Below are the details for plants available at the Virginia Zoo Party for the Planet plant sale. Learn more about the plant species and proper care

Native Seed Packets

The native seed mix consists of Virginia Wild Rye, Side Oats Grama, Anise Hyssop, Rattlesnake Master, Purple Passionflower, Black-eyed Susan, Inland Sea Oats, Pink Muhly Grass, New York Ironweed, American Beautyberry, and Cutleaf Coneflower. This mix of native grass and wildflower seed was collected at the Virginia Zoo in 2023 and is designed to provide a variety of species beneficial to pollinators that will bloom throughout the spring, summer, and early fall. 

Care: The packets can cover an area of approximately 10 square feet. They can be scattered on a prepared bed of soil and gently raked in. The bed should then be watered daily for several weeks, until the seeds begin to germinate. Of the plants in the seed mix, several species require cold stratification to germinate. This means that they need to be cold for a certain period of time before they’ll start to grow. If you sow the seeds in the spring, these species will most likely not appear in your garden until the following spring, after winter has provided them with that cold period! 

This native seed mix is a full sun mix but will tolerate partial shade so make sure to sow them in a location where they will get decent amounts of sun. Because native plants have such long root systems, they do not need nearly as much water as other types of plants. They should only need to be watered well their first year while they get established.

By planting small sections of our yards with native plants we can greatly help declining pollinator species to find suitable habitat and resources without having to travel large distances. And not only do these native species play an important role in the ecosystem, they also add beauty and interest to a landscape!

Paw Paw and American Beauty Berry Seed Packets

Care: These seeds also require cold stratification and can be planted directly in the ground in the spring, with the expectation that they’ll grow the following spring. Alternatively, we can mimic the effects of winter by placing the seeds in the fridge, paw paw for 120 days, American beauty berry for 60 days. During this time, the seeds must be kept slightly moist. To do this, place them in a plastic bag with sand that is slightly damp. The sand should be damp enough to clump together when you squeeze it, but not so damp that excess water can be squeezed out. Label the bag with the name of the seeds and the starting and ending dates of the cold stratification so that you don’t forget when to take them out!

Check the seeds every once in a while during their time in the fridge, for mold (if you see any mold growth, rinse it off the seeds with a 10 percent bleach 90 percent water solution and place the seeds in a new bag with new sand to continue the process) and for sprouting seeds (if any sprout during cold stratification, simply plant them in a pot of soil and let them grow!). Once their time in the fridge has ended, you can either plant the seeds directly in the ground or plant them in pots to get started. Paw paw trees prefer partial shade and can be grown under canopies of larger trees. American beauty berry will grow in full sun to partial shade.