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Seed List

Note: this is the Seed List. Link to Plant List, if that's what you're looking for.

Cost is $2 per packet, six for $10, plus 50 cents per packet for postage, to a maximum of $3 postage.
To order, either email list of desired seeds and do an E-transfer to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or postal mail your list, and a cheque made out to Kate Harries, to Return of the Native, 1186 Flos Road 10 East, Elmvale ON L0L 1P0. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 705-322-2545 if you need more info or wish to drop by to pick up some seeds in person.

Seedy Saturday in Innisfil: Don't miss it!

The world of germination can be complex.
Simplest, to seed outside in fall. If you're doing it indoors, and/or in pots, and are new to this, find out what stratification and scarification mean. Read this short primer: Some tips on germination. And for more details, link to the Ontario Rock Garden and Hardy Plant Society for advice on germination.

Collected in 2017 from the Return of the Native property (or other nearby private property). Some wild collected, as noted.

Annuals / Biennials

Echinocystis lobata - Wild Cucumber
Climbing vine. Not edible. Deeply lobed leaves, curly tendrils, fragrant frothy white flowers in August that attract pollinators, interesting prickly seedpods that dry out to a delicate filigree. Self-seeds readily, squash-like seedlings are easy to spot in early spring and pull out where not wanted. Cold moist stratification.

Impatiens capensis - Spotted Jewelweed
Up to 1.5 m. Also known as Touch-me-not for the way the seeds explode out of the capsule in fall. Traditional remedy for skin rash. Pretty orange flower that attracts pollinators and hummingbirds. Prefers damp but can be quite an enthusiastic spreader anywhere. Cold moist stratification, some say requires double dormancy (cold-warm-cold). Easier to sprinkle outdoors and wait two years if necessary.

Nicotiana alata - Flowering Tobacco
Up to 1 m. Not native to Ontario, this South America tropical has star-shaped White or red flowers that are wonderfully fragrant and visited by hummingbirds. Sun or part sun, will do well in poor soil. Warm germinator, needs light.

Nicotiana rustica - Aztec Tobacco
Up to 1 m. Non-native, another South American tropical that made its way north centuries ago - the originating seed is said to come from a 1,000-year-old burial site in the Great Lakes area. More of the story. A handsome plant with broad leaves and clusters of greenish-white flowers, one of the four medicine plants of indigenous cultures. Here’s a link to a Six Nations site for cultivation information. Warm germinator, needs light.

Oenothera biennis - Evening Primrose
60 cm – 1m. This is a biennial plant, which means it doesn’t flower until its second year. A member of an important family for pollinators. Blooms June to October, reseeds readily so once you have it, you have it. The yellow lemon-scented flowers open in the evening and close at noon, they are visited by night-flying insects like the large sphinx moths that resemble hummingbirds. The native evening-primrose lasioglossum bee is an Oenothera specialist and will collect pollen only from plants of this family – it depends for survival on the presence of Evening Primrose. Full sun, average soil. Warm germinator.


Actaea pachypoda – White Baneberry
Up to 70 cm Also known as Doll’s Eyes, for the black-dotted white fruit on red stalks that appear in August. Lovely frothy white flowers in June. Finely dissected grey-green foliage. Deciduous shade. Accommodates to a variety of soil conditions. Cold moist stratification.

Agastache foeniculum – Giant Blue Hyssop

60 to 120 cm. Perennial. Member of the mint family. Bees, butterflies and hummingbirds are drawn to these erect spikes of fragrant lavender flowers with licorice-scented leaves. Flowers are edible and can be crumbled into a salad, leaves make a great tea. Grows into effective clumps. One of the last plants to stay in flower in fall, providing sustenance for late pollinators. Sun or part shade. Easy warm germinator.

Ageratina altissima var. altissima – White Snakeroot
30 to 90 cm - Showy white flowers in July-October attract a variety of butterflies, bees and other pollinators. Part shade. Average soil conditions. Cold, moist stratification.

Allium cernuum - Wild Nodding Onion
20-60 cm. A stand-out among members of the onion family that are grown for their decorative flowers. Nodding white-pink flowers in July-August. Attracts hummingbirds, butterflies, bees. Full sun, average soil conditions. Cold moist stratification.

