Albizia julibrissin ‘Summer Chocolate’

Amazing form of Mimosa that seems to thrive in the Willamette Valley. Finely divided foliage is a remarkable maroon/black. The pale pink powderpuff flowers that appear just after the leaves and continue for two months are excellently contrasted by the leaves. A very wide spreading tree to 25′ tall and as wide in 10 years. Full, unobstructed sun and virtually any soil that drains well. It’s vitally important that you water this tree heavily upon planting and into its first autumn. It must be well established to sail through its first winter. I have 4 in my garden and I watered them very heavily for the first summer season and they have never looked back. Creates exotic, beautiful specimens in time.

 

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Arbutus menziesii

Pacific Madrone, iconic tree of the Pacific Northwest. Famous for its glossy, russet orange, sinuous, exfoliating bark and round, evergreen foliage. In spring, clusters of white flowers are showy and turn into vivid red berries by autumn. These are loved by birds- especially western tanagers who will quickly strip a tree as flocks move from one to the next. Must be grown from seed and it must be transplanted when small. Just the way it is. Plant it in average, well drained soil. Water lightly through the first summer in subsequent years leave it strictly alone. Full sun is best- tends to wander towards the sun in shade. Underplant with low water natives such as Arctostaphylos, Ceanothus, Vancouveria. Slow at first it picks up speed after about 4 years- then it can grow 2′-4′ a year. Somewhat messy tree- loses leaves in summer and the bark exfoliates all over the place too. Know this and live with it. Ours are raised from seed of trees native to our wholesale nursery site- so its a local strain. Oregon native plant.

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Arbutus unedo

This is the standard small tree form of Strawberry Tree that is so important in PNW horticulture. A good looking evergreen tree that eventually forms a rounded dense crown. To 16′ tall and a third as wide in 10 years. Excellent small patio tree- as long as you account for the prodigious autumn fruit drop. Birds and squirrels consume the fruit which is alluded to in the specific name unedo- which means ‘I eat only one.’ I know people who eat them and claim to like them. So to each their own. No denying the electric neon yellow to bright red fruit is striking September to December. White urn shaped flowers appear simultaneously with the fruits in autumn. In time the bark develops to dark brown and shredding. Native to the Mediterranean with a disjunct population in southern Ireland. Drought tolerant when established.

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Argyrocytisus battandieri

Moroccan Pineapple Broom is a splendid, hardy NON-INVASIVE tree  that we adore for its silver foliage and spicily scented cones of brilliant yellow flowers. Fast growing tree which may also be maintained as a shrub. In our climate with more rain than its native range it usually achieves tree like proportions. To 16′ tall by 10′ wide most often with one to three trunks. Best in poor to average soil with as little irrigation as possible once established. You must treat this plant with a bit of benign neglect. Overly enriched soil and too much supplemental irrigation leads to a rank growing and usually unstable plant that can go over easily in a wet gale. The flower fragrance is definitely pineapple with somewhat salty notes. Blooms appear May-July and are born on wood from the previous year. Prune-if needed AFTER flowering has ended. Full sun is ideal. Wonderful small tree for rough sites- compacted awful droughty soils. Almost always deciduous in our winters and surprisingly hardy taking temperatures just below 0ºF with no ill effects. Moderately deer resistance. Absorbs the blasting heat of south facing walls. Wonderful small tree. Beautiful espalier subject- see pruning above.

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Azara microphylla ‘Variegata’

Pretty form of the normally deep green small leaved Azara. Tiny round, evergreen leaves are mostly cream with a light splash of dark green. Very pretty fine texture effect. Moderately fast growing tree to 12′ tall in 7 years. Part shade in a protected site. Protect from subfreezing east winds by siting on a south or west aspect.  Nice semi-weeping tree for woodland margins, urban courtyards. In March it is smothered in tiny yellow flowers with the powerful perfume of cocoa. Loses some leaves below 15ºF but recovers them quickly in spring. Light summer water. Takes dry shade very well.

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Azara microphylla (Upright form)

We’ve chosen this distinct form of Azara microphylla which has a much more upright habit and is also hardier to cold. Fast growing light textured evergreen tree. The tiny leaves are deep forest green and glossy and good looking year round. In March on old wood from the previous year and beyond alights with tiny yellow filament flowers. They have the intense and penetrating perfume of hot candy. Well, thats my take, others frequently chime in that it smells like Cocoa or Vanilla. Its an odd sweet fragrance that carries for many feet on mild early spring days. Explosively fast growing tree for any well drained site with regular deep watering. This speeds up early growth to 3′- 4′ a year. The dark, fine foliage provides a great contrast with the light taupe/tan colored bark. In time it exfoliates to reveal bright orange and tan patterns. Excellent urban tree that is incredibly drought tolerant when established. Locate out of the path of the most violent subfreezing east wind. Ultimate height in 10 years is about 22′ tall and less than half as wide. Easy, satisfying tree native to southern Chile. Great performance at the Oregon Coast as well. Casts very light shade.

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Ceanothus thyrsiflorus ‘Rogue Sky’

A selection of Coast Blue Blossom or Ceanothus thyrsiflorus that we made very far inland from its natural range in SW Oregon. Typically relegated to the coastal strip we found this variety more than 35 miles inland. This improves cold hardiness. A rapidly growing shrub/tree to 16′ tall and 8′ wide in 7 years. Robin’s egg blue flowers smother the whole plant in May. Extremely drought tolerant this fast grower may be either used as a cool, evergreen, native, blue flowered tree or it may be pruned aggressively after blooming to limit the size- increase density create a screen or hedge. Loved by honey bees and all pollinators in general.  No summer water once established. Excellent background tree that delights in bloom but fades to a green screen the rest of the year. Plant with other drought tolerant plants- Arctostaphylos, Cistus, etc. Grows 3′-4′ per year when established. The flowers are a soothing blue- which is hard to capture in photographs. The effect in bloom is a blue cloud. Takes partial shade and the worst soils. Oregon native plant.

Xera Plants Introduction

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Cercis occidentalis

Western Redbud is a wonderful showy spring blooming tree that gets by on no summer water. Native to California also Utah, Arizona this is primarily a large shrub in the wild. We have found in our climate with a longer rainy season it forms a small tree. In April this entire tree comes to life smothered in tiny but profuse magenta pink pea flowers. They line all the stems and even appear on the trunk. After three weeks of glory the handsome new leaves appear. Round and blue green they have a slight rubbery texture. To 14′-18′ tall and forming a spreading crown. Fall color is orange to yellow but not reliable. Large purple colored seed pods are showy and persist after the leaves have gone. Moderately fast growing (2′-3′) per year when happy. Full sun and well drained soil of average fertility. Water through the first summer to establish then no summer water in subsequent years. Thrives in our climate.

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Chionanthus virginicus

American fringe tree has never been common in our region. And to be honest I have never grown it and the experts that I know have given me conflicting reports. So, 3 years ago when my neighbors planted them as street trees, I was intrigued to see how they actually did in our climate- in a stressful situation too. The results are excellent. Not only does it cope with no summer water, it seems to get enough heating calories here to bloom, and bloom like crazy. Petaloid puffs of white foam above and below the branches in May/June. Its a spectacle. To 18′ tall and less than half as wide in 10 years. I’d certainly recommend not only full sun but a warm position AND reliable summer irrigation. Loves heat. Fall color is almost non-existent which will immediately damn it with landscape architects. I, however, heartily endorse this wonderful small, deciduous tree from the American S.E.

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Chitalpa x tashkentensis ‘White Cloud’

A very pretty  intergeneric hybrid tree between Catalpa and Chilopsis (Desert Willow). We really like this small tree that forms an umbrella shaped crown in time. To 20′ tall and continuously producing opulent large white flower clusters- the interior of the flower is marked with purple veining- much like an exotic orchid. The flowers appear on new growth and are continuous from June to September. The long thin tapered light green leaves have a nice texture. They do not color up appreciably in fall- making due with light yellow to off green before abandoning the tree. Excellent garden tree. We prefer the white flowered form as the often planted pink variety …..well, lets just say Portland has a LOT of pink flowering trees. Fast growing in youth-especially if well watered in summer. Otherwise, supremely tolerant of drought as well as rough, hot urban conditions. Casts moderate shade in time. Breaks dormancy late- usually late April. Be patient.

