After a busy spring propagating, the Sutro Native Plant Nursery is full of plants! Almost 6,000 plants are currently in the nursery.
Our locally native plants are started primarily from seed collected mostly on Mt. Sutro. The seeds start out by getting cleaned, separating the seed itself from “chaff,” which is all the other pieces of the seed pod or dried up fruit that protect the seed and often aid in its dispersal. After the seeds are cleaned, they are put in storage and then pulled out as needed for propagation. Some seeds need special treatments in order to germinate, while others can be sown directly into flats and germinate easily. For seeds that are more stubborn, a process called cold stratification is required, a trick which simulates the natural progression of the seasons. By putting the seed into a cold and wet soil medium in the refrigerator, the seed is tricked into thinking that it's winter, and that spring will soon follow. This signals to the seed that it’s time to grow. Other seeds are treated with cold or even hot water soaks, the heat simulating effects of fire. Many California native plants are adapted to fire, and many have evolved to germinate after burns; some even require fire to germinate.
As the plants grow, they need bigger pots to ensure there is adequate room for the roots to grow, and the foliage to grow in turn. Many hands make light work, and the Nursery Volunteers are experts at taking a tray of small and delicate seedlings and quickly potting them up, into as many as 500 pots in one morning. Our volunteers say the work goes by quickly while multitasking, e.g. preparing the pots, planting, watering and chatting!
All of these plants are being propagated to plant in restoration sites on Mt. Sutro, as well as for landscaping projects on UCSF campuses and for sale to the public. We have many new plants getting ready for fall planting – Yellow Bush Lupine, Phacelia, Coast Buckwheat, California Poppy and many more!
Come join us in the nursery on Wednesday mornings from 9:30 am – 12:30 pm, for more information see our events calendar. For more information on how to purchase plants visit our Nursery page.