21 Native Vegetation to Sow in Spring

You could sow any native plant seed in the spring, but not every seed will germinate or bloom in its first year. Some wildflowers are fast-growing, while others take their time and mature very slowly. You can plant a combination of both fast and slow-growing plants so you can have flowers blooming in the first year while others are still getting established.

Annuals are typically fast-growing and will complete their entire growth cycle within a single year. Biennial plants will germinate and grow leaves in their first year, flower in their second year, and then die after producing seeds. Many perennial wildflowers will germinate and grow leaves in their first year but won’t flower until their second or even third year of growth. But these perennial plants can be very long-lived and come back strong year after year.

Some seeds require a phase of cold stratification to signal them to sprout. These seeds can be cold-stratified in your refrigerator or freezer prior to sowing. If you prefer, these seeds can be directly sown outdoors to rest in the soil through all or part of the winter before they are ready to germinate the following spring. 

Take some time to research any new plant you decide to grow in your garden. Check your USDA Plant Hardiness Zone to learn your zone so you can more easily identify which plants will be hardy in your region. Observe your landscape to see how sunny it is and whether the soil is moist or dry, well-drained, or stays wet after rain. Also, consider how much space you have and how many new plants you can accommodate.

Once you familiarize yourself with your local climate and your home landscape, you’ll be able to choose plants that will thrive where you live. Let’s dig right in and take a tour of 21 fabulous native plants you can sow in the spring.

Anise Hyssop

Invite pollinators to your garden with fragrant anise hyssop.

Anise hyssop is an herbaceous perennial native to the northern and central regions of North America. This is a medium-sized perennial that grows quickly and vigorously, spreading by rhizomes and self-seeding. If you have only a small garden space, this plant is a great option for container gardening. Anise hyssop seeds are best directly sown in the garden in the springtime. Keep the soil moist until the seedlings emerge. 

Anise hyssop is in the mint family and has fragrant leaves, stems, and flowers. The lavender flower spikes have a long blooming period, displaying from mid-summer until the first frost. As such, this is an excellent pollinator plant, attracting a myriad of bees, butterflies, and even hummingbirds. 

Black-eyed Susan

Close-up of flowering Rudbeckia hirta plants on a blurred green background. This native wildflowers boast tall stems adorned with large, daisy-like flowers featuring golden-yellow petals and prominent dark brown or black centers.Brighten your garden with easy-to-grow black-eyed Susans.

The sunny, bright yellow flowers of black-eyed Susan will liven up any garden space. Black-eyed Susans are very easy to start from seed. Directly sow your seeds during the springtime in a sunny place with moist soil, and you’ll have flowers blooming in the first year. These short-lived perennials readily reseed themselves, so you’ll never be without their cheerful color.

Black-eyed Susan plants are a great choice for a perennial garden, pocket prairie, or container garden. They’re also a valuable and welcome addition to a butterfly garden or pollinator-friendly landscape, as you are sure to see many pollinators visiting these flowers. If, after a few years, your patch of black-eyed Susans becomes excessively large or dense, you can easily thin the plants by removing crowded seedlings each spring.

Blue Flax

Close-up of blooming Linum lewisii in a sunny garden. Linum lewisii, commonly known as Blue Flax, is an elegant and delicate perennial prized for its airy foliage and exquisite blooms. The slender, linear leaves are a soft gray-green hue, forming a wispy and graceful backdrop to the plant's stunning floral display. Blue Flax produces an abundance of delicate, sky-blue flowers with five delicate petals surrounding golden stamens.Invite delicate blue flax to brighten your sunny garden.

Blue flax is a versatile and easy-to-grow perennial native to grasslands and sunny habitats throughout western North America. If you want to grow blue flax at home, you are in luck because it will grow in just about any sunny location. This plant prefers full sun (but can handle a little shade) with well-drained soil and is an excellent choice for a mass wildflower planting, pollinator garden, container garden, or perennial garden border. 

Direct sow blue flax seeds in early spring, and you will most likely have flowers by mid to late summer. The delicate, five-petaled pale blue flowers are a delight for any garden setting. These plants reliably return year after year and will reseed themselves in ideal conditions. 

Blue Grama Grass

Close-up of Bouteloua gracilis in a sunny garden. Bouteloua gracilis, commonly known as Blue Grama Grass, captivates with its graceful and airy appearance. This grass forms dense clumps of slender, upright stems bearing delicate blue-green foliage. It produces distinctive flower spikes that resemble eyelashes, with small, tan-colored seed heads.Embrace the beauty of native blue grama grass.

