Obscure but exceedingly handsome and reliable shrub for hedges, specimens, eventually a small tree. Rounded leaves are good looking year round and especially when they first emerge brilliant salmon red before settling to dark green. This is the most showy display on this plant and it lasts for weeks. In mid-late summer small pendant white/cream flowers are nestled among the leaves, you really have to look to see them. Clean evergreen whose foliage is never marred by fungus or cold. Full sun to high overhead shade. To 8′-10′ tall and about half as wide. With great age and no pruning it can achieve small tree status and it forms attractive cloud like crowns of foliage. As a hedge it excels. Plant 2 gallon plants on 3′ centers and mulch. Irrigate about once a week until you see good new growth. Established plants are very tolerant of dry conditions. Theaceae- Camellia family. Excellent cold hardiness to 0ºF, tolerates some subfreezing wind. Excellent companion plant for Rhododendrons, Pieris, Illicium. Full sun to quite a bit of shade. Native to Japan. Good looking tough plant. Light deer resistance.
Sun Exposure: Full Sun
When a plant is designated as full sun that means several things. Full sun is at least six hours of unobstructed sunshine. Anything less than that can qualify as part shade. Plants in too much shade that are adapted to sun behave in strange ways. They will often lean exorbitantly towards the direction of the most possible sun. They will not bloom very well and they will not grow nearly as dense becoming lanky and missing the natural beauty of a plant grown correctly. Most drought adapted/low water plants fit into this category.
Climate Adapted Plants for Gardeners in the PNW
Common snowberry is very widespread in our state and is found in a host of biomes This small, deciduous, suckering shrub begins spring with leaves of the freshest green, so fresh they flutter on the late spring early summer breeze. After several weeks of foliage the small white tinted pink flowers are shaped like small bowls and line the stem at every leaf axil. These morph into plush, plump pure white berries that are quite a bit larger than the relatively insignificant flowers. The berries (drupes) are perched in groups on the stems. Their pure white hue is easy to spot for humans and especially birds.They relish the berries while they are toxic for humans. To 32″ tall forming a dome shaped suckering shrub twice as wide. Water to establish the first season then none in subsequent years. Mulch heavily. The berries last well into winter before becoming animal snacks. The gray thin arching stems create a haze on the forest floor that becomes acid green as leaves appear. Spreads by stolons underground to expand its territory. Its adaptable to both upland quite dry situations as well as vernally wet spots in floodplains and fields. In the Willamette Valley its common associates are with Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglas Fir) Quercus garryana ( Oregon White Oak) and Fraxinus latifolia ( Oregon Ash) as an understory component. Its tolerant of dense shade as long as its deciduous to full hot sun, Very well adapted to the driest summers. In summer the acid green leaves change to a dark blue green and are often afflicted by a strain of powdery mildew- my whole life I’ve known this shrub and I’ve never seen powdery mildew cause any permanent damage- mostly its just a poor aesthetic look for late summer to autumn. Fall color is soft yellow and brief. Branches may be carefully cut in berry and will hold them in arrangements for quite a few days. An excellent forage and cover plant for native fauna. A great native shrub for beginners. This is the taller form of the two species that we grow. Native to the Portland city limits. Moderate deer resistance. One of our best shrubs for seasonally dry shade. Oregon native plant.
Excellent, dwarf/very small Mountain Yew Pine hybrid. To just 2′ tall forming a very dense plant to 3′ wide in 10 years. Late in the summer and autumn it pushes beautiful red stained growth that persists through winter. This small formal looking plant has deep green fine, yew like foliage the remainder of the year. Adaptable conifer that takes clay soils as well as sand. Occasional deep watering not only improves appearance it guarantees that the late summer and autumn color change to red is more dramatic. Full sun to very light shade (with a slightly more open habit). Tiny green pillar shaped flowers can turn into red berries. Very easy to grow for a formal, clean or modern aesthetic. The dense growth is a great fine texture that mixes brilliantly with smaller ornamental grasses and other small conifers. Hybrid between two southern hemisphere Podocarpus. Does not require pruning or maintenance of any kind. Tiny needles are but 4mm long. CUTE. Long lived. Light deer resistance.
