Raising Native Plants in Nurseries: Basic Concepts

Authors: Dumroese, Landis, Luna (US Forest Service) Date: July 2021

Growing native plants can be fun, challenging, and rewarding. This booklet, updated from the 2012 edition, introduces important concepts for getting started with growing natives. It can also be helpful to more experienced growers interested in starting a nursery. The second chapter provides basic information about collecting, processing, storing, and treating seeds. Chapter three focuses on using seeds to grow plants in the field or in containers using simple but effective techniques. For those native plants that reproduce poorly from seeds, the fourth chapter describes how to start native plants from cuttings. The final chapter provides valuable information on how to successfully move native plants from the nursery and establish them in their final planting location.

Download: Raising Native Plants in Nurseries: Basic Concepts (pdf; 10 mb)

November Native Plant of the Month: Licorice Fern

RNPP has a Native Plant of the Month column in the Rogue Basin Partnership newsletter! You can find the full RBP November newsletter here, and our Native Plant of the Month Column copied below.

As the reds and yellows of fall begin to fade, my eyes are drawn from the canopy to the forest floor, where spots of green create a vibrant contrast with the fallen leaves. Licorice fern (Polypodium glycyrrhiza) is a common fern found in mixed conifer and deciduous woodlands, thriving in moist, shaded to partly-shaded environments. It is native from Southern Alaska to California, with isolated populations existing in Idaho and Arizona.

Licorice fern often grows on the mossy trunks and branches of deciduous trees, but can also be found on mossy rocks, logs, or the forest floor. Fronds have simple pinnae with pointed tips, and often swoop downward from their perch on tree trunks and branches. Licorice fern is named for its rhizomes, which taste of licorice. These rhizomes were used medicinally by Native Americans as a remedy for coughs, colds, and sore throats.

Native Plant Grower Profile: Holly Mills

Holly Mills is one of the local wholesale growers providing plants for RNPP’s native plant sale this spring. Her background is in organic vegetable gardening but she made the transition to native plant production for restoration projects a few years back under the guidance of James Kraemer of Silver Springs Nursery.

Below is a video interview we did with her about why she enjoys working with native plants and some of her tips on how to select the right species for your property.


Contact Holly

Native Plant Grower Profile: Taylor Starr from White Oak Farm & Education Center

We recently caught up with Taylor Starr, co-founder and Executive Director of White Oak Farm & Education Center in Williams, OR. Taylor is one of the growers of the native plants we are currently selling through our RNPP Spring Plant Sale (ending April 16). Before moving to Oregon, Taylor worked as a farmer, landscaper, and teacher in Northern California and Washington State.  He has taught children organic gardening, natural history, and life sciences, and taught ecosystemology at UC Berkeley.  He graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Holistic Ecology in 2000.  Taylor grew up near the shores of Puget Sound, where he developed a love of the natural world through annual family backpacking trips in the Cascades and Olympics.  He currently directs things at White Oak, farms a wide range of fruits and veggies, teaches permaculture and sustainable living skills to kids and adults, and plays as much soccer as he can with his eight-year-old daughter.

Can you tell us a bit about your native plant growing business and how you started out in this line of work? 

Taylor: We run White Oak Farm & Education Center in Williams on 62 acres, where we have been for 18 years. We have been organic farming and running an environmental education center, mostly for kids but also for adults, focused on sustainable living skills, growing food and ecology. We’ve always had our own nursery for growing plants for our farm – for propagating fruit trees, berries, and hedgerow plants. But about six or seven years ago we started getting inquiries from people in the community about buying plants from us, so we started to ramp up production for local folks and that was pretty popular and successful, and got us excited about growing more plants. About two and a half years ago we started thinking about how we could make it a bigger part of the financial picture for supporting our organization and the farm, and what that might look like. I started researching around the valley and talking to different folks in the nursery trade, and especially focusing on small nurseries and what the niche was, what markets were underserved and what kind of opportunities existed. 

