Houseplant 101

Houseplant 101


4 Important Elements of Houseplant Care


Considering the natural lighting of your home is a great place to start when buying indoor plants. Each window will offer different lighting and a plant that will thrive in one window may suffer in another. Knowing the direction each window faces before you set foot in a plant shop will keep you from buying the first plant that catches your eye!

North-facing windows never see the sun’s rays and widows with obstructing views of the sky can make some rooms uninhabitable. Low light tolerant plants can survive in a room where a book can be read with the lights off. In these rooms, plants shouldn’t be placed more than four feet away from a window. If a plant is suffering from lack of light it will begin to lean towards the nearest light source, becoming leggy and unhealthy. Plants that will tolerate low light conditions include; Dracaena trifasciata “snake plant,” Zamioculcas zamiifolia “zz,” and Aglaonema “Chinese evergreen.”

East-facing windows provide mellow morning sun, while southern windows offer bright reflective light throughout the day. Chalathea, Maranta “prayer plants,” and most ferns will thrive in east-facing windows. South-facing windows are beneficial for almost all indoor plants as they provide the most reflective light throughout the day and are best for sustaining large houseplants. A great rule of thumb, when placing plants that need bright indirect light, is making sure the plant can “see the sky.”

Cacti and succulents prefer a hot west-facing window that gets plenty of afternoon sun. While this window can be great for a wide range of indoor plants, be careful not to put sensitive plants directly in the sun’s rays. Philodendrons, ferns, and other plants can scorch if they are placed directly in a west-facing window.


Image of houseplants in a room

Feeling the soil before you water, and watering thoroughly is key! During the spring and summer your tropical plants and ferns will likely need water weekly, but be sure to always check the soil first! Check for moisture by feeling an inch down into the soil for tropical plants, a half-inch for ferns, and for cacti and succulents the soil should be completely dry all the way through before watering. If your plant is moist to the touch, refrain from watering and check it again the following week.

When you do water, water thoroughly making sure to cover the entire surface area. Water until the pot drains. You can do this twice if the plant is in a porous pot and is placed outside to drain. Pots should always have drainage and a tray to capture excess water if watered indoors. This keeps the plant’s roots from sitting in standing water which will cause rot. If you do have a pot without drainage, it is best to nest the nursery pot of the plant into the container rather than transplanting.


Pests are usually a sign that a plant is experiencing stress from lack of light or improper watering. Plants, like people, need to be in good health to ward off infections.

The most common houseplant pests include mealybugs, spider mites, fungus gnats, aphids, thrips and scale. Treatments can be very effective as long as the bugs are detected quickly. Many of these pests are extremely vigilant and are hard to defeat once they have spread.

Checking for pests weekly can save you from having to treat your entire collection of houseplants for weeks due to an undetected pest! When watering, take extra time to look the plant over for any possible infection. Knowing a few of their favorite hiding spots will give you the ability to check quickly and prevent large outbreaks. The most common forms of treatment include foliar spray and systemic mixes. It is best to use organic sprays and solutions. Systemic mixes (usually powder) can be added straight to the soil and watered in. This treatment boosts the plant’s defenses as it is absorbed through the roots and makes the plant itself lethal to unwanted guests.

Mealybug pest to indoor plants

Mealybug is a fuzzy white insect that leaches nutrients from the plant’s leaves, stems, and any nook and cranny it can fit itself into. Dabbing the insect with a cotton swab soaked in rubbing alcohol is the best form of topical treatment. Treat mealy every three days for nine days, and be sure to give your plant a good rinse so alcohol isn’t left on the leaves or stems. After the mealy has cleared up, be sure to check the plant for any new outbreaks over the next several weeks.

Spider mites are a pest to indoor plants

Spider mites are a lot smaller and can spread very quickly if not stopped early enough. You can usually find them hiding in small webbing on the underside of leaves, down the leaf’s center or midrib, and between petioles (where the leaf and stem meet). The infected plant should be treated twice a week for 3 to 4 weeks. These bugs can be taken care of with an organic foliar spray specifically for spider mites, or systemic treatment. This pest is common among Scheffleras and Calatheas.

Fungus gnats are a pest to indoor plants

Fungus gnats are tiny flies that favor damp soil. The larva of this pest is the real predator as it feeds on roots beneath the soil. To kill the larvae make sure to let the infected plant’s soil dry several inches deep. Larvae cannot survive without moisture. To get rid of the pesky files, set a small sticky trap on the surface of the soil. By allowing the soil to dry and using a sticky trap the files should dissipate in roughly 2 weeks.

