Celery leaved Licorice root is a subtle native perennial that is widespread in the western third of the state. In late spring umbels of white flowers are symmetrical and beckon to a host of pollinators. Especially attractive to native wasp species that are good and that predate bad caterpillars. The arrow shaped glossy deep green divided leaves provide a handsome collar for the subtle flowers in bloom. The entire plant tastes and smells very strongly of anise and as children on hikes we would eat the green seeds before they ripened for a blasting hit of licorice. To 2′ x 2′ forming long lived clumps in part shade to full sun. Prolific in the Willamette Valley and able to compete somewhat with non-natives. Water to establish plants from containers in rich soil with consistent irrigation until about the Fourth of July. then it can go dry. Self sows moderately. A common component of Oregon oak woodlands. Often found with Phacelia heterophylla and Polysticum minutum (Western Sword Fern). Oregon native plant.
Wonderful dense, arching and low growing conifer for full sun and only occasional water when established. This cold hardy conifer is native to the highest elevations of Tasmania up into eastern Australia. In the summer the fine but substantial needles turn to dusty blue. The arrival of colder weather brings a distinct and beautiful soft purple cast. To 2′ tall and arching to 5′ tall in 7 years. Long lived and carefree conifer for full sun to very light shade. Dense and blocks weeds. Excellent large scale, weed surpassing low water shrub. This cultivar originated in New Zealand and was released as a cultivar in 1994. Very good deer and rabbit resistance. Excellent appearance year round. It has been hardy slightly below 0ºF. Easy to grow.
Flowers are always at a premium in shade, and late season bloomers for shade are not profuse. This wonderful white flowered form of this hardy Begonia is a sparkling white treat. Masses of snow white flowers on white pendant stems decorate the top of the plant from August to October. The foliage with leaves shaped like large deep green wings are an excellent back drop to feature the contrasting pure flowers. This is a wonderful and very different effect than the the much more common pink flowered selections. The purity of the flowers is divine and they seems to appear from nowhere often in the hottest days of summer. At our wholesale nursery I found myself stopping to look at this beautiful perennial every time I passed it. It is exceptionally pretty Part shade to high overhead shade in rich soil with regular summer irrigation. Though it will arrive smaller with less flowers without water. Not bothered by slugs or snails it rises with the opulent green foliage to about 2′ tall before flowering commences. Very easy and long lived perennial. It persists with quite a bit of neglect. Mulch after planting to even out soil moisture. Avoid blasting reflected heat and drought. Often self sows and also propagates by small bulbils. This is never out of control and is usually welcome. Forms expanding patches to several feet wide. Disappears entirely in winter, nada and it arrives late in spring (be patient) it is more than hardy to cold. Wonderful plant Thank you Peter for this plant.
A very mysterious Gardenia that I got from the east coast and whose flowers are ENORMOUS and powerfully fragrant. Everything about this hardy Gardenia is big. The leaves are 5″x 3″ and are forest green and delightfully glossy. A moderately fast growing evergreen shrub to 6′ x 6′. Full sun but best in dappled shade in a protected location. Regular, consistent water is crucial. Gardenias like heat and water. Poorly irrigated plants will show yellow leaves on the interior of the plant before wilting. This is especially important since we’ve had consecutive dry springs and most likely you will need to water this plant beginning in April. Rich soil with regular water. Protect from subfreezing wind, and plant in rich soil with ample compost. Apply a handful of all organic fertilizer in early summer. The enormous flowers begin i July and continue to October. The only information I can find on this cold hardy cultivar is that it is particularly resistant to pests. Since Gardenias in our climate aren’t really pest magnets this is moot, but good to know. Spectacular flowers are 5″ across and semi-double. Excellent for corsages and even for floating in a bowl, one flower will perfume a wide area. It is crucially important that this shrub be well established going into winter otherwise its hardiness to cold will be compromised. Limited quantities.
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, tolerate 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.
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. 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. Common associates are with Quercus garryana ( Oregon White Oak) and Fraxinus latifolia ( Oregon Ash) as an understory component. It tolerant 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.
Wonderful dwarf/very small Mountain Yew Pine. 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.
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.
(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
We selected this seedling long ago for its vigor, it was culled from a batch of 50 as one of the best and it is. ‘Foxy Red’ is a mounding, low growing shrub that spreads. To 3′ tall x 8′ wide it produces a nearly year round parade of tomato red flowers. The elongated superior foliage is olive green on the upper surface and gray below and comes to sharp point. Fast growing in full sun to light shade. Average unimproved soils are ideal, dig a large hole and soften the soil on the outer edges. Water faithfully, once a week until good new growth commences then water less- once every two weeks/month depending on aridity. Nice looking winter blooming shrub that is ideal planted above rock walls where it can cascade down. Loved by hummingbirds, especially wintering Anna’s who see an out of season nectar source as gold. Mulch after planting- coarse bark, chips, gravel…. Established plants take summer drought without supplemental irrigation. Should be deer resistant. At some point we’ll test it for their consumption. Really nice looking shrub both in foliage and bright flower. May be pruned at any time of the year. Avoid strong subfreezing east wind. Protected site- south or west facing.
Xera Plants Introduction