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Cinnamomum checkiangense

Excellent, sophisticated, graceful and cold hardy evergreen tree that thrives in our climate. Large, green pendant leaves are marked with  three prominent veins. New growth in spring emerges bright coral red before changing to mid green. Horizontal branching structure in tiers displays the handsome foliage very well. In late spring curious little white/green flowers amuse but are hard to spot. Fast growing straight trunked tree to 25′ tall with a spread half as wide. The crown is conical shaped but becomes more spreading in time. Excellent cold hardiness as well as adaptation to ice and snow. We love this unusual member of the Lauraceae. It should be planted often.

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Clerodendrum trichotomum

Glorybower. Iconic in the city of Portland this small umbrella shaped tree lines streets and populates gardens throughout the city. Late summer brings masses of white flowers held in a red calyx that perfume the area for many blocks with a sweet jasmine fragrance. Following the flowers the calyx swells to a red star and a turquoise blue berry forms. To 16′ tall moderately fast in full sun and rich soil with regular summer irrigation. Avoid disturbance around established trees which can cause it to sucker annoyingly. Large tropical leaves have the fragrance of peanut butter when bruised. Little to no fall color. Japan.

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Clethra barbinervis ‘Takaeda Nishiki’

Variegated form of Japanese summer sweet with amazing white splashed foliage and masses of powerfully fragrant white flowers all summer. To 10′ tall moderately fast in part shade to full sun in rich, moisture retentive soil. Regular summer water. In time it forms a trunk that displays mottled exfoliating bark which is very pretty. . Wonderful woodland tree that endures full sun with regular irrigation. Light yellow fall color. Graceful at all times. Nice branching pattern in symmetrical whorls. The clusters of flowers dry and cling to the tree in winter. These can be removed by the fastidious gardener or left to hang and decompose with the effect of spanish moss.  Blooms continuously most of the summer. The clusters of pendant white flowers emit an intoxicating perfume that is most notable on warm to hot days. It will perfume the entire garden- its not a cloying sweetness either but a much more sophisticated aroma that has you seeking more. Water regularly, not drought adapted. Lovely, lovely specimen tree. Avoid hot dry sites.

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Crinodendron patagua

Chilean Lily of the Valley Tree or Evergreen Snowbell- both descriptive common names for this unusual tree from South America. Fast growing evergreen tree that looks superficially like a live oak. In mid to late summer relatively large pure white waxy bells appear and line the stems like small bells. The bottom of the waxy bloom is deeply serrated. Cool. To 16′ tall and half as wide. Often forms multi-trunks if you don’t want this then diligently prune it until you get one sturdy trunk. Do not site in the direct path of subfreezing east wind- a south or west exposure will do in windy areas. Easy to grow tree that gets by with a minimum of water in summer once established.

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Cunninghamia lanceolata var. glauca

This form of China Fir we love for its bright blue vivid foliage. A tall growing conical tree to 40′ eventually. To about 25′ tall in 10 years. A prickly but beautiful conifer that grows fairly fast when young. The boughs eventually house small, cute, ok, damned adorable little wooden pinecones that persist through spring. In time the trunk becomes gray and fissured. A sky line tree with great age and old specimens dot the Portland Metro area. Very drought adapted when established. Great screen or specimen. Give it plenty of room to grow in FULL sun- no shade and rich to average well drained soil. Very good architectural presence. Cold hardy and easy to grow- long lived tree. Moderately deer resistant.

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Cupressus (Hesperocypress) macrocarpa ‘Citriodora’

Fantastic form of the incredibly tough Monterey Cypress. Foliage on this fast growing large evergreen tree is brilliantly hued in chartreuse/gold and acid green. Pinch the foliage and the fragrance of lemons is released. Fast growing tree for poor to average well drained soil. Avoid overly rich soils- which causes rank, unsteady growth. Average un-amended native soils are best. Light summer water to initiate growth and then completely drought tolerant. To 35′ tall x 25′ wide in 15 years. In time it develops a really cool flat spreading crown that this species is so famous for. Great drought and cold tolerance at our nursery. Give it amble room, full all day sun and not much else. Cold hardy to 0ºF. Long lived tree. This species has been placed in the genus Hesperocypress.

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Cupressus glabra ‘Sulphurea’

Remarkable form of the hardy Arizona Cypress. This variety has foliage frosted in chartreuse/cream with interior foliage closer to sea green. A great affect. To 15′ tall but only 4′ wide this is a decidedly fastigiate form of this species. Fast growing tree for screens, specimen. Poor to average soil- avoid rich soil- this causes Cypress to grow to fat and fast in our climate- they get rank and rocky. So plant in average to poor soil with light irrigation until you see appreciable new growth and then none- ever. This produces a more measured growth rate and a sturdier plant. Full sun- from ALL directions- no shade at all. Open exposed sites are best. Very pretty plant that adores our climate. Cold hardy below 0ºF. Rare tree and quantities are limited. Completely drought tolerant.

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Cupressus sempervirens ‘Glauca’

The most common form of Italian Cypress with a strongly fastigiate (skinny upright habit) and blue green foliage. Fast growing tree that demands average to poor soil and little to no summer moisture. Soil that is too rich and too much water in our climate leads to prodigious rank growth and instability. Dry, poor soils and no summer water leads to steady measured growth and no tipping. Full all day sun from every direction. This will ensure thick foliage from the base to the top. Established plants can easily put on 3′-5′ of growth per year. To 22′ tall and about 18″ wide. Extremely drought tolerant. Does not succumb to spider mites or other diseases as Arborvitae frequently can.  If it is too tall you may top it and it will re-grow a new terminal leader quickly. Great in containers. Protect containers from temperatures below 10ºF. Takes intense reflected heat with no problem. Great urban tree.

 

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Cupressus sempervirens ‘Swane’s Golden’

The golden form of Italian Cypress which is a very useful plant for bright vertical effects in gardens. Fast growing fastigiate tree to 18′ tall and just 18″ wide. Full sun and average to poor soil with little to no summer water. If it becomes disheveled in ice or snow simply give it a good hair cut and a denser form will emerge. You may also cut the top to limit size and a new vertical leader will quickly form. Deer resistant. Avoid overly enriched soil and shade or growth will be rank and unkempt. Grows about 2′-3′ in an average year.

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Cupressus sempervirens ‘Totem’

A superior form of Italian Cypress that is thinner and more resistant to ice and snow. The foliage is forest green eschewing the blue hue of the more common ‘Glauca’. To just 10″ wide it rises to 16′ tall in a fast growing spire. Full sun (which means all parts of the columnar tree from top to bottom should receive full sunlight) and poor to average, unimproved soil. Avoid overly enriched soil which causes fast rank growth which can make the tree unsteady. Its adapted to the very poorest soils which ensure measured, sturdy growth. Our favorite form of this useful disease and pest resistant columnar tree. Cold hardy.

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Dendropanax trifidus

Underused cold hardy evergreen tree that has fascinating and handsome foliage and tolerates full sun to total shade as well as summer drought. Umbrella shaped tree with glossy large triple lobed leaves that become entire on adult foliage. Slow growing to 17′ tall and half as wide. Attractive pale tan bark. Very tough and adaptable small tree. Green flowers in summer become black berries by autumn but are almost always stripped by birds. Great branching structure and form in time. Very cold hardy and deer resistant.

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Embothrium coccineum

Chilean Fire tree is a  brilliant and fun tree to grow in the milder parts of the PNW. Our seed strain is from established cold hardy specimens around Portland.  Moderately fast growing somewhat thin tree to 18′ tall and just 6′ wide in 10 years. In late spring (May) the tree is smothered in fascinating tubular hot orange/red flowers that are effective for a month or more. Semi-deciduous to deciduous in these hardy forms. Full sun and rich, to average well drained soil that has NOT been amended. Protea family it is sensitive to high nutrients- best in our native unimproved conditions. Light summer water. Hummingbirds manna. Long grown in the PNW- because it adores our maritime climate. Fantastic performance at the Oregon coast.

