New native-ish perennial bed, which are good seed candidates?

ocelaris(7a)September 24, 2013

So we purchased a new house about a year ago and I've been tearing out the 50 year old foundation planting shrubs and I'm ready to start my new perennial beds. I'm aiming for lots of native pollinators and I have a lot space to plant stuff, so after putting in the sprinkler system and lawn myself, my budget is shot, and I can't spend a fortune on every plant that I want, so I'm ready to start a bunch of plants from seed and cross my fingers!

I've had a lot of success with perennials but my seeding adventures have been limited to vegetables and a few failed delphiniums, and other perennials. So I'm aiming for winter sowing follow the FAQ on here.

Could you tell me which plants are worth purchasing root stock or plants and which are worth growing in trays so I can have quite a few of them?

For example I've heard Baptisia and Polemonium are legumes, and can be difficult to grow (even being innoculated), but I've had my Asclepias Tuberosa Volunteer at our old house, so I'm fine with those... Also anything relatively "cheap" that i can buy in a flat I woludn't be opposed to purchasing as a seedling or root stock. But I have a lot of space to fill so seeds would be the easiest way for me to get there.

Any advice which species might not be suitable for seed starting would be appreciated.

I'm looking mostly at seeds that Prarie Moon Nursery ( ) offers, as my assumption cultivars which are "native" would usually have better pollen/nectar potential than hybridized varieties. I'm not set with these specific varieties except they are offered in as seeds.

Thanks, Bill

Coreopsis Lance Leaf Coreopsis - lanceolata
Baptistia Australis - Wild Blue Indigo
Baptistia bracteata - Cream Wild Indigo
Asclepias Tuberosa - Butterfly Weed
liatris Dwarf Blazing Star
Liatris Button Blazing Star
helenium autumnale
Agastache Foeniculum Anise Hyssop
Amorpha canescens Lead Plant
Campanula Americana - Tall Bellflower
Eupatorium Joe Pye Weed
Lobelia Siphilitica Great Blue Lobelia
Lobelia Cardinalis - Cardinal Flower
Echinacea TBD
Ratibida Yellow Cone Flower (Pinnata)
Polemonium Reptans - Jacob's Ladder
Geranium Geranium maculatum (wild Geranium)
Aster oblongifolius Aromatic Aster
Aster cordifolius Heart-leaved Aster

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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

Others you might try are:
Black-Eyed Susan's
Iron Weed
Joe Pye Weed

That's all I can think of for the moment. I strongly suggest using the wintersowing method for starting seeds. You'll get great germination and tough plants for minimal investment. And lots of the seeds you're looking for are probably available for trade on the seed exchange forum or even just for postage. Good luck and enjoy your new beds.


    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 8:35PM
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rbrady(5/Eastern Ia)

Everything listed are easy to start from seed, especially using the wintersow method as Martha suggested. I have some of the seeds you have listed and would be willing to send some to you to enable you:-) I have the following if interested:

Agastache foeniculum
Helenium autumnale
Campanula americana
Eupatorium purpureum
Echinacea purpurea
Echinacea tennesseensis
Lobelia cardinalis

I will have when the finish flowering:
Lobelia siphilicata
Eupatorium rugosum
Ratibida pinnata

I will also have if interested:
Penstemon digitalis
Rudbeckia triloba
Eryngium yuccifolium
Liatris (unsure of which one)
Chasmanthium latifolia
Thermopsis carolinia
and a couple other natives I can't think of right now:-) If interested shoot me an email through GW.


    Bookmark   September 28, 2013 at 2:30PM
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Thanks all, I am looking to fill in basically the areas that are on the slopes, that currently grass is growing into as a place holder until I can get the beds set up. See bottom picture, anything shaded is what will have Perennials.

I am starting to collect Milk Jugs now. What is the best time to start, before the first frost or after? I know I'm going to have some deer and rabbit pressure, but I have neighbors with perennials, and I'm hoping "natives" will be a little bit more resistant.

You can see the progress since last November, I've pulled out most of the old shrubs and planted a new lawn, put in sprinklers, and next spring we'll put in perennial beds and a few raised beds as well.

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    Bookmark   September 29, 2013 at 9:57PM
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