Siskiyou Iris is native to the southwestern part of Oregon. Though its named after the mountain range it is more often a valley species. You see it sparsely under Oaks, Madrones, and especially Ponderosa and Jeffrey Pine woods. Never at high elevations it grows in a host of soil types but the common component is that they all dry thoroughly in summer. Do not irrigate past the Fourth of July when established OR water only to establish the first year and then set it free. Forms almost caulescent evergreen fans that are red at the base. These rise to about 14″ and are not profuse. The plants which we raise from seed are a range of pale ivory to yellow all with conspicuous darker markings on the falls. Blooms April to May. Full sun to part shade and best with some protection from afternoon sun. In habitat it is found with Sidalcea malvifora var. Asprella , Erythronium hendersonii, and Vancouveria chrysantha with interspersed clumping Fescues. Long lived. This Iris among other Pacifica species do not compete well with invasive weeds and grasses. They are native to a fairly invasive free and less competitive balanced biome. Protect them by not allowing weeds grasses from getting a foothold around this Iris. Mulch with gravel to assist. Not bothered by deer or rabbits. Not as floriferous as other species but the flowers which are larger are much showier as well. Drought adapted. Oregon native plant.
Sun Exposure: Part Shade
Part shade can fall under a number of categories. It may be very dappled shade from a high overstay of trees. It could be the east or west side of a building where the sun is at its maximum for just one half day. Another site that acts like part shade is what is referred to as an open north exposure. The north side of a building or fence, where the sky is unobscured but obstructions and sun angle never completely penetrates. This is a cool aspect but bright enough for almost full sun lovers.
Climate Adapted Plants for Gardeners in the PNW
Pacific Snakeroot is a fascinating native perennial that is native west of the Cascades from British Columbia south -to the tip of South America. A summer deciduous perennial whose presence is really from January to July- before slipping into summer/dry dormancy. This unique plant forms handsome palmate leaves that are edged in black when young. As summer approaches the plant elongates up to 30″ tall and begins to bloom. Tight gold/charteuse inflocenscence that must attract very specific pollinators. I know for a fact that it draws butteries because I vividly remember them visiting this plant in the country. I’ve always found this easy growing plant pleasant and I have to admit that it is present in just about every biome west of the Cascade Crest. At the coast it is nearly evergreen – no need for summer dormancy. The small spiny seeds that perch at the top of plant are carried away by animals. Adapted to a LOT of soil conditions including compacted xeric clay. Forms increasing rosettes to 18″ across. More than likely you will find seedlings. Found in the Willamette Valley with Dodecatheon, Camassia, Rosa, and in shade with Symphoricarpos and Polystichum. Full sun to full shade. Not eaten by deer. Oregon native plant.
Adorable and deeply colored perennial primrose that has been a long term performer. Brilliant cobalt blue flowers with a center of yellow from mid-winter (in mild years) to late spring. Rich, moisture retentive soil- add a lot of compost and regular water. Primula species that don’t go summer dormant can have a rough go through our hot dry summers. Part shade and match with other perennials and bulbs with similar needs. Epimedium , Crocus, Hyacinth, Pulmonaria all group wonderfully together. Low and spreading. To 6″ tall in bloom (barely) and forming expanding patches. Eventually you can end up with a a 3′ x 3′ patch of pure deep blue. Make sure that it never goes dust dry in summer. Irrigate at least once a week in July-Sept. Protect flowers from snails slugs vermin though they aren’t chronically afflicted. Great in seasonal containers. We named this Primula ‘Depoe Bay’ because hey, its a blue bay and how many Primroses are named after the smallest harbor in the world? Very floriferous selection. Attracts some of the eariest bees.
Xera Plants Introduction
Western Mock Orange is a locally native deciduous shrub with masses of showy white flowers in June to July. These are seedlings of a shrub native to our wholesale nursery site. A certain percentage of the seedlings will be fragrant to a varying extent. The fragrance is most conspicuous after several seasons in the ground. Full sun to part shade in rich to rocky soils with regular water to establish and then set it free. Moderately fast growing to 8′ tall by 4′ in several years and then larger. Tough shrub that accepts a lot of soil types, in habitat it is most often seen on hillsides and even appears in riparian situations. Its most typical on the edges of forests. Associated plants in the wild are Western Hazel, Corylus cornuta californica and Oso Berry Oemleria cerasiformis, and Ocean Spray, Holodiscus discolor.Fall color is most often yellow and not spectacular. The pretty mid green foliage blends in to the landscape before and after its profuse period of bloom. Accepts summer drought when established to regular irrigation . Climate adapted shrub for wild areas to shrub borders. Blooms on OLD wood, prune after blooming if necessary. Oregon native plant.
Giant Trillium or Great Western Wake Robin, I think the first name is the most common. This sweet large woodland Trillium inhabits moist woods in the valleys of the western side of the Cascades. Its sporadic in occurrence but when you do stumble upon it in the woods its often very profuse. The stature and individual leaf size are what give this somewhat subtle flowered perennial its name of Giant Trillium. It is very easy to tell aside from western Trillium, T. ovatum. which is a smaller daintier plant with larger white flowers that normally senesce to pink/red before falling apart. Giant Trillium has much smaller individual creamy white flowers and they almost appear as an afterthought in the center of the large leaves which can appear initially with black mottling that then fades. To 2′ tall and increasing to form large patches in vernally moist woods. Giant Trillium goes dormant by mid summer and there is no presence until the following spring. Beware deer love Trilliums. There are two other sub species of Giant Trillium endemic to the Willamette Valley. This is the most widespread species. Rich, moisture retentive soil in part shade to shade. Oregon native plant.
