In Bloom

Wildflower-Covered Hillsides to Elegant Gardens, Oregon Blooms Are Booming

Tulips, azaleas, wild irises, begonias, roses ... whatever flower you’re thinking of, it’s probably growing right here in Oregon.

By Isabel Lemus Kristensen March 20, 2023 Published in the March 2023 issue of Portland Monthly

There’s a reason Portland is called the City of Roses: more than 610 varieties of roses grow at Washington Park’s International Rose Test Garden, the country’s oldest continuously operating public rose test garden, not to mention the many that thrive in neighborhood green spaces and home gardens across the city. But it’s not just roses. From tulips to trilliums to rhododendrons, the region truly blossoms in the spring and summertime. Wildflowers awaken across the state, filling the mountains, high desert, and coastline with color. In August, Swan Island Dahlias—the largest dahlia grower in the United States—blooms with more than 375 varieties on its nearly-50-acre farm in Canby. And more than a hundred thousand visitors flock to Woodburn for the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival each spring. Here’s a look at the state’s flower industry. 

About $1 billion Value of plants sold and shipped locally and globally by Oregon retail and wholesale growers 

1918 Year roses began arriving from English hybridists to the International Rose Test Garden, which served as a safe haven for hybrid roses during World War I

2,500+ Rhododendrons, azaleas, and companion plants featured at the 9.5-acre Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden in Southeast Portland 

100 Number of ornamental cherry trees lining the paths between the Japanese American Historical Plaza and Friendship Circle at Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park

259 Number of floriculture operations in Oregon with at least $10,000 in annual sales, as of 2020

3,000+ Roses in the Ladd’s Circle Park and Rose Gardens in Ladd’s Addition

300 Approximate number of plant species found at Tryon Creek State Natural Area, including the iconic Pacific trillium, a white, three-petaled wildflower that starts blooming in late February and is celebrated each year at the park’s Trillium Festival

40 Acres of tulips that bloom between mid-March and late April at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm in Woodburn

15 Number of wildflower species found in the Columbia River Gorge that grow nowhere else in the world