Aphids are a pest to indoor plants

Aphids normally appear on the plant’s leaves and stems. These bugs come in a variety of different colors including green, white, yellow, and black. Aphids reproduce quickly and can infest your plant within a few days. Spray these pests with insecticidal soap, or hose off the foliage until the bugs are dislodged.

Scale are a pest to indoor plants

Scale is a hard-bodied insect that sucks sap from the veins and stems of the plant. Due to its protective shell, this bug is relatively hard to kill. Like most pests, if caught early enough the infected plant can recover quickly. These bugs can be removed with a soft brush or by hand. Systemic treatment can aid in the defense as long as the infestation is minor. These pests are persistent, so check your plant for several weeks after removal for any new outbreak.

Thrips are a pest to indoor plants

Thrips like fungus gnats are the most damaging to plants while in the larva phase. These larvae, however, favor the foliage of the plant. Monstera deliciosa and various philodendrons are the most susceptible, leaving the leaves blotchy and discolored. Use insecticidal soap weekly until the larvae are gone. The discoloration is permanent and any scarred leaves should be pruned.


Houseplants in a room

Up-potting and fertilizing are important practices in maintaining the health and longevity of indoor plants. A plant will need to be repotted or “up-potted” when the roots have begun to press around the sides of the pot or grow out the drainage hole in the bottom. To replant, lightly tease the roots, and plant into a pot roughly two inches wider in diameter and depth to prevent root rot. Organic potting soil is great for most houseplants, but if you are replanting cacti or succulents be sure to use a well-draining cactus mix.

Fertilizing your indoor plants can make a huge difference in the spring and summer. Use an organic fertilizer with an NPK of 3-3-3 or below. Generally, cacti and succulents will not need fertilizer, but if the plant is in a bright west-facing window and the soil is drying quickly, it would be happy to receive an extra boost. You can fertilize these plants with a fertilizer specific to cacti and succulents, or further dilute the one you use for tropical plants.

Knowing these important basics will help you choose the right house plant for your living space, while giving you the confidence to care for and recognize possible health issues. While these houseplant basics will set you up for success, researching further will help you master care for specific plant varieties. We recommend checking out these additional links for more information.

Light Requirements
Growing Indoor Plants with Success

Rose Mold? No. Mycorrhizae. (It’s a good thing).

Rose Mold? No. Mycorrhizae. (It’s a good thing).

A customer at our Portland garden center in the Raleigh Hills neighborhood walked in the other day quite distraught. Earlier in the spring, she had purchased a rose fertilizer developed by the Portland Rose Society from us.

In the past, she had always bought the conventional form of it directly from the Society, but this time, she had bought the organic version, and she was not pleased.


Fuzzy Rose Mold?

Something that seemed like “rose mold” had developed on the soil surface wherever she had used this fertilizer. She even brought us a sample to see. She said her roses looked fine but requested a refund for what was left in the bag.


if you’ve ever bought plants from a nursery, you might have noticed this white stuff on the bottom. Don’t remove it!


We were all mystified. We had never seen this kind of thing before and refunded her money. But I was still curious, so I called the Rose Society to find out if they had seen or heard about this phenomenon from other rose growers. Indeed they had! In fact, the rosarian on the other end started laughing!


Marvelous Mycorrhizae

It turns out that the fuzzy stuff was simply mycorrhizae doing its thing, except in overdrive. Mycorhizzae is a naturally existing fungus that has existed in soils for over 450 million years. It forms a symbiotic relationship with plant root systems, and essentially extends the plant’s nutritional network, boosting its ability to absorb water, key nutrients, and trace minerals.

Usually, this network is hidden underneath the soil surface. In our customer’s case, it had continued expanding above ground – manifesting itself with this white fuzz. Long story short – prolific mychorrhizae is exceptionally good news for your garden.



image courtesy of


The world’s mycorrhizae networks are easily disrupted by construction, or even just digging. It is often completely disabled by industrial farming practices or the addition of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.


The Benefits of Mycorrhizae Mold On Soil

Mycorrhizae boosts the plant’s immune system, and strengthens its chances of prosperous survival.

Per our amused rosarian – the addition of mycorrhizae to the custom rose fertilizer was the main reason the organic variety cost more than the conventional.

If you ever observe a fuzzy substance like the one in the photo growing near the roots of your roses – you will be prepared to treat it like the gift it is! 🙂



17 Beautiful Beach Plants for Coastal Living

17 Beautiful Beach Plants for Coastal Living

We often get asked: “What plants do well in a coastal situation?” 

