Vine Maple is perhaps our most beautiful native maple. Found from SW British Columbia to Northern California in the Shasta area. Its a pervasive understory tree throughout the western part of the state. It derives its name from its almost vine like habit in shade. This winding and sun seeking component leads to the most graceful natural forms. In full sun it is a compact, multi-trunked shrub. In autumn in both habitats it turns to shades of fiery orange and yellow and red. Vivid against the pure green trunks and stems. One of the most dramatic places you will see this shrub is at 4500′ on Belknap crater on McKenzie Pass where it lives among the lava. In early fall the brilliant colors of the maples contrasts wonderfully with the black lava. Its very hot and very dry but its also very high in elevation. The symmetrically serrated round leaves rival any Japanse maple. In shade established trees get by with little summer water. In the sun irrigation is welcome. Rich to average soil with regular applications of mulch. To 16′ tall in shade and again quite a bit shorter in full sun- very wide in shade. Avoid the reflected heat of south facing walls. This shrub/tree belongs on the north side or under substantial shade. Some deer resistance. Excellent underplanted with native ferns and Gaultheria. A common native that should be a more common ornamental. Tiny red flowers turn into sunny orange samaras by autumn and persist past the leaves. Avoid very dry shade of un-irrigated over hangs. This is a semi-mesic maple. Oregon native plant
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.
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 older 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. Pacific madrone is native from the highest mountains of southern California to southern British Columbia. It is the northern-most broadleaved evergreen tree (native) in North America. Oregon native plant.
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.
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. Moderate deer resistance. Absorbs the blasting heat of south facing walls. Wonderful small tree. Beautiful espalier subject- see pruning above.
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.
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.
Toothed leaved Azara is a somewhat obscure evergreen tree native to South America. Closely related to the more common Azara microphylla, this species has much larger leaves and MUCH larger gold flowers. The puff ball gold flowers deck all the boughs in an opulent spring display that lasts for weeks. An upright broad spreading evergreen whose crown usually assumes a conical outline. Spreading branches hold the foliage which is very substantial. To 18′ tall and half as wide in 10 years. Best in a protected location, out of east wind, on the edge of a woodland or near a house. The large flowers truly are a spectacle and emit a light sweet fragrance. Full sun to high overstory shade in rich soil with occasional deep soaks in summer. Grows 1′-3′ per year and faster with attention to water. More tender as a youngster gaining full cold hardiness with age. Established trees endure 5ºF by losing many leaves- they can also disappear in particularly enthusiastic bloom seasons but it regains foliage very fast by early spring. Excellent performance at the Oregon Coast. Very elegant tree. Chile/Argentina.
Greg and I found this distinctive form of Coast Blue Blossom in the wild. This species ranges from Lane County, Oregon to Santa Barbara County, California. A fast growing seral species that follows fire and disturbance. Very near the location where we discovered this handsome small tree was to the largest Ceanothus thyrsiflorus ever discovered in 1925- it was nearly 30′ tall. This is a large and fast growing evergreen tree with copious amounts of scintillating flowers. It has smaller deep green leaves and huge trusses of soft turquoise flowers in late April to early June. A tall growing tree/shrub that attains heights of 15′ very quickly if allowed. This drought tolerant native takes very well to pruning too- which should be done after blooming. Full sun and average well drained soil- including clay soils. Little to no summer water when established. Excellent for use as an instant screen or informal hedgerow. Pretty in the background of dry borders. Loved by bees and butterflies in bloom. Very easy to grow native evergreen shrub that should be used more. Life span 15-20 years. Oregon native plant.
Xera Plants Introduction.
