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.
Plant Type: Succulents & Cacti
Succulents offer dramatic shape and architecture rarely seen in our gardens. Whether hardy specimens for rock gardens or as dramatic seasonal plants nothing can beat their exotic structure. We include yuccas and succulent perennials in this list. There are several tricks to growing some of the more dramatic cold hardy Agaves in our climate. First, they should be planted as soon as the soil warms in spring. Tilt the rosette- this is best on a slope so that winter rain/ice will run out of the rosette and not gather and freeze- causing stress. Give them VERY good air circulation and take away any leaves from deciduous plants that have gathered in the rosette. Be careful. Some people use a blower, I’ve had luck with a can of air to clean office equipment. Save your hands from the spikes. Ouch.
Amend the soil for success
Normally we aren’t big fans of soil amending. It seems ridiculous for most native plants and its a huge carbon footprint when a truck has to bring you compost. In the case of cold hardy succulents amending is crucial in our climate because of our winter rainfall pattern. To site: Find a slope in full sun and excavate a large amount of the soil and save. Add medium to large boulders underground and on top. Incorporate 1/2″ minus or any other rough hued gravel into the saved soil and add a small amount of all purpose fertilizer and replace. Plant carefully, its not usual to see people using BAR B Q tongs and ovenmits to handle Cacti and Agaves. Plant hardy rosette forming plants at a tilt to avoid the accumulation of water/ice into the crown- it should be able to drain away. Plant, water in well. Most succulents grow when its warm so to establish them you should water them well in the first HOT summer they are in the ground. Roots will penetrate deeper as the soil temperature will be warm too. Let the soil dry completely between watering. For hardy Cacti and Succulents weeds and weed seeds can pose a difficult problem. Eliminating them is painful and tedious at any time of the year. Mulch with gravel and keep up on your weeding, especially in winter when you think least to do it.
Do not leave rocks/leaves in the rosette- it will cause winter rot
Remove all rocks and leaves from the center of the Agave before winter hits. The most efficient way is to use a blower and clean out the duff completely. If leaves are left in the crown they will rot the plant as they decompose. Agaves like to dry off between rainstorms. Put them in a fully exposed site facing south and do not let other plants over top them. This is also fatal. When desperate one of those cans of air to clean office equipment is also useful. Hold it no closer than 1′ from the plant (too close and it can freeze the plant as it is super cooled and can form ice) but at least a foot away you’ll still get enough of an air blast to knock just about anything out.
Winter aridity is the key to hardiness
If you plan on growing your hardy succulents in containers make sure that you don’t pot it into a container that is too difficult to move. Many succulents are very hardy to cold as long as they are dry in the winter. Most come from summer rainfall areas. They prefer moisture when its hot but dryness when its cold. Move containerized plant to a dry spot- under an eave or a cold greenhouse BEFORE winter rains begin and leaves start to fall. Dryness in winter can afford you almost 10ºF extra` degrees of cold hardiness. Keep them dry in winter. In the ground, this is where sharp drainage and amending pays dividends. Also, Agaves and hardy Cacti are actually tender until they have fully rooted out into the ground. The more roots you have, the better established the better the plant can resist cold and wet. Plant them as soon as it warms in spring and care for them for their first season. Again always let hem dry between irrigation. In subsequent years you can add one handful of all purpose prilled fertilizer each spring.
Location is everything
These plants all need to be sited carefully to succeed. Plant them in hot south facing aspects, on slopes, in hot rock gardens at the base of a hot wall. Even a thoughtfully placed boulder can absorb and radiate enough sun heat that it will offer benefits to these plants. Remember most of these plants are experimental in our climate. Our rainfall patterns that combine cold and wet are anathema to where they grow. Though they take preparation and thought very few plans offer as much bold structure and simplicity. They are worth it.
Climate Adapted Plants for Gardeners in the PNW
Far and away the easiest Agave to cultivate in our climate and the handsome contorted sage green leaves are free of a deadly spike at the tip. Don’t be fooled, though. The leaves are lined in fine serrations that can cause a cut if you rub your person against them. To 3′ tall and as wide for very well-drained soils in full sun to very light shade. Amend the soil with pumice to sharpen drainage if needed. Ideally adapted to slopes. Good dimensions as a large focal point in a rock garden or clustered into clumps in the gravel bed. Accepts the highest reflected heat. Light summer water speeds growth. Often produces offspring from the base. These can be detached and replanted when its truly warm. Bold mature clumps are breathtaking. Wonderful life in hellstrips. Obviously deer resistant, but the tips can be brittle so handle them with care when planting. Excellent year round appearance and texture.