Having just returned from a week on the southern Oregon coast, I had the time and opportunity to see for myself, and am happy to share some good options. 

Here in western Oregon we have what is usually referred to as a Mediterranean climate, meaning mild winters and warm, dry summers. 

As any gardener here knows, the possibilities to grow interesting, unique, and fabulous plants here are nearly endless. On the coast, there are three additional important factors to keep in mind that might make beach plants and coastal gardening challenging. 

To my mind, these factors render coastal conditions even more truly Mediterranean than our more forgiving inland version.


The three factors of the coastal challenge:


  1. High and frequent winds
  2. Often sandy, fast-draining soils
  3. Salt – both in the air and often in the groundwater


Because of the less extreme temperature fluctuations near large bodies of water, you can also often push your boundaries with beach plants a little more than you can farther inland, which is always fun! 🙂 As a result of this, you will, for example, see Phormiums at the coast of a size you hardly ever see in Portland. 

And I’ll bet coastal gardeners have never even heard of a “Phormium winter” like we experience in Portland from time to time, when all our lovingly tended New Zealand flax dies.


phormium plants blowing in the beach wind


1. Phormiums

This Phormium is in bloom, which is another feature we don’t often see in Portland. It is of an entirely different proportion than its inland brothers and sisters.


Escallonia flowers on the beach


2. Escallonia

The windy coastal conditions creates a need for screening. Here, the evergreen density of Escallonia is put to work to create shelter from the breezy barrages so often experienced on seaside properties.



Bergenia, Agapanthus, Sedums, Zauschneria, Cistus beach coastal garden living


3. Climbing Roses, Agapanthus, Sedums, Zauschneria, Cistus

Climbing roses, Bergenia, Agapanthus, Sedums, Zauschneria, Cistus and ornamental grasses accompany the dark foliage of the ornamental cherries anchoring this coastal cottage garden.



flowers on sidewalk beach town coastal living


4. Leucadendron

There is a decidedly Californian flair over this seaside, streetside garden – Leucadendron, Parahebe perfoliata, Phormium, ornamental grasses, Ilex, etc. The large Rhododendrons in the background give a nod to a more traditional Oregon plant palette.



Hebes beach plants coastal breeze


5. Hebes

Hebes is a great alternative – here seen with a wind-whipped Pine. The general rule of thumb when it comes to Hebe varieties is that the smaller the leaf, the hardier they are.



evergreen blossoms on the oregon coast


6. Coastal Hebes

Since you can push the envelope in milder coastal climates, you can get away with using showier, larger-leaved varieties. Hebes are evergreen and bloom for a long time, with white, pink, or purple blossoms. They are quintessential west coach beach plants.



Agapanthus flowers in bloom on the beach


7. Erigeron and Agapanthus

Erigeron is a tough, pretty, mounding plant that blooms for a long time with small, daisy-like flowers. Here placed in front of a row of Agapanthus.



succulents on the beach thrive well


8. Succulents

Succulents are a fantastic option! Agaves, Sedum, and Sempervivum all perform fantastically. Here is the hot pink Delosperma planted with pink Seathrift (Armeria) that has mostly finished blooming.



succulents on the side of a rock on the beach


9. Sedums and Sempervivums

These incredibly exposed wild succulents were growing on a vertical rock face out in the ocean. These are a mix of Sedums and Sempervivums.



eucalyptus thrives in wet beach environments


10. Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus is a perfect evergreen tree for fast-draining soils. The leaves might turn red when heat stressed.



Agapanthus beach plants beautiful coastal living


11. Junipers

Conifers often do well on the coast. Junipers, Pines, and Cypresses are common. Here is the free-form silhouette of a conifer paired with a more formally clipped broadleaf evergreen shrub and the sky blue rounds of the Agapanthus.



pines on the beach


12. Exposed Pines

These exposed Pines put up a constant battle against the Western winds of the Pacific Ocean. As you can see, wind is a major factor in seaside gardens. Use the lee side of your house to your advantage to cultivate your less sturdy plants.



