10 Plants Perfect for a Portland Landscape Design

December 29, 2014

Are you curious to learn more about plants that thrive in the Portland, Oregon area? Here we offer a list of Portland’s top 10 favorites. From perennials to shrubs, there are so many greenery options from which to choose. If you’d like to learn more about Portland’s hardiness zones, we invite you to read Rebecca Smith’s latest blog post Thriving Plants & Hardiness Zones: Tips from Portland Landscapers. This blog post outlines additional species that prosper in our area.

Want to create an outdoor space filled with plants that flourish all year long? Be sure to contact our Portland landscaping design specialists today. We can help you plan your garden, assess the health of your lawn, amend soil and recommend an action plan based on your exact wants and needs.

Abelia ‘Rose Creek’

Portland Landscaping Abelia 'Rose creek'A compact evergreen shrub, ‘Rose Creek’ abelia is a cold-hardy plant that produces multitudes of white, pink and purple tubular flowers from July until winter. Once established, the shrub tolerates low-water conditions and grows to three feet tall and wide in five years. Use ‘Rose Creek’ to add interest to your Portland landscape during the cool months and attract butterflies when the weather warms.

Black Mondo Grass

Portland Landscaping black mondo grassA member of the lily of the valley family, black mondo grass is one of the darkest floras that Mother Nature created. Adapting well to any amount of light, this plant makes a great edging and adds a wonderful contrast to borders and containers. Black mondo grass has small mauve flowers in the late summer that turn into black berries in the winter.

Sawtoothed Japanese Aucuba

Portland Landscaping Aucuba japonica 'Serratifolia'As a shade-loving, water-wise plant, the sawtoothed Japanese aucuba is an evergreen shrub that grows between four and seven feet tall and wide. Because the shrub branches to ground level, aucuba makes a good background plant or hedge in a shade garden. When paired with a male pollinator, the plant produces bright red berries in the fall.

Bergenia Cordofolia – Heartleaf Bergenia

Portland Landscaping BergeniaAs a perennial that’s simple to maintain, bergenia have large heart-shaped leaves and bold sprays of purplish rosettes that bloom in the spring. A single plant can grow one foot tall and two feet wide, and clusters beautifully complement any landscape.

Black-Eyed Susan

Portland landscaping Black-Eyed SusanThe black-eyed Susan is a hardy, daisy-like flower that can grow up to 4 feet tall, depending on the variety. The golden yellow flowerheads attract butterflies and can grow up to five inches in diameter. Cutting the flowers for floral arrangements encourages re-blooming later in the season.

Cornus Kousa: Chinese Dogwood

Portland Landscaping DogwoodWith white to yellow blooms developing in June, Chinese dogwood is a slow-growing tree that reaches up to 30 feet tall. Portland landscaping experts often prefer this variety to native dogwood because it’s more disease-resistant. Mature trees have a beautiful layered branching pattern.



Portland Landscaping Gardens and PlantsA plant that loves full sun, lavender grows two to four feet tall. It does well on sloped landscapes because of its drainage requirements. When you plant it on flat surfaces, lavender forms mounds that nicely accent Northwest gardens.

Bee Balm: Monarda Didyma Variety

As part of the mint family, bee balm blooms in mid- to late summer. The plant attracts hummingbirds and beneficial insects, and deters pests, like mosquitoes. The red, pink or purplish blossoms look great in flowerbeds and borders. The flower is also a good companion plant for tomatoes.

Geranium ‘Rozanne’ Cranesbill

With clusters of violet and indigo flowers, ‘Rozanne’ is a geranium hybrid that makes a good border and ground cover, particularly in rock gardens. The flower blooms in the late spring, and blossoms can last through the early fall. As a hardy plant, ‘Rozanne’ is water-wise, deer resistant and virtually pest-free.

Portland Landscaping Perennials - Geranium, Peony, Beebalm

Sword Fern

Portland landscaping sword fernA staple in Portland landscapes, the sword fern thrives in the shade and in full sun. As a tall groundcover, the sturdy evergreen tolerates poor soil conditions. Mature plants in shaded areas are drought tolerant, as well.





Photo Sources: Monrovia, Goshen Enterprises, Inc. & Landscape East & West.