Indigofera decora

Chinese Indigo is one of our favorite perennials/subshrubs. Arising from the ground in late spring the arching stems to 3′ support 6″ long pendant pale rose pink flowers for months and months. No intervention needed from the gardener. In time it suckers to form 4′ wide patches. Regular water to establish in average to rich, well drained soil. Full sun. Freezes completely to the ground in winter- cut back defunct stems from the previous year in early spring. When it does emerge its a very quick trip to up and blooming. Incredibly drought tolerant when established but light consistent watering seems to encourage new flowers- as it grows it blooms so you want to keep it growing. Incredibly elegant but tough plant that asks for so little but gives so much.

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Melianthus major ‘Antonow’s Blue’

Big and bold and blue this remarkable plant known for its enormous pinnate foliage makes a statement. To 7′ tall and as wide in time. Following mild years madder red rubbery flower spikes bear black flowers. yep. Its very important to establish your Melianthus happily before its first winter. That means you give it rich, well drained soil in full sun with REGULAR summer water. The bigger the root system the more vigorous the plant will return if frozen to the ground (below 20ºF). Luckily in the city this usually happens every four years or so. In colder outlying areas plant it next to a hot south facing wall and nurture the hell out of it. Mulch before arctic episodes is a good thing. Moderate deer resistance.  South Africa.

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Melianthus major ‘Purple Haze’

Nice selection of Honey Bush that shares tints of purple predominantly when new leaves are unfurling. The enormous blue/lavender serrated leaves are amazing. Lower growing than either the species or ‘Antonow’s Blue’. To 4′ tall (usually shorter) by at least 6′ wide. Red flowers are produced on the black scape that can follow mild winters. Technically a subshrub as it can freeze to the ground and fully recover from the root in a single season. IF it has been well established in its first season. For that reason we only sell Melianthus in 2 gallon sizes. A larger plant establishes faster and has more mass going into winter. Plant in a protected location- against a wall or with light overstory protection. Mulch for the first winter. Freezes to the ground at prolonged temperatures below about 20ºF. Re-sprouts in mid-late spring. Water and fertilize to speed the recovery. South Africa.

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Passaflora caerulea ‘Becky’s Blue & White’

Blue crown passion vine is an incredibly popular if huge vine in our climate. This form has the typical 3″ intricate flowers with the tinker toy center but the filaments that encircle the middle are deeper blue w/ a contrasting zone of brighter white. The result is bolder coloration and contrast. Rampant evergreen vine- to about 13ºF but much cold hardier than that to 0ºF  Give this big vine room and proper support. To 18′ tall and wide very quickly in average to enriched well drained soil. Evergreen lobed leaves are glossy and this vine blooms profusely on new growth. The more it grows the more it blooms. Winding tendrils assist its climb and will adhere to anything with a diameter smaller than a regular sharpie pen. This includes screen…and if it is too close to a house and they attach to the screen….bad scene getting them off. Otherwise provide a trellis or pergola that can accommodate its size. Flowers appear from May-Frost. It may be cut back very hard in spring to refresh, supply new blooming wood, or just to restrain. Overly rich soil leads to rampant growth and less flowering. So, average soil that drains is ideal. Flowers often transform into golf ball sized orbs that are sweet tasting but not really food. Established passion vines will often sucker quite a way from the parent plant. Plant for this and be vigilant. There is no vine, however so magical in flower form that it transfixes people and is a special joy for children. Little water once established. Deer resistant. Mountains of Brazil.

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Phlomis (anitolica) ‘Lloyd’s Variety’

Aka Jerusalem Sage. This is a very compact but floriferous form of this evergreen perennial/subshrub. To 3′ x 5′ and forming a dome of thick gray/green foliage. In summer spikes extend and display yellow flowers in whorls around the stem. Very symmetrical and loved by pollinators. Surprisingly up close it is very fragrant reminding me somewhat of the sweet clovey scent of Dianthus. Long, blooming for 4-6 weeks. Full hot sun and rich to average well drained soil. Ideal on hot slopes. Light summer water aids vigor but it can take very dry conditions once established. Easy to grow, long lived plant. Mix with other hot sun dwellers and other mediterranean natives. Moderate deer resistance.  Evergreen.