I met James Kramer from Silver Springs Nursery and he really got me excited about focusing on native plants, and specifically focusing on native plants for restoration, which fitted in really well with what we were doing on the land. We were growing native plants for our own restoration projects here on the property for erosion control. Mostly uplands plantings, but some riparian projects as well. So I had a little bit of experience with natives, and a lot of enthusiasm. I’m an avid outdoor person and backpacker, so I was really excited about partnering with James, and that’s what we’ve been doing for the last couple of years. We are mostly doing wholesale, but also growing for local nurseries and for the local community. We are really pretty new in the world of native plant commercial production, and it’s a really steep learning curve, we’re learning lots, and are excited to just dig in deeper. We’ve been expanding a good bit each year. This year I’ve got about 1600 sq feet of greenhouse space, and that much again of shaded growing space, and trying to grow a wide diversity of native plants and see what does best for us, and what the most demand is for, and go from there. 

Speaking of big learning curves, what are some of the biggest challenges you face with growing and selling native plants? 

Taylor: The biggest challenges we face in growing native plants is the transition from organic farming – where I have two decades of experience and everything is old hat and basic and simple – to the natives where every species has very specific requirements for germination, and very specific protocols as far as stratification and seed collecting protocols. You can’t just order locally adapted native plant seed from the catalog the way you can with vegetable seed. Every step of the process is much more complex and much more self-reliant. If I want seed for something I pretty much need to go out and find it myself in the wild, or partner with James or Holly Mills, another growing partner we have on these projects. 

Everything from seed collection all the way through to germination and growing the plants out is very specific for each species. I like that part of it because it’s a challenge, and it’s fun to have the challenge and feel like the success are bigger successes, but there’s definitely a lack of information about some of the protocols for these species, as well as the challenge of finding the seed and making sure the seed is viable and getting good germination.

On the selling side, I know the Rogue Native Plant Partnership is working on this issue, but being someone new in the world of commercial native plant marketing, it feels like there’s a little bit of a disconnect between the restoration project managers and the native plant growers. It’s going to be at least 12 months from seed collection to having the finished plant, so ideally 12 months ahead of time I would know, ok, there’s this much demand for this species, and this much demand for this other species, and I’m finding it’s a little hard to get that timing and demand information from the local players who implement the restoration projects. So that’s the biggest challenge, just knowing what the market is, and what plants are good to grow because there’s going to be a market for them down the road. There’s a little bit of security in knowing you can just keep watering them and hopefully there’s a demand for them the following year. It’s not like lettuce, where if you don’t sell it that week, it’s gone. 

On the flip side, what do you see as some of the biggest benefits to growing native plants as a commercial grower?

Taylor: The fact that within the restoration movement, and even the home gardeners and landscapers, it feels like there’s growing awareness and enthusiasm about the importance of planting drought-tolerant plants, planting to provide habitat for pollinators and other native species. It seems like there’s growing awareness about the importance of that, so it feels like a good time to be growing native plants. There’s only going to be more awareness and more enthusiasm for doing more restoration work. Obviously there’s plenty of landscapes that need restoration, so there’s no lack of demand from a purely restoration standpoint. From an economic standpoint there’s more awareness of how if we don’t take long term care of our riparian areas especially, the economic costs are going to be far greater than the cost of doing this work. I feel like it’s only going to grow over time as people become more educated.

For me – coming from a world of more annuals and food-based crops – I have more flexibility if things don’t sell at a certain time because native plants are still going to maintain their value as long as I can keep them watered and healthy in the pots. It feels like there’s a little more security as far as the value being maintained in the plants over time. 

Also I really like it because, labor-wise, there’s a lot of seeding work and seed collecting work in the fall, and through the winter there’s work with cuttings, and in the early spring there’s more seeding and greenhouse work. So it balances out really well with the annual vegetable and perennial fruit-producing season, which is busier in the spring and summer and the early fall. It works really well for me in terms of keeping folks on the farm employed throughout the season and having some income-producing projects happening on the farm during the winter months. It pairs really nicely for us with the farming. 

I know we’re not meant to have favorites, but do you have any native plants that you particularly love growing?

Taylor: I didn’t know we weren’t supposed to have favorites! It’s funny because I was thinking about that, and it really depends on the day, you know? I get a lot of satisfaction from growing big trees. We named our farm White Oak Farm because we have a couple of grandmother oaks on the property that are just super inspiring because I know they have been there for hundreds of years. The oak tree is such a keystone species in Southern Oregon, for food production for animals and habitat, and a food source for humans over the centuries. So I love planting oaks and acorns. Last year we did a big acorn collection project with some school kids who came out to the farm and collected thousands of acorns from two of our biggest acorn producing oaks. Unfortunately, we were going to plant them with the kids this spring during spring school visits, but of course like everyone else right now, our lives are a little bit topsy turvy so there’s no kids here to plant the acorns with us. So we’re planting them ourselves. 

