Plant of the Week- Oregon Box or Paxistima myrsinites
Oregon box is one of the lesser know natives in Pacific Northwest nurseries. This low growing evergreen shrub can be found from Mexico into British Columbia and Alberta, east into the Rocky Mountains. Oregon box is remarkable in its adaptability, growing from sea level to sub alpine, in moist (not wet) or dry soil, in full sun or in moderate shade.
The wonder is that this adaptable native plant is not used more frequently in home gardens. In appearance, it resembles very common ‘foundation’ plants like boxwood and Japanese holly. Growing in a wide mounded form, it usually stays under 3 feet in height, and can be clipped lower. Because of its dense habit, shade and sun tolerance and strong drought tolerance, it seems logical that more gardeners would use it!
It may be the rarity of this plant is due to its resentment of being potbound. In a container, it does not like to be too crowded, and can decline if not uppotted quickly. But for those looking for sustainable landscape plants that can adapt to most sites, Oregon box is a winner.