Why Grow Native Flowers from Seed?
Native pollinators prefer native plants, and one of the easiest and least expensive ways to improve pollinator habitat is to plant native wildflowers from seed and bulbs.
These re-seeding annuals and perennials provide pollen and nectar for solitary bees and butterflies, and because they are local natives they will bloom at the ideal time to feed the local populations.
When to Sow Wildflower Seed?
Many of our native wildflowers either begin their growth during the wet season, or require extensive cold, moist periods to germinate at all.
The best time (and for some, the only time) to plant these is while we have cold, wet weather – late fall to very early spring, so stop in and see our selection of local native wildflower seeds. We offer individual seed packets as well as seed mixes sourced from Heritage Seedlings & Liners, Inc.
What Should You Plant for Who?
Farewell-to-Spring (Clarkia amoena), Rose Checkermallow (Sidalcea virgata), and Seablush (Plectritis congesta) provide nectar feeding stops for all sorts of butterflies, and are larval hosts for some.
Seablush helps early bees; then Blue-eyed Mary (Collinsia grandiflora) and Large-Flowered Phlox (Collomia grandiflora) provide for later spring bees.
Native Seed Varieties Available Now!
Camassia leichtlinii var. suksdorfii
Clarkia amoena var. lindseyi
Prunella vulgaris var. lanceolata
Sidalcea malviflora ssp. virgata
Wildflower Seed Mixes
Diverse Prairie mix
Monarch Waystation mix
Oak Understory mix
Upland Prairie mix
Tough Site mix
Wetland Prairie mix
The contents of the mixes are listed on the back of the packet.
Planting PNW Native Bulbs in Fall
Bulbs are integral parts of our native flora, and deeply bonded to our outdoor experiences.
The wild wonder of western Oregon is highlighted when the green swampy meadow submerges in a sea of uniform blue camas, a carpet of fawn lily or shooting star in a dappled wood is discovered, or when given the sudden surprise of finding the delicate beauty of mariposas amid a rocky scrub.
Apart from their aesthetics, native bulbs also fill important niches in our ecosystems. Our native fauna, bugs and birds and mammals alike, have co-evolved with these species – plants that are perfectly suited to provide for their habitat needs.
Many native bulbs are easy to grow, and adapted to even some of our most challenging sites, and fall is the best (and sometimes only) opportunity to plant them.
Native Bulbs to Plant in Fall
- Wet in winter and dry in summer: Greater camas (Camassia leichtlinii) or harvest cluster-lily (Brodiaea elegans).
- Non-irrigated are under oak trees: Establish a drift of chocolate lily (Fritillaria affinis).
- Woodland edge: Shooting star (Dodecatheon hendersonii) grow where it gets light, but not the intense competition of lots of grasses, and needs the buzz of bumblebees for pollination.
- Full sun, dry hillsides: Ookow (Dichelostemma congestum) waits to bloom until grasses (and even its own foliage) are preparing to go dormant for the summer.
Growing Tips for Success
- Buy soon, and plant immediately. Most of our native bulbs begin their growing cycle right now, and many of them are challenging to hold for planting a few weeks down the road.
- Select bulbs suited to your site’s lighting. Shooting star are quite adaptable; ookow and cluster-lilies require full sun, but camas will grow just fine in dappled shade.
- Many of our native bulbs require a dry resting period in summer, and are not suited for irrigated landscapes. Checker lilies, and ookow are examples of native bulbs that prefer to dry out in the summer. A few native bulbs don’t like sites that dry out too much (or too fast) – notably camas, and some of the alliums.
Native Bulb Varieties Available Now
Great Camas & Common Camas
PNW Native Plants Playlist on YouTube
Learn about the many PNW native plants that make our local area beautiful and unique, including our top plant picks for challenging sites.