Pachyphytum a genus of Echeveria-like succulents native to Mexico, valued for their neatly sculpted leaves and showy flowers. Being small scale they are easy to tuck into nooks and crannies or bare spots in containers. Crassulaceae. rev 1/2011
beautiful, powdery blue, flattened leaves with rounded edges
have pink highlights, and form a loose, open rosette. Nodding
flower stalks in spring straighten as the coral flowers open. A
great container subject, alone or mixed with other succulents.
About 12" tall and wide, forming a clump of silvery leaves that
look like polished stones. Part sun or bright light. Water in
spring and summer, but deals with cold better if kept dry in
winter. Sunset zones 16-24/USDA 9. rev 2/2011
'Caterpillar' cool sea green thick-fingered leaves form stemless rosettes less than 12" tall. Slow, clumping, a stunning container subject when mature. Grow in sun to bright shade with spring-fall watering, keep dry in winter. Indoor/outdoor or USDA zone 10. rev 2/2017 *New for 2017!*
compactum at the Huntington rosettes of stubby, pointy leaves adorned with leaf imprints, on short stems make up this easy to grow little succulent. A low grower, nice choice for containers, hanging baskets, or rock gardens. Okay in shade and dry soil. Charming pink and yellow flowers in spring. Protect from cold outside Sunset zones 16-24/USDA 10. rev 1/2011
hookeri plant compact rosettes of chunky greyish leaves, flushed pink along the edges, to about 3" long, eventually forming a short, branched trunk. Upright to sprawling habit. Short spikes of pink and yellow flowers arise in spring. Wild forms range to red flower color. A relative of Sedum and Echeveria, this species is known from very few locations in Mexico. rev 4/2010
sp. nice one one handsome succulent with casual symmetry in these chunky, silvery blue rosettes. Forms a clump of wonderfulness, about 12" tall and wide. Lovely in containers, mixed with others or alone. Sun or part shade in hotter areas. Let dry between waterings. Move to shelter from cold outside Sunset zones 17-24/USDA 10. rev 1/2011
Pachyveria easy, just cross Pachyphytum and Echeveria. Lots of wonderful possibilities. All small, elegant and cute. rev 1/2011
flowers close up
pearly, silver green leaves rosettes form a nice, small,
always slightly irregular rosette to about 6-8" across, then
cluster. In cold weather the leaves pick up reddish tints. Flowers
are coral pink and orange. Typical tender succulent conditions.
One of Suzy's favorites. rev 1/2011
wonderful leaves a
compact clumping hybrid, reportedly Pachyphytum bracteosum
and Echeveria rosea. Blunt, powdery, silvery blue grey
leaves are held upright, often slightly pinwheeled, and becoming
flushed with violet in cool conditions. Salmon orange bell flowers
are produced in spikes above the clump in spring. Indoors,
porch/patio with protection, outdoors in areas of no frost and
little winter rain. Water spring-fall, keep warm and dry in
winter. rev 9/2017 *New for 2017!*
'Exotica' subliminality absolutely sublime! Light blue leaves are air brushed with pink on the edges and tips, then covered with a white powdery coating. Grows in a rosette form and clumps. Suitable for hanging pots or spilling over the side of a planted combination planting. Under a foot tall and wider. Sun to part shade. Appreciates watering while growing but much less in winter. Shelter from cold in winter outside Sunset zones 21-24/USDA 10. rev 4/2012
'Round Leaf' round leaves flowers coral stems probably Pachyphytum oviferum crossed with an Echeveria according to John Trager. The flower scapes certainly fit a hybrid-origin theory. Foliage is grape-like, and I mean like the grapes themselves, not the foliage of grapes, being giant, oval-round succulent things. They are powdery blue grey green with a glaucous cast, and the plants are very compact growing, with shy, bell-shaped coral red flowers produced on arching, pendant spikes. The coral red spikes actually provide most of the "flower" color since the flowers themselves only peek shyly from between their sepals. rev 3/2013
Pandorea jasminoides ‘Lady Di’ BOWER VINE closeup evergreen vine with coarsely divided, glossy leaves and clusters of white trumpet shaped flowers produced almost throughout the year. This is an improved white selection, with a much more vigorous, vining habit than the older ‘Alba.’ Sun to part shade, average to little summer watering. This is a good vine for containers, and will also take relatively exposed coastal sites. Takes 25°F without apparent damage, killed or severely damaged at 20°F. From southeastern Australia. Bignoniaceae.
‘Rosea’ closeup vigorous vining selection with light, clear pink flowers and dark rose red throats. Probably synonymous with the variety ‘Rosea Superba.’
variegated closeup leaves splashed with creamy yellow. Pink flowers with rose throats. Possibly the same as ‘Charisma.’
Parahebe linifolia charming a sweet and petite small perennial shrub with narrow, dark green leaves that bears profuse little white flowers, with a red ring around a green eye. A great filler in the garden under roses, along with grasses, and a perfect wingman to almost anything. About 12-18" tall, 2' wide, for sun, part shade, average watering. Sunset zones 5, 6, 15-17, 20-24/USDA 8. Plantaginaceae. rev 7/2014
Parthenocissus henryana SILVERVEIN CREEPER silver veined leaves a formal looking, classy vine with dark velvety green palmate leaves. Each of the five serrated leaflets is neatly highlighted with silvery veins. New growth and leaf reverses are reddish purple. Slow to start, but moderately fast after a year or so. This one clings to walls by tendrils but is considerably less aggressive than other species of Parthenocissus and always remains manageable. Best in at least part shade. Deciduous, with velvety dark maroon to wine to hot glowing red fall color. Berries are blue and very ornamental but not heavily produced. Hardy to USDA zone 7, about 10°F. China. Vitaceae. rev 12/2003
tricuspidata BOSTON IVY Piazza Navonna, Roma lush foliage fall color against a wall a moderately fast deciduous vine, climbing by sucker discs at the tips of tendrils. Leaves are divided into three leaflets, turn dark maroon red and bronze in winter. May hold foliage until spring in mild winter areas. Sun to part shade, average to little summer watering when established, frost hardy. Central China, Japan. rev 1/2006
Passiflora vines, all New World. Passifloraceae.
‘Coral Seas’ (jamesonii) CORAL PINK PASSIONFLOWER closeup typical habit one of the showiest, most vigorous, fastest growing vines for California climates. I have seen it swallow an oak tree,m but it was probably put on this earth to cover chain link fences. Still, it can be restrained to reasonable size by annual or biannual pruning and is well worth the effort for the heavy and almost continuous display of bloom. Showy intricate flowers to 4" across are well displayed, covering the outside of the plant from spring through fall. It is damaged below 27°F, but it will resprouts from the roots at even colder temperatures and recovers extremely quickly, drawing from reserves stored in its roots. Still it will be unhappy if it is severely damaged every year, and it may eventually lose its crown. This plant is a five star hummingbird attractor. It also attracts humans, especially children (but me too), who have found they can bite a little hole in the bulb at the base of the flower tube and suck out the pool of nectar that collects there. Grow it in at least half a day of direct sun with average drainage or better, infrequent summer watering in cool summer climates, and sited where you can appreciate the flowers. There may be a couple of very similar cultivars in the trade going under the name ‘Coral Seas.’ rev 10/2005
edulis ‘Nancy Garrison’ PASSIONFRUIT ornate flowers young fruit ready to pick slightly wrinkled, ready to eat typical growth habit very large, light green deeply lobed leaves usually hide the small, frilled greenish white and purple flowers. Oval to almost round green fruit to 3" long will turn dark purple black and fall at maturity. Best quality comes if fruit is allowed to mature, dry, and wrinkle a bit off the vine before eating. The fragrant orange pulp is quite fragrant and has a distinctive, pineapple-like flavor and the fruits are high quality. Passion fruits are notorious for being short lived on their own roots, so growers should be careful to plant their plants in well drained soils (with a gopher basket too, if those critters are a problem). This variety has proven to be daylength neutral, as far as I can tell, and is a consistent producer. It provides us with fruit all year here in our production blocks. Similar strains are ‘Frederick,’ ‘Black Knight’ and ‘Purple Possum,’ all of which vary in different details. In spite of claims by others to their superiority, I keep coming back to this variety as the most reliable producer of high quality fruit. This variety originated as a seedling I selected from seeds sent by Nancy Garrison from the Santa Clara UC Ag Extension Field Station to the California Rare Fruit Growers Seed Bank back in the early 1990's. It originated from cuttings taken from a very old, untended plant found in the yard of farm house donated to the city of San Jose. It will take 25°F without damage, and recovered and fruited quickly following the 20°F temperatures of December 1990, according to Nancy. Brazil. rev 3/2006 MBN INTRODUCTION-1994
'Frederick' flowers this is the largest of the "easily grown" varieties, meaning you don't need to hand pollinate the flowers (spare me - for a tablespoon or two of edible pulp??) and that it will actually flower and bear under typical North American conditions. Other large passionfruits either aren't self-fertile, are impossibly tender, need tropical or truly subtropical amounts of heat, and/or are often slow to mature and come into production. The fruit if this variety looks like the typical black P. edulis fruit but is about twice as large, as are the flowers, and the shape is ovoid as opposed to the usual spherical. The fruit are usually large enough to fill the palm of your hand. The downside is that while the fruit are twice as large, it only produces half as many, so you really don't get any more yield. Also, you must use some kind of soft groundcover beneath (Vinca, star jasmine, etc.) to break the fall of the falling ripe fruit. Otherwise the hard rind will crack and the inside will spoil, as both are moist. As with the regular forms of P. edulis, fruit should be after-ripened, until dry and wrinkled, before eating, by which time the acidity level of the fruit will have fallen and flavor and sweetness will be at their peak. Protect from frost, Sunset zones 9, 16-17, 21-24/USDA zone 9. rev 6/2014
'Red Rover' almost ready to pick! Axel's very nice plant this Patrick Worley selection is distinguished by its red coloration on new stems and leaf edges. The fruit are a lighter color at maturity, being more of a dark maroon as opposed to the typical purple black of 'Nancy Garrison' and most other varieties. Some feel it is sweeter than most other varieties, probably by virtue of being less acidic versus actually accumulating more sugar, but I haven't tasted it yet to personally vote on the issue. As usual, wait until completely dark until picking, then leave in your fruit basket until the skins are dry and deeply wrinkled before consuming. Full sun, good drainage, protect from hard frost. Sunset zones 16-17, 21-24/USDA zone 9a or with freeze protection anywhere. rev 6/2014
manicata 'Linda Escobar' flowers taking care of the competition at Buena Creek Gardens arguably the showiest variety and nicest flower of any species of Passionflower. The intense orange red color, dark blue coronal filaments, excellent flower size and petal conformation, and nicely held flowers that face out and up on the outside of the foliage canopy make this one hard to beat if you have the climate to grow it. It is an improved version of the species, differing as far as I can tell only in that critical point that it is facultative or simple long day initiation whereas P.manicata itself seems to be long day or very long day initiation, restricting its flowering to three summer months. This selection can flower for 7-8 months. This is right up there with the finest Salvias and Grevilleas for attracting hummingbirds, with its easy-to-find and copious nectar supply and perfect color. It is a close partner to 'Coral Seas,' matching it in almost every way except tint, and that 'Coral Seas' may have a slight edge on it in the way of flower production. Expect the same unparalleled vigor and rampant growth (can cover a house or bring down a oak if not controlled) and essentially identical behavior in frosty conditions (severly damaged below 27F, and often killed to the ground or beyond at 25F). Sun, average soils, rather drought tolerant when established and much better controlled by restricted watering. Northern South America. rev 3/2008
Patersonia occidentalis PURPLE FLAGS blooming should probably be pronounced "Pay-ter-sonia." This evergreen iris relative, something like an Australian version of our native Pacific Coast iris, found growing in widely distributed regions across the continent. It bears showy medium purple flowers to about 2" across on stalks to about 12-18", just above the leaves. They are produced heavily in spring but also show color right through summer, fall and winter, unlike our native iris which are strictly spring blooming (except for one variety). This has been an extremely bulletproof grower for us, with no losses in production. This is rare for most of what we grow, you always expect to lose a few plants for one reason or another, but particularly so for Australian varieties. I think this plant deserves wider consideration and use, especially in commercial or large scale situations where our native iris or hybrids are desired but growing conditions aren't optimal. I have seen large, good looking permanent plantings in Santa Cruz growing in wet, perched soils, one near West Cliff Drive. Drought tolerant, probably frost tolerant to 20°F and probably more. Needs only average drainage and little summer watering but clearly will tolerate summer watering if applied. If plants look ratty, treat them like our own native iris and shear them to the ground around December. There is a yellow variant but I haven't seen it in the trade in the US. Australia. Iridaceae. rev 10/2005Pelargonium includes "Pels," Martha Washington geraniums, ivies and zonals, as well as a large number of true species ranging from rock garden subjects, fast trailing groundcovers, free standing shrubs, even succulents. Many have scented or ornamental foliage and/or good flower displays. Geraniaceae. rev 11/2011
rotundifolia BUTTON FERN mature foliage and habit small, low evergreen fern to 1’ tall, 2’ wide. Bipinnate fronds grow to 10" long, have small round pinnae closely held against the midribs. Great in containers or as a house plant. Shade, average watering. Deciduous below 25°F. New Zealand.
