Understory Patch Garden Kit

18 plants

Out of Stock


Sun Exposure
Partial, Shade
Soil Moisture
1-4 feet
Bloom Color
White, Yellow
Pollinator Favorite: butterflies, moths, bees, wasps, beetles
Plant Spacing
Catalog Code

For Medium soils and Shade to Partial Sun exposure. 6 species, 18 plants. Further filter plants in the Understory Patch Garden Kit.

Woodland diversity is declining! Help re-create a patch of decidious forest floor. This kit begins in spring with the fiery blooms of Columbine and the impressive crowns of Yellow Pimpernel emerging above a thoughtful placement of grasses. With summer comes the lavender blooms from fragrant Hairy Wood Mint, and with fall comes the subtle blue of  Big-leaved Aster and the long-lived yellow blooms of Blue-stemmed Goldenrod. This garden kit will provide a lush habitat for beneficial insects and pollinators beneath the trees. 

Included with each order, Planting and Care Instructions & Layout Suggestions for Planting (see COMPONENTS tab).

Kit details: 
• Each of the 18 plants will be in individual pots that are 3.5" deep x 2.5" wide
• 1 tag per plant will be provided
• Recommended spacing is one plant / 2-3 sq. ft.; kit covers approx. 40-50 sq. ft.

*Please note: We may need to substitute appropriate species without notice due to unforeseen greenhouse failures or shortages.

Live Plant Shipping Table

Spring Fall Age/Size
Potted Kit May/June September 2.5" wide x 3.5" deep pots

9 Questions asked on Understory Patch Garden Kit

Is this Understory Patch garden kit suitable for planting under my Black Walnut Tree?
Hi Walter, Great question - antagonisms have not been observed between Black Walnuts and these species, so it should be safe to plant.
I'm in zone 4. Will the understory patch kit work in this zone?
Hi Audry. 5 of the 6 species in this kit are suitable through Zone 3. Calico Beardtongue is the remaining species, and it is listed as Zones 4-7.
How about under pine trees? Will this mixture work? And what if there is more space past the 8 feet from the tree base?
Hi Ann. The species in the Understory Patch Garden should grow just fine under pine and other evergreen trees as long as they receive adequate light and water. If the tree canopy is very dense, or if there are many trees growing close together, this may be an issue. But if a single tree or scattered trees have the branches trimmed to about 5' above the ground, this should accommodate the plants' growing needs. If the diameter of the dripline is larger than 8 feet, there are many things you can do! You could space the 18 plants out so they fill the area sparsely. Or supplement the Understory Patch with more plants and species for a lush "soft landings" garden. To discuss other options and designs, give us a call!
Would the Understory Patch kit work near White Pine and where their needles drop?
Hi Jane. As long as the plants get adequate light and water, being sited near or beneath evergreen trees should not be an issue. Most native plants are pretty adaptive and will adjust to pine needle-acidified soils.
What plants are deer resistant? We have 2-5 deer wandering our fields everyday. Deer trail ….
Hi Patty. The Wild Geranium and Zig Zag Goldenrod are considered deer resistant once they are established and mature. The remaining 4 species are somewhat susceptible to deer browsing.
Are there any native plants that voles will not eat?
Hi Barbara. Much like "deer resistant" plants, no species is 100% vole-proof. Here are some native options that should deter those naughty nibblers: Trout Lilies, Jack in the Pulpit, Blue Sage, and any of the Iris or Pycnanthemum (Mint) species. There are mixed reports whether plants in the Goldenrod family are vole resistant. Good Luck!
Where are these plants native to? Are they suitable for north Texas? Love the concept!
Hi Justin. The species in this Understory Patch Garden are primarily native to the Upper Midwest and East Coast; check out the interactive components list here. Depending on your garden conditions, some of these species will likely grow just fine in northern TX.
Can I plant these, safely, beneath a 20 year old Zumi Crab tree? How do I plant without disturbing the established root system?
Hi Jennifer. Plant pots are 3.5" deep; established trees should be able to recuperate from the minimal-depth digging required to install the Understory Patch Garden plants. You may want to use a trowel to more readily detect and avoid larger roots, though.
I've got a mature pin oak that I'd like to surround with this patch. However, my concern is that it would catch mid afternoon sun since the canopy is so high and I'm afraid these plants would scorch in Kansas summers. Any advice?
Hi Jonathan. As long as the site under your pin oak is fairly shady (less than 6 hours of direct sunlight), the species in the Understory kit will adjust and be quite resilient once they are established. To help them acclimate to your site, be sure to water the plants gently but thoroughly during their first growing season. The cooler temperatures of early morning or late afternoon are preferred times. Use a hose to soak the ground and encourage deep root development. Applying a nice layer of leaf litter or mulch will help the soil retain that moisture. And keep us posted - we can help troubleshoot!


