Calamagrostis foliosa  LEAFY REEDGRASS    a low, compact, evergreen, rare California native endemic bunchgrass found in very cool locations along the North Coast. It produces nice, chunky, tan flower/seed heads against grey to dark green foliage. It only gets about a foot tall by 18-24" across, takes full sun or grows in part shade mixed with shrubs, and can grow with immediate coastal exposure or in the Coast Range valleys. Good drainage, very infrequent watering, stressed by Central Valley heat or Santa Anas. Sunset zones 5-7, 14-17, 22-24/USDA zone 8. Graminae/Poaceae. rev 7/2014

Calandrinia spectabilis  nice landscape plant   flowers up close  it's quick, it's spectacular, and it's got blue foliage. This low, shrubby succulent is grown for its striking powdery blue foliage and iridescent magenta purple flowers to about an inch across that wave from long wand-like flower spikes well above the plant from spring through fall. In reality it seems to be a truly Daylength Neutral bloomer, depending simply on energy input for flower production, and can bloom through our cyclic warm, wet winters.. It is fast, easy, and rewarding, though it can fall apart with any physical damage, if overwatered, or from any frost. Still it is so easy and noticeable that it is easy to plug into any blank spot in your garden, usually rewarding you within a month with architectural foliage and very showy flowers. For best results grow it in full to part sun with at least reduced watering when established. Tops are pretty frost tender, damaged to near the ground at 25F in my garden in 2007, but established plants can take perhaps 5 degrees colder, maybe more if mulched or with overhead cover to reflect ground heat. In very high winter-rainfall areas it is likely to melt. To about 18" tall (foliage only), 3' across. It can get old and cruddy within 2-3 years and should be either cut back to within an inch of its life or replaced. USDA zone 9. Chile. Portulacaceae. rev 1/2018

Calceolaria 'Calyopsis Series'    SLIPPERWORT, POCKETBOOK PLANT   Red    Yellow Red   Yellow   these new pouch flowers have long stems and look more like orchids than the old-fashioned bedding plant. Irresistible flowers in bright colors, blooming in spring and summer in part shade with regular watering. About 10-12" tall and wide. Dark green crinkly leaves. Hardy to a little below 30F when established, so plant with overhead protection. USDA 9/Sunset zones 16-17, 21-24. rev 3/2015-Suzy Brooks

Calibrachoa  nice hanging basket   as landscape perennial  closely related to, and sometimes classified as Petunia, they differ slightly from that genus by chromosome number (18 versus 14), habit (trailing versus upright), and texture (rubbery and durable versus relatively brittle). These prostrate tender perennials or annuals produce carpets of flowers under long day conditions. They are mounding to heavily trailing in habit and make great hanging basket or (with very good drainage) landscape groundcover subjects. They are great for attracting hummingbirds, at least the mounding varieties or any form when used in baskets. They need less fertilizer than the other new amazing “super” trailing petunia strains, which are shameless hogs when it comes to food, but do want consistent regular feeding for best performance. If you feed them and they are still yellow, they probably need more acidic soil and/or iron treatments. Most plants do show yellowing due to iron/soil problems eventually, and the easiest and quickest treatment is using soluble chelated forms. Grow them in full to at least half a day's sun in good, rich, well drained soil with ample watering. South America. Solanaceae. rev 5/2018

CURRENT VARIETIES - SINGLES   (Conga series)   Coral Kiss   Deep Blue   Deep Yellow   Orange Kiss    Pink   Red   Rose Kiss Impr.   Sun Kiss    White   

CURRENT VARIETIES - DOUBLES  (Minifamous series)  Dbl. Amethyst    Dbl. Deep Yellow   Dbl. Pink   Dbl. Red   Dbl. White

NOT CURRENTLY IN PRODUCTION   Callie Dark Blue    Callie Rose    Callie Scarlet    Callie Sunrise    Callie White    Callie Yellow  

Calliandra californica  BAJA FAIRY DUSTER  closeup   very close   natural espalier in part shade, coastal garden  a light textured, open, rather wispy upright shrub to about 6', with very fine textured, grey green to blue grey, delicate mimosa-like leaves to about 1" long. It usually grows with a very vertical habit but there is considerable variation from seed and some individuals are compact and spreading, plus bluer or greener, finer or coarser, etc. Small, puffy, globular heads of bright red flowers (actually, their showy stamens) to about 1" across are produced from spring through fall and are great favorites of hummingbirds. This is a great plant for use against walls for its zigzag branches and leaf color, and in addition it is self-espaliering to some degree since the branches tend to stay where you bend them. It also makes a great container plant when older. It is good subject for hotter areas, like low-desert hot, being more substantial than the sparser but better known C. eriophylla, our native California species. It also grows well in very cool coastal areas, but is slow until established. It survives in my Santa Cruz yard in complete shade and looks very nice, but doesn't bloom almost at all. Sun to part shade, little summer watering except in hot areas, good drainage, frost hardy to probably around 20°F. Baja California. rev 3/2009

Callistemon viminalis ‘Little John’  BOTTLEBRUSH   flowers & foliage  very dense, compact growth to just 3’ tall and wide. Short clusters of blood red flowers with prominent golden stamens appear in fall, winter, and spring against blue grey to grey green foliage. Shows a very neat, regular spiral pattern of dense, oval, blue green leaves along the stems. Damaged below 25°F.  Myrtaceae. Survives in the warmer desert regions (Palm Springs, etc.) if watered,e ven tolerating reflected heat. Sunset zones 8-9, 14-24/USDA zone 9. rev 4/2012

Calocedrus decurrens  INCENSE CEDAR  Washington Street   fine strapping young specimen near Spring Street  an evergreen tree that is usually seen in cultivation as a narrow to broadly pyramidal shaped specimen to 60’ or more, with age. It is almost always multicrowned, with several to many upright leaders but almost always retains a narrow top. It has attractive reddish brown, deeply furrowed bark and the sprays of foliage exude a spicy, pungent scent that always reminds me of hot summer days camping in Sequoia National Park. It grows at about 1-2' per year. This tree is very tough, likes full sun to half sun exposures, needs soil of average drainage or better and needs little or no summer watering when established. It is not as bothered at low elevation by various nefarious twig and needle borers, cankers, and blights as many other "soft" foliaged conifers (Thuja, Chamaecyparis, etc.) from colder winter regions. Frost hardy up to the Fir Belt of the Sierras (about 6000'). Coast Ranges, Sierra Nevada. Cupressaceae. rev 3/2009

Calocephalus brownii Bed Head  CUSHION BUSH   twisted branches    starting to flower   fine plant, West Cliff Drive   another fine plant, West Cliff Drive  an especially tortured, twisted, curly form of this dense, mounding, very silvery evergreen shrub, which becomes dense, wiry mass of very silvery to silvery white stems. Small silvery flower-bud spheres appear all over the top of the plant in summer and produce a respectable show of tiny, tight, light yellow flowers. This is a great container plant, solitary or combo, but for most of the country that's about all it is because of its Mediterranean-climate requirements and lack of extreme cold-hardiness. Here it is a great garden or landscape addition, and looks particularly good mixed with grasses and other dry or chaparral environment selections. It can take wind, direct salt spray, and extensive drought once established. It looks great contrasted against other plants, mixed with large rocks or even featured just by itself in a container. Sun to a little shade, average drainage or better, tolerates alkaline soils. Sunset zones 8-9, 14-24/USDA zone 9. Australia, with a very broad distribution. Prune it hard if it starts to stretch unattractively, or die out. USDA zone 9/Sunset zones 14-17, 21-24. Australia. Compositae/Asteraceae. rev 7/2017

Calylophus drummondii  SUNDROPS deep golden yellow flowers  a small perennial, native of the Southwest that provides plenty of bright golden spots of color in any well drained, warm, sunny location. Big bloom in spring and more in fall. Makes a nice groundcover with succulent plants like Agaves, or Aloes, or on a bank, or on a slope, or with rosemary and lavender. About 15" tall and spreading to 2' or more. Average to little watering once established. Sunset zones 1-3, 6-16, 18-24/USDA 5.  rev 5/2012-Suzy Brooks 

Campanula ‘Blue Gown’  flowers  spreading to trailing evergreen or semideciduous perennial is similar to C. poscharskyana but more restrained and neater looking. Dense crowns of foliage break into sprays of bright blue flowers, each with a white eye. Leaves are often very hard, dark green, somewhat hairy, and with a conspicuously frilled margin. Tends to retreat to a relatively tight clump after spring bloom, then flush again in fall. Sun to mostly shade, presumed very frost hardy. USDA zone 7-6? Campanulaceae. rev 8/2014

portenschlagiana (muralis)  DALMATIAN BELLFLOWER  flowers   masses of flowers   nice planting  a mounding to trailing evergreen to deciduous perennial to 6" tall, spreading with age. Dark purple blue, bell shaped flowers to 1" long appear most of the year, heaviest in late spring and summer. Sun to part shade, average watering. Adriatic Mountains. USDA zone 4. rev 8/2014

poscharskyana 'Dickson's Gold'     mostly full sun    stone sink, Strybing Arboretum   a very slow, tightly clumping, golden-foliaged selection. It is relatively bigger and lusher in shade but I have also seen it used in stone sinks with alpines and other scree plants growing in full sun. The light blue flowers look great against the foliage but it then doesn't bloom much, just briefly in summer. In full sun it grows very slowly and is prone to burning on hot days in clear, dry air (California, etc.). This is much, much different from the regular green-leaved, fast growing species itself, it will never form a large plant. Full sun to mostly shade, average watering, probably not as hardy as the species itself due to lower vigor, guessing USDA zone 6? rev 8/2014

Canna  evergreen to deciduous rhizomatous perennials grown for dramatic foliage, flowers, and form. They have really been rediscovered as part of the new appreciation of foliage as a primary design element. Most do best in full to part sun, and in my experience they sulk if they don't get direct sun during cool springs. Dramatic as specimen container plants, especially against a wall. They are tough and will survive on little watering when established but for superior leaf quality, vigor, and bloom irrigate deeply and regularly. USDA zone 7/Sunset zones 4 and higher. rev 4/2008

‘Australia’  flowers and foliage  luminous burgundy-black leaves in full sun, lighter glowing red color in more shade. Flowers are bright orange. To about 5-6' tall. Very good as a large scale mixed container item. rev 7/2004 
'Blueberry Sparkler'    flowers and leaves   pointy, narrow, purple grey leaves with light undersides show off the pink flowers. 5-6' tall. rev 6/2013. 
'Intrigue'  flowering  7' tall clump at my house   the foliage is narrow and an enticing light smoky maroon in color, with a little bit of green showing through. It has a silvery, glaucous character that is difficult to describe but quite noticeable and highly attractive. The coral orange flowers fade to intense salmon pink and are a great combination with the leaf color. To about 6' tall,distinctly  narrow, with a strongly vertical leaf presentation as well. rev 8/2010
'Lucifer'   flowers   a very compact grower to about 30" tall with bluish leaves and really bright red flowers with petals edged in bright yellow. rev 3/2011
'Maui Punch'   spotted detail   clusters of yellow flowers densely covered in orange spots and beautiful bue green leaves are quite a show in a large container. Compact, to just 3' tall, blooming into fall. A great tropical accent on the deck or in the garden. rev 7/2013-Suzy Brooks 
'Pink Sunburst'  flowers and leaves  this is a hot new introduction that only grows to about 2' tall. It has coral, blonde, and green striped leaves that go great with the light salmon pink flowers. Vigorous, easy. A natural for foliage or tropical landscapes and great is a blooming perennial as well.  rev 11/2008
‘Pretoria’ ('Bengal Tiger')
  flowers and foliage   foliage landscape   backlit  one of the premier variegated clones, with fine green and blond yellow stripes on the leaves. According to Tony Avent of Plant Delights, who certainly knows more about this than me, the original name was 'Bengal Tiger,' and we will formally change to that name this year (2018) at some point. To 4-6', with orange flowers, just stunning against a dark background, even just shadowed landscape. Grows in standing water, looks cool that way. rev 2/2018
South Pacific Scarlet     nice and close!   a seed-grown 2013 All American Selection winner, due to uniform growth, dark green leaves,and wonderful orange red flowers with yellow markings in the center. Compact, 3-4' in the ground, smaller in containers. Bright, bold flowers initiate under long days, supply months of color, and can be used along with the foliage in bouquets. Likes sun, heat, and regular watering. Freezes to ground with hard frost. USDA 8/Sunset zones 5-7, 8, 9, 14-24. rev 8/2014
Tropical Bronze Scarlet   exotic foliage   the public clearly demands dark foliage, so here is another variety that meets that deep need. Bold, intense red flowers initiate under long days and provide rich color all summer. A very compact line, to just 18-30" tall, stems clumping from the base after flowering. Full to part shade, modest to inconsistent watering, not picky about drainage. Dig up and store inside in climates colder than USDA zone 8/Sunset zones 8-9, 14-24. rev 6/2015
'Volcanna'    blue sky background    backlit    flower    more backlight    a scintillating fountain of hot, glowing, dangerously hot geothermal delight, with upright plumes of foliage glowing  fiery orange, deep molten-lava red and cooler jungle green below, all topped by bright orange flowers from spring through fall. One of the best foliage plants ever released, we are excited to offer this ultimate expression of vibrant color and tropical ambience. Full sun for best color, average to intermittent summer watering, will tolerate wet sites. Maintains colorful foliage through winter in warmer areas with bright, goes deciduous in colder areas, become more green in winter with any shade. USDA zone 7. rev 11/2018  *New for 2019!*

Cardamine trifolia   shamrocky leaves   here is a woodland treasure, small, shamrocky, dark green leaves, creeping slowly and then punctuated by 6" stems of sprays of pure white flowers in early summer. An easy to grow, low maintenance perennial for dry shade and only shade, well drained soil, and average to infrequent watering. To just about 4" tall by maybe a foot wide, with time. Great under hellebores, around stepping stones. From our compatriots at Xera Plants in Portland. All Sunset zones/USDA 5. Southern Europe. Brassicaceae. rev 5/2012-Suzy Brooks 

Carex  SEDGES  evergreen to deciduous grass-like plants, many native to wet places or able to take seasonal inundation. Some have quite striking form or coloration, many can be used en masse. They can make striking container plants, either as individual focal point specimens or combined with other colors and textures. Cyperaceae. rev 4/2003

berggrenii     cute lil' bronzy thang   an alpine-type species, forming a slowly-expanding clump of densely packed, short, stubby, bronzy red blades to just 4" tall. Likes very well-drained-but-at-least-somewhat-moist soil. Think containers, in a gritty mix with some organic material. Or site it in elevated nooks, crannies and pockets in your Zen mound or competition rockery. Looks fabulous with dramatic stones, high quality gravel, by water, in fairy gardens or as a miniature groundcover. Evergreen, USDA zone 6a/Sunset all zones. New Zealand. rev 9/2015 

comans 'Olive Oil'  (not currently in production)  mop head   tawny silver, arching blades form a low mophead, about 12" tall and spreading to 3' with age. An interesting color to add to gold or green foliage. Makes a nice groundcover or container subject, and of course looks great with rocks and water. Sun or part shade, average watering. Sunset zones 8, 9, 14-24/USDA 8. rev 11/2010 (not currently in production)

dipsacea   (not currently in production)  Mills Garden  a very upright green sedge, eventually arching somewhat, with olive tints. Reaches 18-24" tall and has attractive black seed heads. This one tolerates very wet conditions and will like at least regular watering. Winter deciduous, very frost hardy (USDA zone 8/Sunset zone 4 or lower). New Zealand.rev 8/2017 (not currently in production)

divulusa ("tumulicola")  BERKELEY SEDGE  typical amazing stand, Sierra Azul Nursery   single specimen   Sierra Azul lawn, with Jeff's feet  everything sold under this name in California is actually C. divulusa, a non-native. The true native C. tumulicola is a smaller species which has a completely different appearance, is apparently not in cultivation, and is probably not nice enough to ever make it into cultivation. This is the best of the grass-like sedges for using to emulate a native meadow. It can be grown in full sun to quite a bit of shade and is quite drought tolerant when established. It is tough, durable, and always seems to find a way to survive. It forms a green groundcover to about knee high when mature, and should be planted 12-18" apart for solid cover on a large scale. It can also be clustered in smaller numbers for use as an accent plant, against rocks, in container, etc. or you can go the other way and plant it as solid cover from small plugs and mow it to form a lawn. You can see a good example of it used as turf at Sierra Azul Nursery in Watsonville. Sunset zones 7-9, 14-17, 21-24/ USDA zone 8? rev 1/2011

dolichostachya ‘Gold Fountains’  foliage detail, nursery  a very fine textured evergreen sedge with bright green leaves that are edged and striped with light yellow. The overall color is a warm golden green. Habit is very relaxed and wispy. To about 12" tall, 2' wide. Sun to mostly shade, average watering. USDA zone 5. rev 8/2015

elata ‘Bowle’s Golden’  GOLDEN SEDGE    luminous foliage   a low evergreen clumper, with moderately thin leaves that are a bright golden yellow with a little chartreuse at the base and along the central vein. To about 2' tall and wide. Minimal bleaching in full sun along the coast, but I haven't heard reports from the Central Valley or Southern California. It likes rich, moist soil and at least half sun to keep its coloration, else it tends to be a deep chartreuse. USDA zone 5/Sunset zones 4-9, 14-17, 21-24. rev 8/2017

'Feather Falls'  (not currently in production)    clean white edges on dark green leaves. A moderate-sized grower, to about 1 1/2' tall and wide. It's claim to fame is that it doesn't leaf-scorch in full sun conditions. (Even at Furnace Creek, Death Valley? And surrounded by decorative rock? How about 126F?). USDA zone 5.

morrowii 'Ice Dance'  garden  an almost Liriope-like sedge with 1/2" wide, heavy textured, dark green leaves that are cleanly edged in white. It is a strong, dependable grower with ascending to arching leaves that can reach about 12-18" in height. Faint white streaks can be seen in the center of the leaf, but they don't detract from the otherwise clean variegation. Sun to half sun, average watering needs. Frost hardy for all of California, and usually evergreen. Cut back in late winter to renew ragged foliage if necessary. USDA zone 5. rev 8/2017

'Gold Band'    bug's eye view   tiff, arching blades of green and creamy yellow, this one makes a clump about 12" tall, spreading 18". Likes moist soil and part shade. A real woodland plant, looking great along side ponds, water, rocks, or hostas. Sunset zones 3-9, 14-24/USDA 5. rev 6/2013-Suzy Brooks 

'Silver Sceptre'   foliage   fine textured, white edges, with additional white streaks through the middle of the leaf. This is much like 'Aureovariegata' or 'Evergold' except with clean white variegation as opposed to gold. To 1 1/2' across, about a foot tall. rev 1/2011 

oshimensis ‘Evergold’  Strybing Arboretum garden   wonderful container   a very nice, neat, lush sedge with fine, glossy leaves with a creamy white central band. The leaves arch all the way over to form a rounded dome of whitish foliage to about 12" tall. This variety is desirable for its superior center variegation and its small habit. It has a formal appearance and its variegation is very stable. Evergreen in our area, frost hardy to USDA zone 5 but deciduous. Likes at least some water all year. USDA 5a/Sunset all zones.  rev 5/2016

'Everest' PP20,955   foliage closeup  the name is a little confusing, as the very good and closely-named 'Evergold' is a larger grower than most ornamental sedges (about twice normal scale) with a golden center variegation. This is a smaller, more typical-sized selection (10-12") with a clean, white edge variegation, and very nice on its own. Place it to overhang ponds or the edges of pots, or against rocks (of course rocks - do we still need to tell you that?) Morning sun or shade, regular watering.  rev 6/2013 

'Everillo' PP21,002    filaments   lime green leaves, turning to gold, add wonnderful color and texture contrast to larger, bolder green or colored plants for sites with morning sun or mostly shade. Clumping and weeping, takes moist to dry soils, can be used in beds, borders, containers, and mixed plantings. 12-15" tall, twice as wide. In a hanging basket it seems it would be a great nesting site for little birds. rev 2/2015