Blue grama grass is an ornamental grass native to the southern and western United States. It is easily grown in a naturalized area, pocket prairie, as a decorative border plant, or in a container. Sow blue grama grass seeds in the spring or fall in a sunny location with dry to medium-moisture, well-drained soil. 

Blue grama grass has thin, somewhat wiry blades that form rounded mounds. In mid-summer, angular, feathery flower heads add some mid-season interest and diversity. At maturity, the seeds drop to the ground and are often eaten by foraging birds. Grama grass will reseed itself but does not spread aggressively. 

Blue Sage

Close-up of a flowering Salvia farinacea plant in a garden. Salvia farinacea, commonly known as Blue Salvia, is a striking herbaceous perennial prized for its tall spikes of vibrant blue flowers. The linear, lance-shaped leaves are a lush green hue, forming a dense basal rosette. Rising above the foliage, sturdy stems bear clusters of tubular flowers, each with a distinct white Indulge in the vibrant hues of native blue sage.

Blue sage, also called mealycup sage, is a spectacularly showy perennial wildflower native to the south-central United States and Mexico. This plant is a tender perennial, winter-hardy only in warm climates. In zones 7 and colder, it is best grown as an annual. This low-maintenance plant loves full sun with well-drained soil. 

Grow blue sage in a container garden, hummingbird garden, butterfly garden, or xeriscape. The deep purple-blue tubular flowers grow in bold spikes and enjoy a long blooming period. These plants are easily grown from seeds directly sown in early spring. In ideal growing conditions, your plants will probably self-seed, keeping the population going from year to year.

Butterfly Milkweed

Close-up of a flowering Asclepias tuberosa plant in a sunny garden. The upright stems are adorned with lance-shaped, alternate leaves and topped with clusters of showy, star-shaped, orange-hued flowers that form dense, rounded umbels. Each flower features five petals and a prominent central crown.Welcome monarchs and butterflies with vibrant butterfly milkweed blooms.

Butterfly milkweed is a versatile plant that is very easy to grow from seed. Sow the seeds anytime from fall through early spring. These perennial wildflowers typically begin blooming in their second year after sowing. Butterfly milkweed is native to prairies and grasslands of the eastern and southern United States.

This is one of the best plants you can grow in your butterfly garden. The beautiful orange flowers are a butterfly and pollinator magnet. Butterfly milkweed is a great way to support pollinators and bring these beneficial insects to your garden. Butterfly milkweed is also a preferred host plant of the monarch butterfly caterpillar. 

California Bluebells

Close-up of a flowering Phacelia campanularia plant in a sunny garden. This annual wildflower forms compact mounds of finely dissected, fern-like foliage. The bell-shaped flowers, in shades of sky blue to violet, cluster along slender stems, creating a charming display reminiscent of tiny bells hanging in the breeze.Welcome spring with vibrant California bluebell blossoms, a pollinator’s delight.

California bluebells, also called desert bluebells, are a showy annual wildflower from California, that is widely adaptable to other climates. California bluebells need full sun with very well-drained soil. Direct sow these seeds in early spring or wait until late summer or fall so they will overwinter and be ready to germinate early the following year.

In their native desert habitat, California bluebells bloom in early spring. The brightly colored bell-like blue flowers are a pollinator favorite, especially for native bees that actively buzz from flower to flower. California bluebells will reseed themselves in ideal conditions, allowing for the next generation of bluebells to sprout year after year.

California Poppy

Close-up of flowering Eschscholzia californica plants in a garden. Eschscholzia californica, commonly known as California Poppy, presents a captivating sight with its delicate, cup-shaped flowers and finely divided foliage. The flowers, in shades of golden-yellow to orange, feature four silky petals and appear to dance atop wiry stems.Transform your garden with vibrant California poppy blooms.

California poppy is a spectacular annual wildflower from southwestern North America. These perky flowers are quick to grow from seed and can be sown in early spring or fall. All you need is a sunny location with well-drained soil. Poppies will easily reseed themselves and come back year after year in a pocket prairie, meadow garden, flower bed, or container garden.

The California poppy has beautiful, delicately frilly leaves that emerge very early in spring. Sow poppies in groups so they will form attractive mounds of showy vegetation. Then, watch for the bright yellow-orange flowers to emerge. On sunny days, you’ll see pollinators around your poppy flowers. During the night and on particularly dark and overcast days, the flowers close up again. Deadhead the flowers to promote more blooming.