Spikes! A very upright and pokey Agave with steel blue/gray foliage that forms large rosettes. To 3′ across eventually this cold hardy Agave demands excellent drainage but is worth the effort. VERY well drained soil- amend with liberal amounts of pumice and gravel. Excellent on a slope. Plant with the rosette tilted to shed winter water. Makes new pups happily and they will often come up quite a distance from the parent plant. To 3′ tall when up and established. Great in containers that you protect from winter wet. Move to a covered place in fall- a south facing eave is sufficient. Cold hardy below 0ºF- when established. Best to plant in March or April so that it has the longest possible season to develop a root system going into its first winter. Light summer water to none. High deer resistance.
Agave ovatifolia ‘Frosty Blue’
A real winner in our climate this is perhaps among the easiest bold Agaves to cultivate. Large rosettes of flared deadly leaves are a luminous light blue. The whole rosette can achieve 3′ wide and nearly as tall but smaller is more common. Excellent tolerance of the combination of cold and wet that Agaves mostly despise. This plant also is less prone to injury from necrosis of damage- slugs, snails etc. Full sun to a surprising amount of shade, though you’ll want to avoid the overhead detritus of trees into the rosette. In full sun such as a bare parking strip it revels in heat, exposure and fast drainage. Amend the soil to at least 1/2 pumice and 1/2 virgin native soil. Water to establish then only what falls from the sky. Obviously site away from paths- stab wounds suck, literally. In Mexico they planted large agaves in front of the bedroom windows of their female children. The idea I guess was to deter suitors with bad intentions. But its a neat story and you could see how it would work. Obvious awesome deer resistance. Sometimes called Whale Tongue Agave.
Agave parryi ‘Flagstaff’
From the very far north end of this variable species range in Northern Arizona near—‘Flagstaff’. High elevation form that is found above 7000′ in the wild. Very cold hardy moderately large Agave. Full sun and very well drained soil. You must amend the soil with pumice and gravel to avoid wet accumulating around the crown in winter. This is made all the more easy by placing on a slope. The rosettes should be tilted to shed winter wet. Very stiff and sharply tipped steel blue leaves form a rosette that is at first upright then spreads out a little. Remove leaves from deciduous plants that collect in the rosette in autumn- they blow in from god knows where and leaving them can encourage rot. Excellent in containers. Move containerized plants under an eave or overhang to keep it dry in winter. No water required after initial establishment. Beautiful form of this cold hardy species. High deer resistance.
Agave parryi ssp. couesii
A really pretty pale blue Agave with sharp angular leaves in a remarkably symmetrical rosette with age. Cold hardy and it requires very well drained soil in a hot position. A south facing slope is ideal in soil that has been amended with liberal amounts of pumice and gravel. And you should tilt the rosette so that water does not collect in winter. This variety is a little slower than others. Aside from perfect drainage it requires a little bit of heat and patience. To 20″ tall by 30″ wide in time. Great container subject- make sure the container is sturdy and large enough to accommodate both a spreading primary rosette and prolific pups which crowd the base. In time it can form bold colonies. Move containerized plants to a dry location in winter. Remove deciduous tree leaves that collect in the rosette in autumn to stave off rot. SW U.S. High deer resistance.
Agave parryi ssp. neomexicana
New Mexico Agave is a spike wonder. Much more upright-growing than the species with sharp-tipped leaves that terminate in a blood red thorn. OW. Forms a very symmetrical plant with many leaves of steel blue. Full sun and VERY WELL-DRAINED soil. Excellent on hot slopes where it will tilt the rosette to avoid winter wet. Pups, heh, freely and you will soon have many rosettes. Amend the soil with pumice and gravel. Make sure there is plenty of air in the soil and no place where water could collect. Fantastic specimen plant for a dry garden/gravel garden. Water through the first summer to establish then none in subsequent years. Clean out the rosette when deciduous leaves collect in there- a shop vac works great. The leaves will cause rot when they decompose….so they must go. Great in containers- large, sturdy containers. Cold hardy. High deer resistance.