'Everlime'  PP25622  leaves   light green edges, ranging from almost chartreues-yellow through bright lime green, highlight the fine leaf blades on this new variety. To 12-18" tall and wide. Grow in sun, shade, almost any soil, with average watering required when established. Makes a nice container plant too! USDA zone 5. rev 7/2017

'Everoro'  PP23,406      young plant     another variation in the parent EverColor® line, this TC sport of 'Evergold' supposedly has better vigor and "improved habit," though I can't remember disliking the original habit. Like it's parent-source the leaves have a consistent center-variegation pattern, ranging from creamy white to gold depending on light and maturity. Very fine, white-striped leaves seem to be a juvenile characteristic, I expect leaves will broaden up and intensify as the plant matures and clump size increases. To 12-18" tall, 18" across, clumping habit, spreading slowly. Like all of its closely related ilk, this makes one outrageously fine container plant, especially when featured by itself. Part sun to full shade, average to infrequent watering, depending on climate, soil and siting. rev 10/2015 

'Eversheen' PP25,938    our fifth, final and (very) fine installment in the "Carex oshimensis that begin with E." Thin blades of lime and dark green, soft and graceful will spill over a pond, pot edge, cover the ground, or line a walkway. To about a foot tall and wide,  part sun to shade, moist to drier soils. rev 5/2016-Suzy Brooks

'Gold Strike'  young nursery plants   similar to 'Evergold,' with green leaf margins and broad, blond-gold, almost white central banding of the leaf, but about twice the scale in leaf width and length, and habit. A larger scaled version of variegated Carex. One of the very best varieties. rev 2/2009

phyllocephala 'Sparkler'  at Strybing's Entry Garden  a striking, cane-stemmed, upright form to a foot or two high, with broad, medium green leaves brightly edged with cream and a spiky habit. A distinctive and different sedge that is great in containers, as part of the perennial garden, or perhaps best as a focal point or accent plant. Sun to mostly shade, average conditions, evergreen. Sunset zones 5-9, 14-24/USDA zone 7. rev 1/2011

praegracilis ("pansa")  CLUSTERED FIELD SEDGE (not currently in production)   texture  a species that grows wild from the Yukon through California, the Great Plains, Midwest and Atlantic Coast states and only stops at Texas and the Southeast. It has become entrenched in the California landscape trade as C. pansa, another native species of much more restricted distribution (coastal strand dunes only) and little garden adaptability. This will grow as a low (under 1'), matting to spreading clump that will take some foot traffic but not mowing. It has a meadowy look and can serve as a lawn substitute unless you have pets or kids that want to play on it. It can be used over large areas and is aggressive enough to exclude most weeds, needs little (but some!) watering when established, and is frost hardy enough to be grown in, well, the Yukon. It is salt and alkaline tolerant if those are issues. rev 1/2010

'Rekohu Sunrise' PP20512 (not currently in production)  display container   selected for its wide, green blades, with a curl and a weep, and variegated margins of creamy white to light gold. Grows to about 24-30" tall and 24" wide. It's evergreen, and a good choice for group or combination plantings or even just in a container on its own. Likes sun or part shade, well-drained soil, and regular watering. Sunset zones 8, 9, 12-24/USDA 7. rev 1/2015

secta  NEW ZEALAND ORANGE SEDGE  (not currently in production)  plant   nursery foliage  to 30", evergreen, frost hardy, olive green in the center and orange on the outer, weather exposed portions of the leaves, especially in cool weather. A more upright variety, like  C. buchananii but with a wider leaf and not looking so dead. Sun to half sun. One of the very nice things about this species is that it is very persistent from one season to the next, unlike some of the other, short lived species. Evergreen, frost hardy to 10°F. New Zealand. rev 3/2003

siderosticha 'Banana Boat'  Suzy's nice picture   almost like a miniature Phormium, the low, broad blades are golden to chartreuse, with darker green bands along the edges. This is the hot sedge, but is a little more difficult for us to produce commercially. Once planted it is easy enough, as long as it has about half a day of direct sun (for proper bright color) and regular watering. It is a clumper, spreads slowly, and is usually seen 6-12" high and about twice as wide. Really appreciates at least 50% peat moss in its planting soil, either in containers or in the ground. Winter deciduous. A real nice choice for woodland, ferny areas or in mixed containers. All Sunset zones/USDA 5. 

tenuiculmus 'Cappucino'     coppery, threadlike leaves    an arching clump of many colors, red, copper, orange and olive, provide color and interest, softening the edges of a walk, offering contrast to perennials, or enhancing or implying water features. A dramatic solitary evergreen subject for containers. To about 12-16" tall, and twice as wide. Sun or part shade, regular watering. Sunset zones 8, 9, 14-24/USDA 6. rev 11/2011-Suzy Brooks

testacea   UCSC Edward D. Landels New Zealand Garden   one of the most reliable NZ types, and probably the most commonly used in California. Shiny dark or bronzy green foliage becomes bright, striking coppery-orange to orange-red in sun under cool conditions. Seed heads are produced in summer, they are mostly inconspicuous. Drought tolerant, needing just intermittent summer watering. It definitely needs drier conditions and better drainage than many sedges, which generally are found in wetter sites. It makes a good container plant. Extremely tough cold hardy for a NZ native, doing well in locales as dry and cold as Denver for example (USDA zone 6). To about 18" tall by 2-3' wide, evergreen. For best orange leaf color site in as much light as possible. resistant to deer and rodent damage (except for gophers!). rev 11/2018

Carpenteria californica ‘Elizabeth’  BUSH ANEMONE  closeup   young plant  an evergreen shrub to 8’ tall, 15’ wide. Relatively formal, dark green leaves form a nice backdrop for the profuse terminal clusters of white flowers, to 2" wide, with showy yellow stamens, that are produced in late spring. This is an improved form, with noticeably larger flowers and many more flowers per cluster than the average seedling. Named for Elizabeth McClintock, of the California Academy of Sciences. They look somewhat like small, single camellia blossoms. Sun to part shade, little or no summer watering when established. Needs good drainage, and likes mineral soils best. Native to the Sierra Foothills. Introduced by Saratoga Horticultural Research Foundation. Saxifragaceae. rev 8/2010

Caryopteris BLUEBEARD (not currently in production)  deciduous shrubs grown for their blue (usually) flowers and the fact that they attract butterflies, bees, humminbirds, and beneficial insects. They are low growers and bloom during long days. Very frost hardy, need average to minimal summer watering, and need at least average drainage. Cut back in winter. Full to half sun. Labiatae/Lamiaceae. rev 8/2010

'Dark Knight' (not currently in production)  to 2-3' tall, deep purple flowers against deep green leaves. rev 8/2010

incana   (not currently in production)    flowering    a great source of mid-summer through mid-fall deep blue purple color, against slightly felty, pleasingly toothed green leaves. One of the parents of the C. x clandonensis hybrids ('Dark Knight' and its ilk), I think this is actually more desireable than those more common hybrid progeny. Grows as a.deciduous shrub to completely deciduous perennial (in very hard winter areas), reaching about 3-4' tall and wide. It is even relatively drought tolerant when established. Sunset zone 5-9, 14-24/USDA zone 7. Eastern Asia. rev 8/2012 

Caryota  FISHTAIL PALMS  striking, large scale palms from the tropics and subtropics, with large feather fronds that have fan-like leaflets shaped something like a fish's tail.  My favorite palms, including what is possibly my favorite plant of all plants, C. gigas or its hardy equivalent, known as "King Kong," "hardy Thai mountain giant," "black stemmed form," or any combination of the preceding terms. Mostly known as clustering tender house plants that are prone to mites, the outdoor versions are generally tall trunked, majestic species with striking outlines and exotic foliage. Several are hardy enough to be used in California, and a select few can be tried in Northern and Central California. But don't have unreasonable expectations; the cold hardy strains and species are still being tested and it would be rash to suggest they will be truly dependable in most areas or situations north of Santa Barbara. These are definitely plants for the connoisseur's connoisseur, the elite of the discriminating elite, the wheat and not the chaff. You have to be enthralled enough with their amazing foliage to put up with their primary fault, that is that they are monocarpic. This means that your huge, house-dwarfing foliage plant, with herringbone-patterned leaves 20 feet long, is going to flower then die and eventually fall over on you or your house if you don't cut it down. Nevertheless, nothing does what a Fishtail Palm does except a Fishtail Palm, and you will be the talk of your neighborhood if you have one as well as the being envy of all the local members of the Palm Society. All like rich soil and at least average watering, but when mature they will withstand drought at the expense of fast growth. Most are understory plants when young and are substantially faster and greener if given shade the first few years. Good mature examples of several species can be seen at the San Diego Zoo as well as Huntington Botanic Gardens. Palmae/Arecaceae. rev 3/2005

obutsa    the most awesome plant in the whole world, at the Huntington    can't get enough    Santa Cruz  a giant, with robust horizontal fronds. This is supposedly identical with C. gigas, the giant, hardy, black-stemmed Himalayan Fishtail Palm. To about 30'. Leaves burn with temps around 28F but plants can go below 25F for a while before you risk losing the growing point. As long as they don't get hard frost every year, and thus look sad for six months, this can be considered an outdoor garden subject. I have three at my house in Santa Cruz. Northern India. rev 2/2010

Ceanothus  WILD LILAC, BUCKBRUSH  California native shrubs loved for their fragrant deep blue flowers and drought tolerance. They grow as low spreading groundcovers to tall shrubs or small trees. All Ceanothus varieties need average to good drainage, sun to part shade, and little or no summer watering when established. When evaluating varieties for deer resistance, remember that certain smooth leafed species of Ceanothus are critical survival items for deer in many California habitats in winter and early spring. The closer the foliage is to ‘Ray Hartman’ or ‘Sierra Blue’ the greater the chances of being browsed. Rhamnaceae. rev 2/2003

'Centennial'      tiny treasure     back again, after more than a decade off our list. Small, dark green, shiny leaves and little, round, deep blue flowers in spring. Low grower, under a foot tall and spreading 6-8'. Makes a great groundcover, spilling over walls, or on banks and slopes. Sun or some shade. Little watering once established. USDA 7. rev 5/2015 

‘Dark Star’  blooming plant  to 4-6’ tall, 6-8’ wide. Small, rounded clusters of dark blue flowers appear in spring from light burgundy buds. Almost identical to  C. ‘Julia Phelps,’ but apparently somewhat more compact, with darker foliage. Small, warty leaves grow to only 1/2" long. Moderately deer resistant. rev 2/2010

gloriosus   PT. REYES CREEPER, GLORY MAT  flowers and leaves, closeup   UCSC Arboretum groundcover   (now have you ever, ever heard anyone refer to this plant as "Glory Mat"?)  this species has an interesting distribution, growing from near Shelter Cove (just south of the Lost Coast)  to the Golden Gate Bridge, then occurring in just three small populations each near Monterey, SLO Town and Pismo, "The Clam Capital of the World,' or as they are using now, "Pismo - More Than Just Clams!" (Did you know they have beavers at Pismo?). Actually, in order to head off calls from The Pismo Beach Tourist and Visitors Council, I made that last part up. (The slogan, not the beavers.) Strong and resilient branches arch horizontally, bear glossy, dark green, toothed leaves that are mostly left alone by deer except in dire circumstances, and provides a nice and nicely fragrant show of light blue flowers in spring. Sun to part shade, average to good drainage, very drought tolerant when established, not as Central Valley-tolerant as other species and forms. USDA zone 8. rev 1/2018

‘Anchor Bay’  blue flowers   like the regular form of C. gloriosus, but with denser growth, larger, coarser leaves and slightly darker flowers.  A groundcover to 18" tall, 6-8’ or more wide. Very lavender blue flowers fade to pale pink. Glossy, dark green, toothed leaves tough, hard, deer resistant. Best in moderate summer climates. rev 3/2012

griseus horizontalis  CARMEL CREEPER  flowers   some habit   commercial  very fast growth to 2’ tall, 12-15’ wide, with large, rounded, glossy green leaves. Flowers are light blue, moderately showy, lightly fragrant, and appear in late winter and early spring. Best used in mild summer areas. Needs summer watering inland. If not planted with sufficient elbow room, this plant can mound quickly to 4’ or more. Deer love all varieties of this species. rev 2/2010

'Diamond Heights'  foliage   this is the second plant we ever introduced (the first was Syzygium 'Monterey Bay').  We received this from the discoverer, the epic plantsman Barry Lehrman. Barry was an "heirloom" employee of our predecessor entity, S&S Nursery. Barry's only request was that in return for introducing it, we had to it use the name he chose, 'Diamond Heights.' Don't bother looking for Diamond Heights on a map of California, because it was actually the name of Barry's apartment complex in San Francisco, where he found it. This is a broadly variegated branch sport of Carmel Creeper, and has wide golden green to blond white edges with just a small hash of green in the middle. Very low (under 12"), very slow, and very pretty after it has filled in completely. Same conditions as for CC. rev 8/2010 MBN INTRODUCTION-1989

'Holy Guacamole'
  flowers and foliage    that hypnotizing leaf color!    the wholly pale chartreuse sport of the above, no green patch in the middle of the leaf. Slow!! More shade! Hypnotizing! rev 1/2018

‘Yankee Point’  flowers   typical use  like C. griseus horizontalis, but taller (to 3-5’), and showier, with richer, darker blue flowers. Leaves are slightly narrower, more triangular, slightly more deeply veined, and darker green. A little more adaptable. rev 2/2010

hearstiorum  HEARST RANCH CEANOTHUS  think of this as a fast, ultra-flat interpretation of 'Julia Phelps.' It grows with a strongly prostrate, ultra-radial growth habit, with long, very thin branches headed out on a straight line away from the center of the plant. Under its favored conditions of good drainage, full or almost full sun, dry-summer conditions and without too many mountain ranges between it and the ocean it can form a dense carpet of small, long, warty dark green leaves that is simply covered in spring by a wonderful show of medium purple flowers in dense, tight, rounded clusters. Give it a little help with weed suppression in wet, close soils, shear it back to thicken it up towards the middle, and you can watch it thrive even in commercial or public landscape situations. USDA zone 8? rev 1/2018

‘Julia Phelps’  closeup   another closeup   typical habit  medium to dark blue flowers in short, rounded clusters. To 4-6’ tall, 6-8’ wide. Forms a solid mass of flowers when in bloom. Often starts to bloom as ‘Ray Hartman’ finishes. Deer resistant. rev 2/2010

maritimus 'Valley Violet'  closeup of a few flowers   from the Arboretum at UC Davis comes this fine little native groundcover with strong, siff, horizontally spreading branches and dense, small, dark green, holly-like leaves. Small in stature, to about 2' tall and spreading to 4-6' wide, it loads up with a quite nice show of medium violet purple flowers in spring. Requires no pruning unless you want to shape it up a bit after flowering. This is a wonderful selection, part of their All-Stars program, that seeks to identify and popularize "truly drought tolerant" plants. This makes a shiny, dense, weed-smothering groundcover, or even a low, bordering hedge. Growing requirements are soil of at least average (but not necessarily perfect) drainage, at least half a day of sun, and little to no watering once established. This is tough and resilient enough to do well through Central Valley summers even when planted out in the denser soils and extreme heat of the UC Davis test garden plots, where many of the fussier native Wild Lilacs fail. Sunset zones 5-9, 14-24/USDA 8. rev 1/2018 

‘Ray Hartman’  glorious spring day   originally called 'Blue Skies'  the most commonly grown tree or large shrub variety in California. Rarely grows to less than 15’ tall in part shade, but often makes a broad shrub to 10’ tall, 15’ wide in full, open sun with restricted watering. Light burgundy buds appear in late winter and early spring, turning to spikes of medium blue flowers with a slight dusty or greyish cast. They are lightly but quite pleasantly fragrant. Smooth, rounded leaves form excellent browse for deer. Formerly known as ‘Blue Skies’ before being renamed by SHF for their founding patron. rev 1/2018

thyrsiflorus  BLUE BLOSSOM  a coastal variety, ranging from prostrate forms through small trees. Noted for its very deep green, lustrous foliage and excellent fragrance. rev 8/2018

'Born Againleaves a low, relatively slow, dazzling foliage-effects variety we picked up on one of our Oregon trips. Apparently this passed through Rancho Santa Ana at some point though I'm not sure it originated there. It is the most highly variegated form of this species we've seen, captivating once it has filled in. Flowers are in short spikes, medium blue, and look really nice against that gold and green backdrop, but then it doesn't bloom heavily, that's not its main job. Part sun is best, will tolerate moderate summer watering and should be hardy to at least 15F or lower. rev 8/2018

'Zanzibar'   leaf variegation pattern   a nicely edge-variegated shrub form, probably C. thyrsiflorus, that bears light to medium blue flowers in short spikes against its lighter colored, very glossy foliage in spring. Moderately fast to 6-8' tall and wide in sun to part shade, average drainage or better, little or no summer watering when established. USDA zone 8. rev 1/2018

'Tuxedo' PP20754   potted   (not currently in production)    shiny, dark purple brown, almost black leaves host spikes of light lavender blue flowers in late summer and fall. Grows with an open habit, about 8' tall and wide, though it easily pruned for shape and size. A great color to use with silver foliage. A branch sport of C. 'Autumnal Blue' (C. thyrsiflorus x (americana x caeruleus)) found in Ireland. Sunset zones 5-9, 14-24/USDA zone 8. rev 1/2018

Cedrus deodara  DEODAR CEDAR  new growth   mature stand  an evergreen tree to 60’ or more, reaching ~200' in its native range where it greatly resembles our native Sitka Spruce (Picea sitchensis), according to David Arora. Slow when young, it usually displays deep green to blue grey needles with weeping branch tips. Crops grown from domestic seed sources show considerable variation however, ranging from gaunt, open, fast, pale grey individuals through slow, compact, dark green variants. Dense, strongly blue grey colored trees and dark blue green, weeping forms are especially attractive. Performs quite well as a clipped hedge, also heavily used for bonsai and other container applications. Grows best in sun to part shade, with average to no summer watering when established. Mature trees can provide excellent quality wood, fragrant, attractively grained and highly rot resistant though not particularly strong. It is also burned for incense. Grows well in USDA 6-7(depending on seed source) through cool areas of zone 11. Western Himalayas. Pinaceae. rev 8/2018

Centranthus ruber  VALERIAN  mixed   roadside   light coral red   rose pink that ages to lavender pink   pure white   Front Street  a tough evergreen perennial to 30" tall bears rounded spikes of tiny flowers in dense clusters in spring and summer. Naturalizes readily, and can reseed itself happily in gardens, along old fences, against buildings, in rock walls, or in cracks in the sidewalk. Commonly seen in untended situations. Sun to part shade, little or no summer watering, hardy to around 15-20°F. Mediterranean. Valerianaceae.