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
A very large growing, vigorous and pretty tree type Ceanothus native to the extreme SW part of the state. This fast growing evergreen tree (3′-4′ per year) puts on a huge display of soft blue flowers in late April to early June. Full sun to light shade (high overhead shade) and average soil that drains. Adaptable to clay soils, especially on slopes and not watered at all in summer. Completely drought adapted, no water necessary once established. To 18′ tall and half as wide in 7 years. Great screen, blue flowered tree that is beautiful in bloom but fades to a background for the rest of the year. Prodigious pruning can keep it much lower and it makes a great large hedge in no time. Good cold hardiness to 5ºF. We chose this variety in the wild because it was found quite a bit away from the coast which increases cold hardiness and it was immensely heavy in bloom. Prune AFTER flowering if needed. As a hedge or smaller plant it only requires pruning once a year- especially if strictly unwatered. Extraordinarily heavy bloomer and the trusses of flowers are often divided into six or more sub-branches for a very full look in bloom. Pairs well with Madrone and Arctostaphylos. Oregon native plant.
Xera Plants Introduction
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
American smoke tree has a surprisingly limited natural range in Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma but its an exceedingly adaptable tree. Large round leaves are soft green when they emerge. In mid summer the tips of the branches are covered in clouds of beige smoke- which is not as prolific as the hybrids or the species Cotinus coggygria. Rounded medium sized tree to 22′ tall and handsome. Moderately slow growing 1-2′ per year when young. Full sun and regular irrigation to established then fully summer drought established. Deep rich soils yield the best performance. Autumn is its time of true glory. The large soft leaves transform into electric shades of orange/red/yellow. It holds this color for weeks before dropping. An amazing show that outshines just about any other deciduous tree. Limited supply. Accepts some summer irrigation. It is being used as a street tree in Portland, where its arboreal habit is superior to Cotinus coggygria and its hybrids.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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. Less susceptible to overly enriched soil. Mulch after planting. Fall color is very late Nov/Dec and is red glowing orange. Very important to water this tree until you see progressive new growth. It can be somewhat difficult to establish. Avoid disturbing the roots and mulch lightly with bark. In subsequent years water once every 2 weeks in summer is sufficient. Blooms on wood from the previous year. Prune AFTER flowering if needed. Full sun, from every direction.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Snow gum is a wonderful cold hardy tree for the Pacific Northwest. Lance 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- but not lower. Mountains of Australia. White fluffy flowers in clusters in winter. Avoid all shade.
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.
Nirrhe is a handsome shrub/small tree that is native to central and southern Chile in moist woods. A slow growing plant with divided leaves that turn brilliant red in fall before dropping. This is the cold hardiest member of this genus enduring temperatures slightly below 0ºF with no damage. Unfortunately, it can be slow to establish and it requires moisture retentive soil that is high in organic matter. Regular deep summer soaks. Best with a cool root run. Roots in the shade tops in the sun. 2″ cupped 4 petalled pure white flowers erupt over the plant in July/August. The interior of the flowers house a boss of showy stamens tipped with purple pollen. Best with protection from hot afternoon sun. Flowers can fry even in short heatwaves so a cool position is suggested. To 14′ in 10 years and 6′ wide. Establishes faster with richly amended soil. Fall color, though late in the season is often spectacular red/ orange. Very slow to finish in a nursery container and not a fast growing plant over all. Wonderful surprise when it blooms during our hottest time of the year.
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.
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 divided 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.
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)
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 and because of that this tree first identified in 1956 on the Japanese island of Yakushima imparts this trait to its hybrid progeny. It also is the source for colorful bark found in many of the National Arboretum hybrids. Best with consistent summer moisture for the first few years then only occasional deep soaks. Deciduous- fall color is a saturated light orange/gold. A fantastic street tree with great dimensions and form. This selection – chosen for bark coloration can be difficult to locate. Beautiful tree.
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.
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.Thrives and blooms in the hottest aspects. Regular water begun in April will assist in earlier and larger flower sets in summer. In autumn the foliage takes on brilliant neon orange/ red/ yellow tones that is 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. This tree makes a fine standard albeit of limited size. We grow it as a multi-trunked specimen. Long lived, easy to grow small tree. Catawba retains its popularity as their are few dark purple flowered crape myrtles whose blossoms don’t fade drastically after opening. This selection retains the intensity of purple.
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. Officially marketed as wine colored and thats a fair approximation. Glossy deep black buds erupt into brilliant flowers. Great crape myrtle.
