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Reply To: Herbal gardening 

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Hi Emily, below are Lindsay’s answers to your questions!

Hybrids: This is not particularly controllable for perennials as once they are established they will flower when they wish! So this is mostly an issue for annuals, and therefore in herbalism a much smaller list of plants to be concerned with. Granted there are some perennials that will cross pollinate, for example Echinacea species, so if you want to gather seed you may want to stagger, space out, or row cover during flowering.

Medicinal quality: The quality of the parent plant will not be impacted of course, so this is most important if you want to sell seeds or replant to sell starts. You also have the option of vegetatively propagation methods which will be genetically identical to the parent plant.

Consider the annuals you want to save seed for and grow and key perennials that you want to save seed from and research them on a case by case basis. (See resources below).

Using row cover or manually pollinating may be the easiest way to ensure cross pollination doesn’t occur if you cannot space out or stagger.

Cross pollination is not typically problematic in large family groups. Be more concerned with cross pollination within a genus or within subspecies. Eg Ocimum species and varieties.

RESOURCES: For those looking to cultivate: Herbal Harvest by Greg Whitten, books and media by Jeff and Melanie Carpenter, and Richo Cech’s books and work.