Echium is a great plant that can thrive on the beach


13. Echium

The dramatic foliage of an Echium is a great addition to any garden, but be sure to put it in a less windy spot to ensure its towering flowers do not collapse.



rosemary does remarkably well on the coast


14. Rosemary

Rosemary does phenomenally well on the coast. After all, it is a Mediterranean plant in a very Mediterranean climate.



beautiful hydrangeas do great on the coast


15. Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas do great on the coast. This one is on the lee side of a building with an eastern exposure, but normally this would be a great spot for a Hydrangea, but this one is looking rather sad. Hydrangeas are thirsty plants and love ample moisture. If you plant them in fast-draining soils, you need to provide them enough water to look their best. You can see from the crispy mopheads that the above Hydrangea is not entirely happy. 🙁



Cordyline Astralis is a california beach plant that exists in southern oregon


16. Cordyline Australis

You can tell that these photos are from the southern Oregon coast, as some of the plants are decidedly Californian in stature. Here are a couple of mature Cordyline Australis – the likes of which you may not readily see on the northern coast. Yuccas might be a good alternative in those colder areas.

california poppies look beautiful on this waterfront property


17. California Poppies

A little past their prime, but still lovely, tough-as-nails California poppies adorn the seaside landscape. It doesn’t get much better than that!

Roses, Crocosmias, Agastache, Ceanothus, Achillea, Salal, Lavender, Santolina, Cannas, Poppies, … the list of tough, excellent, salt-tolerant plants is a long one. You can find an excellent list here. Hopefully, this post will give you some ideas of what might work where you are. We are always available to answer more questions. Just stop by our Portland garden center in the Raleigh Hills neighborhood.

Ideal Plants for Your Climate

Ideal Plants for Your Climate

A successful garden starts out with a good garden plan. Haphazardly throwing plants, trees, and shrubs together without a well-informed plan can be a recipe for disaster.

Understanding your local climate is essential to solid garden planning. In the beautiful Pacific Northwest that we call home, we frequently receive questions about plants that do well in the moist environment of the Portland area. But the Northwest presents a wide range of climates from the high deserts of Bend to the mild coastal regions of Seaside. Following are some ideas to help your garden planning process, no matter what type of conditions you might live in. We carry many of these in our Portland garden center.


Plants for Wet Areas 


Garden Planning with Wet Soil Plants


The following is a comprehensive list of trees, shrubs, perennials, grasses, and all-around wet soil plants. Most every Portland landscape has a need for a few plants that thrive in moist soil. Here are several to choose from!


