OAEC is a non-profit education center in Sonoma County that works to promote ecologically and culturally resilient communities. Learn more.
2013 Spring Perennials
Here are just some the perennial plants we are proudly offering at our 2013 Spring Plant Sale. (Or, check out our 2013 annuals list.) We will be offering additional varieties at our Summer Sale in May.
To see the entire list, scroll down. If you'd like to read about varieties of a particular type of perennial, click the type below to jump to that section of the list:
- Perennial food crops/Permaculture plants
- Perennial culinary herbs
- Perennial medicinal herbs
- Other ornamentals offered
Artichoke (Cynara scolymus)
Native to the Mediterranean. Flowers delicious, leaves used medicinally. 3-5 ft tall, 3 ft wide. Full sun, grows well in all soils with compost, drought tolerant once established.
Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis)
Native to Europe, North Afria, Western Asia. Spring spears are tasty raw or cooked, high in antioxidants. 40-60 in. tall, spreading underground. Full sun, deep, well-drained soil, regular water. Wait at least one year before harvesting spears.
Cardoon (Cynara cardunculus)
Native to Mediterranean. Stems delicious cooked with an artichoke flavor. Grows 3-5 ft tall and 3 ft wide. Full sun, rich soil, drought tolerant once established.
Chufa (Cyperus esculentus var. sativus)
Also called ground almond, tiger nut, Zulu nut, or earth chestnut, this perennial sedge has been a significant food crop in Asia Minor and Egypt since ancient times, and ranks among the oldest cultivated plants on the planet. It produces many small, delicious, sweet-tasting nutty tubers, which grow underground in a chain-like fashion. The plant is grass-like and grows from 6 – 36 inches tall. They were used to make cakes in ancient Egypt, and presently they are cultivated in Spain as an ingredient in horchata.
French Sorrel (Rumex scutatus)
Native to South-Central Europe and Southwest Asia. Delicious acidic lemon flavored leaves. Grows up to 1 ft tall, 3 ft wide. Requires full sun to part shade and moist, well-drained soil.
Horseradish (Armoracea rusticana)
Horseradish is a perennial plant in the Mustard Family, originally native to southeastern Europe and western Asia. It has been cultivated since the time of ancient Egypt for its roots and leaves, which have both culinary and medicinal purposes. Most commonly its grated root is mixed with vinegar and used as a condiment. The roots are harvested in the winter and offshoots of the main root are replanted to produce next years crops. If left undisturbed in the garden, horseradish can become invasive.
Job’s Tears (Coix lacryma-jobi)
Native to East Asia and Peninsular Malaysia. Edible seeds, valued in Chinese medicine, mature seeds used as beads. 3-6 ft tall, 2-3 ft wide. Perennial in frost-free location, can be grown in large planter pot, full sun/part shade, regular water
Kurrat Leek (Allium ampeloprasum var. Kurrat)
Kurrat is an Egyptian leek that has been grown for its leaves in the Middle East for at least 2,500 years. Closely related to elephant garlic, these leeks are transplanted in the garden and if left in place will self-divide into clumps which eventually can be divided and replanted to increase the patch for harvest. The bulbs and leaves can be eaten the same way as leeks, and flowers can be used as garnish. The juice of this plant can be used as an insecticide.
Malabar Spinach (Basella rubra)
Native to Africa and Southwest India. Edible stems and leaves. 8-10 ft tall vine. Full sun, fertile well-drained soil, best grown on trellis.
Red Veined Dock (Rumex sanguineus)
Native to Europe, North Africa, Southwest Asia. Young leaves tasty raw, older leaves good cooked. 2-3 ft. tall, 1 ft wide. Full sun/part shade, almost any soil, regular water.
Rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum)
Well-loved garden perennial, very productive. Stalks tart and tasty when cooked. Will grow 3 ft tall and wide. Needs full sun and fertile, moist soil. Native to Mongolia, and valued in Chinese medicine.
A truly remarkable plant, Tree Collards are a perennial Brassica which is highly productive and yields delicious blue-green leaves which taste quite similar to annual collards. They are especially sweet during the cool times of the year. While their exact origin is shrouded in mystery, they are reputed to come from Africa, and have been propagated and passed on within African American communities in this country. They can thrive happily for 10-12 years and then again must be propagated by cuttings to continue. The plants grow 5-6 feet tall and can sprawl 6-8 feet in all directions. They need full sun and rich, moist soil.