Agave parryi ssp. truncata
Consistently one of the most successful Agaves for gardens in our region. Soft gray rosettes have leaves with a distinct upright habit. At the tips of the wide leaves is a single (deadly) black thorn. Very nice. Full sun and very well drained soil with little to no summer water when established. This Agave requires soil that is never soggy- amend heavily with pumice and gravel to create air pockets. Plant this (and all) hardy Agaves in our climate on a tilt. The tilted rosette sheds rainwater and it keeps it much drier in winter. Ideally, this Agave should be sited on a hot, south facing slope. In autumn deciduous leaves from (everywhere) seem to blow into the rosette and collect. You must remove these immediately so that they do not rot the center of the plant. A shop vac works wonders…so do bar-B-Q tongs. Excellent in containers. Its best to plant hardy Agaves in early spring to early summer. They require a long season to develop a root system which ensures that they are cold hardy. No root system and not so hardy. Hardy below 0ºF when dry. Highly deer resistant.
Aloiampelos (Aloe) striatula
We’ve grown a lot of Aloes with purported cold and wet hardiness and this is the one that has been the most successful. A large succulent shrubby plant with rosettes of deep green succulent foliage. In late summer to autumn a showy display of large yellow flower spikes can occur. Very pretty and loved by all nectar seeking folks. Give this South African perennial VERY GOOD DRAINAGE in full sun and a warm position. A slope is always helpful. Amend the soil with plenty of gravel and sand as well as compost- these guys do need to eat- so a little handful of organic fertilizer is recommended. Capable of freezing to the ground (below 15ºF) and resprouting from the base when truly warm weather arrives. Plant on a south or west facing slope preferably against a warm wall or boulder for added reflected heat. Easy, if large, container plant that you should protect from temperatures in the teens. To 3′ x 3′ on average in our climate. Mostly evergreen here. Combine with Agave, Cactus which will also increase their growth rate if you provide light, consistent water during hot weather.
Cylindropuntia whipplei ‘White Spine’
Love this small growing Cholla that has the most amazing luminescent white spines. Densely branching low plant to 2′ tall by 3′ wide in time. Not terribly fast growing. Fast draining soils that have been amended heavily with gravel and pumice and ideally on a slope will make this a focal point in the dry garden. Light summer water will speed growth. Extremely cold hardy and not terribly fussy. Give it an open position with sun all day long. Wonderful in rock gardens. Flowers we have not seen but we assume with this species that they will be pink/purple in summer. Highly deer resistant. Great container plant. Move to a dry position in winter just for extra protection from wet.
Sotol or Desert spoon is an excellent Yucca relative that does amazingly well in our climate given the correct conditions. Native to the northern Chihuahuan Desert of northern Mexico into Arizona and stretching to the east through New Mexico into Texas is where you will find this handsome desert dweller. Rosettes of serrated blue green leaves radiate out in a circular orb. The ends of each leaf become frizzy and add an overall hazy texture to the plant. In time, when happy 9′ spikes erupt from the center and display columns of small white flowers. Very well drained soil in a full, hot position. Excellent on hot, south facing slopes but perfectly at home in the dry gravel garden. Foliage to 3′ x 3′ slowly. Evergreen. Light summer water to establish then none in subsequent years. Great in containers. High deer resistance.
Delosperma basauticum ‘Sunfire’
Nice compact little ice plant that requires excellent drainage, full sun and regular summer irrigation. In May/June it is covered in bright yellow star shaped flowers. They open in full sun and close when its cloudy or at night. To 3″ tall and 1′ wide in a season. Best in rock garden conditions. Works well in fast draining troughs. Tiny, congested succulent foliage.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Giant Chalk Dudleya or Giant Live Forever, this is in our estimation the largest and showiest of this genus native to the West Coast of North America from Oregon to Mexico. This spectacular succulent is native to the northern coast of Baja where it attaches to volcanic cliffs above the ocean. To 12″-18″ wide in a year or two the softly spiked rosette is covered in fine white powder (bloom) that can be rubbed off- that can result in a less pristine white form. Avoid pawing or poking the foliage. In spring to summer 18″ stems support clusters of orange/pink/yellow downward pointing flowers. Very pretty and it draws hummingbirds and butterflies. A fantastic container plant that can live for years happily in succulent cactus mix. Protect from severe cold (below 26ºF) and put containers in a cool unheated greenhouse in autumn. Or move to a dry under eave position. Water deeply and infrequently and able to tolerate summer water much better than others. Our Oregon native Dudleya farinosa can be kind fussy about that. Very easy to grow. Part shade to full sun. Shockingly beautiful plant. This and many Dudleyas have been vastly and illegally over collected in the wild. Ours are raised from seed which is not difficult and is even more of a pity that they are stolen in the wild.