Asclepias incarnata - Swamp Milkweed
Up to 120 cm. Also known as Rose Milkweed. One of several milkweeds native to Ontario, this one is particularly beautiful, with a round cluster of pale and dark pink blooms in June-July. It doesn't spread with underground runners like Common Milkweed. Host to the Monarch butterfly. A wetland plant, it does require some moisture in the soil. Sun or part shade. Cold moist stratification. Seed needs light to germinate.

Asclepias syriaca – Common Milkweed
Can grow to 120 cm. Spreads - although in a naturalized setting it will become outcompeted by more vigorous plants like Goldenrod. A beautiful plant with fragrant dusky-pink flowers held in drooping globes from June-August. Attracts a wide variety of pollinators and is host (caterpillars can digest the leaves) tto the Monarch butterfly. Dry to moist soil conditions, sun or shade. Warm germinator. Seed needs light to germinate.

Asclepias tuberosa - Butterfly Weed
40-80 cm. Brilliant orange flowers from June to September make this a most desirable garden plant. Clump-forming - doesn't send out underground runners, but does form a large taproot, making transplanting difficult. Drought-tolerant. Late to break dormancy. Host to the Monarch butterfly. Sun or part-shade. Warm germinator. Seed needs light to germinate.

Chelone glabra - White Turtlehead
30-90 cm. Spikes of white flowers in August-September, the distinctive shape of the flower giving the plant its common name. Narrow lance-shaped leaves. Attracts pollinators and hummingbirds. Larval host for the Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly. Full or mostly full sun. Some moisture needed in the soil. Cold moist stratification.

Coreopsis grandiflora – Large-flowered Tickseed
Sprawling plant with great large yellow daisy-like flowers, bloom from May to September, attracts pollinators, tolerates poor soil, even sand, drought-tolerant. Easy warm germinator.  SOLD OUT

Coreopsos tripteris - Tall Coreopsis
A tall (2 metres plus), picturesque plant with long stems. Daisy like yellow flowers with maroon centres from July to September. Makes a nice clump that sways in the wind. Accommodates to most soils, good in sand. Sun. Cold moist stratification.

Desmodium canadensis - Showy Tick Trefoil
1 m approx Wands of pretty pink pea-like flowers in July, this is an edge plant - part sun / part shade. Best known for its seed capsules that are animal dispersed and will stick to fur and clothing. A legume (adds nitrogen) with long taproot (drought tolerant). Wild collected. Warm germinator. SOLD OUT

Doellingeria umbellata - Flat-topped White Aster
1-1.5m Also known as Tall White Aster, and elegant plant with a flat-topped cluster of white flowers and a rigid, often purplish stem. The lance-shaped leaves have prominent veins on the underside and feel smooth when stroked away from the stem, rough when stroked backwards. Attracts many pollinators. Full or part sun, moist soil. Cold moist stratification.

Echinacea purpurea – Purple Coneflower
1.2 m A classic: large pink daisy-like flowers with reflexed petals and bronze centres on erect stems up to three feet tall. One of the joys of an Ontario summer. Visited by many pollinators, including hummingbirds. Sun or dappled shade. Easy warm germinator.

Eupatorium perfoliatum – Common Boneset
100-160 cm Showy clusters of white flowers really brighten up a shady spot. Leaves are "perfoliated," meaning they clasp the stem. This made it a folk remedy, based on the idea that a poultice of this plant could help broken bones knit together. Blooms August-October. Pollinator plant. Shade, part shade. Cold moist stratification.

Euthamia graminifolia – Flat-topped Goldenrod
30-150 cm. Perennial. Also known as Lance-leaved or Grass-leaved Goldenrod. Pretty fragrant bright yellow flowers. Spreads by seed and underground rhizomes. Sun, moist to average soil. Cold treatment required.

