Saruma henryi

Lovely, sophisticated woodland perennial that is handsome in all of its parts. Large soft arrow shaped leaves have a thick, quilted quality. In mid spring to early summer simple light yellow flowers have three simple petals and they appear for weeks. A mounding perennial to 20″ tall and in rich soil with regular water twice as wide. Part shade. Excellent aesthetic and cultural companion with Hosta, Tiarella, Heuchera. Completely winter deciduous. Not bothered by pests. Easy, classy, long lived perennial that has a soft but substantial mien. Does not do drought or full sun. Perfectly hardy to cold. Saruma is a monotypic genus from SW China. Light deer resistance.

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A sparkling little groundcover Hebe with emerald green leaves on trailing black stems and clouds of violet blue flowers in early summer. to 8″ tall spreading to 2′ wide. It covers the ground very densely. It may be used as a small scale ground cover but never more than 4′ x 4′ square feet. Rich to average soil with consistent light water though summer. Cold hardy below 10ºF. Very easy to grow and handsome plant. Hummingbird and Butterflies adore the flowers. Excellent rock garden subject. Very good performance at the coast.  Nice trough plant. Good looking year round. Avoid hot wet soils and compacted droughty places. Ideally sited on a slight slope. Stems will eventually root where they touch. Combine with Penstemon pinifolius ‘Mersea Yellow’. New Zealand.

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Broadleaved strawberry or mountain strawberry is a widespread native species with large white flowers in spring that turn to small delicious red fruits in June. A low spreading perennial that also spreads liberally by runners. This tendency ramps up in richer conditions. This tough native form was found by our employee Brandon at Mt. St. Helens. This clone shows impressive vigor and is useful in a  number of ways. A tough species that naturally thrives in clay soils (and clay strawberry pots). It competes admirably with grass and is best between native clumpers. Associated plants in the Willamette Valley are Dichelostemma congestum, Carex tumulicola , Lathyrus nevadensis, and Calochortus tolmiei. Mostly evergreen with many bright red leaves in winter but leaves remain present in all but the coldest situations. In the garden give it rich to average soil and regular irrigation to establish. This variety has enough summer drought adaptation that it will grow sufficiently with little summer water. Cold hardy, tough little plants. Bears one crop of fruit per year. Rescue them from snails and ants. Widespread throughout the region. On the west side it is found everywhere from oak savannas to alpine meadows. In the eastern part of the state it is primarily in the mountains in partly shaded zones where there is adequate moisture. Each plant spreads to about 6″ across and runners expand out more than a foot from that. Oregon native plant.

Xera Plants Introduction

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Phacelia heterophylla ssp. virgata

For anyone who has hiked and camped in Oregon you are likely already familiar with this silvery plant. The divided and rounded laves are clad in silver fur and the leaves are the highlight of this widespread perennial. The flower which shows great promise as it rises from the cool leaves. It opens and then unfurls and you expect a purple or even red flower but no disappointly- dingy off white is what unfurls. Either way its a pollinator paradise. Size is dependent on the fertility of the soil. Often you see this plant in its early rosette forms along just about any path in the state. Western Oregon to Eastern Oregon this widespread plant is specific to our native pollinators. To 18″-3′ (in really rich soil). Short lived Oregon native perennial. About 3-5 years. Reliably reseeds. Seedlings are easy to spot as they mimic the parent plant. Full sun to a considerable amount of woodland shade. Associated plants in habitat are Sword ferns (Polystichum minutum) and Vancouveria hexandra. Moderately deer resistant. Native in the Portland city limits. Oregon native plant. 

 

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Hebe ‘Blue Mist’

This genus may soon be changed to Veronica. We still list it as Hebe because that is how it is distinctly known in the PNW. This is a good, reliable Hebe (yeah, those exist) with profuse flowers, a dense, layered habit and good looks year round. To 30″ tall and as wide and progressively wider in fat conditions. Plan for this. In May-July a long display of many spikes of flowers they protrude through the waxy forest green foliage. Profuse. The flower buds and initially open flowers are blue and proceed to light blue then white – the mist. This multicolored effect is delightful. Attractive to bees and bumbles and especially butterflies. Full sun to very light shade – successful under a very high tree canopy with bright conditions. Excellent specimen plant with reliable cold hardiness to 10ºF. Very well adapted to the beach. Regular irrigation and a layer of mulch annually. Combine with Bupleurum fruticosum and Lavandula x angustifolia ‘Purity’. We grew this many years ago and have brought it back. Welcome back. An old favorite.