Cerastium   herbaceous perennials, mostly known in horticulture from creeping, low forms used variously as rock garden subjects or small scale groundcovers. Caryophyllaceae.rev 5/2012

alpina lanatum  WOOLY MOUSE EARS  (not currently in production)  beautiful on serpentine  a slow growing alpine for hot, dry, areas with good drainage. Silvery, fuzzy leaves, to about  2-3" tall and spreading, White flowers in early summer. A good choice for rock gardens, troughs, between stepping stones or with succulents. Little watering once established.USDA 3/Sunset all zones. rev 5/2012-Suzy Brooks 

candidissimum  (not currently in production)   tight white leaves  very compact, very low, very grey white, but with an olive green cast. Intriguing! Much better for not dying out in the center and traveling away from its original spot. USDA 4-9/Sunset all zones/. rev 1/2018

Ceratostigma plumbaginoides  DWARF PLUMBAGO  closeup   park planting   winter color  deciduous perennial to 18" tall, spreading by underground rhizomes. Dark blue flowers cover the plants in summer and fall. Plants are briefly deciduous, with dark burgundy maroon fall color. An excellent medium size ground cover. Sun to part shade, average watering, frost hardy. Initiates most heavily at 13 hours daylight. Western China. Plumbaginaceae.rev 1/2018

abyssinicum   EAST AFRICAN PLUMBAGO    why you grow it    closeup    with C. griffithii, Shadowbrook Restaurant, Capitola   Shadowbrook, reverse angle    succulent garden, Branciforte St., Santa Cruz    one of my favorite plants, used repeatedly in my own yard. You grow it for the almost constant show of sky blue flowers, those deep burgundy buds in starburst clusters and the wonderfully colorful foliage. There's something ethereal and intriguing about that flower color, or maybe it's the combination with the foliage. The waxy leaves turn orange, red and burgundy in dry, sunny conditions, more so in cool weather. It can flower and grow right through a mild winter but usually stops in late fall. It doesn't seem to care about soils and can survive in cool-summer areas with no irrigation at all when established. Mine lost a little top canopy at 25F, but I've seen it come back fast from the roots after 20F, so it seems to be hardier than referenced elsewhere. To 2-3' tall by 3-4' across, spreading slowly but dependably like its kin by short underground stems. Eastern Africa. rev 2/2018 

Cereus grandicostatus  stuck in the sand!  at this size, it is made for desert dioramas! In it's native habitat, it grows to tree size. Beautiful green, stout, symmetrical ribs and when mature, enormous salmon pink flowers that bloom at night. Provides an excellent vertical specimen in the succulent collection, nice contrast to the fuzzy white columns. Sun, good drainage. Shelter from cold outside Sunset zones 16-24/USDA 9. rev 9/2013-Suzy Brooks 

Chamaecereus sylvestrii  
PEANUT CACTUS   cute little things  I like these, but never wanted to grow them commerciallty. But when one of my greenhouse workers saw us starting to grow succulents, he up and planted a few tables of this without asking. I was sure we would throw them away. Of course they sold like hotcakes once the came into bloom, because this is one of the best loved cacti of all, easy to grow, easy to bloom, hard to kill, and increases happily for little input. Sun to part sun, lives happily on a windowsill with little care, just makes a great plant pet. Grows to about 6" high and can form large clumps with age. Argentina/ Cactaceae. rev 3/2009 

Chamaerops humilis v. cerifera  BLUE MEDITERRANEAN FAN PALM   fronds    nice clump   a blue-white version of the familiar slow growing, clustering palm, this can almost be as nicely colored as good seedlings of Brahea (Erythea) armata, the famous Mexican Blue Fan Palm. Collected from special populations found on the north coast of Africa in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, these select seedlings are one of the hottest palms to be introduced in years. They are in still high demand and hard to find in retail stores. To about 10' (very slowly!) by about 5' across, forming multiple trunks with age. The slow speed to reach height should be an asset for most applications, which will probably center on its use as a feature or centerpiece plant providing a compact blue or silver architectural form in the landscape. Palmae/Arecacea. Mediterranean. rev 3/2009 

Cheilanthes argentea  SILVER CLOAK FERN  nursery plants  a small, charming, tough, clumping fern with dark green fronds that have silvery undersides. You can stamp your hand with the white spores on the undersides for a free wonderful temporary tatoo just like you do with our native Gold Back Fern (Pityrogramma). For high light areas, but will tolerate mostly shade. Likes average watering, good drainage. It can go completely dormant under very dry conditions. Easy, good in containers. Northern and Eastern Asia. Polypodiaceae. rev 4/2007

lanosa  HAIRY LIP FERN  nursery plants  now there's a strange thought. But the fern itself is nice, a rather more open and airy form than some of the other in its genera, that is slightly golden grey green and minutely tomentose. It is another East of the Rockies form, to about 12" tall, and tolerating either regular watering or deep drought. This species probably likes warmer temperatures and is a little tougher to grow.  rev 1/2010 

  nursery plant  a robust, drought tolerant species with soft textured, and soft looking, furry, grey green fronds with whitish undersides, growing as a mostly erect rosette to 8-10" high in a short amount of time, but vigorous 2' tall eventually. With age it can get to be rather plump and spread to form nice colonies. It can even grow in full sunlight with reflected heat. If it goes drought-dormant it will revive with rainfall, but it can also tolerate regular garden watering. This is a nice small to medium sized subject to tuck into a rock wall or even a succulent garden, or enjoy as a small container specimen, or grow in the shade. The leaves can be used like Gold Back Ferns to make spore imprints on your hand.
Native to dry shrublands at mid elevations in the Rocky Mountains of Mexico and the adjacent US. rev 12/2011

tomentosa  nursery plants    UCB plants, full sun, rockery  another of the extraordinarily tough species for the hot, dry rockery. In shade the leaves are lusher and softer but still quite nice. It can dry down considerably in summer. Evergreen in mild winters. Relatively easy and tough. Eastern and Southern US, northern Mexico. rev 1/2010

wrightii   nursery plants   a small species native to rock ledges of the Southwest and adjacent northern Mexico, growing in chaparral. To about 10" high, vertical and compact in habit, with dark green fronds bearing short pinnae. May be short lived. This is probably best used in smaller containers or combo'd up. Sunset zones 5-24/USDA zone 8. rev 1/2010

Chlorophytum comosum   SPIDER PLANT  Green Edge    White Edge Airplane    easy house or patio/porch container plant, can even grow outdoors but watchout - it can move fast! rev 6/2017

Choisya ternata  MEXICAN MOCK ORANGE  flowers closeup   nice planting, Strybing Arboretum   mass bloom  an evergreen shrub to 6’ tall, 8’ wide bearing clusters of fragrant white flowers in winter and spring, sometimes again in summer. Sun to part shade, average to little summer watering, damaged below 20°F. Mexico. Rutaceae. rev 1/2006

‘Aztec Pearl’  (not currently in production)  flowers and leaves  has very narrow leaflets, a strongly vertical, rather open habit to over 6' unpruned, and a heavy show of fragrant flowers. The hardiest strain, easily surviving in Portland (zone 8b). Its open growth can be effectively used against walls. rev 2/2003

'Goldfingers' (not currently in production)   narrow and yellow  shrubby evergreen with narrow, golden leaves and white flowers in spring with orange blossom fragrance. About 3-4' tall and wide. Best color comes in sun, though it can take part shade. Regular watering. Sunset zones 6-9, 14-24/USDA 7. rev 8/2013-Suzy Brooks 

Chondropetalum tectorum  beautiful view from my porch of David LeRoy's large-stem form before he so callously ripped it out    typical mature small-stem form specimen, UCSC Arboretum   sheathed, jointed culms   nice effect, large-stem, Aptos    females blooming    females very close    male flowers    male flowers very close    dwarf small-stem on left, average large-stem on right, Westside Santa Cruz    the very first member of this first-rate family, the highly ornamental, grassy, bamboo-like Restionaceae, to appear here in the US in any quantity. The culm-stems of this family are jointed stems, just like bamboo, and some retain a similar ornamental joint-sheath as well. All Restio Family plants have separate male and female plants, often with quite different and very showy flower spikes. In this form the flowers of both sexes appear superficially identical, and it usually takes a hand lens to separate them by finding their tiny stamens or stigmas.

Two physically different regional forms are currently sold under this name in the US. Both have been recently published in one paper reclassified to Elegia, based on DNA studies, as well as separated into two species. The original trade form, which we currently still consider as C. tectorum, and sell as "large-stem form," grows larger in all dimensions, culm height, diameter, and spread. It the reclassification proposal it was renamed separated out as a new species, E. elephantina. This form (or species if you wish) is one of the most adaptable of the whole Restio Family, and is more tolerant of heat, frost, dense soils, and summer watering than its finer-stemmed cousin, below. This larger, more vigorous form grows into a dense clump of relatively thin, graceful, upright, round, dark green, jointed stems to 4-6' tall, eventually arching from the weight of the flower/seed heads to over 8' across or more as new culms emerge.

The second form, which we currently sell as "small-stem form,' was also reclassified to Elegia tectorum in that paper, but retained the original species name as it was described first. It is almost always a smaller plant in all dimensions at maturity, with noticeably finer, shorter, often grayer culms, and often stays no more than 4' by usually no more than 6' across, and is often much smaller. It is often lighter green in color at maturity with a slightly grey cast and is consistently stiffer in appearance, with old canes never arching over as the new culms appear. It is also little more demanding about good drainage, needs more careful summer watering and is slightly more frost tender. In its juvenile phase (the first year or two from seed) it produces thicker stems than when mature, and at that stage it can be confused with the large-stem form if same-age plants aren't available for comparison.

Use both as dramatic, large scale grass or bamboo-equivalents, sited in the back of a border, as a focal point planting or as a very dramatic and forgiving container plant. The signature brown-black flower/seed heads appear at the tip of each stem in summer on both varieties, lasting often for two or more years. A very nice feature is that the stem-joint sheaths pop free with a clear "snap" when they shed as the culm is maturing. Both make outstanding cut flowers or filler, and are used for thatching or even hut construction once the culms are about a year old and have stronger sidewalls (just in case you were ready to put up that garden yurt tea house you've always wanted). Sun to part shade, average watering, barely frost hardy below 20°F. Our grower Jeff Brooks says his came back from 18F, but slowly. South Africa. Restionaceae. rev 6/2017

Chrysanthemum    a genus of perennial herbaceous to soft-wooded shrubs. In some classification systems certain species have been moved to various other genera such as Argyranthemum, Leucanthemum, Rhodanthemum etc. However some of these are being returned by many botanists, and we mostly treat those emigrants as never having left this genus. Compositae/Asteraceae. rev 6/2017

catananche 'Marrakech'    pink flowers   a tidy, compact, evergreen perennial with silvery foliage and little daisy flowers with many shades of pink from summer into fall. Just the thing for pathways, spilling over the sides of a pot, or as a groundcover. About 10-12" tall and wide for sun or part shade. Sun, average to good drainage, little to average summer watering. Sunset zones 14-24/USDA 8. rev 5/2016-Suzy Brooks

'Casa Rosa'   perky flowers   dark pink buds open to white daisies and a dark rosy middle. Grey, ferny foliage stays low, 10-12" tall. rev 5/2016-Suzy Brooks

'Tizi-n-Tichka'   flowers    from Morocco, this little daisy is named after a pass going from Marrakech up to the Atlas mountains. It has grey ferny foliage and white flowers with a red base at the bottom of each petal. Growing 6-8" tall and twice as wide, it blooms early in spring not bothered by the cold. Likes good drainage in a sunny, warm spot with average watering. rev 2/2013-Suzy Brooks 

hosmariense  flowers    landscape  evergreen perennial forms a dense, compact mound of silvery foliage, to 8" tall by 2’ across, topped with large white daisy-like flowers with wide yellow centers. Blooms heaviest in winter, with some flowers almost all year. Sun, average to little summer watering. Survived 20°F in containers without damage, and reportedly hardy enough to be used on the East Coast. Morocco. rev 4/2011

'Casa Blanca'  right in the eye!   more compact, more silvery foliage, larger flowers and over a longer period. Flower petals are faintly blushed pink, especially with cool conditions. rev 11/2016

'Moondance'   flowers   container   just like the regular form of C. hosmariense, but with a faint pink blush to the petals as well as a distinctive rosy ring around the dark center. Same silvery foliage, same low, compact habit, same frost hardiness, same late winter through spring bloom. But that soft pink against silver is very nice. Molly will really like it. rev 4/2011 

parthenium 'Aureum'  GOLDEN FEVERFEW  garden    with lavender   used for its soft billows of gentle golden yellow to lime green foliage, it also displays small white daisy flowers with yellow centers under long days. Very frost hardy, but deciduous with cold. To about 18"' tall and 2' wide. Sun to part shade, average watering. Sunset zones 1-9, 14-17, 21-24/USDA zone 5. rev 4/2011 

superbum  SHASTA DAISY   (not currently in production)   semievergreen, facultative or obligate long day bloomers. Some have fabulous petals and flowers. An easy to grow perennial for sun, part shade, average watering. USDA zone 5/Sunset all zones. rev 8/2014

'Darling Daisy'  COMPACT SHASTA DAISY (not currently in production)   flowers   this is an improved strain with higher uniformity, earlier bloom, and just better overall performance. To just about 12-16" tall, flowers from spring through late summer. Sunset zones 1-9, 14-24/USDA zone 4. rev 5/2011

'Freak'   (not currently in production)  stare into their hopeful young faces   not as bad as the name sounds, this is a beautiful Shasta daisy! Big, yellow button center and lots of fluffy white petals surrounding it. A few go this way and that but not enough to put a crazy streak in its cheerfullness. About 12" tall, for sun or part shade, average watering. Wonderful in a flower bed, along a walkway, or in containers. Deadhead for continued blooms. rev 6/2013-Suzy Brooks

'Real Dream'  SHASTA DAISY (not currently in production)   a really nice shot by Suzy!   the last of the 'Dream' series and a really pretty one, with frilly petals that start off limey yellow and turn to white, all set around a gold-button center. Strong stems for cutting up to 16" tall. Tuck this cheerful daisy in the flower or vegetable bed to attract pollinators and add sparkle! rev 8/2014-Suzy Brooks 

'Real Galaxy'   (not currently in production)   flowers   these frilly white petals and yellow centers stand on strong, sturdy stems and grow to 36" tall. Dark green foliage clumps and gets bigger and better each year. A cheerful presence in the garden and pots and for bouquets. rev 8/2014-Suzy Brooks 

'Real Glory' (not currently in production)     wow.    strong stems to 24"-30" tall bear flowers whose white petals reflexed, showing off the anemone-like center of yellow filaments. For containers, cutting gardens, or mixed borders. Attracts butterflies. Sun or part shade, average to very modest summer watering, frost hardy. USDA zone 5/Sunset all zones. rev 6/2015 

'Real Neat' SHASTA DAISY   (not currently in production)    trio   the classic white with yellow eye only the petals are fluted. Such simple beauty is a beacon of cheerfullness in the garden, attracting butterflies and making wonderful cut flowers. About 16" tall and 14" wide. rev 8/2014 

'Snow Lady'  DWARF SHASTA DAISY (not currently in production)   happy flowers   a classic white Shasta daisy with a yellow center, only it grows under a foot tall. Elegant and simple, it mixes well with annuals, perennials, in gardens and containers. This easy-to-grow perennial is still tall enough to cut for long lasting bouquets and is a good one for attracting butterflies. rev 8/2011-Suzy Brooks 

Chrysocephalum apiculatum 'Silver Sunburst'   flowers against foliage   also classified as Helichrysum, and formerly grown and sold under that name, but all modern breeders appear to be listing it here. This species ranges all the way across the entire southern half of Australia, with climatically-appropriate regional variations in flower, foliage and form. This particular form is a usually very tight, very white-foliaged selection, quite low, and makes a really nice package when the deep golden flowers start appearing in early summer. Needs at least half a day of direct sun, good drainage, and moderate to very infrequent summer watering. This should take frost to around 20F but will probably start to top-defoliate below about 25F. Sunset zones 8-9, 13-24/USDA zone 9. Compositae/Helianthaceae. rev 7/2017

'Desert Flame'  new flowers   another superb, very tough groundcover, with very deep golden yellow, almost orange yellow button flowers appearing against very silver leaves in spring, summer and fall. Spectacular once established, very tough and drought tolerant, even relatively soon after planting. To some degree (some!) I found in my own trial landscape that it can (luckily!) just shrivel up and rehydrate later, whenever it is I remember to water it. Then again other times it just dies. To 6" tall, 18" across. Sun to part shade, average to good drainage, infrequent to almost no summer watering required in most areas when established. Cut it back hard at any time of year if it starts to look stretched, ragged or tired. rev 7/2017

'Silver Fox' PP 19,546  just foliage   a very low, very dense selection with broad silvery leaves that only gets about 6" tall but spreads nicely to 18" or so. Use it for a dense carpet of  silvery foliage in a container or as a small-scale ground cover. It is very frost hardy for this class of plant, needs minimal watering after established, is very heat tolerant and bears a light crop of deep golden yellow flowers in summer. Sunset zones 7-24/USDA zone 7. rev 7/2017 (not currently in production)

Chusquea coronalis  foliage closeup    why you grow it (Richard Josephson's yard)    nice container   an elegant, graceful, gracile, tightly clumping bamboo to 12’ that bears tight, dense whorls of small, oval, light green leaves along arching golden culms. It has an attractive, distinctive habit and is one of the most highly sought-after bamboos. The culms often arch over all the way to the ground and overall it has a very fine texture. It is highly desirable but has faults: it tends to be slow, appreciates heat, likes food, and takes a long time to recover from a hard freeze, sometimes years. It is also at least partially winter deciduous with any amount of sustained cold, even if it doesn't go below freezing. This is one bamboo that is definitely better in Southern California unless it has a well-sheltered position. Otherwise you must be willing to put up with the lengthy damage rehabilitation from the 10 or 25 year freezes that occur in Northern California. Sun to part shade, but best in warm semi-shade. In cool foggy areas give it full sun. Responds to average to generous watering and regular liquid feeding. Likes rich, humusy soils. Flowered but did not die, or even die back much, in Richard Josephson's Santa Cruz garden several years ago, but others weren't so lucky. Damaged below 28°F, especially when young. Zones 9, 16-17, 21-24 or with good protection up against a house elsewhere/USDA 9. Find more info on bamboo in general here. Central America. Graminae/Poaceae. rev 2/2010

culeou  (not currently in production)  at Cistus Nursery, Portland    at UCSC Arboretum   stem sheaths   bluish leaf undersides   a clone of uncertain exact identity, close to the "true" C. culeou, but differing in having darker culms and spreading a little faster. This form is usually found as a shade plant in the Southern Beech forests of the Andes. It is a relatively loose clumper, with very long leaves that form a dense mass of deep green foliage against dark green culms shaded maroon, and with contrasting light sheaths and bluish leaf undersides. The culms persist for years. Flowering is estimated as occurring at 45 year intervals. This species does not do well planted in hot, dry sites, as its native habitat would suggest, looking quite wretched in fact. It really starts to smile in shady spots, especially those with acid soil and at least average watering. It makes a very good container plant, much better than C. pittieri, which tends to shed its older culms quickly. This species is very cold hardy, to 0 deg F, and should survive in all but the very highest and coldest regions of the Sierra Nevada and Modoc Plateau. The shoots are edible and considered choice. Sunset zones 5-9, 14-17, 21-24/USDA zone 8. rev 11/2010

pittieri (not currently in production)   foliage closeup    cool stems    large clump at Blue Bamboo Nursery    smaller clump, more restrictive conditions    arching growth      this is a medium to large scale clumping bamboo, to 50-60' in nature though I have only seen it to about 20'. It's culms can reach 2" in diameter. It features dense plumes of very long, narrow dark green to blue green leaves in lush clusters and wants to be somewhat scandent if there is anything close by to lean on. It tends to droop over, even to the ground if there is room. It is somewhat like Otatea acuminatum aztecorum but on a larger scale. One peculiarity is that in production the old culms tend to die out as fast as it makes new ones, making division problematic. This doesn't seem to happen when planted out, though it does cycle culms faster than many other bamboos. It is a wonderful, dramatic subject, like many species being introduced in this genus. The sheaths of the new culms are burgundy colored and covered with coarse, intimidating, dark hairs. Give this one room to spread, or crowd it and make it go vertically, it doesn't matter which. Size varies depending on soil quality, nutrients, and watering. In full sun, poor soil,  and with restricted irrigation, this is a medium size bamboo. On river bottom soils with full sun, watering, and feeding it can be quite large. Damaged at 26°F, probably can be grown well in Sunset zones 8-9, 15-17, 21-24/USDA zone 9. rev 6/2006 

sulcata (not currently in production)    at Richard Josefson's house   originally described in 1940, this native of Chiapas has recently been introduced to this country and we received our plants from Don Mahoney of Strybing Arboretum. It grows as an exceptionally dense, lush, bright deep green fountain of luxuriant, soft, long leaved foliage to 6-10' high by about 10' wide under cool, part sun conditions. When young it has a tight, dense shaving brush habit but it leans over and become softer in presentation with age. It makes a great container plant. Our plants are seedlings or divisions of seedlings. Given its native origin I wouldn't expect it to tolerate temperatures below 25F. Sunset zones 8-9, 14-24/USDA zone 9. 7/2014

Cineraria Senetti hybrids  the series  these beauties are an improvement on the old fashioned tall cinerarias with compact, sturdy foliage and larger, sterile  flowers that bring reblooming performance. They give you much of that heirloom plant ambience but for better or worse depending on your sentiment, they don't reseed all over your garden. The vibrant colors on bigger flowers add some spark to winter landscapes, and they are superb for containers on the deck or in the front entry.  To about 18" tall and wide. Part shade, regular water. If you protect them from frost they can be planted in fall and overwintered in Sunset zones 9, 16-17, 22-24/USDA 9, or can be used as spring annuals in colder climates. rev 2/2011 

Cistus  ROCKROSE  evergreen shrubs, mounding or upright to prostrate and spreading groundcovers. All have single flowers, often with contrasting centers or petals marked at the base. They are found across the Mediterranean region. All Cistuscan be raised in full to part sun, need average to good drainage, and need little or no summer watering when established. Most grow quite quickly to near their ultimate size. Cut them back, if needed, in late fall or early winter before they begun to push. Flowers are formed on mature wood that experiences chill and short days. All are frost hardy for almost all of California. Cistaceae. rev 11/2011

    Many species have resinous foliage, pleasantly fragrant on warm days, and they are worth planting for this feature alone. One of my earliest memories is the smell of  C. purpureus foliage outside of The Green Frog, a funny small neighborhood grocery store in San Francisco back in the 1950's. The foliage smelled just like the Rainbow Popsicles that I loved. Whenever we went in I would smell them on the way by, and ask my mommy if I could please, please have a popsicle today. To this day, when I walk by Cistus and smell that fragrance I am immediately transported back to when I was three years old and had to stand on my tiptoes and struggle to pull myself up to see over the top of the freezer case, with its chrome trim and glass top frosted with ice, to see those wonderful pink, white, and blue twin-stick Popsicles neatly lined up inside just waiting to be eaten. rev 9/2009

'Grayswood Pink'   ROCKROSE    flowers   pretty, soft clear pink to salmon pink flowers with pale, contrasting centers and the signature bright yellow stamens are produced in spring, and sometimes sporadically in fall, against a really good grey green foliage background. Got an Award of Garden Merit from the RHS in 2002, that means something. This is a relatively wide leaved, horizontal grower of only moderate size, so it can be used in smaller sites than more robust types such as C. skanbergii or C. purpureus. Easy to grow, to just about 2' tall by 5-6' wide unpruned. It looks really good alongside rosemaries, lavenders, manzanitas, and Ceanothus. Sunset zones 6-9, 14-24/USDA 8. rev 11/2011 

hybridus    flowers    more flowers!   habit    nice small plant   mounding growth to about 2-3' tall, spreading to 10' or more with room and a few years of growth. This is a good, relatively low, medium-size ground cover that will take full to part sun and require little summer watering in most situations. Flowers are white with yellow centers, about 2" across, and are produced from quite attractive, dark burgundy red buds in a mass display in early to mid spring. Good to average drainage. USDA zone 8/Sunset 6-9, 14-24. rev 11/2014

hybridus 'Gold Prize'   dense foliage  leaves are broadly margined deep golden yellow, but on new growth leaves are often completely yellow. Flowers are white, petals unmarked, with yellow centers, and are seen in late spring, but more sparsely than on the regular green form. To a couple of feet high by a few feet across, very dense. Reversions aren't that common, and are easily recognized and removed.. In full sun this has really nice foliage color and can't be missed! rev 9/2010

ladanifer (maculatus)  LAUDANUM  closeup   at Chabot Museum   another mature plant  upright shrub to 4-6’ tall and wide, with dark green, somewhat glossy foliage. Large white flowers to 3" wide. Petals have large crimson spot at base, showy stamens are bright yellow. A resin is extracted for use in perfumery.

x purpureus  ORCHID ROCK ROSE  flowers   very close   typical plant  spreading shrub to 4-5’ tall, 8’ wide. Bears deep pink flowers to 3" across, with a crimson spot at each petal base. Can be used as a tall ground cover.

salviifolius  flowers   habit  low, spreading shrub to 2’ tall, 6-8’ wide. Bears white flowers, 1" wide, with yellow centers. Another good groundcover with a very dense habit.'

x skanbergii  closeup   flowers   mature plant  mounding growth to 3’ tall, 8’ wide with narrow, silky grey green foliage and small clear pink flowers to 1" wide. Another RHS Award of Garden Merit winner.

‘Sunset’  flower   habit  dense, compact mounding growth to 3’ tall, 8’ across. Bears wide, soft grey green leaves with a little bit of a point at the tip. The dark magenta pink flowers make a heavy show in spring, then appear intermittently over an extended blooming period. Probably another product of a  C. albidus cross or selection.

‘Victor Reiter’  closeup   another   Mills Garden  compact upright growth to 3’. Bright salmon pink flowers. Faster than ‘Doris Hibberson.’ Blooms about three weeks later than most other  Cistus varieties.

Citrus sp. and hybrids -  info here    As of April, 2015 we no longer offer citrus for sale. While we feel citrus will always be part of the California home landscape, we are holding off until we see the the impact on our retail customers of pending state and federal regulations regarding Yellow Dragon Disease (Huang Long Bing, "citrus greening"). The information at the link above is provided as a free resource for professionals and home gardeners. rev 4/2015

Clematis  evergreen and deciduous vines. Most prefer full sun on top and cool, shaded, moist roots.

    Clematis pruning is usually presented in an unnecessarily complicated fashion, most often using groupings of hybrids/species, with instructions for each group. The simpler method is simply to observe how and when your plant blooms, and use the environmental parameters that preceded bloom, along with noting the type of wood the flowers occur on, to dictate how and when your plants should be cut back. In all cases you will need to know something about flower initiation, or the sets of conditions needed to form flower buds. Once you have practice sorting out Clematis, you can apply these same techniques to plants throughout your garden, and stop cutting back plants at exactly the wrong point in their annual cycle.

    For example, some varieties are described as needing mature wood plus a cold period. The flowers don't form on the mature wood until a cold period, they swell as winter ends, and they burst into bloom as the shoots emerge. A good example of this would be  C. montana, which blooms only once, on mature wood formed during the preceding year. Another example would be a lilac, or flowering plum. You wouldn't want to cut such a plant back in winter, or even fall, because you would be pruning off all the mature wood that would then vernalize (initiate flower buds) over winter. Such varieties should be pruned immediately following bloom until no later than mid-summer. By recognizing that  C. montana only blooms one time in early spring, you can deduce that it certainly needs a cold period. Experience tells you that immature wood will not form flower buds. So it must be cut far enough in advance of dormancy for the new growth to mature and harden.

    Some varieties will only flower under long-day conditions once the branches are old enough to flower. Such varieties are often casually described as blooming "spring, summer, and fall," which isn't really accurate. What really happens is that as soon as the days have enough hours of sunlight (usually more than 12, around March 21st), and the wood is mature enough, the branches will form buds. The actual appearance of flowers will depend on temperatures, size of flowers, actual number of hours required for initiation, and other factors. The result is that flowers appear from four to eight weeks after initiation. If buds initiate, but the plant then goes dormant for winter, those buds will flower as soon as the plant breaks dormancy. Thus, the plant appears to flower, then "rebloom" as the new wood matures under the long day conditions. Such plants should be cut immediately after spring bloom, or in winter if you don't mind losing the first flush of old initiated buds.

    A few, especially older varieties, require mature wood, AND very-long-day conditions (usually 14 hours or more of daylight). In addition, they appear to need a long time for flower buds to form after initiation, or perhaps very mature (lots of leaves) wood. In our latitude, this means one late spring/early summer blooming period followed by a second lighter bloom in late summer or early fall. Such varieties are ‘Ernest Markham,’ ‘Niobe,’ ‘Henryi,’ ‘Hagley Hybrid’ and ‘Ville de Lyon.’ Usually these varieties have newer counterparts that offer similar features but have more generous initiation requirements, and we have tried to drop the old varieties in favor of the new ones. If you are looking for an old favorite and we don't have it, try asking for a similar replacement. You will probably be pleasantly surprised.

    The last type of Clematis flowering requirement is also very-long-day but with a faster/easier development period. Such plants need no chilling, but will instead flower on any wood mature enough as soon as days are long enough, and will continue flowering essentially unabated until late fall. Such varieties would be  C. viticella strains and C. ‘Jackmanii.’ You have to wait, but you are well rewarded.

    In the next rewrite of this section, I will begin adding the flower initiation requirements for each variety.

hybrids  deciduous vines, ranging from 6-20’ tall, bear large flowers in a range of colors. Sun to part shade, average watering for most, all prefer shaded, cool roots. Many make excellent container plants.

'Anna Louise'   flowers   violet red flowers to 6" across have a contrasting red bar and bright yellow anthers. Reblooms, compact grower, excellent in containers. rev 3/2014
'Barbara Jackman'   intense flower   here is an early and repeat bloomer in dark lavender with a magenta bar. A great one for an obelisk in a container or growing through a climbing rose. About 6-8'. rev 5/2012-Suzy Brooks 
'Candy Stripe'  pink with magenta rose bars   lilac pink flowers display a strong rose pink bar. Reaches 6-8' tall but easily contained in small spaces, such as pots with support. Can also be grown through climbing roses. An early bloomer! rev 6/2015 
‘Comtessa de Bouchard’  flowers  mauve pink, 5", summer to fall. A heavy bloomer. rev 9/2003
‘Elsa Spath’  flower  mid blue, to 6-7" across. Long and free flowering, good as cut flower. Award of Garden Merit.
‘Ernest Markham’  flower  magenta red, to 7". Summer. Old, reliable variety.
‘General Sikorsky’  flowers  dark lavender blue, to 6". Strong grower, good bloomer. Good as a cut flower. Award of Garden Merit.
'Hagley Hybrid'  flower   single light plum pink, darker stamens, with variably darker pink bars. To about 5" across, in clusters. rev 10/2009
'Hyde Hall'   magnificent flowers   this 'Queen of the Vines' is a beauty! Large, bright white  flowers, 6-7" across, have a pink blush. Blooms in early summer for weeks and then continues as wood matures until it goes dormant in fall. Of medium height, 6-8', just right for small gardens or containers. Introduced in 2004, and named after the gardens of the Royal Horticulture Society. rev 6/2011-Suzy Brooks 
'Liberation'     radiant pink stars   striking and sizable, these deep pink flowers have a darker pink center bar and white stamens. The buds by themselves are also big and beautiful. An early bloomer, 8-9' tall, just right to wind through a climbing rose, shrub, or kept containerized with support. Sun or part shade, average watering. Sunset zones 2-11, 14-24/USDA 5. rev 4/2014-Suzy Brooks 
‘Miss Bateman’  flower  white flowers to 8-10", with attractive, black stamens. Good for cutting. Very compact, free flowering plant, good in containers. Attractive seed heads. Late spring through fall.
'Multi Blue'  flower  older  rich, deep blue to lavender blue. Younger, earlier flowers are single, on older plants and later in the season they become considerably more doubled in the center. To 5-6". Early, plus reblooms in summer. rev 8/2010
'Natascha'     flowers    here is an early bloomer with an intense rose violet color, shaded slightly ligher on the bar, and with intense maroon and red stamens surrounding a stark white stigma. Small in stature, to just 6-8' tall, a good choice for a container and a great reason to buy another obelisk! You do have at least one obelisk already, don't you? No, not a monolith, those don't count. Will climb through a rose just beautifully if your obelisk hasn't arrived yet. rev 5/2013-Suzy Brooks 
'Niobe'    flower  a dark, velvety red, to 6" across, blooming heavily from late spring till fall. Good as cut flower and container plant. rev 5/2013
'Perrin's Pride'    flower    this Queen of the Vines has deep purple flowers on a vine about 6-8' tall.
Facultative long day. rev 4/2013-Suzy Brooks 
‘Rouge Cardinal’  flower  free flowering velvety crimson, to 7". Late summer.
'Scartho Gem'  nice flower   light pink flowers with a raspberry bar, and darker anthers. The petal edges are elegantly wavy, flowers get to about 7" across and appear early, so don't prune back much in winter. This is another very good variety for filling your garden with color from early until late, since it will initiate flowers on any mature wood under long day conditions. rev 7/2011
‘The President’  flower  dark purple blue, to 12" when really happy (hot, full sun, cool, moist roots). Relatively compact growth. Blooms freely from late spring until fall. Makes a good cut flower, also has seed heads. rev 8/2010
'Vivienne Beth Currie'     early pink and purple    gorgeous flowers of plum purple with a crimson bar appear very early and late in the season. Just 6-8' tall, perfect for a container with an obelisk (you're still looking for the perfect obelisk?!?) or scrambling through a climbing rose. rev 2/2014-Suzy Brooks 
‘Warsaw Nike’  flower   more flowers  rich purple, described as “needing a light background to show off flower colour.” Late, initiates under long days. Disease resistant, heat tolerant, and very purple. rev 8/2010

viticella ‘Polish Spirit’  flowers  a new, very free flowering dark purple form. This species grows as a vigorous small deciduous vine, and is very effective scrambling over and through shrubs as well as on trellises. All forms are resistant to Clematis Wilt. This variety bears rich dark purple flowers, with yellow anthers, in summer, and is a good bloomer. It resembles C. ‘Jackmanii’ (which was hybridized from C. viticella), but has smaller, more profuse flowers and is even tougher. This species begs to be used with mixed beds of perennials. Eurasia. rev 6/2005

Clerodendrum quadroliculare (not currently in production)  leaf undersides   starburst flowers  a "tropical" foliage plant, except that it grows fine under cold, wet, miserable conditions and doesn't seem to die back until it gets hard, direct frost. It does need gobs of heat to develop the wonderfully fragrant pink flowers in rounded terminal heads, but that should be no problem in zones 9 and 21-24, or even 8 and 14-16 where it has overhead protection. I have never seen the flowers in real life, being that we are so cool and constantly cut our plants for propagation, but from pictures they are like Gilia blossoms; long, narrow tubes with narrow, flared, star-like petals at the ends, and rosy pink towards the base. The flowers attract butterflies. For me the real value is in the wonderfully dark, rich maroon purple leaf undersides and dark olive green foliage, which displays well against that wall under that protective overhang. This is a very good color/texture item that does very well in a container as well. Grows to 1-5' for us but listed to 15' in the tropics, where it can be dangerously invasive in hot, humid, frost free climates. Part sun to mostly shade, average watering. Sunset zones 15-17 (overhead protection), 21-24/USDA zone 9. My two plants were killed completely in Santa Cruz, on a north facing wall with overhead protection in the 25F degree freeze of 2007. Verbenaceae.  Phillippines. rev 8/2008

'Brandonii' PPAF  (not currently in production)  foliage  the same black green leaves backed with maroon, but this time broadly and irregularly edged with light golden yellow above, and apricot tones below. Slower and more compact. 11/2007

Clivia hybrids  LADY CLIVE LILY  flower cluster   more flowers   beautiful seeds   more flowers   nice container plant   large planting at Strybing Arboretum  a series of hybrids mostly involving C. miniata. Also commonly sold as “Belgian Hybrids” or “French Hybrids,” these broad-leaved strains were developed in Europe near the turn of the previous century. The mix is now so varied that the original meaning of those more exact terms is lost and in reality everything in the trade is all mixed up. In addition, other species have recently been added to the mix, such as C. nobilis, C. gardenii and C. caulescens, so the situation is getting even more complicated.

     These are wonderful clumping evergreen bulbs in the Amaryllidaceae, with luxuriant leaves to 3’ long. Stalks up to 3’ tall bearing round clusters of large flowers are produced from late winter through early summer. Color ranges from pale yellow to pale pink and salmon orange through deep orange and dark red orange. The flower stalks can last weeks when cut. Clivia can repeat bloom in cool summer areas since most plants can produce a flower stalk about every four or five leaves and bloom initiates when the plants experience about 55°F, which happens regularly throughout the year at night near the coast. Seeds are quite colorful, ranging from yellow (in the yellows and pinks) to dark red. Variegated plants have circus-like green, red, and yellow striped fruits.

     Plants are found across wide areas of South Africa, but this species is from the summer rainfall areas as opposed to the Mediterranean-climate winter rainfall areas, which are the source of many other familiar South African plants such as Agapanthus. Hence it does not like our cold winter rains, though it will tolerate them. It naturally experiences a dry winter, flowers in late winter or early spring, then puts on considerable growth during the warm season when it encounters regular moisture. Following these clues, Clivia will be most happy where they have some protection from fall/winter rains, which tend to arrive on southerly, southwesterly, or southeasterly winds. These can produce orange-spotted foliage and ruin or rot flowers, especially when the stalks are still trapped down in the foliage, just starting to emerge. They don't want very much frost though they will survive a hard freeze. Below about 25°F expect them to lose their current season's growth and flowers but come back from below. And give them plenty of warm shade and water from spring through fall. They like good drainage, will tolerate extended drought, and generally make very tough, durable landscape subjects, even in commercial situations.

     Clivia often prompt comments from garden visitors. They have a bold presence with luxuriant foliage and luminous flowers. They are effective by themselves or planted in masses (nice large scale plantings can be seen in Golden Gate Park). They are used as houseplants in colder climates and do very well in the dry interior air and reduced light. Clivia will actually tolerate very dark conditions, probably as well as the famous Apsidistra elatior, the Cast Iron Plant. It looks especially good when underplanted with Baby's Tears, which provides a wonderful contrast of color and texture. They make outstanding container plants, and should be tried as subjects in more complicated mixed foliage plantings too. In fact, since they only bloom for 3-6 weeks (unless they repeat), I would argue that leaf quality and presentation is more important than flowers, and they should be sited primarily for their striking form and dramatic foliage.

     Clivia is perhaps the most variable plant I have ever worked with. Every observable characteristic that can be described will vary noticeably. Leaf length, width, thickness, texture, ribbing, cross-checking, and color all vary. There are tall plants, there are miniature plants. Flower size, flower color and combination (solid, bicolor, etc.), petal size and shape and conformation, number of flowers per head, conformation of the flower head, bloom vigor, all vary. Even the stamen shape and brittleness varies from plant to plant. And on top of every class is the additional potential for variegation, and then again even type of variegation.

     There are flowers with wide, blunt petals and flowers with long, elegant, lily-like petals. There are reds, bricks, “Hawaiian Punches,” soft pinks, and clear oranges. There are plants with leaves over three feet tall, very narrow, and robust. There are plants with incredible stiff, hard, almost plastic-like leaves, very short but incredibly wide, dark green, and glossy. Some have leaves that bleach to blond or almost white and make a striking background for the flowers (especially reds) but are fantastic just grown for their foliage alone. Some plants are quick to increase and divide, others maintain a mostly solitary habit.

     They can be selected for almost infinite combination of characteristics, which leads to problems if you are breeding or selecting. Once you have selected your ultra compact, wide petaled, early blooming, corrugated-veined, hard-leaf-textured red bicolor, you will notice some have green throats, so you select those out for yet another class, and the breaking-out of new categories never ends. In the end I think Clivia enthusiasts, both commercial and hobbyist, will need to choose to pursue only certain directions in breeding and selecting, much as orchid growers have had to specialize in the face of diversity in their class of plants. The alternative is to suffer madness as the result of trying to pursue everything. Keeping track of all the data regarding possible permutations and combinations becomes a crushing job in itself.

