon, lacquer yellow.  The symmetrically spined leaves add to the display. Full sun to part shade. Variegation is brightest in full sun. Moderately fast growing and glowing evergreen shrub for average to enriched soils. Ligjht consistent summer water to establish, then occaisionally depending on aridity. To 4′ x 4′ in 6 years and then progressive larger. Shares the same toughness as the species enduring temperatures slightly below 0ºF. Tiny white flowers are adorable in fall but add little. Not fragrant that I can detect, but the glory of this shrub is in how vivid the foliage shines. Not perfectly drought tolerant, check it before heat waves. Other than that its handsome year round and gets better with age. Tolerates some subfreezing wind. Not the first shrub/tree on a deers list but you never know. Mine is home to the deep blue flowered Clematis ‘Rhapsody’ for a brilliant contrast.

Xera Plants Introduction

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