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Seed List - Grow More Canada!

Note: this is the Seed List. Link to Plant List, if that's what you're looking for.

Listing for 2017 seed will start after Thanksgiving

Seed collected from the Return of the Native property (or other nearby private property) in 2016. (A 2017 list will go up in October.)
Cost is $2 per packet, six for $10, plus 50 cents per packet for postage, to a maximum of $3 postage.
To order, either email list of desired seeds and do an E-transfer to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or mail list and a cheque to Return of the Native, 1186 Flos Road 10 East, Elmvale ON L0L 1P0. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 705-322-2545 if you need more info or wish to drop by to pick up some seeds in person.

Some tips on germination

Agastache foeniculum – Giant Blue Hyssop
60 to 120 cm. Perennial. Member of the mint family. Bees, butterflies and hummingbirds are drawn to these erect spikes of fragrant lavender flowers with licorice-scented leaves. Flowers are edible and can be crumbled into a salad, leaves make a great tea. Grows into effective clumps. One of the last plants to stay in flower in fall, providing sustenance for late pollinators. Sun or part shade. Easy warm germinator.

Asclepias syriaca - Common Milkweed
Can grow to 120 cm. Perennial. Spreads. If you have the space, go for it, it's the perfect Monarch host, a beautiful plant with dusky pink flowers held in drooping globes from June-August. Attracts a wide variety of pollinators. Dry to moist soil conditions, sun or shade. Seed needs light to germinate.

Asclepias tuberosa - Butterfly Weed
Can grow to 75 cm approx. Perennial. Brilliant orange flowers from June to September make this a most desirable garden plant. Doesn't send out underground runners. Host to the Monarch butterfly. Some moisture required in the soil. Sun or part-shade. Cold treatment required. Seed needs light to germinate.

Chasmanthium latifolium - Northern Sea Oats
60-150 cm Perennial. A lovely grass with arching panicles of flat drooping spikelets in late summer that start a light green and turn a purplish bronze in fall. Great in dried flower arrangements. Leave foliage in place over winter to add interest and protect crowns from cold. Self-seeds and spreads vigorously by underground rhizomes. Prefers partial shade, moist conditions, but does fine and is less prone to spreading if planted in full sun. Warm germinator.

Chelone glabra - White Turtlehead
30-90 cm. Perennial. Spikes of white flowers in August-September, the distinctive shape of the flower giving the plant its common name. Narrow lance-shaped leaves. Attracts pollinators and hummingbirds. Larval host for the Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly. Full or mostly full sun. Some moisture needed in the soil. Cold treatment required.

Elymus canadensis – Canada Wild Rye
1.5 m. Perennial. A native grass that grows in riparian woodlands, many types of forest, lakeside sand dunes, and tallgrass prairie. Arching stems are weighted by the nodding, whiskery inflorescences that appear in August. Can be used for stabilizing eroded areas. Seeds feed birds. Full to part sun. Accommodates to a variety of soil conditions. Warm germinator.

Euthamia graminifolia – Flat-topped Goldenrod
30-150 cm. Perennial. Also known as Lance-leaved or Grass-leaved Goldenrod. Pretty fragrant bright yellow flowers. Spreads by seed and underground rhizomes. Sun, moist to average soil. Cold treatment required. Helenium autumnale – Helen's Flower 60-100 cm. Perennial. Also known as Sneezeweed (no, it won't make you sneeze but the dried leaves were once used as snuff). Clumps of attractive yellow daisy-like flowers with recessed petals in August-September, attracts bees and butterflies. Full sun or part shade, accommodates to a variety of soils, prefer moist. Warm germinator.

Liatris spicata - Dense Blazingstar
30-60 cm. Perennial. Spikes of blue-violet flowers from July-November attract hummingbirds, butterflies, bees. A tall grass prairie plant that is threatened in the wild by habitat loss. Full sun. Moist conditions preferred. Warm germinator.

Nicotiana rustica? 1000-year-old Tobacco
90 cm This is an annual, not a perennial. A handsome plant with broad leaves and a cluster of beautiful greenish-white flowers, one of the four medicine plants of indigenous cultures. The seed comes from plants grown here from seed from Dan Jason of Salt Spring Seeds, who in his listing adds the question mark to the name. In 2003, Jason was given a few seeds that had been found in an urn from a burial site in the Great Lakes area, and were thought to be over 1,000 years old. He says the plant is unlike any other tobacco plant he’s seen. Here’s a link to a Six Nations site for general cultivation information. 

