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Gardening Answers Knowledgebase

Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Carex stipata, Ledum glandulosum, Juncus ensifolius, Juncus effusus, Deschampsia cespitosa, Sambucus racemosa, Athyrium filix-femina, Native plants--Washington, Carex, Rubus spectabilis, Allium

I am an Ecologist with Adopt-A-Stream Foundation, a non-profit stream restoration organization. I am creating a planting plan for a golf course in Snohomish County. My constraints: Low-growing native shrubs with extensive root systems to help filter out the golf course irrigation water before it enters the stream. Willow would be an obvious choice, but it would grow too tall and out of control. I was looking at such species as Snowberry (Symphoricarpos), Nootka Rose (Rosa nutkana), Salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis), etc. It would have to be a FAC+ (streams and wetlands). Any thoughts?


FAC+ is a wetland indicator status term meaning "Facultative," i.e., more likely to occur in wetlands but also found in non-wetlands.

I found a list in Restoring Wetlands in Washington Publ#93-17 and picked out the FAC-identified ones, eliminating all the tall trees and shrubs. Symphoricarpos (Snowberry) would be a good option, but Rosa nutkana (Nootka Rose) and Rubus spectabilis (Salmonberry) get too big for your purposes. A different rose I could recommend is Rosa gymnocarpa (Baldhip Rose). Many of the following recommendations are grasses of one sort or another. (See the USDA Wetland Indicator status definitions.)

Allium geyeri (non-native) FACU
Athyrium filix femina FAC
Carex aperta (non-native) FACW
Carex stipata FACW
Deschampsia caespitosa FACW
Juncus effusus and ensifolius FACW
Ledum glandulosum FACW
Sambucus racemosa var. melanocarpa FACU
Spirea douglasii FACW

You might also try the Snohomish County Conservation District website.

Date 2017-06-09
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Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Propagation, Allium

Could you tell me how to grow Allium from seed?


I will assume you are propagating ornamental Allium. According to the American Horticultural Society's Plant Propagation (edited by Alan Toogood; DK Publishing, 1999), Allium seeds may be sown any time from late summer to early spring. Seeds should be collected when the flower heads turn brown and before the seedpods open. If you tug gently on the flower stalk and it comes away easily from the base, the seed is ripe. Cover the spot where the stalk was removed with soil to prevent entry to pests. With smaller flowering Allium, you can shake seeds directly into a paper bag (without removing stalks). Sow the seeds fresh, or store them at 41 degrees F, and sow in the spring. Germination time is usually 12 weeks, but in some cases it will take up to a year.

The Royal Horticultural Society says that Allium cultivars may not come true from seed, so you may want to consider alternate methods of propagation, such as by offsets or aerial bulbils.

Date 2017-02-11
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Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Vegetable gardening, Allium

How far apart should I plant my shallot starts?


According to Steve Solomon's Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades (Sasquatch Books, 2007), plant them 3 to 4 inches apart in rows 18 inches apart. Other sources suggest you can make the rows as close together as 12 inches, and the plants as far apart as 6 inches.

Ontario Ministry of Agriculture has a useful page about shallots which recommends 4 to 6 inches between plants.

Date 2018-03-14
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August 01 2017 12:36:01