Trees for Wet Areas



Acer Rubrum Red Maple


  • Acer rubrum – Red Maple

  • Acer saccharinum – Silver Maple

  • Alnus – Alder

  • Betula nigra – River Birch

  • Fraxinus latifolia – Oregon Ash

  • Larix – Larch

  • Liquidamber stryaciflua – Sweetgum

  • Lirodendron – Tulip Tree

  • Malus – Crabapple

  • Magnolia virginiana – Sweet Bay

  • Metasequoia glyptostoboides – Dawn Redwood

  • Nyssa slyvantica – Sourgum

  • Picea sitchensis – Sitka Spruce

  • Platanus – Poplar

  • Quercus bicolor – Swamp White Oak

  • Quercus palustris – Pin Oak

  • Salix – Willow

  • Taxodium distichum – Bald Cypress

  • Thuja plicata – Western Red Cedar


Shrubs For Wet Areas


Andromeda Polifolia - Bog Rosemary

Andromeda Polifolia – Bog Rosemary


  • Andromeda polifolia – Bog Rosemary

  • Ardisia japonica – Japanese Ardisia

  • Aronia arbutifolia – Chokeberry

  • Calycanthus – Spice Bush

  • Chaenomeles – Flowering Quince

  • Cornus stolonifera – Red-Osier Dogwood

  • Ilex glabra – Inkberry

  • Ilex virginica – Sweetspire

  • Leucothoe fontanesiana – Drooping Leucothoe

  • Lindera benzoin – Spice Bush

  • Lonicera involucrate – Twinberry

  • Myrica pensylvanica – Bayberry

  • Rosa palustris – Swamp Rose

  • Salix – Shrub Willow

  • Sambucus Canadensis – Red Elderberry

  • Spirea douglasii – Douglas Spirea

  • Syphoricarpus orbiculatas – Coral Berry

  • Viburnum opulus – Snowball Bush

  • Viburnum trilobum – Cranberry Bush


Perennials For Wet Areas


Aruncus dioicus Goatsbeard

Aruncus dioicus Goatsbeard


  • Aruncus dioicus – Goatsbeard

  • Aster novae-angliae – New England Aster

  • Astilbe – Astilbe

  • Bellis pernnis – English Daisy

  • Caltha palustris – Marsh Marigold

  • Camassia – Camas Lily

  • Canna – Canna Lily

  • Chelone – Turtlehead

  • Cimicifuga – Bugbane

  • Dicentra Formosa – Bleeding Heart

  • Eupatorium maculatum – Joe-Pye Weed

  • Filapendula – Meadow sweet

  • Gunnera – Dinosaur Food

  • Iris – Iris

  • Lilium canadense – Canada Lily

  • Lysimachia – Loosestrife

  • Lobelia cardinalis – Cardinal Lobelia

  • Mentha – Mint

  • Mimulus – Monkey Flower

  • Monarda – Bee Balm

  • Mysosotis – Forget-me-not

  • Polygonatum – Solomans Seal

  • Primula japonica – Japanese Primrose

  • Rodgersia – Rodgersia

  • Schizostylis – Kafir Lily

  • Sisyrichium – Blue-eyed Grass

  • Tolmiea menziesii – Piggyback Plant

  • Trollius – Globeflower

  • Viola – Violet

  • Zantedeschia – Calla Lily


Grasses For Wet Areas


Acorus gramineus Japanese Sweet Flag

Acorus gramineus Japanese Sweet Flag
Image courtesy of Monrovia


  • Acorus gramineus – Japanese Sweet Flag

  • Calamagrostis – Feather Reed Grass

  • Carex – Sedges

  • Chasmanthium latifolium – Northern Sea Oats

  • Deschampsia – Tufted Hair Grass

  • Juncus – Rushes

  • Miscanthus sinensis – Maiden hair Grass

  • Molinia – Moor Grass

  • Panicum virgatum – Switch Grass


Beach Flowers: Garden Planning with Plants that Thrive in a Coastal Environment


Acer ginnala Amur Maple

Acer ginnala Amur Maple


Coastal Trees

  • Acer ginnala – Amur Maple

  • Arbutus menziesii – Pacific Madrone

  • Chamaecyparis lawsoniana – Port Orford Cedar

  • Chamaecyparis obtuse – Hinkoki Cypress

  • Crataegus – Hawthorn

  • Cupressocypraris leylandii – Leyland Cypress

  • Ilex apuifolium – English Holly

  • Laurus nobilis – Bay Laurel

  • Picea sitchensis – Sitka Spruce

  • Pinus contorta – Shore Pine

  • Pinus mugho – Mugo Pine

  • Pinus nigra – Austrian Black Pine

  • Pinus ponderosa – Ponderosa Pine

  • Pinus sylvestris – Scotch Pine

  • Pinus thunbergiana – Japanese Black Pine

  • Prunus – Flowering Cherry