Red Yucca. Who would have thought that this remarkably adaptable plant would grow perfectly in such places as Phoenix, AZ AND Portland? We’re amazed and this excellent semi-succulent plant is one of our favorites for hot dry landscapes. The evergreen leaves form rosettes that spike up to about 2.5′ tall- blue green turning purple in colder weather. They are lined with little white hair filaments that add to the appeal. in summer flower spikes rise to 4′- many of them and hold tubular flowers that are succulent and red on the outside, when each yawns open it reveals a yellow center. Very cool. Full sun and average to poor well drained soil- though it does fine in any soil type that drains well. Excellently adapted to life in the blasting hot hellstrips. It can take any kind of reflected heat with no summer water and still perform beautifully. Clumps increase slowly in our climate. Excellent in containers as well. Loved by hummingbirds. Little to no supplemental water ever. Cold hardy below 0ºF. High deer resistance.
Lewisia cotyledon ‘Rainbow’
This strain of our native Siskiyou Lewisia contains a stunning range of flower colors. Pink to orange to white to yellow and permutations in-between. One of our most cherished wild flowers this plant is found at high elevations in the southern part of the state. A succulent that forms an evergreen rosette it displays its flowers for literally months on end beginning in spring. Excellent, long blooming, easy to grow container plant but not difficult in the ground given rock garden conditions. Drainage is crucial, in average to enriched soil. Drought adapted but it blooms longer with light summer water. Full sun to very light shade. Excellent at the top of walls, spilling out of cliffs as it does in nature. To 6″ tall forming multiplying rosettes up to a foot across. Moderate deer resistance. Oregon native plant.
Tall growing hardy Cactus native to cold New Mexico. The pads are armed with 2″ orange thorns that will make you think twice about messing around. To 5′ tall and 4′ wide in 5 years in our climate. Multiplies quickly and large erect pads build up to probably the tallest Opuntia in our climate. In early to mid summer 5″ brilliant yellow flowers are a show stopper. They open just when its hot and sunny enough- closing in any dim conditions. Full, hot, all day sun and very well drained appropriately amended soil. On a slope, double dig the soil to oxygenate it and incorporate hefty amounts of pumice and gravel in the soil. Water regularly through the first summer to establish growth and then none in subsequent years. Extremely cold hardy. Locate away from paths, anywhere you might get too close. Remove deciduous leaves that become ensconced in the pads in autumn. Otherwise it can lead to rot. Long lived. High deer resistance.
The thornless hardy Prickly Pear. Well, it still has fine glaucids on the pads that can painfully stab into your hands. They are fine like slivers or hairs and are a pain to remove. (Try duct tape- thats what I do and its successful). Large big round pads pile onto each other to 4′ tall and quickly forming multiplying patches up to 8′ across. In summer it displays large single yellow flowers. Smooth and good looking Cactus year round. It has some of the best ability to deal with our winter wet. However, I’d still amend the soil heavily with gravel and pumice- sharp drainage is key. Sharp drainage on sunny slopes is ideal. Excellent under the south facing eaves of a house. Works well in containers too that are protected from extreme winter wet. (Move under cover in winter). Cold hardy below 10ºF but the combination of wet and then arctic cold can shrivel some pads. Recovery in spring is rapid. Anticipate that it will spread quickly and allocate room. Moderate deer resistance.
Spectacular in bloom this is one of the easiest Opuntia (Prickily Pear Cactus) for our climate. Pads are fiercely armed and are blue/gray. The 2″ needles are formidable and begs that this plant be place away from paths. Spreading to 2′ tall x 4′ wide in very well drained poor soil with light summer water to establish. Avoid all shade- bright open conditions suite this native of the SW U.S. Avoid placing near deciduous trees where dropped leaves can collect on the plant- they are not only a pain in the ass to remove they must be to avoid rot in winter. Grows relatively fast- increasing before you know it. Amazing in large rock gardens as well as large containers. Amend the soil with pumice and gravel so that winter wet does not collect around the base. It will root through this deep into the ground. Once established it can get by with all that falls fro the sky. Huge yellow flowers with an orange center are 6″ wide an amazing when they appear in late spring to early summer. Highly deer resistant. Long lived.
