Printable PDF version (200kb)
Growing Natives for CNPS Plant Sales
A Fun and Rewarding Contribution to CNPS
Vince Scheidt, San Diego Chapter
Did you know that just nine of our San Diego Chapter CNPS members grew and donated more than 27 species of native plants for our annual fall plant sale? This is a remarkable contribution, and growing plants to donate to the sale is fun and very rewarding! Most native plants are easy to grow from either seeds or cuttings, and you don't need any special skills or talents, just a little space and the inclination to spend a little time getting your hands dirty. I particularly enjoy growing rare and uncommon species – plants that are not readily available anywhere - other than at our CNPS plant sale. And remember that every plant grown for donation means one less that the CNPS has to purchase for resale. So even the most common species are gratefully accepted!
If you think that this is something that you might enjoy doing, there are plenty of resources out there to get you started. The internet has lots of useful information - just Google "Growing California Native Plants" or something like that. Also, most of our chapters sell books and booklets on this subject, such as "Easy-to-Grow" by the CNPS San Diego Chapter (only $2.00), "Propagation Secrets for California Native Plants" by Jeanine De Hart, "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara Emery, "Growing a Native Planting Guide" by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden, and others.
Finally, come to your local chapter meetings and ask around. This is probably the best place to get information, while at the same time becoming infected with enthusiasm for growing natives. We have horticultural professionals in the society that love to meet other plant growers and potential growers! Seeds are usually available for free or for purchase, as is ample advice on how to become a successful amateur plant grower for the CNPS!
Pictured above is Candleholder Dudleya (Dudleya candelabrum), a rare insular succulent currently found only on Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa Island in the Channel Islands National Park. I collected a single specimen in 1985 (still alive today), and have propagated this species from seed for several years. Candleholder Dudleya occurs mostly on steep, northfacing slopes where it produces an unusually-shaped inflorescence with pale yellow flowers.
Also shown (at left) is Cedros Island Buckwheat, an outstanding but almost never- seen perennial shrub. I did not propagate this specimen – it was obtained from the Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Garden. Seeds from this very rare species were collected decades ago on the north end of Cedros Island off central Baja California, where it occurs on rocky cliffs and bluffs.
Photos by the author: Dudleya candelebrum from seed 3; Julia Groebner with Eriogonum molle grown from seed.
Vince Scheidt lives in San Diego, where he owns a small private environmental consulting firm specializing in biological studies and endangered species surveys. He enjoys propagating native plants, specializing in rare Dudleyas, and maintains a diverse native plant garden filled with dozens of uncommon species. Vince serves on the CNPS Board of Directors.