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Eriobotrya japonica

Loquat is much hardier than most people think. Enormous specimens are ancient and scattered around Portland. In my previous garden I had a huge specimen that sailed through the worst winters (below 10ºF) and epic ice and snow with NO damage. Bold, broadleaved evergreen tree. The leaves are huge and look very tropical. In winter buds clad in brown fur support many very fragrant white flowers. Loved by overwintering Anna’s Hummingbirds. If the winter fizzles out and temperature fail to drop below 20ºF you may see the small, sweet fruits ripen in summer to early autumn. Primarily it is grown for its great foliage and convenient size. To 18′ tall and 10′ wide forming a rounded crown in 10 years. Full sun and rich to average soil. Completely drought adapted but summer water will increase the growth rate. Hardy to 5ºF and does not suffer foliage damage until that point is reached. Avoid growing this tree in the windy eastern exposed suburbs of Portland. Excellent tree for a small garden. Japan.

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Eucalyptus archeri

Alpine Cider Gum from high elevations in Tasmania has proven to be one of the reliable species of Eucalyptus for our region. Juvenile (young) growth is perfoliate and very very light gray blue- this is the foliage used as popular cut material. The tree may be cut back nearly to the ground regularly to retain this foliage- The tree must be established at least a year before you do this. Otherwise the adult foliage is totally different. Bright green and elongated leaves with a round tip hang densely on an upright growing nice looking tree. Eventually, the bark becomes amazing with pink and gray striations. Blooms in early spring with white flowers. Extremely fast growing tree to 35′ tall + that is a great evergreen garden tree. Good looking year round. Handles ice and snow like a champ- shedding snow and bending under ice without breaking. Full sun and rich to average soil with regular summer water through the first year. High deer resistance. Hardier to cold with age.

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Eucalyptus dalrympleana

Mountain white gum or just Mountain gum is a wonderful cold hardy Eucalypt that can achieve the largest proportions of any that we grow. In Portland specimens of 60′ occur and it presents as a large spreading tree with sickle shaped leaves of deep green and glossy. Very aromatic when crushed and excellent material for wreaths. In time it develops fantastic powder white bark.  Fast growing in youth to 6′ a year in rich soil with regular irrigation. Once established it is very drought tolerant. In time it forms a large spreading crown on a majestic and easy to grow tree. Requires a large site. Eucalyptus are intolerant of all shade and should be hit from all sides by sunlight. Otherwise they will grow sparsely and lean towards the sun. White flowers occur in late winter and are more curious than showy. Does have some leaf drop- take note near patios. Cold hardy to 5ºF when established. Gains cold hardiness with age. Moderately deer resistant.

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Eucalyptus kybeanensis

Excellent little multi-trunked hardy Eucalyptus that we love for its height, graceful foliage, and handsome bark. To just 15′ tall after many years it grows quickly when young. The 3″ long medium green glossy leaves are thin and slightly curved. In winter the interior twigs are lined with wispy white flowers in clusters of six. Seldom sets seed in our climate.  Excellently adapted and scaled for urban gardens. Very graceful and pretty year round. The leaves are held by vivid red petioles and cut material from this tree is excellent- if somewhat limited from size and slower re-growth. This small tree forms multiple trunks- no single trunk ever happens, and the bark is a soft glossy taupe. Very pretty tree. Related to and included in the category Snow Gum. Hardy without damage to just below 10ºF- and likely much lower.

 

 

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Eucalyptus parvula

Little Leaf Gum is a handsome, graceful, cold hardy, obscure beautiful Eucalypt for our gardens.  Extremely endangered in the wild it survives in just a few locations at high elevations – always above 3500′, in the SE Australian Alps. That alone gives us reason to grow this fantastic little tree.  Fast growing small tree of very fine texture. To 22′ tall and half as wide in our climate. Single or multi-trunked the bark becomes glossy and shedding with time. Remarkably fast growing in youth, easily 3′-6′ in a single season- achieving tree status in just a few years. Wonderful fine textured evergreen that casts the lightest shade. Small groups of white flowers bedeck the stems in late summer and autumn- and sporadically through the year when older. Full sun and an open exposure. Very, very hardy to cold when established. There are two of this species planted along I-5 near the Woodburn Factory Outlets that have been there more than 35 years. They have endured temperatures near 0ºF at least twice in that locale with little to no injury. Takes summer drought but prefers a few good soaks when its really dry.  Good garden tree. Dislikes shade. Open exposed location. The tree pictured is at the the Oregon Garden in Silverton. Excellent small garden tree.

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Eucalyptus pauciflora ssp. debeuzevillei

Jounama Snow Gum is repeatedly one of the cold hardiest Eucalypts and it is excellently adapted to our climate. Gray/blue scimitar shaped leaves are pendant on a spreading umbrella shaped frame of a tree. Often the trunk forks just after emerging from the ground into multiple handsome stems. This increases the surface area where you can enjoy the ravishing exfoliating bark. Bark drops in late summer to reveal python like patches of taupe/grey/green and is showy through winter. In autumn the upper branches are decorated with small fluffy white flowers. One of the few Eucalyptus that will endure subfreezing wind- in fact this tree has been hardy to brief dips to 0ºF (-18ºC). Explosively fast growing when young to 35′ tall in just 7 years. Give it room. Light summer water in virtually any well drained soil- including clay. Do not stake. Let it produce its own sturdy leader. Sheds ice and snow like a champion. Though this is a subspecies of Eucalyptus pauciflora- a snow gum just like E. p. ‘Niphophila’ there are several differences from that tree. The leaves on E. p. debeuzevillei tend to be wider and more substantial than ‘Niphophila’. Also, that gum nearly always forms several trunks. This is less common with Jounama Snow Gum and in my experience it is a slightly taller tree. It can also vary in its habit from being very wide and spreading to skinny and fastigiate- its simply the luck of the draw and you cannot decipher this future habit as a seedling. Avoid heavy watering in hot conditions and site in a well drained place. Its completely drought tolerant and should be treated that way. Winter water when its cool is irrelevant. Overall it is a fast, healthy, and easy to grow tree in just a short amount of time.

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Eucalyptus pauciflora ssp. niphophila

Snow gum is a wonderful cold hardy tree for the Pacific Northwest. Scimitar shaped gray foliage is pendant and handsome year round. This rapidly growing tree thrives in full sun and virtually any soil save for boggy conditions. In just a few years it develops amazing python mottled bark in tones of gray/tan/olive green. The bark sheds in mid-summer and can be a bit messy. Site accordingly. Grows 4′-5′ a year when young. Irrigation just increases this growth rate. Stake only when VERY young then let it form a sturdy trunk on its own. The vast majority of this Snow gum will form multiple trunks. Its possible to select one sturdy main trunk when young- pay close attention as they grow very fast. To 30′ tall and half as wide in 10 years.  Snow gums have a weird habit of growing horizontally before reaching upwards. This is natural. Handles ice and snow no problem. Cold hardy to brief dips to 0ºF. Mountains of Australia. White fluffy flowers in clusters in winter. Avoid all shade.

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Eucalyptus perriniana

Spinning wheel gum is one of the prettiest of the cold hardier Eucalyptus. Named for its striking blue/gray perfoliate round foliage as a juvenile. In time as the foliage morphs to adulthood each new leaf becomes longer and more pendulous. A small tree in our climate to 18′ tall with a widely spreading crown. Fast growing tree, especially in youth. It may be damaged in our coldest winters- losing branches or even freezing to the ground if temperatures drop below about 8ºF. Re-growth which will be juvenile is rapid in spring and it can recover its full height in just two or three seasons. Damage occurs about once every 7 years- and slightly more often in rural settings. Best in the warmest possible part of the garden- and not for cold gardens or subfreezing wind prone sites. Excellent, highly aromatic cut foliage. White flowers line the stems like small sea anemones in winter. In time it develops a strongly weeping habit.