More of a shrub this branched ice plant species is one of the easiest to grow in our climate. To 10″ tall and as wide in a circular ball. The succulent gray foliage is densely attached to and obscures the stems. In early summer for several weeks hot pink feather daisy like flowers cover the plant. They open in full sun and close when its dim- including cloudy days. Loved by pollinators. Very pretty evergreen succulent shrublet for rock gardens, gravel gardens, slopes. Light summer water but completely drought adapted when established and growing. Very showy in containers, troughs. Double dig the soil and incorporate oxygen before planting. Avoid compacted soils. Very pretty.
Useful and pretty evergreen Sedum that thrives in diverse biomes but always looks good. In dry dappled shade it will create a dense spreading deep green colony. To 5″ tall by several feet wide. In full sun it will grow a little slower but regular water will speed things up. The bright green rosettes of leaves are perched atop stems. In early spring the whole plant is awash in gold flowers and attending pollinators. Rich, well drained soil with light but consistent summer water. The more shade the less water is required. Nice ground cover for small areas. Dense and evergreen. Surprisingly cold hardy and amenable to life in our climate. Mexico.
Oregon native Sedum that is found at mid and high elevations of the Cascades. It makes its home on recent road cuts and rocky, gravelly cliffs. Small rolly polely green succulent leaves line trailing stems. Very juicy. Forms a thick evergreen mat in full sun to part shade in well drained soil. Excels in enriched soil that also drains. Light to regular summer water to retain luster otherwise completely adapted to summer drought. Rock walls, containers, rock gardens. Easy to grow native that is one of our most attractive stone crops. In late spring 4″ stems rise with clusters of bright yellow/gold star shaped flowers. As with all Sedums they are coveted by pollinators. Takes on red tints in cold weather. Evergreen. Oregon native plant.
Sedum makinoi ‘Ogon’
Interesting small yellow Sedum from Japan that is from a summer rainfall climate. That means that it likes consistent water in the summer. Good drainage is key and this plant performs a valuable role as the glowing understory to woodland perennials and shrubs. Rich, well drained soil with regular summer irrigation in part shade to shade. Bleaches to almost white in full sun. Early spring flowers are yellow and brief. Excellent as the lower level of a summer planting. Evergreen and easy. Aerate the soil well by double digging and incorporating oxygen into the soil before planting. To 3″ high and spreading to more than a foot wide in a season. Its best home is in containers where it makes a great, glowing year round element. Excellent as a ground cover under shrubs in a container.
Not hard to tell where this stone crop is endemic. It resides mostly in the middle elevations of the western Cascades. Rocky slopes, cliffs, and road cuts is where you find the clusters of small green rosettes that makes large colonies. In summer 4″ stems arrive topped with bright gold/yellow flowers- a pollinators dream. Little spreading plant to just inches high but expanding to several feet wide in well drained, somewhat enriched soil with light summer water. Full sun to quite a bit of shade. Forms a dense mat and may be used as a small scale weed blocking ground cover. Easy to grow plant. Roots into the ground as it spreads- evergreen. Oregon Native Plant.
Sedum oregonense ‘McKenzie River’
There are so many great native Sedums that it can be hard to choose? But why choose when you can have them all. This little succulent creeper is most often seen on rocky slopes in the western Cascades. It occupies the hottest regions but sends its roots between the cracks in the rocks to absorb moisture. In summer 4″ spikes hold boisterous gold flowers- adored by pollinators. Spreads very slowly to about 3″ tall and 1′ wide. Adapts to rich, well drained sites with light to little summer moisture. Excellent in rock gardens, slopes, among small drought adapted shrubs. Very easy to grow. This form is from the central Oregon Cascades. Oregon native plant.
One of the very best Sedums that we grow. Trailing stems hold relatively large rosettes of fleshy blue gray leaves. Superficially it resembles a tender echeveria etc. But, its totally hardy and incredibly adaptable. Forming mounded spreading colonies from a dome shape and encompassing an area several feet wide shortly. Adaptable to full sun and no water but also a surprising amount of shade. Its best application is perhaps in containers and specifically winter containers. Excellent winter appearance. In early spring it erupts in clouds of bright yellow flowers. To 6″ tall x 2′ wide in rich to average, well drained soil. Not a fussy succulent by any stretch it persists with just average conditions. Native to the highest elevations of Mexico. Cold hardy (when not saturated) to at least 0ºF. Widely used in seasonal and permanent containers in Europe. Picture a Sempervivum (Hens and chicks) on a slightly trailing stem. Light consistent summer H20 but accepts drought. Very easy to propagate by moving stems from one location to the next. Even share with your neighbors. Easy.
