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About Our Native Plants

We grow Intermountain native plants mostly from seed and not from cuttings, which means we preserve genetic diversity in the plant population. This also means that there are often differences between plants of the same species in such plant characteristics as color, leaf shape, plant shape, etc. We do grow some species such as willows from cuttings.

The beginning of our production cycle is when we collect the seed ourselves, as much as we can, from around the Blue Mountains and the Intermountain region during the summer and fall. We also buy seed from other seed collectors that we do not have time to collect ourselves.

Levi whacking Artemisia tridentata Basin Big Sagebrush to get the bush to release its seed. (It does not hurt the bush.)
We process the seed from the berries or dried flowers using mechanical and hand methods.
Prunus virginiana Chokecherry. Seeds being de-pulped in a Dybvig (pronounced: dib vig) seed cleaner.
Many of these wild seeds will not germinate unless they experience a cold winter, so we carefully provide conditions (temperature and moisture) for each different species that will stimulate them to germinate, and hopefully germinate at the time when we need them!
Rebecca checking for germination in our cold room (stratification cooler).
We sow the seed when it is ready to germinate into trays with small cells to grow seedlings up to a first stage.
Then we transplant the small seedlings into the next size container. We grow in several size containers depending on the final market for the plants.

RootMaker™ Premium Pot is a 25 cubic inch container that we use to produce our largest and best plants possible for internet orders and UPS shipping. This funny looking pot is carefully designed to create a better root structure by directing roots to the holes in the corners which “air root prune” and stimulate the plant to produce more roots. The RootMaker™ pot is 3” x 3” x 4” deep.

The RootMaker™ Premium Pot results in a more vigorous root system more ready to grow and survive when transplanted. We show Lonicera involucrata Twinberry Honeysuckle in this picture because the white roots show up well in the photograph. Each native plant species has a unique root color, size and look. Lots of healthy native plants have brown and some dark brown roots!
Our Premium plants are bigger, they weigh more and cost more to ship, but they are hardier, transplant better and have greater survivability and gain size more quickly in your landscape. Each Premium plant is shipped in its own reusable, Rootmaker™ pot. Please reuse the RootMaker™ pots to grow your own superior plants. If you want to ship the pots back to us, we may reuse them.
RootMaker™ Premium plants box of 30 ready to ship. The end of our production cycle is when we receive your order, assemble the order and ship the plants during your requested delivery week. On average, it takes over a year and a half from the time we collect seed until the plants are in your hands to plant in your natural landscape.
And please remember if you receive your plants from November through March when they are dormant, the deciduous species may not have any leaves on them. Dormant late fall, winter and early spring plantings are great times to plant, as long as the ground is not frozen (so you can dig and plant).
A full box Sampler Kit of 10 plants. Plants are winter dormant with no leaves except on the Artemisia tridentata Big Sagebrush.
We also grow what we call Estate Plugs™ in the sizes: 10, 13, and 15 cubic inch. Estate Plugs™ allow us to provide you with more good quality plants at the very best price. Use Estate Plugs™ when you want a larger group of plants and desire the best value in the plant business and don’t mind waiting a little more time for the plants to grow. One year after transplanting, an Estate Plug™ plant will usually be bigger than most plants sold in 1 gallon containers.
Dormant Amelanchier alnifolia Serviceberry 15 cubic inch Estate Plug™.
Native Grass Plugs™ Leymus cinereus, Great Basin Wildrye 4 cubic inch.
Estate Plugs™: 15 cubic inch on the left (2” x 6”) and 10 cubic inch Estate Plugs™ on the right (1.5” x 6”). Beaver Plastics Styroblock growing containers. Estate Plugs™ are the sizes of choice for mass plantings and other larger scale projects.
Estate Plugs™ are shipped stretch-wrapped in plastic as bare plugs in bundles of 10 plants. These plants are dormant.
Estate Plug™ shipping containers.
We grow most of our plants in the direct sun just like they would experience in the wild so they will develop more hardy tissue and bigger, sturdier stems to have a higher survival rate when planted into harsh conditions.
We harden these wild species naturally in the open yard at the end of the growing season (August/September/October) and this helps the plants store carbohydrate reserves in their roots as they go dormant for the winter.

Some of our customers have their planting sites ready in the fall and want to plant September through December. This is great timing as long as there is adequate soil moisture and/or the site can be watered to prevent transplanting shock and death of the plants which not yet dormant and are still growing. Most of our species are not fully dormant until about December. See How To Plant

Other customers want to plant after the main cold of winter is past and when there is good soil moisture and some more rain coming. February, March, April, and May are excellent months to transplant native plants depending on your elevation and rainfall pattern or your ability to provide supplementary water as needed. See How To Decide Which Native Plants.

Our aim is to offer the highest quality native plants to our customers in the Intermountain West at reasonable prices. We guarantee your 100% satisfaction of the quality of our rugged native plants on arrival at your place with either plant replacement or your money back. We acknowledge that native plant knowledge is currently more art than science. We have taken great pains to assemble the best information available on the native plants we offer, but there are many gaps in the available knowledge. We will continue to update our website and plant descriptions as we learn more of how to use native plants in our surroundings and as we learn more of what is valuable to you.

We offer a full range of plant types native to Idaho, Western Montana, Utah, Eastern Oregon, Eastern Washington, Northern Nevada, and Parts of Northern California. From grasses and flowers to structural shrubs and trees, we offer native species to meet the broad range of natural landscaping challenges. We are not landscape architects and we do not know all the best ways to use these native plants. Some of you will know more than we do about certain plants and certain uses for the plants. We invite you to experiment with hardy waterwise native plants and share your knowledge with us and others in the community of native plant users. Please send us your comments or post your reviews on the plant pages.

We are evaluating and bringing new species into our program every year. If you have some favorite native plants you would like to buy, or if there is anything else you want to tell us, please email us and let us know. We want this website to be a useful resource for everyone and we want it to get better and better, and we hope you will be a part of the process.

Thank you for your interest in Rugged Country Plants,

The Crew



“A beautiful plant is one that fills its place.”


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