We start our seeds using a variety of methods depending on what type of plants they are. Our plants are all intended for butterfly/ pollinator gardens and many of the best plants for these gardens are native. While some native plant seeds can be directly sown, like many vegetables or annual flower seed packets, most require special treatment to get them to germinate. The most common treatment is called stratification, which is basically a process to mimic winter. Depending on what kind of plant, stratification usually takes 30-120 days. Some plants, particularly many woodland shade natives, require two cold dormancy periods to germinate.
In addition to stratification, some seeds are small and need to be surface sown and receive light to germinate, others have thick hulls that need to be need a treatment to open, and others prefer to go through a real winter, rather than an artificial stratification period. Because of this, some of our seeds are started in trays in greenhouses, some are kept in trays outdoors all winter, and still others can be started using compressed soil blocks.
Once our plants are started, we transfer them to biodegradable fabric bags. We feel that this is what really sets our plants apart from most growers. Most nursery plants are grown in cheap plastic containers. This is a cheap way to propagate plants, but can have disadvantages. One, the plastic can get very hot in the sun and shock/ stunt the plants. Two, the roots in plastic pots are often circled and grow into each other, a term referred to as root-bound. This can make it more difficult and time consuming for plants to root out and require more work and water to get them started.
Although more labor intensive, we grow our plants in biodegradable fabric pots. The fabric is made from a plant fiber and takes a couple years to start breaking down. The best advantage is that the roots grow outward and are well aerated and not circling. They are eager to root out. Most people notice that they start to grow much quicker once planted and require less watering. Also, it makes them easier so start during periods when many people quit trying to start new plants (The heat of summer and winter)
When you order plants from us, we suggest planting them as soon as possible. Whether is is spring, summer, fall, or winter, as long as the ground is workable, they will keep growing new roots. (However if you order dormant plants, don’t avoid watering them just because they don’t have visible growth) Despite being small, they do much better in the ground than being transferred to a another container till they get larger (unless you intend to keep them in a pot). (As previously stated, keeping plants in black plastic pots can cause root circling and root shock). You can either plant the biodegradable pot with the plant, or remove and compost it. If the plant already has an abundance of thick roots, we suggest just keeping it on. You can also score up the side of the pot for easier root penetration. If you receive regular rainfall, regular watering may not be needed, but check the soil at the base of the plant to see if it feels dry. If you ever have any further questions about growing our plants, don’t hesitate to contact us. We want growing a butterfly/ pollinator garden to be an enjoyable experience.