Pennisetum ‘Eaton Canyon’ nursery plants a compact grower, to 18" tall, with dark red foliage. A probable hybrid of P. setaceum ‘Cupreum’ and P. setaceum. Graminae/Poaceae.
setaceum ‘Cupreum’ PURPLE FOUNTAIN GRASS flowers closeup Lake Merritt centerpiece mixed spreading growth to 3-6’ tall and wide if not restrained by yearly or seasonal pruning. Produces multitudes of softly fuzzy flower heads, emerging light burgundy and aging to tan, held above dark burgundy leaves and stems in summer. Partially winter deciduous. Supposedly not invasive in most areas.'Fireworks' PP#18504 colored blades new and very pretty, a variegated form of Red Fountain Grass with pink, white, and green. Graceful and arching, a stunner in the garden or in containers. About 24-30" tall, 24" wide. Sun to part shade. Average to little water. A worthwhile annual outside zones 8-24. rev 7/2010
Penstemon evergreen deciduous perennials, ranging from deciduous border perennials to very tough, mostly evergreen, almost shrubby, semiwoody landscape perennials. All of these will take Sunset zones 6-9, 14-24/USDA 7. Plantiginaceae, previously Scrophulariaceae. rev 8/2016
‘Firebird’ flowers more flowers blooming plant large, bright red flowers on a plant to 3’ tall, 5’ wide. A small amount of white shows in the throat. A very tough, reliable survivor and durable landscpae plant, tough enough for commercial situations. rev 6/2014
'Garnet' massed flowers nice plant tubular dark violet red flowers on terminal spikes are heavily produced from spring through fall against relatively fine textured, dark green leaves. An easy, tough, evergreen perennial that will bring hummingbirds and butterflies to your garden. Mixes and combines well with other perennials, grasses, lavenders, Echinaceas, yarrows, and even Aeoniums. This is a durable, showy, garden and landscape subject that can tolerate dry conditions and even heavy soils as long as it gets at least half a day of sun and some supplemental summer watering. It will tolerate abuse reliably enough to be used in many commercial landscape applications. To about 2-3' tall by 4-5' wide unpruned, evergreen for most of populated California. Sun to mostly shade. rev 6/2014
‘Midnight’ flowers more flowers dark purple flowers, dark green leaves. Another vigorous, reliable, very tough selection. To about 30" talll, spreading ot 3' with age. rev 6/2014
'Red Riding Hood' PP18950 strong stems hold up bright red flowers all summer and into fall. Compact, low branching, about 18-24" tall and wide. Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds to you garden. Sun, average watering. USDA 5/all Sunset zones. rev 6/2014
'Tubular Bells Red' grand flowers large, red flowers with white striping inside, held on strong stems to about 18-20" tall. This long-blooming perennial is of Mexican origin, not a native like so many other recent introductions, and is more forgiving of richer garden soils and warm-season watering. Sun or part shade, average watering to infrequent watering. Sunset zones 8-9, 16-22/USDA 9. rev 7/2014
Perovskia atriplicifolia RUSSIAN SAGE closeup nice garden specimen not a sage, and not from Russia. An extremely satisfying, very showy deciduous perennial to 3’ tall with very cut, lacy grey green leaves and tall massed spikes of fuzzy, light periwinkle blue flowers produced from spring through fall. It spreads by matting underground roots, and can actually be slightly invasive in well watered clay soils. The foliage has an attractively pungent sage-like fragrance. In warmer areas such as the Central Valley and back East this plant might get up to 4' tall but I have never seen it over 3' in Central California. Attracts hummingbirds. Sun, moderate to almost no summer watering, frost hardy. Sunset zones 2-24/USDA probably zone 4? or warmer. Pakistan. Labiatae/Lamiaceae. rev 10/2005
Petunia new prostrate perennial hybrids that grow rampantly if given enough water and fertilizer. They can bloom almost all year if kept warm and actively growing. Flowers reach from 2-4" across, range from white through light pink, bright red, dark magenta rose and dark purple, often with a darker eye. Cut back when appearance suffers due to loose growth or when plants seem to be slowing down. The real secret is the continuous use of high nitrogen fertilizer at high rates. Excellent in hanging baskets. they can survive surprising amounts of frost. Solanaceae. South America. rev 5/2010
Black Velvet flowers container darkest, silky black flowers. Low grower. rev 4/2011
Cha Ching Cherry wild cherry cherry striped with pale strawberry and peach. rev 3/2014
Limelight wild lime and pink strawberry edged in green. rec 3/2014
Phantom flowers broad yellow with black stripes, or the reverse of that. Low grower. rev 4/2011
Pinstripe flowers black with thin yellow lines at petal margins. Low grower. rev 4/2011
Sun Spun Yellow flowers almost white flowers deepen to bright yellow in the center, with veining. rev 3/2014
Peucedanum ostruthium 'Daphnis' VARIEGATED MASTERWORT, PEUCE peuce and cream variegated leaves use your best British accent when telling people that you have this in your garden! After all, you're growing peuce. Grey green and creamy white deciduous foliage has a piney, celery fragrance (it's related). Looks invasive but it forms a nice clump about 20" tall and wide. Lacy white flowers in summer are good for bouquets. Brightens up a spot in morning sun or shade. Regular watering, all Sunset zones/USDA 5. Southern Europe. Umbelliferae/Apiaceae. rev 7/2013-Suzy Brooks
Philodendron tropical-looking foliage plants with leaves that range from tiny to over 5' tall. Most are house plants, some are semihardy landscape foliage subjects for outdoor use. All make good container or house plants. Araceae.
'Evansii' at Huntington Botanic Gardens at Sea World the most awesome, majestic, intimidating, righteously gigantic, tropical looking Philodendronfor outdoor landscape use in California or similar subtropical areas. It was bred and introduced n 1952 by the world famous Morgan "Bill" Evans of Disneyland landscaping fame, from parents P. bipinnatifidum (selloum) and P. speciosum. It is very much like the familiar P. selloum, the primary difference being that its huge leaves, to 5' tall on the blade alone, are essentially barely cut or even just ruffled. The result is that it appears to be much more massive and luxuriant than its common parent. It is more tender by just a couple of degrees, and should be planted with overhead protection if possible, except perhaps in the warm areas of Southern California. Nevertheless, all the plants I know of in Santa Cruz, and many in the Bay Area,survived the terrible 1990 and 1998 freezes (19F and 25F respectively), and one utterly and completely exposed plant in the town square in Watsonville as well. This plant should be much more widely used except it has been essentially impossible to find in the past. It also makes a wonderful, if somewhat large, houseplant and is also outstanding in appropriate commercial applications. These are seedlings of the original hybrid cross redone, and appear to be virtually uniform. rev 10/2013
'Hope' my front door a compact P. selloum hybrid, probably the closest in leaf and growth habit to its parent, and the largest leaved of the dwarf hybrids and selections. Basal branching, non-climbing. The leaves are much broader and rounder than either ‘Showboat’ or ‘Xanadu’ and it is substantially more winter hardy. To about 3' tall at maturity by 3-4' across, this form makes a good dwarf landscape substitute for its giant cousin P. selloum except it is probably a little more tender. Sunset zones 9, 16-17, 21-24/USDA zone 9. rev 10/2012
selloum at the Huntington old Santa Cruz Beach Flats specimen Jungle Cruise a subtropical evergreen shrub grown for huge leaves and tropical appearance. Old plants can reach massive size, with huge, tall trunks to over 10' tall, arborescent, stilt like roots, and a total canopy spread of over 12'. It grows best in part sun, but easily survives full sun in coastal environments. It is drought tolerant when established but faster and with larger leaves with regular watering and feeding. It can be used in containers or even as a house plant. Damaged below 25°F, it has survived 15-20°F (USDA zone 8a/Sunset zone 15 and higher). One interesting fact is that the temperature of its flowers actually approaches that of the human body. It is one of the only thermoregulating plants known. The resulting fruits are edible and good. Southern Brazil. rev 8/2002
'Showboat' on left, compared to Xanadu on right a compact landscape type similar to P. selloum, it is a sport of ‘Xanadu.’ Grows to about 4' tall and handles sun better than its sport parent. It grows more upright and the leaves also get larger, to about 18" tall under favorable conditions (shade, moisture, fertilizer). Like its parent, it seems to handle frost about like P. selloum, around 20°F or USDA zone 9/Sunset zone 15 and higher. Best with shade to part sun, regular watering and feeding, and at least average drainage. It will tolerate some dryness when established and always makes a great, compact outdoor container alternative to P. selloum. rev 8/2002
‘Xanadu’ nice landscape plant on right, compared to Showboat on left to only about 30" tall, this variety is a dwarf landscape type similar to P. selloum, with smaller, finer, more deeply cut, lobed leaves. Blades reach just 12" long but are held away from the trunk on very long petioles. It prefers shady conditions with average to infrequent watering. It will form a small trunk over time but the plant overall is much lower and wider in proportion to P. selloum,with relatively longer petioles and smaller blades. Another great outdoor/indoor container plant. My wife has tried this twice outdoors in Santa Cruz with partial protection and it has frozen out twice at 30F. It needs good overhead frost protection anywhere it will see a hard freeze, or else should be grown in a moveable container. According to Randy Baldwin at his San Marcos Growers website, this might be actually be a true species, P. xanadu. Indoor/outdoor as a house, patio or porch container anywhere, in landscapes only in Sunset zones 21-24/USDA zone 10. rev 3/2017
'Xanadu Gold' first crop a much slower, smaller growing golden variant of the original form, this one is rich golden yellow in medium shade, with warm coppery colored veins. It bleaches to white in strong light and becomes chartreuse green in deep shade. Against the right background it is very nice. Due to its less vigorous growth this form is probably best used in containers on patios or porches, or as a house plant. rev 10/2009
Phlebodium x aureum 'Mandianum' BEAR’S FOOT FERN,
CABBAGE PALM FERN mature fronds
fronds on right,
compared to parent on left double row of
nicely ornate form of this
natural-hybrid species, thought to be a cross of Phlebodium
pseudoaureum and Phlebodium decumanum.
