Arctostaphylos x media 'Xera Pacific'

Arctostaphylos x media ‘Xera Pacific’

Our discovery of a naturally occurring hybrid Manzanita on the Oregon Coast. Low and spreading to 2′ tall and 5′ wide in 5 years. Light green paddle shaped leaves. White urn shaped flowers in spring. Bark exfoliates to mahogany and shredding with time. First rate dense weed smothering groudcover. Black spot resisitant. Full sun to part shade in average, well drained soil. No summer water- though it tolerates it better than most. Great Oregon native shrub. Cold hardy. Russet/red berries follow the flowers and are consumed by wildlife. Oregon native plant.

Xera Plants Introduction.

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Asarum splendens

Asarum splendens

As a dry shade evergreen ground cover foliage plant this wonderful perennial excels. Large heart shaped leaves are marked with silver over a sage green background. Pretty. Spreads to form dense colonies in rich, well drained soil in part shade to full shade. Must have regular water for the best appearance but can endure very dry conditions by wilting and will quickly recover with a drink. Takes the most dense shade and is invaluable in planters, beds, containers that are sited under an overhanging roof. Great winter appearance- it should be used in all sorts of year round containers more often. Spreads underground by stolons but doesn’t travel far. Bait for snails and slugs. Small curious brown flowers occur at ground level under the foliage in summer. To 6″ tall and spreading in ideal conditions to several feet wide.

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Blechnum penna-marina (Austroblechnum penna-marina)

Blechnum penna-marina (Austroblechnum penna-marina)

Antarctic Water Fern is a low creeping evergreen ground cover fern for moist shady sites. To just 5″ tall the new fronds emerge a bright red before settling to soft green. The pointed finely divided leaves overlap densely creating a cover that blocks weeds. Slowly expands up to 3′-4′ wide when really happy. Rich, moisture retentive soil with regular summer water. Avoid compacted dry clay- does not like. Easy to grow in woodlands, Excellent performance under large shrubs. Avoid hot sun. Good small scale shady ground cover. High deer resistance. Chile.

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Bolax (Azorella) gummifera

Bolax (Azorella) gummifera

Incredibly useful and handsome and tough creeping evergreen ground cover. The fine interlaced leaves have a texture very much like plastic or tupperware. It creeps along forming tight rosettes that join. In summer the whole surface of this flush plant is covered in chartreuse yellow flowers. Not showy but conspicuous for a plant that looks uniform and green all year. One of the best ground covers between pavers as it can handle compacted soil better than other small scale ground covers. And this is a small scale ground cover, don’t try to cover acreage. Be reasonable and expect good coverage over a space no larger than 5′ x 5′.  Glossy foliage sparkles when wet. Regular summer water speeds growth though it is tolerant of dry periods  but not complete drought.  Expect each 4″ plant to expand to the size of an apple pie in a season. Completely deer resistant. Top dress with compost every few years- especially if it is between pavers. To 1/4″ tall by 1′ wide. Full sun to the very lightest shade. Carrot family.

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Ceanothus gloriosus ‘Emily Brown’

The glory of this large, wild evergreen shrub occurs in April when the branches are awash in deep violet blue flowers.The darkest hue among this species. A fast growing very large shrub to 4′ tall  by 12′ wide in time. Excellent for wild uncultivated areas. A handsome spreading deep green evergreen of great drought tolerance. Tolerates most soils that never become boggy. Good cold hardiness to 5ºF. No summer water when established. Loved by bees and butterflies. Takes well to pruning. Blooms on wood from the previous year, prune if needed after blooming. Excellent pollinator shrub for steep hillsides, rough areas. Evergreen foliage is handsome year round. Tolerates part shade. Blooms best in full sun. Photo below by Evan Bean.

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Ceanothus gloriosus 'Pt. Reyes'

Ceanothus gloriosus ‘Pt. Reyes’

The most popular ground cover Ceanothus and an important plant in our climate. Evergreen ground cover shrub that covers the ground densely. In March the entire plant is smothered in light violet blue flowers. Stems root where they touch the ground making it a valuable erosion control. Full sun to light shade in any well drained soil. Excels on steep slopes. To 10″ tall and 3′ wide very quickly. Plant on 3′ centers for a fast dense ground cover. If the shrub grown as a ground cover gets too tall it may be sheared after bloom has ended. Water to establish for the first season, this also speeds growth.  Excellent performance in Hellstrips. Little water once established. Moderate deer resistance.Avoid direct exposure to subfreezing east wind. Very well adapted to the Oregon coast.

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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.

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Cotula 'Tiffendel Gold'

Cotula ‘Tiffendel Gold’

Low evergreen South African ground cover with 3″ high ferny medium green foliage that densely covers the ground. Beginning in May and repeating heavily through summer wiry stems to 6″ tall are topped by petal free gold rayless disks. Little bobbles. These flowers age to a darker color giving a sea of these curious blossoms extra color depth. Cute little cutlfower that lasts. Vigorous grower that covers ground quickly in rich, well drained soil with consistent summer moisture. Avoid compacted dry soils- it will die out. Excellent weed supresssing ground cover. Good looking year round. Cold hardy to 0ºF. One 4″ pot can cover 2′ x 2′ in a season and beyond. Moderate deer resistance. Not really a whole lot here they can even get to.

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Fatshedera x lizei 'Variegata'

Fatshedera x lizei ‘Variegata’

Bold sprawling shrub or vine that is a hybrid between Hedera and Fatsia. This form has large leaves outlined in cream. Evergreen that seeks shade but is surprisingly sun tolerant too. It may be grown as a free standing shrub, bold ground cover, or trained as a vine. Very nice in winter containers too. Well drained soil  average to rich fertility. Light water. White flowers in autumn never set viable fruit. To 4′ tall and sprawling 8′ wide. Moderate deer resistance.

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Fragaria chiloense 'Aulon'

Fragaria chiloense ‘Aulon’

Pacific coastal strawberry is a beach native- in fact it occurs all around the Pacific Rim and makes an adorable and durable ground cover on sand dunes. Well this version is like the giant hulk of strawberries. Huge in every way and vigorous? Wow, plant and get out of the way. The large glossy evergreen leaves are up to 6″ across and the single white flowers in spring and summer (sometimes in winter) are large also. The paltry fruit that follows is far from edible. It won’t kill you but you really have to like sour and gritty with millions of seeds.  This is an ideal ground cover for rough sites in full sun to part shade. Don’t bother enriching the soil that will just make this trailing monster roar. Instead err on the side of a little neglect and watch what this native plant can do. Be wary of delicate plants in the vicinity. Evergreen, easy and drought tolerant. Oregon native plant.

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