Growing plants from seeds provide some important benefits, particularly to the plant community at large but also to gardeners. My reworked bed actually has mostly plants that were started from seed even though I didn’t plan it that way (and none of them were started by me either!). A number of local native plant growers use seeds for their plants and for a variety of reasons:
- Seed grown plants allow us to keep and promote genetic diversity of plant material. Just like our own human siblings, plants from seed have differences even though they came from the same parents. Plants propagated from cuttings and tissue culture (often the method of propagation for named cultivars) pass along identical genes every time.
- Seed grown plants allow us to preserve local heritage. Small growers and gardeners might gather seeds from local populations, maybe even populations that are shrinking due to development, and create plants to carry on those genes. Think about much you enjoy having some of Grandma’s old black-eyed Susans. In a similar way, we can have a bit of local flora heritage spread among our gardens.
- Speaking of Grandma’s plants, growing from seed is a great way to share special things with friends. They are easy to mail! Back to my blooming sundrops, these are particularly special. The seeds were gathered from one friend’s garden, grown by my very talented friend Sheri (that girl has magic in her fingers), and are now growing in my garden. How doubly-special is that? I have several other seed-grown plants from Sheri in that garden plus plants grown from seed at several small nurseries (Night Song and Plant Life Nursery), other friends, as well as some of my own seedlings. The place is packed!
I am especially proud of the work that the nearby Chattahoochee Nature Center—often in partnership with the GeorgiaPlant Conservation Alliance (GPCA)—is doing to acquire seeds from Georgia populations, grow them, and make plants available to the general public through their sales. Rare plants that they grow go back into conservation sites, so support of CNC plant sales helps conservation in the state.
|Details of some plants below|
So the next time you have a chance to get some seed grown plants, I encourage you to consider yourself lucky. Not everyone takes the time to do it, but the rewards can be great.
|Swamp milkweed (Asclepias perennis)|
Grown from seed by Sheri
|Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)|
A seedling from my friend Richard
|Scarlet sage (Salvia coccinea)|
in adorable red wheelbarrow from Sheri