Open Source Plants™

Welcome to the Open Source PlantsTM platform and its slogan: “Grow-Share-Repeat.” At one level Open Source PlantsTM is simply sharing free plants. If that’s enough for you, take a look at Plant Choices, follow us on Facebook, and have fun! At another level Open Source PlantsTM is a climate-friendly process to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, optimize carbon sequestration, and create resilient landscapes.

Des Moines Botanical Garden February 20th (1)-2

The process is simple and familiar:

  • GROW selected plants until they are big enough to divide.
  • Divide a portion of the plants and SHARE them locally with friends, neighbors, acquaintances, or anyone nearby who is willing and able.
  • REPEAT
But, (one might ask), haven’t people shared plants and seeds since the dawn of civilization?
How is Open Source PlantsTM different?
What has changed?

First, plants and the supporting materials, such as peat-based potting mix, containers, fertilizers, pesticides, dyes, labels, and packaging are manufactured products that are increasingly traded globally.  Embedded carbon emissions arise from the manufacture and long distance transport of plants and their supporting products.

Second, climate change brings a sense of purpose and urgency to change the way we distribute plants. There is urgency to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to improve carbon sequestration, and create landscapes resilient to climate change. And there are opportunities to increase the scale of activities such as Open Source PlantsTM  through social media.

The key elements of Open Source PlantsTM are sources and choices of plants.

  • Sourcing plants locally, in season, and from the ground, avoids greenhouse gas emissions from 1) the manufacture of plants and supporting products and 2) the long-distance transport of plants through typical commercial channels. The use of proven, field-grown plants also inherently guarantees adaptability to the most recent, local, environmental conditions.
  • Choosing certain plants (see Plant Choices) can further reduce greenhouse gas emissions, sequester additional carbon, and improve resilience of gardens to climate change.
  • Please note the “Guidelines” in Plant Choices.

[Note: Seeds are often the best vehicle for transferring plants in a sustainable way. They are (usually) small and take little energy to package and transport. But not all plants germinate easily or breed true from seed (if that is the goal). And most plants take longer to reach maturity from seed].

For encouragement to go local, here’s some inspiration from cut flower enthusiasts:

The 50 Mile Bouquet

Slow Flowers

Flower Confidential