2013 Fall Perennials

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

Click here for our 2013 Fall Annuals list.

To see the entire perennials list, scroll down. If you'd like to read about varieties of a particular type, click the type below to jump to that section of the list:



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.

Chilean Guava (Ugni molinae)

Chilean Guava, or Strawberry Myrtle, is a perennial evergreen shrub native to Chile and adjacent areas of southern Argentina which produces an abundance of cranberry-sized, bright red edible fruit. The fruit is absolutely delicious, tasting like a combination of strawberry and kiwi, with perfumy overtones reminiscent of bubble gum. This low-maintenance edible perennial is highly ornamental as well, growing to 5-6 feet, producing glossy dark green leaves and hundreds of pink flowers in the spring. It tolerates temperatures down to 20 degrees Farenheit and grows in full to partial sun, preferring moist soil. Its fruits are delicious fresh as a snack in the garden, but are also tasty made into jam, ice cream, or as an ingredient in cakes and muffins.

Earth Chestnut (Bunium bulbocastaneum)

Also called Great Pignut, the Earth Chestnut is a member of the carrot family that is used for its tubers, seeds, and leaves. It grows wild in a wider range from southeastern Europe to southern Asia. Its small rounded tubers are edible raw or cooked and taste like sweet chestnuts, and its leaves can be used as an herb or garnish similar to parsley. Its seeds are used as a spice-sometimes called black cumin--in northern India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Tajikistan and Iran. Earth Chestnut is a hardy perennial that grows to 2 feet and prefers a sunny location in moist, well-drained soil.

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

Manzano Peppers, Red and Yellow (Capsicum pubescens)

Native to Peru and Bolivia. Very hot, very flavorful. 4-5 ft tall. Full sun, grows in all soils with compost, drought tolerant once established.

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.

Tree Collards

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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. 

Teosinte (Zea diploperennis)

Corn was domesticated from this wild perennial grass called Teosinte over 6300 years ago in Mexico. Exactly which of the five species of Teosinte and how they contributed to the evolution of corn is controversial. Teosintes strongly resemble corn in many ways, most notably in their male tassles, but are distinguished by their multiple branches and many small female inflorescences which mature into tiny "ears." Virtually all populations of Teosinte are either threatened or endangered; this particular species exists in an area of only a few sqare miles. This species is an elegant spreading grass which towers to 8 feet and has been a plant of interest in the OAEC garden for 25 years.

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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.

Anise Hyssop, Blue and White flowered (Agastache foeniculum)

Native to the Mediterranean. Sweet, anise-flavored leaves great in teas, desserts, salads. 3 ft tall, 2 ft wide. Full sun/part shade, any soil with compost, drought tolerant once established.

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. 

Lemon Verbena (Aloysia citrodora)

Lemon verbena is a deciduous shrub native to Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Bolivia, and Peru. An OAEC favorite herb, it is used to flavor herb waters and teas, but also adds a great lemon flavor to poultry dishes, aioli, ice cream, and salad dressings. It can grow to a small tree if frost protected and is quite drought tolerant.

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.

Orange Bergamot Mint (Mentha citrata)

Not to be confused with the ornamental flower, Monarda or bergamot, or the citrus bergamot orange used in flavoring Earl Gray tea, this spreading, pungent garden mint is a great addition to the herb garden for its use as a refreshing tea or chopped fresh in fruit salads.

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.


  1. Culinary Sage: The classic grey-foliaged culinary sage most commonly used. Bright blue flowers can be used in cooking or fresh as a garnish. 
  2. Golden Sage (Salvia officinalis 'Icterina'): Native to the Mediterranean. 2-3 ft tall, 1-2 ft wide. Beautiful bi-colored green and yellow leaves.
  3. Tricolor Sage (Salvia officinalis ‘Tricolor’): 1-2 ft tall and wide.
  4. 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, Lemon (Thymus x citriodorus)

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

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. 

Aztec Sweet Herb (Lippia dulcis)

Aztec Sweet Herb is a perennial ground cover with thimble-like white flowers native to southern Mexico and Central America. It contains a compound called hernandulcin, which is 1000 times sweeter than sugar and, like stevia, is used as a natural sugar. It should be used in small quantities, however, because it also contains appreciable amounts of camphor, which can be poisonous in large quantities. The Aztecs used it in the treatment of bronchitis, indigestion, and hypertension. 

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.

Dyer’s Madder (Rubia tinctorum)

Dyer’s Madder, a perennial related to bedstraw and sweet woodruff, is an important dye plant that contains a compound in its thick red roots which yields a red color for dying textiles. It was also used as a colorant for paint, and as a medicinal for treating bladder and kidney stones. Originally from southern England and continental Europe, madder is easy to grow. It spreads to about 2-3 feet and appreciates full sun and moist, fertile soil.

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.

Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis)

Marshmallow is a perennial plant indigenous to Africa, which has been used as food and medicine for thousands of years. A sweet confection made from the root since ancient Egyptian times has evolved into today's marshmallows. The leaves and flowers can be eaten raw in salads and historically most parts of the plant have been used as a vegetable. Medicinally, the plant has been used as a treatment for irritation of mucous membranes including sore throats and gastric ulcers. Marshmallow is a perennial, with beautiful pale pink flowers, that dies back in the winter only to return again in the spring.