One of our favorite trailing succulents for containers. This is a half hardy Sedum (Zn8b) that will persist in most gardens most winters. Rolly poly emerald green foliage takes on dramatic red tints- especially on the older leaves. To 6″ tall and 20″ wide in a season. Rich, WELL DRAINED soil with light summer water. Full sun to part shade. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it bloom and I don’t really care. Trails 1′ over the edge of containers. Mix with other succulents or low water perennials such as Erodium or Scutellaria. Excellent performance at the Oregon coast.
Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’
Immensely useful, if rambunctious sedum that glows in vivid gold to chartreuse. The needle like leaves are vivid and line trailing stems. The stems root where they hit the ground- good local solution for erosion. Fast growing plant that spreads indefinitely in sun to quite a bit of shade. So easy to grow that I suggest you plant it in AVERAGE well drained soil. No need for amendments because the truth is once you have this plant you will always have it. Evergreen. Easy to remove from unwanted places. Simply pick it up off the ground and dispose. Or move it. I use this plant as a fast low water place holder when I’m deciding what to put in next. To plant simply toss it on the ground and water. You can bury it a little but its really not necessary. Avoid strongly compacted soil. Yellow flowers in early spring. Nice ground cover under trees. Hardy. Oh, so hardy.
Sedum sediforme ‘Spanish Selection’
A really good Sedum that I got from a friend who collected it on the Iberian Peninsula in the Spanish mountains. Very soft blue gray foliage is shaped like pine needles lining trailing stems. Forms a good ground cover very fast. In summer 10″ vertical stems support clouds of soft off white flowers. Very different from so many other Sedums that bloom yellow. This soft color is very effective in the garden and of course draws pollinators from miles around. When spent the stems remain erect and turn gray- they may easily be collected by simply giving each a soft tug- or a whole a handful and they will break cleanly. Full sun to very light shade. Average to enriched soil that is not compacted. Good looking year round appearance. Not quite as dense or prolific as Sedum reflexum but still good. Slopes, between shrubs, as competition for weeds. Roots along the ground as it grows. Moves with ease and may be used as a temporary place holder while you think of what to plant next. Simply scoop up the foliage and move it to another place. Actual planting is not necessary. Share with friends. Great in seasonal as well as winter containers. To several feet wide. Light summer water or none when established. Easy plant.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Sedum spathulifolium ‘Cape Blanco’
An old standard form of our native and widespread Stonecrop. This form is unique for its very pale gray almost white rosettes of leaves. It spreads vigorously in rich to average well drained soil with light summer water. Soil should be light and not compacted. It makes a very good small scale ground cover. Also excellent in rock gardens and even winter containers. Great long lived and easy container subject. To just inches high a single plant can reproduce to several feet wide. In late spring 6″ stems grow upright to display masses of brilliant yellow flowers. Adored by all pollinators. When cold wet weather arrives the entire plant takes on red/raspberry tones. Very pretty. Easy to grow native perennial. Full sun to quite a bit of shade. Oregon native plant.
Sedum spathulifolium ‘Carnea’
Interesting form of Stone crop that has foliage that takes on brilliant red/purple tints in cold weather or with drought stress. Powdery blue foliage is arranged in rosettes at the end of 3″ stems. Starting with the outer most leaves the vivid tints become most apparent in mid-late summer through winter. Red stems support clusters of gold/yellow flowers in early summer. Excellent pollinator plant as are all Sedums. Easy to grow in any soil that drains reasonably well. In regular ground double dig the soil to incorporate oxygen into the soil and avoid compaction. It will spread to multiple feet across in short order. In rock gardens it can be a little rambunctious around delicate plantings. Give it room and plan for it to spread. Great in seasonal containers, troughs, rock walls. Light summer water speeds the growth rate- it also inhibits the bright color. Oregon native plant.
