Prairie On Blog!

Planting Instructions for Your Native Seed or Seed Packet

Download or Print this page as a PDF

 



Seeding Timing

You may plant your seed in spring (an active growing season), fall (dormant seeding when soil temperatures are below 50F) or as a frost seeding after the freeze/thaw cycle has begun. Please visit our page about Stratification for additional information on seeding timing.

Planting Site

Fertile soilPlanting ContainersBark mulch
Plant your seeds in a well-prepared, weed-free planting medium. You can sow directly into the ground, into containers, or into aged wood chips or bark mulch. Aged wood chips and bark mulch are generally seed free and they also have cool, moist layers just under the surface that are perfect for germinating seed. Spread the chips or mulch over ten layers of newspaper or a layer of corrugated cardboard to act as a barrier between them and the ground.

Sowing Your Seed

RakeDivide the seed into two equal parts. You may want to mix each half with sand, aged sawdust or vermiculite as a carrier and marker to know where you have sown. Sow in one direction with ½ of the mixture, then at 90 degrees with the other half. This will assure good coverage over the entire area.
If seeding into the ground, lightly rake the area with a leaf rake turned upside down after sowing. The objective is to get seeds between ⅛ and ¼ inches into the soil. Tamp the soil lightly to ensure good seed to soil contact. If you are sowing into containers, tamp the soil firm, sprinkle the seed over top and cover with ⅛ to ¼ inch of additional growing medium. If you are planting on top of aged wood chips or bark mulch, sow the seed on top and water (mist) the seed to wash it under the top layer.

ErosionStraw

If your site is sloped and erosion may occur, cover the site lightly with clean weed-free straw or fine mulch and water thoroughly.

Watering

WateringWatering is not necessary in early spring, dormant or frost seedings. If you choose to plant in the late spring or summer, you may elect to water your planting to help with establishment. This can be especially beneficial if you are planting after the spring rains have diminished. If you do water, do not let the seedlings dry out. Continue to water during the first growing season. Water thoroughly, with approximately ½ inch of water once a week if rain has not occurred.

Maintenance

WeedsDepending where you live and what you plant into, you may have some weeds that show up in your planting. Seeds blow in on the wind, and are gifts from traveling animals and birds. As weeds become evident, you may pull them gently to minimize root disturbance of the surrounding plants, or cut them off at the ground.

Patience

Depending on which species you purchased, our seed mixes may contain annuals, early successional perennials and more conservative species. Annual and early successional species generally establish blooms the first year. More conservative species can take more time. Your patience will be rewarded with beautiful blooms all season long!

Hummingbird on a red flowering plantOrange flower with a monarch caterpillarSilver Spotted Skipper on wild bergamot plant