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.

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure: , ,
Biome: , , , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn5b -10º to -15ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


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.

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure: ,
Biome: , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn5b -10º to -15ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


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.

My Favorites

Plant type: ,  |  Sun exposure: , ,
Biome: , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn7a 5º to 0ºF
Foliage color: ,  |  Foliage season:


Symphoricarpos albus

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.

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure: , ,
Biome: , , , , , , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn5a -15º to -20ºF
Foliage color: ,  |  Foliage season:


(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

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure: , ,
Biome: , , , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn7a 5º to 0ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


Hosta plantaginea

Fragrant August lily. We don’t grow very many Hostas. For the most part they are water lovers and they require care to really thrive in our climate. This classic species is much tougher than most and makes due with bold, solid  green leaves and 3′ spikes of powerfully fragrant white flowers in late summer.  Fragrant hosta lily forms a clump 2′ tall and spreading to 4′ wide. Adaptable to shade (higher overhead shade) part shade, and full sun. Rich soil with regular water gives verdancy and encourages a large set of blooms. The fragrance of the many flower spikes is detectable many feet away on warm days. Give this large plant room to spread, plan ahead. Also, take note of where you want to smell the wafting perfume- near benches, seating etc. Completely winter deciduous. Plant with other bold perennials in the woodland where rich soil and regular moisture give it a long life. Plant with Bergenia ciliata for a bold duo. Regular summer water if located in full sun. Very long lived. Protect the emerging plant for slugs and snails. Bait regularly.

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure: , ,
Biome:  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn4a -25º to -30ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


One of the boldest species of lily turf that is as tough and adaptable as the rest of the genus. Wide leaves (for this genus) measure about 1″ wide and form rosettes that are staunchly evergreen. The initial rosette measures about 1′ across, in time it increases by stolons as well as enlarging clumps. This species is native to SW Asia and is surprisingly cold hardy.  Great year round appearance of foliage. In late summer 2′  thin spikes  rise above the leaves and displays soft mauve flowers for several weeks. An added vertical element that is subtle but very pretty. Part shade to shade, avoid hot dry sites. Rich soil and regular irrigation speeds growth and establishment. Adaptable to dry shade when established. Great in year round containers- I have yet to see it blemished by winter weather. Easy to grow, long lived perennial that is pretty and useful. Not bothered by deer- unsure about rabbits but I suspect they would love it. This Liriope has the widest leaves. Clumping. Consistent summer irrigation for the best appearance. Pronounced Leer-EYE- oh-pee.

My Favorites

Plant type: ,  |  Sun exposure: ,
Biome: ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn6b 0º to -5ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


Abutilon (Callianthe) ‘Nabob’

Odd name for a wonderful flowering maple. This Abutilon has earned its fame with large deep red/black red pendant flowers for months on end. In one season it will form a substantial sub-shrub and bloom continuously as it grows.  Rounded habit to 4’x 3′. Its best home is in containers where you can inspect the intensity of the flower color up close. Each globe shaped flower is 1 1/2″ wide and they occur in a huge display for months. Loved by hummingbirds and pollinators as well. Rich soil with regular irrigation. In spring if the winter has been normal to mild it will often resprout from the base when warm weather returns. Mulch in autumn to protect the base. The early spring appearance is pretty awful the solution  is to water, water, water, and add a 1/2 cup of all purpose organic fertilizer. Recovery is rapid as the weather warms. If in a mobile container it may be moved into an unheated garage and watered once a month through winter. Bring out, fertilize and water when all threat of frost has passed. Classic flowering maple.

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure: , ,
Biome: ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn9a 25º to 20ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season: ,


Sierra gooseberry or sticky gooseberry is a pretty if prickly native deciduous shrub for rough areas. Charming in bloom , the 1/2″ pendant flowers have sepals that are reflexed and red around a pendant white corolla. After opening they both change to light red and remain showy for several weeks. They line zig zagging stems with three thorns at each node. That means  you must site this 7′ tall by 4′ wide arching plant carefully. The flowers are pretty viewed up close and turn into prickly translucent green/red drupes. These are eaten by a huge variety of wildlife and especially smaller birds. Often the shrub will be completely stripped of berries by the time the soft orange fall color appears. Native from the Cascades of Marion county south throughout inland California down to San Diego county CA. Its most often found in dry gravelly areas on slopes in full sun to deep woods where its habit is more restrained and open. Blooms appear in mid spring. Water lightly to establish the first summer then only what falls from the sky in subsequent years. Adaptable to dry shade if it is not completely dark. Moderate deer resistance. Very similar to another native Gooseberry Ribes lobbii which is discrete in its dull non sticky leaves. Wonderful native shrub.Rarely seen in habitat below 1000′.  Oregon native plant

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure: , ,
Biome: , , , , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn5b -10º to -15ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


Oxalis oregana ‘White Flower Form’

There are quite a few selection off Redwood Sorrel or Oregon sorrel. This is the most common light green leaved form that you see carpeting shady dells and tree rootwells in the deepest shade. To 8″ tall and spreading vigorously by underground stolons. Clear white flowers in mid to late spring. Edible. Very simple plant to grow in part shade to shade. It will even thrive on an open north exposure. The soft foliage is semi-evergreen and has a great rebirth in spring. Not bothered by pests or deer. Spreads to several feet wide in rich soil high in humus. Do not plant with smaller delicate neighbors this plant will easily swamp them. Avoid full sun and compacted soils. Established plants can get by the summer with minimal to no irrigation. Oregon native plant.

t

My Favorites

Plant type: ,  |  Sun exposure: ,
Biome: , , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn6b 0º to -5ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season: