Plants for Sharing

Joshua Mayer


So, you have plants that can be divided and shared for Open Source PlantsTM ?

But should they be? And which one’s are most climate-friendly?

Desirable characteristics 

  • Long-lived perennial
  • Deep-rooted (if soils allow)
  • Easy to grow and maintain
  • Easy to propagate — but not invasive
  • Low inputs (fertilizer, water, etc)
  • Native; or adapted to local environment
  • Provide shade in summer
  • Block wind in winter
  • Food source for humans
  • Provide other ecosystem services (examples)
    • Erosion control
    • Food and shelter for wildlife
    • Host for pollinators


  • Invasives: Plants that are invasive or otherwise harmful to the local environment should not be used. Information about invasive plants, including state-by-state guides for the United States, are available here.
  • Quarantines: Transfer of plant material is regulated to prevent transfer of insects, pests and diseases. Regulations differ by state and country. Open Source PlantsTM involves the local sharing of plants, so transfer across state or country lines is unnecessary. In those cases where transfer across state or country lines is contemplated see APHIS for more information.
  • Patents: Unless you have permission, don’t propagate plants for Open Source PlantsTM that you know are patented.
  • Other: Be aware of new risks that emerge on a regular basis. For example, see jumping worms.

Climate Ready Plants

The plant sync is headquartered in Central Iowa, U.S.A. See Climate Ready Plants for a few examples of plants that meet the criteria above and are currently adapted to Iowa. Plant choices will vary by geography, of course. For assistance in choosing a resilient, climate-ready plant to divide and share in your local area within the U.S. contact the Cooperative Extension Service.  The county extension offices can provide locally-relevant, unbiased, research-based information about gardening and plants that meet the criteria for Open Source PlantsTMYour local county extension office can be found at Questions can also be directed to AskanExpert.

See the links here for more general information about climate-friendly gardening and plant choices.