From Kate Harries

Updated January 16 2021 

This is the 2021 Seed List – seed collected in 2020 from the Return of the Native property in North Simcoe or nearby. 
Here's the link to the 2021 Plant List, if that's what you're looking for (plants not available till Spring 2021).

Cost of seed is $3.50 per packet, $3.50 postage (large orders may require more postage). PAYMENT OPTIONS: e-transfer, cheque, cash. No credit or debit cards, no Paypal.

To order, either:

-Email list of desired seeds to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (be sure to include your own postal address) 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, with a cheque made out to Kate Harries. Postal address: Return of the Native, 1186 Flos Road 10 East, Elmvale ON L0L 1P0. Be sure to include your own postal address.

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 information or wish to drop by to pick up some seeds in person.


The world of germination can be complex and it can be hard to get some native plant seed to break dormancy – which is why the range of commercially available natives has been limited. Simplest, to seed outside in fall, either in the ground or in pots sunk into the ground.

If you're starting seed indoors, be aware that some (not all) native seeds require a period of cold (stratification) to unlock dormancy. Here’s a short primer to find out how to simulate winter: Some tips on germination. The Ontario Rock Garden and Hardy Plant Society has a good germination guide - in this list, I've added a link to that site for information on any plants that need manipulation of temperature or other factors.

Those that are easy are described as 'warm germinators,' which means that they will germinate like annuals do, at 20 C, so you can start them inside or seed outside either in fall (the seed will remain viable in the ground through sub-zero temperatures), or in the spring. 

Annuals / Biennials

Cirsium discolor – Field Thistle SOLD OUT
Up to 2 metres. Native thistles are becoming rare on our landscape. Large flowers and abundant nectar attract pollinators, the seed is enjoyed by birds. Purple flower heads consisting of many narrow tubeshaped flowers appear from July to September. Bees love it for nectar, birds, for nutritious seed. Full sun, accommodates to a wide range of soil conditions. Warm germinator. Seeds per packet: 80.

Nicotiana rustica - Aztec Tobacco

Up to 1 m. Non-native to Ontario, another South American tropical that made its way north centuries ago and was tended by the indigenous people of our area. The originating seed is said to come from a 1,000-year-old burial site in the Great Lakes area. A handsome plant with broad leaves and clusters of greenish-white flowers, one of the four medicine plants of indigenous cultures. Warm germinator. Seeds per packet: 300 approx.

Oenothera biennis - Evening Primrose 

60 cm – 1m. This is a biennial plant, which means it doesn’t flower until its second year. The native evening-primrose lasioglossum bee is an Oenothera specialist and will collect pollen only from plants of this family –  Full sun, average soil. Warm germinator.


Actaea racemosa - Black Cohosh
1.5 m Formerly known as Cimicifuga racemosa. Other common names are Black Bugbane, Black Snakeroot and Fairy Candles. Dramatic arching spikes of fragrant cream flowers in September-October. Beautiful dissected foliage. Average soil, shade or partial shade. I have been able to get germination in one season with three months warm, three months cold. Seeds per packet: 100. Link

Agastache foeniculum – Anise 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. Warm germinator. 

 Seeds per packet: 300.

Allium cernuum - Nodding Wild Onion
45 cm Globes of mauve star-like flowers. Sun or part sun. Warm germinator.  Seeds per packet: 60.

Asclepias incarnata - Swamp Milkweed

Up to 120 cm. Also known as Rose or Red Milkweed. Beautiful clusters of pale and dark pink blooms in June-July. A wetland plant, it does require some moisture in the soil. Sun or part shade. Cold stratification required. Link Seeds per packet: 80.

Asclepias syriaca – Common Milkweed

80-100 cm Fragrant dusky pink flowers held in drooping globes from end of June to early August. Attracts a wide variety of pollinators and is host to the Monarch butterfly. Dry to moist soil conditions, sun or shade. Warm germinator. Seed needs light to germinate. Seeds per packet: 80.