I love to grow oaks and all the other big trees – our maple seedlings are two inches tall right now in their little pots and that’s super satisfying. I’ve also been really enjoying some of the shrubby species, the dogwoods and willows this winter have been great to work with. I love elderberry, so experimenting with seedlings and cuttings with elderberries is really satisfying. So a wide range are favorites depending on the day and what I’m working on.

Gardeners sometimes look to native plants as more likely to be deer-proof, but I’ve certainly discovered that’s not always the case. Have you discovered any native plants that you think are truly, really, actually, 100% deer-proof?

Taylor: One of my first jobs, when I was in high school in the summer time, was working for a local nursery and landscaper up in Washington, and one of the first things he said was, “Never tell a customer that something is 100% deer-proof because I can guarantee the deer will eat that plant the first week it goes in the ground.” I think deer have been eating native plants for as long as there’s been deer, so I don’t know that there’s anything specific to native plants that makes them less likely to be popular with the deer. I’ve seen deer eat almost anything, I think it just depends on the time of year. 

In the summer, when it’s so dry up in the hills and the deer come down to the irrigated yards and the edges of the irrigated zones, they are just so hungry for anything that’s got moisture in it. I would say that the less irrigated the area, I’ve noticed the deer are less likely to browse. They really smell the water, so the faster growing, the more well-watered and fertilized the plant, the more likely they are to eat it, as far as I’ve been able to notice. 

When talking to gardeners and land stewards, what do you most often find yourself saying to encourage them to purchase and grow native plants?

Taylor: I’m a terrible marketer so I don’t know if I necessarily say anything to anybody to try and encourage them to do anything! People are just going to do what they are going to do. I take the approach that, hey, I’m here growing these things, if you want them that’s great. I’d love to sell them to you. There’s so many benefits that are so obvious, from drought-tolerant to habitat creation. I feel like the pollinator angle has gained a lot more awareness over the last few years, and it’s been cool to see customers ask about that and think about that more. But I’m a big fan of hedgerows in general, and trying to encourage people to plant hedgerows for privacy, for shade, for habitat, for the pollinators, for hopefully some products that people can harvest as well. Maybe berries for medicine, maybe basketry materials, or browse for animals. There’s just so many benefits to planting natives, and I feel like the people I usually find myself talking to about this stuff already know it’s a good idea, and it’s more about helping them to get what’s the right thing for their site. I think that there’s definitely growing enthusiasm for planting natives and I think that’s really exciting. 

Do you have any tips for people that want to propagate native plants for their own use? Or as a business?

Taylor: I would probably say the same advice for both situations, which is just to start experimenting. That’s how we started doing the nursery on a commercial basis. It was just years of experimenting and growing plants for ourselves to plant out on the farm and seeing what we enjoyed growing without having to invest a lot of money or a lot of time into infrastructure. Playing around with different species and experimenting, and then seeing if it’s something you like to do and something you can see having economic potential. I think just starting out by diving in and doing things on a small scale, and not being afraid to fail. 

Going out and seeing what kind of seeds you can collect in your neighborhood or on your own land, and playing around with it, seems like the best way to approach it from the small scale home nursery perspective. But even if you’re thinking about doing something commercial, I think messing around with it on a small scale makes a lot of sense before diving in and spending a bunch of money on infrastructure. Because it does take having the greenhouse space and having the controlled environment to work with, and having the irrigation, and having the pots or the soil. For us, because we were coming from farming, we already had a lot of those things in place and we were able to repurpose this corner of the greenhouse or repurpose pots, and slowly build up the infrastructure to run the nursery as its own little business. At least for me, that was a good way to do it because it lessened the risk of tackling something that could prove to not be successful, and made it easier to slowly get going. I would just experiment, I think that’s the best way to get into nearly any new activity. 

Learn more about White Oak Farm & Education Center on their website and Facebook page

An Introduction to Using Native Plants in Restoration Projects

Author: US Environmental Protection Agency Date: 2002

This introductory document covers topics including: why use native plants?, planning a native plant project, site evaluation, choosing appropriate species, sourcing seeds and plants, preparing the site, weed control, planting techniques, caring for the site, monitoring, and more.