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Eucryphia milliganii

A great little evergreen tree from Tasmania that grows to 10′ tall but just a few feet wide. This columnar tree is the cold hardiest variety from Tasmania and is found at the highest elevations there. In my own garden it has never been damaged by cold in the 8 years that I’ve grown it. In July/August it is covered in small thimble sized white flowers with a cute central boss of stamens tipped with raspberry pink pollen. Full sun and infrequent but deep summer water. Avoid the reflected heat of south facing walls. Best with some afternoon shade. Excellent tree for small gardens- it fits in the tiniest places and still looks fantastic. Evergreen foliage often starts 1′ from the ground on up. Nice texture.

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Eucryphia x ‘Nymansay’

Columnar evergreen tree that is ideally sized for small urban gardens and blooms in mid to late summer. Large white flowers are profuse on every stem. There is a central boss of long stamens tipped with pink pollen. Blooms July-August. Full sun to light overstory shade and rich soil with regular summer water to establish. To 18′ + in  10 years and less than half as wide. The evergreen divided leaves are glossy and pretty year round. Grows about 2′- 3′ a year when established. Young trees are somewhat sparse but they  fill in significantly with age becoming very dense upright rounded trees with time. Locate out of the path of subfreezing east wind. If you are in a wind zone place the tree on the west or south side of a structure. In central Portland this is less of an issue. Gains tremendous cold hardiness with age. Protect young plants from temperatures below 15ºF- established plants can take brief drops to 0ºF. Amazing in bloom and wild life thinks so too. Cold damaged foliage recovers very quickly in spring- by May you would have no idea. Injury happens in cold gardens about once every 5 years. Majestic tree in age. South America.

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Eucryphia x intermedia ‘Rostrevor’

Possibly the best Eucryphia for our climate in ease of culture, amount of flowers and hardiness. This evergreen tree grows quickly when young. In youth it tends to be a somewhat sparse tree but with age it increases in density markedly. In July/August the whole tree is draped in pure white 2″ blossoms with a central boss of stamens holding raspberry pink pollen. Grows about 2′-3′ a year or more in rich, well drained soil with regular summer irrigation. Established trees can take summer drought. Cold hardiness increases dramatically with the age of the plant. Protect small trees from arctic conditions. The entire deep green leaves are good looking year round. To 18′ tall and 5′ wide in a columnar form. Hybrid between two Chilean Eucryphia species including the hardiest E. glutinosa (Zone 6)- it inherits cold hardiness from that parent.  Full sun.

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Genista aetnensis

Mt. Etna Broom is a remarkable TREE from the slopes of Italy’s tallest active volcano. Unlike Scotch Broom (Cytisus scoparius) this fine, leafless tree will NEVER become a pest in our climate. Rush like pendulous green stems are replete with yellow jasmine scented pea flowers for months in summer. This tree casts no shade but provides an elegant vertical element. The sweet perfume travels many feet on a warm day. Blooms May-August. Fast growing drought adapted tree to 18′ tall and 8′ wide in 10 years. Full, all day sun in a hot position in poor to average very well drained soil. Little summer water once established. Forms a very nice trunk in time. Plant with drought adapted shrubs/perennials. Wonderful small garden tree where you need height but don’t want shade. High deer resistance. Slightly tender when very young- fully hardy as an adult (3-4 years). Spectacular in bloom. No shade, it casts no shade.

Photo credit: Loree Bohl (Danger Garden)

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Lagerstroemia fauriei ‘Townhouse’

Crape myrtles aren’t just about flowers we actually are even more attracted to the handsome, exfoliating bark. This selection from the disease resistant Japanese species has some of the best bark in the vegetable kingdom. Swaths of muscular mahogany, cinnamon red smooth regions create a fantastic tapestry. This is a very large growing Crape Myrtle with profuse but smaller trusses of FRAGRANT white flowers in mid- late summer. Fall color is bright orange/yellow/red and is very striking in its somewhat brief display. To 35′ tall in great age it grows approximately 3′-4′ per year when young. Bark begins to develop coloration in 2-3 years. Most often multi-trunked this gives the gardener even more beauty to stare at. Forms a spreading umbrella shape. Completely disease resistant. Best with consistent summer moisture for the first few years then only occasional deep soaks. Deciduous. A fantastic street tree with great dimensions and form. This selection – chosen for bark coloration can be difficult to locate. Beautiful tree.

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Lagerstroemia indica ‘Black Diamond Red’®

Striking crape myrtle with jet BLACK foliage that would be cool all by itself. The real kicker is intense true red flowers that smolder with the leaves. A naturally and reliably early blooming almost fastigiate tree. To 9′ tall but just 3′ wide in 7 years. Full hot sun and rich soil with regular summer irrigation for the best results. So far it has been completely mildew free as well. Imagine the late summer combinations? Blooms first appear in early August in urban areas- later in cooler hinterlands. If it never bloomed it would be a cool thing but that red. Wow. Fall color is non-existent.

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Lagerstroemia indica 'Catawba' xera plants

Lagerstroemia indica ‘Catawba’

One of the very first releases from the National Arboretum breeding program in 1967 and a fine purple flowered Crape Myrtle that has yet to be exceeded. Deep violet purple flowers occur en masse in August through October on this compact tree to just 12′ tall with a rounded crown. Full sun and rich soil with REGULAR summer irrigation to bloom. Water deeply once a week through the bloom period. In autumn the foliage takes on brilliant orange/red/yellow hues. Just as spectacular as the blooms. In time the bark exfoliates to a smooth tan. Moderately mildew resistant- give it good air circulation in an open exposure.

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Lagerstroemia indica ‘Centennial Spirit’

Good looking upright growing very floriferous Crape Myrtle. The large trusses of flowers born in August – October are a fascinating mix of colors. In cooler weather they are decidedly rose colored, The hotter the weather and the more consistently hot the flower color becomes a rich red. Either way this strong growing disease resistant Crape Myrtle is a winner in our climate. To 18′ tall and 9′ wide in full sun, virtually any soil with REGULAR deep irrigation in summer- without irrigation Crape Myrtles in our climate will stall and not grow or bloom. Fantastic garden tree. Fall color is red/orange and the bark exfoliates to a muscular soft tan/taupe. Grows 2′-3′ a year when well irrigated. Cold hardy. Not the best picture, but the truest flower color I could capture. Great Crape Myrtle.

 

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Lagerstroemia indica ‘Dynamite’®

Extraordinary tree that has the truest red flowers of just about any crape myrtle. Fast growing upright then spreading tree to 20′ tall and half as wide in 10 years. Exfoliating smooth tan bark in time. New growth is deep maroon settling to mid green. In August to October this reliable bloomer is stunning with fire engine red huge trusses of flowers. This is a large tree and is already planted as a street tree in PDX. Fall color is a brilliant mix of orange/yellow/ red. Full all day sun in a hot position with regular deep irrigation to bloom. Disease resistant with good air circulation. Spectacular tree in all of its parts. Unauthorized propagation prohibited. Plant patent #10,296.

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Lagerstroemia indica ‘PDX Red’

We discovered this seedling Crape Myrtle years ago in North Portland and we were amazed that it burst into bright red bloom beginning in July every year- despite all sorts of weather conditions. Upright growing dense tree to 10′ tall and 5′ wide in 10 years. Large trusses of red flowers begin in July and peak in coverage on the tree in August. This crape myrtle must have regular irrigation to thrive/bloom and it favors richer soils than other cultivars. Water deeply once a week through its bloom period. In time the straight trunks exfoliate to glossy tan. Fall color is red/ orange. Moderately fast growing to 2′-3′ per year when young. Full hot sun and good air circulation. Avoid crowding with other plants. Pretty tree.

Xera Plants Introduction.