Heirloom from 1880s that can perennialize in this climate. 4 to 9 inches long, with slender silver shanks. Non-bulbing, but will form clumps that can easily be divided. A good scallion for early spring transplants. 60 to 120 days from transplant.
Achira (Canna edulis)
Native to the West Indies and South America. Edible starchy rhizomes. 5 ft tall, 3 ft wide. Full sun/part shade, well-drained soil, regular water.
Alkanet (Alkanna tincturia)
Alkanet or Dyer’s Bugloss, originally native to the Mediterranean is a perennial in the Borage family whose roots have been used for a bright ruby red dye since antiquity, and also for a coloring agent in fabrics, soap, oils, lipstick, varnishes, and wine. It produces a rosette of fuzzy leaves and bright blue flowers on a 1-3 foot tall stem. It prefers full sun and moist soil.
Blue Flax (Linum Perrenne Lewisii)
Blue Flax is a perennial native to western North America and Europe. It makes a clump that is drought resistant and produces a profusion of pale blue flowers of astonishing beauty. The plant has been historically used by native Americans for sewing, basketry, and net making. The seeds are TOXIC if ingested raw but harmless and tasty if cooked, and are cold-pressed to make an oil.
Cape Gooseberry (Physalis peruviana)
Native to Peru and Chile. Delicious tropical-tasting fruit. 2-3 ft by 2-3 ft. Full sun, any well-drained soil with compost.
Mashua (Tropaeolum tuberosum)
One of the signature “Lost Crops of the Incas,” this is the fourth most important root crop of the high Andes in Peru. This sprawling, vine-like nasturtium produces abundant pale yellow tubers which have a radish-like spiciness when raw, but mellow to a unique floral sweetness when steamed or baked. Its leaves and flowers are tasty in salads, and the crimson flowers are a great hummingbird attractant in November. The plant thrives in fertile, moist soil but will tolerate marginal conditions.
Orris Root (Iris Germanica var. Florentina)
Once important in Western herbal medicine for many purposes including relieving bronchitis, coughs, and sore throat. Orris is now used as a fixative and base note in perfumery and in the making of potpourris. The fresh rhizomes have little odor, but when dried, have the scent of sweet violets; and during the drying process, do not attain their maximum fragrance for at least two years. Orris has also been used as a main ingredient in other cosmetics, soaps, sachets, and dental creams. Orris has a large white flower tinged with pale lavender, and prefers moist, fertile soil.
Pepino (Solanum muricatum)
Native to the Andes. Lightly sweet Honeydew-like fruit. 1 ft tall, 2 ft wide. Full sun, any soil with compost, drought tolerant once established.
Pyrethrum (Tanacetum coccineum)
Native to the Caucasus region. Used as a natural insecticide. 2 ft tall, 1 ft wide. Full sun, fertile, well-drained soil, drought tolerant.
Weld (Reseda Luteola)
Originally from the Middle East, North Africa, and the Mediterranean, weld is an important plant as a source of a brilliant yellow dye. Most of the dye is contained in the seeds. When the dye of weld is combined with the blue dye of WOAD (Isatis tinctoria), the result is a brilliant green. Weld is a perennial which flowers 2-5 feet tall the second year, tolerates dryness and prefers fertile soil.
Angelica (Angelica archangelica)
Native to Syria. Used as a vegetable, a flavoring, and medicinally. 3-4 ft tall, 2-3 ft wide. Sun/shade, any drained soil, regular water.
Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)
Native to Europe, Asia, North America. Light onion flavor great in many dishes, as a garnish. 1.5 ft tall, 1 ft wide. Full sun/part shade, any soil with compost, drought tolerant once established.
French Tarragon (Artemesia dracunculus)
A classic perennial herb related to wormwood, tarragon is native to a wide area of the northern hemisphere. Tarragon is one of four “fines herbes” of French cooking particularly suitable for chicken, fish, and egg dishes. Its aromatic, anise-like leaves can be steeped in vinegar to make a fine herbal vinegar. Tarragon actually prefers poor soil, drought, and neglect!
