Native Seed Library
About the Collection
The Cranford Public Library hosts a Native Seed Library where native plant seeds are made available at no cost. Startup funds for the collection came from New Jersey American Water’s 2022 Environmental Grant. Generally speaking, native plants are those that occur naturally within a region without human intervention. Our hope is that ready, affordable access to native plants will encourage the community to favor plants that support biodiversity.
All of our seeds were purchased from Toadshade Wildflower Farm or donated by Pinelands Direct. We are also accepting community donations. Each seed packet contains a small amount of starter seeds. To ensure that seed packets are available to as many community members as possible, we ask that patrons take only what they need and limit themselves to three seed packets per week. The library will house 692 seed packets and 18 different varieties of wildflower—including popular plants like Joe-Pye Weed, Milkweed, and Coneflower—all of which are relatively easy to grow from seed.
You can find a full list of the plants in the collection here. Seeds marked with a green dot have been sourced from a nursery. Those marked with a yellow dot were donated by community members.
We accept donations of native plant seeds, please fill out a donation form and return it with your donation. Native plants are species that occur naturally within a region without human intervention. We are interested in straight species, not cultivars. If you're unsure of the status of a plant, we recommend finding more information on one of the websites listed below.
We're offering a variety of programs in conjunction with our seed library! Thanks to the support of the Friends of the Library, all of these programs are free. Find a list of all upcoming events on Eventbrite.
Seed Library Newsletter
Subscribe to Now Sowing, the Native Seed Library Newsletter! We’ll send out periodic seed updates, information about programs, and volunteer opportunities.
Pinto, Deborah and Melendez, Meredith. “Incorporating Native Plants in Your Residential Landscape.” FS1140: Incorporating Native Plants in Your Residential Landscape, Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) Cooperative Extension, https://njaes.rutgers.edu/fs1140/
Native Plant Resources
Jersey-Friendly Yards, https://www.jerseyyards.org/: Jersey Yards maintains a database of "jersey-friendly" plants, public gardens who host native plants, vendors of native plants, and more.
Invasive Species Strike Team, https://www.fohvos.info/invasive-species-strike-team/: Learn more about invasive species, why they pose a threat to native species, and how to eradicate them.
National Wildlife Federation, Native Plants for Wildlife, https://www.nwf.org/Garden-for-Wildlife/About/Native-Plants: The National Wildlife Federation maintains the Native Plant Finder, a tool based on the research of Dr. Douglas Tallamy of the University of Delaware and in partnership with the United States Forest Service.
Native Plant Society of New Jersey (NPSNJ), https://www.npsnj.org/: The Native Plant Society of New Jersey is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to the appreciation, protection, and study of the native flora of New Jersey. NPSNJ maintains a list of native plant vendors, conducts regular lectures and presentations, and have helped establish native plant gardens around the state. Find out more on their website.
Rutgers Master Gardeners of Union County: Master Gardeners operate a Garden Helpline that residents can call or email with their gardening questions. They are trained to use University research -based resources to provide unbiased information to home gardeners. Master Gardeners can be reached at (908) 654-9852 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County, https://bit.ly/3LZj90S: Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) Cooperative Extension county offices provides information and assistance regarding 4-H, agriculture, natural resources, and the environment.
USDA PLANTS Database, https://plants.usda.gov/home: The United States Department of Agriculture maintains the Plant List of Accepted Nomenclature, Taxonomy, and Symbols (PLANTS) Database. Find standardized information about provides standardized information about the vascular plants, mosses, liverworts, hornworts, and lichens of the U.S. and its territories. You can search by geographic area to find plants from Union County.