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Lagerstroemia indica ‘Pink Velour’®

Extraordinary small  upright tree with new growth that is deep maroon slowly settling to green as the summer wears on. Reliable large trusses of shocking pink flowers typically appear by early August and then remains in bloom for 4-6 weeks. Very upright skinny habit to 10′ tall and just 3′ wide in 10 years in our climate. Full all day hot sun in a hot position. Grows approximately 2′-3′ a year when young. Extremely showy in bloom this eager bloomer makes a great small garden tree where rich soil and REGULAR IRRIGATION are present. Bark slowly exfoliates to a soft tan. Unauthorized propagation prohibited. Plant patent #10,319. Fall color is red/orange. Highly mildew resistant.

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Lagerstroemia indica ‘Red Rocket’®

True red crape myrtles that actually bloom well in our climate are at a premium. This is one of those cultivars and we like it for several specific reasons. The flower trusses are true cherry red and huge and are held straight up. (Hence the rocket). Its best grown as a large multi-trunked tree to 20′ tall. The trunks begin to exfoliate after several years in place and show an amazing mottled deep chestnut brown and taupe display that is smooth and glossy. Unusual for both a pure indica and a red flowered cultivar . The medium green foliage takes on amazing orange/red tints in autumn before dropping and once they are off the tree- as with all Crape myrtles there is no raking. They simply dry up and almost instantly decompose. Neat and tidy. Full, hot, all day sun in a hot position in average soil with regular summer water. You must irrigate this tree deeply at least once every two weeks in summer so that it will bloom. The first flowers appear in August and extend to the beginning of October. Cold hardy and disease resistant tree. Unauthorized propagation prohibited. Plant patent #11,342.

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Lagerstroemia indica ‘Twilight’

Large growing tree type Crape Myrtle to 20’+ tall with a wide spreading crown. Reliable soft, luminous purple large trusses of flowers begin on average the first week of August in the city and repeat bloom until October. Fast growing shade tree that can achieve 3′-5′ a year when young in optimal conditions. Free blooming tree that displays glossy, muscular tan trunks when the bark sheds in mid-summer. These contrast greatly with the deep green foliage and sumptuous purple blooms. Long lived, cold hardy, disease resistant cultivar that has shown its merits for many decades in the southern U.S. but less often grown in our region. Fall color is bright red/ orange/ yellow.  Moderate disease resistance. Good air circulation- proper cultivation eliminates this threat. As with all purple flowered Crape myrtles the flowers can fade a bit after opening. When a non-fading purple Crape myrtle becomes available we will be the first to let you know. Otherwise this is a great, dependable, garden tree. Deep, infrequent, summer irrigation. Six or more hours of hot sun per day.

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Lagerstroemia indica ‘Victor’ (Red)

Smaller growing crape myrtle that we love for its opulent display of true red flowers in August to October. Slow growing to 8′ tall and 4′ wide in 8 years. Full hot sun and rich to average well drained soil with REGULAR deep summer irrigation to bloom. Loves heavy clay soils as long as they are irrigated. Fall color is red/orange and in time the stems exfoliate to glossy tan. Give this small tree/shrub the hottest site possible. Easy, disease resistant and cold hardy. Great for smaller gardens.

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Lagerstroemia x ‘Arapaho’

The largest triple hybrid from the National Arboretum has yielded an excellent true red flowered, disease resistant and reliable Crape Myrtle. Fast growing to 20′ tall but just 8′ wide it forms a very upright tree. The huge true red flower trusses begin in urban areas in late July and continue unabated for two months. New growth is maroon and still retains hints of that as it changes to green- giving this tree a darker look. We have found that it is slightly tender when young- freezes back in cold winters but it rebounds quickly in summer and established trees see no damage. Rich to average (including heavy clay) soils with regular deep summer irrigation for earlier and more prolific bloom. Bark is fair becoming a mottled patchwork of tan. Fall color is brilliant red. Fast growing- easily 3′-4′ per year in well irrigated trees. Mildew resistant. Full, hot sun in a hot position.

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Lagerstroemia x ‘Cheyenne’

One of the last National Arboretum releases in 2003 and a hybrid that includes three species.  This extraordinary small tree is perhaps the best adapted to our milder summers. To just 9′ tall after 10 years this globose tree begins blooming in urban areas as early as the 4th of July and repeat blooms all the way though September. The enormous flower trusses are a vibrant magenta/ruby red. Very free blooming with perhaps the lowest heat requirement of any Crape Myrtle we have grown. In time the bark exfoliates to a smooth chocolate brown. Fall color is  orange to red. Full, hot sun and rich soil with REGULAR irrigation (deep soaks at least once a week) until bloom. Brilliant bloomer with enormous trusses of vivid flowers. Excellent choice for cooler summer areas such as Puget Sound. Does not grow very fast as it is too busy blooming. Exceptionally disease resistant selection.

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Lagerstroemia x fauriei ‘Acoma’

Underused beautiful disease resistant Crape Myrtle that is free blooming with enormous pendulous trusses of pure white flowers. To 15′ tall with a somewhat weeping habit- especially in bloom. It creates a spreading crown on a small easy to grow tree for full, all day sun and regular summer water. The crystal white large flowers appear often as early as late July in hot summers and continues unabated to about the first of October. Fall color is yellow/orange and pretty. The sinuous trunks display taupe/beige glossy bark which is just as showy. Give this wide spreading small tree room to grow. Regular summer water and rich soil yields a growth rate approaching 3′ per year when young. As with almost all Crape trees it grows quickly to its ultimate size and then it slows considerably. Excellent garden tree. National arboretum selection.

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Lagerstroemia x fauriei ‘Choctaw’

Obscure and exceptional tree type crape myrtle that was one of supreme breeder Donald Egolf’s favorite introductions from the National Arboretum. He introduced 30 Crape myrtles so thats saying a lot. Fast growing upright tree with phenomenal bark. Cinnamon red/mahogany/cream all are present on this 25′ tall arching tree. From late July to October a fantastic display of luminous soft pink flowers born on huge trusses. Fall color is vivid orange/yellow/red. In time it develops a spreading crown and makes a wonderful garden tree. Average to enriched soil with REGULAR summer water for the first few years. Deep soaks on established trees enhances bloom as well. Full, all day sun in a hot position. Excellent tree to garden with- roots are not intrusive and it happily accepts regular irrigation. Grows about 3′-5′ a year when young- slows down to its ultimate height. This is essentially an improved pink flowered form of ‘Natchez’.  Limited quantities.

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Lagerstroemia x fauriei ‘Hopi’

For our climate this is one of the very finest summer blooming small trees. Forming a perfectly round dome in time to 12′ tall and nearly as wide this free blooming tree also requires the least amount of water to sustain it and bloom. Beginning in mid-July large trusses of bubble gum pink flowers appear and they completely obscure the foliage of the crown re-blooming non-stop until the end of September. In fall reliable and incredibly showy orange  to red and yellow fall color is stunning for an extended period of time. The bark sloughs off of older trees to reveal a glossy gray surface. Moderately fast growing this should be a standard landscape plant in our climate. Exceptional cold hardiness and no fear of disease.

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Lagerstroemia x fauriei ‘Muskogee’

One of the first hybrid named cultivars released by the National Arboretum in 1978 and a fantastic cold hardy large free flowering tree. Fast growing tree to 25′ tall and half as wide in 10 years. Beginning in late June large trusses of lavender pink flowers appear. They increase in abundance and peak in a massive bloom in August. The tall trunks exfoliate to a glossy taupe/patches of tan. Very pretty and exotic looking tree when large. There is a 30′ specimen- one of the first hybrids planted on the west coast in 1974 in SE Portland. Its a spectacular shade tree. Fall color is a brilliant mix of orange and red. Exceptionally hardy to cold. Best with regular irrigation- which speeds growth markedly and improves bloom. Otherwise it takes summer drought in stride. Excellent for use as a street tree. Long, long, bloom season. Fantastic, well behaved large garden tree.

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Lagerstroemia x fauriei ‘Osage’

After almost two decades of growing Crape Myrtles we can honestly say that we’ve come to the conclusion that the bark on this tree size cultivar is among the most exceptional of the group. Cinnamon red background with amorphically shaped maroon patches outlined in white. Its natures ravishing puzzle and we love it. Way showier than ‘Natchez’. Wide spreading, semi-pendulous tree to 16′ tall and 10′ wide.  Enormous, loose trusses of light pink are early and reliable in our climate. Blooms on average from early August to October. In time it produces a spreading crown and makes an exceptional garden tree. Completely mildew resistant. In autumn the whole tree turns a uniform electric red. Stunning. A fantastic tree that should be known and grown more. Full hot sun, regular summer water.