Garlic Chives (Allium tuberosum)
Also called Chinese chives, this perennial onion is grown for its strap-shaped leaves, which can be used fresh in salads or cooked into such dishes as pasta, Chinese dumplings, flatbreads, or stir-frys. Its attractive white flowers are beautiful as a garnish or salad ingredient.
Golden Marjoram (Origanum vulgare ‘Aureum’)
Native to the Mediterranean. Aromatic leaves great fresh or dried. 6 in tall, 2 ft wide. Full sun, any soil with compost, drought tolerant once established.
Lavender of many varieties and cultivars (Lavandula angustifolia, dentata, pinnata, viridis, x dentata, and x intermedia)
Native across Europe, Asia, North Africa. Aromatic leaves and flowers used fresh, dried, in tea, skincare, and medicinally. Sizes range from 1 ft tall and wide to 5 ft tall and wide. Full sun/light shade, any drained soil, drought tolerant once established.
Lemon Grass (Cymbopogon Citratus)
Lemon grass, a perennial native to India and tropical Asia, is widely used as an herb in Asian cuisine. It has a subtle citrus flavor and can be used dried, powdered, or fresh. It is used in teas, soups, curries, and with poultry, seafood, and beef. Lemon grass is a tropical, so it needs to be protected from frost, and in our climate will do best as a container plant that can be moved indoors. It can grow to 3 feet tall and just as wide, and prefers warmth, full sun, and fertile well-drained soil.
Lovage (Levisticum officinale)
Native to the Mediterranean. Aromatic celery-flavored leaves used in cooking and medicinally. 4-5 ft tall, 2-3 ft wide. Full sun/part shade, any soil with compost, drought tolerant once established.
Marjoram (Origanum majorana)
Native to the Mediterranean. Aromatic leaves great fresh or dried. 2 ft tall, 1 ft wide. Full sun, any soil with compost, drought tolerant once established.
Mountain Mint, Common (Pycanthemum virginianum)
Common or Virginia mountain mint is a favorite perennial mint of the OAEC gardens. It is a stout, spreading, handsome plant for the herb garden or perennial borders, growing up to four feet, and producing clusters of tiny white, purple-spotted flowers. It makes an incomparably refreshing herb tea!
Mountain Mint, Short-Toothed (Pycnanthemum muticum)
Native to the eastern U.S., this highly pungent and beautiful perennial mint is used for a delicious tea. Its tiny white flowers are subtended by frosty white bracts which make it a striking border plant and great as a cut flower.
Oregano (Origanum vulgare)
A common perennial herb native to warm, temperate western and southwestern Eurasia and Mediterranean regions. Oregano’s most prominent modern use is as a staple herb of Italian cuisine, but it is also common in Middle Eastern, Latin American, and Spanish cuisines. It prefers full sun and moist conditions, but can tolerate poor soils.
Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
Native to Europe. Used for tea, as a flavoring. 2 ft tall, spreading (vigorously). Full sun/part shade, any soil, regular water.
Rosemary- Tuscan, Prostrate, White flowered (Rosmarinus officinalis, + ‘Prostratus’, + ‘Albus’, respectively)
Native to the Mediterranean. Aromatic leaves great fresh or dried. 6ft tall and 3 ft wide, 6 in tall and spreading, 3-4 ft tall and 1-2 ft wide. Full sun to part shade, any soil with compost, very drought tolerant once established.
Culinary Sages (Salvia officinalis)
The classical gray-foliaged culinary sage most commonly used. Its bright blue flowers can be used in cooking or fresh as a garnish. Needs full sun to partial shade, any soil with compost, drought tolerant once established. All can be used in in savory dishes.
- Berggarten Sage: A fantastic culinary sage with wide, almost oval leaves which are especially great for garnishing and deep frying.
- Golden Sage (Salvia officinalis ‘Icterina’): Native to the Mediterrranean. 2-3 ft tall, 1-2 ft wide. Beautiful bi-colored green and yellow leaves.
- Tricolor Sage (Salvia officinalis ‘Tricolor’): 1-2 ft tall and wide.
- Purple Sage (Salvia officinalis ‘Purpurascens’): 1-2 ft tall and wide. Deep purple, velvety, highly ornamental leaves.