Oenothera biennis - Evening Primrose
60 cm – 1m. This is a biennial plant, which means it doesn’t flower until its second year. A member of an important family for pollinators. Blooms June to October, reseeds readily so once you have it, you have it. The yellow lemon-scented flowers open in the evening and close at noon, they are visited by night-flying insects like the large sphinx moths that resemble hummingbirds. The native evening-primrose lasioglossum bee is an Oenothera specialist and will collect pollen only from plants of this family – it depends for survival on the presence of evening primrose. Full sun, average soil. Warm germinator.

Opuntia humifusia - Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus
Up to 25 cm. Perennial. Low-growing and spreading, this succulent is Ontario’s only native cactus. It has dramatic large pale yellow flowers in June (visited by a variety of pollinators), followed in fall by red fruit. Fruit, pads and seeds are edible. Natural populations are listed as endangered provincially and federally. ROTN seed is saved from a plant purchased several years agofrom a nursery. Needs full sun, well-drained sand or gravel. Keep clear of weeds. Cold treatment required.

Penstemon digitalis – Foxglove Beardtongue
75 – 90 cm. Perennial. Penstemons are among North America’s most beautiful flowering species. This one has clusters of white tubular flowers from May to July that attract hummingbirds. It's not a member of the foxglove family. Clump-forming, drought tolerant, sun or part sun/shade, average soils. Cold treatment required (30 days). Seed needs light to germinate.

Phytolacca americana - American Pokeweed
1.2 – 2-5 m. Perennial. Large light-green leaves with smooth stems that turn red as the season progresses. Cream clusters of flowers from July to September are visited by various pollinators. Showy purple berries are enjoyed by birds. All parts of this plant are toxic to humans and can be fatal if ingested. Sun or past sun, moist conditions preferred. Cold treatment required.

Rhus typhina – Staghorn Sumac
80cm -3 m. Shrub. Striking fall colour foliage on soft velvety twigs. Panicles of red fruit make a pleasant citrus-flavoured tea. Great wildlife value, for pollinators, birds, mammals. Sun or part shade. Accommodates to a variety of soil conditions. Scarification and cold treatment required.

Silphium perfoliatum - Cup Plant
One of the tallest native perennials – 2 to 2.5 m. Showy yellow daisy-type flowers from July-October. Drought tolerant.Leaves clasp the stem to make a cup that hold rainwater for several days where it is used by songbirds, butterflies and other insects. Develops deep roots. Accommodates to a variety of soils. Sun. Cold treatment required.

Solidago caesia - Blue-stemmed Goldenrod
30-90 cm. Perennial. An elegant plant, blooms September to end of season. Yellow flowers appear in clusters along the wiry, often blue-green, stalks. Attracts birds, butterflies, bees. Does not spread aggressively. Dry to average moisture in loamy soil (forest floor conditions). Shade or partial shade. Cold treatment required.

Sorghastrum nutans – Indian Grass
Up to 2 m. Perennial. A dramatically beautiful tall grass prairie plant, with bronze spikelets in June from which tiny golden flowers depend. Deep-rooted, clump-forming, great fall colour and continuing winter interest. Major wildlife value – various species of grasshopper (an important food for many songbirds) feed on the foliage. Birds consume the seeds and use the foliage for nesting material and cover. Sun. Accommodates to a variety of soils. Warm germinator.

Verbena hastata – Blue Vervain
60-180 cm. Perennial. Candelabra-like inflorescences of slender spikes of purple-blue flowers, often seen in ditches. Short-lived perennial, will self-seed. Attracts butterflies and bees. Larval host for the Common Buckeye Butterfly. Sun. Will grow in average soil, prefers moist. Cold treatment required. Seed needs light to germinate.

Vernonia gigantea – Tall Ironweed
1-2 m. Perennial. Central stem topped by clusters of lovely purple flowers that bloom in fall and are welcomed by bees, butterflies and other pollinators. Birds feed on the rust-coloured seed heads. Full sun to part shade, accommodates to a variety of soil conditions. Cold treatment required. Seed needs light to germinate.

Zizia aurea – Golden Alexanders
Up to 75 cm. Perennial. Brilliant yellow flower clusters in May and June resemble Queen Anne's Lace (both are members of the carrot family). An important plant for a number of pollinators because it provides accessible nectar to many beneficial insects with short mouthparts during the spring and early summer when such flowers are relatively uncommon. Drought tolerant. Sun or part shade, average soil. Cold treatment (120 days) required.