How Can I Get Native Plants
|Many native plants can be bought from nurseries, or you can grow them
yourself from seeds or cuttings collected in the wild, by layering or dividing
plants already in your yard, or by transplanting whole plants from the
wild. Of the do-it- yourself methods, growing from seed is the most ecologically
sound method, as it does not damage existing plant populations (provided
seeds are not collected over-zealously). On the other hand, propagation
from cuttings or transplanting plants may be preferable if the plants are
going to be destroyed by land development, and may grow more quickly than
Links to the details on each of these methods appear at right.
FOR INFORMATION ABOUT THE FOLLOWING SELECTIONS, SIMPLY CLICK ON THE TITLE BELOW:
Nurseries and Commercial Sources
Ethics of Collecting Native Plants
Growing From Seed
Hardwood Cuttings and Live Stakes
Root & Rhizome Cuttings
Salvaging Native Plants
Several of the propagation methods recommend collecting plant materials during the dormant season, a period generally from late fall through winter. It is called "dormant" because plants are not actively growing, due to the shorter days and cold weather. Because plant dormancy in Western Washington is often interrupted by spells of warm, spring-like weather, plants should be considered dormant only if the previous two weeks consisted of uninterrupted cold weather.
As you consider these options, keep in mind that one purpose for using native plants is to create and improve natural habitat. Therefore, we strongly discourage collecting whole plants from their natural settings. Not only has this practice brought some plants to the brink of extinction, it is frequently unsuccessful because many of the plants have low transplant survival rates. The only situation in which one should consider collecting whole plants from natural settings is when a plant is in the path of planned bulldozing. This type of collecting is called plant salvaging.
Because knowledge about propagating native plants is still evolving,
we encourage you to take careful notes to document your successes and failures.
Record the dates and locations from which seeds and cuttings are collected;
planting dates; germination periods; and times of initial leaf production,
flowering, fruiting, seed production, and leaf-fall.