Red is an exciting and sought after flower color for Crape myrtles in our climate. Most varieties with reliable early bloom tend toward pink, white, and lavender. Enter this Carl Whitcomb hybrid with among the truest red flowers of any Lagerstroemia cultivar. Mr. Whitcomb is an Oklahoman Crape myrtle breeder and his visceral reaction to this seedling in the field was to exclaim “Dynamite” referring to the clear red flowers. He kept the name and this has become one of the most successful red flowered cultivars in the United States. In our climate it is a reliable bloomer if sited well and consistently irrigated. Although, I have noticed very good drought tolerance with this cultivar and indeed Carl Whitcomb plants his seedlings out in a field and then lets nature take its course- no supplemental irrigation. This is in NE Oklahoma a somewhat brutal climate. This predisposed his selections to low water requirements. He also selected it for good tolerance to powdery mildew. Best in a warm spot in full sun with rich to average soil with regular irrigation. Fast growing tree to 20′ tall and 10′ wide in time. Bloom begins in mid-August most years and diligent water will assist in flower set. Flowers are showy until early October. It has been used as a street tree in Portland with mixed success. Unfortunately, it was grafted. (grafted crape myrtles are not a good way to go) Very good with water and spectacular in summers that are warmer than normal. Brilliant true, stop sign red flowers are incredibly showy with an exotic flair. Very few hardy trees can match the color and opulence of its bloom. New growth is deep maroon changing to mid green at maturity. Wonderful tree. Fall color is brilliant orange/red and the bark exfoliates generously to reveal light tan trunks. Unauthorized propagation prohibited. Plant patent #10,296.
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.
This Carl Whitcomb introduction is an excellent performer in our climate. An upright growing tree to 12′ tall and only 4′ wide. Very ruffled shocking pink flowers begin in early August and continue until early October. New growth is a sultry maroon and this is a great backdrop with the brilliant flowers. Eventually the foliage settles down to deep green. As with all Whitcomb cultivars it has slightly lower water requirements. Still, a deep soak once a week will be sufficient for a moderately fast growing tree. Full hot sun in a hot position. Highly mildew tolerant selection. The large upright trusses of flowers appear as torches and then as complete bloom commences it becomes a cloud of sizzling hot pink. Flowers en masse have a light, sweet fragrance. Easy to grow smaller cultivar. Give it good air circulation. In time the trunks lose their top layer of bark in patches and a tan/pink under coat is revealed. One of the best L. indica selections for the Willamette Valley. Very good cold hardiness here. Fall color is a brilliant if short lived display of red/orange/yellow. Unauthorized propagation prohibited. Plant patent #10,319.
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. Mildew resistant- 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. Long lived and cold hardy cultivar.
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 (to 8″ long) 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.
Wonderful release from the National Arboretum and this three hybrid small tree is also one of the most reliable red flowering varieties. To 11′ tall forming a very rounded tree about 3/4 as wide. Large trusses of ruby red flower appear in early August and are wildly showy for weeks into early autumn. Moderately fast growing (2′-3′ per year when young) to its ultimate size. Full, all day sun in a hot position. Appreciates rich soil and also loves clay soil. Consistent deep irrigation from late spring into summer spurs more reliable bloom. The brilliant flower color is showy from quite a distance. In time the bark exfoliates in patches to shades of pink and light brown. Fall color is orange/yellow/ light red and reliable. Excellent small tree for warm urban gardens. Once bloom commences it proceeds unabated for months. Disease resistant. Excellent for the hottest locations. This tree blooms quickly in a pot and thus is slower to bulk up than other varieties. Don’t let that deter you. In the ground it grows much more quickly. A Xera favorite crape myrtle.
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.
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.
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.
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 and are lightly fragrant.. 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.
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. This is a potentially wide tree so give it room on all sides- especially as a multi-trunked form. Occasionally, we have it as a trained standard. Most tree type crape myrtles are shy to bloom their first several years in the ground. Be patient and diligent with summer water which speeds growth and establishment. Good but wide street tree. Requires summer water to perform. National Arboretum selection. It has been planted as a street tree in NW Portland. Good choice!
