In the five years that Maine Audubon has been promoting and selling native plants, we have also been growing many of our favorite plants from seeds. Propagating our own plants this natural way is more economical, uses less fossil fuel, sustains natural genetics of straight species, and ensures our control over our complete supply chain. Plants that Maine Audubon has grown from seed are labeled as such, both on the tags and on our online store. Now is the best time to purchase plants that were sown as seeds late last fall and germinated this spring and early summer at Gilsland Farm.
We use two primary techniques for our natural propagation of native plants at Gilsland Farm:
Growing plants from seeds in pots: We purchase seeds from Wild Seed Project and other like-minded sources in the fall, and sow them in pots to be left outdoors all winter. The vast majority of native plants require 30+ days of below-freezing temperatures to cold stratify and break their dormancy, and this is what takes place in nature wherever these plants still occur.
Collecting and transplanting “garden grown” seedlings that have self-sown: As we grow more and more species of native plants, the “weeds” that pop up around them become opportunities to not only sustain those plantings, but also to restore the species far beyond. The offspring of great plants are more great plants, so we try to take advantage of our plants thriving and reproducing on our own.
In 2020, Maine Audubon has a great selection of seed grown seedlings available for online ordering and contactless pickup at Gilsland Farm. These plants have never been indoors, ridden in a vehicle, or tasted any chemical herbicides or fertilizers, and we’re confident that they will be just as beautiful and beneficial for you as their predecessors have been for us.
The growing list includes:
Use our Maine Native Plant finder to research plants and the conditions each one prefers.
To learn to grow your own native plants from seeds, visit the Wild Seed Project website and/or attend our annual Fall Seed Sowing workshop on November 14, 2020 (save the date and visit our events calendar for details closer to the date for registration information).