Download PDF: An Introduction to Using Native Plants in Restoration Projects (805 KB)

February Native Plant of the Month: Snow Queen

RNPP has a Native Plant of the Month column in the Rogue Basin Partnership newsletter! You can find the full RBP February newsletter here, and our Native Plant of the Month Column copied below.

Snow Queen (Synthyris reniformis) can be seen blossoming close to the ground in coniferous forests and woodlands from early February, making it one of the earliest native blooms to be seen each year in southern Oregon. But it can be very easily overlooked at only 2-6 inches tall, with flowers varying from white to blue to purple, so keep your eyes on the ground if you want to spot them. I noticed this lovely specimen (pictured) on the Sterling Mine Ditch trail near the Little Applegate recently, and once I noticed this plant, I suddenly realized they were everywhere!

There are six varieties of Synthyris (in the Figwort family) in Oregon, but the Snow queen is the species most commonly found at low to mid elevations. It is native to the Pacific NW, from the Puget Sound in Washington, to Northern California. With its flowers arriving so early, the Snow queen is an important source of food for pollinators and nectar eaters. This adds to the many reasons why the perennial Snow queen can be a great choice for planting in your garden.

Written by Lilia Letsch, Rogue Native Plant Partnership

January Native Plant of the Month: Snowberry

RNPP has started writing a new Native Plant of the Month column for the Rogue Basin Partnership newsletter! You can find the full RBP January newsletter here, and our Native Plant of the Month Column copied below.

Snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus) is a common deciduous shrub, growing 3-6’ in riparian, swamp, moist meadow and open forest habitats, from sea to middle elevations. What makes it so lovely at this time of year is that its leafless stems are graced with clusters of bright white berries that sharply stand out against the winter landscape.

Snowberry is in the Honeysuckle family, and just like Honeysuckle berries, they are not edible to humans. The whole plant is toxic to humans, although records show that Native Americans have used the berries medicinally for a variety of purposes, and the stems for arrow shafts.

The berries have a mild saponin content, which produces foam when mixed with water. The whole plant is excellent grazing for wild and domestic animals, and birds enjoy the berries and cover that the shrubs provide. Birds also disperse the seeds widely, although the plant’s main reproductive method is to sprout new shoots from its spreading rhizome. As a result, you can often see it growing in quite substantial thickets, which provide great cover for small mammals.

If you are looking to replant a disturbed or eroded site, Snowberry is a great choice due its relatively fast growth and rhizomatous spreading. It grows in full sun, but tends to prefer some shade, and well-drained soil.

Written by Lilia Letsch, Rogue Native Plant Partnership

Managing Milkweed Crop Pests: A Native Seed Industry Guide

Author: Project Milkweed Date: 2017

Project Milkweed is a collaboration with the Xerces Society, the native seed industry, and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to increase commercial availability of milkweed seed. Since 2010 this partnership has worked to address some of the major production challenges faced by the native seed industry and has expanded commercially viable milkweed production to regions where seed was not previously available.

During Project Milkweed surveys of native seed producers, yield loss from insect pests was consistently the most significant challenge reported. Further complicating the situation is the abundance of monarch butterfly caterpillars, crop pollinators, and predatory insects, all of which are typically found in seed production plots and which are vulnerable to insecticides used for pest control.

Download PDF: Managing Milkweed Crop Pests: A Native Seed Industry Guide (3MB)

Native Thistles: A Conservation Practitioner’s Guide

Author: The Xerces Society Date: 2016

Native thistles are a largely misunderstood and wrongly maligned group of wildflowers. These diverse plants fill a variety of significant ecological niches, similar to cone flowers, prairie clovers, camas, and compass plant. Native thistles are not only resplendent – with sublime blue-green foliage, interesting stem and leaf architecture and gorgeous blossoms – they are hardy, thriving in dry and disturbed habitats.

Download PDF: Native Thistles: A Conservation Practitioner’s Guide (3MB)

Cover Cropping for Pollinators and Beneficial Insects

Author: The Xerces Society Date: unknown

This bulletin will help you use cover crops to encourage populations of pollinators and beneficial insects on your farm while you address your other resource concerns. It begins with a broad overview of pollinator and beneficial insect ecology, then describes cover crop selection and management, how to make cover crops work on your farm, and helpful and proven crop rotations. It will also touch on the limitations of cover crops and pesticide harm reduction, among other topics.

