Tolmiea menziesii

Piggy Back plant is what we called this moisture loving woodland plant. Its famous for its ability to sprout a new plant right from the leaf petiole, it forms roots and drops off the plant and roots into the ground. Its also commonly known as a very easy to grow houseplant. Native from Southern Alaska to Northern California. In moist, cool climates like the coast it can grow just about anywhere. The distinctly arrow shaped leaves cover the ground densely on a wide spreading perennial. In mid-spring 2′ spikes erupt with rows of brownish-red flowers. A member of the Saxafrage family  and closely related to Heucheras and Tiarellas. this is as superb a garden plant. Evergreen and consistently moist shady sites are where it thrives. Though with some supplemental water it can make its home in some pretty challenging dry shade. Foliage forms spreading mounds to 10″ tall and spreads laterally 2′-3′ when happy. Plants shrink somewhat in winter, and not as verdant but they do cover the ground and out compete weeds. Great container plant. Very nice naturalized among ferns of any kind. Native to the Portland city limits. Oregon native plant.

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Viola x cornuta ‘Xera’s Mix’

We’ve had a really good time selecting the most distinct flower colors of this mix of Violas. Brown, taupe, blue, gray, purple, are  among the colors in this vigorous strain. These reseed with abandon and will occupy all kinds of niches in a garden. Containerized plants seem to cast seed when you are least aware. They generally germinate in winter and bloom in spring before setting seed and going to sleep for summer heat. Fragrance is another aspect in our selection. You can’t have Violas without fragrance.  In autumn our winter mix has been chosen to handle the very worst cold and snow. Full sun to very light shade. Very easy and satisfying spring and autumn/winter extravaganza. They make sweetly scented, delightful bouquets.  Xera Plants Introduction.

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Heuchera sanguinea ‘Big Red’

This is a very old selected form of Coral Bells. The brilliant red flowers are much larger than the species. A very long blooming perennial beginning in April and contenting solidly to July. The  soft green maple shaped leaves are handsome year round. Spreads to form expanding colonies. To 2′ tall in bloom above a congested rosette of leaves. Adored by hummingbirds and a very adaptable plant. Full sun to light shade in rich to average soil. Established colonies of this showy spring perennial can live for decades. Excellent massed tougher for a bold blast of color or spread out for explanation points of bright red. Light consistent summer water. Though established plants make due with much less. Mix with other similarly designed perennials. Very a good with Wulfenia schwarzii, Saxafrage x geum dentata, or even lower and airy growing Dianthus. Light deer resistance. Native to the southwestern United states mountainous areas.

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Billions of blue daisies with a brilliant yellow center adorn profuse long stems.  Bloom occurs unabated May-October. Remove spent flowers to encourage more. A more compact form of this shrubby tender perennial to 16″ x 36″ in a single season. Excellent performance in container plantings. This is a real work horse of a daisy whose airy sprays of daisies mix harmoniously with a number of schemes. In the ground this tender perennial can over winter in a mild year (above 20ºF). Excellent pollinator plant and a real hit in my garden with butterflies. Full sun to very light shade in rich to average soil. Light, consistent summer water. If it over winters cut it back hard after all threat of frost has past. Containerized plants can be moved to an unheated garage to over winter. Brilliant blue daisies are exciting. This plant will perform as a hardy perennial at the Oregon coast.

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Lupinus rivularis

Streambank lupine or Riverbank lupine is widespread shrubby species native to western Oregon. Its full range is from extreme southwest British Columbia (where it is endangered) to northern California. Large growing, spreading plant that can almost achieve a sub shrubby habit. To 3′ tall in bloom forming an evergreen shrublet to 3′ across. From late April to early July spires of blue flowers with a white keel erupt from the plant. Very pretty in bloom and incredibly important to pollinators and insects who feast on the flowers as well as leaves. The true species has flowers that are all blue, its found primarily on sand bars in major rivers on the west side of the state. Most seed that is grown and dispersed is a selected bicolor flower. Short lived plant 3-5 years. Following the flowers conspicuous seed pods turn a dark color, These may be allowed to open and disperse in the OPEN DISTURBED SITES that it craves. Excellent in concert with California poppies where it has become a famous duo on our freeways in the spring. Good cut flower. Not bothered by deer. Water to estalblish then leave it to natural rainfall. Oregon native plant.

