Watershed residents learn how to sow native plant seeds

Jamilee Hoffman
Mar 22, 2023

seed starting workshop blog figure 1

View of riparian buffer at Ethel Jordan Park.

As a watershed organization, we recognize the importance of native plants and their connection to healthier watersheds and healthier communities. 

We hosted our first native seed starting workshop in collaboration with Penn State Extension Master Gardeners at Friends Hospital in Philadelphia on Saturday, February 25. A special thank you to Susan Doblmaier from the Montgomery County Extension program for leading us in this workshop and providing a number of different native seeds.

This was the first time we have offered a program on this topic! We look forward to offering more programs that provide opportunities for residents across our watershed to learn about utilizing native plants at home.

Over 20 watershed-wide residents gathered to learn more about native plants, as well as the process of winter sowing seeds. Winter seed sowing utilizes recycled containers, which are filled with soil. Seeds are planted, and then they are set outside to overwinter. Many of our native plants are well adapted to the four seasons in our area, and their seeds benefit from being exposed to cold temperatures and moisture before the spring. These cold temperatures help the seeds break dormancy and thrive in the spring.

After a brief presentation by Susan, attendees were able to sow their own seeds from a variety of native plants. Containers, a number of seeds, and fresh soil from Bennett Compost were offered to attendees so that they could put what they just learned into action.

Cardinal flower at Abington Friends School.

Seeds included: Echinacea purpurea (purple coneflower), Lobelia cardinalis (cardinal flower), Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly weed), Coreopsis tinctoria (plains coreopsis), Eutrochium purpureum (joe pye weed), Helenium autumnale (sneezeweed), Aquilegia caerulea (western columbine), Baptista australis (blue false indigo), and Veronia noveboriensis (new york ironweed).

We are thrilled to offer native seeds to so many watershed residents, as native plants play a critical role in watershed health. Many of our restoration projects such as rain gardens and riparian buffers contain dozens of native species of trees, shrubs, and perennials.

These species require less care than other ornamental varieties and provide critical habitat and food sources for native species of plants, animals, and insects that call our watershed home. In our watershed community, a handful of native plants can host dozens of insect species and provide an excellent food source for birds making their way through our region.

Interested in more information or sharing ideas for future programs? Contact Ryan@ttfwatershed.org.

View Seed Starting Resources here. 

You can view the recording of this workshop here:


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