Caesalpinia gilliesii (Erythrostemon gilliesii)

Caesalpinia gilliesii (Erythrostemon gilliesii)

Bird of Paradise shrub is an incredibly showy flowering plant that is surprisingly adaptable to the Willamette Valley. Native to Argentina/ Uruguay the exotic large yellow flowers in whorls each with 3″ strings of blood red stamens protruding. Each flower lasts but a day but a truss carries many individual flowers. Fine divided foliage is light gray green and a great foil for the exotic flowers. Full hot, all day sun in a hot site. Ideally, it should be located against a south facing wall- this heat lover is slow to break dormancy in spring and doesn’t normally begin flowering until mid-summer and continuing until cool weather. To 8′ x 8′ drought adapted but water speeds growth. Deciduous. Spectacular. Non-blooming youngsters may need a year or two in the ground to commence blooming heavily. Patience is all that is required. This shrub loves the hottest spot in the garden. Pick a place that would be unbearable on a hot day and you’ve found the home for this sun lover. Bipinnate leaves close with darkness. Each flower opens for just one day but a procession of buds releases them over a period of many weeks. Blooms on new wood, growth from the current season.

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Baeckea gunniana

Baeckea gunniana

Heathmyrtle as it is known is a fine textured shrub that closely mimics Erica (Heath) and is an aromatic member of the Myrtle family- Hence the common name. The fine needle leaves emit a powerfully sweet menthol perfume when bruised. In winter the entire arching dense shrub takes on vivid copper tints. Early summer brings boughs spangled in tiny white flowers like frost. To 3′ tall and  4′ wide in 5 years in rich, well drained soil with light consistent summer water. Pairs perfectly with Heaths and Heathers with identical cultural requirements. Strong deer resistance. Cold hardy to 5ºF or below. Wonderful evergreen shrub. A Xera favorite. High mountains of Tasmania. It would make a fine sheared hedge. Any amount of pruning results in a much denser plant. Plant on three foot centers. Underused wonderful shrub.

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Grevillea miqueliana var. moroka

Round leaf Grevillea is a great  hardy species from the highest elevations in the mountains of SE Australia. Handsome wavy round evergreen leaves frame showy pendant flower clusters from January to June. The sunset colored flowers feature orange/yellow/pink in various incarnations depending on the temperatures. Loved by over wintering Anna’s hummingbirds. Any reasonably well drained soil that has NOT been amended. Native soils are perfect, and tolerant of clay as well as sand.  Great on slopes. Fast, large growing to 8′ x 8′ in 6 years.  Sporadic flowers appear year round. Avoid fertilizers. One of the best climate adapted Grevilleas that we have grown. Grows very fast with little water. Full sun and a hot position. Listed as endangered/threatened in Australia where it occupies just a half dozen sites in the high mountains. Extra reason to grow this fabulous multidimensional shrub that is good looking year round and blooms for a long, long period. Light summer water is best as infrequent deep soaks when it is not hot. This shrub gains cold hardiness with establishment. Excellent sited where its roots can find protection and a cool respite. Large boulders, even pavers will help create this. A very rare Grevillea that is truly alpine in nature.

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Arctostaphylos x ‘John Dourley’

Exceptional low growing Manzanita with new growth emerging electric red and settling to a mature gray/blue. In late fall to early spring copious pale pink flowers appear- very pretty in concert with the vibrant new foliage and older blue leaves. To just 3′ tall by 6′ wide very shortly. Bark is cinnamon colored in time. Full sun and average well drained soil with great air circulation. Little to no summer irrigation. Extremely drought adapted hybrid that many consider to be one of the best. Excellent slope cover. Good appearance at all times. This durable and adaptable Manzanita is excellent for landscapes where little maintenance is required. Its handsome mounding dense habit precludes pruning and it blooms for an extended period, often beginning as early as November and continuing to spring. Great drought adapted, weed smothering evergreen shrub that is constantly attended by Anna’s hummingbirds in bloom. Very easy to grow.

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Arctostaphylos x densiflora 'Sentinel' flowers

Arctostaphylos x densiflora ‘Sentinel’

Consistently one of the very best performers in Western Oregon. ‘Sentinel’ accepts many soil types and aspects with superior cold hardiness as well as disease resistance. Fast growing rounded shrub to 7′ x 7′ in 4 years. Attractive sage green leaves are held perpendicular to the red stems to avoid moisture loss. The bark exfoliates to a smooth muscular deep mahogany with time. Excellent specimen or even informal hedge row. In late winter pink urn shaped flowers appear in clusters and turn to russet fruits consumed by birds. Little to no supplemental water ever. Easy to grow. Provide good air circulation. A great Manzanita. ‘Sentinel’ can compete with invasive grasses and still grow and perform. Immensely drought adapted. It may be aggressively tip pruned or sheared carefully to produce a smaller, denser plant. First rate landscape evergreen shrub.

