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  • Writer's pictureJeanne McRight

10-Step Guide for Native Seed Collection

by Jeanne McRight

It is sometimes difficult to obtain native plant seeds from local sources for gardens and other habitat creation and restoration projects. It makes sense to learn how to collect seeds from common species that are abundant in your area. You can also collect seeds from your own native plant garden, then swap and share them with friends and neighbours in your community.

Blooming Boulevards volunteers collecting New England aster seeds, with written permission from the City of Mississauga

Here's a quick preview guide for collecting common native plant seeds from your garden and/or local wild areas:

1. Ask permission from property owner, get in writing if possible

2. Do not deplete the natural seed bank = no more than 1% of total seeds per patch

3. ID species: scout (and record) plant population locations during flowering season

4. Collect ONLY COMMON SPECIES. Source plants locally: close to home or work

5. In wild areas, collect only where population size = no fewer than 50 plants per patch

6. Collect randomly, but only mature seeds - use paper or cloth bags, not plastic

7. Keep detailed notes = label seeds w/species name, collection date, site

8. Protect harvested seeds from heat, humidity, and wildlife

9. Clean and dry seeds immediately

10. Place in labeled airtight containers, then store cool but not freezing


How to Collect and Store Seeds - from the Ladybird Johnson Wildlife Center

Seed Saving 101 - Jeanne McRight, Blooming Boulevards


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