Gaultheria shallon

Salal. An iconic native shrub that occupies the understory of the forests from the coast to the Cascades- in the Willamette Valley its restricted to the shadiest, mesic environs. A mounding evergreen that forms large colonies in time. Ranges in height from 2′ to 6′ depending upon its situation. Spread is indefinite when happy. In spring chains of white urn shaped flowers transform into edible berries. Very handsome foliage is used as long lasting cut material and is sometimes marketed as ‘lemon leaf’.  Can be tricky to establish. Shade to part shade is best in rich, humus rich soil with regular water. To establish water, water, water. And apply a liberal deep mulch.  Avoid hot sun and compacted dry soils. Once it gets going, its yours forever. Occurs naturally in mesic/shady environs around Portland.  Mulch annually to accumulate a layer of organic material that this spreading shrub craves. Oregon native plant.

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Globularia cordifolia var. nana

Low growing globe daisy that makes a great small scale evergreen ground cover. In mid-spring rising up from the small paddle shaped leaves spikes are topped with spheres of fluffy steel blue flowers. Spreads moderately fast on  well drained sites with light summer water. Full sun to part shade. To 4″ tall- foliage prostrate and spreading to 18″ wide in several seasons. Great in rock gardens. Cold hardy, drought adapted and easy small scale plant. Very dense growth pattern inhibits weeds on a small scale and the glossy deep green foliage is presentable year round. Not a widespread ground cover. Excellent between pavers and rocks. It handles compacted soils with aplomb. Light summer water but completely drought resistant when established. Charming plant.

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Grevillea juniperina ‘Molonglo’

Juniper leaved Grevillea that is a low spreading ground cover. Grass green needle like foliage plays host and is often obscured by masses of curly apricot yellow flowers. They peak in late spring but occur almost any time of year. Poor, well drained soil in full sun with no supplemental water ever. To 2′ tall by 6′ wide in 5 years. Supremely adapted to the heat and drought of parking strips. Prickly foliage deters animals- and even people. Incredibly floriferous shrub that gains cold hardiness with establishment.  Loved by hummingbirds. Protect from subfreezing wind. No fertilizer.  Dense enough growth to smother weeds Best with total neglect. Loved by hummingbirds. Little water when established. Amazing in bloom.

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Grevillea x gaudichaudii

Impressive ground cover Grevillea that can be difficult to locate. To less than one foot tall it spreads out laterally easily 8′ wide in 7 years. The distinctly oak shaped leaves on this shrub emerge deep red before settling to green. All the while it is producing red upward facing “toothbrush” shaped flowers. These appear from February to August primarily but can pop off occasionally year round. All together it forms an amazing ground cover shrub that features fantastic foliage and flowers in a bold tapestry display. Cold hardy to a bit less than 10ºF- it appreciates successively colder frosts to harden off for its ultimate frost resistance. Full sun to part shade in average, well drained soil. Light summer water increases the growth rate- and it can zoom once established. Avoid crowding from other plants- it seems to require good air circulation. Excellent performance on gravel mulch. Large rock garden plant or hot slope cover. Protect young plants from temperatures below 15ºF- it can burn the foliage. Hardiness increases with establishment. The very short trunk emerging from the ground can be surprisingly stout- several inches in diameter. Cover with  frost cloth- held down for wind protection during extreme arctic events. Drought adapted when established. A protected location. One of the coolest shrubs we can grow. A naturally occurring hybrid from the Blue Mountains. Excellent around and over boulders which add radiant heat during extreme cold. Should only be attempted in the mildest gardens.

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Hebe ‘Wingletye’

One the best Hebes that we have grown that offers cold hardiness, showy flowers, and a useful low spreading habit. This ground cover Hebe with gray foliage and held on black stems spreads nearly prostrate to form a low dense shrub. In early summer the whole plant is smothered in deep violet purple flowers- among the showiest flowers of  any cold hardy Hebe. Stems arch up and then immediately down cruising along at a moderate clip.  To 6″ tall and 3′ wide in full sun and well drained soil. Light summer water when established. Excellent plant for slopes (the stems root where they touch the ground) as well as rock gardens. Placed near a wall or container edge and it will gracefully spill over the edge following closely the contour of any object. Plant density inhibits weeds effectively and it can make a useful ground cover placed on 2′ centers. Very tough little evergreen shrub and always good looking.

