Closing a gap in our ecosystem functionality


We are cracking the code on establishing highly desirable early season forbs!

This is our mission.

Windflower Natives was conceived with a goal to address the early-season gap in our reconstructions efforts. Beginning with pasque flower (Anemone patens), we have been experimenting with propagation methods for establishing viable plant communities that remain within a reasonable budget. Our techniques have resulted in flowering stands as early as the second spring.

Taking on the challenges of early-season forb establishment

Reconstructing native prairie habitat is a relatively new and evolving practice. Establishing full-season functionality in reconstruction projects remains a challenging task especially with respect to early early-season forbs. These plants seldom find their way into reconstructions which leaves a crucial niche in the ecosystem unfilled.

Early-season forbs are a challenge due to limitations in seed availability and difficulties related to viability characteristics. Most native seed is harvested by combine, a practice that tends to occur later in the year and even then favors plants of a taller stature. For this reason early-season forbs tend to be significantly more expensive than those that set seed later.

In addition to the challenges surrounding seed availability, seed viability is a special difficulty with early-season forbs. Unlike plants that set seed later in the year, early-season forbs have evolved to hit the ground running. They need the dynamic context of the earth immediately upon dropping from the plant. With the whole growing season in front of them, these seeds often germinate the very first year. The downside is that these seeds do not retain viability well in storage, thus even the seed that is on the market has already been greatly degraded by the time it is planted.

Because of the challenges of establishing early-season forbs by seed, some land managers have turned to live plant plugs to establish communities of these important plants. While this can be a successful approach, it can be cost prohibitive while also suffering high mortality rates when planting out in the harsh, relatively unmanaged conditions of the field. We have developed another method that combines the advantages of plugs with a lower cost-per-plant ratio, and with low plant mortality.

pasque flowers on the seven sisters

Make spring on the prairie something to celebrate!

If you are a land manager or owner of rural acreage and would like to boost your early season forb makeup, we’d love to talk more about our methods and pricing. To get in touch call us at 320-224-8545, or send an email through the link below.