Native Plants For Gardening In Portland, OR

When creating a garden in Portland, Oregon, native plants are always better for growing. Below are some suggestions.

First, think about what kind of plants you're looking for, such as herbaceous perennials, groundcovers, trees, and shrubs. Then, decide if you're going to create a new garden or if you're adding to an existing garden. You also may want to consider if plants are drought tolerant or can potentially attract wildlife.

Spend some time observing your garden. You should notice what part of your yard is shady, partly shady, sunny, or partly sunny. Run a soil check to see what the pH levels are, so you can better evaluate the type of soil to work with. You could use various kinds of soil in your garden, such as clay and sandy. It's important to match the type of soil with the type of plants in your garden.

When you plant native plants, first check the soil, then water them after planting. During the first year, you should water your native plants when you water the rest of your garden. Then the following year, after the plants have become established, water them once or twice a month. Fertilizer isn’t needed after the first year. If you add too much, it can overwhelm your native plants.

1. Trillium

The most striking characteristic of the trillium is the single three-petaled flower grown above the bracts or three leaves. The flowers can be deep red, white, yellow, pink or green. They vary in size from eight to eighteen inches tall. Their bracts range in color from dark green to bright green with a mottled pattern on some species.

Trillium likes full to partial shade, good drainage, and moist soil. They can be propagated by dividing the rhizome root structure, making it easier to seed. The plant hardiness range is from Zones 4 through 9 and varies by species. In some folklore, trillium is a symbol of modest beauty.

2. Yellow Monkeyflower

The Monkeyflower has many forms, with flowers from 20 to 40 mm long. These flowers spread by rhizomes or stolons with either a recumbent stem or an erect one. When it’s recumbent, the roots can develop from the leaf nodes. The flowers are bright yellow and have unbranched inflorescence with sometimes five or more flowers. 

The height of the Monkeyflower is about four to five inches tall. The shapes range from round to oval. It can be coarse, lobed or irregularly toothed. They grow best in wet places, with a flowering time between March and August.

3. Cascade Penstemon

Cascade penstemon is a perennial groundcover that can grow three feet high yet remain close to the ground. It prefers the soil between dry and moist. Areas fully exposed to the sun or partly shaded are recommended. It has trumpet shaped, purple wildflowers that attract hummingbirds. Growing in an upright position, this plant is also drought-tolerant.

Where To Locate These Plants

Native plants can be found in local nurseries that stock native plants. When you decide what plants you are looking for, write up a list and bring it along. Some nurseries will have a section of native plants, and some will even specialize in native plants.

You can make a beautiful garden using plants that are native to your area.

Need a garden professional? Visit our Portland lawn care page to get in touch with a professional! In addition to Portland, we provide lawn care services in Northwest cities including Seattle and Spokane.