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Lagerstroemia x fauriei 'Pecos' xera plants

Lagerstroemia x fauriei ‘Pecos’

A deservedly popular tree in western Oregon for several reasons. Large globose panicles of clear pink flowers begin in urban areas as early as the beginning of July and repeat bloom until September. The open and vase shaped habit is graceful and bends gently under the weight of the huge flower trusses. In time this 15′ tree develops some of the best exfoliating bark of the genus. In late summer on trees older than 3 years the top layer of bark sloughs off revealing smooth, rich, chocolate brown trunks. Amazeballs. The bark is showy throughout winter. In autumn the foliage turns to shades of maroon and red. This crape myrtle MUST HAVE regular irrigation to grow and bloom. Excellent small garden tree with some of the lowest heat requirements to bloom. Water. You must water. National Arboretum release 1987, Spectacular tree in western Oregon.

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Lagerstroemia x fauriei ‘Sarah’s Favorite’

A really good free blooming tree sized Crape Myrtle with profuse huge white flower trusses and astonishing orange bark. This is a fast growing tree and if properly irrigated can achieve easily 4′ a year. To 22′ tall and half as wide. Very similar to ‘Natchez’ with several distinct differences. It is a little hardier to cold. For those in cooler rural regions where there is insufficient summer heat to harden the wood for winter this is a good choice. The flowers are primarily held upright as opposed to pendulous on ‘Natchez’, The bark tends more towards pure orange (like a madrone) rather than mottled. Full sun and rich to average soil with regular summer water. Blooms early July to September. Fall color is vivid orange and red. Very nice garden tree.

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Lagerstroemia x fauriei ‘Tonto’

Sweet little tree that has some of the most vivid fuchsia/magenta flowers in the Crape Myrtle universe. To 14′ tall with a rounded crown. In late August to October huge trusses of vivid magenta flowers are quite showy. In the waning light of summer this vivid display is welcome. The trunks eventually exfoliate to a soft sandalwood brown with taupe blotches. Very nice. Completely disease resistant. Excellent small garden tree. Fall color is boisterous red and orange. Regular deep irrigation and full all day sun in a hot position. Grows approximately 2′-3′ per year when young. Excellent National Arboretum hybrid.

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Lagerstroemia x fauriei ‘Tuscarora’

One of the most popular tree type Crape Myrtles and it is frequently planted as a street tree in the city of Portland. Strongly upright growing tree- almost fastigiate that eventually forms a spreading crown. The silhouette is that of a hot air balloon. Full sun and rich to average soil including clay soils. REGULAR summer water not only ensures a huge flower display in August and September it rapidly speeds the growth rate. Well irrigated trees can put on up to 4′ a year. Otherwise it makes due with little summer water by blooming much later- September. Extremely large hot coral pink trusses are held vertically. They can appear the size of a beehive. Less re-bloom than other trees. Fall color is orange/yellow/soft red and lingers. The exfoliating bark takes on a champagne pink glossy sheen when mature. Good garden tree. Excellent street tree. To 22′ tall and 8′ wide at maturity.

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Lagerstroemia x fauriei 'Wichita' xera plants

Lagerstroemia x fauriei ‘Wichita’

One of the very finest very large growing tree type Crape Myrtles from the National Arboretum breeding program. Tall and not very wide in time this very fast and upright growing tree sports a spreading crown. In late July to October huge panicles of bright lavender flowers remain showy for weeks. Its a soft color but the display is opulent. In time the bark exfoliates to patches of cinnamon red and mahogany. Very showy. Fall color is an intense display of reds/orange/purple. Full sun and virtually any soil- thrives in clay soils and the reflected heat of parking strips. Of all the Crape myrtle cultivars perhaps this free blooming 26′ tall tree is the best for a candidate as a street tree. Excellent cold hardiness as well as disease resistance. Well irrigated trees will easily put on 4′ of growth in a year.

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Lagerstroemia x fauriei ‘Yuma’

Extraordinary tree that displays HUGE trusses of almost double flowered glowing lavender blue flowers. Open spreading habit on a compact tree to 14′ tall and 8′ wide. The branching structure favors the huge opulent flower clusters which always begin in my garden in early August and continues well into September. Fall color is a vivid orange and yellow combination and is reliable. The sinuous trunk displays pink/tan coloration Smooth and very pretty. Its consistently one of the youngest to show bark coloration.  Full hot sun and regular summer irrigation to bloom and thrive. Very cold hardy and disease resistant. An easy and spectacular tree that should be planted everywhere. Beautiful.

 

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Lagerstroemia x fauriei ‘Zuni’

This has become a standard Crape myrtle in our climate. Excellent performance on a well scaled tree to just 17′ tall and very upright. Beginning on average in urban areas in late July large trusses of rosy lavender flowers appear in a huge display, it continues unabated for up to two months. The glossy green leaves turn to red/orange/yellow in autumn for a further display. In mature trees the bark exfoliates to a soft white/ gray- great contrast with the deep green foliage. Grows about 2′-4′ a year if well irrigated. Not fussy about soil just requires full all day sun and deep infrequent irrigation. Good air circulation. First rate small garden tree that is the size of many larger Japanese maples and pairs wonderfully with them in gardens. Very easy to grow tree.

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Lagerstroemia x fauriei ‘Natchez’

Well known as the queen of crape myrtles ‘Natchez’ is a magical tree with many different kinds of beauty. In mid-summer to October large trusses of pure white flowers bend twigs gracefully. Its bark is among the most striking of any tree. Swaths of cinnamon red and taupe mottled patterns envelope the trunk. In fall red to yellow fall color is showy for several weeks. To 22′ tall and half as wide in 10 years.  Average soil that drains as well as regular summer irrigation both speeds growth and encourages blossoming. A striking specimen and useful as a street tree that will never become entangled in overhead wires. Completely disease resistant. Fall leaves drop and decompose almost instantly. Very nice- no raking.  Fast growing in youth. Best with regular irrigation. 

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Laurus nobilis ‘Crispa’

Wavy Bay tree. Good, cold hardy form of this shrub/tree that is prized for culinary use. Fast growing pyramidal shaped dense shrub to 15′ tall and 8′ wide in 10 years. Full sun and rich, to average well drained soil. Little summer water when established- but tolerates regular water in gardens. Very easy and long lived in containers where you can observe the undulate, wavy edges of the leaves. Protect containerized plants from temperatures below 12ºF.  Avoid subfreezing wind. Otherwise a hardy easy to grow evergreen. Give this shrub room- it has greedy roots and is not a good neighbor. Aromatic foliage is also useful for holiday garlands and wreaths. Small yellow flowers are not conspicuous in spring. Moderate deer resistance. Mediterranean.

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Lomatia fraseri

Fascinating small tree that is one of the largest members in this genus. This Proteaceous tree harbors interesting irregularly toothed linear leaves and masses of  sweet anise scented curly, ivory colored flowers in mid summer. Moderately fast growing evergreen tree to 18′ tall and 7′ wide in 10 years in our climate. Full sun to high overstory shade is ideal in average, well drained soil. Light supplemental summer water speeds the growth of this elegant plant. Grows on average about 1′-3′ per year. Sophisticated in all its parts it resents soil that is overly enriched (avoid compost) and fertilizer, instead it relished our own unimproved native soils. Simply double dig a wide area before planting to allow oxygen and ease the travel of new roots into virgin soil. Very drought tolerant when established. Avoid exposure to blasting subfreezing east wind. In those zones locate on a west or south facing aspect. Grown for several decades it has never been common in our area. Native from the mountains to the rain forest verges in SE Australia. Cold hardiness increases substantially with age. In time it forms a handsome somewhat conical shaped tree of delightful texture.