Download PDF: Cover Cropping for Pollinators and Beneficial Insects (727KB)

Collecting and Using Your Own Wildflower Seed to Expand Pollinator Habitat on Farms

Author: The Xerces Society Date: 2016

Native wildflowers are the backbone of pollinator habitat on the farm. Field borders, filter strips, pastures, hedgerows, and other places where wildflowers (and grasses!) grow also provide us with natural pest control by sustaining predators of crop pests. Additionally, these plants help filter runoff from fields, and protect soil from erosion. Despite the benefits that native wildflowers and grasses provide, the cost of seed can be daunting. Fortunately, if you have native plant areas already established, they can provide you with a readily available source for additional seed.

While harvesting seed from existing wildflowers around the farm may not yield huge volumes, it can provide you with the raw material to gradually create more habitat on the farm. By collecting seed from plants already growing on your land, you are also focusing your efforts on species that are known to perform well on your soils. In this document we outline the basic steps of collecting native plant seed using readily available, non-specialized equipment. While our focus is primarily on wildflowers, many of these same techniques can be useful for collecting native grasses as well as seeds from trees and shrubs.

Download PDF: Collecting and Using Your Own Wildflower Seed to Expand Pollinator Habitat on Farms (2MB)

Establishing Pollinator Meadows From Seed

Author: The Xerces Society Date: 2015

To boost healthy populations of both wild resident bees and managed pollinators, the single most effective action you can take is to plant native wild flower habitat. This tangible course of action can be accomplished by anyone at any scale. The process behind establishing a wild flower-rich pollinator planting from seed consists of five basic steps:

  • Site selection
  • Site preparation
  • Plant selection
  • Planting techniques
  • Ongoing management

The steps outlined in this document are applicable to plantings that range in size from a small backyard garden up to areas around an acre.

Download PDF: Establishing Pollinator Meadows From Seed (2MB)

Why Grow And Sell Native Milkweed?

Author: Monarch Joint Venture Date: unknown

Milkweed plants (family Asclepiadaceae) are the only food source for monarch butter y caterpillars. However, milkweed has severely declined in North America due to drastic changes in land use or management, like agriculture and development. Milkweed losses and other stressors are associated with declines in migratory monarch butterflies over the past 20 years [1, 6, 7]. To compensate for the loss of milkweed, gardeners across North America are helping monarchs by planting native species of milkweeds, and by keeping milkweeds safe from pesticides.

Download PDF: Why Grow and Sell Native Milkweed? (839KB)

A Guide to the Native Milkweeds of Oregon

Author: The Xerces Society Date: 2012

Five species of milkweed are native to Oregon. This guide includes profiles of the four most common species, all of which are used as a larval host plant by the monarch butterfly.

Asclepias cordifolia (purple milkweed, heartleaf milkweed)
Asclepias cryptoceras ssp. davisii (Davis’ milkweed)
Asclepias fascicularis (narrow-leaved milkweed)
Asclepias speciosa (showy milkweed)

A profile of each of these species includes descriptions of flowers, leaves, and seed pods, accompanied by photos and distribution maps. Supporting these profiles is a simple guide to identifying milkweeds based on their distinctive flowers and fruits.

Reducing Phytophthora

Authors: Parke, Jennifer (OSU) Date: 2010

Phytophthora species are some of the most problematic plant pathogens in nursery production systems. The quarantine pathogen Phytophthora ramorum has received the most notoriety, but many Phytophthora species pose a challenge for nursery growers.

These pathogens cause trouble because of their persistence and spread in infested soil and water, and their ability to attack a wide variety of plants. Some species cause root rot, whereas others cause foliar blight and shoot dieback. Several species can infect plant parts both above and below the ground.

In collaboration with Niklaus Grünwald and Val Fieland of the USDA-ARS Horticultural Crops Research Laboratory, Carrie Lewis and I (Oregon State University) recently completed a three-year project to determine the most common sources of Phytophthora contamination in nurseries. We applied a systems approach to identify three critical control points in nursery production systems: contaminated soil/gravel beds, contaminated irrigation water, and used pots. Another potential source of Phytophthora spp., not included in our study, is nursery stock brought in from off site.

