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Winter Sowing Guide

As a child, I gathered bluets that eagerly bloomed at the edges of dry fields and later waded through knee-deep grasses searching for ox-eye daisies, black-eyed Susans, leathery-leaved milkweeds, and many others. Little did I know then that the fields and meadows of my childhood filled with wildflowers were destined to become suburban lawns. Now is the time to restore our native plant communities and invite back the butterflies, hummingbirds, birds, and beneficial insects by growing these astoundingly beautiful native flowers.

Wildflowers occupy a special place in our gardens. They are naturally suited to conditions of soil and climate that we find ourselves in, whether too dry, too wet, or too shady for many other garden flowers. They have ample nectar, pollen, and seeds to support pollinators and birds that share the same ecosystem.  

Stratify perennial seeds naturally by winter sowing

A fantastic array of native seeds are easy to grow. Many of the showiest and most beneficial species need a period of moist cold before the warm spring arrives. One can sow in pots cover and refrigerate, but using the late winter and earliest spring weather to stratify seeds naturally is fuss-free and fun to do.

Simple Steps for Winter Sowing

Step 1

Organize your pots, labels and seed packets. Use a pencil to mark labels as often “permanent" markers are anything but. Fill pots with a sterile media, water in and firm the surface lightly.

Step 2

Sprinkle seeds over the surface–so far so good. We chose heavy-weight coir pots as they are plastic-free yet sturdy enough to hold up during the wet winter and spring weather.

Step 3

Sown seeds ready for covering–some require very little as they need light, others will have a heavier covering of clean sand.

We used clean play sand to cover seeds. This will help hold the seeds in place during rain.

Step 4

Quarter inch hardware cloth will keep mice from ravaging your precious plantings!

Place in heavy shade such as on the northside of a building. Watch the weather and water if needed, as the sowings should not dry out.
Now we wait for spring!

Sprouting seedlings of winter sown native seeds.

Perennial seeds for your next winter sowing project