Central Oregon Native Plants to Add to Your Yard

Native plants are an essential part of Central Oregon’s ecology, and adding them to your yard can help create a healthy, beautiful landscape. Whether you choose trees or shrubs, grasses, or wildflowers, they will provide a habitat for birds and other wildlife while reducing your environmental impact. Let’s look at some central Oregon native plants.

Central Oregon native plants

With careful selection and proper care, you can create a vibrant oasis of native plants in your own backyard. Here are some plants, trees, and grasses to consider for yards in central Oregon:

Mountain alder

Central Oregon Native Plants

Mountain alder (Alnus tenuifolia) is an evergreen tree native to Central Oregon, growing in moist sites up to 8000 feet in elevation. It’s often found along streams and other wetland habitats. Its leathery leaves are glossy green on top with silver-white undersides, and its small, fragrant white flowers develop in mid-spring. It’s a small, low-maintenance shrub that thrives in moist, loamy soil and partial shade.

Quaking aspen

Central Oregon Native Plants

Aspen (Populus tremuloides) is another common Central Oregon native plant. Aspens are highly tolerant of cold climates and grow best in full sun and well-drained soils. They can reach heights of up to 80 feet, with shallow roots that spread wide.

Aspens have smooth gray bark that peels off in thin layers, and their pale green leaves shimmer in the wind. In late spring, small yellowish flowers appear on the trees. Aspens are often found in mountain meadows. They make an excellent addition to a backyard landscape, providing shade and beauty throughout the year. 

Other native trees include:

  • White alder
  • Bitter cherry
  • Cottonwood
  • Hawthorn
  • Douglas fir

Bluebunch Wheatgrass

Central Oregon Native Plants

Bluebunch wheatgrass (Pseudoroegneria spicata) is a tough native grass to Central Oregon. It thrives in sunny, dry sites with alkaline soils and does not require much water or fertilizer. Bluebunch wheatgrass grows in clumps and produces pale green leaves that turn yellowish-green in summer. Tiny, spike-like flowers appear in late summer and turn purplish-brown when ripe. This grass is an excellent choice for erosion control on slopes as it roots deeply and quickly forms a protective sod. Bluebunch wheatgrass adds texture and color to any landscape and can grow up to three feet tall. 

Other native grasses include:

  • Great Basin Wild Rye
  • Idaho fescue
  • Tufted hair grass


Alumroot (Hedysarum alpinum) is a perennial wildflower native to Central Oregon. It has delicate, foliage and clusters of small, fragrant pink flowers in the spring. Alumroot prefers shady sites with moist soils, and it’s an excellent choice for naturalizing shady corners of your yard. It’s also an attractive addition to rock gardens and wildflower gardens, where its star-like blossoms will attract butterflies and hummingbirds. 

Arrowleaf Balsamroot

Other native wildflowers include Arrowleaf balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata). It has bright yellow daisy-like flowers that appear in late spring. Arrowleaf balsamroot is an excellent choice for dry sites and grows best in full sun. It also makes an excellent cut flower.


Fleabane (Erigeron speciosus) is an attractive native wildflower that blooms in spring and summer. It has small white daisy-like flowers with yellow centers that attract butterflies and bees. Fleabane prefers moist soils and does best in partial shade. 


Central Oregon is home to a wide variety of native plants, trees, and grasses that can create a beautiful and healthy landscape. With careful selection and proper care, you can enjoy the vibrant beauty of native plants for years to come.