  • Pseudotsuga menziesii – Douglas Fir

  • Robinia – Black Locust

  • Salix discolor/ caprea – Pussy Willow

  • Sequoia sempervirens – Coast Redwood

  • Thuja plicata – Western Red Cedar


Shrubs That Thrive on the Coast


Abelia grandiflora Abelia

Abelia grandiflora Abelia


  • Abelia grandiflora – Abelia

  • Arbutus unedo – Strawberry Bush

  • Aucuba japonica – Aucuba

  • Berberis – Barberry

  • Buxus sempervirens – Boxwood

  • Ceanothus – California Lilac

  • Choisya – Mexican Orange

  • Cistus – Rockrose

  • Cotoneaster – Cotoneaster

  • Cytisus – Broom

  • Eleagnus – Silverberry

  • Erica – Heath

  • Escallonia – Escallonia

  • Euonymus – Euonymus

  • Garrya eliptica – Silktassel

  • Hebe – Hebe

  • Hydrangea – Hydrangea

  • Ilex aquifolium – English Holly

  • Ilex glabra – Inkberry

  • Lonicera pileata – Box Honeysuckle

  • Myrica californica – Pacific Wax Myrtle

  • Potentilla – Potentilla

  • Prunus laurocerasus – English Laurel

  • Prunus lusitanica – Portugal Laurel

  • Punica granatum – Pomegranate

  • Pyracantha – Pyrancantha

  • Rhamnus – Rhamnus

  • Ribes – Flowering Currant

  • Rosa rugosa – Rugosa Rose

  • Rosmarinus officinalis – Rosemary

  • Syringa vulgaris – Lilac

  • Taxus – Yew

  • Vaccinium ovatum – Evergreen Huckleberry

  • Viburnum tinus – Laurestinus Viburnum

  • Yucca – Yucca


Perennials For A Coastal Environment


Achillea Yarrow

Achillea Yarrow


  • Achillea – Yarrow

  • Antennaria – Pussy Toes

  • Arabis – Rockcress

  • Armeria maritima – Sea Thrift

  • Artemisia – Mugwort

  • Bergenia – Bergenia

  • Carex – Sedge

  • Cerastium – Snow in Summer

  • Coreopsis – Tickseed

  • Dianthus – Pinks

  • Echinops – Globe Thistle

  • Festuca – Fescue

  • Gaillardia – Blanket Flower

  • Gypsophilia – Baby’s Breath

  • Fuchsia – Hardy Fuchsia

  • Helianthemum – Rockrose

  • Kniphofia – Red Hot Poker

  • Lavandula – Lavender

  • Limonium – Sea Lavender

  • Santolina – Lavender Cotton

  • Sedum – Sedum

  • Sempervivum – Hens and Chicks

  • Stachys – Lambs Ear

  • Thymus – Thyme


Ground Covers For a Coastal Environment

Arctostaphylos Kinnikinnick

Arctostaphylos Kinnikinnick


  • Arctostaphylos – Kinnikinnick

  • Ceanothus Pt. Reyes – Pt. Reyes CA Lilac

  • Euonymus fortuneii – Euonymus

  • Fragaria chiloensis – Ornam. Strawberry

  • Gautheria shallon – Salal

  • Juniperus – Junipers

  • Lithospernum – Lithodora


Drought Resistant Plants

Following is a collection of trees, shrubs, perennials, grasses, and vines that are drought resistant.


Abies Concolor

Abies Concolor

Drought Resistant Trees

  • Abies concolor

  • Acer campestre

  • Acer ginnala

  • Aesculus

  • Ailanthus altissima

  • Arbutus unedo

  • Calocedrus decurrens

  • Catalpa

  • Cedrus deodara

  • Cedrus atlantica

  • Cercis occidentalis

  • Cornus nuttali*

  • Corylus

  • Cotinus coggyria

  • Crataegus

  • Cupressocyparis leylandii*

  • Eleagnus angustifolia

  • Ficus carica**

  • Fraxinus

  • Ginkgo biloba

  • Gleditsia triancanthos

  • Gymnocladus dioica

  • Juglans

  • Koelreuteria paniculata

  • Lithocarpus densiflorus

  • Maclura pomifera

  • Morus

  • Phellodendron amurense

  • Picea

  • Pinus

  • Platanus acerifolia

  • Pseduotsuga menziesii

  • Quercus

  • Robinia

  • Sequoiandendron gigantica

  • Sophora japonica

  • Sorbus

  • Tilia tomentosum

  • Thuja plicata

  • Umbellularia californica

  • Zelkova serrata


Drought Resistant Shrubs


Acanthus mollis

Acanthus mollis


  • Acanthus mollis

  • Amelanchier alnifolia

  • Aronia

  • Aucuba japonica

  • Berberis

  • Buxus micro jap.

