Acanthus syriacus

Acanthus syriacus

Outrageous Bear’s Breeches for hot and sunny aspects. Forms large rosettes of spiked intricate leaves that almost lay flat on the ground. In summer, enormous chalice-like soft purple blooms rise to 2′ tall. Each flower opens to reveal yellow petals. A beautiful combination. Full sun and rich, well drained soil with light summer water. Give this plant room and air circulation. It does not like to be crowded. Fully cold hardy and completely winter deciduous. Established plants can get by on less water. Moderate deer resistance. To 2′ wide in several seasons. Spectacular cut flower.

My Favorites

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


Acer circinatum

Acer circinatum

Vine Maple is perhaps our most beautiful native maple. Found from SW British Columbia to Northern California in the Shasta area. Its a pervasive understory tree throughout the western part of the state. It derives its name from its almost vine like habit in shade. This winding and sun seeking component leads to the most graceful natural forms. In full sun it is a compact, multi-trunked shrub. In autumn in both habitats it turns to shades of fiery orange and yellow and red. Vivid against the pure green trunks and stems.  One of the most dramatic places you will see this shrub is at 4500′ on Belknap crater on McKenzie Pass where it lives among the lava. In early fall the brilliant colors of the maples contrasts wonderfully with the black lava. Its very hot and very dry but  its also very high in elevation. The symmetrically serrated round leaves rival any Japanse maple. In shade established trees get by with little summer water. In the sun irrigation is welcome. Rich to average soil with regular applications of mulch. To 16′ tall in shade and again quite a bit shorter in full sun- very wide in shade. Avoid the reflected heat of south facing walls. This shrub/tree belongs on the north side or under substantial shade. Some deer resistance. Excellent underplanted with native ferns and Gaultheria. A common native that should be a more common ornamental. Tiny red flowers turn into sunny orange samaras by autumn and persist past the leaves.  Avoid very dry shade of un-irrigated over hangs. This is a semi-mesic maple.  Oregon native plant

My Favorites

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


Achillea millefolium ‘Willamette Gray’

Greg got seed of this distinctive form of Yarrow near Oregon City. Unlike most garden varieties that are derived from European stock which very much appreciates rich soil and regular water to perform and those forms are also not pungent. We wanted our locally native yarrow that is incredibly durable, has gray foliage that is pleasantly aromatic with broad white flowers. This is a much more climate adapted perennial. Its found throughout all of the state, and can be found anywhere from meadows to surprisingly deep woods. This is a very thrifty plant and once established it really doesn’t need supplemental summer water. Spreads to form finely divided low gray foliage. The flat umbels of pure white flowers are very large and this is a landing pad for all pollinators as well as butterflies. To 20″ tall in bloom. Excellent meadow component with clumping grasses, annuals, and bulbs. A great plant for hell strips and hot aspects too. Very easy and forgiving perennial. Blooms May-August. Mostly evergreen save for the very harshest winters. Not bothered by deer.  Oregon native plant.

Xera Plants Introduction

My Favorites

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


Acorus gramineus ‘Golden Lion’

Is this the best form of golden sweet flag or what? We love the vivid yellow leaves on a dense and arching evergold perennial. Clumps densely but the foliage is born in fans and spreads out. To only 6″ tall but spreading to 1′ wide. Best in part shade and either permanently wet sites or regular consistent water. Mine makes a happy home on the north side of my house at the base of the rain gutter. Plenty of water in winter- and I don’t forget to water it in summer. Good appearance year round. In spring little off-white spikes serve as flowers. Native to permanently wet sites. Give it a bit of shade. Moderately deer resistant.

My Favorites

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


Adelinia grande

Great Hounds Tongue or Giant Pacific Forget-me-Not is one of our most remarkable native perennials. On the property where I grew up near Eugene it was native. There was a clump of this majestic perennial that was there for nearly my whole life. Unfortunately, we sold the property but this plant was still there last I checked. In the Willamette Valley and out into the Columbia Gorge you see these luminous blue flowers on a sturdy spikes in the dry areas under oaks. They usually senesce to pink. Often seen with Wyethia -Mules ears which blooms later. Large fleshy leaves form a substantial clump. In early to mid spring 2′ spikes reveal outrageously large versions of Forget-me-nots. Established plants will then go dormant with summer drought. Adapted to xeric clay soils that dry in summer. Not only does it not require water established plants can resent it and rot. Place in a wild, shady, unwatered part of your garden. Amend the soil lightly with compost and water in well. Pairs with other native perennials such as Sidalceas. In the wild it is accompanied by Erythronium oreganum , Lathyrus nevadensis, Fritillaria affinis, Dodecatheon hendersonii, and Ranunculus occidentalis. That is what grew with our patch, under white and black native oaks, with a madrone here and there. Impressive native perennial whose intense blue flowers are hard to convey in a photograph. It takes an extended time from seed to a growable plant. Patience because of limited quantities. SLOW  Oregon native plant.

