Special to the Courier

Tomorrow, March 15, is the deadline to order native wildflower plants for this season’s planting.

Pickup of the plants — arranged by the Jefferson County Pollinator Action Group — will be in early May at the Fairgrounds.

The plants are $3 each.

“Here’s what I think is special: These plants can bloom in the first year you add them to your home,” said Vicki Wehner, coordinator at the Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District.

“Planting from seed works perfectly if you’re planting a large area, like a farm field or an old hay field. It’s more economical that way, because seed is cheaper than plants. But native wildflowers don’t bloom during their first year of growth – if you plant a seed, they take a whole year just to grow roots,” Wehner said.

“A lot of homeowners want to plant a smaller area, perhaps 10x10’ or a side flower bed, and they want to see blooms and butterflies in the first season.

“That’s what’s great about the plant sale: We’re offering one-year-old plants, so they’ve already got a great root system,” Wehner said. “They’re ready to bloom this year!”

The plants come from Spence Nursery in northern Indiana. Each plant is actually a “plug” – a one-year-old start in a small pot (2 3/8” square and 3 ¾” deep). This size allows for more root growth, which the natives need.

“We think people will be impressed by how healthy the plants are, and how quickly their pollinator habitats can take off and grow when they start with plugs,” Wehner said.

The plant sale includes almost 20 wildflowers that are native to Jefferson County.

Color brochures will be available at the Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District at the Fairgrounds or for download free from https://jeffersoncounty.in.gov/458/Soil-Water

The brochure has an order form. The form and payment can be mailed or taken to the Soil and Water Conservation District office.

The brochure explains a bit about each plant, including what soil types and amount of sun it needs, and when the plant blooms.

“And don’t worry if you aren’t sure what to plant,” Wehner said. “We will have some pre-made bundles and some ideas for how to lay out your garden. We can help you get your habitat off to a good start.” The bundles start at $25.

Last year, Jennings County offered a similar sale. Locals purchased and planted more than 2,500 plants.

Their group is not offering the plant sale this year, and instead is sending customers to Jefferson County.

“We’ve had a lot of help from the Jennings County pollinator group and from all the volunteers who are part of the Jefferson County Pollinator Action Group,” Wehner said.

“We can’t wait to hand off native plants to people,” she said.

The Pollinator Action Group, a committee of the Soil and Water Conservation District, is open to anyone interested in promoting the planting of habitats to attract butterflies, bees and birds to spread pollen and to provide food.

Members include individuals, businesses, organizations, institutions and others. The meetings and participation are open to the public.

The next Pollinator Action Group meeting will be Thursday, March 21 on the second floor of the Ivy Tech Community College in Madison. There is no membership fee.