     Our selection of plants is quite diverse and our seedlings can be expected to show a wide range of variation. In the future we will be offering named varieties from division but will have only limited numbers at any one time. rev 3/2006

Little Charm  blooming  orange, smaller flowers, thinner leaves. rev 3/2006
orange  as shade garden foliage   blooming   dark shade  commercial setting container   open garden situation  light to medium orange.
orange variegated  blooming   another  even the seeds are nice  with leaves striped yellow to creamy white. A handful of yellow variegated are available, inquire. rev 3/2006
salmon  nice individual  light salmon orange flowers.
Solomone hybrids  flowers   some more  a strain with flowers ranging from deep to pale yellow.
Yellow Charm  blooming  small yellow flowers, thinner leaves. rev 3/2006

Coleonema pulchrum  PINK DIOSMA  closeup of flowers   short hedge  upright to spreading shrub, 6-10’ tall and wide, with soft, fragrant, bright green foliage and heavy show of pink flowers in spring and fall. Sun to part shade, little or no summer watering when established. This plant is probably misnamed, and the proper species name is probably “pulchellum.” As originally described, C. pulchrum has leaves 1-2 cm long, whereas all material we have seen in the trade is more like .8-1 cm. A South African botanist described and named the garden material  C. pulchellum in 1881. If this analysis proves correct and is accepted, we will change the name in the future. South Africa. Rutaceae. rev 8/2005

‘Compact Form’  closeup   habit   with mixed perennials  compact growth to 3’ tall, 6’ wide, somewhat more open than the upright form. Much like C. album in habit. Showy flowers are lighter pink than regular species, and tend to be clustered at the branch tips across the top of the plant. MBN INTRODUCTION-1996

‘Sunset Gold’  habit   peak bloom, closeup   at Sierra Azul Nursery   as groundcover   unpruned shrub  a spreading shrub or groundcover to 2’ tall, 6’ wide. Golden yellow foliage greens somewhat in winter but generally holds color well and can be quite bright in summer sun. Needs at least a half a day’s sun for good foliage color but it can take considerable shade if it has to. Flowers are pale pink, darker in cool weather but still lighter than the standard form of Pink Diosma. I have seen this used with Verbena tenuisecta 'Tapien Purple' and the effect is hypnotic and blinding at the same time. rev 8/2005

Coleus Argentine Hybrids  eight inch pots - yes, eight inch!   a reintro for us, last having been offered about ten years ago, before we ran out of seed. This is a Monterey Bay exclusive, grown from seed sent by a former intern of ours. This is what happens when bored growers get an idea and there is no one around to keep them under control. Our Southern Hemisphere nursery friends years ago started selecting out the largest leaved, best colored seedlings from the standard Wizard or Rainbow seed mixes then available. They certainly succeeded in their goal. I suspect one of these lines is the actual starting point for the 'Kong' series from Ball. These seedlings flower more than Kongs, but can be even large and also feature a wider range of variable and highly colorful leaf forms. The prefer to flower under shorter days, so pinch off those spikes as they start to form late in the year. Humid sun to part shade, regular watering. Summer annual or housplant. Believe it or not they do well in 4" pots also! rev 7/2012 MBN INTRODUCTION-2004

Colocasia  TARO, ELEPHANT EAR  evergreen to facultatively deciduous tropical and subtropical foliage plants used for their usually huge, lush leaves. The leaves tend to be held vertically hanging down so they show the entire, gigantic leaf face from the sides. The roots are edible after preparation and form a staple starch in some tropical countries. They spread slowly by either clumping from their bases or by short snaky surface stolons. The clumping varieties need wetter conditions than the much more adaptable stoloniferous types. Colocasias in general are better adapted to less than tropical climates than their close cousins the Alocasias. Flowers are small, Spathiphyllum-like things, usually interesting but not showy. Plant in full sun to part shade with average drainage and water as needed. They can usually tolerate very wet soils but don't require them. Tropical Asia. Araceae. rev 2/2005

esculenta  TARO  streamside, Escalona St. in Santa Cruz the roots of this species are edible after preparation and form a staple starch in some tropical countries. The normal green agricultural form of this species has been mostly replaced in the ornamental market by more colorful forms. Contains both clumping and stoloniferous species. Frost hardy to USDA zone 6-8/Sunset zone 8.  rev 6/2005

'Black Beauty'  leaves  a darker mutation of 'Illustris.'  rev 7/2006
'Black Magic Mini'   (not currently in production)  young and mature leaves    an inspiring little fella that only grows 1-2' tall! Think of the combinations you can make with these dark leaves, mixing it with lime, gold, or multicolored foliage for interest all summer. And it's a good one for small water gardens or ponds. Sun to shade, likes rich, moist soil. Sunset zones 7-9, 14-24/USDA 8. rev 4/2013-Suzy Brooks 
'Blue Hawaii' PP 20003   (not currently in production)   young leaves   mature leaves  one of the new 'Royal Hawaiian' series, this is one of the best. Originally bred for taro production, these were cross-purposed as ornamentals due to the new and beautiful color variants that popped up in the seedlings. This one is distinguished by light green leaves contrasted by deep blue violet veins, midribs, and stalks. The color pattern diminshes to intriguing swirls between the veins, especially on more mature plants. Like all the others in this series it is a clumping (as opposed to stoloniferous) grower. To 24-30", sun to full shade, at least average watering and of course it will grow perfectly happily when completely inundated. rev 8/2012 
'Electric Blue Gecko'    (not currently in production)   Raku leaves  one of the darkest leaved ornamental taros yet, not blue but Raku-black, or dark purple, depending on the light. Dwarf size (but pretty big leaves!), clumping versus running habit, to 3' tall. Adds some big color to the shade garden. Wonderful featured in a pot. rev 4/2015-Suzy Brooks 
'Elena'    (not currently in production)   foliage  this is a compact, clumping form that has a glowing lime green leaf shading to golden in bright light. In shadier conditions it looks like a regular light green taro but it really shines in full light, where it becomes a study in gold with contrasting green. The red stems and veins add definition. It clearly likes heat. rev 8/2008 
‘Fontanesii’  BLACK STEM TARO  blue sheen   flowers   Quail BG water garden   deep shade  deep olive green leaves against purple black stems. The upper leaf surfaces have a shiny, bluish, coppery turquoise metallic sheen almost like Raku pottery. This one will darken in full sunlight to become almost black at times. It also does well in almost full, bright shade. Striking, easy, to 6' tall or more with heat and water. Small, narrow, hooded creamy yellow flower spikes are produced in winter, under the leaves and close to the base. I have heard reports from growers who have seen them over 9' tall in the Pacific Northwest! It has proven to be one of the best growers in my garden, needing only average watering and showing enough vigor to break out above the dense billows of foliage on the shady north wall where it was planted. This will be one of the most reliable performers. Extremely frost hardy, and tends to stay evergreen until leaves are frosted back. Easily our most evergreen variety. A vigorous stoloniferous grower. rev 5/2005 
    (not currently in production)   dark blackish markings with green peeking through. Short, to just 24-30", vigorous for a black-leaf type. USDA zone 8. rev 4/2018
'Lime Fizzy'  glowing colors  a sport we sorted out from a block of C. esculenta 'Red Stem,' this is a pale lime green form with tiny speckles of dark green scattered over the leaf, the number and intensity varying with leaf maturity, growing conditions and fertilizer. This is a short grower, about one third the height of its parent (18-24" vs. 3-5') and will be most useful for providing light chartreusy color in a container venue. Sunset zones 7-9, 14-24/USDA 8. MBN INTRODUCTION-2014  rev 5/2014
'Madeira'    (not currently in production)    nice color effect   green leaves with blue veins turn to velvety black as they grow, contrasting with the pink stems. Not a giant, only 2-3' tall, nice for the pond, the garden, and pots. This is similar to 'Black Magic' but is not as dark, and has nicer color nuances. Easily blends with many colors and textures. Good in sun, or part shade if you have warmth. rev 9/2011
‘Midnight’  BLACK TARO   (not currently in production)   41st Avenue, Capitola   at Quail Botanic Gardens, Encinatas   Richard Josephson's water garden  a sport of ‘Black Magic,’ smaller and much darker black. Also a slow grower, and slow to propagate, and therefore available in limited quantities only. Clumping growth. rev 2/2005
'Mojito'   (not currently in production)   spotted leaf   a new and exciting elephant ear! These big, soft, heart shaped leaves are riddled with dark purple spots, blotches, and smudges. Something to liven up the garden in sun or part shade. Wonderful in a container. Clumping habit, about 3' tall, more with regular water and rich soil. Sunset zones 8,9,14-24/USDA 8.  rev 10/2010
'Red Eyed Gecko'  (not currently in production)   looking at you  lime green leaves with a little maroon spot in the center of each one, like the eye of a gecko! About 3-4' tall, for moist soil, in morning sun or bright shade. Nice one for pots on the deck or by the water feature. Sunset zones 8, 9, 12-24/USDA 8. rev 7/2013-Suzy Brooks 
‘Red Stem’   (not currently in production)    nursery plants  striking rhubarb-red stems contrast with medium green leaves. Fast, tall, vigorous, easy to grow, highly sought after, and in short supply. Clumping growth habit. rev 2/2005

Coniogramme japonica   BAMBOO FERN   our awesome stock plant, 10" deco pot   old, cold-bronzed foliage  a genus of fern resembling the larger varieties of Pteris cretica, this and its sister species (or variety, gracilis, below) are something I wrote down on a long list from Tony Avent's Plant Delights a few years ago. It has turned out to be a robust, striking and easy plant, though slow to divide. It forms a dense clump of very large, strikingly dramatic fronds, evergreen (in very warm winter climates) to deciduous (everywhere else), reaching 24-30" tall by at least 3-4 feet across, more with age I am sure. Check out the image, that old and very large stock plant is in a 10" deco pot!! The foliage is evergreen but picks up purple black tones with cold, or drop with any real cold, then new green fronds push out in spring. I really like this one and if you have a spot in part or full shade with at least moderate watering I think it will do well. That very overgrown stock plant has proven very resilient in the container and has withstood substantial drying down to the point of complete wilting without damage. I think it will do quite well in California if it gets at least moderate, intermittent watering. Limited availability this year, and only sold in 05G! USDA zone 7/Sunset 5-9, 14-24. Japan, China, Taiwan, Korea. Pteridiaceae. rev 3/2015

gracilis   SLENDER BAMBOO FERN  tropical foliage on a hardy plant!   often considered a variety of C. japonica. It's also wonderful, large textured, tropical-looking, evergreen to deciduous, but finer-textured and about half-scale in size. (And also originally sourced from Plant Delights - but I disclaim any responsibility for money you spend there on Tony's endless list of have-to-have varieties!!). This large scale subject bears long, narrow, semiweeping dark green leaves on vertical to arching petioles (leaf-stems). Reaching about 18-24" tall by 3-4' across (not right away!), it will slowly spread to fill a partly sunny to deeply shady, moderately moist garden spot. It makes a great, dramatic, low-care/low-pest, medium-size focal-point container plant for your porch, entry or patio. For best appearance, groom the easy way, just as you should Woodwardia or P. munitum: and cut off all old fronds once a year, right as new fronds begin to swell, usually sometime if February or early March. Tolerates dry conditions well for a fern when well established by virtue of a deep, tough root system. Hardy to USDA zone 7-8 (deciduous)/Sunset zone 5-9, 12-24.  Japan, China, Taiwan, Korea. Pteridiaceae. rev 3/2015 

Convolvulus cneorum  SILVER MORNING GLORY  flowers   groundcover at Strybing Arboretum  shrubby perennial to 2’ tall, 4’ wide bears beautiful silvery foliage and small single white morning glory flowers in summer. Sun, good drainage, little or no summer watering when established, hardy to around 20°F. Mediterranean. Convolvulaceae.

sabatius v. mauritanicus  CREEPING BLUE MORNING GLORY  closeup   habit   clouds of flowers   in a rockery  a creeping perennial, usually evergreen in California, that bears cute light lavender blue morning glory flowers to 1" across, from spring through fall. Can bloom right through mild winters. Sun to part shade, little or no summer watering when established. A good groundcover for small areas. Atlas Mountains, northern Africa. rev 9/2007

Coprosma    MIRROR BUSHES   evergreen shrubs native to New Zealand and a range of widely separated Pacific Islands, from Juan Fernandez Island off South America to Hawaii, and Borneo. Many have highly dimorphic foliage, with very small juvenile leaves but changing to larger leaves at maturity, often at around 10'. Related to coffee (Rubiaceae). rev 10/2005

'Evening Glow'  foliage color   Rogers Gardens landscape   interemdiate leaf size, coral, yellow and green colors. Medium size growth. Another one that really glows as cool weather intensifies color. rev 8/2007 

'Fireburst' PP14906    MIRROR PLANT   red and green   very shiny little leaves of green, cream, and pink gradually turn fiery red in fall and winter! Terrific hedge or container subject, only 3-4' tall and wide, but easily pruned for smaller size. Well drained soil in sun or part shade, little watering once established. Sunset zones 8, 9, 14-24/USDA 8. rev 8/2013-Suzy Brooks 

'Inferno' PP 23,260    why you grow it    this most colorful Mirror Plant yet, has lime green, red, and pink colors that intensify in cool temperatures. Appreciated in coastal gardens for the salt and wind tolerance, it also adds a sparkle to combination pots or to shrubby areas. An upright grower, 2-3' tall and wide. Sun or part shade in soil that drains well. Little to average watering once established. Sunset zones 16-24/USDA 9. rev 4/2013-Suzy Brooks 

'Lemon Lime'  swirled colors  the leaves are so shiny and limey it looks wet and good enough to drink, just like kool-aid! This delightful little evergreen shrub would be a treasure in containers, even as a bonsai subject, groundcover, or just in groups. About 3' tall and wide, it likes sun or part shade, average watering. Sunset zones 8, 9, 14-24/USDA 8. rev 11/2013-Suzy Brooks 

'Martini Midnight'    hmmmmm   .   .   .   a chocolate martini?  Glistening, dark brown leaves turn even darker in cooler temperatures for wonderful contrast to lighter foliage colors nearby. To about 3-4' tall and wide, this evergreen shrub can go in sun or part shade. Livens up containers, especially combination plantings. Sunset zones 8, 9, 14-24/USDA 8. rev 10/2013

'Marble Queen' COMPACT VARIEGATED MIRROR PLANT  new leaves    wonderful, clean, white to creamy white irregularly splashes the edges of the very glossy, deep green leaves. Eventually forms a tall, broad shrub to about 6-8' tall and wide, but easily controlled for smaller spaces. The variegation is wonderfully unstable, it will head off into pure green, pure white, or irregular combinations. Sun (cool areas) to almost full shade, average drainage, tough enough to survive in old gardens without irrigation in many areas when fully established, and makes a very good container plant too. Flowers are small, insignificant. Damaged by any direct frost, branches start to damage around 25F. USDA zone 9/Sunset zones 15-17, 21-24. New Zealand.rev 7/2017

'Pina Colada'   leaf color     shiny, wavy leaves of limey yellow with a red edge,  turn very red orange in winter. Evergreen shrub for sun on the coast or light shade. Grows 3-4' tall and wide. Makes a unique hedge or container subject. Average watering. Sunset zones 16-24/USDA 9a. rev 7/2014-Suzy Brooks 

'Pink Splendor'  CORAL MIRROR BUSH  winter foliage detail, sunset   nicely use of color   container  a coral tinted hybrid involving C. bauerii, this is a wonderful, neat foliage plant where temperatures don't go below 25F most winters. It is often used nowadays against a colored wall, say charcoal, steel blue, or terra cotta, and looks great combined with other foliage plants such as variegated or blue toned grasses (Miscanthus, Helictotrichon), agaves, or phormiums. It also makes a striking container plant. Sun to mostly shade (less coral there), average drainage, average watering requirements. Sunset zones 8-9, 14-24/USDA zone 9. Rubiaceae. rev 10/2005

'Plum Hussey' PP22572     why you want it   nice crop of 1g    a new low, compact but spreading variety that is ultra-dark purple-black with contrasting bright green highlights on the new growth. It is shiny, shiny, shiny! Judging by how it extends branches horizontally I would expect 2-3' tall by at least 4-5' across, which is wider than most descriptions say. It could be a dramatic container plant in something that features its amazingly dark and lustrous foliage. Sun/part shade, most soils, average to intermittent watering, USDA zone 9. rev 10/2018

'Rainbow Surprise'  winter foliage color, sunset  a fine textured coral tinted Mirror Bush, reaching about 4-6' in height and equal or greater spread. It is a little pinker than 'Pink Splendor,' and certainly tighter in habit. rev 10/2005

 'Roy's Red'  young plants  tiny dark leaves, compact habit, low growth when young, then tiny leaves, less compact habit, more vigorous and very upright growth when older. To 5-6' tall, shears up nicely into a short hedge. Almost black foliage becomes greener as it ages. rev 9/2009

'Scarlet O'Hara'    shiny     super shiny, wavy leaves are orange red in summer and darken with cooler weather. Evergreen, easy to grow shrub with wind and salt tolerance, about 2-3' tall and wide. It deserves a container right in the way so everyone can be awestruck. Sun or part shade, average watering. Sunset zones 8, 9, 14-24/USDA 8. rev 8/2014-Suzy Brooks 

'Taiko'   (not currently in production)  a dense, mounding, trailing evergreen groundcover for banks or slopes that has very tiny, shiny, dark green foliage. Excels at spilling over walls. To 8-12" tall, and spreading. This is a great substitute for Cotoneaster where fireblight is a problem, and it looks a lot like C. microphylla thymifolia. Sun, little to average watering once established. Sunset zones 8, 9, 14-24/USDA 8. rev 5/2011

'Tequila Sunrise'  foliage detail  this probably the most striking variety I have seen yet, with brilliant golden blond leaf margins bordering bright green centers, then aging to hot, coppery-coral orange, the whole color display heightened by the glossy sheen of the foliage. It is a very compact grower, probably only reaching a few feet in as many years, and spreading slowly to the sides. rev 6/2010 

Cordyline a genus of monocots (parallel-veined plants such as grasses, orchids, lilies, palms, etc.) growing with grassy, shrubby, often yucca-like shapes, very occasionally quite tall, branching and of fully tree-shaped form and girth. Many species have ornamental value. Eastern Australia, New Zealand, Polynesia, western South America (one species). Agavaceae, or more recently section Lomandroideae of the Asparagaceae. rev 5/2018

australis  the proper incorrect common name for this plant is “Yucca Palm,” doubly attractive because it is doubly incorrect, being not a yucca and not a palm, but yet perfectly descriptive since it looks and acts like both. And everyone knows exactly what plant you mean. This species is a tough, adaptable plant, readily growing into full yucca-palm tree form, to about 15' tall with an 8' spread at the crown at maturity. Mature trees tend to have a greatly enlarged, buttressed base and a narrowed waist, then spread branches and foliage widely above. Whitish flowers are tiny, and borne in large terminal sprays in late spring and summer, smell much like privet flowers and are modestly showy. The clusters hang on after they die and should be groomed off if possible. Trunks and branches fork after flowering, just like in Joshua Trees (Yucca brevifolia). Old leaves hang on for a while then eventuallyl shed to form a thatch below the plant unless they are raked or picked up. The new brightly colored forms make a dramatic statement when used as focal point plants or massed. They also look great against pale pink/buff or creamy white adobe walls or red tile roofs. If cut back regularly to sprout from the base it can even be used as a Phormium substitute, and you won't have to worry about the Phormium reversion problem. It also makes a tough, trouble free, long-term container plant. Sun to part shade, watering can be intermittent and very infrequent in almost all our climates, not fussy about soil or drainage as long as it isn't boggy. Fastest in full or mostly full sun in rich soil and regular but intermittent watering, but you may not want it to be fast - the leaves may not feature as well against the sky. Listed as frost hardy to USDA zone 8/Sunset zone 5, 8-14. I have seen them take 20°F without damage. New Zealand. rev 5/2018

In remodeling our 1915 Craftsman home I came across many original photographs of early Pasadena Craftsman style homes which were built 1905-1930. The green seedling form of this plant was commonly used in landscapes, often seen as scrawny, sparse, single young specimens randomly dropped around almost bare yards, like they fell out of the sky. They look like exotic exclamation marks, attractive and effective because of the minimalist landscapes. One way to use them similarly would be to stump mature plants off if they started to get too big and regrow them as a narrow, single-trunked specimens. The new variegated or brightly colored forms should grow about half as fast as those regular green seedlings, and maintain that alien look longer. rev 5/2018

'Cappucino'  (not currently in production)   coffee lightened with a bit of cream, our name for reversions of several varieties, but still a nice color in its own right. This could be considered as a standardized, clonal form of the seedling bronze strain of the species, not as dark and intensely colored as selections like 'Dark Star,' 'Red Star,' or 'Red Sensation.'  rev 6/2007 