Growing your own plants from seed is the most economical way to add natives to your home. Before you get started, one of the most important things to know about the seeds of wild plants is that many have built-in dormancy mechanisms that prevent the seed from germinating. In nature, this prevents a population of plants from germinating all at once, before killing frosts, or in times of drought. To propagate native plants, a gardener must break this dormancy before seed will grow.

Each species is different, so be sure to check the GERMINATION CODE listed on the website, in the catalog, or on your seed packet. Then, follow the GERMINATION INSTRUCTIONS prior to planting. Some species don't need any pre-treatment to germinate, but some species have dormancy mechanisms that must be broken before the seed will germinate. Some dormancy can be broken in a few minutes, but some species take months or even years.

Seed dormancy can be broken artificially by prolonged refrigeration of damp seed in the process of cold/moist STRATIFICATION. A less complicated approach is to let nature handle the stratifying through a dormant seeding, sowing seeds on the surface of a weed-free site in late fall or winter. Tucked safely beneath the snow, seeds will be conditioned by weathering to make germination possible in subsequent growing seasons.

To learn more, read our BLOG: How to Germinate Native Seeds

Dormant Bare Root Plants

We dig plants when they are dormant from our outdoor beds and ship them April-May and October. Some species go dormant in the summer and we can ship them July/August. We are among the few still employing this production method, which is labor intensive but plant-friendly. They arrive to you dormant, with little to no top-growth (bare-root), packed in peat moss. They should be planted as soon as possible. Unlike greenhouse-grown plants, bare-root plants can be planted during cold weather or anytime the soil is not frozen. A root photo is included with each species to illustrate the optimal depth and orientation. Planting instructions/care are also included with each order.

Download: Installing Your Bare-Root Plants

Potted Plants

3-packs and trays of 32, 38, or 50 plants leave our Midwest greenhouses based on species readiness (being well-rooted for transit) and order date; Spring shipping is typically early May through June, and Fall shipping is mid-August through September. Potted 3-packs and trays of 38 plugs are started from seed in the winter so are typically 3-4 months old when they ship. Trays of 32/50 plugs are usually overwintered so are 1 year old. Plant tray cells are approximately 2” wide x 5” deep in the trays of 38 and 50, and 2.5" wide x 3.5" deep in the 3-packs and trays of 32; ideal for deep-rooted natives. Full-color tags and planting & care instructions are included with each order.

Download: Planting and Care of Potted Plants

For the Garden Kit trays, we may need to substitute appropriate species without notice due to shortages later in the season or unforeseen greenhouse failures.

Shipping & Handling Charges:
For Potted Plant orders $50.00 and under: $7.50
For Potted Plant orders over $50.00: add 15% of the total plant cost.

We ship potted trays with UPS, and SpeeDee in the Midwest, so we must have a street address. Long-distance shipments (to the East Coast and West) taking 3 or more days are only shipped on Mondays to prevent plants from drying out over the weekend.

Potted plants in this kit are either overwintered plants coming out of dormancy or 1st year plants started this past winter; growth for both types are weather-dependant.  Plants must be large and well-rooted to stay in their cells during shipment. Our greenhouses are located in the Upper Midwest, and due to the challenges of getting all the species in the Mix & Match and Pre-Designed Garden Kits transit-ready at the same time, we typically can't ship earlier than advertised.

*We are unable to ship potted or bare root plants outside the contiguous US or to California due to government regulations.