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The original item was published from 2/10/2022 2:59:00 PM to 3/19/2022 12:00:00 AM.

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Water - Spotlights

Posted on: January 7, 2022

[ARCHIVED] Winter Seed Scattering

Sun shining thru trees in winter

Winter is a great time to start planning for your spring garden.

Seeds are an inexpensive way to transform your landscape for dynamic interest all year long.  Many native seeds need to go through a cold period so that their outer husks break down and the plant is ready to germinate in the spring  This process is called cold stratification. 

Example of plants that require cold stratification- Purple coneflower seeds drying on white paper

  • Milkweed
  • Marsh Marigold
  • Butterfly Bush
  • Coneflower
  • Shooting Star
  • Black-eyed Susan


Native wildflower seeds can be scattered right on top of a blanket of snow. 

two images of seeds scattered on top of snowFluffy, damp snow is best. Avoid attempting to spread seeds on icy, crusty snow.  The seeds will eventually make their way through the snow to the soil.  The alternating freeze and thaw of the ground create small cracks that allow the seeds to move below the ground. As the snow melts, it provides water to the seed. It takes about 3-5 years before many wildflowers become fully established, so do not be discouraged if they do not fill out the first year.  

Michigan Wildflower Farm is a good choice because they sell locally sourced seeds in quantities suitable for large areas or small home gardens. Along with single species options, they offer over 30 seed mixes for clay, deer resistance, low-maintenance turf, butterflies, songbirds, and more.

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