It is also
classified as Polypodium mandianum ‘Aureum.’ This is a
semi-hardy, evergreen to deciduous fern bearing large, coarsely
divided, strikingly blue green, upright then horizontal fronds to
12-30" tall. It spreads slowly via its weird, thick, intriguing,
above-ground rhizomes which creep, creepily, along the surface of
the soil. The tips are chalky blue white, becoming densely covered
with golden brown, fur-like hair when older. In nature this
species grows as a semi-epiphyte, colonizing the debris and humus
layers directly above the soil or growing on old, mossy logs,
stones or palmetto trunks. The leaves turn a very attractive
purplish-brown color in cold weather and usually drop by early
a great container plant or hanging basket subject. Part to deep
shade, regular watering, an unprotected rhizome is
hardy to probably somewhere around 25F??
USDA zone 9b. Gulf
Coast, Central America, Caribbean, South America.
Polypodiaceae. rev 2/2017
pseudoaureum fronds more fronds winter color single row of sori one of the most distinctive and easily recognized ferns. It is highly variable, and shows obvious juvenile/mature dimorphism as well. It is much-confused in the trade, and often sold as the above forms. It can be distinguished though from its hybrid offspring P. x aureum by its single (versus double) row of sori (spore dots), which form on the undersides of the mature fronds. It also has bluer, coarser, non-wavy, more arching fronds than P. aureum 'Mandianum.' Mine survived two years of drought in Santa Cruz, on the north side of a fence, with almost no watering. So it's tougher . It grows just like members of the closely related genus Polypodium, but with larger, thicker, weirder, chalky white, worm-like rhizomes creeping along the surface of the soil. Fronds turn purple with winter cold, and will eventually drop with any freezing temps. Grow it in a small amount of direct sun to full shade, in regular soil or in semi-epiphytic, composty mixes. To 12-30" tall, rhizomes are hardy to 28-25F? Tony Avent at Plant Delights says USDA zone 8a. Tropical America. rev 2/2017
Phlomis fruticosa 'Edward Bowles' JERUSALEM SAGE closeup nice plant this is what for years constituted the species itself in the California trade, probably tracing back to a plant grown from 'Edward Bowles' seed by Western Hills Rare Plant Nursery from Hillier's Nursery in England. From there it passed to Ray Collette, curator and director at UCSC, and from there into broader distribution in the nursery trade. It grows as a handsome woody evergreen perennial to 4’ tall, 6’ wide. The large, felty, soft green leaves have white tomentose undersides and the overall habit and texture is much more verdant and lush than anything you would grow from seed under the name of this species. Whorled clusters of large, deep yellow flowers are borne on upright stems above the foliage once, in spring, then the dried stalks remain as attractive elements. They are best removed just as the new spikes begin to push. The extra-luxuriant foliage makes this a very attractive plant even when not in bloom. Sun to part shade, little summer watering when established. Sunset zones 5-9, 14-24/USDA zone 7. Mediterranean. Labiatae/Lamiaceae. rev 5/2014
fruticosa (species form) flowers and foliage flower closeup again this is one of several trade forms of this species. This one has a compact habit, dense, silky, silvery foliage and strong yellow flowers, edged in white, produced in whorled cluseters in late spring and early summer. It can be cut back after flowering but many like the spent stems left on for architectural interest. The best technique is to wait until new growth just starts to appear in late winter then cut backt to that point. To about 3' tall, it is really tough as far as heat and drough,t but if you don't give it some small amount of summer water, by the end of the dry season it will look just like one of our native California sages - a big ball of completely dry foliage. It will live though! Sun to half shade, good drainage, infrequent to very little summer watering. Sunset zones 5-9, 12-24/USDA zone 8. rev 5/2014
lanata flowers closeup Cabrillo Mediterranean display garden grey green fuzzy leaves back up yellow, two-lipped flowers. This evergreen shrub is looking for good drainage and a sunny spot. Compact growth, 2-3' tall and 4-5' wide. Trim faded flowers to keep it blooming summer through fall. Little watering once established. Sunset zones 7-24/USDA 8. rev 1/2013-Suzy Brooks
monocephala flower textured leaves like sage, a soft, olive grey green with whorls of yellow flowers in spring and summer. About 4' tall and wide, tolerant of drought, very Mediterranean looking. Plant it with natives, in a border, or in a big clay pot. Sunset zones 8, 9, 14-24/USDA 8. rev 4/2013-Suzy Brooks
Phoenix DATE PALMS a genus characterized by feather (pinnate) fronds. A genus known mostly to Californians from the monster Canary Island Date Palms (P. canariensis) seen especially around older homes or parks, as well as the substantially more demure (and more tender) Pygmy Date Palm, P. roebellenii,which is used outdoors in Southern California and in protected, mostly commercial landscapes in Northern California. The genus has much more to offer than just those two species though, and most interesting are the smaller scale and more delicate species that we are concentrating on. Some are solitary, others clump. Palmae/Arecaceae. rev 10/2009
Phormium NEW ZEALAND FLAX, MOUNTAIN FLAX foliage closeup habit flowers (hybrid) clumping
evergreen grass-like plant bears dark green leaves to 3’ tall.
Fills the niche for a reliably compact, broad-leaved green New
Zealand Flax. Sun to part shade, average to little watering, very
cold hardy. Good in containers, being very tolerant of inadequate
or erratic watering. Will tolerate wet situations. All of the
colored forms are nice when backlit, which highlights the glossy,
tinted foliage and heightens their dramatic effect. New Zealand.
Agavaceae. rev 11/2006
Hybrids and selections from New Zealand began appearing in the trade in the 1980s. Their availability led to a dramatic increase in the use of Phormiums in landscapes. By that time most gardeners and designers had realized just how enormous the previously available seedling strains of P. tenax could get. Most didn't have enough room for plants of that scale, and welcomed these newer, better behaved derivations. Our descriptions may be unpoetic, but hopefully they are realistic. I have revised them as of March, 2002 to reflect the considered opinions of Margaret Jones, a noted New Zealand Phormium hybridizer, who straightened us out on several we had suspected were confused, most notably ‘Sundowner,’ ‘Maori Chief,’ and ‘Maori Queen.’
Customers should understand that all these selections have the potential to revert to vigorous standard green or bronze foliage, and with time most will if the wayward sprouts are not cut out with a shovel or pick. (Sad sight) You can also cut out unwanted foliage with a sharp serrated knife, which will go through it like soft butter. For larger renewal projects, do what friend and customer Jeff Rosendale does and tie a rope around the top of the clump and chain saw the entire mass off at the base, then drag the carcass away. Many of the larger, greener varieties such as ‘Maori Queen’ and ‘Pink Stripe’ almost need to be cut down every couple of years as the mature foliage lacks almost all of the attractive color of the juvenile growth.
Phormium flowers are not really showy but can be very interesting and a nice feature, as can the seed pods. The flowers of P. tenax are orange to red, those of cookianum are yellow to green. Hybrids can be expected to be close to those of their parents or somewhere in between.
While apparently not as hardy as P. cookianum, these hybrids are known to survive winters well in the Portland area (zone 8b) as long as they are regularly watered through summer. Plants subjected to summer drought do not seem to recover well in spring.
'Allison Blackman' first crop leaf detail chocolate brown leaves with creamy yellow margins on juvenile growth, lighter brown with less dramatic edge coloration when mature. Probably to the typical 5-6' by 6-7' across. rev 9/2009
‘Amazing Red’ garden plant at Sierra Azul a fine textured reddish bronze, with a rather upright habit, to about 4'. Holds its color well with relatively little mature greening, especially with heat. Appears to be stable. A good performer in the Central Valley. rev 8/2006
‘Apricot Queen’ foliage closeup habit leaves emerge light yellow with green margins, age to faint apricot/peach. To 3’, with moderately wide leaves. With age this one will appear as a very warm golden yellow color, with the apricot tones appearing mostly in cool weather. Low reversion rate. Greenish yellow flowers. This is one of the best for the Central Valley, only occasionally showing a little leaf burn under the hottest and most intense conditions. rev 10/2005
'Black Rage' nursery crop another "black" foliaged cultivar, close to 'Platt's Black' but not as green. Compact. rev 8/2008
'Bronze Baby’ foliage closeup habit, containers at Kelly's Bakery nice planting probably the best of the burgundy cultivars. A fast but compact grower to only 3' tall, it still has the broader leaves characteristic of the larger varieties and lacks the grassy look of ‘Jack Spratt.’ Leaves are medium coppery bronze. Doesn't seem to revert.