My Favorites

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


Agave parryi 'Flagstaff'

Agave parryi ‘Flagstaff’

From the very far north end of this variable species range in Northern Arizona near—‘Flagstaff’. High elevation form that is found above 7000′ in the wild. Very cold hardy moderately large Agave. Full sun and very well drained soil. You must amend the soil with pumice and gravel to avoid wet accumulating around the crown in winter. This is made all the more easy by placing on a slope. The rosettes should be tilted to shed winter wet. Very stiff and sharply tipped steel blue leaves form a rosette that is at first upright then spreads out a little. Remove leaves from deciduous plants that collect in the rosette in autumn- they blow in from god knows where and leaving them can encourage rot. Excellent in containers. Move containerized plants under an eave or overhang to keep it dry in winter. No water required after initial establishment. Beautiful form of this cold hardy species. High deer resistance.

My Favorites

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


Anchusa azurea 'Dropmore'

Anchusa azurea ‘Dropmore’

Alkanet, Italian Bugloss- neither name is very appealing but I’m here to testify that if you are a connoisseur of the color blue this big showy perennial is for you. To 4′ tall multiple spikes bear rich, deep, true blue flowers in one bodacious cloud. This form is not only a superior blue, but its a more reliable perennial. Most live 2-3 years but this often persists for longer. This borage forms a basal rosette of rough leaves- this is important to identify the inevitable seedlings- they are dark, dark green and spiny. Blooms first year from seed. A Spectacular plant for a young garden, a dry garden, wild border or in its most classic home the cottage garden. Full sun and average to enriched soil that drains quickly. Light consistent water to establish then drought adapted. Long, long blooming plant that often has bumble bees fast asleep in the cup shaped flowers. Very cool. Obvious pollinator gem. Very climate adapted plant.

My Favorites

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


We’re intent on expanding our offerings of our cold hardy native Hairy Manzanita. This form we found in the Hood River Valley and it was conspicuous to us for several reasons. The plant which has long pointed blue leaves was exceptionally disease resistant. It also was tolerant of quite a bit of shade as well. Hairy Manzanita from this part of the state is exceptionally cold tolerant. It will happily live on both sides of the Cascades. The long blue/gray foliage is perpendicular to large stems. The bark becomes deep mahogany and glossy with age. Best in unimproved native soils. To establish water it regularly once a week until you see good new growth then set it free. Drought adapted. To 5′ x 6′ a large shrub that grows quickly to its ultimate size. Full sun to quite a bit of high overhead shade. Always good air circulation. The very early spring flowers are pure white and large on this cultivar. Russet berries that follow attract wildlife. Wonderful shrub, easier to grow than ‘Wolf Creek’.  Cold hardy well below 0ºF.  Oregon native plant.

Xera Plants Introduction

My Favorites

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


This exceptional form of hairy manzanita we discovered on the north side of Mount Hood. The large foliage is distinctively blue and is held perpendicular to the stems. In very late winter to early spring pearl pink/white flowers decorate the branch tips and appeal to both hummingbirds and native bees. A large rounded shrub to 6′ x 8′ forming a wide dome. Its best attribute is its distinctive deep mahogany glossy bark which  contrasts with the blue foliage. Russet berries follow the flowers and are consumed by wildlife. Full sun to very high overhead shade in average to poor unimproved soil. Water once a week to establish, when new growth begins taper off then drought adaptation is exceptional. Its also exceptionally hardy to cold to at least -15ºF and is as happy in the Willamette Valley as Central Oregon. Moderately fast growing. Disease resistant, Best to grow Arctostaphylos columbiana as lean as possible. Give it just enough water to establish and then only bark/chip mulch.  A very pretty cultivar that is one of our favorite manzanitas. Oregon native plant

Xera Plants Introduction

My Favorites

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


Arisaema fargesii

Cobra lily or Jack in the Pulpit from Japan with exotic striped flowers in mid-spring but the bold and glossy foliage steals the show. Forming large patches in rich, WELL DRAINED soil with regular summer irrigation. Shade- protect the amazing leaves from blasting sun. They will stand prominently up to 2′ tall- triple lobed, glossy and good looking. One of the more reliable of the genus in fact we think this is the best adapted Jack in the Pulpit for our climate.  Mix with other bold shade perennials. Mulch with compost annually. Disappears entirely in winter. A Xera favorite perennial.

My Favorites

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