Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Sow Native Plant Seeds Now! By Donna Duffy

You still have time to sow native plant seeds in your garden. Mid to late fall is a good time to sow native seeds because subsequent winter cold and snow will promote seed germination next spring. If you are unsure where to purchase native plant seeds, check out the Colorado Native Plant Society’s publication: Native Plant Vendor List.

Using Colorado natives in landscapes may attract a variety of wildlife including mammals, birds, butterflies and other native pollinators. Rapid urbanization in the state is reducing biodiversity (the number of different species found in a given area) as habitat is removed for building and road construction. Landscaping with natives helps maintain biodiversity that otherwise would be lost to development.

Pulsatilla patens, Pasque flower
Native plants can often be successfully grown in unamended soils. Most natives do not require nutrient rich, high organic content soil, and can often become overgrown or short lived in such soils. However, many native plants require well-drained soils. To amend clay soils, add 10 percent compost and 15 percent small aggregate (i.e., pea gravel) and incorporate into the root zone.  Weed control prior to planting seed is critical for success.

In the spring, your native plant seedlings will benefit from supplemental watering until plants are established. 

For more information about native plants that perform well in home landscapes, see the CSU Extension publication: Native Herbaceous Perennials for Colorado Landscapes