‘Chocolate Baby’ nursery crop massed very similar to ‘Surfer’ in size (3-4' eventually), but with a broader bronze edge and overall much darker. rev 1/2010
cookianum ‘UCSC Dwarf’ nice landscape specimen a lower selection, to about 3' tall max. Leaves are stiffer and thinner, the habit a little grassier, but still a broad leaved selection unlike ‘Tom Thumb’ and even broader than ‘Surfer.’ The best dwarf green form, originating from the Edward Landels Garden at the UCSC Arboretum.
‘Cream Delight’ foliage closeup habit at Strybing pale, creamy yellow leaves, becoming tinted apricot in cool weather, with green margins. A P. cookianum selection, it has slightly thinner, more gracile leaves than ‘Tricolor.’ To 3’. Low reversion rate. One of my favorites for color, stability, vigor, height, and habit.
‘Duet’ foliage closeup dark green leaves with light yellow margins. Leaves are moderately wide, to 2’ long. Low reversion rate, a good one for flowers. This is a superior variety for the Central Valley. rev 10/2005
‘Dusky Chief’ landscape plant nursery crop reportedly a P. tenax variety, this selection has dark wine red to blackish foliage, often with an ashy reverse, to 6', with a dense, upright habit and good vigor. Mature plants are substantially greener, hack 'em down once in a while to refresh them.
'Flashdance' throbbing, energetic, hypnotic colors these colors 'flash' from cream and green in summer to pink and apricot in winter, a fountain of upright, arching leaves of easy care and low maintenance. About 3-4' tall, it excels in containers, as an accent, or in a mass, for sun or part shade in a spot with good drainage and average watering. See it glow as the sun sets or rises behind it! Sunset zones 7-9, 14-24/USDA 8. rev 9/2013-Suzy Brooks
'Gold Sword’ commercial landscape different angle medium yellow leaves with green margins, sometimes with a faint rosy streak in the center. Stiffer than ‘Yellow Wave’ and slightly darker yellow. Moderate leaf width. Low to moderate reversion rate.
'Golden Ray' new leaves, young plant a slightly thinner-leaved form, to 5' tall and wide. Leaves show wide creamy marginal edges, a clean, deep green central stripe and thin, deep burgundy to glowing orange lines defining the very edges. It looks suspiciously like a P. cookianum (Mountain Flax) derivation, especially compared to 'Apricot Queen,' P. cookianum 'Tricolor' and P. cookianum 'Cream Delight,' but no other growers I've found list it as such. Young plants show nice peachy tones on the new leaves under cool conditions. rev. 1/2017
'Green Baby' nursery plants looks so much like 'Tom Thumb' you would swear they are just renaming varieties. rev 10/2005
‘Guardsman’ foliage closeup nice clump, Sea World deep red leaves with bronzy stripes. One of the best red varieties, but very slow to divide. Limited quantities. Low reversion rate.
‘Jack Spratt’ perennial border commercial planting thin, curly, dark purple bronze foliage, a relatively grass-like clump. Fast growing, dense, to 18". Low reversion rate.
‘Jester’ with Cerinthe leaf detail more leaves very good, broad green leaves with a deep coral red center, aging to light coral pink against lighter green edges. To about 3-4' tall, with a pleasantly relaxed habit. This is a relatively stable form and one of the few that retains most of its juvenile color and charm as it ages. It doesn't turn into a giant green or brown monster. Probably identical with the oldest form of this type, ‘Fiesta.’ Synonymous with 'Redheart,' a name that appears to have been bestowed later. The reverse sport of this, green center with red edges, is ' Jubilee.' rev 11/2010
'Jubilee' PP19059 leaf detail 5g plants a sport of 'Fiesta' ('Red Heart,' 'Jester'), in this variety the cherry red color has crawled off the center of the leaf and switched places with the green, so that it is red on the edges and green in the center. In addition a layer of red color covers the underside of the leaf as well, so it shows a rose pink reverse. The mature foliage is glossy green with cherry red edges. New, highly desired, very rare. Exclusive co-introduction by Monterey Bay Nursery! This was found by one of our former employees, Chris Chaney, (whom we still miss!) in one of his wholesale blocks. To about 3'. rev 5/2009
‘Lineata’ at Blue Bamboo Nursery nice plant on Linden St. another reported P. tenax selection, this one with broad, very stiff, vertical olive green leaves to 6' with yellow stripes. Its main distinguishing feature is its vigorous verticality. This is reportedly a very good variety for the Central Valley. rev 10/2005
‘Maori Chief’ landscape nursery plant closeup similar to ‘Maori Queen,’ but a little larger and maybe better color. A result of P. ‘Maori Maiden’ x P. tenax Atropurpureum produced in 1981.
‘Maori Maiden’ foliage detail nice clump young plant foliage colors leaves are bronze, irregularly mixed with lighter coral pink to medium salmon red. Moderately thin leaves with pendant tips. To 3’. Pinkest of the Maori series. A low reversion rate when properly selected. The best variety? rev 10/2005
‘Maori Queen’ at India Joze mature plant stiff, light bronze green leaves with broad coral pink margins streaks. One of the best for mature coloration. To 5’. Low reversion rate.
‘Maori Sunrise’ foliage closeup more foliage growth habit leaves thinly striped bronzy green and salmon orange. Moderately narrow, gracile, erect leaves reach 3’. High reversion rate for us, reportedly not so for others though I am suspicious of those reports based on our experience. It may be possible to select out a more stable form with time. rev 4/2003
'Olive and Coral' detail 'Pink Stripe' reversion, attractive in its own right for its subtle olive green to khaki green leaves and dark coral burgundy tones suffused throughout. Occasional bright pink pinstriping on the leaves. rev 1/2008
‘Pink Stripe’ leaf detail nice angle stock plants glaucous bronzy foliage with bright pink margins, strongest on new growth or at the base of old growth. Matures to mostly green foliage. See notes on renewing Phormium clumps. This is a good variety to use as a background plant in mixed containers, but it should be cut back hard every year or two to renew the wonderful pink new growth. It will get at least 5' tall. This is a good variety for the Central Valley, where it tolerates the heat well and retains its color better than along the cool coast. rev 10/2005
‘Platt’s Black’ nursery plants new, a deep bronzy purple selection much like ‘Dark Delight,’ but lower and finer textured, to probably 3-4'. The leaves have smoky black green undersides, upper surfaces are dark black maroon. Should be very good. Appears to be very stable. A very good, reliable, tough variety that withstands Central Valley conditions well. rev 10/2005
‘Rainbow Warrior’ Mills Garden the leaves may be thinner and darker in color than ‘Maori Maiden,’ but most of the time I think the difference is environmental in origin and that the varieties are identical. The plants are of similar habit and size anyway. Mature leaves fade to blonde jsut like ‘Maori Maiden.’ Both are outstanding varieties, very stable, not very tall, and with the best red color of any variety, especially when young.
‘Red Heart’ see 'Jester.'
'Rosie Chameleon' 5g cans as far as I can tell this is a copy of 'Maori Sunrise' rev 6/2008
‘Sea Jade’ foliage detail young plant green leaves with burgundy centers are held rather stiffly. Moderately wide leaves, to 4-5’. Limited quantities. Low reversion rate.
‘Sundowner’ habit shady clump good color at maturity, and stable. Usually has bronzy centers with coral red margins and streaks. Coloration is less dramatic with age, but still noticeable and good. Moderately wide leaves are rather stiffly held. To 5’. Very low reversion rate. One of the industry standards. rev 3/2006
‘Surfer’ foliage closeup at UC Santa Cruz spiky habit, commercial planting one of the best. Foliage is greener than ‘Jack Spratt,’ but still has bronzy margins, sometimes broadly so when young. Has a distinctive bright green stripe down the middle of the leaf and a characteristic spiky habit. Narrow leaves aren't anywhere near as grassy as ‘Tom Thumb’ or ‘Jack Spratt,’ and it doesn't tend to die out after long, wet winters like those two. To 3’. Low reversion rate. rev 3/2006
‘Tom Thumb’ thin grassy leaves to 18", green with a slightly darker margin. Fast growing. Low reversion rate.
'Tony Tiger' up close also known as 'Toney Tiger,' it is a dwarf variety with creamy white margins on greyish green leaves. To about 2-3' tall. Looks good all year, even picking up these pink bases in cooler weather. rev 10/2012
‘Tricolor’ why I like it foliage closeup commercial, full shade an outstanding variety. Dark green leaves have creamy white margins, then the edges become distinctly burgundy in cooler weather. Leaves are rather stiff at first, then pleasantly relaxed and broad and arching with maturity. To 3’. This straight P. cookianum selection has an extremely low reversion rate. Still one of the very, very best, and popular worldwide, as well as with me. It is also very tolerant of more demanding Central Valley conditions. rev 1/2010
'Wildwood' first crop very dark cordovan, or burgundy maroon, in fact very much like 'Dark Delight,' in fact it may very well actually be 'Dark Delight' that has lost its name and resurfaced. Glossy, every bit as nice as the original, true 'Dark Delight.' To 5-7' tall and wide. rev 7/2009
‘Yellow Wave’ foliage detail mature commercial planting younger plant another nice plant light, clear yellow leaves with thin green margins and streaks. To 3’. Moderately wide leaves have a pleasantly relaxed habit. Low reversion rate. The best yellow?
Phygelius CAPE FUCHSIA upright to sprawling
evergreen perennial to 30-36" tall, 4' or more across. Plants
spread initially from upright basal stems, eventually from short
underground stolons or aerial roots on stems. Dark green leaves
are relatively formal looking. Narrow, tubular Fuchsia-like
flowers are borne on tall, branched stalks. They produce copious
amounts of nectar, to the point of being annoying if it
sprinkles all over you, but this is what makes them such
outstanding hummingbird magnets. Full sun to mostly shade,
average to infrequent watering. Plants are apparently hardy to
around 15-10°F, but go completely deciduous. South Africa.