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Phlomis fruticosa ‘Quilted Leaf’

A really handsome and unique form of Jerusalem Sage. The large gray leaves are spongy and quilted and good looking all the time. This woody perennial forms a large spreading plant to 4′ tall and 5′ wide in full sun and rich to average well drained soil. Regular light summer water- to establish then drought adapted. Very drought adapted when established. Blooms June to August in our climate and makes a great paring with smaller low water full sun woody shrubs such as Cistus or Ceanothus. The whorls of soft yellow flowers born on upright stems have the sweet fragrance of cloves in close proximity. A very cool cut flower that lasts for more than a week in a vase. Loses some leaves in winter- gets them back quickly in spring. Wonderful on sunny hillsides. Moderate deer resistance.

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Salvia gregii ‘ Rossetto’

Excellent seedling of ‘Playa Rosa’ with deep clear pink flowers for months and increased cold hardiness. To 20″ x 20″ in a season this is a ‘woody’ sage that forms a small shrub. The vivid pink flowers begin in late May and continue to frost. It takes a break from blooming in extreme heat (above 95ºF) but flowers return when cooler air arrives. Full hot sun to part shade in rich, WELL DRAINED soil. A slope is ideal- especially if it faces south. Light, consistent summer water, speeds growth, establishment and spurs rounds of bloom. Loved by hummingbirds and butterflies. Do not cut back until early spring- when all signs of a hard freeze have passed. It may be cut back hard then and will quickly erupt into a blooming machine. Great in seasonal containers. ‘Rossetto’ is lipstick in Italian. Thanks to my friend Ann Amato for the name.

Xera Plants Introduction

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Salvia microphylla ‘Flower Child’

This species has yielded some very good cold and wet tolerant cultivars. This selection from Monterey Bay Nursery in Watsonville, CA has proved to be one of the best performers. Masses of outward facing candy pink flowers swarm the stems of this large, semi-woody Salvia. The flowers begin in May and continue unabated to frost. This is a very good hue of pink, very mixeable with other colors without clashing. To 2′ tall x 2′ wide in a single season. Well drained soil of rich to average fertility. Double dig the soil before planting to incorporate oxygen and improve drainage as well as water permeability. It excels on slopes in full all day sun with just light summer water. Flowers continue through the hottest weather- good trait in our climate where many others take a break in in the mid to upper 90’s. Drought adapted when established. Do not cut back until new growth emerges in spring- then it can be taken back by 2/3rd. New growth will erupt from semi-woody stems around the base and you are up and running. Herbaceous below about 15ºF. Returns from the base if established. Hummers, butterflies, chicks without bras dancing around like nymphs. Its got it all. Moderate deer resistance.

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Salvia x jamensis ‘California Sunset’

These hybrids come in such wonderful colors. This dashing Sage displays light orange flowers on tall stems from spring well into autumn. Forms a semi-woody shrub and relishes good drainage and hot locations. Great seasonal container plant as well. Best way to grow this Salvia is to double dig the soil to incorporate oxygen and then berm it up a bit. Plant and water faithfully all summer to spur bloom as well as increase the plants mass and establishment. This will ensure a sturdy plant going into winter. I wait to prune it back in spring until all danger of frost has past. In these conditions it will endure our coldest winters with no problem. Hell strip loving plan to 30″ x 30″. Hummingbird plant. Long blooming. Light deer resistance.

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Salvia x microphylla ‘La Trinidad Pink’

This species of semi-woody Salvia has produced some of the best for our climate. Shocking pink, relatively large flowers decorate the upward stems of this vigorous and long blooming perennial. To 26″ tall and forming a semi-woody shrub. In essence it is a subshrub which is woody with time but capable of freezing to the ground and returning from the base. The vivid flowers appear from May to frost and are a delight for pollinators, hummingbirds and pink-o-philes. Full, hot sun in a warm position in rich, WELL DRAINED SOIL. Double dig the soil before planting to incorporate oxygen and make it easier for water to reach the roots. Do not prune back in spring until you see new growth. Either from the tips or the base depending on how cold the previous winter. Cut back hard then and it will zoom back to its former stature in no time. Hot sunny places, hell strips, containers. Excellent on hot slopes.

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