Eryngium yuccifolium - Rattlesnake Master
Sword-shaped yucca-like leaves and greenish white thistle-like heads. The name’s derived from the fact that native people used it in a tea as an antidote for a rattlesnake bite. A striking accent plant that’s very attractive to pollinators in late fall. Cold moist stratification. SOLD OUT

Helenium autumnale – Helen's Flower
60-100 cm. Also known as Sneezeweed (the dried leaves were once used as snuff). Clumps of attractive yellow daisy-like flowers with recessed petals in August-September, attracts bees and butterflies. Full sun or part shade, accommodates to a variety of soils, prefer moist. Warm germinator.

Helianthus giganteus - Tall Sunflower
1-3 m Dramatic narrow-leaved perennial sunflower that provides protective cover for many kinds of wildlife. Many pale yellow flowers on reddish stems, July-October. Attracts butterflies and other pollinators. Seeds eaten by birds and small mammals. Like Jerusalem artichokes, produces edible tubers (fewer and smaller). Spreads and self-seeds readily –suitable for naturalization, less so for small gardens. Sun, part shade. Average soil works, moist soil preferred. Warm germinator.

Iris versicolor – Northern Blue Flag Iris
60-90 cm A plant for the edge of the pond, strappy foliage, elegant blue flowers with a yellow highlight, blooms from May to August. Attracts bees, hummingbirds. Cold moist stratification. SOLD OUT

Liatris spicata - Dense Blazingstar
30-60 cm. Perennial. Spikes of blue-violet flowers from July-November attract hummingbirds, butterflies, bees. A tall grass prairie plant that is threatened in the wild by habitat loss. Full sun. Moist conditions preferred. Warm germinator.

Lobelia cardinalis – Cardinal Flower
Scarlet flowers on spikes up to a metre tall from July-September. Needs moist conditions – an excellent edge of water plant. Pollinated by hummingbirds. Fascinating for the sheer brilliance of its red. Cold moist stratification.

Lobelia siphilitica - Great Blue Lobelia
Up to 90 cm Clump-forming perennial with dense spikes of clear blue tubular flowers from August-October. Attracts bees, hummingbirds, butterflies. Part sun, average to moist soil. Warm germinator.

Lupis perennis - Wild Lupine
40-60 cm. NOT one of the multi-coloured hybrids, this has a blue flower (very occasionally pink) and is a host plant for the caterpillars of the Karner Blue and the Dusky Wing, two butterflies that are extirpated in Ontario, as well as the endangered Frosted Elfin. Grows in dry sand, tolerant of a wide range of soils. Full sun. Warm germinator, scarification. SOLD OUT

Opuntia humifusia - Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus
Up to 25 cm. Perennial. Low-growing and spreading, this succulent is Ontario’s only native cactus. It has dramatic large pale yellow flowers in June (visited by a variety of pollinators), followed in fall by red fruit. Fruit, pads and seeds are edible. Natural populations are listed as endangered provincially and federally. ROTN seed is saved from a plant purchased several years ago from a nursery. Needs full sun, well-drained sand or gravel. Keep clear of weeds. Cold treatment required. SOLD OUT

Penstemon digitalis – Foxglove Beardtongue
75 – 90 cm. Perennial. Penstemons are among North America’s most beautiful flowering species. This one has clusters of white tubular flowers from May to July that attract hummingbirds. It's not a member of the foxglove family. Clump-forming, drought tolerant, sun or part sun/shade, average soils. Cold treatment required (30 days). Seed needs light to germinate.

Penstemon hirsutus - Hairy Beardtongue
Lavender bell-shaped flowers, gets its name from the hairs on the stem. A little shorter than the Foxglove Beardtongue, clump-forming, drought-tolerant. Sun or part sun/shade, average soils. Cold moist stratification. Seed needs light to germinate.

Ratibida pinnata - Grey-headed Coneflower
50-150 cm A tall plant of South-western Ontario’s tall grass prairie. Blooms June-September. Showy flower - with a prominent central disk, which is initially light green or gray and later turns dark brown, and extremely reflexed yellow petals. Attracts birds, butterflies, bees. Thrives in dry soil, excellent for xeriscaping. Sun or part shade. Cold moist stratification.

Rosa virginiana – Virginia Rose
1 m A wild rose that adds grace to any garden. Good for edge of pond as it prefers moisture. Pink single flowers over a long period of summer have a delicate fragrance and produce bright red hips. Foliage turns yellow and red in fall. Not bothered by pests. Spreads, suitable for a low hedge. Full or part sun. Cold moist stratification.