Scrophulariaceae. rev 8/2016
'Festive Orange' flowers deep coral orange with darker calyces and flower stems, against dark green foliage. An easy, hummingbird attracting, perennial for part shade or full sun with average watering. About 24" tall and wide. rev 3/2014
Tye Dyes a new series released 2014, being first-year flowering, ultra-compact, dense, heavily branched and short (14-16"). Supposedly these have no chill or daylength requirement for initiation, we'll see about that. rev 6/2017 *New for 2017!*
'Magic Mandarin' PPAF first fall flowers glowing, hot, coral orange. rev 6/2017 *New for 2017!*
'Radiant Red' PPAF first fall flowers a new, intense rose red. rev 6/2017 *New for 2017!*
'Rosy Cheeks' PPAF intense, hot magenta pink flowers. rev 6/2017 *New for 2017!*
'Yellow Submarine' PPAF flowers a better, light golden yellow than previous selections. rev 6/2017 *New for 2017!*
Phyllitus scolopendrium HART'S TONGUE FERN at UC Berkeley Botanic Garden in Marty's Paradise Park shade garden syn. Asplenium scolopendrium, this is a fern I dismissed as a tender terrarium species until I saw charming, healthy stands scattered throughout the UC Berkeley Botanic Garden. It forms discrete clumps to about 12" tall and 16" across, and is rather drought tolerant (for a fern!) when established. This almost looks like a native when it is fully established, and is quite at home among redwoods in deep, cool, shade. It is rarely seen in California gardens and I think it is often just too dry for young plants. We have had troubel with it here at our nursery as well. The trick in growing this species seems to be nurturing it past the more delicate, tender juvenile phase. Once it starts to put on the more leathery mature leaves it toughens up considerably. Part sun to full shade, hardy to about 0F. Sunset zones 2-9, 14-24/USDA zone 4. North America, Europe. Polypodiaceae. rev 1/2010
Phyllostachys running species, mostly fast growing, with a classic bamboo look. If you want something that looks like the bamboo forest in Hidden Tiger, Crouching Dragon, you will want one of the species listed below. Almost all form classic, open groves. They can be invasive where watered through summer, or if not confined in gardens. Graminae/Poaceae.
aurea GOLDEN BAMBOO,
HOTEICHIKU, REN MIAN ZHU typical hedge
thinned to a partial screen
Botanic Gardens grove, lower branches pruned off
Huntington's grove intriguing path, Huntington
a sometimes-despised running species (as are all Phyllostachys,running
is), this variety has its uses and can be quite beautiful in many
situations. It is commonly used in small spaces in Japan, where it
is easily kept under control by cutting out unwanted culms with a
shovel when they first appear in early summer. It is highly valued
there as a security/screening hedge, being almost impossible to
pass through when mature and dense. When used in groves the lower
branches can also be trimmed off to accent the warm yellow stems,
which contrast nicely against the dark green leaves. It can range
from 6-20' in height, depending on conditions, and stems can get
to 2" thick. Mature groves of large scale plants can look
significantly different from brushy young plantings, especially in
warmer climates such as Southern California and the Central
Valley. An exceptionally nice stand doing what it does best can be
seen at Huntington Botanic Gardens, where the gardeners take care
to prune off all the lower branches. Likes sun to mostly shade and
will tolerate almost no watering to copious irrigation depending
on your exact climate and the size and speed you want. Growth is
greatly accelerated by the application of fertilizer. Young shoots
are edible. Gophers will thank you for providing them with this
special treat, especially when plants are young, but old, dry,
toughened, established plants are very resistant. Good in
containers, but prone to drying out in very sunny or windy
situations, or if the leaf mass gets out of hand compared to the
size of container. Hardy to around 0°F. China. Find more info on bamboo in general here.
containers culms emerge light green but age to deep
golden orange, especially in sun, where they often become almost
cinnamon. Darker in culm color than the straight species, but
otherwise the same as far as specs. rev 11/2010
bambusoides JAPANESE TIMBER BAMBOO, MADAKE Strybing grove leaf detail leaf reverse culm detail to 35' with 2" thick stems, though in more tropical and wet climates it can reach 75' and 6" (wow!) respectively. The leaves are very dark green, very lustrous and shiny, and have ribbed parallel veins that add texture and interest. The undersides have a light but distinct bluish cast. We find this species, and this selection, to be fast and easy, unlike some references that say it is slow in California. Though not as fast or large as some other running timber types (P. vivax, P. nigra'Henon'), it is fast enough, and very elegant, and best of all, dark green and shiny. It often pushes new culms in very late spring, and these culms can grow 4' per day if it is happy, and live for 10-20 years each, which is highly unusual for a bamboo. The internodes are always long, never congested near the base like in P. aurea, and thus it always has a tall, elegant, gradeful presention. This is one of the most sought after forms, both for gardens as well as construction. Its culms make great building material, being straight, long, hard, durable, with thick sidewalls, and long internodes. rev 11/2010
'Castillion' STRIPED JAPANESE TIMBER BAMBOO, MADAKE Sol with a young clump a tall timber type, grown for its wonderul large bright yellow culms that have a conspicuous, wide green stripe in the sulcus (bud groove). Same very dark green foliage, surface shine, and corrugated leaf veins. Very popular and usually in limited supply. China. rev 11/2010
nigra BLACK BAMBOO, KUROCHIKU, ZI ZHU culms front yard full medium sized stand, Goldsmith Seeds facility one of the most highly desired ornamental bamboos. The “normal” wild form of this species is green, more robust, and is known as ‘Henon.’ This more familiar, widely distributed trade form is a smaller growing melanistic clone that only gets to about 15-18' tall with culms to about 1 1/2" across (‘Henon’ can get sixty feet with almost 4" thick culms). It is a slower grower, for a bamboo, but still vigorous compared to most plants. It is much less vigorous than the related Golden Bamboo, and somewhat taller. It is a species that definitely appreciates part sun or shade on the trunks and ground beneath, though you wouldn't know it by the way it is usually sited. The leaves tend to bleach in full sunlight if chlorotic from pH problems or lack of iron, and culms are prone to sunburn and unattractive blotchy scorching where exposed. In richer soils this isn't a problem. The culms will be green the first year, then age to black by the second. There may be variation in the trade as to how dark the stems can be, but most differences seem to be tied to culture and environment and there may be only one “black” form in the country. The foliage is darker than P. aurea, sparser and somewhat longer and more graceful. This is possibly the most striking bamboo commonly available, and one of the best overall, anywhere. The stems can be dramatically displayed in so many situations: by themselves, against walls or fences (especially bamboo or dark redwood), or with variously textured foliage or scandent stems reaching through them. Use your imagination! Small root divisions dug up from the ground often have blind eyes and never develop properly if they develop at all. This is an excellent container variety, with at least some shade, since it tends not to develop an overly dense mass of thirsty foliage. Like most bamboos, it needs at least some summer watering in California landscapes and is happiest with ample irrigation. It comes from a monsoonal pattern climate (heavy rains in late summer) so treat it accordingly. It can be invasive in hot, humid climates but I can't imagine it being so anywhere in California without constant watering. They like fertilizer but salt burn easily (leaf tips turn brown) so don't overdo it. Frost hardy. The young shoots are edible. China. rev 7/2005
a large genus of mostly shade foliage plants, widely distributed
in tropical or warm-climate regions. They are used as foliage
houseplants and container plants for patios, porches or for fairy
gardens or miniature landscapes. Rather tough and forgiving of
neglect despite their often tender-foliaged nature. Most will not
tolerate any frost though, or even root temperatures below about
40F. Related to nettles, Urticaceae. rev 7/2017
cadierei ALUMINUM PLANT familiar leaves broad, soft green leaves are splashed longitudinally with silvery markings between the (almost) parallel veins. Shade, minimal sun or indirect light, loose, rich, moist soil, warm roots. China, Vietnam. USDA zone 11. rev 7/2017 *New for 2017!*
depressa 'Tiny Tears' CREEPING JENNY tiny foliage creeping, flat, with very small, green leaves, rather close in appearance to the related Baby's Tears, Soleirolia. Shade or indirect light, no frost. House, patio, porch. Carribean. USDA 11. rev 7/2017 *New for 2017!*
glauca SILVER SPRINKLES very close this little creeper has red stems that contrast nicely with the tiny, round leaves of a silvery blue green color, plus coral colored flowers in spring. Very nice softening the edge of a pot or path, in terrariums, windowsills, hanging baskets, or as groundcover. Bright shade, regular watering. Houseplant also. Does not appreciate cold or frost. House, patio, porch. USDA 10. Southeast Asia. rev 9/2013-Suzy Brooks
microphylla ARTILLERY PLANT leaves soft, succulent, upright, arching stems, minute, soft green leaves. Minute whitish flowers. You know this plant. Florida, Carribean, Central and northern South America. Invasive in many tropical countries worldwide. USDA zone 10. rev 7/2017 *New for 2017!*
Pilososereus chrysacanthus GOLDEN
little soldiers columnar cactus with ornamental
yellow spines, little points of light in the sunshine against blue
green trunks. Wonderful vertical element to add to your
collection. In the wilds of Mexico, it branches and gets to 15' or
so. Well drained soil, water in summer, dry in winter. Nice in
containers where it can be moved to shelter outside of Sunset
zones 17-24/USDA 10. Southern
Mexico. Cactaceae. rev 3/2013-Suzy Brooks
Pinguicula BUTTERWORT carnivorous sundews, ranging from the Americas to Europe, Asia, and even North Africa. The easiest to grow are the Mexican species, all evergreen, which are the ones we offer. These plants attract insects that are then glued to its leaves by the wet, sticky hairs until they die and are washed off, to decompose at the base and provide nutrients for the plant. In our greenhouses they are more effective at attracting flying insects, principally fungus gnats, than yellow sticky cards. They like strong indirect light, or at least cool direct light, and damp conditions. Little else seems necessary. They have grown well for us in cool, unheated (but frost free) greenhouses over winter and the only problem I have had with the one I took home was when I partially burned it up by putting it on a window sill in full, direct, all-day winter sun. These happens to be the only plants in the Lentibulariaceae that we offer. Mexico. rev 8/2010
moctezumae blooming plants gory details thin, somewhat snaky leaves, light green, with rather large pink flowers. Showy in bloom, relatively easy to grow once it has sufficient size.rev 8/2010
Pistacia chinensis ‘Keith Davey’ PISTACHIO TREE fall color summer a really good grafted strain selected for reliable, hot, fluorescent orange red fall color across a range of climates. Highly sought after and hard to produce. Needs at least half a day of direct sun, good drainage, and moderate to no summer watering when established depending on climate and site. China, Taiwan, Philippines. Anacardiaceae. rev 2/2003
Pittosporum crassifolium KARO evergreen shrub or small tree to 15’ with grey, tomentose leaves. Clusters of tiny dark maroon red flowers appear in spring. They emit a sweet fragrance at night. Will tolerate dry summers, but really looks its best when given regular watering. Will tolerate close coastal exposure and wind. Sun to part shade. New Zealand. Pittosporaceae.
