Growers Guide

Which Plants Will Grow Best in My Garden?

The native plants in our program can easily adapt and flourish in a home garden setting.

Take a little time to analyze:

  1. the amount of sunlight, shade,
  2. soil moisture
  3. and any garden pests that your plants will need to be protected from such as deer or rabbits.

A little preparation work now will help your plants get established faster and flourish for years to come.

How much care do these plants need?


  • Most need weeding until they become established, at which point they’ll mostly drive out the weeds on their own. Some, under garden conditions, will need weeding once or twice a year indefinitely.
  • All plants will survive without fertilizer.
  • Most of plants will benefit from watering during droughts. Since we’re trying to produce seed to establish new populations, and a wild plant’s response to drought may be to abort its seeds for the year, to protect the core health of the plant. Thus some watering during dry times may make the difference between “abundant seed” or “no seed” in a given year.

How much space is required?

Even a 2 ft x 1 ft space can produce a lot of important seed if the correct plants are chosen and carefully tended.
The key is not to attempt more space than you’ll have time to weed and watch over. This is especially true when plants are young and small.
Many species will keep out the weeds themselves, once these perennial plants have matured, usually by the second year. But in the short run, you may need to do a lot of weeding of tiny sprouts, so that they don’t get so big as to damage what you’ve planted.

Which plants should I choose?

Tell us what you’re  parameters are, and we’ll suggest some species to you.

Different species need differing amounts of care, and we can tailor your selection to the amount of time you can devote to your plants.

How to Install Your Plants

Spacing your plants

The distance between plants is not too important. In a true prairie there can be dozens of plants in a square meter. Here’s a good guideline to follow:

Plants that grow to one foot or taller, plant 12–18″ apart.

Plants that grow less than one foot tall, plant 6–12” apart.

Digging the Planting Hole

The depth of the plant hole should equal the length of the root mass.

The width should be twice as wide as the root mass in order to accommodate the roots and the added soil at the sides. For instance, if your root mass is 6” long by 4” wide, you should dig a hole 6” deep by 8” wide.
Planting your plants

Hold the transplant at the proper depth–the plant should be situated slightly below the ground level to allow for freeze/thaw heaving and to make it easier for the plant to receive water. Set roots against a side wall and fill the hole with soil, packing firmly. Water thoroughly after planting.

An Important Requirement

Since the purpose of this program is to propagate seeds from original local gene pools, you may not choose a species from this program if you are already growing that same species from another source.
For example, you’d like to grow butterfly milkweed, but you already have a few of them that you purchased from a local nursery. We do not want the pollen from those plants (which may not be of local origin) pollinating the seed we will use, therefore, you will need to choose a different species to grow.