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. ‘Pecos’ has never been popular in the rest of the country. In fact, the main reason it was ever on the market is that the Nursery Monrovia is where many Oregon nurseries get their Crape myrtles. The two selected for the PNW and widely sold are ‘Pecos’- a great very early flowering pink. And ‘Zuni’ a rosy purple. But for Monrovias choice in marketing this tree might never have found popularity in the PNW. It is always the earliest and heavily blooming Crape myrtle in my garden. A splendid small tree.
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 and good as a street tree as well.
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 that is consistently one of the latest cultivars to bloom in our climate. Very good cold hardiness- this variety grows well in such places as E. Pennsylvania and New York city. Appreciates rich soil and little root competition from other plants. Brilliant floral display. We offer this small tree in a multitrunked form, seldom as a single trunked standard. Beautiful small tree year round. This is a good tree for hot urban conditions- takes the toughest, hottest sites. Pictures below are a great planting of ‘Tonto’ along NE Glisan st. in Portland.
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 and are pleasantly fragrant. 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. Water, please water your street trees.
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-though it is never grown as such. This somewhat rare Crape myrtle never gained popularity because it does not root easily in large numbers. That doomed this wonderful tree in the nursery business. We’re happy to offer it on a limited basis. Excellent cold hardiness as well as disease resistance. Well irrigated trees will easily put on 4′ of growth in a year. -Very pretty as a multi-trunked tree and virtually unheard of trained as a standard.
Extraordinary tree that displays HUGE trusses of almost double flowered glowing lavender blue flowers for nearly two months. Open spreading habit on a compact tree to 14′ tall and 8′ wide. The branching structure favors the huge opulent flower clusters which protrude in every direction and 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. Another less renowned trait is its almost fluid, undulating branching pattern. In a nursery pot you seldom see the true glory of a crape myrtle- trust me, this is a first rate tree. 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. Excellent small tree for small urban gardens. Mixes well with Japanese Maples and Stewartias. Best to begin irrigation in May if we’ve had an exceptionally dry spring. Wonderful tree year round and an exceptionally heavy and reliable bloomer. One of Paul’s favorite crape myrtle cultivars. Its amazing, Trust me. Combine with late blooming, white flowered Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ for a repeat of luscious, late cone shaped blooms. National Arboretum introduction.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This tree is wonderful in many ways. Its staunchly evergreen, but rather than the somber glossy leaves of Magnolia grandiflora these simple leaves are grass green and matte. Moderately fast growing shrub/tree, on average 1′ to 2′ per year if sited correctly In mid April to mid May the most exquisite miniature magnolia flowers erupt directly from the stems. These adorable ivory pinwheels have a sweet sophisticated fragrance. Well behaved plant that is moderately dense and always healthy looking. Best in a protected courtyard or agains a west facing wall, do not expose it directly to arctic east winds. To 14′ tall by 6′ wide in 10 years. Full sun but not reflected heat and adaptable to the dappled light of woodlands. In our experience it was unharmed at a brief dip to 7ºF.. This would make a fantastic and adorable espalier subject. The way the perfect flowers are arranged on the stem would lend itself well to that method. Rich to average soil, including heavy clay soils, Best with intermittent deep irrigation in summer. A deep soak once every two weeks on established plants. This rare smaller evergreen Magnolia deserves wider use in our climate.
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.
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.
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.
Amazing hybrid Tea olive that inherits the insane perfume of O. fragrans and cold hardiness from 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.
Pacific ponderosa pine is a lovely tree native west of the Cascades from about the Portland area (with some outliers farther north) south to northern California. 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 three. 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.
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.
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.
Canyon live oak is a vastly underused, beautiful evergreen native tree. Found 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.
Oregon white oak. A monarch of a tree locally native and forming Oak 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.
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. Be aware that in time this tree can cast quite dense shade. Wonderful on hot summer days but also inhibiting sun loving gardening. Makes you think. Wonderfully pest and disease resistant foliage- it always looks good.
Photo credit: Amy Campion
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.