'Variegata' West Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz full size, Strybing Arboretum closeup creamy white leaf edges, slower growth and a more compact habit make this a hot commodity. It is quite difficult from cuttings and so supply always runs behind demand. It will eventually get to most of the size of the regular seedlings but is clearly not as fast. Just as famously tolerant of cold, windy, salty conditions, and usually prefers a little more water than it receives (New Zealand is a really wet place!) but it always seems to survive on what it is given.
‘Nana’ civic landscape extremely dwarf version, with furry, tomentose leaves. To 2’ tall, 4’ wide. Doesn't flower.
eugenoides LEMONWOOD hedge flowering branch evergreen shrub or small tree to 15-25' tall. Leaves are light green, with wavy margins. Flowers are very small, yellowish, and not usually noticed. They have a light fragrance very much like privet - not great but not obnoxious. Leaves and twigs have a lemony scent. Can easily be trained into a tree. Unlike P. tenuifolium, this species appears to be almost uniform when grown from seed. Sun to mostly shade, average to little summer watering. New Zealand.
tenuifolium clipped hedge flowers evergreen shrub or small tree to 15-20’. Leaves are smaller than the P eugenoides, not as wavy, darker green, and usually borne on black stems. Tiny reddish black flowers have bright yellow stamens and hang below the foliage. They are sweetly fragrant at night. This species is extremely variable from seed. The additional cutting grown selections listed below have the virtue of uniformity of appearance in mass plantings as well as retaining their lower foliage when mature, instead of revealing a bare trunk. New Zealand. Zones vary by variety, but all can be grown in Sunset 8-9, 14-17, 19-24/USDA zone 9. Some forms are hardier, and survive in Ireland or Portland. Those are noted.
'Cape Susan' new and older growth a compact, dense grower that has a center-variegation pattern to the new growth. As the leaves age this fades to become just a conspicuous yellow midvein on the dark green leaf. Slow, growing just one or two feet per year. rev 1/2009
'Ebony Giant' leaves emerging same purple-black mature foliage as the familiar dwarf variety 'Tom Thumb,' but on a typical open, standard-sized plant, growing to at least 15' tall or more. I have only seen one relatively young plant, at Strybing Arboretum (the source of our plant, and thanks Don Mahoney!) but clearly this is no dwarf. Use it where you can feature its striking color, like against brighter green plants, or a light stucco wall. Sunset 8-9, 14-17, 19-24/USDA zone 9. rev 6/2012
'Elfin' Manuel's hedge, sheared to vertical unclipped typical shape, 5 gal a low, spreading form with smallish leaves, this is another great choice for restricted areas or where not much height is desired. Fine leaf texture makes clipping and shearing easy and hard to notice. rev 6/2014
‘Garnet’ foliage detail an old famous variegated form. Rounded grey green leaves are edged in ivory white, with rosy tints developing in cool weather. Twigs are a contrasting purple black. A slower, more compact grower to about 10'. Sunset zone 5/USDA zone 8b. rev 7/2009
'Gold Star' foliage detail tight, compact growth, with leaves featuring chartreuse to gold centers against darker green edges. Classy, charming. Ultimate size unknown but this is not going to be a large grower, probably to only 6-10' at full maturity. rev 10/2007
'Harley Botanica' foliage shade color the reverse of 'Silver Magic,' another variegated form of 'Silver Sheen.' This is a tighter, more compact strain that is elegant close up and provides a very shiny, ultra fine-textured, lime green color in the landscape. To at least 15' unpruned but shear it or prune it to easily keep it to 4-6'. rev 7/2009
'Irene Patterson' foliage closeup compact growth, with foliage that is splashed and speckled with white on the new growth, maturing to green. Sunset zone 5/USDA zone 8b. rev 7/2009
'Jessica's Golden' new growth new growth is pale green, ages to dark green. Compact, dense growth, height 5-10' unpruned with age. rev 1/2010
‘Kristi’ foliage, juvenile, closeup unpruned six year old plants at our nursery a very compact, neat, tight grower but with very large, glossy, dark green leaves that give it a very lush appearance. To about 4-6' with age and unpruned. Grows with a dome-shaped habit unless trained, and will naturally reach 6' or more across. rev 4/2004
‘Marjorie Channon’ foliage closeup hedge natural, unclipped shape globe to 6-8’ tall, with leaves edged creamy white. This is truly an elegant, formal foliage plant that is relaxed enough to find use in most foliage gardens as well. It looks great reaching through a wrought iron or dark picket fence. To Sunset zone 5/USDA zone 8b. rev 7/2009
'Seaside' PP26713 what a perfect dome! foliage detail a dense, globe-shaped, ultra compact plant selected as the best of its seedling lot, this is a short, hemispherical to round shrub to probably about 4-7' tall at full, unpruned maturity. We think this is the most spectactular and perfectly shaped of any of the elf-like or ball-shaped varieties on the market. The foliage makes a really dense mass that makes you want to just throw yourself onto it. Most importantly the leaves have proven to be resistant to the burgundy-black pigment spots that appear in cold, wet conditions and generate so many worried questions from retail consumers. Shear as needed, but that won't be often. Typical growing conditions and requirements as for any of the other varieties. rev 4/2017 MBN INTRODUCTION-2014
'Silver Magic' foliage a variegated form of 'Silver Sheen,' with small, shiny round leaves edged in creamy white. Slightly slower growth and slightly smaller ultimate height, but ultimately to at least 15-20' and of course much lower with shearing or pruning. rev 7/2009
‘Silver Nugget’ at UCSC's New Zealand garden tiny juvenile foliage, closeup another plant at UCSC also known as ‘Argentea Nana,’ this charming little plant forms a short, rounded, dense mass to about 4' tall by 3' wide. It is distinguished by its small, glittering, silvery jade leaves against black stems. A fine formal container plant, low edging plant or hedge, or foliage plant for use against dark backgrounds or contrasting foliage. Sunset zone 5/USDA zone 8b. rev 7/2009
‘Silver Sheen’ backlit clipped hedge tiny, round, glossy, silvery green leaves against black stems, with very fine textured, relatively sparse on the branches and of open growth at first but later filling in to become very dense. In fact I would say this may be the best overall screening variety due to its fast growth, extremely full habit and tendency to quickly fill any holes in its outline. The foliage is highly reflective and quite impressive when lit from an angle. Fast, reaching quite quickly in spite of its demure scale, upright to rounded in shape, forming an almost impenetrable mass of foliage. One planting I know of looks almost like a vertical patch of Muhlenbeckia complexa, Mattress Vine. rev 4/2007
'Tom Thumb' foliage closeup probably ‘Tom Thumb,’ but we lost the label and it doesn't exactly match the description. Compact growth to 4’ tall, 6’ wide with leaves turn dark purple black in late fall, retaining that color until late spring. New growth emerges greener, but even then is still considerably darker than most forms of P. tenuifolium. To Sunset zone 5/USDA zone 8b. rev 1/2010
a genus of epiphytic and lithophytic ("likes rocks," i.e. grows on
rocks) ferns native to Australasia. Polypodiaceae. rev 11/2017
bifurcatum 'Netherlands' STAGHORN FERN aerial mount compact and dense, this one has grey green, arching fronds and can grow up to 24" long. Can be mounted on a board or bark or something more 'out of the box' when it's young. Bright shade, keep moist but not soggy. Great plant for a shady deck, protect from frost. Can also live in the house. Sunset zones 15-17, 19-24/USDA 9. rev 6/2013-Suzy Brooks
veitchii very young 1g plant close to but not exactly the same as P. bifurcatum. More info coming soon! rev 11/2017
Plectranthus forsteri 'Marginata' clean marginal variegation one of the best of the variegated foliage Plectranthus varieties, vigorous and not too prone to reversion. Mixes well with a wide variety of other foliage/blooming plants. Fast, easy, great in containers, mixed or as a focal point plant. Part sun to shade, average soil/watering. rev 5/2006
Pleioblastus viridistriatus (Arundinaria viridistriata) foliage a relatively low, running bamboo of low to moderate vigor. No, really! Because it has limited green foliage, it only grows a fraction of the speed of other short, spreading species like A. disticha. Still, it will fill to the extent of watered areas if not contained. Grows to 3’ tall with bright yellow leaves boldly striped with green and chartreuse. Makes a stunning focal point when used as a large container plant (especially in blue containers). It is also nice contrasted against purplish or blue foliage, or other dark backgrounds, but needs yearly attention to contain its spread if a barrier isn't used. Sun (very yellow) to mostly shade (leaves turn almost all green), at least occasional watering and better with regular irrigation, very frost hardy. Find more info on bamboo in general here. Japan. Graminae/Poaceae. rev 1/2010
‘Akebono’ foliage as in all other ‘Akebonos,’ this name indicates banded horizontal striping, in this case white variegation, most likely viral in nature. Mature leaves appear to be bleached white on the tips. This is a very dwarf variety, often less than 1' tall. rev 5/2008
‘Chrysophyllus’ foliage an all golden sport of the species. Slower but still plenty fast. Even more luminous and choice! rev 3/2008
Podocarpus latifolius BLUE PODOCARPUS, REAL
YELLOWWOOD, MOGOBAGOBA (Northern Sotho), UMSONTI (Zulu) at Strybing Arboretum
plant this wonderful foliage plant is grown for
its powdery blue, flattened needles, its compact, mostly narrow,
often irregularly conical habit, and its slow growth. Like most Podocarpus its new growth is a
wonderful, light bronze color and has a soft, rubbery texture. It
makes a great subject for against a wall of the appropriate hue
(grey, olive, red tones, etc.) or for mixing with other foliage
plants (Colocasia esculenta
'Maori Maiden,' Escallonia
'Golden Briant,' etc.). In nature it gets to be 100' tall but that
takes quite a while and probably only under the most favorable
conditions. If you get it there it will display wonderful peeling
tan bark. In most situations expect it to stay under 25', and even
that will take some time. To keep it happy grow it in part shade in
acidic soils with moderate watering. If the needles show more yellow
than blue treat the soil to acidify it, use iron treatments,
fertilize with acid-forming high nitrogen fertilizers, or any
combination thereof. It makes a wonderful, easily restrained
container plant. Plants are dioecious, with separate male and female
plants. The females bear attractive little powdery blue fruits on
soft, fleshy receptacles, maturing to purple in winter. They are
edible. This plant ranges throughout southern, eastern, and northern
South Africa, even up in to Rhodesia, and can grow in dry, rocky,
chapparal like habitats. It is a valuable timber tree, something
like Ponderosa Pine, and the National Tree of South Africa!!
Probably hardy for zones 8-9, 14-17, 21-24/USDA zone 9.