Rudbeckia triloba - Brown-eyed Susan
Up to 1 m. Also known as three-lobed coneflower. Compact yellow flowers on multi-branched stem. Sun or part shade. Warm germinator. 

Silphium perfoliatum - Cup Plant
One of the tallest native perennials – 2 to 2.5 m. Showy yellow daisy-type flowers from July-October. Drought tolerant.Leaves clasp the stem to make a cup that hold rainwater for several days where it is used by songbirds, butterflies and other insects. Develops deep roots. Accommodates to a variety of soils. Sun. Cold moist stratification.

Solidago caesia - Blue-stemmed Goldenrod
30-90 cm. An elegant plant, blooms September to end of season. Yellow flowers appear in clusters along the wiry, often blue-green, stalks. Attracts birds, butterflies, bees. Does not spread aggressively. Dry to average moisture in loamy soil (forest floor conditions). Shade or partial shade. Cold moist stratification.

Symphyotrichum novae angliae – New England Aster
1-2 m Also known as Michaelmas Daisy – the essential fall flower, much loved by pollinators feeding up before winter. Drought tolerant, salt tolerant. Blooms from September to October. Sun, part shade. Pink or purple. Accommodates to a variety of soils. Cold moist stratification.

Vernonia gigantea – Tall Ironweed
1-2 m. Perennial. Central stem topped by clusters of lovely purple flowers that attract bees, butterflies and other pollinators. Birds feed on the rust-coloured seed heads. Full sun to part shade, accommodates to a variety of soil conditions. Cold moist stratification.

Veronicastrum virginicum – Culver’s Root
Tall stems bearing elegant white flower spikes from mid-summer to fall. Leaves arranged in whorls around the stem. Shade or part-sun, part-shade, moist soil. Cold moist stratification.


Carex hystericina - Porcupine Sedge
Grows to 1 m A sedge of marshes and wet meadows with an attractive bristly flower spike, provides food for many species of wetland birds. Full sun. Cold moist stratification.

Chasmanthium latifolium – Northern Sea Oats
A lovely grass with arching panicles of flat drooping spikelets in late summer that start a light green and turn a purplish bronze in fall. Great in dried flower arrangements. Leave foliage in place over winter to add interest and protect crowns from cold. Self-seeds and spreads vigorously by underground rhizomes. Prefers partial shade, moist conditions, but does fine and is less prone to spreading if planted in full sun. Warm germinator.

Elymus hystrix - Bottle-brush Grass
1m-1.5 m Plants form loose upright tufts of rough textured bright green blade, with pale green bottlebrush-like inflorescences. This species is found in woodland and shaded meadows. It is unusually shade tolerant for a grass. Part sun to full shade. Adapts to wide range of soils. Warm germinator.

Sorghastrum nutans – Indian Grass
Up to 2 m. Perennial. A dramatically beautiful tall grass prairie plant, with bronze spikelets in June from which tiny golden flowers depend. Deep-rooted, clump-forming, great fall colour and continuing winter interest. Major wildlife value – various species of grasshopper (an important food for many songbirds) feed on the foliage. Birds consume the seeds and use the foliage for nesting material and cover. Sun. Accommodates to a variety of soils. Warm germinator.


Aesculus glabra - Ohio Buckeye
9-12 m Showy yellow flowers in May-June are pollinated by the Ruby-throated Hummingbird and various long-tongued bees. Attractive compound leaves and shiny brown ‘conker’ nuts in prickly husks. This is the North American cousin of the European Horse Chestnut and, as with that tree, all parts are toxic to humans and other mammals. Moist, humusy soil in sun or part shade. Cold moist stratification. 10 seed. Add $2 because of size of seed.

Ostrya virginiana - Ironwood
Up to 12m Also known as Hop-Hornbeam. A handsome slow-growing understory tree with the hardest and densest wood of any species in Canada. Identifiable by the way its bark separates into shaggy, narrow strips. Paper-like seed sacks hang in clusters in fall. Wild collected. Cold moist stratification.