California Fuchsia that is an excellent combination of hot orange tubular flowers set agains dusty gray foliage. To 18″ tall in bloom this Epilobium is a spreader especially in light to rich soil. Adapted to life on slopes and often between boulders on cliffs. There its roots penetrate the cool, wet cracks and that provides sustenance. Give this perennial at least 2′ x 3′ feet to roam. Wonderful performance in hell strips. Add a little compost and organic fertilizer and you’ll be off to the races. Most (Zauschnerias) require irrigation about once a month and no more than once a week to look and bloom their best. Though it is supremely drought adapted this occasional irrigation substantially improves looks. Loved by hummingbirds and bush tits too who play with the flowers and rip them apart- their goal I have no idea. Dies to the ground in winter- the only presence then is spent stems. Cut these away in early spring after a threat of a hard freeze has passed Companion plants in the wild are Diplaucus, Delphinium cardinalis, Sedum spathulifolium. California Fuchsias range into southern Oregon and technically they are native to our state. This is an excellent perennial with great contrast between the masses of hot flowers and gray foliage. Not bothered by deer. Loved by hummingbirds Oregon native plant.
Pacific Aster is a Xera favorite late blooming native perennial. Masses of thick soft periwinkle flowers with a yellow center on an upright growing plant to 30″ tall forming an expanding clump. Blooms which are loved by native pollinators – they instantly appear, you don’t even have to be patient- are a soft color and open on the plant first on top and then down the sides eventually filling in. Its a cloud of periwinkle. Sometime afflicted with harmless powdery mildew. This is more of a problem near winter and afflicted material can be cut away and disposed then. Otherwise leave it standing and dead to thrill bush tits or some creatures like that. Rich soil with deep infrequent irrigation during summer. Once established it can perform reliably on rainfall alone (it will happily accept regular irrigation as well). Excellent mid-border late perennial that is fantastic with the green flowered late blooming Kniphofia pumila, and Golden rod Solidago canadensis elongate. Long lived. It may be divided after several years. This plant is common around the Pacific Rim in temperate to colder regions. Its natural range is enormous- notice the specific epithet refers to its Chilean origin,, it is just as native and prolific on the Oregon coast. Often found at the edge of woods or scrublands in the transition to grassland/ dune lands. Its common associates in habitat are Fragaria chilense (another Pacific Rim resident)- we grow the variety ‘Aulon’, as well as Pacific reed grass ( Calamagrostis nutkaenasis). Long blooming. ( AKA Chilean Aster- but that is confusing as it is native in Oregon as well. Great performance at its native Oregon coast on sand to clay soils. Oregon native plant.
This has been a great performer in my garden and is one of my favorite smaller crape myrtles. for the past 10 years it has become a slender, graceful shrub with a wavy branch pattern upright to 9′ tall. In early to mid August glossy black buds erupt into frilly saturated red flowers. The upright large trusses feature the flower color very well and its showy from quite a distance. Disease resistant and very cold hardy-it can be grown without fear in Zone 6b (-5ºF). Fall color is red orange and the slender stems exfoliate to patches of dark brown and lighter tan. Full (all day ) hot sun in rich soil with regular summer irrigation. Grows about 6″ per year. Works well in larger containers with regular irrigation and annual applications of fertilizer. Slow to produce because of its dwarf stature this fine small tree will always be limited in quantity. LOVE the saturated red flowers. Elegant small tree, the trusses of flowers are very large for the size of the tree. . Limited quantities.
We love this smaller growing crape myrtle for its vivid, opulent huge magenta purple flowers The shocking color of the petals is amplified by being larger individually than normal. The flowers are born in large globose trusses mid August to early October. 9′ tall in 10 years it is renowned not only for its vivid flower color but for exceptional cold hardiness – it resprouted from an epic -24ºF freeze in Topeka, Kansas, one of the very few to survive. It also possesses very good disease resistance and I’ve never seen a drop of powdery mildew. In the Southern U.S. it is commonly recommended for these attributes. Upright then rounded habit. Fall color is red/ orange and brief and the slender but older stems exfoliate to a glossy tan. This is an exceptional flower color- excellent against a deep green backdrop. Full (all day) hot sun in rich soil with regular water beginning in May. It appreciates the hottest position you can give it. One tip if you want to maximize growth is to water it when its going to get hot – it should be well hydrated going into a heatwave. Glossy red buds release the vivid flower petals. This small, hardy excellent Crape Myrtle was bred by and then named for Mrs. Velma McDaniels a Wichita KS crape myrtle enthusiast. She did a phenomenal job. Crape myrtles are completely intolerant of shade- 6 or more hours of full sun per day. Delightful cultivar. Limited quantities.