Sedum spathulifolium ‘Rogue River’
Would it surprise you that I found this form of native stonecrop on cliffs above the Rogue River? It fascinated me how tightly to the ground this spreading succulent occurred. Gray green foliage appears to be almost rubbery and it grows in a dense pile. Very nice. To just inches high it eventually makes large colonies in rich, to average well drained soil. Light to little summer water. In late spring 4″ stems support hot yellow sunny flowers for weeks. Loved by pollinators of all types. Evergreen and ever lovely form. Perennial borders, rock gardens, containers. Easy and climate adapted native succulent that loves to be in gardens. Oregon native plant.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Sedum stenopetalum var. douglasii
Pine Sedum is common in the rocky outcrops of foothills and mid-elevation mountains throughout the state. You’ll find it clustered around crevices and on scree at the base of cliffs. Fine stems support clusters of deep green pine needle-like foliage. In summer its crowned by clusters of deep yellow flowers. Not as showy as other native Stone crops but pretty none-the-less. To just 3″ tall and forming clumps to 1′ wide. In the garden give it enriched, fast draining soil with light, consistent summer water- this improves the overall appearance. An interesting native Sedum for containers, rock gardens, borders, dry gardens. Evergreen. Very cold hardy. Oregon Native Plant.
Sempervivum ‘Koko Flanel’
There are so many good Sempervivums (Hens and Chicks) but it seems that you only see the same 3 kinds over and over. We dug a little deeper and found a collection of exceptional cultivars. This girl/guy forms a very dense rosette with closely spaced leaves in a spiral arrangement. The older the leaves the more red as an under color with soft white hairs all throughout. New leaves have an aquamarine glow. Nice little symmetrical multicolor effect. Things go more towards green in the heat of summer. Pink flowers rise up on 6″ spikes spring to autumn- whenever it feels like it. Great container plant or small scale ground cover- this one multiplies very fast by offsets. Baby you’ve come a long way. Rich, well drained soil with light but consistent summer moisture. Rock walls, troughs, winter containers.
OOOMMMMM. Large growing Hens and Chicks with pale lavender gray rosettes to 5″ across. Very showy and multiplies moderately fast. Full sun to part shade in rich, well drained soil. Regular water speeds growth and size of the plants. Otherwise extremely drought tolerant..in really dry conditions the rosette will shrink and go to sleep- awakened by autumn rains. Nice small scale, dense ground cover. Striking in living walls and a natural for containers. 5″ spikes send up pink flowers spring – autumn. Good looking year round. This one is the size of a small Echeveria and would make a good replacement that is actually permanent. Easy.
Sempervivum ‘Maria Laach’
Pretty Maria. Bloody Maria. We have no idea why they named this stunning blood red Semp after her but I’ll bet its quite a story. As this is quite an extraordinary Hens and Chicks. Blood red tipped leaves often fade to green near the center of the rosette. Redder in summer in full sun in average, well drained soil. Each 3″ wide plant is in a continuous color change so its a varied pattern. Forms expanding colonies quickly. Full sun to part shade. Light summer water. Very good for contrast in rock gardens, rock walls, crevice gardens. In summer 4″ stems display red flowers. Easy to detach and move babies. Tolerates drought by shrinking, puffs back up with the first rains.
Sempervivum ‘Pacific Zofic’
Fast multiplying Hens and Chicks that is covered in white fur. The silvery white fur covers new foliage in the center that is aqua changing to pink on the external rosette. In spring to autumn it can produce 5″ spikes of pink flowers. The rosette where the flower spike originates then dies but there are so many offsets you barely notice. Excellent in containers, rock walls, as a small scale ground cover. Good appearance in winter. Rich to average soil with regular summer irrigation to speed growth. Otherwise very tolerant of dry conditions – the rosettes shrink a bit in this phase. Sempervivums LOVE fertilizer. Enrich the soil with all purpose organic fertilizer before you plant and enjoy much LARGER plants. Rosettes to 3″ across.
A really fun and rightfully famous cultivar. Celery green leaves are tipped in black. Very dramatic and the kind of contrast that makes a plant stand out. Rosettes are 4″ across and offsets are produced constantly. Very pretty dense small scale ground cover. Rich, well drained soil with regular summer irrigation. Deals with drought by shrinking. They rehydrate with the first rains. They look better and grow faster with water. Excellent in containers, crevice gardens, rock gardens, rock walls, troughs. I’ve never seen this variety bloom but I assume the flowers would be red or white…doesn’t matter thats not the point. Detach babies and give to neighbors with the official name. Increases its specialness, impresses the neighbor. This would be a good variety for a living wall.
