Producing native plants...

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To grow native plants one must know the plants and the laws. Take Queen of the prairie (Filipendula rubra) as an example. It's easily grown in the nursery. Its bright pink cotton candy flowers on 4-5' stems help it sell well at garden centers. Yet the species is threatened in Michigan and other places. Growers cannot collect plants or seeds of this species from those areas. 

...for conservationist and gardener

Seeds and plants

When you look for native plants, check with local growers that specialize in natives.* We know many such growers and think that throughout the industry you are unlikely to find more credible or caring people. They will know which plants in their inventory are on special lists, including queen of the prairie (top) and pink lady's slipper (below).

*Examples, growers from Michigan and Illinois
Other growers can be found by Internet search
using terms such as
native plant producers (name of State or Province)

More native plant sources are listed in our
notes from presentations about Native Plants

Thus plants and seeds may be tough to find. Special permission is required to collect protected plants or their seed, and such permits are more likely to be granted for a conservation project than for a commercial nursery's stock.

Growers might be able to sell listed plants because they began growing a species before it was declared threatened or endangered, and continue production using only that line of nursery grown plants for seeds, cuttings or divisions. For instance,  Wildtypes native plant nursery in Mason, Michigan grew the threatened species Geum triflorum -- prairie smoke or old man's whiskers -- from seeds collected pre-listing and may continue to propagate those plants.

Others can grow plants of species that are locally endangered or threatened because they buy seeds or plants from areas where the species is not in trouble.

Sometimes you will simply not be able to find a source for a particular native. Then all you can do is maintain contacts at native plant growers and at organizations such as Cranbrook Gardens, Toledo Botanical Garden and the New England Wildflower Society. The latter groups sometimes obtain permits to conduct "rescue digs" in natural areas due to be paved or otherwise lost. Plants from those digs may be relocated to the gardens and sometimes may even be propagated.

Below: Pink lady's slipper (Cypripedium acaule) is native throughout the eastern U.S. and much of Canada. It's endangered or threatened in some parts of its range (Illinois, Tennessee), but growers do produce it. It's difficult to get growing and slow to reach blooming size so expect to pay a high price for such a plant. We purchased pink lady's slipper from the New England Wildflower Society spring plant sale at their Garden in the Woods in Framingham, Massachusetts. We were glad to be able to place the plants in a place where they might multiply in a client's maple-pine woods while simultaneously supporting the NEWFS and on of the public gardens we love.