Mission Bells or Western Checker lily. This is a handsome native bulb that is found extensively throughout the west side of the Cascades. It can inhabit Oregon oak savanna or Douglas fir forests. It is a prime Willamette Valley prairie component. This was one of the first native plants that i ever grew. In our backyard in the country under white/black oaks you would see them sporadically. When I put up a fence to block the voracious deer I inadvertently protected a patch of uncultivated forest floor. Where there was one meager Mission Bell the first year blossomed literally into 25 the next year and 50 the following year. Apparently, the deer had been eating them. So,learn my lesson protect this native plant from deer. To 20″ tall in bloom in April to June. The flowers are large for a Fritillaria and are most often black brown with green checkers and nod dramatically. To be honest this is a flower to view up close, from a distance this mostly green and brown plant blends right in to the forest floor. Tolerant of many soil types, ours grew in heavy silica based clay that dried to concrete in summer. Once established this tough bulb thrives and each lives many years. Spreads by seeds and bulbils and offset bulbs. Goes completely summer dormant with true heat- no presence in summer. Attracts quite a few pollinators including butterflies. No supplemental water in summer.Full sun to quite a bit of shade. Oregon native plant.
Spring bouquet viburnum or Laurusitinus is a common shrub in our climate. This form lightens up what can be a very pedestrian plant. The edges of the evergreen leaves are margined in cream with an interior of soft green. This makes a shrub that glows year round and can be used to lighten up dark corners. In autumn clusters of pink buds form and hold until mid winter. Then as the days begin to lengthen it opens these clusters which are lightly fragrant and white. Strong growing shrub that requires very little water once established. To 8′ tall and 5′ wide in 6 years. Full sun to part shade to high overhead shade. Nice looking, tough shrub native to the Mediterranean very easy to grow and long lived. If a green sport appears simply prune it off to the base to retain the variegated form. Water to establish. Not deer resistant. Excellent backdrop to a mixed border or trimmed into a contained hedge. Nice fast growing screen. Blue berries sometimes follow the flowers. Buds and flowers put on a show for months. Blooms on wood from the previous season prune after flowering if needed. Naturally dense and rounded.
Compact hybrid Corokia that has larger leaves that turn from gray to bronze in cold weather. To 4′ x 3′ in 6 years. The upper parts of the stems are more like soft gray rushes before the foliage elongates. In late spring starry bright yellow flowers spangle the older growth. Occasionally its followed by orange berries. Very forgiving shrub that we have actually grown for years. It has good cold hardiness for a Corokia x virgata hybrid and its compact, dense and good looking year round. Avoid the coldest sites, gains cold hardiness with age, protect the smallest plants from temperatures below 20ºF, after several years it will be hardy to the upper single digits. Makes a great sheared hedge and its used for that purpose in its home New Zealand. Great performance at the Oregon coast. Very good in containers. especially winter containers. This shrub has a much more burgundy hue in winter as opposed to the all gray look of Corokia cotoneaster. Easy to grow. This shrub would be good to try where deer are profuse. Its excels in containers in the urban scape of down town.
This is a different form of our locally native Buckbrush. We found this at approximately 2200′ on Mary’s Peak in the Coast Range in a forest that was comprised primarily of Douglas Fir and Golden Chinquapin. This shorter shrub with smaller deep green leaves is most conspicuous in its slick gray stems. To 3′ tall by 4′ wide in 5 years. Full sun and average to poor soil. Blooms April to May with ivory colored panicles that cover the whole plant on old wood. The sweetly fragrant flowers are always buzzing with pollinators. A true low water shrub that can easily get by on only what falls from the sky, once established. This is a cold hardy and locally native evergreen shrub. Often it grows in an arching and then angular kind of way. This form is less upright. Red seedheads follow the flowers. This is a very well known and stable population in the wild that is regenerating nicely. Extraordinarily tolerant of heat and drought. Traditionally this shrub follows disturbance and was widespread in the Willamette Valley often as a meadow component with Rosa nutkana and Amelanchier, Excellent with native clumping grasses, perennials, and annuals. Oregon native plant.
Xera Plants Introduction
Giant baby blue eyes is kind of a misleading common name. The flowers in our locally native form of Baby blue eyes are a pure white with black dots on the interior. The only blue that appears on this subspecies is on the reverse of the petals which is often blushed with navy blue. This delightful wildflower grew natively in my back yard where I grew up. In early April to early June it would make sheets of cup shaped blooms under the native white and black oaks. There it bloomed simultaneously with Foothill shooting star (Dodecatheon hendersonii), Prairie stars (Lithophragma parviflora) and western buttercup (Ranunculus occidentalis) and mission bells (Fritillaria affinis) – a really cool native vignette. Wonderful annual for many kinds of native pollinators. Native bees favor this plant and if you look diligently they will be visited over and over. It will resow itself very reliably if foreign invasive plants are kept away. Mixes really well with (Collinsia grandiflora) Giant Blue Eyed Mary and (Plectritis congesta) Rosy plectritis. A truly exquisite west coast and Oregon native that is adapted to life between clumping grasses. Non native turf grasses will quickly over run and out compete this plant. So, invasive weed control is paramount in maintaining consistent years. In my own backyard it grew between (Festuca californica) California fescue and California three awn (Danthonia californica). Water in potted plants.Protect seedlings in spring and fall from slugs. Oregon native plant.
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