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Arctostaphylos x hookeri ‘White Lanterns’

Stellar small scale Manzanita that is a winner in gardens. Smaller leaves have a finer texture than most shrub types. Forms a symmetrical, dense dome to 3′ x 5′ in 5 years of medium green foliage. Massive bloom as clusters of white flowers (tinted pink in cold weather) occur from every branch tip in January to March. Very showy russet/mahogany bark. One of the best performers in our climate and scaled well for smaller gardens. Wonderful performance in  Hell Strips, even large rock gardens. In time you may remove the lower tired branches that have become shaded out and reveal the smooth spectacular peeling trunks.  Little to no summer water. Full sun to very light shade in well drained to average soil. Excellent cold hardiness as well as resistance to black spot. As with all give it good air circulation. Adaptable.

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Arctostaphylos x media 'Martha Ewan'

Arctostaphylos x media ‘Martha Ewan’

Our former employee Dan found Martha growing in the cemetery of the coastal town of Manzanita. It was bound to happen. This naturally occurring hybrid between Hairy Manzanita (Arctostaphylos columbiana) and the ground cover Kinnick Kinnick (Arctostaphylos uva ursi). Fantastic low growing evergreen shrub that is a superior ground cover. Dense growth clad in deep green leaves covers the ground on a 2′ x 6′ framework. White flowers in spring are followed by large red berries which are then consumed by wild life. Full sun to very light shade in most well drained soils. No summer water when established. Fast growing with little care. Amazing on slopes where it efficiently blocks weeds and the best ground cover Manzanita that we grow.. Better, easier, and faster ground cover than Arctostaphylos  uva ursi- Kinnick Kinnick- dense growth is more vigorous and requires less maintenance or even supplemental water.  Handsome and immensely easy plant. Though not technically a shade plant this variety can handle quite a bit of shade- avoid low dark shade, high overhead shade is best. Oregon native plant.

Xera Plants Introduction.

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Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Iceberg'

Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Iceberg’

We are so pleased with this useful and striking dwarf conifer. New growth is strongly tipped  in white before settling to a sea green. Slow growth to 3′ x 3′ in 6 years. Full sun to quite a bit of shade. Soft mein and compact habit make it a great versatile plant. Light summer water though tolerant of regular irrigation. Average soils with reasonable drainage .Good looking year round. Accepts regular irrigation and is wonderful in mixed borders. Easy to grow.

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Arctostaphylos x ‘Austin Griffiths’

This is probably one of the very best garden Manzanitas in general. Large growing shrub with sage green foliage, copious, large clusters of pink flowers in winter, and the tell tale famous mahogany peeling bark. To 9′ x 7′ wide in 6 years, fast growing and well adapted to most well drained sites, including heavy clay soils on slopes. Little to no supplemental irrigation. Very resistant to black spot a leaf disease that can afflict Manzanitas. Specimen, or small garden tree. Good looking year round. Flowers appear in late December and are effective through February- not at all affected by cold. Anna’s hummingbirds are immediately in attendance. Provide a wide open exposed site with excellent air circulation. A wonderful garden shrub. We have a large specimen of this shrub in a container at the shop. Though the box it is in is huge it restricts the roots enough to make this Austin smaller than it would be in the ground. It begins blooming in mid-winter. Excellent garden Manzanita all around. Hybrid between A. manzanita ‘Dr. Hurd’ and A. x densiflora ‘Sentinel’. Wonderful plant.  Dependable heavy flowering. Center bottom photo credit: Loree Bohl Danger Garden.

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Cistus x pagei

Rockrose are famous for the sweet balsam fragrance emitted from their foliage. The chemical ladanum is responsible and the heart shaped thick leaves of this hybrid are drenched with it. This chemical imparts a certain amount of fire retardant. Hot days bring a wave of perfume from Cistus x pagei long after its profuse display of pale pale pink flowers. Its vaguely pink from a distance.  Very heavy bloomer. To 5’x 5′ in 5 years. Exceptionally hardy to cold and very very drought tolerant as well. Tolerates subfreezing wind and temperatures near 0ºF with no harm. Excellent low care shrub for rough areas. Full sun and well drained soil. Light summer water to establish. Moderate deer resistance. Excellent shrub for rural areas. In time it develops gnarled trunks with a shredded exterior. Prune if needed AFTER flowering.  Rugged, beautiful, fragrant shrub.

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