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.
Plant Type: Tree
Trees are a gardeners gift to the next generation and they are among the most satisfying things that you will ever plant. The trees that we grow fit several perameters: They are suited to small gardens. More and more gardeners are faced with lack of space. They have at least several outstanding attributes- flowers, bark, fall color, evergreen, graceful habit among more. From Crape Myrtles to truly cold hardy Eucalyptus as well as our own natives take a moment to peruse our trees and dream of your own arboretum.
Trees require forethought
Trees are not difficult to grow in our climate (see timber industry) and the majority of street trees for the entire nation find their start in the Willamette Valley. So, we’ve decided to be more pragmatic with our selection. Most are somewhat difficult to find. That is generally because they are either rare or difficult to grow in containers. Also, notice that each tree has its own particular needs and those should be met. That means that you should consider that the douglas fir you are about to plant 10′ away from a Madrone will be quite a different dynamic in half a generation. Therefore, plan ahead.
Climate adapted small trees
If you can visit a full grown specimen of your prospective tree that is the best of all worlds. We’ve grown all of them for the past 20 years and we’ve developed a fondness for trees. We are increasing our collection of native trees. As our climate warms summer drought will begin earlier and end later in the year. A long dry season. We focus on trees that are native to the Willamette Valley floor. Those are the most drought adapted.
Care leads to success
Its imperative that you take care of ANY TREE for at least one season. That means you mulch the tree heavily (keeping mulch away from the trunk) and water it deeply and frequently. This inundation of water usually leads to years worth of growth and a deeper less problematic root system.
Water trees consistently for the first three years
Develop a moat around each tree and fill it with water at least once per week. There is no need to fertilize in our climate and its important that you understand the trees natural adaptation. An example is gardening under Oregon white oak- (Quercus garryana var. garryana ) you should never irrigate heavily in summer. These trees prefer a dry break. We offer a lot of plants for growing under native oaks and trees in general.
Many shrubs can morph into trees over time
Remember that many plants grown as shrubs are actually trees down the road. Osmanthus, Leptospermum, Arctostaphylos, Ceanothus, even Lagerstroemia can be planted as shrubs as long as you understand they will not stop growing and in time will become arborescent.
Unusual trees can be difficult to find of good size
Note that many rare trees are not available in tree sizes. That is because the do not sell particularly fast and we avoid holding container stock. If you can’t find the tree anywhere else, there is probably a reason. Have fun.
Climate Adapted Plants for Gardeners in the PNW
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 (below 20ºF). 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.
Frangula (Rhamnus) purshiana
AKA Cascara or Cascara sagrada. This is a widespread small tree to shrub in the northwestern part of the United States to SW Canada. West of the Cascades its found in almost every biome. It can be a wind contorted shrub on blasting headlands at the coast. In the Willamette Valley its common where birds drop the berries/seeds on fence rows and it borders fields with native roses and Oso Berry. Its even found in the Bitteroot mountains in Montana/Idaho. It was frequently used by indigenous people as a laxative. Cascara is a small round crowned tree/shrub. In drier locations it is more shrub like but in deep, rich soil with access to water it can grow to be a thirty five foot tree. Large round alternate leaves turn dark green and glossy in summer. In May and June the tiny greenish flower appear and transform into red fruits by autumn. This is the mechanism that makes this plant so widespread, its dispersal by birds. A lovely little straight trunked shade tree that requires almost no water once established. It functions as an understory component as well. Full sun to quite a bit of shade, including dry shade. Easy to grow and climate adapted. Average life span 35 years. In winter its very symmetrical open branch structure is handsome. Fall color is soft yellow to chartreuse and not especially showy. Oregon native plant
Mt. Etna Broom is a remarkable TREE from the slopes of Italy’s tallest active volcano. Unlike Scot’s 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) Photo credit below: David Hicks
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 25′ tall in great age it grows approximately 3′-4′ per year when young. The first several years in the ground it will appear as large bush- patience it will soon assume an arboreal habit. Bark begins to develop coloration in 2-3 years. Most often multi-trunked this gives the gardener even more beauty to stare at.The most common form of this tree has a single trunk about 1′ tall with profuse multiple branching from there. Its a little odd but in time it forms great canopy that spreads to a dense 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.
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.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 there are few dark purple flowered crape myrtles whose blossoms don’t fade drastically after opening. This selection retains the intensity of purple.
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. Officially marketed as wine colored and thats a fair approximation. Glossy deep black buds erupt into brilliant flowers. Strong vertical habit makes it ideal as a street tree. Great crape myrtle.
Lagerstroemia indica ‘Nana Alba’
Extraordinarily rare and wonderful dwarf/smaller Crape Myrtle. This is one of the first crape myrtles in my garden to bloom each year. By the last week of June spectacular, fluffy, pure white flowers obscure the whole plant. Slow growing because it shoots into bloom very early. Cutting wood, therefore, is limited and so is the amount we can produce. To 5′ tall in 8 years and 3′ across, it will double that size in 10 more years. Extensive bloom period from June solidly through September. RICH soil that has been amended and a handful or two of all organic fertilizer will spur it to grow and bloom even better. REGULAR summer water and only in full, all day sun in a hot position. Wonderfully called for hell strips and small gardens. In just several years the stems exfoliate to a glossy sheen and though not large in diameter this is a showy feature in fall. Autumn color is bright yellow and brief. Mildew resistant. This L. indica variety is rare but was well known to the supreme crape myrtle breeder Donald Egolf at the National Arboretum. He used it extensively as a parent and in combination with Lagerstroemia fauriei to produce some of the most famous hybrids. Cleaner white than ‘Natchez’ and similar white purity to ‘Acoma’ but much, much smaller. Excellent crape myrtle for our climate with low heat requirements to bloom. Fantastic in bloom. Very limited quantities.
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.
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. 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.
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