Close-up of flowering Aquilegia plants in the garden. The blooms, characterized by their spurred petals and distinctive spurred sepals, come in a red-yellow color. The delicate foliage consists of lobed, fern-like leaves.Invite hummingbirds with the vibrant blooms of native columbines.

Columbines are a showy group of wildflowers, several of which are native to North America. The red columbine (A. canadensis) is native to eastern North America, and the  Rocky Mountain blue columbine (A. coerulea) comes from western North America. Both species love a partially sunny location with well-drained soil.

Columbine flowers are a hummingbird favorite, providing an early-season nectar source. These flowers have a very unique shape which also makes them a gardener’s favorite. Columbines also have beautifully showy foliage so you can appreciate them well beyond their blooming phase. Direct sow columbine seeds anytime from fall through early spring. These short-lived perennials generally won’t flower in their first year, but in their second year, they will reach full bloom, and then readily self-seed to keep the population strong!

Early Sunflower

Close-up of Heliopsis helianthoides flowering plants in a sunny garden. This herbaceous perennial forms dense clumps of upright stems adorned with lance-shaped leaves that provide a verdant backdrop to the showy blooms. The flowers, resembling small sunflowers, feature golden-yellow petals surrounding dark brown or orange centers.Brighten your garden with the cheerful blooms of early sunflowers.

Early sunflower is a native sunflower species from the grasslands of central and eastern North America. This perennial wildflower grows best in full sun with well-drained soil. It’s a bit large for most container gardens but makes an excellent background plant in a perennial wildflower garden or pocket prairie where it can spread into an attractive cluster.

Early sunflower is easily started from seeds directly sown in the springtime. You may need to protect your seeds while waiting for them to germinate because squirrels and birds would love to dig them up and eat them. Once established, however, these plants display masses of beautiful bright yellow flowers to attract pollinators and seed-eating birds.

Evening Primrose

Close-up of a blooming Oenothera biennis in a garden against a green background. The plant forms a basal rosette of lance-shaped leaves from which rise towering flower stalks adorned with cup-shaped flowers. Each flower boasts four delicate petals in shades of yellow.Invite nature’s visitors with vibrant blooms that open at dusk.

The evening primrose is an appealing short-lived perennial wildflower native throughout most of eastern and central North America. It grows in prairies, sunny thickets, and along disturbed areas such as power lines and roadsides. In the home landscape, try growing evening primrose in a naturalized prairie planting or pollinator garden. 

Start evening primrose seeds outdoors in the early spring. Plants will generally bloom in their second year and will have no trouble reseeding themselves to keep the population strong. Butterflies and bees will visit your flowers during the morning and evening hours, as well as during cloudy days while the flowers are open. During the mid-day hours, while the heat and sun are most intense, evening primrose flowers close up tight.

Lanceleaf Coreopsis

Close-up of flowering Coreopsis lanceolata plants in a garden. Coreopsis lanceolata, commonly known as Lanceleaf Coreopsis, charms with its abundant and cheerful display of golden-yellow blooms. This herbaceous perennial forms dense clumps of upright stems adorned with lance-shaped leaves. The daisy-like blooms feature prominent, toothed petals surrounding a dark brown center.Bring sunny joy to your garden with vibrant yellow blooms.

Lanceleaf coreopsis, also known as lanceleaf tickseed, is a very showy perennial wildflower native to sunny habitats throughout much of North America. This plant is very easy to grow in a variety of conditions, but it performs best in full sun with medium to dry, well-drained soil. 

Lanceleaf coreopsis blooms freely throughout the summer. Its bright yellow flowers attract butterflies and bees during the summer months, and in the fall, foraging birds will relish the seeds. For starting your own coreopsis patch or prairie planting, sow seeds in the fall or early spring. Once they start blooming, your plants will easily reseed themselves.

Purple Coneflower

Close-up of blooming Purple Coneflowers in a garden. Echinacea purpurea presents a captivating sight with its sturdy stems topped by striking, daisy-like flowers. The blooms feature prominent, raised cone-shaped centers surrounded by reflexed petals in shades of vibrant purple. The lance-shaped leaves are coarse and serrated, forming a dense basal rosette.Invite pollinators to your garden with enduring purple blossoms.

Purple coneflower is a garden favorite that’s very easy to grow from seed and a reliable perennial. This plant is native to prairies and grasslands throughout eastern North America. It will grow well in full sun or partial shade with well-drained soil. It is highly adaptable and withstands poor soil, heat, humidity, and browsing deer.

