A visit to Xera Plants retail store and Cistus Nursery, Part I

A little over a week ago, I had the pleasure of visiting for the first time the retail store of Xera Plants and Cistus Nursery. I can't say enough good things about either nursery, and just to cover my bases I haven't received any compensation for my gushing praise.

First, Xera, a wholesale grower kind enough to open their own retail shop in Portland. Xera is one of my favorite nurseries because of their philosophy of growing geek-worthy plants that are well-adapted to the Pacific Northwest. It's entirely possible to have a diverse garden full of lust-worthy plants that are also practical choices for your climate. I admire Xera's efforts to promote such plants.

Anticipation spikes when the blue Xera sign comes into view.

Though confined to a small urban lot, the retail store is packed with drool-worthy plants. Being a pessimist I thought it might be an even smaller space, but was pleasantly surprised.

Since my Cistus 'Mickie' has performed so well (even having been planted around Thanksgiving and exposed to a harsh winter) I've been keen to try more of these Mediterranean shrubs, like this 'Jenkyn's Place', which followed me home along with 'Snowfire'.

I read that Arctostaphylos with fuzzy leaves are more likely to be deer-resistant, so I've been scouting out varieties with fur, like this A. bakeri 'Louis Edmonds'. I have plans to incorporate lots of Arctostaphylos into the garden in several places.

A table full of Grevillea and Callistemon! I could have taken every one of them home if I had the money and the areas for them prepared. I'm thinking I'll be back in the fall when I resume major plantings.

I love the gold-tinged leaves of this Grevillea victoriae.

Callistemon pityoides 'Mt. Kosciusco Form' also came home with me.

I have a thing for Osmanthus, and this O. armata 'Jim Porter' needs to come home with me, just not on this trip.

The startling flowers of Impatiens niamniamensis tempted, but I'm sure the deer would love them as much as I would.

I love the subtle, earthy tones of Digitalis obscura. Hopefully it shares the deer-resistance of Digitalis purpurea, since it also came home with me.

The mottled leaves of Arthropodium candidum 'Maculatum'  look practically reptilian. I love plants like this, but I stayed pretty true to my focus on shrubs that day.

Another love: long, pendant inflorescences. Itea ilicifolia has fragrant flowers on cascading racemes over 10 inches long. I had a different focus that day, but I have a feeling this shrub will find it's way into my garden someday.

The haul from Xera, clockwise from the back left: Cistus x 'Snowfire', Cistus x 'Jenkyn's Place', Digitalis obscura, Callistemon pityoides 'Mt. Kusciusco Form', and Arctostaphylos silvicola 'Ghostly'
I'm kicking myself for not taking more pictures at Xera, but I was a little pressed for time. Oh well, I guess I'll have to go back for another visit! Darn, what a drag. I do wish Xera had more of their stock available at the retail store, but there's only so much you can pack into that space and they do a really good job of it. Hopefully I can persuade a nearby nursery to order some of their plants for me as I have quite a list of their trees and shrubs I want to add to my parents' garden. I think I'll leave it off here because I took more than enough pictures at Cistus and I'll need a separate post to even begin doing it justice.


  1. Love Cistus. The flowers seem so fragile but really aren't.
    I'm always amazed Callistemon can grow in the PNW. I know it to be a heat and sun loving plant; a constant feature of my childhood on the shores of the Mediterranean.

  2. Looks like you did them up right, nice haul!

  3. I was just there this past weekend, and I was also tempted by that Impatiens with the parroty flowers. Good haul! Looking forward to your post on Cistus.

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  5. Nice haul Evan! If only we can do a full on plant shopping while there...

  6. I live in Albany and haven't made it to Portland yet this year. When I do, Xera is on my list of must-visits. That Arcto looks like something that needs a home in my already overly crowded garden. :)

  7. So many cool finds! Xera does indeed pack a lot of great plants into such a small space!


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