So what is the take home message for growers? Here are the top 10 practical tips for nursery growers:

Download (PDF): Reducing Phytophthora (2MB)

The Woody Plant Seed Manual

Authors: Bonner, F.T. and Karrfalt R.P. (eds.) Date: 2008

The major audience for this book, as for its two predecessors, is those who are involved in the growing and planting of trees and shrubs. Their involvement can be collection and sale of seeds, production of nursery stock (both bare- root and container), or planting itself. Planting for commercial forest production is the traditional mainstay of tree planting, but planting for wildlife food, watershed protection, urban environmental improvement, ornamental enhancement, wetland mitigation, and carbon sequestration are all on the increase. Ecosystem management, now commonly used in the management of many federal and other governmental forest lands, has decreased the use of planting to regenerate the forests and has increased the role of natural regeneration. Those who apply these practices will find this book useful also in the data on flowering and seed production. Although the book is not intended to be a detailed textbook on seed ecology and physiology, there is sufficient scope and depth to the material included to make it useful to anyone who studies seeds.

Download (PDF): The Woody Plant Seed Manual (21MB)

Techniques to Determine Total Viability in Native Seed

Author: Vivrette, N.

The deep dormancy exhibited by seeds of many native plants can lead to the under estimation of total viability in laboratory tests. Pre-treatment of dormant seeds with gibberellic acid to break dormancy prior to testing for germination or total viability can give a more accurate assessment of seed quality.

Download (PDF): Techniques to Determine Total Viability in Native Seed (93KB)

Seed Germination and Storability Studies of 69 Plant Taxa Native to the Willamette Valley Wet Prairie

Authors: Guerrant Jr., E.O. and Raven, A.

Seeds of 69 taxa native to the Willamette Valley, Oregon were subjected to four germination treatments: two under ambient late winter into summer environmental conditions (untreated (fresh) seed or dry and frozen seed) and two in controlled environment chambers (some seed was cold stratified at 5°C then placed in a 10°C/20°C chamber, other seed was placed in 10°C/20°C chamber then moved to a 5°C/15°C chamber). At least 93% of the taxa tested can tolerate desiccation and frozen storage.

One third of the taxa had a maximum mean germination above 80% in at least one of the four germination treatments, 55% of the taxa had a maximum mean germination rate between 10% and 80%, and only 12 % of the taxa had less than 10% germination. A total of 88% of the taxa had their highest germination in one or both of the two treatments, fresh and cold stratification.

Download (PDF): Seed Germination and Storability Studies of 69 Plant Taxa Native to the Willamette Valley Wet Prairie (267KB)


Salvaging Plants for Propagation and Revegetation

Author: Buis, S.

Salvaging native plants is the act of rescuing plants from a construction or disturbance site before they are destroyed. We have not found salvage to be a cost effective method for obtaining most of the plants we sell in our nursery or use in our own projects. However, we do sometimes salvage plants, either to obtain plants that are dif cult to propagate, to increase the genetic diversity of plants in our nursery, because they are unusual species that we don’t have access to otherwise, or to preserve plant genetics on a disturbance site for future replanting. Factors important to consider in salvaging plants include species, size, site access and soil type, whether to use hand or mechanical techniques, time of year, available crew, etc.

Download (PDF): Salvaging Plants for Propagation and Revegetation (275KB)

Ruminations and Ramblings About Native Plant Propagation

Author: Landis, T.D.

Native plant nurseries face different challenges than traditional forest and conservation nurseries. They must educate their customers to the practical limitations of propagating native plants such as the poor availability of seeds or vegetative propagation material. The unusually long amount of time to collect propagules, treat seeds or cuttings, and grow the seedlings emphasizes the need for crop planning well in advance of the outplanting date. The concept of “source-identified, locally-adapted” planting stock must continually be stressed when dealing with native plant customers. New products mean new markets so nurseries should try to produce a range of species and stock types and show them to prospective customers. Native plant nurseries and customers should establish networks to better exchange information. Although there are few incentives to do so, both nurseries and seedling users should strive to share techniques about collecting seed and cuttings, seed treatments, and cultural techniques. Attending professional meetings and presenting propagation and outplanting information is one of the most effective ways to network. Publishing propagation protocols on the Internet is an exciting new way to share technical information.

