Fall Hours

9:00am-6:00pm Daily

5050 SE Stark • 503-231-5050

9000 SE Division • 503-788-9000

Retail only - no online sales

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Portland Nursery


Reduce Your Waterbill with Xeriscaping

Xeriscaping is landscaping and gardening that reduces or eliminates the need for supplemental water from irrigation. Xeriscaping is different from natural landscaping, because the emphasis in xeriscaping is on selection of plants for water conservation, not necessarily selecting native plants.

Advantages of Xeriscaping

  • Lowers consumption of water = lower water bill too!
  • Less time and work needed for maintenance effort (no lawns to cut) = More time for the Hammock!
  • Xeriscape plants in appropriate planting design, and soil grading and mulching, take full advantage of rainfall retention.
  • When water restrictions are implemented by municipality or water costs, xeriscape plants will tend to survive and thrive, while more ornamental plants may be unable to adapt.
  • Can be visually more interesting than lawns



Principles of Xeric Gardening

How will you use the space?

  • Plan for pathways, plantings, seating & play areas.
  • Choose native & drought tolerant plants to cut down on watering needs.
  • Hydro-zone – site plants with higher water needs (veggies, roses) together and closer to the water source.
  • Proper planting – prepare a wide space around the base of a plant to allow for roots to spread out horizontally & blend compost/organic matter into soil when needed.
  • Mulch – adding a permeable layer on the surface of the soil keeps roots cooler in summer & warmer in winter. It also reduces weeds & evaporation.
  • Water efficiently – use soaker hoses & drip systems whenever possible.
  • Limit lawn – a smaller lawn means less mowing, watering, fertilizing & herbicide use.
  • Use permeable hardscaping – materials that allow water to flow through let rainwater soak into the soil instead of going through the sewer system.



Plants for Xeric Gardening

Dry Zone

Cool Plants for Hot Places – All plants need regular water while rooting into a new location. Once established, these plants need little to no water during summer heat.


  • Silk Tree – Albizia
  • Incense Cedar – Calocedrus decurrens
  • Atlas Cedar – Cedrus atlantica
  • Redbud - Cercis
  • Chitalpa - Chitalpa
  • Arizona Cypress – Cupressus glabra
  • Figs – Ficus carica
  • Ash – Fraxinus
  • Juniper – Juniperus
  • Crape Myrtle - Lagerstroemia
  • Pine - Pinus
  • Oak – Quercus
  • Sumac – Rhus
  • Locust – Robinia
  • California Laurel - Umbellularia



Perennials & Herbs

Wet Zone

These plants need regular water during dry summer months. Plant them near-by a water source to minimize work and save water.


Even though many vegetables love heat, they also love water. For best production, give them consistent moisture.


Annuals are plants that bloom all spring & summer, then die in winter such as Marigolds and Petunias. They perform best when given consistent moisture.


  • Columbine – Aquilegia
  • Bell Flower – Campanula
  • Canna Lily – Canna
  • Day Lily – Hemerocallis
  • Ferns
  • Hostas
  • Japanese Iris – Iris ensata
  • Cardinal Flower – Lobelia cardinalis
  • Monkey Flower - Mimulus
  • Bee Balm – Monarda
  • Spiderwort - Tradescantia
  • Speedwell – Veronica longifolia




Generally, trees are drought tolerant once established. Healthy trees are planted with other plants that have the same water needs as the tree. Therefore, most trees should be under-planted with drought tolerant plants.


The following is a list of trees that are more tolerant of consistently moist soils. Be cautious though. Many grow to be very large and could interfere with foundations and water lines if planted to close to the house.