Chilean Jasmine is not common in our region but it has been grown for many decades and it does well in warmer gardens, protected places. Large entire deep green leaves are 3″ long and opposite on twining stems. This strongly growing vine requires heavy and reliable support (See #4 copper wire). Blooms on new growth, which is continuous, In rich soil it can achieve 15′ in a season. The 2″ long tubular white flowers have the familiar propeller petal configuration of this family the Apocynaceae . The fragrance to me is delicious on warm days and nights and close to the blossoms which appear in clusters. It is not a sweetly cloying scent but more sophisticated. I once had this vine around my front door. In full bloom on warm summer nights it would be a cloud of perfume. Deciduous and often freezes back either 1/2- 3/4 of the way in colder than normal winters. In horrendous winters (below 12ºF) it can freeze away. Choose a protected site in full sun with rich soil and ample water. The more verdant the growth the more profuse the display and fragrance. Blooms late May- October. Avoid, cold frosty sites, cold gardens. In rural areas place it against south facing wall. Because it blooms on new wood and grows so prolifically it may be cut nearly to the ground for a fresh start to the year- do this in late March. In most summers large two chamber connected bean pods are 8″ long and bright green. When they ripen to tan they will twist and release downy clad black seeds that sail on the wind. Several winters in a row and the seeds that germinate may survive. I almost always lose them but the climate is changing and don’t bet on self sowing any way -its rare Root hardy to about 5ºF- mulch for added protection. Exquisite vine. Native to central southern Chile.
Frangula (Rhamnus) californica ‘Josephine County’
(California) Coffee Berry. Greg collected the berries/seed from this evergreen shrubby species in southwestern Oregon. In Josephine county it is a common dry shade understory component of both the forest and in open stands in chaparral. A light and gaunt evergreen with slightly glossy convex leaves that hang on the tips of the gray branches. In spring/ summer tiny green flowers morph into the familiar berries. They start green move to red and arrive at black/brown. To 6′ tall x 6′ wide on average. Growth in rich soil is much more verdant and dense. In dry shade, its natural haunt, it assumes its most common form. Birds will spread this tough shrub that is ideal for wild scaping, xeric landscaping, rural areas. Perhaps its most wonderful characteristic is that it is deer resistant- they will munch but it will cause the plant to return twice as dense and verdant. Leaves are glossy on top and blue/gray on the reverse and persist for 3-5 years. Full sun to quite a bit of shade in average to slightly enriched soil. Water to establish, or ideally plant in fall then natural rainfall alone. It will tolerate quite a bit of shade as well as root competition but not low shade, high overstay shade is better. . Informal shrub- good year round appearance. Extreme drought adaptation when established. In habitat this shrub is found with Arctostaphylos canescens, viscida, and Rhododendron occidentale and macrophyllum. Overstory is Chamaecyparis lawsoniana, Pseudotsuga, Pinus attentuata, Umbellularia californica. Quercus sp. Cold hardy. Great for wildlife. Seed grown., Oregon native plant
Xera Plants Introduction
Showy daisy- though that is far too vague for this tough and graceful wildflower. Native in separate parts of the state this summer blooming perennial inhabits meadows and fields of the Willamette Valley. Rows of very fine soft pink petals surround a green/yellow center on 18″ stems June-August. The pretty daisies come in a group and then appear sporadically until frost. Loved by pollinators this is an authentic component of Willamette Valley meadows. Average to enriched soil with regular water to establish, in subsequent years it can survive on rainfall alone. Plant with Prunella vulgaris var, lanceolata, and Erigeron glaucus for a midsummer blooming native vignette. Long lived low maintenance perennial that goes completely deciduous. Widespread in the northwestern states of the US. Our version is from seed native to the Willamette Valley. Loved by butterflies and even good beetles. Clump expands to 2′ wide in time. Not bothered by deer. Simple, tough, wonderful native perennial. Full sun. Oregon native plant.
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