The large, pinkish-purple flowers of the purple coneflower have a long blooming period. These plants can bloom anytime from summer until the first frost, attracting plenty of pollinators. Grow purple coneflower in your butterfly garden, bird garden, perennial flower bed, or pocket prairie. Any flowers allowed to set seed will help feed foraging fall and winter birds. You can also collect the mature seeds to grow more coneflowers or allow them to self-seed.

Rocky Mountain Blue Penstemon

Close-up of Penstemon strictus flowering plants in a garden. Rocky Mountain Penstemon showcases an elegant and vibrant display of tubular flowers atop sturdy stems. The erect spikes bear clusters of striking, deep blue to purple blooms with contrasting white throats, resembling miniature trumpets. The lance-shaped leaves are glossy and deep green.Fill your garden with vibrant hues and buzzing pollinators.

The Rocky Mountain blue penstemon is a showy perennial wildflower native to the mountainous western United States. Sow penstemon seeds outdoors in either late fall or very early spring or start them indoors in late winter and transplant them outdoors in early spring. You’ll need to have some patience with seeding indoors because they can take up to six weeks to germinate. 

Rocky Mountain blue penstemon will thrive in a partially shaded site with well-drained soil. Once your plants are established, they are quite hardy and drought tolerant, making them an excellent choice for a container garden, rock garden, or xeriscape. The dramatic trumpet-shaped purple-blue flowers bloom in early summer and attract plenty of pollinators.

Shrubby St. John’s Wort

Close-up of a flowering Hypericum prolificum plant against a blurred green background. Shrubby St. John's Wort boasts a charming appearance with its dense clusters of bright yellow flowers adorning its slender stems. The flowers, consisting of five delicate petals surrounding a profusion of golden stamens, create a cheerful and eye-catching display against the backdrop of glossy, dark green leaves.Enhance your landscape with this adaptable and easy-to-grow shrub.

Shrubby St. John’s wort is a deciduous shrub native to central and eastern North America. It is a compact flowering plant that makes a fine addition to your landscape. These plants grow well in a variety of conditions, including full sun or partial shade, and it is not too picky about soil conditions. It grows best in full sun with average-quality, moist, well-drained soil. 

Although it is a shrub, you can easily grow shrubby St. John’s wort from seed. Sow the seeds indoors in late winter or directly sow the seeds outdoors in early spring after the danger of frost has passed. Keep the seeds moist until they germinate, which can take anywhere from two to four weeks. Plants started from seed will take a couple of years to reach flowering maturity. 

Smooth Blue Aster

Close-up of flowering Symphyotrichum laeve plants. Smooth Blue Aster captivates with its profusion of small, daisy-like flowers atop slender, branching stems. Each flower features lavender-blue petals surrounding a yellow center. The lance-shaped leaves are smooth and slightly toothed, forming dense clumps that provide a lush backdrop to the colorful floral display.Welcome late-season beauty and pollinator magnet to your garden!

The smooth blue aster is a fabulous wildflower for your native plant garden because it bursts into bloom late in the season, just as your summer flowers are finishing their show. Smooth blue asters can grow up to four feet tall and equally as wide, creating appealing, rounded, bush-like forms. At full bloom, they are covered with perky purple flowers with sunny yellow-orange centers. Pollinators love these plants!

Smooth blue aster is easily grown from seed, and mature plants will self-seed and spread by root rhizomes. Once established, smooth blue aster plants tolerate drought and would be a great choice for your native plant garden or waterwise landscape, adding plenty of curb appeal to your yard! Add it to your pollinator garden to attract late-season butterflies and bees, and keep your flower garden blooming until the very end of the growing season. 

Spotted Bee Balm

Close-up of Monarda punctata in a garden with a blurred background. This herbaceous perennial features slender stems adorned with whorls of lance-shaped leaves. top the stems, showy flower clusters arise, boasting tubular blooms with purple-spotted, pale yellow bracts and lavender to pink petals.Invite charming pollinators with versatile spotted bee balm blooms!

Spotted bee balm is a perennial wildflower native to grasslands and mountain meadows of eastern North America. This plant is versatile and easy to grow from seed. It also freely self-seeds once established in a location but tends not to be overly aggressive. In your garden, it is useful as a container plant or part of a butterfly garden or perennial border.

Spotted bee balm is a member of the mint family and has characteristic square stems and a distinctive fragrance. Spotted bee balm blooms in the summer and fall and displays long-lasting, showy, pale purple bracts with spotted pink and white flowers. Pollinators, especially bees, love these hooded, tubular flowers.