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South African Buddleia that we are not concerned about escape, We’ve had this plant on our propagation hill for 15+ years, and there is even a rich stock bed right beside NEVER had a single seedling. Kind of wish I would. Thin tapered gray leaves are pure white underneath and along the stems. This downy appearance reads as light gray from a distance. Forms a rounded shrub to about 6′ tall x 4′ wide in 4 years. Blooms on wood from the previous year (important)- restrict pruning to directly after you are sick of the flowers. Large clusters of off white faintly fragrant flowers appear in late spring and remain in bloom to August, sometimes longer. Moderately fast growing evergreen for excellently drained soils to rich soils in full sun. I would err on the side of poor soil, its a tough shrub with great drought tolerance. Two ideal companions to our stock plant are Bupleurum fruticosum and Grevillea australis. Not only does it look good this 1/2 gravel 1/2 clay substrate is kind of rough and all three thrive. You may cut back very hard to refresh/resize- May skip a year of bloom but its a fantastic gray foliage plant on those merits. High deer resistance. Drought adapted and cold hardy. We’ve never irrigated ours. Pretty shrub for texture. Nice transitional shrub with Ozothamnus or Grevilleas and even Manzanitas.

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Pine leaved Penstemons are great, long lived evergreen perennials in our climate. They decorate rock gardens and rock walls in the most common color which is orange. This is a striking departure. Lemon yellow tubular flowers appear in late May and continue to July. The foliage is what you might expect small needle like leaves cover winding stems. You may remove the spent flowers from the first round, give it a soak and you might get more flowers. Either way you have saved yourself a chore in the future. Full sun to the very lightest shade (at the expense of blooming). Rich, well amended soil and regular summer water through its bloom cycle- then you may back off. Evergreen small trailing shrublet. To 6″ x 12″ wide and 9″ tall in bloom. The flowers on this species will always point in the same direction which is charming. Moderate deer resistance. Combine with Penstemon heterophyllus ‘Electric Blue’ and Erigeron x ‘Wayne Roderick’ for similar cultural requirements and simultaneous bloom time. Excellent in troughs, permanent planters. This species is native to the mountains of New Mexico. Sunny yellow flowers.

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Yerba de Selva or whipple vine, a wonderful small scale evergreen native ground cover. Related to Hydrangeas but this trailer is actually very aromatic with a sweet penetrating aroma if you disturb the foliage. In late spring clouds of small white flowers have  the same perfume. Scrambling plant to about 8″ tall and 2′ wide. Full sun to considerable shade. From Portland south this is a common understory component of the herb field. It grew happily in our back 40 where I grew up. There it made pretty scrambling patches between Vancouveria, snow berry and hairy honeysuckle. Often you would see our native columbine ( Aquilegia formosa) as an associate. Its very drought adapted when established but it improves with a few soaks over summer- never perpetually wet and never hot and wet. Otherwise an easy native that should be grown a lot more. Just the fragrance of the foliage endears it to me. For use as a small scale ground cover plant on 10″ centers. It will also gracefully trail over rockeries and walls. Butterflies adore the flowers. Competes well with invasives. Some deer resistance. It may be cut back in early spring to refresh. Once native in the Portland city limits. Oregon native plant.

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Wonderfully fragrant and early blooming this ravishing plant is one of our favorite perennials. In May towering scapes to 3′ tall are topped by clusters of widely opening citrus yellow flowers. They emit a powerful perfume and the intensity ramps up at night. Blooms 3-4 weeks from a lower clump of grassy leaves.  Full sun and rich soil with regular irrigation in summer. Established plants can get by on water once every two weeks. Spreads to form colonies and this markedly increases the number of blooms. The floral perfume is detectable 10′ away and actually carries on the breeze. Mix with low shrubs or include in the center of a border. Lovely species that is very long lived and low maintenance. Completely winter deciduous. The flowers are edible and taste a little like the way they smell. This species can be hard to locate. (photo credit: Evan Bean).

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This is our local form of the Pyramid Spiraea an attractive naturally occurring hybrid between two local species. Spiraea douglasii (dark pink flowered) and Spiraea betulifolia var. lucida (white flowered).  Its a larger plant and much more controlled than  its parent S. douglasii and it inherits some of the drought adaptation of Birch leaf Spiraea. To 5′ tall and 4′ wide this upright growing shrub produces pyramid shaped inflorescences of the softest pink- intermediate between the two species. This form was found just east of Portland. Full sun and occasional deep soaks in dry summers. Tolerates part shade at the expense of a tidy, upright habit. Blooms on wood from the previous season, prune if needed after flowering. Adaptable to wild areas. Deciduous shrub that turns to tones of yellow and flaming orange in mid autumn. This twiggy shrub would make a great hedgerow plant. Blooms late May to early July. Flowers turn to tan seed heads that persist on the plant. Cold hardy and not difficult to grow. Not bothered by pests or disease. Not fussy about soils adaptable from sand to clay. Oregon native plant.

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