PNW Landscape Plant Guide

brought to you by the plant geeks at Calendula Farm

Lily Of The Valley Tree (Crinodendron patagua)

Customers frequently ask us for evergreen tree options to provide screening, and that is usually followed up with “…and it can’t be Arborvitae, Laurel, or Western Red Cedar.” We do have several cool possibilities, but this one just came into our lives at the nursery and we’re all wiggly with excitement over it.

It is native to Chile, growing in lowlands to about 4000 feet in the Andes Mountains. This is a climate almost identical to ours in the PNW. At a glance it resembles Live Oak – until it blooms. In mid to late summer this leafy evergreen pops hundreds of small, pure white, fringed, dangling, bell-shaped blooms. By autumn these turn to pinkish red capsule-like fruits.

Crinodendron patagua gets between 15-20 feet tall in the Puget Sound area and will try to become a multi-trunked tree. If you don’t want that much density, keep cutting away all but one trunk which will grow sturdier and eventually the tree will get the hint.

Small, somewhat serrated, dark green leaves are sparse enough to give the tree a light and airy appearance but dense enough to give a little shade and privacy. It is drought tolerant, not picky about soil, and will give you bragging rights about having a tree nobody else in the neighborhood has.