Salad Burnet (Sanguisorba minor)
Salad burnet is a perennial herb in the Rose family, native to western, central, and southern Europe, northwest Africa, and southwest Asia. With a taste reminiscent of cucumber, it is used both fresh in salads and as an infusion in vinegar to make a yummy salad dressing. It is fairly drought tolerant, but prefers moist, fertile soils.
Society Garlic (Tulbaghia violacea)
Native to Natal, Transvaal, and Eastern Cape, South Africa. Onion/garlic flavored leaves and flowers used fresh, bulbs used medicinally. 2-3 ft tall and wide. Full sun/part shade, any soil with compost, very drought tolerant once established.
Spearmint (Mentha spicata)
Spearmint is an herbaceous perennial rhizomatous mint native to much of Europe and southwest Asia. It prefers moist, loamy soil and partial shade. Its leaves can be used fresh, dried or frozen. It makes a calming herb tea and a great base to a refreshing herb water. And at OAEC, we love to use it finely julienned in fruit salads or salsas.
Sweet Mace (Tagetes lucida)
Native to Mexico, Guatemala. Mace-flavored leaves used to flavor ancient Aztec chocolate-based drink, and medicinally. 1-2 ft tall, 1.5 ft wide. Full sun, fertile well-drained soil, drought tolerant once established.
Thyme, French and Lemon (Thymus vulgaris, Thymus x citriodorus, respectively)
Native to the Mediterranean. Aromatic leaves great fresh or dried. 1-2 ft tall and wide. Full sun, fertile well-drained soil, drought tolerant once
Winter Savory (Satureja Montana)
Native to temperate southern Europe. Aromatic leaves great fresh or dried. 1 ft tall, 2 ft wide. Full sun/part shade, well-drained soil, drought tolerant once established.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
Native to India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Used in Ayurvedic medicine for stress, arthritis and other conditions. 1-3 ft tall and wide. Full sun, any soil with compost, drought tolerant once established.
Catmint, Blue Wonder (Nepeta mussinii)
Native to the Caucasus region and northern Iran. Used for mild sedative properties. 1 ft tall, 1-2 ft wide. Full sun, average, well-drained soil, drought tolerant once established.
Catnip (Nepeta cataria)
Native to Eurasia. Used to treat anxiety, colds, and as an insect repellant, recreational drug for cats. 1-2 ft tall, 1 ft wide. Full sun/part shade, any soil with compost, drought tolerant once established.
Celandine (Chelidonium majus)
Native to Europe and west Asia. Used in small quantities as a sedative and immune stimulant, may be toxic in large doses. 3 ft tall, 2 ft wide. Part/full shade, any soil with compost, regular water.
Clary Sage, white and purple flowered (Salvia sclarea)
Native to the northern Mediterranean. Used as an eyewash, in aromatherapy, for women’s complaints, digestive problems. 3 ft tall, 1 ft wide. Full sun/part shade, any soil with compost, regular water. We have both purple and white bracted varieties.
Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea)
Native to North America. Used to treat colds, may stimulate immune function. 3-4 ft tall, 3 ft wide. Full sun, any soil with compost, somewhat drought tolerant once established.
Elecampane (Inula helenium)
Native to Britain, Asia, central and southern Europe. Used as a tonic, antiseptic, to treat lung infections, and in veterinary herbalism, also used in the production of Absinthe. 3-5 ft tall, 2-3 ft wide. Full sun/part shade, any soil with compost, regular water.
Feverfew (Chrysanthemum parthenium)
Native to the Balkan Peninsula, Anatolia and the Caucasus. Used to treat fever, headache, arthritis, digestive problems. 2 ft tall and wide. Full sun/part shade, any soil with compost, drought tolerant once established.
Horehound (Marrubium vulgare)
Native to Europe, North Africa, Asia. Used to make lozenges to aid digestion, ease sore throat, reduce inflammation. 3 ft tall, 1-2 ft wide. Full sun, any soil with compost, drought tolerant once established.
Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca)
Native to Central Asia. Used as a uterine, cardiac, and nervous system tonic. 2-3 ft tall, 1-2 ft wide. Full sun/part shade, any soil with compost, somewhat drought tolerant.
Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana)
Native to sub-tropical and tropical North and South America, this perennial herb has become well known for its use as a sugar-substitute. Its leaves, used either fresh or dried, are reportedly 300 times sweeter than sugar! Also used medicinally to treat diabetes, high blood pressure, and heartburn. Will grow 1-2 ft tall, and thrives in full sun or partial shade in fertile, moist soil.
Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum)
Native to Europe, north Africa, west Asia. Used for gentle sedative properties, as a pot-pourri and moth deterrant, as a flavoring. 1-2ft tall and wide. Part/full shade, rich soil, water loving.
Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare)
Native to temperate Europe and Asia. Used to treat parasitic worm infections, contains antiviral compounds, maybe toxic in large doses, useful for biological pest control. 3-4 ft tall, spreading. Full sun/light shade, any soil with compost, somewhat drought tolerant.
Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)
Native to Europe and Asia. Used to treat sleep disorders, restlessness, and anxiety, flowers used in perfumes in the 16th century. Full sun/part shade, any soil with compost, regular water.
Wood Betony (Stachys officinalis)
Also called Bishop’s wort, betony was used in ancient times to protect against sorcery, bad dreams, and ghosts. A perennial grassland herb native to Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, betony’s modern herbal uses include treatment for head-related afflictions including migraines, toothaches, anxiety, and insomnia as well as for gastro-intestinal irritations, diarrhea, and menstrual problems. Betony has attractive purple flowers that attract bees and butterflies and is easy to grow—preferring fertile, well-drained soil and full to partial sun. Betony grows to 1 to 2 feet tall and produces multiple stalks of pretty purple flowers, great for cutting.
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium ‘Proa’)
Native to Europe and western Asia. Used to treat inflammation and headaches, strong astringent properties.1 ft tall, spreading. Full sun/part shade, any soil, drought tolerant once established.
Yerba Mansa (Anemopsis californica)
Also known as Lizard’s Tail, Yerba Mansa is a striking flowering plant native to southwestern North America. It's a versatile medicinal plant used for centuries by southwest native peoples and Hispanics for ailments ranging from toothaches to sinus infections. Known as an antimicrobial and antifungal, it has been used to treat inflammation of mucous membranes, swollen gums, and sore throat, and is also said to prevent buildup of uric acid crystals that cause kidney stones. Almost mythical as a heal-all, it has potential to become as popular as echinacea or goldenseal. It produces showy, white cones of flowers and spreads by runners; thriving in loose, moist, rich soil.
Abutilon hybrid, Logee’s White
Abutilon hybrid, Red Nabob
Abutilon hybrid, Seashell
Abutilon hybrid, Variegata
Abutilon hybrid, Yellow
Abutilon megapotamicum, Variegatum
Achillea millefolium, Proa
Asclepias curassavica, Red Butterfly
Asclepias curassavica, Silky Gold
Asclepias incarnata, Milkmaid
Atriplex hymenelytra, Desert Holly
Buddleja globosa, Orange Ball Tree
Buddleja alternifolia, Alternate Leaved Butterfly Bush
Buddleja davidii, Black Knight
Buddleja davidii, White Bouquet
Buddleja x weyeriana
Centaurea, Colchester White
Cestrum rubrum, Jessamine
Dahlia imperialis, Tree Dahlia-Pink
Helichrysum petiolatum, Limelight
Helichrysum sp., Everlasting
Leonotis leonurus, Lion’s Tail
Lychnis chalcedonica, Maltese Cross
Nepeta musinii, Blue Wonder Catmint
Penstemon, Apple Blossom
Penstemon, Elfin Pink
Salvia brandegeei, Brandegee’s Sage
Salvia chiapensis, Chiapas Sage
Salvia clevelandii, Cleveland Blue Sage
Salvia elegans, Red Pineapple Sage
Salvia gesneriflora, Tequila Sage
Salvia guaranitica, Blue Anise Sage
Salvia holwayi, Holway’s Sage
Salvia involucrata, Roseleaf Sage
Salvia karwinskii, Karwinski’s Sage
Salvia leucantha, Purple Mexican Bush Sage
Salvia leucophylla, Gray Sage
Salvia purpurea, Purple Sage
Santolina chamaecyparissus, Gray Lavender Cotton
Santolina virens, Green Lavender Cotton
Senecio bicolor, Dusty Miller
Silene maritima, Sea Campion
Stachys byzantina, Lamb’s Ears
Tagetes nelsonii, Mexican Marigold
Fuchsia thymifolia, Fairy Fuchsia