20. Native Plant Production and Sales

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Native Plant Production and Sales

Friday, October 21 at 10:00-11:40 am, Cedar Room

Session Description: Native plant gardening is one of the top trends in horticulture. To better serve and grow this gardening sector better coordination is needed across this industry. This session will include discussions on the importance of the grower and nursery sectors planning and communicating, including seed strategies, marketing, and production. and communicating, including seed strategies, marketing, and production.

Session Chairs: Jose Cohen (Moosa Creek Nursery, Valley Center, CA, USA) and Susan Herrera (OSH, Moraga, CA, USA)

20.1 Bloom California: A unique marketing opportunity

Liv O’Keeffe (CNPS, Sacramento, CA USA), Jessica Woodard (CNPS, Sacramento, CA USA), Ann-Marie Benz (CNPS, Sacramento, CA USA), Maya Argaman (CNPS, Sacramento, CA USA)

Native plants have rarely received the types of marketing that other horticultural plants receive, even though they continue to be a top trend in the industry.  We will discuss how we are working to increase the sale of California specialty crop native plants by 20% over the three-year life of the campaign. CNPS is evaluating the success of the campaign by tracking native specialty crop sales and using quarterly data from participating nurseries and growers like you. What are we learning about where and how plants sell and how people engage with the marketing. We’ll discuss Bloom! California and Calscape.

20.2 Large-scale propagation of ethically grown Liveforevers (Dudleya spp.) to prevent poaching and extinction

Kevin Alison (Tree of Life Nursery, San Juan Capistrano, CA, USA)

The genus Dudleya is a charismatic group of native succulents with many rare species across California and Baja. Recent popularity has attracted poachers who uproot these plants in exorbitant quantities to supply demands internationally. This presentation will detail traditional and advanced propagation methods (such as plant tissue culture) to produce large amounts of select Dudleya species ethically. This effort aims to deflate the price incentives for poachers and provide nurseries, conservancies, agencies, and the public with an additional tool for horticulture and conservation.

20.3 Native Plants & Mental Health: An Introduction to Growing Works

Jenn Rodriguez and Laura Bauer (Camarillo, CA, USA)

Growing Works, a program of Turning Point Foundation, provides supported employment to adults with behavioral health diagnoses. Most of our supported employees and members (program participants) have experienced homelessness and incarceration, have been institutionalized, and struggled with moderate to severe mental illness for many years. They are all now securely housed, receive mental health and medical services , are medication compliant, clean, sober and taking an active role in their recovery. They are critical to the nursery and our business. 

We are strategic in choosing plant species that are appropriate for our Mediterranean Climate: California Native and other low-water use plants. We are one of the biggest growers of Santa Monica Mountains species and growing into becoming a nursery of significance in the Greater Los Angeles area native plant market. We are proud to sell to Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, Ventura Botanic Garden, the County of Ventura, Theodore Payne Foundation, Artemisia Nursery and many local landscapers. 

On a national scale, mental health is not something that our culture does well. This is true in California, too. According to The National Coalition to End Homelessness, on any given night over 500,000 Americans experience homelessness. Over 1/5 of these people are in California. About half of those 1/2 million homeless Americans experience some mental illness. That will lead to a life expectancy 20 years shorter than an average American. Stably housed individuals with significant mental health diagnoses experience 10-25 year reductions on their life expectancies. The loss of life and contribution to our society is immense. 

Growing Works is not the answer to fixing all of our society’s ills, but it is one answer. In our four years of existence, 27 of our program participants have moved on to mainstream employment and 8 have gone to college. We provide a road to recovery and employment by working with California Native Plants.

20.4 Bringing California native wildflowers indoors: Growing wildflowers for bouquets

Joanna Gomes (Jo’s Posies & Bouquets, El Cerrito, CA, USA)

Many California native wildflowers make excellent cut flowers offering long vase life and delicate, whimsical accents to bouquets and posies. This presentation discusses tips for growing California native wildflowers using cut flower farming practices. Information will include easy to grow wildflower annuals and perennials; methods used by flower farmers for intensive bed planting; techniques for harvesting blossoms; and basic flower arranging strategies for hand-tied bouquets.

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Giant Sequoia


Valley Oak


Moulton Niguel Water District

White Sage

H.T. Harvey & Associates Ecological Consultants
East Bay Municipal Utility District

Melo Gardens

California Poppy

Westervelt Ecological Services

Carol Witham

Jepson Herbarium
Helix Environmental Planning