Tall Bellflower

Close-up of a flowering plant, Campanula americana, commonly known as Tall Bellflower. This herbaceous perennial forms sturdy stems adorned with lance-shaped leaves and clusters of showy flowers that hang like delicate bells. Each flower features five fused petals in shades of lavender, with a central white eyeFor a vibrant shade garden, embrace the elegant tall bellflower.

If you’re looking for an easy-to-grow native wildflower for a moist, shaded plot, this is the one. The tall bellflower is a beautiful biennial wildflower native to moist, shaded streambanks of eastern North America. It prefers cooler climates and shaded habitats where it won’t become stressed by heat, sun, or drought.

Direct sow the seeds in consistently moist soil during the fall, winter, or early spring, and they will germinate as the weather warms in the springtime. The tall bellflower, also known as the American bellflower, develops tall spikes of beautiful star-shaped purple flowers in mid to late summer. These flowers are a pollinator magnet and are also very appealing to hummingbirds. Grow tall bellflower in your shade garden, rain garden, or native butterfly garden. 

Whorled Milkweed

Close-up of a flowering Asclepias verticillata plant against a blurred green background. Whorled Milkweed is a delicate and elegant perennial characterized by its slender, upright stems and whorls of narrow leaves. The foliage is arranged in distinct tiers along the stems. clusters of small, star-shaped flowers appear at the stem tips, each adorned with delicate white petals and a central crown.Invite butterflies to your garden with whorled milkweed’s charm.

Whorled milkweed is a narrow-leaved variety of milkweed native to dry grasslands and rocky outcroppings of central and eastern North America. Grow it in full sun or light afternoon shade and give it a spot with well-drained soil. These plants start readily from seeds sown in early spring or anytime during the fall, where they will overwinter and germinate as the weather starts to warm in the spring.

Whorled milkweed blooms in mid to late summer. Its clusters of tiny white flowers are a big hit with butterflies, bees, and other pollinators. Monarch butterfly caterpillars will happily feast on the leaves of this and other milkweed varieties, providing a necessary food source for the next generation of monarch butterflies. After flowering, showy, oblong seed pods provide continued interest into the fall.

Wild Bergamot

Close-up of flowering Monarda fistulosa plants in a sunny garden. Monarda fistulosa, commonly known as Wild Bergamot, presents a captivating display with its slender stems topped by clusters of lavender flowers. The blooms, resembling shaggy pom-poms, are composed of tubular petals.Attract pollinators with the charming flowers of wild bergamot!

Wild bergamot is a pretty native member of the mint family that is widespread across grasslands and fields of North America. It grows best with the most prolific flowering and compact vegetative growth in full sun but also tolerates partial shade. The soil should be dry to medium moisture and well-drained. These plants are prone to powdery mildew to keep your patches thinned to help improve air circulation.

Sow wild bergamot seeds anytime in the spring or fall. Established plants will keep their populations strong by self-seeding and spreading by rhizomes, making them very easy to propagate. The showy flower clusters bloom from mid-summer until mid-fall. Each lavender flower is a hooded tube that is very attractive to hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies. These plants would be a welcome addition to any pollinator garden, prairie garden, or scented garden.

Yellow Coneflower

Close-up of flowering Ratibida pinnata plants in a sunny garden. Yellow Coneflower offers a striking appearance with its tall, slender stems crowned by distinctive, daisy-like flowers. Each flower features drooping, yellow ray petals surrounding a prominent, cone-shaped central disk. The slender, lance-shaped leaves are arranged alternately along the stems.Brighten your garden with the sunny blooms of yellow coneflower.

The yellow coneflower is a perennial wildflower native to central and eastern North America where it grows in fields, prairies, and open woodlands. While tolerant of partial shade, you’ll see the best flowering in full sun. This showy perennial is quite drought tolerant, making it a great choice for a xeriscape, waterwise garden, or container. 

Start yellow coneflower from seeds directly sown in early spring or late fall. Once mature, these plants will bloom almost continually throughout the summer and into fall. Butterflies, bees, and other pollinators love the bright yellow flowers. Yellow coneflowers also make an attractive addition to your pollinator garden or cutting garden.

Final Thoughts

No matter where you live, you are sure to find native plants that will thrive in your yard. It’s also great to know that many native plants are very easy to start from seed! Growing plants from seed is fun and extremely economical and allows you to access a tremendous variety of different plants. The plants on this list can all be started from seed and are both beautiful and rewarding to grow in your garden. Choose the best plants to match your local growing conditions, and you can enjoy a thriving garden full of lively colors throughout the growing season.

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