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. Seeds per packet: 80

Baptisia australis - Blue False Indigo
90-120 cm Deep indigo-blue lupine-like flowers, followed by interesting charcoal-black seedpods. The seeds co Blue-green foliage stays fresh and attractive all season. A long-lived plant that's slow to mature. Full sun, average soil. Warm germinator, but scarification required. Link 

Callirhoe digitata - Fringed Poppy Mallow
90 cm Striking magenta flowers in July-August on erect branching stems. Not native to Ontario, its range is south of Lake Michigan to Gulf of Mexico. Link Ontario Rock Garden Society says it's a warm germinator but that has not worked for me, I had success with scarification with boiling water followed by 30 days cold moist stratification. Seeds per packet: 30.

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. Larval host for the Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly. Full or mostly full sun. Some moisture needed in the soil. Warm germinator.  Seeds per packet: 70.

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. Warm germinator.  

Seeds per packet: 60.

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. Warm germinator. Seeds per packet: 50

Eryngium yuccifolium - Rattlesnake Master
1.2 m Looks like a desert plant but is perfectly hardy in Huronia. Spiny-edged leaves and lovely pale green bristly flowerhead globes that attract pollinators late into the fall. Said by Ontario Rock Garden to be a warm germinator, stratification recommended by others. I have struggled with this seed and finally had success last year with 60 days of stratifcation. I hope to repeat that for next season. I have also sowed the seed outside, to see how that works.

Eutrochium maculatum – Spotted Joe Pye Weed 
180 cm plus Formerly known as Eupatorium maculatum. A tall plant wetland overed with a cloud of dusky pink flowers in July and August. Attracts pollinators, birds. Accommodates to a variety of soils - and drier conditions than its natural habitat would indicate. Warm germinator.  Seeds per packet: 70.

Eutrochium purpureum – Sweet-scented Joe-Pye Weed  

120 cm A good Joe-Pye for many garden situations, because it is not as tall and - a woodland plant - it grows in drier conditions than Spotted Joe Pye. The flowers are pinker, the stem is purple, at the joints or all the way up. Similarly attractive to hummingbirds, butterflies and other pollinators, with seeds much enjoyed by the white-crowned and white-throated sparrows. Warm germinator.  Seeds per packet: 70

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, or maybe not.  Seeds per packet: 70.

Hypericum ascyron - Giant St. John's Wort 

70 cm Robust shrub-like perennial with large yellow flowers with numerous long stamens producing large quantities of pollen. Warm and then moist cold stratification.  Link

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. Seeds per packet: lots (1/4 tsp)

Mimulus ringens - Monkey Flower
60-100 cm Bushy plant with pretty mauve flowers that bloom for about a month some time from late June to mid-August. Needs consistent moisture, good for a rain or bog garden. Sun. Warm germinator.

Monarda fistulosa – Wild Bergamot Beebalm
60-80 cm approx Soft mauve flowers, sweetly scented, attractive to pollinators - bees (including its own specialist bee Dufourea monardae), butterflies and hummingbirds. A Xerces Society favourite. Flowers all summer long. Warm germinator. Seed needs light to germinate. Seeds per packet: 50.

Monarda punctata - Spotted Beebalm 
30-60 cm Whorls of cream, maroon-spotted, tubular flowers form a dense, elongated spike at the end of the stem or from leaf axils, each whorl resting on conspicuous, light pink to lavender leafy bracts. Aromatic foliage, drought tolerant. Warm germinator. Seeds per packet: 50.

Penstemon digitalis – Foxglove Beardtongue 
75 – 90 cm. White tubular flowers from May to July. It's not a member of the foxglove family. Clump-forming, drought tolerant, sun or part sun/shade, average soils. Warm germinator. Seeds per packet: 150

Physostegia virginiana - Obedient Plant
100-130 cm Mauve or white flower spikes. Another name is False Dragonhead. An underrated plant that is very effective at the back of the border and is always buzzing with pollinators. Spreads but relatively easy to control as it is shallow rooted. Warm germinator. Seeds per packet: 80.