  • Calycanthus occidentalis

  • Camellia japonica

  • Caryopteris clandonensis

  • Ceanothus* **

  • Cerocarpus montanus

  • Chaenomeles

  • Cistus

  • Cotinus coggyria

  • Cotoneaster

  • Cytisus

  • Deutzia

  • Eleagnus

  • Escallonia **

  • Euonymus

  • Forsythia

  • Garrya fremontii

  • Genista

  • Hamamelis

  • Hibiscus syriacus

  • Helianthemum

  • Holidiscus discolor

  • Ilex

  • Kerria japonica

  • Lagerstroemia indica**

  • Ligustrum

  • Mahonia

  • Myrica

  • Nandina

  • Osmanthus**

  • Osmarea burkwoodii

  • Philadelphus

  • Photinia

  • Prunus laurocerasus

  • Punica granatum

  • Pyracantha

  • Rhus

  • Rhamnus

  • Rosa rugosa

  • Skimmia japonica

  • Spirea

  • Symporicarpos

  • Syringa

  • Tamarix pariflora*

  • Taxus*

  • Viburnum lantana


Drought Resistant Perennials





  • Achillea

  • Agapanthus**

  • Allium

  • Antennaria rosea* **

  • Anthemis tinctoria

  • Arenaria montana

  • Artemisia*

  • Asclepias*

  • Baptisia*

  • Bergenia cordifolia

  • Centaurea gymnocarpa**

  • Centranthus rubber

  • Ceratistigma pumbaginoides

  • Convolvulus

  • Coreopsis*

  • Echinacea purpurea*

  • Echinops exaltus*

  • Erysium*

  • Gaillardia grandiflora*

  • Geranium sangiuineum

  • Gypsophilia paniculata*

  • Helenium autumnalis

  • Helleborus

  • Hemerocallis

  • Iris

  • Kniphoia uvaria*

  • Lavandula*

  • Liatris*

  • Limonium*

  • Linum

  • Lychnis*

  • Nepeta

  • Oenothera*

  • Papavera*

  • Penstemon*

  • Perovskia*

  • Phlomis*

  • Polystichmum munitum

  • Romneya*

  • Ruta*

  • Salvia officinalis*

  • Santolina*

  • Saponaria*

  • Sedum*

  • Sisyrinchium

  • Solidago

  • Thymus*

  • Tradescantia

  • Verbascum


Drought Resistant Grasses


Cortaderia selloana

Cortaderia selloana


  • Cortaderia selloana

  • Festuca ovina glauca

  • Calamagrostis

  • Miscanthus

  • Pennisetum*

  • Stipa


Drought Resistant Vines


Clematis Armandi

Clematis Armandi


  • Clematis armandi**

  • Lonicera japonica “Halliana’

  • Wisteria

*These plants will not tolerate heavy clay soils which are water-saturated in the winter.

** These plants are marginally hardy for the Northwest. They will freeze out some years.


How to Attract Hummingbirds and Butterflies to Your Garden

How to Attract Hummingbirds and Butterflies to Your Garden

Attracting hummingbirds and butterflies to your garden is the dream of many, and for good reason. They add a sense of calm and serenity to a world that certainly could use more of it. 

And the great news is that, if you understand what you’re doing, attracting hummingbirds and butterflies can easily be done. 


Hummingbird Gardens

Hummingbird gardens must offer not only nectar-filled flowers but also provide a habitat that supports their lifestyle. 

These little birds need

  • Sun and shade
  • Shrubs and tree branches for perching
  • Fresh water for drinking and bathing
  • Materials for nest-making such as spider webs, dryer lint, or bits of leaves



These delicate birds spend lots of energy flying, so it comes as no surprise that they must feed many times each hour (3-5 times). While our flowers are blooming there is nectar for them to sip, but once you have offered them a flower food source, you can also place hummingbird feeders in prominent locations to feed them. 


hummingbird feeder

Hummingbird Feeders

Hummingbird feeders supplement the flower nectar, especially when flowers are few. Hang them from tree branches or a shepherd hook high enough to keep the hummingbird safe from the neighborhood cats.


Flowers that Attract Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds love tubular shaped flowers (although that shape is not absolutely required). Fragrance is not important to them, but vivid colors of red, purple, pink, orange, and yellow will attract them to your garden. At our Portland garden center, we have a large selection of flowering annuals, perennials & woody plants that will attract hummingbirds into your garden. 


Just a few to check out:


Angel Trumpet


Cape Fuschia 








Trumpet Vines




Image courtesy of



Butterfly Plants: Attracting Butterflies to Your Garden


Below you will find a thorough list of butterfly-attracting trees, shrubs, perennials, and annuals.  All will grow well in the Pacific Northwest, and if you’re looking for any help with the following foliage, be sure to visit us at our Portland garden center 



Trees that Attract Butterflies



Aesculus Hippocastanum

If you are interested in bringing butterflies to your garden, here are a few trees that will do the trick:

  • Aescules

  • Prunus

  • Salix



Shrubs that Attract Butterflies



Abelia Grandiflora

When planting shrubs in your garden, consider the following if you want to invite butterflies for a visit:

  • Abelia

  • Buddleia

  • Calycanthus occidentalis

  • Caryopteris

  • Clethera

  • Ceanothus

  • Ligustrum

  • Lonicera

  • Rhododendron

  • Salix

  • Syringa


Perennials for Attracting Butterflies


Achillea Millefolium

Achillea Millefolium

Going shopping for perennials anytime soon? Keep the following list handy:

