Plant Shopping 101
If there’s one question we answer over and over again on the FNPS Facebook page it’s, “where can I find (insert name of plant) in my area?” We are thrilled that you are looking for natives to incorporate into your landscapes! This blog should hopefully become a great reference tool for you to use when shopping for plants and/or seeds in your area. So, without further ado, here are the four different webpages I typically use when asked to locate a particular native species; one is for wildflower seeds and the remainder are for plants.
Literally hundreds, if not thousands, of seed sources can be found on the internet - why do I limit my seed search to one resource? Simply stated, WHERE seeds are collected is just as important as what species they come from. Allow me to briefly touch on the notion of ecotype without getting completely carried away... Within a given plant species there are varying degrees of genetic adaptation to the surrounding environment that occur over time. These slight genetic shifts presumably give local populations of a species (ecotypes) a competitive advantage over those grown out-of-state. For optimal results, it is advisable to sow seeds harvested from a site with an environment similar to your own. Fortunately, the Florida Wildflowers Growers Co-op offers seeds collected in Florida in a variety of different packages. Simply looking for packets of a single species? Want to sow a large field or roadside with a Florida Ecotype Mix,? This is the place to go.
Whether it's a native tree, shrub, or groundcover you're hoping to get your hands on, the internet is the best place to begin your search (and save on gas)! The Florida Association of Native Nurseries (F.A.N.N.), our sister organization, maintains two webpages through which you can locate that specimen you've been drooling over - one is primarily for homeowners and gardeners, and the other is directed toward industry professionals. Both provide information about which plants are native to your neck of the woods. Just enter your zip code to find out if what you were considering buying is appropriate for your site.
graphics by Laurie Sheldon