Plant lists for temperate climates

Belgianpup(Wa/Zone 7b)May 15, 2005

There is more permaculture going on in Australia than there is here in the U.S. Most of the books & plant lists are for tropical and subtropical climates.

I'm in the Pacific Northwest, and it's a real grind finding information on plants that will grow here. Info on guilds is almost nonexistent, so I would settle for plant names.

Does anyone know of any books or sites that list useful permaculture plants for at least the northern half of the U.S.?


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Toby Hemenway gardens in your neck of the woods (thats forest garden of course ;o). Check out his book 'Gaia's Garden". He has a listing of plant materials and speaks of the walnut guild in this book.
We've no where near your climatic conditions here in the South but this book was still a great informative read non-the-less. He does give good general advice we all can use.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2005 at 4:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mhagood(8a Virginia)

I'm still reading the book after buying it in late April at his workshop in Roanoke, Virginia. I'm an old fashioned vegetable gardener and know very little about trees or native plants, and have the added complication of being in town on a small lot, nothing like the model he uses. (I'm hoping he does another book now that he's moved into town.) Still, I've found a lot of useful material in it, though I have to do extra research on each plant or tree, pretty much. My weather (on the coast) is not too different from yours, though we may get more summer rain. The strength of the book, for me, is that he touches on a lot of topics and gives the names of the main gurus in each area.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2005 at 10:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
kjggames(z9/10, sunset16)

Sayin' yo,

The best book I've seen with plant lists, prefered climates, water needs, and whatnot, would be the Sunset Western Garden Book. Although there isn't a great deal of written technical information per plant (an average of a couple of paragraphs each), if you find your plants, you can use the internet for further study if you need more.

As for information on guilds, Mr. Hemenway's book is a great one. Inside it he gives a bibliography that can start you on your way to knowing everything you'll ever need to know if his book doesn't give you enough. From my own personal research however, from what I've seen of guilds, you need a nitrogen fixer of some kind, a biomass producer of some kind, some type of insect forage, then the plant you are trying to guild in the first place.

Have a good time,

    Bookmark   May 17, 2005 at 3:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Dear Sue - Belgianpup,

Concerning PNW permaculture and plant lists:
You can visit and for plant lists and catalogs. Both organizations have a wide variety of permaculture plants for the region.

You can also subscribe to the PNW permaculture list-serve: write 'Subscribe' in the message subject and send the email to

I will send other ideas as they occur,


    Bookmark   July 15, 2005 at 5:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Belgianpup(Wa/Zone 7b)

Thank you! All of those look like good sources of info!


    Bookmark   July 15, 2005 at 6:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would warn you of one small detail with the mail order nurseries and thats the use of zones to pick a plant. Look at a zone map and you will see that, for instance, zone 9 extends from Washington state all of the way to the east coast. Now while the winter low temps, and thats what the zones are based on, are simular the actual growing conditions are very dissimular!!!! Many west coast plants are no goes here in the south and vise versa. I believe both suggested nurseries are on the west coast so should have good info for you. Skip the mail order if possible, for multiple reasons, and stick with local growers. Even better hook up with a local gardening group than you can spread the permaculture ideals to others and aquire locally growing plants in swaps and such.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2005 at 8:32AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Sue,

There is a British run project and website that would include more information on temperate zone plants.

On the other hand, I can't seem to find a plant list or website that includes as detailed information for tropical plants. Can anyone help?


Here is a link that might be useful: plants for a future

    Bookmark   November 20, 2005 at 1:50AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
loris(Z6 NJ)

HereÂs a link Virginia Tech Dendrology's map of Washington species. It indicates both what is native and what has escaped from cultivation in your state. I try to avoid what theyÂve marked with an asterisk for "nonnative, planted and a wildland component". They have information for other states, and for Canadian provinces that can be accessed by way of the "back to map" at top. (the link I'm using is older I think, but I prefer the format)

For the site I've included in the "Optional Link URL", you can specify a US state or Canadian province towards the middle of the page.

You might want to be careful about using information from They sell many invasives and give no warning about invasiveness. I've used Forest Farm in the past, and maybe would again if I had trouble finding a source for a native plant I really want, but IÂd rather spend money elsewhere if possible.


Here is a link that might be useful: Ladybird Johnson search page

    Bookmark   November 26, 2005 at 5:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I agree with lll001. PFAF is a great website. I have the book by Ken Fern, and I love it, but since I purchased it, there seems to be a lot more info on the site.

Gaia's Garden is also a good book. I have not implemented any permaculture gardening ideas as of yet, because for a long time, I too could not find much on temperate plants.

Try this link to see a few tropical plant listings. It's about 1/4 the way down:

Also try PFAF's links page at:

Good luck!


    Bookmark   November 27, 2005 at 10:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
forest_gardener(zone 9 CA)

There is an incredible book you can preview for free, if you like download and send the author $10. Worth every penny of it I would say!

It is full of wonder pictures an a very large list of species for your area. It is called "West Coast Food Forestry"

Here is a link that might be useful: West Coast Food Forestry Book

    Bookmark   October 31, 2008 at 10:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I bought this "book" on CD and love it:

My book, West Coast Food Forestry, has a lot more information than the plant list you found online. You can order it on disc from me for $14.00:
Rain Tenaqiya
4001 Parducci Rd
Ukiah, CA 95482


    Bookmark   June 14, 2009 at 11:25AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Urban permaculture home for sale - Portland, OR
Have worked to make the yard around our beautiful home...
Moringa Oleifera - Where can I find it?
Does anyone know where I can find Moringa Oleifera...
Looking for advice when it comes to pursuing permaculture
Hi my name is Andrew. I graduated a few years ago with...
Arracacia xanthorrhiza/Arracacha
I read about Arracacia xanthorrhiza aka Arracacha in...
Volunteer Wanted at Off-Grid B&B in Missouri, USA
I'm in my 6th year of building a sustainable bed &...
Sponsored Products
Lithonia Lighting 21 in. T5 Fluorescent Cabinet Light UC 21E 120 M6
$19.97 | Home Depot
Bagatelle Antique Silver Three-Light Clear Heritage Handcut Crystal, 10.5W x 12.
$570.00 | Bellacor
Morph Pendant Table Lamp by Union Street Glass
$650.00 | Lumens
Axis 71 | Square 2G Wall Sconce
$460.00 | YLighting
60" Matthews Bubble White Ceiling Fan with LED Light
Lamps Plus
Neutral Shag Rug 9'6" x 13'6" - WHITE
$2,499.00 | Horchow
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™