Podocarpaceae. rev 11/2010
Polemonium 'Brise d'Anjou' VARIEGATED JACOB'S LADDER flowers typical plant foliage closeup a clumping perennial with rosettes of finely cut, compoundly pinnate, dark green leaves, each one edged with white. Foliage color ranges from mostly green to about half white depending on exposure, with more variegation in higher light. A large, well displayed clump can be almost hypnotizing to look at. The light blue flowers are just slightly tinged with lavender, and when in bloom the plant can reach about 12-16" in height. It spreads slowly. This plant is best used against dark backgrounds and dark foliaged plants or in combination with other leaf/texture plants in mixed containers. Frost hardy, average watering. Either evergreen or deciduous, depending on the amount of cold. Polemoniaceae. rev 6/2005
Polygala x dalmaisiana SWEET PEA SHRUB flowers habit nice planting at Sierra Azul
shrub to 3-4’ tall, with dense, spreading shape. Flowers are a
medium violet purple, and are produced most of the year. Florists
like the color for use in arrangements, and it lasts quite well
when cut. This variety, as well as the other Polygalas we offer,
looks quite good next to or mingled with the compact form Coleonema pulchrum, where the
violet and light pink flowers complement each other quite well.
Sun, average to little watering, hardy to around 15°F.
Polygalaceae. rev 4/2006
Polygonatum odoratum variegatum VARIEGATED SOLOMON'S SEAL bellsa deciduous, clumping perennial with graceful, arching stems of beautiful green and white leaves. In spring, rows of white, bell-shaped flowers peek from under the leaves. Foliage turns a bright yellow in fall. About 2' tall and clumping a bit more every year. It likes rich, moist soil in the shade or morning sun. Nice choice for a container on a shady patio. Sunset zones 1-9, 14-17/USDA 5. rev 4/2011
Polygonum capitatum SMARTWEED pink bubbles a very tough little trailer, with lots of charming, little, round pink flowers most of the time in mild areas, where it is also evergreen. Only inches tall, and spreading by runners and by reseeding. An indestructible groundcover for parkways or unirrigated areas, but also a suitable choice for hanging baskets and containers. Sun or part shade, average to little water when established. Sunset zones 8, 9, 14-24/USDA 8. rev 11/2010
Polypodium creeping, rhizomatous, evergreen ferns, often epiphytes or lithophytes. Polypodiaceae.
closeup of foliage
CATERPILLAR FERN it's soft, it's green, it's a little
fuzzy and it crawls slowly. Plus it's cute. Plus the rhizomes do
look like caterpillars, being soft, light green (with spots), a
little fuzzy and crawling slowly. They're cute too. The fronds
have a very nice texture and a somewhat herringbone pattern to the
leaflets. This has grown well at Merritt College in Oakland
outdoors in a protected area for a few years. It should be fine
away from direct frost in gardens in the milder parts of Northern
California as well as making a nice container plant, or a house
plant for a cool and humid location like a bathroom. Its most
common use is in a hanging basket, where you can really see those
cute lil' caterpillars. Give it rich, peaty soils, a protected,
shady spot, water as needed, and avoid messing with it once
established. Some populations (ours? yes? no?) can take some
frost, to about 25F, but it will go deciduous much below 40F
anyway and begin to suffer damage to roots below freezing. Sunset
zones 8-9, 14-16 (protected), 17, 21-24/USDA zone 9. Japan,
Southern China, Taiwan. rev 1/2017
scouleri COAST POLYPODY, CREEPING LEATHERLEAF similar P. californica growing on Marty Wiseman's Paradise Park redwood forest wall a tough, forgiving Best Coast native, mostly favoring cool, marine-influenced, immediately-coastal habitats and found from B.C. to Mexico. It bears very dark green, coarsely toothed evergreen fronds, distinguished by very large sori (spore-pods) on the underside. This is a nook specimen, not a robust groundcover or landscape anchor plant. It makes a great specialty container subjet growing on that especially wicked, gnarly rock you found, or even better, on old, mossy oak limbs, or fir bark slabs, that receive intermittent summer sprinkling. To about 12" tall, 16" if growing in deep, moist shade. Sunset zones 5-9, 14-24/USDA zone 8. rev 1/2017
Polystichum evergreen (usually) ferns, forming
rosettes. Best known through our own native Western Sword Fern, P.
munitum, below. Polypodiaceae. rev 1/2017
braunii nursery plant forms tidy, perfect rosettes of erect, glossy, dark green fronds, to about 1-3' wide by 12-18" tall. Stipes and frond undersides are nicely scaly. Widely distributed in the Northern Hemisphere. Very frost hardy, likes cool, moist, acid conditions like you would find in a forest but will accept infrequent watering if well established. rev 3/2008
makinoi young plants this is like a compact Japanese Lace Fern, P. polyblepharum (setosum), almost identical in color, conformation, and presentation except it is glossier and less scaly/furry. It will grow to about the same size, 2' tall and wide. Features even, perfect rosettes, and a clean and somewhat formal habit. It is evergreen in our state though it can take temperatures well below 0F. Sunset zones 3-9, 14-17, 21-24/USDA zone 5. Widely distributed through Eastern Asia. rev 3/2008
munitum WESTERN SWORD FERN wild, Santa Lucia Mountains wild, Mystery Spot garden landscape another formal specimen this evergreen fern produces neat upright pinnate fronds, reaching 4-5’ tall in the moist, cool forests of northern California but usually lower, to around 2', especially in hotter areas without summer watering. Great in dry shade landscapes, especially to give the illusion of a lush, moist garden where little water is actually being used. Also looks great used with other native shade plants like Asarum, Woodwardia,or when planted among redwoods. Needs part sun to dense shade and is best with some summer watering. Use peat moss for soil prep when planting, mulch around the crowns to keep the soil moist and cool. To groom wait for the new croziers to swell in late winter before cutting last year's fronds off close to the crown. Frost hardy for all of California but the High Sierras and east of the Cascades. Polypodiaceae. rev 1/2010
polyblepharum (setosum) JAPANESE LACE FERN new frond habit a charming fern, with glossy, dark green, slightly hairy pinnate fronds forming symmetrical rosettes. To 30" tall, 3’ wide. Old fronds lay flat on the ground when new fronds, pushing out from crown, form a narrow circle of bronzy tomentose leaves with pendant tips in late winter. Very nice when used with early blooming azaleas, such as Kurumes, which bloom when the new fronds are produced. Also good in containers. One of the most formal ferns. Part shade to shade, average watering, frost hardy.
setiferum ENGLISH FERN, ALASKAN FERN garden setting plantlets new fronds an evergreen, rosette-forming sword fern. Delicately cut fronds bear "babies" along the midribs, stems are covered with fuzzy, golden brown hairs. To 2’ tall, 3’ wide, the fronds often laying rather horizontally. Part shade to shade, average watering, frost hardy. Good in containers. Europe.
'Congestum Cristata' foliage mostly simple, slightly plumose. rev 1/2010
'Divisilobum' fronds on nursery plants large, light green fronds are very frilly.
'Herrenhausen' plants named after the famous German school of horticulture, this variety has rather simple, clean fronds. rev 10/2008
'Rotundum Cristatum' young plants a rotund crested form, with relatively short fronds that are extremely lacy in appearance and bright, bright green. Selected form #2594 of P. setiferum. rev 8/2007
tsus-simense KOREAN ROCK FERN small container a small scale, very dark green, finely textured, glossy, cute little specimen for container gardens, small spaces, or as a house plant. It needs regular watering, humusy soils, and shade. rev 10/200
Portulaca perennials and annuals, soft-wooded, with succulent leaves and often quite brilliant, often iridescent flowers. Portulacaceae. rev 5/2011
'Fairytales Cinderella' double magenta fluffy, dark hot pink centers and yellow petals on succulent green foliage that loves heat and won't fall apart if it doesn't get regular watering. About 4-8" tall, 14-16" wide, it can handle a hot sunny spot near gravel or a driveway. Reblooming color all season. Annual. rev 5/2014-Suzy Brooks
molokiniensis foliage native habitat a critically endangered species, mostly because its miniscule remnant native habitat, the rim of an extinct volcano, is just the little arc-sliver of Molokini Island (just south of Maui) that hasn't yet sunk slowly into the ocean. I haven't seen this bloom, but it is an awesome foliage plant, being a densely clustered nest of neatly stacked, plump green leaves. Sunset zones 9 (full shade), 17 (keep dry in winter), 21-24/USDA zone 10. rev 8/2010
oleracea 'Pazazz' series PURSLANE Red Flare Rose Glow Tangerine Vivid Yellow a blast of warm season color for hot spots with a semi-trailing habit, succulent leaves and brilliantly colorful, silky little flowers, lots of them. Covers the ground or spills over the sides of pots, walls, or hanging baskets. Full sun, heat, average water. Annual. All zones. rev 5/2011
'Rio' series MOSS ROSE all together these improved color factories resist deer, drought, heat, mildew, and bugs. Leaves are wide, shiny, and dark green against the very bright colors. A low maintenance color carpet for a sunny spot in baskets, garden areas needing little watering, spilling over walls, or hugging rocks. About 6" tall and spreading out quickly to 15". A worthy annual outside of Sunset zones 8, 9, 14-24/USDA 8. rev 4/2013-Suzy Brooks
Portulacaria afra SPIKEBOOM, ELEPHANT BUSH, PORKBUSH, MINATURE JADE closeup a vertical succulent shrub to 6-8' in nature, almost always seen as a small scale subject in gardens or containers here. It is characteristic of a South African biome known as "spekboom," roughly equivalent to our chapparal but subtropical, and featuring more succulent plant types such as this plant, aloes, iceplants, etc. It slowly can grow to form an upright shrub and has been used for short hedges, but that takes a long time. It really shines when kept petite enough that you can get close and appreciate the glossy green leaves against the burgundy stems. It really does look like a minature Jade Plant except it shows more stem and grows with an arching to semihorizontal habit. It was made for containers, combo or solitary specimen type, and also looks awesome against red or black lava rock in dry gardens. It makes a relatively good bonsai subject but first rate subjects are only derived from old garden plants lifted. It can grow in full to half-say sun, can take very little or very regular watering, and is frost hardy to around 25F. Sunset zones 9, 15-17, 21-24/USDA zone 9 or anywhere as a container/house plant. Portulacaceae. rev 5/2011
'Variegata' at the Huntington very cool when it gets older and all weepy, especially against blue, reddish, or dark colored rocks or plants. rev 4/2010
Prostanthera ovalifolia 'Variegata' flowers this is a moderately fast upright evergreen shrub with small variegated leaves, a somewhat open habit, and a beautiful display of violet purple flowers in a heavy show in spring. Smaller and slower than it's green parent, it is also longer lived and much easier to fit into a landscape. The leaves have a strong minty smell, hummingbirds and bees will create a cloud of activity (and therefore attention) around it, and it just needs some sun, average or better drainage and modest to very little summer watering. To about 4-5' tall, 3-4' wide, put it somewhere where you can brush against it at least once a day, by the driveway, the mailbox, or an entry.Sunset zones 14-17, 19-24. Labiatae/Lamiaceae rev 5/2014
