Ecotypes are a subset of a native species that are adapted to local environmental conditions. You can think of ecotypes as the “locals”. For example, a California poppy that grew up in Southern California may grow better in drier weather than a California poppy that grew up on the North coast. When you use ecotypes in your seed projects, you are nourishing California’s iconic flora, sustaining the natural environment, and supporting local wildlife and pollinators.
Welcome to the California Collection, a botanical treasure trove showcasing the rich tapestry of native plant life of the Golden State. From the towering redwoods of the coastal forests to the vibrant wildflower meadows of the Mojave, California's floral diversity is unparalleled.
Nature’s Seed is proud to offer this curated selection of native seed in partnership with our California seed producers, farmers, and wildland collectors. Beyond their native statuses, we also offer specific ecotypes for many of these species that ensures the most locally adapted grasses, wildflowers, and forbs available for California landowners.
California native seeds:
California native plants have evolved to be well-adapted to the local climate, soil types, and ecosystems of California. Native plants, especially wildflowers, support many pollinators including bees, butterflies, and birds. California native grasses and perennial wildflowers have deep root systems that provide excellent erosion control and require less water than non-native plants.
Do you live in Northern California or Southern California? Depending on what part of the state you are in, you can choose from a large selection of native plants that are well-adapted to your sub-region. Click on a sub-region to see which native seeds are right for you.
Seeds native to your region and climate:
If you are interested in land repurposing with the goals of conservation or restoration, then it is best to start with plants that are native to your region and climate. Choosing seed that is native to your subregion will maximize the benefits that you are bringing to your local ecosystem.
More than just native to the North America, or your climate:
While many types of plants can grow in California, plants that are native to California have evolved over thousands of years to be the most well-adapted to the local climate, soil types, and ecosystems. California native grasses have deep root systems that provide excellent erosion control and require less water than non-native plants. California wildflowers and grasses require very little irrigation for germination. Learn more about why California native plants are important here.
Advantages of California native seeds:
Choosing California native seeds will help you achieve your restoration and conservation goals, from it is improving soil health and supporting pollinators, to using less water in the garden. To learn more about the plants that are right for you, visit the California Native Plant Society’s Bloom! California project. Do you live in Southern California or Northern California? Depending on what part of the state you are in, you can choose from a large selection of native plants that are well-adapted to your sub-region. Click on a sub-region to see which native seeds are right for you.
Seeds sourced from nature in your area:
What makes a California native wildflower ‘wild’? Our native seeds are originally collected from natural areas in California in partnership with landowners and public agencies. These wild-collected seeds are then grown at our farms in California. We harvest those seeds and make them available for restoration, conservation, and gardening projects. When you are planting your native meadow or planning your mountain gardening project, choosing wild-sourced native seed is a great way to ensure project success and to create the best wildlife habitat.
Seeds sourced from farms in your area:
Our California native seed comes from two native seed farms, Hedgerow Farms in Northern California, and S&S Seeds in Southern California. These two farms make up 750 acres dedicated to growing native grasses and wildflowers for seed! To learn more about our farms and to see photos of our production fields and demonstration gardens visit our websites here: Hedgerow Farms and S&S Seeds.
Native seeds and local organisms:
Conservation comes in all sizes--you don’t have to have a large backyard to support a wide range of native flora and native fauna! In fact, urban gardens have been shown to be very important for the conservation of pollinators, including the monarch butterfly. Planting pollinator wildflowers that are native to your local region will help increase the biodiversity of bees, butterflies, and birds in your area.
Choosing California non-native seeds:
For a variety of reasons, gardeners may choose to mix in plants that are not native to California into their projects. There are many non-native species that still grow well in Northern California and Southern California climates. When choosing a wildflower seed mix that is non-native, it is important to pick species that are not invasive. Our non-native wildflower seed mix is available here.
Will non-native seeds still grow?:
Non-native seeds will still grow in California. Be sure to learn about the different set of planting requirements between native and non-native seeds before planting. For example, non-native seeds often need more frequent watering than native seeds.
How do I know which seeds will work in my region?:
From the coast to the deserts, California is full of many small regions with differences in soil type and ‘microclimates’. The best way to learn which seeds will work well in your region is to find a local public garden or nursery and talk to the experts. You can visit Bloom! California to learn more about the public gardens and nurseries in your area.
Choose the seeds that are right for your next project:
California Collection Faqs
An ecoregion is an area with shared ecological characteristics. An ecotype is a locally adapted native species within an ecoregion.
Ecotypes are well-suited to California’s climate and can be just as easy to grow as non-native plants. Proper soil preparation, adequate watering, and appropriate care will ensure successful growth. Reach out to email@example.com if you have any questions or are wanting recommendations for your ecoregion.
Ecotypes are simply local versions of native species. Ecotypes occur when native plants undergo a change in their genes to adapt to local climate.
Understanding your ecoregion allows you to understand how plants (ecotypes) will thrive in your location. This allows us to contribute to:
- Conservation efforts
- Enhancing biodiversity
- Adapting to environmental changes
- Disaster preparedness
- Erosion control
Planting local ecotypes enhances the success and resilience of restoration projects. Ecotypes restore ecological balance, enhance biodiversity, and promote the recovery of native habitats throughout California’s diverse and unique landscape.
Local ecotypes of native plants are naturally adapted to California’s climate, often requiring less water than non-native plants. Ecotypes contribute to water conservation efforts and help reduce the strain on local water resources.
An ecoregion is an area that shares similar climate, vegetation, and soil type. A hardiness zone helps gardeners and horticulturists determine which plants will thrive in a location based on the average annual minimum temperature. When it comes to native plants and conservation efforts, we recommend planting for your ecoregion.
Ecotypes contribute to environmental sustainability in California by:
- Conserving on resources
- Preserving biodiversity
- Reducing invasive species
- Adapting to climate change
- Controlling erosion
- Enhancing cultural value
Absolutely! Local-ecotype seeds are essential components in creating wildlife-friendly habitats. Native plants attract and support local wildlife, including birds, butterflies, bees, moths, and other beneficial insects and pollinators. By incorporating ecotypes into your garden, you contribute to the conservation of native species and foster thriving ecosystems right in your own backyard.
Yes! It is generally best to prioritize your local ecotypes when mixing varieties. The varieties adapted to your ecotype are more likely to thrive and support local ecosystems. Incorporating ecotypes does not have to be an all-in approach – we believe in curating a space that benefits you, your land, our ecosystem, and our pollinators.