Barrie, Ontario

Kristen Martyn and Cameron Hogarth

Kristen Martyn and Cameron Hogarth

We’re passionate about birds and nature. That’s why we opened a Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop in our community.

Barrie, Ontario

515 Bryne Drive,
Unit B
Barrie, ON L4N 9P7

Phone: (705) 726-7600
Fax: (705) 726-1327
Email: Send Message

Store Hours:
Mon - Wed: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Thurs: 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
Fri: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sat: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sun: 11:00 am - 4:00 pm

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Planting Native Plants Seeds in Your Garden

Why Plant Native Plants?

Native plants are a fantastic addition to any garden and provide our outdoor spaces with so many benefits including:

  • Many are perennial and return for us to enjoy year after year
  • Climate tolerant for a wide variety of habitats and conditions including varying soil and water conditions
  • Less water needed as they are acclimatized to our weather
  • Low maintenance as less watering and care is required
  • Provide wildlife with their natural food source and habitat
  • Encourage local biodiversity
  • Provide gardens with beauty
  • Larval host for butterflies
  • Nectar source for hummingbirds, orioles, bees, butterflies and other pollinators
  • Food sources for birds, mammals and insects

It's easy to support biodiversity by supplying staples such as water, food and shelter. With habitat loss being the greatest threat to biodiversity in the world, backyard and neighbourhood habitats are crucial pieces holding together an increasingly fragmented natural landscape. They hold the potential to create critically needed bird and wildlife habitat. Native plants are a great way to offer natural food sources to your local wildlife and encourage local biodiversity.

Native Plant Seeds: Germination and Planting Instructions

Many native perennial plant seeds germinate after a period of cold, moist stratification. Cold moist stratification is not required; but is encouraged because it can increase germination especially if seeds have been dormant for a long period of time.

Note: Some wildflower seeds (such as Bloodroot and Prairie Smoke) may take up to two years to germinate. These seeds require a period of cold moist stratification, followed by a period of warming, followed by another cold moist stratification this helps replicate two winter seasons. Each seed package has individual instructions for planting.

Cold moist stratification is best accomplished using one of two methods. Read the below instructions thoroughly before planting.

  1. Natural Stratification: Planting the seeds in the fall or early winter will allow for seeds to grow through cold moist stratification naturally. Sow the seeds by lightly tamping them into the soil. Do not cover the seeds as they need light to germinate, which will not take place until spring when the temperature and conditions are just right.
  2. Artificial Stratification: Mix seeds with suitable seed starting substrate. Make sure you have roughly 3 times the amount of substrate, to the amount of seeds in the mixture. Place the mixture in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator for 60 days. Make sure to write a label on the bag with the date for monitoring. Regularly check the bag to ensure the seeds are not drying out or sprouting, if sprouting occurs plant immediately. After 60 days the mixture is ready to come out. Before taking it out of the refrigerator make sure to prepare some water 24 hours in advance. Fill a clean container with 2 litres of water and allow the water to stand for at least 24 hours without a lid. This will allow the chlorine and fluoride found in municipal water to dissipate.

After the water has been allowed to stand for at least 24 hours, take the mixture out of the refrigerator and spread on the top of a fill 4-6 inch (10-15 centimeter) plastic pots with a suitable seed starting substrate. No more than 5-10 seeds should be planted in a pot; so you may need 5 or more pots. Fill a plastic shoebox style container with at least 2 inches of the standing water. Place the pots with the seed substrate in the container of water, allowing them to soak up the water through holes in the bottom of the pot. Let the pots to soak in the water for as long as it takes to absorb water to the top of the substrate, approximately 1-3 hours. Do not pour water onto the top of the seed substrate. Finally place each pot inside of a sealed Ziplock bag labelled with the date and type of seeds. Keep this pot indoors near an east, west or south facing window with access to 3-4 hours of sunlight each day. Do not place in direct sunlight as this type of exposure may be too harsh for the seedlings. Most seeds should germinate and sprout within 14-28 days. Once the seedlings are 3-7 centimeters (1-3 inches) tall they will need to be potted into their own pots or planted into your garden with a suitable potting mix. When you open the Ziploc bag remember to do so gradually (only 1 centimeter or 1/3 inch per day) to avoid shocking the seedlings. Only plant seedlings in your garden if the conditions are correct for planting based on your hardiness zone and season. For most locations spring and fall planting is the most suitable. 

Remember that these seeds need to be kept moist and cool until germination. 

Tips for Planting Seeds Directly in the Garden

When soil temperature, moisture and lighting conditions are ideal your seeds will germinate. If things are not right, native plant seeds will wait until conditions are suitable. So be patient, and do not disturb your soil for two seasons! Native plant seedlings are tiny when they first germinate, even though their roots are very long. The best way to control weeds is BEFORE you plant the native seeds. Trying to pull vigorous, fast-starting weeds will only disturb developing roots of you wildlings. To minimize losing native plant seedlings the first year, weeds can be cut off or back rather than pulled out. Preventing annual and biennial weeds from blooming and setting seed assures that they will not appear in your planting again. Perennial weeds will be stressed through cutting and will not compete successfully once your wildflowers are established.

It is not necessary to water a new planting, although moisture will help speed things along. Do not fertilize! The wildflowers are adapted to the garden conditions as they exist and fertilizer often makes them tall and gangly. Fertilizer can also stunt growth or even kill the plants over time. Kristen Martyn, an owner of WBU Barrie, is a native plant enthusiast and has an extensive native plant garden. All of our seeds are collected from Kristen’s native plant garden. These plants are adapted to a climate of cold winters, hot summers and regular rainfall. Such a climate favors deep-rooted, slow-growing, long-lasting perennials. Help preserve our native plant heritage and encourage more biodiversity in your yard!

Hummingbird Gardens

Native plants are an excellent way to attract hummingbirds to your backyard landscape. To encourage hummingbirds plant, native plants rich in nectar including:

  • Wild Columbine Seeds
  • Wild Bergamot Seeds
  • Butterfly Weed Seeds
  • Obedient Plant Seeds

Butterfly Gardens

Native plants are an excellent way to attract a wide variety of butterflies and other pollinators to your backyard landscape. To encourage butterflies plant:

  • Black-eyed Susan Seeds
  • Wild Columbine Seeds
  • Wild Bergamot Seeds
  • Butterfly Weed Seeds
  • Obedient Plant Seeds
  • Prairie Smoke Seeds
  • Purple Coneflower Seeds

Pollinators

Our pollinators are in trouble! The use of harsh pesticides has resulted in declines in our pollinators including many species of bees. These important insects are one of the main reasons are gardens look so beautiful as they pollinate our plants and bring out beautiful blooms. While all of our native plant seeds are great for pollinators, a time that pollinators need extra help is the early spring when not many plants are flowering. For early butterflies and pollinators plant Bloodroot and Sharp-lobed Hepatica. These are some of the first flowers in the forest and are a great nectar source for pollinators and other wildlife.