Ceanothus x ‘Xera Azul’

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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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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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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Cold hardy and very showy  Hebe that is an excellent small scale ground cover. To just inches high it expands over time to up to 4′ wide. The gray evergreen foliage is handsome year round. In early summer the tips of the plant are ensconced in violet- blue colored flowers. This showy display draws pollinators and butterflies. One of the showiest of the very cold hardy varieties. Takes temperatures below 10ºF with no damage. Excellent on slopes. Expanding branches can root where they touch the ground, making this spreader excellent for erosion control. It also grows with such density to block weeds. Very easy to grow. Mix with perennials and in-between shrubs in full sun to very light shade. Light CONSISTENT summer irrigation. The small gray leaves line the black stems for more exquisite detail. Excellent at the top of a wall where it will trail and follow the contours exactly. Moderate deer resistance.

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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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