Protea shrubs and shrubby groundcovers known for spectacular flowers. Need typical Mediterranean-plant culture including good drainage, infrequent, careful summer watering, lean, mineral soils, and in this case usually no feeding. South Africa. Proteaceae. rev 9/2011
cynaroides KING PROTEA closeup shrub one of the most spectacular flowering plants on Earth, from the very California-like climate near Cape Town, South Africa. This is a famously incredible blooming shrub that is rightly respected as not the easiest plant to grow, else we would all be neck deep in it. The amazing, silvery pink artichoke-like flowers, to almost 12" across, open in late fall and late winter from the tips of recent, mature growth. The plants get about hip high by about 6' across, sometimes a little larger under the best of conditions. They rarely live over 7-10 years, and often less. It actually makes a very forgiving container plant, tolerating fluctuating moisture levels and general neglect quite well. Otherwise it needs very to be planted in quite mineral soils of at least good drainage, with little or no summer watering directly at the crown (but appreciated occasionally in the dry season where you think those root tips might be), and with a thin layer of mulch to keep the absolute soil temperature down but not retain too much winter moisture. Give it as much full, bright sun as you have, since it grows in an essentially treeless landscape, and restrict its target planting site to the Coastal Inland Valleys or places cooler. It usually needs no fertilizing when planted in almost any California soil, but might need some zero- to very-low-phosphate soluble food (blue Miracle Gro fits the description), at 1/3 rate, very occasionally, if in a container. Iron deficiency (very neatly defined, dark green veins) in garden plants is easly treated by a handful of iron sulfate, plus about a tablespoon of sulfur, placed into a small hole somewhere near the drip line, and in containers is treated with soluble chelate formulas on the foliage and watered in. For best results don't try to cram this into a border, or plan on making it a core component of a permanent landscape. This is unpredictable and short-lived even when well sited and grown by experts, so don't weep when it goes to that great arboretum in the sky. But remember that is why you are growing cool things like this. Such is the nature of growing specialty plants, they are really just another form of Neon Tetra, and about the time they need to be flushed down the toilet is about the time you have decided you need some different colors in the tank. It makes a mind blowing cut flower but no real gardener will remove the few flowers they have spent so long growing. Does best in the cooler summer areas with almost no frost, such as Sunset zones 15-17, 21-24/USDA zone 9. rev 9/2011
'Mini King' MINI-KING PROTEA very close to a very large flower an epically useful variation, being much smaller, lower, and producing more flowers which are only modestly smaller than its full-size parent. There are actually two slightly different seedling forms in the cut-trade that we acquired, at some point we'll choose only one. Outer bracts are darker pink than in most P. cynaroides seedlings, leaves are smaller and narrower, growth is more prostrate. A very tough container plant, withstanding very low soil-moisture conditions (= "I forgot") without apparent effect. Makes a great medium-size patio subject, if you have a treasured container looking for a tenant. Full sun, good drainage, infrequent to very infrequent watering, but it will need some during California summers. Frost hardy to around 25F but can regrow from its lignotuber after lower temps. Somewhat hort lived, figure 5-8 years, 10 at most. USDA zone 9. rev 7/2016
'Pink Ice' incredible flower this is a hybrid variety, P. neriifolia x susannae, and produces deep rose pink bracts with a silvery sheen that enclose the white flowers. The tips of the central filaments are tipped black and form a nice contrasting dark eye at the center. Like all Proteas, this is a spectacular plant that can be a problem child. It wants as much sun as possible, as good drainage as you can provide, as mineral soil as is available (moderately acidic, of course), and as little summer watering (especially under warm conditions) as you can get away with without watching it shrivel up and die. The farther away from those conditions it is, the shorter its time on this earth. Do not fertilize except perhaps to treat with trace element foliage sprays, as needed. It is going to be short-lived anyway, like almost all Mediterranean-climate shrubs, but is as spectacular as any plant in cultivation in return. Its primary Achilles' Heel is that it is on the "highly susceptible" list for Phytophtora, of any kind, and seems to show almost no natural resistance. If you plant it, and you have it, you will find out in short order. It can be grown as a container plant quite successfully, but does best where the container is at least partly shaded to keep roots cool. Superb cut, of course. Frost hardy to 25-20F. Sunset zones 8-9, 14-17, 21-24/USDA zone 9. rev 11/2007
Psidium cattleianm STRAWBERRY GUAVA fruit as hedge a shrub or very small tree, usually to about 8' tall, often seen as an informal or clipped hedge. but forming a very nice small tree with formal dark green leaves and quite attractive, crepe-myrtle-like bark, often displayed on picturesque, gnarly trunks, when mature. The small whitish flowers are produced in late summer and produce dark red fruit to about an inch across by late fall or early winter. It can also rebloom in late winter under warm conditions, and produce a second spring crop. The fruits have a sweet to strongly resinous flavor reminiscent of strawberry. This plant seems to be a cumulative (a.k.a. "facultative") short day initiator, and may respond to chill as well, which acts as another factor to break down bloom inhibitors. In most areas where it grows in California it will usually bloom in late summer or early fall, and bear by winter or early spring. I like these fruits very much as long as they are fully ripened. If underripe they tend to be astringent, and acidic enough to make your salivary glands at the back of your jaw ache. The best fruit come off in your hand when you touch them on the branch, then are left to ripen a day or two longer. Easiest is to clean all the fruit from under the plant and harvest what falls each day. They make an excellent jam. It is almost impossible from cuttings in my experience and so is raised from seed. I am aware of no exceptional clones that can truly be shown to be better than average. One problem is that I have encountered a relatively large number of sterile individuals in plantings, even with cross pollinators adjacent, perhaps as high as 10%. For good results plant at least two and if a plant is a shy or non-bearer, "give 'em the axe, the axe, the axe, right in the neck, the neck, the neck!". Show no pity. They should start to bear almost immediately, and can even fruit in 1g cans here at the nursery. Expect top damage any time temperatures drop below 28F. Many old plants around Santa Cruz were severely damaged, frozen to the ground or even frozen dead at 19F in 1990. Sun, average soils, quite drought tolerant when established (at the expense of fruit production). rev 8/2014
Pteris evergreen ferns, subtropical to warm temperate in hardiness. Derived from Greek pterid/pteron, "wing," and properly pronounced with silent "P" of course. And thus thrusting this genus front and center into the Latin-pronunciation controversy when it is used as as a root in other fern names like Dryopteris and Struthiopteris and Angiopteris. Do you use the "English" system of pronouncing every letter, to make deciphering spelling easier, as in "dry-OP-teris"? Or do you prefer the "root-word meaning" system that preserves clues as to why the plant was named? Dryo refers to oak, pteris to wing, hence "dryo-pteris". Both are correct, by the way. Personally I almost always use the "root word" system just because I love the etymology. Polypodiaceae. rev 1/2013
cretica 'Albolineata' SILVER RIBBON FERN foliage effect an evergreen fern with a distinct, broad white band in the center of the frond, growing 18-24" tall. Morning sun or shade, regular watering. Easy to grow, try it in a terrarium or as a houseplant. Sunset zones 17, 23-24/USDA 9. rev 6/20132
dentata 'Stramina' young plants fronds look somewhat like a congested Asparagus setaceus (plumosus). Initially short, compact,but eventually tall, with bright, deep green foliage. This is a more finely dissected form of the species that is popular in Europe. It takes drier soils well and is fast growing. Very nice in containers. Tom Ballinger of San Francisco says his plant is over 4' tall, lush, dense, vigorous, and "a great success in its own right." I wouldn't expect it to be hardy beyond 25F. Sunset zones 8-9, 14-16 (all with protection), 17, 21-24/USDA zone 9. Indian Ocean periphery. rev 2/2010
ensiformis ‘Evergemiensis’ foliage, young nursery plants a small scale evergreen fern with dark green leaves highlighted with white stripes in the centers of the leaves and leaflets. Highly dimorphic, with compact, mostly horizontal sterile fronds reaching few inches across, then later (long-day conditions?) very erect, narrow fertile fronds arising from the center to about 12-16". Probably not hardy, probably best in containers or at least cozy, shaded, sheltered outdoor areas. Southeast Asia, Australia. rev 1/2013
fauriei foliage a compact but relatively vigorous variety with glossy, neat fronds that are roughly triangular in shape, medium sea green in color. It grows in shaded forest areas and should be hardy to at least 15-20F. Reaches about 16-18" in height and spread. Makes a nice container or combo element plant. Probably Sunset zones 8-9, 14-24/USDA zone 9. East Asia. rev 1/2013
‘Flame’ foliage sometimes listed as a separate species, P. tricolor, this evergreen fern is easily distinguished by broad, very glossy triangular fronds divided into long, finger-like sections. The foliage emerges brilliant red, ages to copper or bronze, finally becoming dark green. The stems are dark mahogany. This is a rather durable landscape variety that is deciduous below 25°F. Mostly shade, regular watering, great in containers. Probably Sunset zones 9, 16-17, 21-24/USDA zone 9.rev 1/2013
tremula AUSTRALIAN BRAKE a tall, tough, durable fern to 3-6' tall and broad, with lacy, broadly triangular dark green fronds and dark, wiry stems. This is a good one for dry shade, needing only infrequent watering to maintain it until winter. It has enough substance to stand out noticeably in the landscape and will tolerate dark situations at the expense of rapid growth. Its only fault is that below about 25° expect it to be at least deciduous, and below 20°F expect it to possibly be dead. Australia, New Zealand, Southwest Pacific. rev 1/2013Ptilotus exaltatus 'Platinum Wallaby' PP20785 MULLA MULLA flowers a tough Australian perennial (this form, at least), comprised mostly of upright, feathery pink heads of flowers. The blossoms themselves are humble, but the flower head is silvery and quite attractive. This form adapted to alkaline soils and being truly perennial. Sun, very drought tolerant when fully established, to 12-18" tall and wide. Sunset zones 8-9, 14-24/USDA zone 9. Australia. Amaranthaceae. rev 11/2010