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Luma apiculata

Chilean Myrtle is a very good looking dense evergreen shrub/tree in our climate. It requires a slightly protected location as it can be tender when young. Protect young plants from temperatures below 15ºF. With age and establishment it gains much, much more cold hardiness enduring 5ºF with just light leaf burn. The leaves are deep, dark green and rounded with a sharp tip. Almost formal looking. In protected gardens it can attain tree like status in about 8 years. Most often in our region its a shrub of about 12′. And perhaps the most impressive thing about this Chilean/Argentinian tree is the exfoliating orange to tan bark it achieves with age. In mid-summer masses of small white fragrant myrtle flowers with a central boss of exerted stamens smother the whole plant. These turn into sweetly edible if not a little mentholated black berries. They can be messy so locate away from paths, pavement. Birds almost always make off with the berries so that is helpful. Avoid direct exposure to subfreezing gorge winds. In gardens subject to that locate on a south or west facing wall. Very drought adapted when established, but consistent water and average soil will yield the best growth. Grows about 1′-3′ per year. Moderate deer resistance. Not a good plant for cold rural gardens. Tree size specimens are phenomenal and worth the effort to protect when young. Excellent performance at the Oregon coast.

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Lyonothamnus floribundus ssp. Asplenifolius

Catalina Ironwood is a tree locally native to the Channel Islands off of Southern California. Surprisingly hardy once established and older this spectacular evergreen tree in the rose family boasts amazing divided foliage with symmetrical scalloped serrations along each margin. Very pretty. The glossy aromatic leaves are seen to great advantage against the straight, red exfoliating trunk. In spring flat umbels of white flowers appear all over the tree. Fast growing in youth to its ultimate size here 25’+ tall in 15 years. Requires a protected location- such as against the wall of a large building. Avoid direct exposure to subfreezing wind. Little water once established. Wonderful tree for courtyards- protected areas. Fantastic performance at the Oregon Coast. Protect young trees from temperatures below 15ºF- wrap or swaddle in burlap or remay until arctic weather has passed. Reaches its full hardiness several years in the ground. There is a wonderful mature specimen of this tree at the McMennamens in St. John in PDX and scattered large specimens occur around the city. Nice, nice urban tree.

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Metapanax (Nothopanax) delavayi

Such a cool tree for small gardens. Upright growing and then branches that also turn vertical fairly quickly- kind of like an upside down candelabra. The lush evergreen foliage is composed of palmate divided leaves which droop gracefully and give the plant a lighter mein. In summer masses of orbicular off white aralia flowers appear en masse at the branch tips. They are pollinator heaven. And they turn into clusters of black berries consumed by birds. To 16′ tall and half as wide. Perfectly hardy to cold, but can become semi-deciduous below 10ºF. New leaves come quickly in spring. Fast growing tree for rich soil and regular summer water in full sun to high overhead shade in woodland conditions. This pretty tree has a promising future.

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Olea europea ‘Frantoio’

We’ve grown this extraordinarily cold hardy european olive selection for years. And its performance in the city of Portland is stellar. Fast growing somewhat wild looking, ever-silver tree to 20′ tall and 15′ wide in 10 years. In time it develops a gnarled trunk adding to the trees character. This is a self fertile selection and sets fruit very heavily even on singular trees. The fleshy moderately sized fruits are most prized for oil. They may be brined. (Follow any recipe on the internet). Be aware of autumn and winter fruit drop- not for patios, instead plant a large ground cover at the base for the unwanted fruit to drop and hide. Birds will eat the olives too- especially larger birds.  Overall, its a pretty tree when the thin blue gray leaves are tossed by the wind revealing their silvery undersides. Fast growing especially if watering is frequent and diligent during youth. Water like crazy for the first summer to spur growth and establishment. Olive trees gain cold hardiness with age/size. Small plants are tender to dead below 15ºF but a three year old, well watered of the same variety will be undamaged at much colder temperatures than that. Excellent performance in ice and snow (see picture below)- bends but does not break. Protect containerized plants from temperatures below 15ºF. Drought adapted when established. A warm position.

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Osmanthus fragrans

Long ago I dismissed this tall sweetly scented Tea Olive as hopelessly tender in our climate. Then in a garden in Lake Oswego under towering firs I ran head on into an 18′ tall perfectly happy specimen. Looks like it had never suffered damage. It was just a really nice broadleaved evergreen tree. Copious amounts of small off white flowers crowd the stems beginning in autumn in our climate and then sporadically until spring. The POWERFUL fragrance they emit is that of apricot/freesia/rose and it travels- detectable 20′ away when in full bloom. To 15′-20′ tall apparently. Requires protection as a young plant and it really should not be in an exposed site. Instead locate near a house wall- where you can open the windows and let the perfume flow- and gain added protection. Gains much, much, greater hardiness with age. Summer heat seems to play a role- the more heat in summer the hardier in winter. Full sun to high overhead shade. Grows 2′-3’/yr. when young- aided by consistent summer water. Otherwise established trees need little. Not a plant for cold gardens.

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Osmanthus x fortunei ‘San Jose’

Amazing hybrid Tea olive that inherits the insane perfume of O. fragrans and the cold hardiness of O. heterophyllus. Fast growing columnar broad leaved evergreen shrub to 16′ tall x 5′ wide in 7 years. In time it can make tree like status to 20’+ tall. Otherwise pruning easily keeps it much smaller. In Oct-Dec. tiny parchment colored flowers crowd the stems and emit the sweet penetrating perfume of Freesia and apricots. On mild days its detectable up to 20′ away. Juvenile foliage is prickly but as the shrub matures it develops entire leaves with a smooth margin. Young plants grow about 2′-5′ per year depending upon summer irrigation and soil fertility. This shrub is always at its most lustrous and healthy appearance. Average well drained soil with light but consistent summer irrigation. Totally summer drought tolerant when established. Excellent screen, hedge, or just as a large specimen if you love perfume. Bark/stems are a handsome pale tan- good contrast with the deep green leaves. Avoid direct exposure to subfreezing east wind. Long lived.

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Pinus ponderosa var. benthamiana

Pacific ponderosa pine is a lovely tree native west of the Cascades from about the Portland area (with some outliers farther north) south to Baja Norte, Mexico. Our form is from locally collected seed. Slow growing in youth this pine picks up speed in its teens and grows almost exponentially from there. Pacific ponderosa pine is known for it tall straight crowns of lush green needles in clumps of two. This tree is excellently adapted to our winter wet/summer dry climate and even small trees can endure the very longest, driest, hottest summers with no visible stress. Its adaptable to all types of soil – not fussy and is even found in the most well drained stranded flood cobbles of major rivers. To 125′ in time with ulitimate height of close to 200′ in great age – expect a 3′ tall tree to be about 15′ tall in 10 years. Full sun- not very shade tolerant and when planting with other trees anticipate at least a 25′ wide crown in the future. Needles can drop profusely in September which is a bit of a mess. Take note of this. Underplant with other drought adapted natives. Water to establish for the first summer then none in subsequent years. A regal pine that is among the tallest in the world. Oregon native plant.

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Pinus sabiniana

Gray Pine or Foothill Pine native almost exclusively to the mountains of California- but there are several outlying native populations in Jackson, County Oregon so we can claim it as our own as well.  Known as the tree that casts no shade, its almost completely true as the long gray needles allow almost all light through. Large pine tree with gray foliage- usually forks about 1/2 way up into two main trunks, these are buttressed to support the huge cones which can weigh 5lbs or more.  Excellent performance in the Willamette Valley where many are seen around old farm houses and older neighborhoods. Perfectly hardy to cold in our climate and incredibly drought adapted. In fact it shuns all irrigation and is ideal for hot dry locations. Grows very fast in youth, settles down a little with age. Its ultimate height is around 35′-45′ in our climate. A smokey, silvery, shadeless skyline tree. Oregon native plant.