Download (PDF): Ruminations and Ramblings About Native Plant Propagation (313KB)

Regional Native Seed Cooperatives: working toward available, affordable, and appropriate native seed

Author: Smith, S. Date: 2017

Abstract: Regional native seed cooperatives are emerging as a tool to vastly improve the availability of genetically appropriate native seed. Within a cooperative, practical and ecological requirements for native seed are balanced by bringing users and producers together to jointly develop genetic protocols. Regional native seed cooperatives promote a novel agricultural niche that requires the development of new farms, infrastructure, and techniques. The South Sound Prairies partnership has a successful cooperative that is used here as a case study to explore this model of seed production.

Download (PDF): Regional Native Seed Cooperatives (365KB)

Propagation of Interior British Columbia Native Plants from Seed

Authors: Hudson, S. & Carlson, M. Date: 1998

Abstract: British Columbia’s considerable diversity of soils, topographies and climates have given rise to a rich variety of native plant species. Many commercially valuable tree species have well established protocols for seed collection, planting stock production, seedling handling and planting. Comparatively little is known about these activities for non-commercial shrub and tree species. Many of these deciduous shrub and tree species are being used for watershed restoration and rehabilitation of eroded slopes, road edges and landings. Demands for planting stock are increasing each year.

Download (PDF): Propagation of Interior British Columbia Native Plants from Seed (275KB)

Native Plant Propagation and Restoration Strategies

Author: Haase, D. and Rose, R. (OSU) Date: 2001

Abstract: Propagation and planting of native plants for habitat restoration is a multi-faceted process. There are many issues over which there is general agreement among restorationists, but there are a number of subjects that cause disagreement. For example, restorationists often agree that native plants should be emphasized, but disagree over where seeds or transplants should come from. In this paper, I examine four areas of controversy: the use single or multiple sources of a species at a given restoration site (the SOMS debate), source distance of plant materials, the use of native plant selections, and the importance of one’s definition of “native plant.” I conclude that some of these issues may be resolved through careful research, while others will remain a matter of personal opinion, and can only be resolved through a clear statement and scope of objectives of each restoration project.

Download (PDF): Native Plant Propagation and Restoration Strategies (3MB)

Native Seed Production

Author: Tucson Plant Materials Center Date: 2004

Details information on seed certification, site selection and preparation, weed control, diseases and insects, seed harvesting, processing native seed, and seed production guidelines on a few specific native plants.

Download (PDF): Native Seed Production (899KB)

Milkweeds: a Conservation Practitioner’s Guide

Author: The Xerces Society Date: 2014

The information in Milkweeds: A Conservation Practitioner’s Guide is gathered from interviews with native plant nurseries and seed producers, gained firsthand through Project Milkweed, and synthesized from scientific literature. It provides conservation professionals with information about optimizing milkweed seed production methods, offers guidance on incorporating milkweeds into restoration and revegetation efforts, and highlights milkweeds’ unique characteristics and value to wildlife. Native seed producers, restoration practitioners, land managers, monarch conservationists, gardeners, and landowners will all find this guide valuable.

Download (PDF): Milkweeds: a Conservation Practitioner’s Guide (6MB)

Nursery Manual for Native Plants: a Guide for Tribal Nurseries

Authors: Dumeroese, Luna & Landis (eds.) Date: 2009

This handbook covers all aspects of managing a native plant nursery, from initial planning through crop production to establishing trials to improving nursery productivity into the future. It was written to assist Native Americans in growing native plants and draws extensively on tribal activities for the many photos and specific examples in the text.

Download (PDF): Nursery Manual for Native Plants: a Guide for Tribal Nurseries (3.7MB)

Native Seed Production Manual for the Pacific Northwest

Author: Corvallis PMC & Amy Bartow Date: 2015

The Native Seed Production Manual for the Pacific Northwest contains detailed, species-specific information for 17 grasses, 60 forbs, and 7 sedges and rushes found throughout the Western regions of Oregon and Washington. It also contains information on all aspects of seed production, from establishment and weed control to harvesting and seed processing. The back section features an equipment overview, which explains the various types of equipment used at the Corvallis Plant Materials Center.

Download (PDF): Native Seed Production Manual for the Pacific Northwest (31.6MB)