2013 Summer Perennials

Here are just some the perennial plants we are proudly offering at the OAEC Nursery this summer.

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:

*Click here to read about a potentially poisonous plant, American Pokeweed, we are offering only upon request.



Perennial Food Crops/ Permaculture Plants


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.

Himalayan or Tibetan Goji Berry or Wolfberry (Lycium barbarum)

This woody perennial shrub grows from 3 to 9 feet and produces a profusion of tiny, bright reddish-orange berries. In the last 15 years or so, Goji Berry has received increasing attention for the nutrient value and antioxidant content of its fruit, such that it is widely tauted as a “super food” and has lead to a profusion of consumer products making a broad array of claims about its health benefits ranging from increasing longevity to enhancing the immune system.  Goji Berry does have a 6000-year history of significant food and medicinal use in China, India and Tibet and in fact possesses a high content of vitamins A and C, iron and protein. 

Originally native to Tibet and the Himalaya, Goji Berry is easy to grow in USDA Zones 5-9, grows in full sun to partial shade, prefers good soil and once established, is drought tolerant.  Its fruit has a tangy taste, resembling a combination of cranberries and cherries and can be used fresh or dried in juices, tonic soups and teas and in savory dishes such as rice congee.

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.

Welsh Onions  

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.

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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. 

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. 

Ulluco (Ullucus tuberosus)

Ulluco is one of the most widely grown and economically important root crops in the Andes of South America, second only to potatoes. Also known as Papa Lisa, its leaves and tubers are edible, similar to spinach and potato, respectively. Ulluco tubers are a spectacular yellow or fuschia-pink, and they contain high levels of protein, calcium, and carotene. Their appeal is in their crunchy texture, which remains even after cooking, and their sweet flavor. Ulluco are best grown in greenhouses, because in our climate they can get frosted before they produce tubers.


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Perennial Culinary Herbs


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.

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.

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.


  1. Berggarten Sage: A fantastic culinary sage with wide, almost oval leaves which are especially great for garnishing and deep frying. 
  2. Tricolor Sage (Salvia officinalis ‘Tricolor’): 1-2 ft tall and wide.
  3. Purple Sage (Salvia officinalis ‘Purpurascens’): 1-2 ft tall and wide. Deep purple, velvety, highly ornamental leaves.

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.

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Perennial Medicinal Herbs


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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Other Ornamentals Offered


Crop, Variety

Abutilon hybrid, Logee’s White

Abutilon hybrid, Red Nabob

Abutilon hybrid, Seashell

Abutilon hybrid, Variegata

Abutilon hybrid, Yellow

Abutilon megapotamicum, Variegatum

Achillea millefolium, Proa    

Atriplex hymenelytra, Desert Holly

Buddleja alternifolia, Alternate Leaved Butterfly Bush

Buddleja davidii, Black Knight

Buddleja davidii, White Bouquet

Buddleja x weyeriana

Centaurea, Colchester White

Cestrum rubrum, Jessamine


Echion Wildpretii

Fuchsia sp.

Furcrea selloa

Helichrysum petiolatum, Limelight

Helichrysum sp., Everlasting

Iris Siberia, Caesar's Brother

Lavatera bicolor

Leonotis leonurus, Lion’s Tail

Nepeta musinii, Blue Wonder Catmint

Parahebe perfoliata

Penstemon, Apple Blossom

Penstemon, Elfin Pink

Phlomis fruticosa

Phlomis russeliana

Phlox subulata

Salvia brandegeei, Brandegee’s Sage

Salvia chiapensis, Chiapas Sage

Salvia elegans, Red Pineapple 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

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