'Cherry Sensation'
 bright rose red leaves  light and dark pink colors to jazz up containers or gardens, like a firework going off! This seems to be an analog of the very popular and ever-in-short-supply 'Sunrise,' the most intensely colored of the C. australis types. See our catalog for more information on using these low maintenance, dramatic plants. 
rev 5/2012-Suzy Brooks

'Coral' PP19964   (not currently in production)  dark coral red center striping against copper brown edges, luminous and striking as it sizes up. The best variety available in the orange-red column division, being stronger and more noticeable than the older, more faded 'Paradise.' Use in containers, borders, or dry gardens, in sun or shade. rev 6/2012-Suzy Brooks

'Paso Doble'   brilliant foliage   yet another blindingly, brilliantly electrified pink, with dazzling leaf edges and broad, striped, bronzy centers. This is wider, bolder, and definitely more vertical variety, resembling 'Cherry Stripe' in color but less glossy, and leaves not arching over as they extend. Except for its stiffer habit I would have taken it for a variegated form of  'Sensation.' Mature foliage is considerably greener but retains narrower, light-variegated edges and a few inner stripes. USDA zone 9. rev 7/2017

'Paradise'  (not currently in production)  our first crop   somewhat shiny leaves striped coral salmon red. High tendency to revert, unfortunately. rev 11/2018

'Pink Passion'      side view    top view     subterranean view   another really excellent brilliant flamingo pink columnar form, it is brighter and more color-saturated than 'Southern Splendor' but lighter and more broadly marked than 'Cherry Sensation.' With age the leaves mature and the pink becomes lighter not as shiny, but it is still very noticeable in the landscape. Along with 'Cherry Sensation,' it is the best of the colored columnar forms and is arguably as good the one everyone is mad for these days, the chunkier and more robust 'Electric Pink.' It sloooooooowwwly puts on height, to perhaps 10', maybe even more, with great age. When it evennnnnnnntually gets too tall, just cut it right off close to the base, or higher if desired, to reset the size. rev 7/2014

‘Red Star’  glossy nursery foliage  deep burgundy red leaves. This is a much grassier, more gracile, slightly lighter colored variety than ‘Red Sensation,’ and the leaves are glossy as opposed to being dull. rev 9/2003

'Salsa'    hot foliage  another Dance, but this time a trunked selection of C. australis and not a clumping hybrid like the others in the series. It is SHOCKING MAGENTA PINK, with some red and bronzy green on the beautiful arching leaves. A first-rate focal point plant for containers, near entryways, mounds, against wall and fences, etc. This is an upright form, slowly becoming trunked, eventually to 8' or more. Cut it back to the base whenever it gets too tall, it will resprout happily. Full sun to part shade, at least average drainage and happiest in looser, mineral soils, little summer watering required once established. 8/2015

'Sensation’  (not currently in production)   young plants, Mills Garden   mature, Opal Cliffs  usually 'Red Sensation' (incorrectly), this is a larger-scale variety with very wide, dark coppery bronze foliage that holds it color very well as it matures. The new leaves have a noticeably glaucous cast. Dramatic! rev 7/2017 (not currently in production)

'Southern Splendor'  (not currently in production)   Opal Cliffs landscape  hot pink to dusty salmon pink against bronzy grey green, a great combination. Luminous.  rev 2/2011

'Sunrise' (not currently in production)  first gallons sold   hot, dark pink. Leaves are margined deep magenta pink. This is a slow columnar type that can be cut back to come from the base if you want the color down low. It would be a good thing to try in hot areas as a Phormium sub or alternate. Of course it will be superb as a container combo element if  you want to use it like that. rev 11/2008

'Torbay Dazzler'  foliage   young trade show plant  leaves striped with white and at maturity featuring a reddish stripe along the midrib, in contrast to 'Sparkler,' which has thinner white edge stripes and lacks the red coloring. We will be the only ones to have this in any quantity for a while, as usual. rev 10/2007 

hybrids  cross a bronzy australis (columnar) with a pumilo (green, clumping, and stemless) and you get these. Hardy to around 15-20F, better in the heat than Phormiums. They can be used en masse as groundcovers or even lawn substitutes, and make completely stunning container specimens, especially mixed with contrasting foliage. Average watering. Sunset zones 7-9, 12-24/USDA 8. rev 6/2012

'Can Can'    very young plants!   another in the Dance series, this is a strikingly colored, bright pink on red foliaged clumper, grassy and thin textured, like 'Festival Grass' or the 'Design-a-Lines.' As they mature, the eaves turn to green and cream, for a tricolor effect. This is our first crop, but we are told they mature to 3' tall by 3' across in part sun with average watering and good drainage. This is an excellent choice for containers, or hanging baskets, or even spilling over a wall. A good one to mix with blue Echeverias or Agaves. Sunset zones 8, 9, 14-24/USDA 8. rev 9/2013 

'Cardinal'  (not currently in production)   New Zealand commercial landscape   flowers  dark bronzy red, shiny, broad leaves on a branching, low, Yucca Palm-type plant to perhaps 3-5' tall. rev 1/2010 

'Cha Cha'   colors   some new colors to play with in the very compact, clumping line! Here you are offered apricot, peach, brown, and yellow. The leaves arch and weep over the sides of containers, walls, or rocks. Full sun near the coast, some shade inland. rev 6/2012-Suzy Brooks 

'Crimson Star'    (not currently in production)   almost indistinguishable from 'Cardinal,' perhaps a bit darker in color. rev 1/2010 

'Design-a-Line Burgundy'  wonderful container  a grassy, compact clumping hybrid variety, much like other festive forms, but with very slightly darker hued, slightly wider leaves. To about 3' x 3', frost hardy to Sunset zone 6-9, 12-24/USDA zone 8. rev 6/2011

'Electric Flash'    Siamese Cat colors    clumping, arching leaves form a mezmerizing display of ivory and chocolate, or ebony and ivory, or yin and yang (you get the idea). As the plant begins to size up the side shoots fill in to make a dense clumping specimen, to 3-4' tall. Excellent as a focal point specimen, in containers of striking or contrasting color, or against a painted wall or fence. Needs little watering on the coast in mostly full sun, more shade and moisture inland. USDA zone 8/Sunset 8-9, 12-24. rev 7/2015 

'Electric Pink'  check it out  name says it all. A shocking pink pink variegated form, slowly forming a trunk with age but responds well to being cut off close to the ground. One of the hottest plants in the country, still, many years after introduction. Customers just love this color, can't stay away. rev 7/2017

'Electric Star'
  closeup   a variegated clumping form, upright and arching, these maroon brown leaves striped green form an extra thick clump due to the many basal side shoots it produces. Use this as a large scale grass or phormium alternate. The presentation is more yucca-like than a grass but grassier than a phormium. Grows 4-6' tall. Sunset zones 8, 9, 12-24/USDA 9.
rev 2/2013

'Falcon'  PP18931 (C. obtecta var.)  close in   broad, large-textured, bronzy maroon foliage and a compact habit (to just 4-5' tall) makes for a handsome specimen in the garden or containers. The foliage scale provides visual weight to hold things down. Eventually multitrunked, cut it to the ground once it starts to get too high, it will resprout and start all over. Rather large and impressive branched stalks of white flowers make a respectable show in spring. Sun, part shade, soil with good drainage, average to little watering once established. Sunset zones 8, 9, 14-24/USDA 8. rev 5/2014

'Glauca'    mature plant at Quail Botanic Gardens   foliage   flowers   this is a relatively tough garden, landscape and container variety, much more tolerant of dry air and/or soil conditions in either sun or shade than any true Ti Plant. It is a compact, vertical grower to 6-10', blue green in color with purplish tips and new growth. Grow it for its foliage color, tropical appearance and rather showy flower clusters. It will take full sun to full shade and some drought. It is highly snail and slug resistant compared to true Ti Plants, and frost to 25F (fully unprotected) here at our nursery with nothing but leaf-tip damage. It certainly can survive lower (20F?) by regrowing quickly from the roots. Takes full sun coast-side but likes at least part shade anywhere and will tolerate deep shade well but foliage will be greener. Fastest in rich soil with regular watering but takes very intermittent watering well, especially in shade. It makes a great porch/patio container plant and is used as a house plant in cold winter areas. I now think this is most likely a form of C. brasiliensis, the only species not native to Pacific Islands. USDA zone 9/Sunset Zones 9, 13, 15-17, 19-24. rev 5/2018

'Jive'   (not currently in production)     stripey stripes    another one of the Dance series, this one is a semi-tree type, 6-7' tall, meaning it has a little more vigor and rodent resistance and sun tolerance and stem-strength vigor than the strictly clumping hybrids. Young leaves start out creamy yellow on lime green, then age to bright yellow on dark green. Nice in grasses, or as an accent or focal point. Sun or part shade. Average watering. Sunset zones 8, 9, 14-24/USDA 8. rev 7/2013

'Pink Joy' PP19959 (C. brasiliensis)   very close, juvenile foliage    more mature, sunlight   a tricolor variegated form of a species native to Bolivia, Brazil and northern Argentina. Leaves are short, stiff, rather hard (and mostly snail resistant!!! Snail resistant!!! Snail resistant!!!), grey green in color, then streaked with white and pink. In cool weather it becomes tinted deep violet around the leaf edges. Foliage colors fade in deep shade. New growth is darker, winter flowers are palest lilac, displayed in short, branched spikes atop the narrow, vertical stems. To 3' or more in height in full to part sun, spreading to just 2'.Makes a great, compact container plant for home or patio. This species has some frost hardiness, and has survived 28F without damage to foliage. As it root-sprouts close to the crown nicely when cut back, it should take much lower temps at the cost of above-ground growth. USDA zone 9/Sunset zones 9, 16-24. rev 7/2015

'Polka'   new leaves, young plant    peachy-orange new growth ages to olive green, To  5' tall and wide. Part of the 'Dance' series. rev 2/2017

'Renegade' PP 18,605 (not currently in production)   easy to use  broad, shiny dark leaves, almost black, grow in a clump, but to only 2' tall! This is a really stunning, dramatic plant, because of its large scale and intense, dark color. It is an excellent feature or focal point plant, and also combines particularly well with white or silvery leaves, like Brahea or Astelia or Echeveria or Blue Fescues, or with chartreuse foliage, like that of Ipomoea 'Goldfinger,' or with golds, or oranges, or anything! And there are wonderful, scented flowers in the summer, so it's something you'll want to have close. Morning sun or bright shade, well drained soil, average waterings. Sunset zones 8, 9, 14-24/USDA 8. rev 9/2011

'Zumba'  leaves   really nice color and luster, one of the best in this hybrid series another plant that really draws attention to itself. It is a natural focal-point or can supply a fountain-like effect in a garden since its leaves often move even in slight breezes. This is a slowly trunking variety, taking a while to form a 5' tall specimen. If you'd like you can just cut it right ack to the ground to keep those wonderful leaves down where they show their wonderful color and shine better. Sun to part shade, average soils and drainage, average to very infrequent watering when established. Hardy to around 20F or so, can resprout from its large, fibrous, woody root system. rev 7/2017

fruticosa   TI PLANT formerly C. terminalis. House/patio or indoor/outdoor plants, also used as outdoor landscape ornamentals in subtropical climates and other situations with no frost. They can be used in well frost protected areas of Northern California if you can keep the snails at bay, which dearly love them. Their third Achilles' Heel is lack of tolerance to high salts, which can doom them in certain areas with bad city water but is also something to remember when fertilizing. Keep them in high acidity soils and soil mixes and feed at the half or three quarters rate. Full sun to full shade, though speed of growth and color will vary accordingly. Some are wide leaved, and slower to add height, others are narrower and quicker. The most important thing is that UV is what burns leaves UV is filtered out by humidity. So in our our dry California conditions many varieties will need at least some of shade. Others with testing may be tolerant of more direct light and respond with better colors. Only time and testing will tell. We do know that for the most part the darker reds tend to be more salt tolerant. For another variety of Ti Plant see C. 'Glauca.' rev 7/2017

'Chocolate'  (not currently in production)  rich color     milk chocolate leaves, upright growth, this tropical perennial likes sun to part shade and regular watering. Makes a good houseplant with good light, looking great in with light colored walls. Good choice for pots, keep it away from snails, and provide some rich, moist soil. To 3-4' tall. rev 5/2015-Suzy Brooks (not currently in production) rev 7/2017

'Fairchild Red'  TI PLANT  (not currently in production)  hot red   narrow leaves, bronze with hot pink edges, grow up and out like a fountain on this colorful Ti Plant. this subtropical foliage plant is grown for its luxuriant, hot pink and green foliage and compact habit (just 1-3' tall). Shade in hot interior climates, can take some sun in cooler, humid coastal sites. Use as a house plant, in outdoor patio containers, or in the garden in frost-protected outdoor sites in USDA zone 9/Sunet 9, 16-17, 21-24. (not currently in production) rev 7/2017 

'Luchia'  TI PLANT (not currently in production)   just turning   more colorful tropical foliage for frost-protected sites and climates, patio and porch containers, greenhouse windowboxes or houseplants. The narrow, compact green leaves sport orange margins on mature foliage. The brighter, hotter, and drier your climate, the more shade and watering it will need. Best in morning sun or all-day bright shade, in rich, peat-moss ammended soils or soils mixes, with regular, periodic watering. USDA zone 9/Sunset 9, 14-17, 21-24. (not currently in production) rev 7/2017

'New Guinea Black'  foliage  this may be an interspecific hybrid based on leaf texture and growth characteristics. Also known as 'Black Ribbons.' This is a robust, tough, old landscape form, one of the original hybrids, that of course also makes a great container or house plant. It is easily recognized by its long, rather narrow, glossy purple black leaves that have nicely wavy edges. It grows relatively quickly and is one of the best for trying outdoors in California, subject to the usual limitations. This is probably my favorite Ti plant variety, being fast, vigorous, black, shiny, tall, SNAIL RESISTANT, and completely tolerant of cold, wet soils (I have one planted under a drain spout at my house, no problems.) It even tolerates frost pretty well, though it will burn with direct freezing temperatures if exposed. Like all the old-generation hybrids it is quite resistant to tip burn with low humidity and high light, unlike the fancy, softer newer hybrids. I like it so much I have used it throughout my very crowded yard. This is a real winner in all departments. (not currently in production) rev 7/2017

'Red Sister' (not currently in production)   new foliage, mature plants  broad coppery red leaves, with occasional pinkish stripes on the new growth. One to use if you want a fast, upright, copper colored variety. This is one red-leaved variety that is highly intolerant of high salts, either from fertilizer or irrigation water, unlike most others. rev 5/2018

(not currently in production) nice plant   a compact, broad-leaved variety, new growth rich burgundy, mature leaves black red. (not currently in production) rev 7/2017

Coreopsis  TICKSEED   annual and perennial solitary or clumping plants, usually with small yellow daisy flowers. Many species are very showy, almost all are valuable for pollinators and beneficial insects such as predatory or parasitoid wasps. North, Central and South America. Compositae/Asteraceae. rev 5/2018

'Big Bang Cosmic Eye' (not currently in production)   Sheldon's fav?  no connection to the TV show, but one of the members of the 'Big Bang' series of hardier Coreopsis. Maroon red petals, tipped in yellow, blooms all summer and fall. Compact growth, 12-15" tall and wide. Nice in groups, containers, or around the garden for color and butterflies. Sun, average watering. Sunset zones 2-24/USDA 6. -Suzy Brooks
(not currently in production) rev 7/2017

'Big Bang Full Moon'  PP19364 (not currently in production)  flowers   what a great plant. Huge, light to pale yellow flowers over two inches across (and with a perfectly colored golden orange center!) simply cover the plant from late spring into fall, and it grows just as well in the ground as in a container. This is a great garden plant, dense, even, a really nice performer and extremely showy. Highly recommended! About 24-30" tall, full to almost full sun, average soils and watering, Sunset zones 2-9, 12-24/USDA zone 5. (not currently in production) rev 7/2017

'Big Bang Mercury Rising' (not currently in production)   red, red flowers   nice, big, single, red flowers with a bright yellow center can keep going into fall with deadheading. About 15-18" tall, 20-24" wide. Tuck this one into beds, borders, or containers. Sun or part shade, average watering. Sunset zones 1-24/USDA 5.-Suzy Brooks (not currently in production) rev 7/2017

'Corey' (not currently in production)   daisies  this easy-to-grow coreopsis has large, golden yellow flowers with the base of the petals marked with red. Strong, upright growth, 18-24" tall and almost as wide. It will grow easily in sun with average watering and if deadheaded, bloom through the fall, providing color, nectar for bees, and cut flowers for the vase. Sunset zones 2-24/USDA 6.-Suzy Brooks (not currently in production) rev 7/2017

'Lemon Lime' (not currently in production)   swirled colors  the leaves are so shiny and limey it looks wet and good enough to drink, just like kool-aid! This delightful little evergreen shrub would be a treasure in containers, even as a bonsai subject, groundcover, or just in groups. About 3' tall and wide, it likes sun or part shade, average watering. Sunset zones 8, 9, 14-24/USDA 8.-Suzy Brooks (not currently in production) rev 7/2017

'Li'l Bang Daybreak'  (not currently in production)  bright, two-toned  flowers  large, bicolor flowers, red with yellow tips, and crinkled edges that bloom from mid-spring into fall. Attracts the butterflies too! A compact grower to only 6-10" tall, spreading to 18" wide. Groundcover, hanging baskets, any where you need some pizzazz. Appreciates good drainage. Sun, average watering. All Sunset zones/USDA 5. (not currently in production) rev 7/2017

'Little Penny'  (not currently in production)  coppery red   penny sized, copper colored, little daisies will spill over in pots, soften the edges of walkways, and look great in masses all season. Only 8" tall and twice as wide, give them sun or part shade, and average watering. A worthwhile annual outside Sunset zones 16-22/USDA 9.-Suzy Brooks (not currently in production) rev 7/2017

'Solanna'  (not currently in production)  bright and sunny!  bright golden pompons of petals that go so well with blue, orange, or red in festive borders, beds, or containers. This mound of cheerfullness grows about 14-18" tall. Easy to grow in sun or part shade with average watering. Nice cut flower too. Deadhead for continued bloom into fall. Sunset zones 5-9, 12-24/USDA 7.-Suzy Brooks (not currently in production) rev 7/2017

'Tequila Sunrise' (not currently in production)  blooming  single deep golden yellow flowers, with a maroon eye in the center of these golden daisies, that bloom all summer and until frost. The creamy white variegation has pink which turns to red in the fall. Looks great against something dark like green leaves or a mulch. About 18" tall and wide. Nice in groups or as an accent plant. Sun, little watering when established. Attracts butterflies. Sunset zones 2-24/USDA 5.Compositae/Asteraceae.-Suzy Brooks (not currently in production) rev 7/2017

'Uptick' series    Yellow and Gold     planted 10/5/17, first bloom 1/10/18   a recent Darwin Perennials/Ball Seed Co. offering, being an ultra-compact dome of flower color (about 12-14" tall and wide), extremely early to initiate (color in the bud here January 10th, if you can believe it) with vigorous green foliage, high mildew resistance and thus superior landscape and garden performance. We have three colors: Yellow and Red, Cream and Gold & BronZe. Count on 3 seasons-plus here as far as flower production. But that's not all!  It's also heat resistant, and great at attracting bees and butterflies. Foliage goes to 25F before going dormant, and it's hardy to USDA zone 5. rev 5/2018

Corokia cotoneaster 'Little Prince'   structure plant   another returning item, this one deserves another look. Put a solar light in front so you can see the shadow of the zigzag pattern that the branches will leave on the wall behind it. Little, thick, dark green leaves on dark bark. Slow growing to 4' tall, it's a great choice for containers in sun or part shade. Average watering. Sunset zones 4-24/USDA 6.   rev 9/2013-Suzy Brooks  

Correa  AUSTRALIAN FUCHSIA  tough, adaptable plants, and are usually immune to grazing damage by insects, rabbits, deer, gophers, and ground squirrels unless they are recently planted. They will tolerate most soils if they have good drainage. All grow best in sun to part shade, but will tolerate pretty dense shade if kept on the dry side. Many will take frost until about 20°F, below which they are severely damaged. All are native to southern or southeastern Australia, except for C. reflexa, which can be found across Australia. Rutaceae.

