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Nandina domestica    HEAVENLY BAMBOO    winter berries    old plant    to 6-7’, with outstanding orange, red, or burgundy color in fall and winter. This plant will tolerate either full sun or full shade, but seems happiest in at least half a day of sun, which keeps it more compact and intensifies the winter foliage color. An excellent, forgiving container plant that can tolerate considerable variation in soil moisture without looking sad. Eastern Asia. Berberidaceae. production.

‘Gulfstream’   foliage    a very regular, very compact, clustering dwarf form to just 2' tall, with very neat, fine-textured leaves. rev 10/2008

Nematanthus gregarius 'Kristen's Gold'   thick, dark green, semi-succulent leaves feature a glorious reddish reverse. Small, golden orange, inflated goldfish flowers are produced from early fall through spring and attract hummingbirds. Named for Kristin Yanker-Hansen, who originally purchased it from Gary Hammer's old nursery as a Cuphea (!). The native source is unknown, but it might be from Mexico like many of Gary's items. Use it as a houseplant, an indoor/outdoor or patio/porch container plant or a fabulous hanging basket subject. Likes cool full sun or warm part shade to bright, full shady conditions, and likes to go a little dry between waterings. Does not like deep shade. Will tolerate extended periods of cold, wet soils and even light freezes with overhead protection, but it doesn't seem to be truly freeze hardy. USDA zone 9a. Brazil. Gesneriaceae. rev 6/2017 *New for 2017!*

Nemesia    semitender evergreen perennials, also annuals (which we don't sell). The perennial types took the refreshing 1990 freeze without defoliating (about 20°F) which gives us a good estimate of which climates they will tolerate. They bloom longer on the coast and need more water inland. Some species and hybrids are nicely fragrant (like vanilla or heliotrope), some smell like privet flowers (not particularly pleasing), some smell like second hand cigarette smoke (really!) and some have no or little fragrance. All make outstanding container or mixed container plants and can usually be depended on for months of color, especially if cut back as they start to form seed heads. We have stock plants that have lived in the same containers for over six years. All like at least half sun, rich, moist, well drained soil, and infrequent feeding as needed. We guess they are frost hardy to USDA zone 9 and good subjects for Sunset zones 8-9, 14-17, 21-24. Scrophulariaceae. South Africa. rev 1/2003

Nepeta  CATMINT   fragrant foliaged, perennial sage relatives that mostly grow as grey or grey green mounds, with usually blue to lavender flowers appearing at various times, almost always starting in spring. Sun to part shade, average to good drainage, average to minimal watering. Frost hardy. Cats can roll in them. This makes the cats happy, and you either happy or sad depending on whether it is your plant and/or your cat. Labiatae/Lamiaceae.rev 4/2011

‘Blue Wonder’    closeup    evergreen to deciduous perennials, this variety (and most others) with somewhat hairy, light grey green leaves. Bears medium lavender blue flowers with much darker sepals on a compact, spreading plant to 12-15" tall. This is a very showy, compact variety, one of the best. Sun to part shade, average to little watering, frost hardy. Good in containers. All seem to be long day bloomers, with flowering extending into fall. Overall, Nepetas are tough, reliable, showy, weed-smothering plants that bring the durability of a hard, woody landscape groundcover with the loose, free-blooming habit of a perennial. Nepetas make it onto our top ten list of most satisfying perennials. Figure all as frost hardy for almost all California growing zones. Labiatae/Lamiaceae. rev 1/2010

‘Dropmore Hybrid’    closeup    in a garden    a more robust, durable variety, to 12-18" tall, with dusky lavender blue flowers appearing in sprays above the greyish foliage for most of the year, if watered. Even without summer watering in coastal gardens, plants can be relied on to stay full and in color from spring through summer. rev 8/2010

faassenii ‘Citriodora’    LEMON CATNIP    flowers    research   our crack research cat has determined that this variety is as attractive to cats as the regular, annual N. cataria. This is a reliable perennial that grows with a low, almost flat habit, with large, round quilted green leaves, great dark blue flowers, and very strongly lemon-scented foliage. Worth growing for the flowers, for the fragrance, or for the joy it brings cats. rev 1/2010

'Select Blue'   photo   this one happens to have the darkest blue flowers of them all and is sterile (no reseeding). Aromatic, blue-grey foliage in a 12-18" mound produces blue flower spikes in late spring. After blooming, trim back for another round of flowers. Great in an herb or vegetable garden, bees love the flowers. Makes a casual low hedge, looks good with dark green foliage. Sun or part shade. Will take regular watering if drainage is good, otherwise, average to little watering once established.Sunset zones 1-24/USDA 4. rev 4/2011

'Pink Pixie'  PINK CATMINT hasn't bloomed yet, but from pictures this has pale pink flowers against greyish leaves. To 9" tall, 16" across. Sunset all zone/USDA 4. rev 8/2010

'Purple Haze' PP23180   big leaves, rich purple flowers    big, soft, quilted leaves with a fresh fragrance form a dense carpet of green for the spikes of rich purple flowers. To  4-6" tall, spreading to 3' wide. Likes lean soil, needs little watering once established. For groundcover, pots, beds, and all those who love bees, butterflies and the other good citizens of Mother Earth. USDA zone 6/Sunset all zones. rev 6/2015 

Nephrolepis SWORD FERNS  a genus of ferns recognized by its typical tall, narrow, sword-shaped fronds. Widely distributed. rev 8/2008

biserrata  MACHO FERN  Mt. Salak, Java   stock plants, Amsterdam   this is an awesome foliage plant, a typical Boston Fern scaled up by a factor of 2 or 3 in all directions, and darker green, and glossier. I had read about it, seen it on availabilities, but didn't appreciate what it was until I encountered the stock plants pictured while touring a fern grower in Holland. They made me say "Wow!" Now I see why you grow it." It is easy under warm, humid, subtropical conditions but it doesn't like cold winters and will be deciduous outdoors in Northern or Central California. It should survive in most suburban areas. With warm spring temperatures it recovers and quickly grows its arching to pendant 3-4' long fronds. It is shortly stoloniferous, like all other Nephrolepis, and can even be slightly invasive under conditions more favorable than it is going to find in California. This is the lushest, most tropical looking sword fern in commercial production. It is a little tempermental, so only grow it if you can give it favored conditions. It likes moisture, and even prefers wet to swampy soils. But if you have what it wants it will reward you with a great foliage display. Under indoor conditions it excels, especially shaded but high-light commercial applications where there is adequate humidity and nothing to damage the fronds. The fronds, probably when young, are cooked and eaten in New Guinea. Pantropical, escaped and naturalized in many areas. Sunset zones 8-9, 15-17 (protection), 21-24/USDA zone 9. rev 8/2008 

cordifolia    SOUTHERN SWORD FERN    habit    at the Damman's    fronds   evergreen fern, bearing long pinnate fronds to 30" tall with undivided pinnae (leaflets). This is the hardier version of one of several common sword ferns referred to as "Boston Fern," properly  N. exaltata. Part sun to shade, average to little summer watering, evergreen down to 20°F, USDA zone 9/Sunset 8-9, 14-24. This fern is native to widespread areas of the tropics, subtropics, and temperate zones. Polypodiaceae. rev 7/2015

'Emerald Queen'    fronds     improved features over the standard trade form of this species are"more compact" plus "holds color better." This trade form is also probably actually N. cordifolia, as with the standard form, according to our chosen fern authority, the late and great Barbara Joe Hoshizaki. If it is thus an equivalent of the noteworthy and desirable N. cordifolia 'Kimberly Queen,' then it will tenaciously hold onto its leaflets until the whole frond dies, and graciously not continuously drop them onto your porch or patio. rev 7/2015 
'Duffii'    fronds    tiny leaflets, almost like Button Fern. Compact habit. Cute as a button. rev 8/2011
'Kimberly Queen
®'   clean fronds   a very compact, neat, adaptable grower famous for not shedding leaflets and tolerating a range of exposures. Evergreen until it sees a very hard freeze, then facultatively deciduous. It can grow to about 30" tall, as a vigorous, clean, green mass of foliage. This is an outstanding, cheerful, perky, smaller scale sword fern that  really shines as a basket or container specimen, indoors or out. My wife loves it, and used it as a house plant. She pointed out to me how tough it is, having many times dried it out to the point of wilting badly only to recover completely after being well watered, and all without shedding leaflets at all. What  tough, rewarding plant!  rev 2/2009
Western Queen    another compact, but still robust form of the regular species. Reportedly this is the same genetic strain as 'Kimberly Queen' but with a different name. I haven't grown them in close comparison. rev 2/2009

exalata    BOSTON FERN    we try to grow only the varieties that show better performance outdoors than the standard "Boston," which reliably goes dormant in warm winters inside greenhouses if temperatures approach 50F. Some you will note we are testing. rev 10/2007

'Fluffy Ruffles'    riffled ruffles   like a Boston Fern, only more compact, and has ruffly edges on the fronds that grow about 12" long. The light foliage texture blends easily with impatiens and begonias. House/patio plant, or outdoors in the warmer SoCal or similar subtropical climates. rev 8/2011-Suzy Brooks
'Rita's Gold'
   foliage    a nice, bright, outrageous yellow. About two-thirds as fast as a regular Boston. What a great color! Until I know more expect it to be winter deciduous below 50F, like all other Boston Ferns, but since 'Tiger' remains evergreen we thought it would be worth a try. rev 10/2007 
'Tiger'
   frond    fronds striped yellow and green. Much more winter tolerant than N. exalata itself, remaining completely evergreen at my house during the freeze of 2007. While it had overhead protection, regular Boston Fern would have been dormant at some point during fall even without the freeze.
rev 10/2007 

obliterata  see N. cordifolia, above. According to the late fern expert Barbara Joe Hoshizaki, everything in the trade under N. obliterata properly belongs under N. cordifolia. rev 7/2015

Nolina nelsonii    why you grow it- 10 years old at Luis' house    in close    I love this plant. It forms an open, extremely even hemisphere of stiff silver to blue white leaves top grey green leaves, to 3’ long, 1" wide. It resembles a giant Yucca whipplei  but without the sharp tips and flexible leaves. With age it forms a short, rather stout trunk. It will also eventually bear a flower spike to 6-8’ tall covered with thousands of creamy white flowers(male and female flowers on separate plants) in spring when it is old enough, then die and sprout pups from the base after flowering. A stunning focal point plant, I have one in my yard. One very nice feature about this is that it puts on trunk  relatively quickly. For those of us not in desert environments there is no better choice if you want a trunk, except for perhaps Yucca elephantipes, which has an entirely different, more tropical look. The only downside is that this one has microserrated leaf edges that can cut you if you work near it without gloves. It makes a great barrier plant. Probably hardy to 10°F, very drought tolerant. Northern Mexico. Agavaceae. rev 3/2010