Understory Collection

6 Seed Packets

In Stock


Germination Code
Sun Exposure
Partial, Shade
Soil Moisture
Medium, Medium-Dry
Bloom Time
April, May, June, July, August, September, October
Bloom Color
Purple, Yellow, Red
Pollinator Favorite: butterflies, moths, bees, wasps, beetles
USDA Zones
Catalog Code

Makes a great gift! Add some color to your shaded spots! Bright blooms sustain pollinators from April through October in this collection. Starting woodland perennials from seed can be complex and lengthy. We have chosen shade-tolerant natives with straight-forward pre-treatment needs that are also tough once established.

A Seed Packet Collection is packaged in a stylish 6.75” x 4.5,” resealable paper envelope with illustrated depictions of the 6 species inside; beautiful enough to frame!

The Understory Collection includes 6 species, 1 seed packet of each:

  • Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) - 250 seeds
  • Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum) - 250 seeds
  • Hairy Beardtongue (Penstemon hirsutus) - 1,000 seeds
  • Jacob's Ladder (Polemonium reptans) - 100 seeds
  • Zig Zag Goldenrod (Solidago flexicaulis) - 100 seeds
  • Yellow Pimpernel (Taenidia integerrima) - 90 seeds
For a naturalized look, combine all seed packets to cover approximately 15-20 sq. ft.
Surface sow outdoors on a weed-free site late fall. Mow throughout the first growing season. Expect first blooms in year 2.
Alternatively, sow seed in rows in a garden setting late fall. In spring, thin seedlings and weed as expected with vegetable gardening. Transplant to permanent locations that fall or the following spring.

For more information and seed starting instruction, check the back of individual species packets or visit our blog How-to-Germinate-Native-Seeds

Check out more Seed Packet Collections!

2 Questions asked on Understory Collection

This is 6 packets of seeds (almost 1800 seeds) to cover 15-20 total square feet?
Hi Mark. If you combine all the seeds of the Understory Collection and sow them as a "mini-mix," yes - they will cover about 15-20 sqft at our recommended sowing rate of ~100 seeds per square foot. If you start the seeds in pots and install them as young plants, this Collection is capable of covering a considerably larger area.
Hello, what is the recommend way to plant these seeds? Should they be sown directly or started indoor and planted outside? And what is the ideal timeline for sowing/starting the seeds?
Hi M. At this point in the season, artificially stratifying the seeds and starting them in pots (inside or outside) is the best option. These require at least 60 days in a moistened paper towel in the fridge. Starting these seeds sooner rather than later will produce seedlings strong enough to survive transplanting later this fall. You can also wait until after October to sow the seeds directly outside on a prepared site.


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

*PLEASE NOTE: we are a mail order nursery and have no retail facilities, but you may pick up your order if prior arrangements are made. Pick up orders are subject to **MN Sales Tax.

US Shipping & Handling Charges

SEED $100.00 and under: $5.00
Retail SEED orders over $100.00 ship free!

Custom seed mixes or discounted seed sales over $100, add 5% of the total seed cost
(for orders over $1,000 a package signature may be required)

BARE ROOT and POTTED PLANTS $50.00 and under: $9.00
over $50.00: 18% of the total plant cost. (For orders over $1,000 a package signature may be required.)

TOOLS and BOOKS have the shipping fee included in the cost of the product (within the contiguous US).

**We are required to collect state sales tax in certain states. Your state's eligibility and % will be calculated at checkout. MN State Sales Tax of 7.375% is applied for orders picked up at our MN location. Shipping & handling charges are also subject to the sales tax.

Shipping Season

SEED, TOOLS and BOOKS are sent year-round. Most orders ship within 1-3 business days.

BARE ROOT PLANTS are shipped during optimal transplanting time: Spring (April-May) and Fall (Oct). Some ephemeral species are also available for summer shipping. Since our plants are field-grown, Nature sets the schedule each year as to when our season will begin and end. We fill all orders, on a first-come, first-serve basis, to the best of our ability depending on weather conditions beyond our control.

POTTED PLANTS (Trays of 32/38/50 plugs and 3-packs) typically begin shipping early May and go into June; shipping time is heavily dependent on all the species in your order being well-rooted. If winter-spring greenhouse growing conditions are favorable and all species are well-rooted at once, then we ship by order date (first come, first serve). We are a Midwest greenhouse, 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 before early May. Earlier shipment requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

*We are unable to ship PLANTS (bare root or potted) outside the contiguous US or to CALIFORNIA due to regulations.


We ship using USPS, UPS and Spee Dee. UPS and Spee Dee are often used for expediting plant orders; they will not deliver to Post Office Box numbers, so please also include your street address if ordering plants. We send tracking numbers to your email address so please include it when you order.