‘Dusky Bells’ (‘Carmine Bells’)  closeup   habit  low, spreading evergreen shrub to 3’ tall, 8’ wide with compact dark green foliage and pendant, tubular, dull red flowers to 1" long. Can be very dense when mature, forming a tight, deep green mound. In cultivation for over 50 years, this is probably the result of  C. pulchella x C. reflexa.

‘Ivory Bells’  closeup   habit  rounded shrub to 4’ tall, 8’ wide. Rounded green leaves have light undersides. Pendant, tubular, ivory white flowers to 1" long, with light tan flocking on the back of the petals, appear in winter and spring, occasionally throughout the year. Taller and more upright than ‘Dusky Bells,’ relatively open when young, eventually moderately dense.

pulchella  closeup   habit   another plant  mounding shrub to 3’ tall, 6-8’ wide. Typical dark green foliage, with a heavy show of pendant light pink flowers, with a hint of salmon, in winter and spring. Very showy when in bloom. This species is native to areas of alkaline soil in South Australia, and may need applications of lime in acid soils.

'Wynn's Wonder'    nice plant    flowers   a variegated sport of 'Dusky Bells,' with leaves broadly margined with pale yellow to yellow green. Only grows about half as quickly and to about half as large as its parent. Same red flowers are showier against the lighter foliage. rev 3/2011

Cosmos atrosanguineus  CHOCOLATE COSMOS  closeup  deciduous perennial to 2’ tall bears small, single maroon brown flowers to 1" across most of the year. Flowers smell like chocolate. Sun, average watering. Hardiness not completely known, but our plants took 20°F in containers without damage, resprouting vigorously from the roots. The real problem with longevity seems to occur in soils that remain overly wet in winter. Mexico. Compositae/Asteraceae.

Cotinus coggygria purpureus  PURPLE SMOKE TREE  foliage   flowers   small tree, smoking somewhat fall color  a medium size deciduous shrub to small tree to about 8-10’ tall and wide. It is grown for its deep reddish purple foliage and strange, attractive flower clusters, which are wispy, thread like, and suspended above the foliage like puffs of smoke. The leaves usually lighten in color somewhat in summer, though this varies from plant to plant. Our strain has proven to be mostly colorfast, with a minimum of greening. Fall color is outstanding - somewhat stronger than the regular green variety, but also not as noticeable when it turns. The green form quite noticeably changes from green to red orange, instead of green to red orange. Still it is one of the best plants for fall color, even in cool areas, though color is much stronger where summer heat ripens the wood. Sun gives the best leaf color, both during the growing season and during the fall, but it will take part shade and fall color can still be quite nice there. It needs regular to almost no summer watering when established and is very frost hardy. Europe, Asia. Anacardiaceae, which makes it a relative of the Cashew and Pistachio. rev 2/2003

'Royal Purple'  reflected light   sunlight   well used at Jody and Terri's  tissue culture propagated for clonal consistency, featuring uniformly dark, black purple foliage. Typical intense fall color and puffs of flower smoke. rev 8/2005  

Cotoneaster integrifolius   ultratight, shiny growth, with flowers   a newer, more accurate name, or synonym, of C. microphyllus, this has hair like Sideshow Bob (Crusty's sidekick!), these branches are stick out firmly all over. Tiny leaves, dark and shiny, white flowers in spring followed by red berries make an attractive groundcover. About 2-3' tall and spreading 5-6' wide, it is evergreen and takes little watering once established. Sun or part shade. USDA 5/Sunset 3-24. India. Rosaceae. rev 3/2015-Suzy Brooks

Cotula BUTTONFLOWERS  a Southern Hemisphere genus, with species ranging from the Subantarctic Islands through the tropics. Most species are rayless, blooming with only disc flowers. Forms currently sold in the California nursery trade are low growing, deciduous or semievergreen perennials. Compositae/Asteraceae. rev 4/2017
hispida  SILVER BUTTONFLOWER   forms a low, spreading cushion of small-textured, very silvery foliage, and looks a lot like Artemisia schmidtiana.  Until it flowers that is, when it sends those curious, wonderful, dramatic, yellow button-like flowers high above the matting foliage on wire-thin stalks. Deciduous or mostly so, sun, good drainage, average watering, very frost hardy. USDA zone 7/Sunset zones 5-9,14-24. rev 4/2017
'Tiffendell Gold'  GREEN MOONDROPS   golden discs   here is Martian Moondrops in green, instead of grey! Ferny soft foliage and the bright yellow buttons on wiry stems that add dots of sunshine to gardens, pots, or between stepping stones. Sun, average watering. All Sunset zones/USDA 5. Compositae/Asteraceae. rev 3/2015-Suzy Brooks
Cotyledon a genus of Kalanchoe and Echeveria-like plants, with succulent leaves and usually pendant bell-shaped flowers. Mostly tender. rev 4/2010

 flowers a cute little Jade Plant-like thing, but much lower, and much more compact, and with leaves thinly margined in maroon. The brilliant red bell-shaped flowers appear in fall and winter. Likes some shade, average succulent soil and watering. This can be maintained in a small pot and fits on a windowsill. From the Cape Region of South Africa, so it should take some frost, probably down to about 28F but maybe not. It forms low, clustering clumps to about a foot across, maybe more if very happy. Sunset zones 16-17, 21-24/USDA zone 9. Crassulaceae. rev 11/2009

orbiculata v. flanaganii
  wonderful flowers    nice succulent combo container   a tight clump of upright finger-like grey leaves that show some nice banding. The leaf tip is cut into an oval shape, with a reddish margin. Flowers are stunning, deep coral red orange tubes, slightly pendant, on moderately tall stalks that rise above the foliage in late winter or early spring. According to South Africans, this is good for warts. Will take a moderate freeze (25F?) at the cost of any open flowers. Zones 8-9, 14-24/USDA zone 9. Cape Province, South Africa. rev 4/2010

tomentosa 'Variegatum'  BEAR'S PAW  potted  a very cute, slow growing succulent with little soft 'claws' on the top of each leaf. Makes a clump about 12" tall and wide. Nice in it's own container or mixed with other low water users. Part shade. Houseplant anywhere. Sunset zones 15-17, 20-24/USDA 10. rev 4/2011-SB

Craspedia globosa   BILLY BALLS, BILLY BUTTONS, DRUMSTICKS   nice garden plant   the Billy Balls   not new, just re-added to our line, last being sold here so far back (early 1990's) its code was wiped from our system. A fun plant, just flower clusters the shape and almost the size of a golf ball, except golden yellow, held well above the silvery clumping foliage, swaying in the wind on very wiry 30" stalks. Sun, low watering requirements, a famously outstanding cut flower and great addition to drier gardens. USDA zone 9. Eastern Australia. rev 6/2018 

  a group of about 300 shrubby perennials often grown for their showy flowers and unique succulent foliage, ranging in size from 2" to 10' or more. They posess some of the most charming names around. Wonderful subjects for container plantings, as groundcovers, or mixed in beds and borders. Most  will take average water, spring through fall, but very little in winter. South Africa. Crassulacaea . rev 9/2009

arborescens SILVER DOLLAR JADE PLANT   cool leaves!   what it does   flowers    my favorite of the genus! Big, blue grey, sometimes almost white chunky leaves are edged in red. Not a fast grower but does so in a very branchy way, forming a bold textured specimen for a container in sun or part shade. Eventually to 3-5' or more. White flowers appear when it gets old enough, and age to a wonderfully rusty red brown. Likes watering during active growth, meaning spring. This can be grown outside in gritty, well-aerated soils, much more easily so in Southern California. The Huntington Botanic Garden features wonderful specimens sprinkled throughout its fabled Cactus and Succulent Collection. Sunset zones 8, 9, 12-15, 18-24/USDA 9. rev 5/2013
'Blue Bird'    hard, thick blue grey leaves   supposedly a selection or variant of ssp. undulatifolia, this has noticeably longer, thinner, bluer leaves with a maroon outline. A slow grower to 2' or more, it makes a wonderful container plant, especially for close-up viewing because of those wonderful leaves!. Sun or part shade, water when soil surface feels dry. USDA 8. rev 2/2016
ssp. undulatifolia   RIPPLE JADE PLANT   those amazing leaves, very close     garden    hard blue lettuce?   a wonderfully compact, blue-toned form that becomes a dense, evenly rounded ball of hard, grey leaves with a fine, blue-white, waxy outer coating. The leaf margins are outlined in maroon near the tips, and the older foliage lights up with a warm gold or apricot glow. It is a clean-looking plant, old leaves dry shed cleanly underneath. This is a very touch-inviting plant, and is every bit as hard and cool and unyielding as it looks. A study in blue, subtle warm tones, and varying shadows. Western Cape region of South Africa. rev 2/2016

cephalophora   young plants  an ultra-mini Propeller Plant. Juvenile foliage is green and slightly fuzzy, mature leaves become grey, thick, densely and minutely fuzzy, and with neatly stacked opposite leaves. Very small flowers are light pink to white  and are produced in very tight, arching terminal clusters in winter. Variable in shape and size but almost always forms a beautiful mound of compact, silvery green foliage. A cool season grower,  needs less watering in summer. To 6-8" tall. Also sold as C. nudicaulis. USDA zone 9. South Africa. rev 2/2017

coccinea 'Campfire'
  cool season color   long, narrow green leaves become reddish with age, then bright, striking orange red with cool weather. Short day bloom, but tender to a  hard freeze. This usually stays under a foot high and spreads or sprawls slowly. Use in protected locations, as an annual, or in mixed plantings. Small flowers are red and fragrant, fall through late winter. Sun to half shade, usual succulent conditions and care. All zones (annual), perennial Sunset zones 21-24/USDA zone 10. South Africa. rev 1/2013

conjuncta  big critters   this is the Papa Bear of shish kebab crassulas, with leaves larger than C. perforata (Mama Bear) and C. 'Tom Thumb' (Baby Bear). It is listed as a synonym of C. perforata, but this form seems chunkier and more robust than the thinner, pointier strain we grow under that name. About an inch across, the leaves are a beautiful chalky blue grey with maroon margins. Typical humble, minute white flowers are produced on stalks in winter. Well grown specimens get about 12" tall. Sun to part sun, typical succulent soil and watering. rev 7/2012

corymbulosa   young greenhouse plants, juvenile foliage   older, outdoors, mature foliage, sun, cool    closeup   very similar to Crassula 'Campfire,' and a rather strongly dimorphic species, emerging from the greenhouse with soft, green, juvenile foliage then maturing to a very compact, tightly stacked, small-leaved, mature plant that often turns red under cool conditions and strong light. Very small spikes of very tiny flowers appear in winter. Inches tall, and wide, keep it in a small container, a succulent combination dish garden, or in crevices, rocky soil, etc. Sun to half shade, will tolerate a little frost, not much. USDA zone 9. South Africa. rev 2/2017

falcata   the best plant I've ever seen   or its real name, Crassula perfoliat var. minor. This is "the propeller one," with thick, flat leaves alternately slapped together up the stem., structurally intriguing by themselves. Then when you add the flat, broad, clusters of tiny scarlet red flowers it's just stunning! To about 2' tall as a monopodal stem, then clumping. Average watering in summer, likes well drained soil, best in containers in our winter-rainfall climate. Starts to burn below about 25F. USDA zone 9/Sunset zones 9, 15-17, 21-24. rev 9/2014 

grisea    clean, neat, sculpted leaves    very humble flowers  a nicely compact, small-scale species, with narrow, chunky leaves that look like they were sculpted from porcelain. In our form the foliage is a warm olive grey, with new growth and leaf edges flushed coral rose. In nature it looks like a tortured thing, growing as separated, tightly clusters clumps of stems that hold  opposite, neatly stacked leaves that are anywhere from lime yellow to coral pink. From above this species displays the wonderful, neatly cruciate foliage pattern typical of many others in this genus. The oldest leaves conveniently drop off before they dry up, so plants always look groomed. Flowers are very small, greenish white, on short, upright, coral colored stems and appear in fall. Sun to mostly shade, superb for small containers, but use it anywhere you'd like. Sun to mostly shade, water intermittently (not really picky, or difficult), good drainage of course. Can't find any cold hardiness info at all, but I'd guess it won't like it much below freezing, growing in Namibia and Namaqualand as it does. USDA zone 9a/Sunset 16-17, 21-24. rev 10/2015 

muscosa  WATCH CHAIN   closeup   large garden plant   one of several Crassula with that common name, this plant seems to push the "cute" button for many women. I can't see why, but there's no accounting for taste, especially with me, as I have learned repeatedly over the years. My wife thinks it is cute. If Molly likes it, we try to grow it. I think the highest use for this plant is just added to containers with other plants to trail, fill in, wander, and spill and go where it wants . At least that is what makes Molly happy, and it is about perfect for that. Sun to almost total shade, but won't take intense hot, bright sun in the hottest areas. Sunset zones 12-24/USDA 9. South Africa. rev 8/2010

 JADE PLANT  shrubby, to 6' or more in favored, essentially frost-free locations. Rather fast, fills large containers quickly. Starry pink flowers are produced in winter and spring and can make a respectable show. We offer its various forms.

'Dwarf'   BABY JADE PLANT   tight foliage  a compact form, with smaller leaves. This is a great container plant, with a little more coppery color than its full-sized cousin and a very tight habit that leads to an even, dome-shaped plant. Someday we'll get a better, more definitive name. rev 8/2010
'Hobbit'  at the Huntington    leaves   also called Organ Pipe Jade because of the long tubular leaves. Leaves look like fingers, with round, concave tips. Stout branches grow can grow to 3' or more and as wide. Quite the conversation piece. Zones 8, 9, 14-24. rev 9/2009
'Sunset'  GOLDEN JADE PLANT   Huntington Gardens   leaves are flushed and margined golden yellow, with copper-red margins. A warm, glowing color. Denser, more compatc growth, probably won't grow over about 2-3' high. rev 8/2010
'Variegata' VARIEGATED JADE PLANT  foliage detail   this is the white and green striped version, as opposed to the "golden glow" version. Smaller and tighter than regular jades, the foliage is more usefull in combos. The edges pick up rosy pink tints in cool weather.rev 11/2009

pellucida 'Marginalis'   warm and sheltered    sun + cold    flowers   a small, tight, dense, twiggy mound with triangular jade green leaves margined in white. The stems and leaf margins turn deep magenta red with cool weather and sun. Flowers are small white stars, borne in short clusters in spring. Great for cracks in the rocks, combos, single containers. Charming! South Africa. rev 11/20188

pellucida rubra  colored up chunky, thick, little leaves are dark green and burgundy, turning red in cool weather. Let it trail from a hanging pot, use as groundcover, or mix it in with others in a bowl. Sun to part shade. Little summer watering, but it's a cool season grower, so some winter water is appreciated. USDA 9. rev 5/2016-Suzy Brooks

perforata  STRING O'BUTTONS, NECKLACE VINE   beautiful plant at the Huntington   flowering row    foliage closeup   small, chunky, squared, silvery grey leaves with jade green centers, with maroon purple margins, appear to be skewered through by the stem. Flowers are tiny, white, in condensed heads on rather long spikes above. They aren't showy. This is a classy, compact, relatively forgiving species that looks great in containers, including miniatures, combined, or in rockeries. To 1-2' both ways. rev 9/2010

'Variegata'  sublime foliage     little stacks of green and white 'buttons' pick up some pink color in the sun. Attractive in pots or the dry garden. Grows to 18" tall. Makes a nice casual container choice or a taller plant for a combination planting. Morning sun or bright shade, average to little watering. Sunset zones 8, 9, 14-24/USDA 9. rev 5/2011

platyphylla   burgundy leaves this little creature forms a dense mound, less than 6" high, of deep burgundy red leaves, topped by a modest show in winter of tiny white flowers held 6" above the foliage. Sun to mostly shade, but inside or out expect it to be mostly green without strong light. Moderate to infrequent watering, probably hardy to around 25F. rev 11/2015 

 pubescens   tiny leaves   a very small scale clumper, though it spreads willingly, with silvery hairs over green to deep burgundy purple leaves. Flowers are ultra-minute, in stalked balls, very interesting but not overwhelmingly showy, late winter through late spring. Sun to part shade. Needs some sun and coolness for nice maroon leaf color. I can't find any definitive hardiness data but most likely it dies below freezing. For containers and windowsills, or as a rockery colonizer in essentially frost free areas. South Africa. rev 3/2010

radicans large leaf form   at UCSC   very prostrate, slow, crawling, compact growth, with rounded leaves to about an inch long held upright, but with the leaf bases against the ground, forming a carpet of edge-on discs. With sun and cold weather the leaves turn a beautiful deep, intense red. Good drainage, usual watering. Great in containers, even very small ones too. South Africa. rev 9/2009

small leaf form    nice, neat container plant foliage  stressed and nature-like at UCSC   the same, but with thinner leaves. A minor variant.  Minor, but distinct. rev 8/2010

rosularis   nice container   Santa Cruz City Hall landscape   this is just what you need to contrast with all those light colored Echeverias and Aloes in your collection. Handsome clustering, spreading rosettes of broad, dark olive green leaves with a dark purple reverse are the main feature. Stalks of small white flowers show up in early summer. Under a foot tall and spreading to form a small scale ground cover. Easy to grow in mostly shade or some sun, with occasional water in summer, drier in winter. It definitely doesn't like full sun. Sunset zones 8, 9, 12-24/USDA 8. rev 11/2011 

rubricaulis    RED STEMMED CRASSULA  foliage sample   this forms a compact, tidy nest of intense red leaf margins on a cute, small scale plant. Like an ultratight, low, colorful Jade Plant! Then clusters of small white flowers show up in summer and add to the appearance. Sun near the coast (where color is brightest), more shade inland. Grows to about 12-20" tall and wide. Likes good drainage of course. Indoors/outdoors/patios anywhere, oustide in Sunset zones 8, 9, 12-24/USDA 9. rev 10/2011 

sarcocaulis  BONSAI CRASSULA  easy and quick   peeling bark, interesting branching, a chunky trunk, and tree-like growth all add up to a great specimen for the bonsai pot. Nice pink flowers in the summer too. Under 2' tall and wide. Part shade in hottest areas, water thoroughly when dry in the summer, less in winter. Sunset zones 8, 9, 14-24/USDA 8. rev 3/2012-Suzy Brooks

sarmentosa 'Comet'    stripes   green and white leaves with a pink blush on branches that arch, trail down, or scramble up. A larger, more open grower, suitable for tall pots, hanging baskets, or just let it loose in a well drained garden spot in sun or part shade. About 12" tall, 2-3' long. Prune back to thicken it up and root the cuttings to pass along. Average watering in summer. Sunset zones 16-24/USDA 9. rev 8/2014 

'Springtime' young blooming plant  very swollen, succulent, green leaves tightly packed on a dense, spreading, dome-shaped to open clumping plant. Eventually the foliage becomes more silvery. A small grower, great for little containers, windowsills, in small rockery nooks, or on the edges of a combination container. Light pink flowers on very short racemes reach above the clump and are produced in winter-spring. This can probably take a few, but just a few, degrees of frost. The drier in winter the better, and of course, give it good drainage. rev 6/2010

'Tom Thumb'  chunky growth habit   a tight, chunky little dome of light jade green, each chunky little leaf highlighted by red or maroon edging under cool conditions, outdoors. Dense, compact. Blooms rather well and is respectably show, with tiny white flowers little branched racemes from the branch tips under short day conditions. This is reported to be a hybrid of two forms of C. rupestris. It can perhaps take a few degrees of frost. The drier in winter the better, and of course, give it good drainage. The archetype windowsill plant. rev 6/2010

Cremnophila nutans  flowering   an Echeveria like plant, growing as low, taupe grey rosettes with amethyst shaded leaves. Produces nicely showy apricot yellow flowers on short, lax spikes in summer and fall. This is a fast, easy clumper and grower, use it however you want. No frost, typical succulent conditions inside or out. Mexico. Crassulaceae. rev 12/2012 

