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Warm Season Plants, Cool Season Plants, and Plant Availability

Time. Don’t we all find that we always seem to need more time?

We’d like to thank our customers for a busy and delightful spring so far! You may notice that a lot of our herbaceous perennials are listed as sold out on the web store. We are not necessarily sold out of all of these species for the season, many are still to come! We typically start the season with a limited number of herbaceous perennials, which quickly disappear when we open at the beginning of April. However, many of the plants that we are cultivating for the season aren’t quite ready before this happens. As a result, we end up with a brief period, usually around this time in late April/Early May, when we’ve sold most of what we had ready, but the plants we are propagating need more time. We are currently in this availability gap right now. Keep an eye on the web store over the next few weeks for some new additions and restocking of previously sold-out species.

You may be wondering why different plant species are ready at different times during the season and why we don’t have all of our species available when we first open for the season. We don’t use any artificial or supplemental heat in our greenhouses to force earlier growth or flowering of our plants, so they are timed with the natural ebbs and flows of the seasonal changes. Some plants get going early in the season (cool season plants) and others don’t begin to flush their first growth of the season until the soil warms more (warm season plants). Milkweeds and many of our native meadow grasses are warm season, and we typically never have them in stock until mid-summer at the earliest. Others, like sedges and many woodland plants like to take advantage of the available sun before many deciduous trees leaf out for the season. Additionally, if we are growing the plants from seed that spring, they may need time to become mature enough to plant before we can list them for sale. Depending on the species, fast growing species could be ready as early as that same summer or fall, but some slower growing species may not be ready until the following season, or beyond.

If you have a list of plants that you’d like to plant for the season but find that not all the plants are available at the same time, it’s always best to buy the plants when they are available and in stock. If you wait to purchase a plant that is available now until later on, when a different species becomes available, that first plant may be sold out by then! I like to think of it as splitting up the workload of planting; planting a few plants at a time rather than a whole bunch all at once! However, there are some plants that we have some years and don’t have available other years, based on sourcing and stages of propagation. If there is a plant that you’re interested in that is currently sold out, you can sign up for the in-stock notification to be the first to know when we have it (click here to learn more about our web store and in-stock notifications in a previous blog post). You can also send us an email to ask whether we anticipate having a particular plant species this season or not. For those of you who may be interested in learning more about some of the ebbs and flows of native plant growth and how this effects plant availability at native nurseries, like us, I’d like to share this article published earlier this spring from Backyard Ecology, “Why Are Some Native Plants Unavailable Early in the Season?”

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