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Excellent dwarf form of our native meadow sedge. To just 6″ tall it forms dense spreading evergreen patches.  In spring to summer both male and female flower spikes rise to just a few inches above the foliage. Nice looking compact plant that retains its verdancy through the winter. An admirable substitute for lawn and mowing is not necessary. This species is most widespread east of the Cascades. Its native throughout the west and this form was identified in California. Plant on 10″ centers for a modern massed ground cover. The mid green to ochre green leaves are dense and smother competition. This creates less of a hummock affect and more of a small dome. Very easy to grow. Excels in  containers. Full sun to light shade, also very high overhead shade (a tall  tree canopy). Amending the soil with compost and fertilizer will increase vigor and green appearance and quicken establishment. Spreads by slowly expanding rhizomes. Excellent between stones or pavers. Tolerates light foot traffic. Not really large enough to be bothered by deer once established. Hardy below 0ºF. This useful plant has great smaller scale, ease of culture, and consistent good looks. This would be an excellent smaller grassy component of a meadow.  Established plants can take quite a bit of summer drought.  Carex praegracilis is an Oregon native plant.

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Cistus libanoticum ssp. major

Unique in that the leaves are thin and willow-like they still harbor plenty of waxy perfume. A somewhat gnarled looking shrub over time with plenty of character. In May-July 6″ long stems erupt from the top of the shrub, elongate and produce clusters of large pure white flowers. Blooms for an extended period but each open flower lasts only one day but is replaced by a steady supply. Full sun and average to enriched soil. Water to establish then less to none in subsequent years. In time it develops a shredding, twisted, gray trunk. Moderate deer resistance. Aromatic on warm days. Mixes very well with Arctostaphylos as well as Ceanothus. A really great rock rose. Tp 3′ x 3′ in 5 years.

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Very fortuitous, we planted 5 species/cvs of Ceanothus in our stock beds and they of course got a little frisky. We ended up with one stellar seedling that has impressed us so much that we showed it to Ceanothus Guru  Dave Fross of Native Sons Nursery and he was impressed. In its 3rd year its produced copious blooms that are about the darkest blue that I’ve seen. Only the cultivar ‘Kurt Zadnick’ has deeper tones but this plant displays them differently. Large fluffily black/blue trusses of flowers on a  lower and spreading plant. To 4′ tall by 6′ wide very fast. Glossy undulate leaves look nothing like their prospective parents. It has shown great cold hardiness as well as drought adaptation. Um…..we’ve never done anything to it. It hasn’t ever even had supplemental irrigation. So, extraordinarily climate adapted. Also, most Ceanothus seedlings require 3-4 years to commence bloom. This precocious little seedling bloomed its second year. All of this adds up to a great new cultivar. Full sun to very light shade and average soil. Water for the first season to establish then none in subsequent years. Blooms late March to late April and occasionally on new wood through summer. This would make a great bank cover with Cistus and Helianthemum, Eriogonums. So cool we named it Azul. The beginning of a GREAT Ceanothus.

Xera Plants Introduction

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Yucca (nana) hermmaniae

Adorable and rugged little dwarf Yucca from southern Utah. Tight round quills are decorated with filaments on the leaf edges. Not a friendly guy and very slow growing. Forming spheres of spikes to 1′ across and multiplying to produce colonies with pups. Full sun and very well drained soil of  average to poor fertility. Requires excellent air circulation- no crowding. Plants that are smooshed with little air circulation protest heavily and it then takes a while for recovery. Open and free in rock garden conditions produces the happiest plants. At home nestled with boulders or as a finer texture element with Agaves. In time it produces adorable and conical shaped hoods of flowers- a gnome wedding. Excellent in containers- open, well drained containers. Light summer water during hot weather seems to speed growth. Locate away from paths. Owwie. Strongly deer and rabbit resistant.

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Several wonderful attributes makes this a great manzanita for widespread use. Its extremely cold hardy, a naturally occurring hybrid from southern Colorado- it can handle temperatures lower than -20ºF. Its a great size- slow growing to just 3′ x 3′ in 8+ years. The matte green foliage is dense (almost boxwood-esque) and is a great foil for the clusters of pink buds that relax to lighter pink when open. Full sun and average, unimproved soil. Water to establish then only what falls from the sky. This dainty almost formal looking shrub finds a happy home in smaller gardens, rock gardens, and thrives in Central Oregon. In time the trunks exfoliate to glossy maroon- it take quite a few years for this to be an outstanding feature. Mounded and dense for the first part of its life- expect just several inches of growth per year.. Open exposure with good air circulation. Great performance in Gorge outflow.  A perfect substitute for ‘Greensphere’ that is both hardier to cold and a little easier to cultivate. Russet red berries that follow are a treat for the birds that get there first. Accepts the hottest aspects, drought, and brutal cold. Beinvenidos, Panchito!

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