  • Achillea

  • Allium

  • Arabis

  • Asclepias

  • Aster

  • Aubretia

  • Centhranthus

  • Chives

  • Chrysanthemum

  • Coreopsis

  • Helenium

  • Helianthus

  • Hemerocallis

  • Echinacea

  • Echinops

  • Erigeron

  • Eupatorium

  • Gaillardia

  • Lavender

  • Liatris

  • Lilium

  • Lythrum

  • Mentha

  • Monarda

  • Myosotis

  • Nepeta

  • Phlox

  • Physostegia

  • Salvia

  • Scabiosa

  • Sedum

  • Solidago

  • Rosemarinus

  • Rudbeckia

  • Verbena

  • Veronica


Annuals for Attracting Butterflies


Ageratum Corymbosum

Ageratum Corymbosum


  • Ageratum

  • Cosmos

  • Heliotrope

  • Lantana

  • Linonium

  • Lunaria

  • Marigold

  • Nicotiana

  • Petunia

  • Tithonia

  • Verbena

  • Zinnia

Planting and Growing the Heather Plant

Planting and Growing the Heather Plant

Planting Heather

Prepare a hole that is twice as wide as the root ball. Partially fill the hole with acidic planting mix or compost. The hole should be the same depth as the planter or root ball. Heathers have very shallow root systems, so be sure not to plant too deep. Score or scratch the root ball to loosen up the roots so the plant will establish more easily. On average, heather plants should be spaced 2-3 ft. apart.


Heather Plant Care

Never let your heather plants dry out. This is a recipe for disaster, especially for newer plantings. Water deeply at least once a week. Remove any weeds carefully. Be careful with herbicides as they easily damage your plants as well. Mulching is beneficial in the winter months, but be sure to keep mulch away from the stems and crowns.

Pruning Heather Plants

Pruning should be done after each flowering period or very early in the spring. Be careful not to prune too far down. There must be green leaves under your pruning cut or that section will not grow back. Pruning in the fall or winter will cause the plants to split and create holes.


Fertilization is almost always helpful. A light application of acid-loving, slow release fertilizer in the early spring is ideal. Fertilizers should be granular and not applied to the foliage. It is best to sprinkle fertilizer around the base of the plants about 2 inches from the stems.

Where to Find Heather Plants for Sale

If you’re lucky enough to call the Pacific Northwest your home, we can help you find heather plants for sale at our Portland garden center . We look forward to working with you on your home garden project!

A lifelong Oregon resident, Drake has been passionate about plants since childhood, beginning with propagating and growing flowers at his grandfather’s nursery. He opened Drake’s 7 Dees in 1974, while earning degrees in Business and Horticulture from Oregon State University. He later expanded into the design/build side of the industry, allowing him to combine his passion for plants with his love of family by maximizing the quality of family time spent outdoors.

Drake is co-founder of the Oregon Landscape Contractors Association and is a Landscape Industry Certified Manager (LICM)—a designation that less than two percent of landscapers have attained. Additionally, Drake serves on the Board of Directors for the Portland Japanese Gardens, widely regarded as one of the seven best Japanese gardens outside of Japan.

Drake is married to former Oregon Speaker of the House, Lynn Snodgrass. Together, he and Lynn received the Farm Bureau President’s award in 1999 for their service and dedication to agriculture in the state of Oregon. Drake and Lynn have two wonderful daughters, two talented son-in-laws, and seven grandchildren. In his spare time, Drake enjoys camping, water and snow skiing, reading, and of course, gardening.

Born and raised in the Portland Metro Area… Tim has had an appreciation for the outdoors from a young age.  Inspired by our local beauty ranging: the Mt Hood National Forest to salty, sea spray of Cannon Beach, the arid high-desert of Central Oregon to the rugged terrain of Steens Mountain – Tim sought higher education at the University of Idaho in their Landscape Architecture department.  Graduating with honors in 2004, he returned home to establish his professional career.

Now making his home in Sandy, Oregon – Tim and his wife [Nicole] are raising two happy and healthy kiddos and 4 fur-babies.  Between soccer, football, cheerleading, girl scouts and other extra-curricular activities… the Sellin family are heavily involved in their community and church family.  Since college, Tim has spent 13 of his 17 years with Drake’s 7 Dees and has ‘set roots’ in anticipation of long-term growth at the family-focused company.  Having spent his time away from Drake’s in a ‘boots on the ground’ capacity, Tim has fostered a love for the operational/production side of landscape business, as well as the design/sales.

His goal in life as well as business is to put others first.

Bachelor of Science Landscape Architecture, BSLA… 2009
California Polytechnic University, Pomona… Cum Laude
American Society of Landscape Architects – Honor Award

Steven has 15 years of experience in the residential landscape design/build and garden center industry, including 9 years with Drake’s 7 Dees. Steven also has experience working with the National Park Service in Yosemite on sub-alpine restoration projects, as well as volunteer experience as a Peace Corps Volunteer serving the community of Zaouiat d’Ifrane in Morocco.

Together, Steven and his wife Anna have four lovely children, all 5 years old and under! In his (very limited) spare time, Steven enjoys camping, hiking, archery hunting, and cooking. Steven’s passion for his work lies in helping others, through design to envision a more beautiful space that, once built, becomes a reality that improves their quality of life.