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 grey and later turns dark brown, and extremely reflexed yellow petals. Thrives in dry soil, excellent for xeriscaping. Sun or part shade. Warm germinator. Seeds per packet: 70.

Rhus typhina - Staghorn Sumac
Up to 5m Vigorous suckering shrub or tree suitable for the committed naturalizer with space to let the species spread. A male plant is needed for female plants to produce berries and there's no way to know early on which is which. Germination indoors requires scarification (pour boiling water over the seed and let sit for 24 hours) and stratification (at least 30 days of cold and moist conditions) - or start the seed in the ground or in pots outside in fall / early winter. Number of seeds per packet: 25.

Rosa virginiana – Virginia Rose
1 m Pink single flowers over a long period of summer have a delicate fragrance and produce bright red hips enjoyed by birds in fall. Foliage turns yellow and red in fall. Full or part sun. Best seeded outside. Seeds per packet: 25. This is advice for indoors: Link

Rudbeckia hirta - Black-eyed Susan
60-80 cm Short-lived perennial with yellow rays, dark brown centres, tolerates heat, drought and a wide range of soils except poorly-drained wet ones. Warm germinator. Seeds per packet: 120.

Rudbeckia laciniata - Green-headed Coneflower
90-150 cm Also known as Cutleaf Coneflower. The Cherokee call it Sochan and consider it an important medicine and a nutritious part of their diet. Tall, with a lanky appearance, it has unusual light green central cones with drooping bright yellow petals and smooth, deeply cut foliage. Takes shade. Some moisture. Warm germinator. Seeds per packet: 70.

Rudbeckia triloba - Brown-eyed Susan ADDED
Up to 90 cm - Short-lived perennial with yellow rays, dark brown centres. Smaller but more profuse flowers than R. hirta, and densely branched. Also tolerates heat, drought and a wide range of soils except poorly-drained wet ones. Warm germinator. Seeds per packet: 50.

Ruellia humilis - Wild Petunia 

30 to 50 cm Pale lilac petunia-shaped flowers from May to October make this plant a stand-out. Leaves and stems are hairy. Native to points south of the Great Lakes (USDA map). Full sun to part shade, Flourishes in dry conditions, adaptable to any type of soil. 10 cm tall. Cold moist stratification for 14 weeks (more than 3 months). Seeds per packet: 30.

Scrophularia marilandica - Carpenter’s Square
60-150 cm AKA Eastern or Late Figwort. Exceptionally abundant nectar makes it very attractive to hummingbirds and other pollinators. Panicles of small dark red cup-like flowers bloom July through Octobe. Full sun or up to 70% shade. 60 days cold moist stratification

Silphium perfoliatum - Cup Plant 
 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. Warm germinator.  Seeds per packet: 30.

Verbena hastata – Blue Vervain
60-180 cm Candelabra-like inflorescences of slender spikes of purple-blue flowers. Attracts butterflies and bees. Sun, average to poor soil, needs some moisture. Cold moist stratification. Link 

Verbena stricta - Hoary Vervain  
60-90 cm Spikes of blue / purple flowers in July-September. Flourishes in arid conditions - needs sun and sandy or dry soil. Drought tolerant. (Very different habitat requirements to those of Blue Vervain, which prefers more loamy moist conditions). Cold moist stratification. Link

Vernonia gigantea – Tall Ironweed 

1-2 m. 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. Seeds per packet: 70. Link.  

Zizia aurea – Golden Alexanders
Up to 75 cm. Brilliant yellow flower umbels in May and June resemble Queen Anne's LaceAttracts pollinators. Drought tolerant. Sun or part shade, grows in a wide range of soils. Seeds per packet: 40.  Link 


Clematis virginiana - Virgin’s Bower
Up to 6 m Woody vine with clusters of pretty white flowers from June to September and fluffy seedheads that persist to provide winter interest. Average to moist soil in sun or part shade. Seeds per packet: 50. Link 

Echinocystis lobata - Wild Cucumber

Climbing vine. Annual, not perennial. 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.