Cremnosedum 'Little Gem'   rosettes   winter color  this cross between Cremnophila and Sedum is sometimes sold as Sedum 'Little Missy.' It forms plump rosettes, each about an inch across, and growing as  a mat to 3" tall. Suzy sez "I have to pet it, it's so irresistible!" Makes a wonderful windowsill plant, a groundcover spilling nicely over the sides of combo containers, or a member of your local rock garden. Part shade is fine, it picks up a bronze color in sun. Produces small yellow flowers. Sunset zones 8, 9, 14-24/USDA 9rev 10/2014

  evergreen to deciduous bulbs related to and resembling Amaryllis, these are grown for their flowers and/or foliage. All like rich, well drained soil with watering through the growing season. All make great container plants. Amaryllidaceae. rev 6/2014
augustum 'Queen Emma'   florida landscape   flowers   QUEEN EMMA LILY    the Unholy (Yet Righteous!) Mother of all Bulbs, a mind-boggling, Century Plant-sized evergreen subtropical bulb, with leaves standing over 6' high at maturity, deep olive green above and reddish beneath. When the proper time for its Blessed Event occurs massive flower stalks, as thick as your thigh, will emerge from the massive, banana-like trunk-column. The awe-inspiring, dark burgundy red stalks can reach over 6', and bear clusters of large, spidery light pink flowers with darker red reverses. Seems to initiate when it has accumulated enough food reserves then experiences either short days, facultative ("almost") short days or FSD with modest chill modification. The ne plus ultra of any collector's display garden, it can be grown into botanic garden-sized specimens here in California but only in warm, mostly frost-free areas or microsites with good overhead protection. It also needs enough room for its leaves to spread and enough light + warmth energy inputs to reach maximum size, or even adequate size, in order to eventually flower. Best here in full sun to partly shaded wind-protected sites with good drainage and deep regular to  intermittent watering. Do a good job on this one and you will achieve quite satisfying levels of envy, jealousy and respect from your nosy, ever-watchful neighbor-competitors. And they'll have a very hard time truly getting even. Not new, but since we're only letting go of a few mature 7g and 15g stock plants they deserved to be be featured. This is also seen listed under several other species' names, and the green form is probably what you'd find in the wild. You'll occasionally see it, especially in truly tropical climates. I'm not sure 'Queen Emma' is really a true official varietal name for this red form, might just be a common name misapplied. USDA zone 9/Sunset Zones 16-17, 21-24. Southeast Asia. rev 5/2018 

procerum ‘Splendens’ (not currently in production) at the Huntington  almost certainly the same as C. augustum. A large, robust, coarse textured grower to 5' tall with 3-4" wide leaves that are flushed dark maroon. Narrow petaled pink flowers are produced in fall to complement the striking foliage. A dramatic focal point subject, use it like an Agave or Phormium. Rare. Semievergreen to deciduous, hardy to 20°F (USDA zone 9, Sunset probably 8-9, 14-24). rev 5/2018

'Sangria' (not currently in production)  young crop    much like C. procerum 'Splendens,' but this variety has deeper pink flowers. Also smaller? rev 5/2018

'Shreck' (not currently in production)  pretty nice flowers!  a large but still reasonably small garden and landscape form, reaching 1-2' tall when in bloom. Basally rosetting foliage seems to be either evergreen (trop-subtrop), seasonally deciduous (cold climate or dry summer) or semideciduous (sorta cold or sorta dry). You'll have a pleasant surprise when the red and white flowers appear on those 2' stalks, facing upwards, looking a lot like a cluster of amaryllis. Dark green, upright, arching leaves are always nice to have in a mixed planting for sun or part shade. Regular watering. rev 5/2018

Crocosmia (not currently in production)  South African iris relatives that provide long wands of colorful flowers, season depending on species. 

'Lucifer' (not currently in production)   intense!  intense, deep red flowers, with a hint of orange, have broad petals. Leaves are moderately broad, rich green and slightly pleated. Spikes extend to top of foliage (30") then turn horizontally once flowers begin to open.  Summer bloom. rev 8/2014

'Lucifer Yellow'  (not currently in production)  ultra-cheery!  golden yellow flowers slightly edged and speckled with deeper orange. Same growth characteristics as above.

Cryptanthus  EARTH STARS   a genus of terrestrial, occasionally trunked Bromeliads, all native to Brazil. Almost always grown as container plants. Bromeliaceae. rev 11/2018

'Ruby Star'   flat in transit   light to medium fluorescent magenta pink leaves, with wavy edges and darker centers. This is one of the brightest Earth Stars available, and really lights up a porch, patio or indoor table or windowsill. It will take some direct light but is at its best in strong diffuse light with warm (50-90F) daytime temps. Night temps can approach freezing but active growth is directly tied to average temperature. To 6-7" tall and wide, offsets with age. Give it an adequately large pot, a light, open houseplant potting mix, water intermittently but don't let it go completely dry, likes humidity. Feed lightly but regularly for best color and growth. Probably a variety of C. bivittatus. rev 11/2018 *New for 2019!*

Cuphea hyssopifolia  FALSE HEATHER  closeup   typical plant  shrubby evergreen perennial to 2’ tall, 4’ wide bears small, closely set leaves and tiny rose red flowers. Heaviest bloom in summer, with some flowers almost all year. Part shade to shade, average watering. Great in containers. Damaged by frost below 25°F.  Sunset zones 8, 9, 14-24/USDA 9. Central America. Lythraceae. rev 6/2012

'La Chiquita'  miniature  a small, cute plantn now even smaller and cuter! A micro plant only 6-8" tall, just right for fairy gardens or very small containers. Magenta flowers most of the time. Sun or part shade, average watering. rev 6/201-Suzy Brooks

'David Verity'   brilliant tubular function  big flowers on a big plant is what this variety is all about. Long, dark green leaves flushed with purple, especially under cool condtions, form a backdrop for the continuous show of long, bright orange flowers that delight your hummingbirds. Blooms spring through summer and into fall. To about 4-5' tall and wide, sun or part shade, average to infrequent watering. Sunset zones 7-9,12-24/USDA 8. rev 5/2014 

'Kristin's Delight'    closeup    arching growth, Cabrillo College  a faster, taller, shrubbier species with fuchsia pink tubes, lavender at the mouth. To about 3' tall. Kristin Yanker-Hansen got this from Gary Hammer years ago. She reports it goes to the ground hard with a freeze but comes back as a true perennial in her Danville garden. Sunset zone 8-9, 14-24?/USDA 9. rev 5/2012

'Minnie Mouse'    cute little ears   sweet little bat-faced, red orange flowers with maroonish brown ears. The flowers cover this shrub in warm weather. Growing 2-3' tall and wide, it makes a nice filler in a border or provides some very interesting flowers in a pot. Sun or part shade, average watering. Sunset zones 11-13, 21-24/USDA 9. rev 5/2012-Suzy Brooks 

'Strybing Sunset'  blooming   red orange shading to golden orange at the mouth, with deep maroon red ears stiking up at the tip. Produces chains of flowers along the branches. Grows to 2-3' high and spreads cheerfully. Flowers over a very long period and so is probably facultative long-day initiation. Sun to part shade, shear back as needed. Great as container, combo, or garden. More frost hardy than it looks, just like C. cyanea. It should take 10-15F or Sunset zones 5-9, 14-24/USDA zone 8. rev 7/2009

Cupressus   CYPRESS  evergreen conifers native mostly to dry regions throughout the world. Cupresssaceae. rev 1/2013

arizonica 'Blue Ice'  BLUE ICE ARIZONA CYPRESS  who-knows-how-old, Sonora   2 years from 5g, Los Gatos     North Willamette (Oregon) Research and Extension Center    this is one spectacular conifer, the best of the selections of this species according to those I've spoken with who have also grown the others. It offers all the toughness and character of your standard-issue Arizona Cypress seedling, but with a foliage color at maturity close to a good Colorado Blue Spruce, maybe a little lighter and brighter. It tends to be very silver white tinged blue when young, but becomes bluer with maturity. It can reach 15' tall by 10' across in cultivated situations in a reasonable amount of time, but reaches over 50' in nature. It can be tolerate somewhat shaded conditions in hot climates, and have a rather loose, reaching habit, or it can be shorter, narrower, denser, gnarlier and more compact when planted in harsh, dry, mineral soils, full sun, and with restricted watering. In spite of its dry montane origin I have seen it doing well in climates as wet as Portland, as summer-dry as Sonora (California foothills), and as cool, foggy and mild as coastal Central California. Of course it will do quite happily in almost-true-desert situations with a little watering, and shrugs off Southern California conditions without blinking. It will even stand duty as a container plant if pruned, and tolerates very well the demanding full drought/high saturation cycles common with that situation. A slow to moderate grower in Mediterranean climates, it supposedly needs 10-12" of rainfall to grow well. I know for a fact it doesn't get that in several situations where I know it does well, so fog and/or cool conditions, night or day, was certainly mitigating water stress. At maturity it develops beautiful purplish trunks with peeling, curling bark. USDA zone 7/Sunset zones 5-24. rev 7/2015

macrocarpa   MONTEREY CYPRESS  typical middle aged specimens   nice view   clipped on N. Branciforte   Strybing patriarch   a fast evergreen tree to 40’ or more, picturesque and individualistic with age under the right conditions. It can be sheared as hedge quite successfully in climates where it is well adapted. It tends to be very short-lived away from the immediate coast. Its main nemesis these days is Cypress Canker, a highly contagious fungal bark disease that causes open cankers on the branches that weep sap, causing limb loss, eventual decline, and eventually death. Keep this one in fog and wind and overall cool, humid conditions and it will generally do fine. The farther away from those conditions they are, the poorer they do. Sun to part shade, little or no summer watering, average to good drainage, probably begins to suffer below 15°F. Central California. Cupressaceae. rev 8/2005

sempervirens 'Totem'   nursery crop   a very slow growing Italian Cypress that in ten years may only be 10' tall. Dare we call it "dwarf"?? Eventually it can get to 20' or so, but you will have many years before of fine, dark green, columnar-shaped specimens for topiaries or a hedge. Just the thing for alongside the entryway or especially for those decorative containers you don't want the subject to outgrow. Add a bit of ivy and some white cyclamen in November, impatiens or vinca in March. Sun or part shade, judicious to almost no summer watering once established. Sunset zones 5-9, 12-24/USDA 8. rev 2/2013 

Cussonia spicata   CABBAGE TREE  (not currently in production)  snowflake leaf   Huntington Botanic Gardens    closer    a wonderfully dramatic foliage plant that just makes it into our zones, growing for years as a shrub in our climate. In warmer, more humid and tropical areas it becomes a tree to over 30' but I've never seen it over about 15' in Northern California. Probably it is cut back by cold during our epic freezes. This needs a warm wall, overhead protection of an eve, or some other kind of frost protection unless it is being planted south of the Transverse Ranges. The wonderfully cut leaves are green and glossy when young but become harder and tougher with age. Need a fast growing, upright, evergreen tree for sun, part shade, or a container? Need some interesting, deeply cut, shiny green leaves that grow at the ends of the branches like a pompom? Here it is! Tropical looking, from South Africa, this uncommon tree can grow to 25' or more, likes sun or part shade, and regular watering. Sunset zones 16-24/USDA 9. rev 10/2013 

Cyathea  TREE FERN  tree ferns seem to need a couple of years to get established before they start forming a trunk. Often the fronds will increase in size dramatically for a year or two while the crowns enlarge. Once it has reached its mature trunk size, it will start to put on vertical growth. The best overall site for tree fern information is Ian Barclay's excellent The Cold Hardy Tree Fern Web Page.(link is here) I recommend anyone interested in tree ferns check it out as their first stop. Tree fern lovers of the world unite!!

     Want to grow your tree ferns faster? I know a little trick. Heap freshly chipped tree clippings or other coarse mulch on the ground all around them as thick and as far as you can stand it and sprinkle or soaker-hose them like crazy. I have seen established  C. ‘Brentwood’ and cooperi plants in a grove put on THREE FEET of trunk growth in one year following this formula. If I hadn't seen it myself, I wouldn't a believed it! You could probably speed them up even more if you used a high nitrogen analysis liquid fertilizers monthly. NOTE: do not use pure chipped wood, your mulch should be litter composed of leaf, twig, branch, and stem material. The best stuff comes when the power line trimming crews are working in spring, when the trees have all their nutrient resources committed to the new growth. Such a mix will have most of the elements needed for complete decomposition. The idea is to create a thick, nutrient-rich, water-holding sponge above the roots.

     A distinctive look found in the wild with some tree ferns, including Cyatheas, is that of a skirted trunk, formed when the dead fronds from the previous year fold down against the trunk with the emergence of the new fronds. These old fronds are retained either not at all, briefly, or for a long period depending on the species and exposure. Some species or forms maintain a permanent skirt with at least the previous year's fronds as ornamentation. This look is never found in ornamental plantings in my experience because everyone cuts the old fronds off as soon as they start to yellow. But it is easy to emulate this natural skirting by simply bending and/or cracking the yellowed or dead fronds down against the trunk. This works best when they are relatively moist, which prevents them from cracking off completely.

     Don't site tree ferns immediately adjacent to traffic areas because the scales can be quite irritating to sensitive skin and even dangerous if they get into your eyes. rev 3/2004

‘Brentwood’  distinctive brown fur on croziers   my house   distinctive robust trunk  formerly just considered a strain of  C. cooperi, I am separating this one on out on its own until we or anyone else can figure out just exactly what this is. Ours form, which come from one commercial source and from tissue culture, is distinctly different from C. cooperi. It is a much larger, more vigorous, more robust variety. It may be a selection or a hybrid, or even a form of some other species. My personal suspicion and theory is that it is actually C. kermadecensis, but that is just from picture-booking it, I haven't examined the fine characteristics to pursue that lead. It is larger than anything else in the trade. Compared to the familiar C. cooperi its trunks are about twice as thick and only have dark brown fur, not the blond to whitish fur typically found on the former. The frond stipes (leaf-stems) are conspicuously rough, almost spiny, and dark, shading quickly away from the trunk to light green. There are subtle differences in the tiny leaflets as well, the frond color is darker green, and the fronds themselves show a much more pronounced arch than  the usually almost flat crown found on C. cooperi. It is a good substitute for the hard to find (in California, anyway)  Cyathea medullaris, plus an incomparably better cool grower. Growing conditions are as per C. cooperi, but it is slightly more frost tender. I lost my two more exposed specimen in 1998 when the crowns froze, and the other, more protected specimen resprouted with two crowns. Older plants, or plants with a little more winter sun, would probably not have been as damaged. rev 1/2008

cooperi (Sphaeropteris cooperi, Alsophila cooperi)  LACY TREE FERN, ROUGH TREE FERN, AUSTRALIAN TREE FERN  Union Street, 1998   Union Street, 2005    blue Victorian   the importance of background color and companion plants   happy plant, Paradise Park   characteristic trunk   from above   at Strybing Arboretum  evergreen (usually), to 10’ tall (to 30' in nature!) with a maximum trunk diameter of 8". This is easily the most common tree fern found in California, for a variety of reasons. It is fast, easy to propagate, reasonably hardy, tolerant of dry summer air, and survives commercial culture well. It can be transplanted and moved very easily as long as some root ball is taken with it and it is well watered afterwards until established. Its fronds are light to medium green, tripinnate (divided many times) and spreading to 15’ wide on more robust specimens. Fronds are wider and usually held more horizontally than those of the “Tasmanian” Tree Fern (Dicksonia antarctica), and the bases eventually dehisce cleanly to leave an oval scar (D. antarctica retains the stubs). It is also distinguished by relatively large, blond (usually) scale-like filaments on the stipes (frond stems), as opposed to the very fine brown fur found on D. antarctica. It is very tolerant of growing under  Eucalyptus globulus, and is often found growing beneath it in nature, along with  Acacia melanoxylon. Grows best in part shade to shade but is often seen in full or almost full sun conditions, usually bleached and scorched to some degree. It will tolerate very frequent watering, with an attendant fast growth rate, but can survive in a semidormant state with little summer watering. It is a good container plant as long as you don't plant it where its fronds will be across a pathway. This species is more tender than the one found more commonly in Australia,  C. australis, a much taller and much slower growing species, which is hardier even than D. antarctica. This species is damaged by frost below 25°F, usually going deciduous, but it needs around 20°F to kill it. Eastern and southeastern Australia. Cyatheaceae. rev 9/2004

Cycas revoluta  SAGO PALM  starting to cone   at the Huntington - dream on!  a cycad, which is a palm-like gymnosperm, and a cone bearing plant, but not considered a true conifer. Grown for its exotic foliage and striking form. From Southern Japan, it is one of the hardiest cycads and is frost hardy enough to be used throughout California except the Sierras and points east and the Northeastern high desert plateau. Its fine textured, glossy green leaves are hard, durable, and mostly free from pests. With age the crown will enlarge and a trunk will form, and remarkable giant cones will form within the leaves. With great age it can reach 10-15', though such specimens are rare in California, and so slow that it is pointless to attempt to grow one to that size unless you start when you are in first grade. And if you do get one that big, it will be prone to theft anyway and so probably disappear. This plant is quite effective used by itself in a container or as a focal point in the landscape. It is also quite dramatic used in massed in the garden, which used to be prohibitively expensive but is a more achievable look nowadays. It brings much of the perfect, uniform, clean look of a palm but stays nice and small. Likes sun to part shade, average to good drainage, and average to infrequent watering. It responds well to moderate fertilizing. Use iron treatments and/or acidify the soil if chlorotic. Cycadaceae. rev 5/2006

Cyperus  SEDGES  grass-like plants that like moist soil. Some can be oppressively invasive. Cyperaceae. rev 9/2003

papyrus  PAPYRUS  mature garden clump   another garden   at the Huntington  tall subtropical perennial bears clusters of filmy, narrow, thread-like leaflets on stalks to 6-8’ tall. Needs average to heavy watering. Must be protected from hard frost. Outstanding container plant, striking when used with cut flowers. Sun to part shade, will tolerate standing water. Northern and central Africa.

'Little Tut'   DWARF PAPYRUS   Pack Trials planting  this is a truly dwarf form of the real Papyrus, not the chunky little species C. isocladus, that only vaguely resembles it. Just cut the size of genuine Papyrus by half to two thirds and that is what you get. A much better form for medium to small containers. rev 5/2008 

Cyrtomium falcatum ‘Rochfordianum’  HOLLY FERN  Great America   Strybing Arboretum  this upright evergreen fern to 30" tall (to over 5' if you live along the Gulf Coast!) bears large, coarsely pinnate, glossy, sword-like fronds, with large, dark green pinnae (leaflets), in circular rosettes. Needs mostly shade, average watering, and no frost below 25°F. IT does well in containers and can form large specimens Asia, South Africa, Polynesia. Polypodiaceae. rev 11/2008

fortunei  HARDY HOLLY FERN  this species is a little different from the more commonly encountered C. falcatum, being generally lighter green, sometimes almost grey green in color, dull as opposed to glossy, and mostly lacking the marginal hairs and indumentum. It often has attractive and noticeable vein patterns pressed into the leaf's upper surface as well. It is usually lower, rarely over 2' tall, and goes a full USDA zone colder (5 as opposed to 6). It also is not plagued by thrips like C. falcatum and seems more tolerant of garden conditions on the West Coast. Japan. rev 3/2012

v. clivicola  first crop  more leaflets, undulate leaflet margins, denser, lower, finer textured, slightly grey green in color, and with dark central midribs. Choice, an excellent garden fern. To about 12" tall. rev 3/2012

hybrid (falcatum x caryotideum)  first plants  this is one of several new forms we have that I think are all more interesting than the standard trade species, C. falcatum, and its forms. This is a lower growing, flatter form with many fewer but much larger leaflets that are more cut, a light, almost-but-not-quite greyish green in color, with a flat finish as opposed to a glossy sheen, and with interesting, fine, impressed veins. It is grown outside in the Pacific Northwest so should be fine for most of California as far as hardiness. It looks like a smaller grower, probably to under 2' tall. Typical fern conditions. rev 11/2008