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.

Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris)

Mugwort is a perennial herb in the Daisy family, native to the British Isles, which has naturalized in many parts of the U.S., including riparian areas of Sonoma County. It is said to have derived its name from having been used to flavor beer before the wide use of hops. Mugwort has been used for hundreds of years for a wide array of purposes including aiding digestion and relieving flatulence, as an antifungal and antibacterial, and for treating headaches. Today it is commonly used dried in moxibustion and is popularly put in dream pillows to invoke lucid dreaming.


  1. Nettle-leaved Mullein (Verbascum chaixii)Another OAEC favorite perennial mullein, Verbascum chaixii, forms a basal rosette of attractive dark green leaves which gives rise to multiple 2-3 foot tall stems of beautiful white flowers with fuzzy purple centers. Great for attracting beneficial insects, it is a fabulous cutting flower to put in perennial borders. 
  2. Cretan Mullein (Verbascum creticum)Also known as Celsia cretica, this perennial mullein from the southern Mediterranean is distinctive in that it has a powerful fruity perfume which comes out at night. Its yellow flowers with purple throats, which appear on four foot spires, are the largest we have seen in any mullein and can be very striking when grouped at mid-distance in a perennial border.

Rue (Ruta graveolens) 

Native to the Balkan Peninsula. Used to treat gastric troubles and cough, promote menstruation, good for culinary use in small quantities. Full sun, any soil with compost, very drought tolerant once established. 

Spilanthes (Acmella oleracea) 

Native to the tropics of Brazil. Used to treat toothache, stammering, stomatitis, leaves used in salads.1-2 ft tall, 1 ft wide. Full sun/part shade, any soil with compost, regular water.

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.


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Dye Plants 


Weld (Reseda luteola)

Native to Eurasia and also known as Dyer's Rocket, this biennial is the source of a natural dye known as Weld. Traditionally used for dying silk, linen, and wool, this plant is rich in luteolin, which produces a bright lemon yellow. It has been mixed with the blue from Woad to produce "Lincoln Green." Weld, which prefers dry, sandy soil, goes to seed in the spring and self-sows to produce plenty of plants for dying purposes.

Dyer's Madder (Rubia tinctorum)

Related to bedstraw, or cleavers, Dyer's Madder produces a compound in its thick red roots, which gives a red color to a textile dye known as Rose Madder. Native to Europe, Madder has been used since prehistoric times--a piece of fabric found in the tomb of King Tutankhamen was dyed with Madder. Easy to grow, it prefers moist, well-drained soil and will vine out to produce a crown that will yield plenty of roots for collecting.


Other Ornamentals Offered


Crop, Variety

Abutilon hybrid, Logee’s White

Abutilon hybrid, Paisley

Abutilon hybrid, Seashell

Abutilon hybrid, Variegata

Abutilon hybrid, Victor Reiter

Abutilon hybrid, Yellow

Abutilon megapotamicum, Variegatum

Atriplex hymenelytra, Desert Holly

Ballota pseudodictamnus

Buddleja globosa, Orange Ball Tree

Buddleja davidii, Black Knight

Buddleja davidii, White Bouquet

Buddleja x weyeriana

Campanula persicifolia, Blue

Campanula persicifolia, Telham Beauty

Campanula pyramidalis, Alba

Centaurea, Colchester White


Dahlia imperialis, Tree Dahlia-Pink


Fuchsia thymifolia, Fairy Fuchsia

Helichrysum petiolatum, Limelight

Helichrysum sp., Everlasting

Jasminum beesianum, Red Jasmine

Lavandula angustifolia, English

Lavandula angustifolia, Provence

Lavandula dentate, Grey French

Lavandula pinnata, Canary Islands

Lavandula stoechas, Blueberry Ruffles

Lavandula stoechas, Spanish

Lavandula viridis, Yellow Flowered

Lavandula x intermedia, Hidcote Giant

Leonotis leonurus, Lion’s Tail

Montanoa grandiflora, Tree Aster

Nepeta musinii, Blue Wonder Catmint

Parahebe perfoliata

Penstemon, Garnet

Phlomis fruticosa

Phlox subulata

Salvia brandegeei, Brandegee’s Sage

Salvia chiapensis, Chiapas Sage

Salvia clevelandii, Cleveland Blue Sage

Salvia confertiflora, Red Velvet Sage

Salvia elegans, Red Pineapple Sage

Salvia gesneriflora, Tequila Sage

Salvia guaranitica, Blue Anise Sage

Salvia guaranitica 'Omaha Gold', Variegated Blue Anise Sage

Salvia holwayi, Holway’s Sage

Salvia involucrata, Roseleaf Sage

Salvia japonica, Japanese Sage

Salvia karwinskii, Karwinski’s Sage

Salvia leucantha, Purple Mexican Bush Sage

Salvia microphylla, Pink Blush

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 4

Verbascum chaixii, Nettle-leaved Mullein

Verbascum creticum, Cretan Mullein

Verbascum phoenicium, Phoenician Mullein

Veronica, Crater Lake

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