How to Cultivate a Wild Plant Seed


Native plants can be grown in backyard gardens. These plants provide food and habitat for songbirds, butterflies and other wildlife, and they offer pretty blooms and interesting foliage that beautify our gardens. Buying transplants or plugs can be expensive, especially if you are trying to cultivate a large area with wild, native plants. Many wild plants can be grown from seed, which can be collected in the wild or purchased from native plant nurseries.

Step 1

Purchase wild plant seeds. Many nurseries specialize in native plants. Wild Ones, a national native plant organization, can help you find a nursery that sells native plants for your region as of 2010.

Step 2

Collect seeds from the wild. Wait until the seeds are mature and come off easily in your hand. Take only a small amount of seeds so that the wild population can replenish itself. Never collect seeds from public land, and always ask permission from the landowner to collect from private land. Do not collect seeds from rare or endangered plants.

Step 3

Research the individual wild plants you will be growing. Every plant has different needs, but most wild, native plant seeds will benefit from cold stratification.

Step 4

Moisten peat moss and place it inside a plastic bag. Bury the wild plant seeds in the peat moss.

Step 5

Close the plastic bag loosely and store it in the refrigerator for about three months. Check on it regularly to make sure that the peat moss isn't drying out or developing mold. If mold develops, compost or discard the contents, because the seeds are probably ruined.

Step 6

Remove the bag from the refrigerator and plant the seeds outside as soon as the ground is workable in the spring. If the wild plants are hardy for your region, they won't be hurt by late spring frosts or even light snow. Flower and grass seeds are normally buried with only about an inch of soil, while tree and shrub seeds should be planted about three to 6 inches deep. Choose a location that is as similar as possible to where the plants would grow in the wild.

Step 7

Water the seeds gently at planting, and keep the area evenly moist throughout the first growing season.

Step 8

Pull weeds as necessary.

Things You'll Need

  • Wild plant seeds
  • Peat moss
  • Plastic bags
  • Refrigerator
  • Shovel, hoe or metal rake


  • Prairie Moon Nursery 2010 Catalog and Cultural Guide

Who Can Help

  • Wild Ones: Native Plants, Natural Landscapes
Keywords: native plants, wildflower garden, wildflower seeds, collecting seeds, wildlife gardening

About this Author

Sonya Welter worked in the natural foods industry for more than seven years before becoming a full-time freelancer in 2010. She has been published in "Mother Earth News," "Legacy" magazine and in several local publications in Duluth, Minn., including "Zenith City News," for which she writes a regular outdoors column. She graduated cum laude in 2002 from Northland College, an environmental liberal arts college.