Probably the best standard red Sempervivum. Its been around forever and its a good cultivar. Given rich soil that drains well but is enriched with fertilizer a single rosette can swell to 6″ wide. its impressive. So fertilize your Hens and Chicks and turn up the scale. Forms prodigious offsets quickly. These can be stuck in the soil wherever you can’t get enough of Sempervivum ‘Saturn’. Full sun give the best color red as well as a bit of stress. Red persists through winter which is useful for winter containers. Makes a good small scale ground cover that is dense enough to suppress weeds. Don’t try to cover an area more than a few square feet. This plant doesn’t do that. Living walls, crevice gardens, rock gardens, rock walls. Hot slopes. Drought stressed plants don’t die they shrink and plump back up quickly with irrigation. Pink flowers in summer.
Sempervivum ‘Soft Line’
I’m the one doing the descriptions so I get to choose which is my favorite. And this is my favorite ‘Hens and Chick’. Soft and downy with fine hairs that cover the entire rosette. Dove gray to pink coloration changes little throughout the years. To 3″ across it quickly multiplies to form colonies in rich to average soil in full sun to part shade. Regular summer water enhances the appearance as well as initiates faster growth. Rock walls, slopes, containers. Very easy to grow. Light pink flowers appear at the tips of 6″ stems spring-autumn. Soft and cuddly.
Sempervivum ‘Virgil Ford’
Collectively this handsome Hens and chicks is one of our favorites. Soft pink to lavender and tipped with purple in cold weather. Nice. Large rosettes to 5″ across when happy. Boisterous multiplier and forming large colonies quickly. Rich, well drained soil with regular water to keep up appearances. Containers, rock walls, rock gardens, as a small scale weed smothering ground cover. Full sun to light shade. Even dry shade when established. Detach the babies and give them to a friend. Or chuck them at a Trump voter. Pretty plant. High deer resistance.
Sempervivum arachnoides ‘Robin’
RED Robin! Thats how we remember the name of this snappy Hens and Chicks. Tightly growing leaves in a medium sized rosette to 3″ across. The interior of the leaves are bright red with green leaf tips. Multiplies quickly. Retains these bright colors well throughout the year- where as some can become rather dull in winter. Spring – Autumn it may shoot up a 5″ spike bearing pink/red flowers. The rosette then dies but there are so many offsets that you would never know. Move them around the garden like furniture. Easy. Give them to friends, knock squirrels out of the tree with them. Fun to grow. Interact with your sempervivums and all will be good. Full sun and regular summer water to remain vigorous and bright and showy.
Sempervivum arachnoides var. pittonii
Cob webs cover this adorable and fast multiplying Hens and chicks. The hairy webbing is a successful strategy to stop transpiration of liquid from the leaves and cool the surface as well. 2″ wide rosettes create many offsets in a short amount of time. It makes a good small scale ground cover From spring to autumn it may produce a 5″ stem directly from the center of the rosette and bear rows of rosy pink flowers. That rosette then dies but it produces prodigious amounts of babies. Full sun to part shade in enriched, well drained soil with light summer irrigation. Without irrigation it will survive but shrink. Containers, rock gardens, gravel gardens. Good appearance year round.
Yucca (nana) hermmaniae
Adorable and rugged little dwarf Yucca from southern Utah. Tight round quills are decorated with filaments on the leaf edges. Not a friendly guy and very slow growing. Forming spheres of spikes to 1′ across and multiplying to produce colonies with pups. Full sun and very well drained soil of average to poor fertility. Requires excellent air circulation- no crowding. Plants that are smooshed with little air circulation protest heavily and it then takes a while for recovery. Open and free in rock garden conditions produces the happiest plants. At home nestled with boulders or as a finer texture element with Agaves. In time it produces adorable and conical shaped hoods of flowers- a gnome wedding. Excellent in containers- open, well drained containers. Light summer water during hot weather seems to speed growth. Locate away from paths. Owwie. Strongly deer and rabbit resistant.
Beaked Yucca does fantastically well in our climate and is one of the Yucca species that will form a dramatic trunk. Blue thin leaves radiate out in a perfectly round orb. Slowly rises to 8′ tall in our climate. Full hot all day sun in a warm position. Very well drained soil with light summer water during the hottest stretches to encourage growth. Occasionally, with age 4′ spikes appear holding large trusses of ivory flowers. Perfectly hardy to cold, way below 0ºF. Avoid cold wet sites- to really do well it needs heat and exposure. Not prone to bacterial leaf blight that affects other Yucca species. Good air circulation. Lives happily in large containers for eons. Focal point in many of the best gardens in our region. High deer resistance. Evergreen.