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Hebe decumbens

Decumbens= decumbent which basically means crawling on the ground. Good looking decumbent Hebe with dark army green glossy round leaves outlined in red. They are attached to black stems- wonderful contrast and depth to this easy ground cover for full sun to part shade. Just 8″ high an individual plant can cover an areas 4′ x 4′ in several years. Rich, well drained soil with light consistent summer irrigation. Avoid boggy soils as well as dust dry and compacted. Loose and friable and this Hebe will surpass your expectations. Clusters of white tinted blue flowers appear in summer. Not a total all out floral display but more random which is kind of nice. Cold hardy, disease resistant and long lived for a Hebe. Great dense evergreen ground cover.

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Hebe pinguifolia ‘Sutherlandii’

Indispensible alpine cold hardy Hebe with an astonishingly uniform dense habit. Rounded to 30″ tall and up to 4′ wide in time. Blue gray foliage is handsome at all times. In summer sporadic white flower spikes dot the plant. Full sun to light shade in average to rich well drained soil Light, but consistent summer irrigation. Especially important for it to be well hydrated before extreme heat (above 100ºF). Excellent hedge, massed as a tall ground cover. Very cold hardy- not bothered by our coldest winters and of alpine derivation in its home in New Zealand. Formerly known as Hebe sutherlandii. Excellent as low informal hedge or even massed as a symmetrical ground cover.This form has been consistently hardy down to 0ºF. Excellent performance in cold rural gardens. Tolerates some subfreezing wind.    Xera favorite shrub.

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A sparkling little groundcover Hebe with emerald green leaves on trailing black stems and clouds of violet blue flowers in early summer. to 8″ tall spreading to 2′ wide. It covers the ground very densely. It may be used as a small scale ground cover but never more than 4′ x 4′ square feet. Rich to average soil with consistent light water though summer. Cold hardy below 10ºF. Very easy to grow and handsome plant. Hummingbird and Butterflies adore the flowers. Excellent rock garden subject. Very good performance at the coast.  Nice trough plant. Good looking year round. Avoid hot wet soils and compacted droughty places. Ideally sited on a slight slope. Stems will eventually root where they touch. Combine with Penstemon pinifolius ‘Mersea Yellow’. New Zealand.

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Helianthemum ‘Annabel’

For several reasons this is a fantastic Helianthemum (Sunrose). Felted green/gray foliage is handsome as a backdrop to the masses of fully double pink flowers that appear for weeks. The single forms of Sunrose have flowers that last just one day but this double flowered form has flowers that individually last for days. It significantly lengthens the bloom time on this charming low plant. Blooms appear from mid May to July. To 10″ tall and spreading to an area 2′ x 2′ in several years. Full sun and well drained soil of rich fertility. Beautiful small scale groundcover for banks, drier borders, rock gardens. Its best to cut Helianthemums back hard when blooming has ended. Remove the blooming stems and part of the current seasons growth. In return you achieve a dense compact plant that will yield more flowers the following year. For pink-o-philes this is a must have plant and one of our favorites at Xera. Light summer water. Some deer resistance.

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Helianthemum ‘Cheviot’

Sunroses are great flowery perennials for hillsides and the front of borders. Low growing gray evergreen foliage is a great foil to the 1″ pale pastel apricot flowers that obscure the whole plant for weeks in mid-late spring. To 8″ tall  x 2′ wide. But back hard after flowering to encourage a denser more compact plant. Light, regular summer water is important- avoid total dust dry conditions. Mix with Pacific Coast iris and Penstemon heterophyllus ‘Electric Blue’ for a swoon worthy effect. Some deer resistance  but not impervious. Each single flower lasts one day but masses of flowers appear opening in full sun, for weeks.

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