 

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Podocarpus macrophyllus

Japanese Yew Pine is an uncommon conifer in our gardens. Its surprisingly hardy and in time forms a handsome, densely clad, deep green tree. Moderately fast growing in youth- to 1′-2′ per year in time its 4″ thin needles are arranged closely around horizontal stems. In summer small green matchstick shaped flowers transform into blue berries in autumn. This adds to the over all sophisticated, very Japanese flavor of this tree. To 20′ tall and 7′ wide in 12 years. Develops gnarled, rustic, deep gray shredding trunks. Excellent performance in urban environs. Laughs at the worst heat and accepts regular irrigation in summer happily which encourages speedier growth. A natural for Asian inspired gardens. Avoid blasting subfreezing wind- not a tree for very cold gardens but is undamaged down to about 5ºF. It has recovered from much lower. Excellent container subject- its roots take YEARS to fill a pot and it takes less than perfect care but maintains good looks. Tolerates quite a bit of shade and was often employed in the mid-20th Century as a closely clipped espalier on shady walls. Very popular in the South, Zone 7 and warmer.  Moderate deer resistance.  Takes any amount of pruning which increases density. Drought adapted when established.

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Prunus mume ‘Kobai’

Sophisticated winter blooming tree that we love for its incredibly sweet spicy scented flowers.  Double pink flowers are conspicuous and perched perfectly on the green twigs of this asian flowering apricot. Flowers appear in December in mild years as late as February in the coldest. Flowers last forever in the cool winter air. Each spicily scented flower has a prominent boss of white stamens. Its the details man. Flowers are hardy to around 20ºF- closed buds are substantially hardier and will unfurl when the weather warms. Moderately fast growing tree to 18′ x12′ in 10 years. Appreciates deep, rich soil and definitely weekly summer water in its first few years. Fall color is pale yellow. Inedible ornamental fruits often follow the blossoms. Japan.

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Quercus chrysolepis

Canyon live oak is a vastly underused, beautiful evergreen native tree. From Lane county, Oregon south through California, slight parts of Nevada around Lake Tahoe and sporadically in Arizona and even New Mexico. This venerable tree is found on the steepest slopes of canyons and mountain ridges. In Oregon it represents the northern most native Live Oak or evergreen oak in North America. Leaves are glossy army green on the the top with a conspicuous furry gold underside. This is a rugged, tough tree that should be used in both gardens and as a street tree. In the Alameda neighborhood in Portland there is an ancient specimen to 60′ tall and wide with a large trunk. This heritage tree was reportedly brought to the city from southern Oregon via horse and wagon. Slow growing in youth it picks up speed exponentially several years after planting. To 40′ x 20′ in 30 years with a broad spreading crown. In the wild it often forms a gnarled multi-trunked rounded outline. Its very possible to train this tree to a single trunk/leader to extend the crown skyward. Extraordinarily cold hardy enduring temperatures slightly below 0ºF with no difficulty. The large acorns are born in a showy golden hued furry cups- and are produced profusely in banner years. Water to establish for the first season then none in subsequent years. Full sun. Beautiful, native Oak that we cherish at Xera. Oregon native plant.

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Quercus garryana var. garryana

Oregon white oak. A monarch of a tree locally native and forming Qak Savanna communities in the Willamette Valley that preceded european development. Slow growing tree of great age and grace. Deep green foliage forms dappled domes in the high rounded canopy. Birds and wildlife adore this completely summer drought adapted tree. To 130′ but not in your lifetime. Our acorn source is local. Whitish bark in patches and it will often develop pure white patches at the base- an outlet for sodium from the constantly saturated Oregon winter soils. Tolerates the most impenetrable clay and shuns summer irrigation. Fall color is russet orange. Grows just 2′-3′ a year in youth -if really happy. This as all oaks has what are referred to as banner years. In certain years huge amounts of acorns are produced. This is thought to overwhelm predators and at least a fair amount can germinate.  Famous for its moss covered enormous branches which have been likened to the perfect depiction of a Grimm’s Fairy Tale.  Oregon native plant.

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Quercus hypoleucoides

Silver Leaf Oak from Arizona is a favorite tree at Xera. Tall, rounded evergreen tree with skinny but thick leaves that are sage green on top and silver white on the underside. Its handsome all the time and even prettier when the gold catkins protrude from the foliage in spring. Naturally develops a straight trunk. Fast growing tree in our climate to 35′ in 12 years. Casts dense shade but tolerates limited summer water. Extraordinarily  cold hardy. It has endured subzero readings in Eugene without injury and I even encountered one in a garden in Denver. The leaves were kind of toasted from the previous winters -17ºF(!) but it was obviously thriving. Native to the mountains of SE Arizona at very high elevations and that translates to LOVE for our climate. Exceptional leaf form and shape.

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Quercus suber

Cork oak. The commercial source for high quality cork comes from this evergreen mediterranean native. A large growing tree with a rounded crown. To 35′ tall and half as wide. As the trunk grows (expands) it develops the corky bark very quickly. Harvest correctly and it does not harm the tree. In mid-spring golden tassels eventually become acorns- loved by wild life. Frequently planted as a street tree in the city of Portland. Very, very drought tolerant, in fact it really should not see any water during the summer. Eventually casts a good amount of dark shade. Beautiful tree that is amazingly adaptable to freezing rain and snow. Grows about 2′- 4′ per year when established. Very climate adapted.

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Quercus wislezenii ‘Dense Form’

I collected the acorns of this tree near  Lake Isabella, CA in the southern Sierra Nevada. It was a particularly handsome form of what can be a less than majestic species. Densely foliaged with a straight upright trunk about 25′ tall with a rounded crown. Wow. We hope the progeny are as cool. Interior Live Oak of California. Evergreen tree to 25′-35′ tall with a spreading crown. Was native in Oregon in the past as hybrids known as Mohr Oaks (Quercus kelloggii x Quercus wislezenii) still can be found. Hardy to short shots to 0ºF. Grows about 2′-3′ a year in youth. Water to establish the first year then none in subsequent years.

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Sycopsis sinensis

Rare and somewhat obscure evergreen tree that belongs in the Hamamelis family. Graceful medium green tapered leaves fold gracefully over each other in a pendant habit. The branching structure itself is graceful as well. To 18′ tall  with a columnar habit at first and then spreading a bit with time. In winter curious flowers look like little red brushes and occur profusely.  Nice looking cold hardy, shade tolerant and extremely drought adapted small tree. WE love this tree and have been incredibly impressed with how tough but beautiful it is. Accepts regular water in summer as well. Ideal sized tree for small gardens, or the space in-between the new close together construction. Not an oppressive evergreen but rather light. Moderately fast growing.

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Trachycarpus fortunei

A classic palm in the PNW. Windmill Palm or Trachys as they are also known are extremely popular. And they should be. Moderately fast growing palm to about 18′ tall in 10 years. The trunk is covered in fur and this acts almost like insulation to protect the interior meristem from cold. Very cold hardy to near short dips to 0ºF- many venerable and ancient Windmill Palms can be found in old neighborhoods having gone through the very worst winters of the last 50 or more years. The fronds usually have drooping filifers on the species but that can vary. Male and female and requires one of each for viable fruit set. Following huge aromatic cream colored flower structures pollinated berries drop and will often germinate in open ground. Full sun to full shade. Drought tolerant but regular irrigation in rich soil will speed growth. Excellent performance in tight spaces. Occasionally young palms become nitrogen starved and turn yellowish. To correct simply feed with all organic fertilizer and mulch and water well through summer.

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Trachycarpus fortunei var. wagnerianus

Waggies! Our fave hardy palm at Xera. The fronds on this slower growing tree are stiff and tidy and have none of the drooping filaments on the branch tips that the species T. fortunei possesses. To 12′ tall in 7 years. A very clean and tidy looking palm with a distinct asian look. The fronds are even finely outlined in white hairs…more definition for this stately plant. Grows about 2′-3′ a year if well watered. You really can’t water Trachycarpus too much in the ground, it just makes them grow faster. Same wooly trunk as the species. Waggies are recommended for windy cold areas as they are not affected by those conditions. Fantastic cold hardiness not suffering damage until temps dip below about 5ºF.  This is a great palm for colder gardens and tolerates quite a bit of shade. Always looks it’s clean best.

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