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Home > Landscaping > Native Plants for Western Washington Gardens and Restoration Projects


Native Plants for Sandy or Gravelly Soil

Acer macrophyllum
Big-leaf Maple
A tree with a large, often multi-stemmed trunk and a loose, broad crown of large leaves.
Height: 65-100 feet (20-30 meters) tall with trunk 3-5 feet (1-1.5 meters)diameter.
Achillea millefolium
Yarrow
Aromatic herb with delicate fern-like leaves and flat-topped clusters of white flowers.
Achillea millefolium is capable of enduring poor soil and dry conditions.
Height: 4 inches to 3 feet (10-100 cm).
Allium acuminatum
Taper-Tip Onion
This native wild onion has grass-like basal leaves overtopped by umbels of purple flowers, and egg-shaped bulbs containing a fibrous network on the surface.
Can endure rocky, dry to moist open forest sites.
Height: Up to 12 inches (30 cm).
Allium cernuum
Nodding Onion
Clusters of long grass-like leaves overtopped by nodding umbels of pink flowers.
Prefers dry sandy to rocky soils.
Height: Up to 20 inches (50 cm).
Arbutus menziesii
Madrone
An attractive broadleaf evergreen with a twisting reddish trunk and irregular branches with an overall rounded outline.
Found in rocky sites with coarse-textured soils
Height: Up to 100 feet (30 meters).
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
Kinnikinnick, Bearberry
A mat-forming evergreen shrub producing lovely pink flowers that later turn into red berries.
Prefers coarse, well-drained soils.
Height: Can grow up to 8 inches (20 cm) tall.
Brodiaea congesta
Harvest Lily
Long slender stems to 3 feet (1 meter) in length topped by a dense cluster of deep purple flowers.
Height: Up to 3 feet (1 meter) tall.
Brodiaea hyacinthina
Fool's Onion, White Brodiaea
Onion-like plant from an underground corm, with large clusters of white flowers at tip of stems.
Also found in sagebrush deserts east of Cascades.
Height: 10-30 inches (25-70 cm).
Ceanothus velutinus
Snowbrush
A tall shrub with glossy leaves and clusters of white flowers.
Height: Up to 10 feet (3 meters).
Claytonia perfoliata
Miner's Lettuce
Low-growing, mat-like herbaceous annual with succulent round leaves.
Height: 12 inches (30 cm).
Corylus cornuta
Beaked Hazelnut
Slender, multi-trunked deciduous shrub.
Prefers calcium and nitrogen rich soils.
Height: 3 feet - 13 feet (1 meter - 4 meters).
Deschampsia cespitosa
Tufted Hairgrass
Densely tufted perennial grass.
Grows vigorously in nutrient-rich sites.
Height: Up to 4 feet (120 cm) tall.
Epilobium brachycarpum
Tall Annual Willowherb
Taprooted annual of dry, gravelly or disturbed sites.
Height: 1-4 feet (30-120 cm) tall.
Equisetum arvense
Field Horsetail
Succulent, hollow, jointed stems with whorls of branches.
Height: 6-24 inches (15-60 cm).
Equisetum telmatiea
Giant Horsetail
More robust and larger than common horsetail. Sheaths around its sterile stems have 14-18 teeth.
Height: 3-7.5 (10) feet tall; 1-2.3 (3) meters tall.
Eriophyllum lanatum
Woolly Sunflower
Wooly leafy perennial with yellow daisy-like flowers.
Height: Up to 2 feet (60 cm).
Erythronium oregonum
White Fawn Lily
Showy white lily from segmented corm.
Height: Flower stem up to 1 feet (30 cm) tall.
Festuca rubra
Red Fescue
Perennial grass with thread-like leaves forming small patches.
Will withstand inundation if soil is well drained.
Height: Can grow up to 4 feet (1.2 meters) tall.
Fragaria chiloensis
Coastal Strawberry
Spreads low across ground with runners. White flowers and small red strawberries.
Commonly found on dunes and sea bluffs.
Height: Up to 10 inches (25 cm).
Gilia capitata
Globe Gilia
Upright taprooted annual with large ball-like heads of blue flowers.
Height: Up to 3 feet (1 meter).
Heuchera micrantha
Small-flowered Alumroot
Grows from rhizomes with one to many flower stems that are reddish and covered with fine hairs and topped with delicate panicles of tiny white flowers.
Height: Up to 2 feet (60 cm).
Holodiscus discolor
Oceanspray
Multi-stemmed upright shrub with ridged young stems and arching older stems with peeling bark. White flowers.
Prefers well-drained rocky soils.
Height: Up to 13 feet (4 meters).
Juncus ensifolius
Daggerleaf Rush
Height: Can grow up to 2 feet (60 cm) tall.
Lithophragma parviflorum
Small-flowered Woodland Star
Delicate herb from slender rhizomes with numerous small bulblets; white star-shaped flowers.
Height: 2-16 inches (10-40 cm).
Luetkea pectinata
Partridgefoot
Low-growing ground cover with spikes of small white flowers.
Prefers moist sandy acidic soil.
Height: Up to 6 inches (3 cm) tall.
Mahonia aquifolium
Tall Oregon Grape
Erect, stiff-branched shrub with holly-like leaves and clusters of yellow flowers.
Tolerant of nutrient-poor, rocky soils.
Height: 2.5 - 6.5 feet (0.8 meters - 2 meters).
Penstemon fruticosus
Lowbush Penstemon
Spreading shrub with numerous tubular purple flowers.
Height: Up to 40 cm (1.5 ft) tall.
Philadelphus lewisii
Mock Orange
Erect, loosely branched shrub with large fragrant white flowers.
Can tolerate several soil types.
Height: Up to 10 feet (3 meters).
Phlox diffusa
Spreading Phlox
Mat forming perennial with showy white to pink flowers.
Height: Up to 4 inches (10 cm).
Pinus contorta
Shore Pine
Short pine tree, often with crooked trunk and bushy habit.
Height: Up to 100 feet (30 meters).
Plectritis congesta
Sea Blush
Delicate annual herb with large dense clusters of small pink flowers.
Height: Up to 2 feet (60 cm).
Polemonium pulcherrimum
Showy Jacob's-ladder
Taprooted perennial with mostly basal leaves and blue bell-shaped flowers.
Height: Up to 14 inches (35 cm).
Potentilla anserina ssp. pacifica
Silverweed
Low growing hairy herb with runners and solitary yellow flowers.
Height: Up to 16 inches (40 cm).
Prunus emarginata var. mollis
Bitter Cherry
Shrub or small tree with white flowers and small red cherries.
Height: Up to 50 feet (15 meters).
Pseudotsuga menziesii
Douglas fir
Large coniferous tree with thick, fluted bark.
Height: Up to 300 feet (90 meters).
Pteridium aquilinum
Bracken Fern
Rhizomous perennial fern with large, much-divided solitary fronds,
Height: Usually 3-6 feet (1-2 meters) tall, sometimes taller.
Quercus garryana
Garry Oak
Beautiful, deciduous, heavy limbed oak tree.
Height: Up to 82 feet (25 meters).
Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani
Softstem Bulrush
Scirpus maritimus
Seacoast Bulrush
Sisyrinchium californicum
Golden-eyed Grass
A small iris-like plant with yellow flowers.
Height: 16 inches (40 cm).


The landscaping and restoration information provided on this page is taken from the Starflower Foundation Image Herbarium. All photographs © Starflower Foundation unless otherwise noted.