Abutilon x ‘Jackie O’s Lipstick’

Our selection of a really good pink flowering maple. Tubular flowers are the most ethereal soft pink, with almost sparkly silver highlights. Long-blooming open lax shrub to 4′ tall and as wide in a season. Full sun to part shade. Rich, well drained soil, regular water. Relatively hardy selection. Hummingbirds and JackieOphiles. It’s Camelot in a pot. Heh. Best in a protected site. Often Abutilons look pretty beat up by the end of winter. To revive them you must immediately start watering when truly warm weather arrives. The plant which initially looks like shit goes through a metamorphosis. Add a handful of all organic fertilizer to assist as well.

 

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Abutilon x 'Nectarine'

Abutilon x ‘Nectarine’

Larger flowers and more of them appear in pendant chains on this strong-growing floriferous flowering maple. To 4′ tall and nearly as wide in a season. A continuous supply of orange/red veined flowers from June to frost. One of the more shade tolerant selections. Regular water and rich soil. Mulch heavily if in the ground.

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Abutilon x 'Searchlight'

Abutilon x ‘Searchlight’

Clean, clear white pendant flowers face outward on a dense-growing upright flowering maple. To 4′ tall by 3′ wild in a season. Bloom is constant on new growth from May to frost. Dark green foliage is a good contrast to the blooms. Rich, moisture-retentive soil with regular summer water. Add a handful of all organic fertilizer at planting time and you’ll be rewarded with a bigger more vigorous plant. Full sun to part shade. Great in containers- big containers. In the ground plant in a very protected location with shrubs or a wall for added protection. Freeze to the ground in the upper teens. Returns from the base with consistent summer water. Hummingbirds.

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Abutilon x 'Tangerine Scream'

Abutilon x ‘Tangerine Scream’

A relatively hardy and massive blooming Abutilon that we named for its small but vivid tangerine orange flowers. A tall grower, easily reaching 4′ in the ground in a single season. Excellent in containers in full sun but be warned it gets big, fast. In the ground it has been a great performer. It requires a very protected location- between shrubs that will protect the base or near a house wall- under those conditions it will freeze back below about 20ºF but will be able to return from the base. And don’t be discouraged in spring if this plant looks dead- just water, water, water, in April-June and you’d be surprised at the vigorous recovery that will take place. It helps if it is in rich, well drained soil. Hummingbirds love it. Excellent performance at the Oregon Coast where it will seldom be bothered by cold and can bloom nearly year round.

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Agave americana 'Medio Picta Alba'

Agave americana ‘Medio Picta Alba’

Tender <sigh> but perhaps the most spectacular variegated Agave. It makes a great container plant for LARGE containers. To 5′ x 5′, it grows a little slower in containers. Make sure it’s sturdy and well built too because this puppy has been known to grow so vigorously as to shatter its own home. Use well drained cactus mix and add a handful of all organic fertilizer. Move to a freeze free environment such as an unheated garage if temperatures threaten to drop below 20ºF. Otherwise move it to a dry place for winter- under a south facing eave is ideal. Move it back out in the open when rain dwindles.  Light summer water will speed growth. Leaves on this form are blue on the edges with a dramatic pure white stripe down the center. Wow.

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Asarina scandens 'Sky Blue'

Asarina scandens ‘Sky Blue’

A really interesting and wonderful vine that we grow as an annual but its a perennial in warmer climates and can be here too if you treat it right. Arrow shaped leaves have modified petioles that attach and hoists this climber to 8′ in a single season. A continuous supply of tubular (snapdragon shaped) purple blue flowers with a white throat. Loved by hummers this native of the driest parts of the mediterranean is adapted to being dry in the winter and wet in summer. If wet and saturated the whole vine is only hardy to about 26ºF. However, if the plant is kept dry in the winter it is hardy to MUCH colder. In a former garden I had it planted against the south facing side of my house under the eaves. It was bone dry in winter and to my shock it lived for 7 years with temperatures down to 10ºF. I offer this information as interesting but its a primo delicate vine with beautiful flowers that appear continuously all season which makes a lovely seasonal bower. Great on a tripod, or teutier in containers. Full sun to very light shade in rich, well drained soil. Excellent on spring blooming shrubs that are quiet in summer- its a fine textured plant that will never smother the host. Excellent plant.

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Astelia chathamica

Astelia chathamica

Silver Spear. Dramatic silver green monocot spikey plant that we adore for container culture. To 3′ tall and dense the rosettes produce long silvery spiky leaves at a moderate pace. Full sun to light shade in rich, well drained soil. Not completely hardy in Portland, it freezes out at about 18ºF- and containers should be protected over the winter- move into an unheated place. Rich, soil, regular irrigation which speeds growth. In the ground you must choose the most protected urban site possible. Then mulch and cover with an opaque sheeting when temperatures threaten to dip below 20ºF. In town that is about once every four years. It can freeze back quite a way but recovery is dubious and slow at best. Excellent performance at the Oregon Coast where it is a permanent landscape plant.

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Begonia sutherlandii

Begonia sutherlandii

One of our all time favorite Begonias that is surprsingly hardy when established. Soft green angel wing shaped leaves fan out and are the great backdrop to masses of small, single soft orange flowers. Blooms continuously from late June to frost. Rich soil that drains in part shade to high overhead shade is ideal. Protect from blasting sun. Exquisite container subject that mixes well with other plants and adds a saucy orange to shade plantings. In the ground this plant requires a little more care. Rich soil in  protected location – under shrubs or near the house and a little patience. Returns slowly in the ground- not usually showing its face until Mothers Day or later. Once growth proceeds it goes quickly. Nice self cleaning  blooming plant. Spent flowers simple tumble off the plant and are replaced by a massive continual display. To 8″ x 8″ and wider with time. Winter deciduous. For plants growing in containers you’ll need to protect the container from excess wet and freezing. The best way to overwinter it is to put it under an eave or an unheated garage or greenhouse. Add organic fertilizer with the onset of growth. Lovely perennial that we adore at Xera.

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Cosmos atrosanguineus

Cosmos atrosanguineus

Chocolate Cosmos – one of our favorite seasonal plants. It blooms non-stop from June to frost with copious single deep red/black/mahogany flowers that have the special fragrance of dark chocolate. Forms colonies in well drained, rich soil with regular summer water. Cold hardy to the upper teens it will overwinter most years in very well drained soil- try a hot south facing slope. Otherwise, it forms a tuberous root and may be lifted and stored like a Dahlia in autumn. A great tender perennial for containers, borders. Fantastic cut flower. To 20″ tall in bloom forming a clump to 2′ wide. Mulch in autumn with dry leaves. Best in the hottest possible aspect but with regular water in rich soil.  Easy to grow.  Mexico.

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Echium wildprettii

Echium wildprettii

Huge, stately, bold biennial that we kind of consider the king of all biennials. The first season it forms a huge rosette of thin silver foliage. Showy in its own right. If we have a mild winter (above 15ºF) the whole plant soars to 6′ tall the second year and is a tower of red/purple borage flowers. Pollinators lose their little collecting minds and even hummers show up. Not entirely hardy but we think its such an incredible foliage plant in its first year that is is definitely worth the risk.  Following bloom it sets seed- man does it set seed and seedling will appear all over the garden. They are easy to identify- rosettes of thin leaves with a sandpapery texture. You can move them or mass them for a cool effect. Rich to average, well drained soil with light summer water. Full sun and position out of high winds which can topple the plant in its blooming stage. Excellent performance at the Oregon Coast. Native to the Canary Islands.

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