Get Your Site Ready
It's time to clear out the area for your new garden. You can till your tract or use a
product such as Roundup® Weed & Grass Killer to remove existing plants. If you till, you
may expose weed seeds, so add a pre-emergent, such as Roundup® Extended Control Weed &
Grass Killer Plus Weed Preventer if you're planting container or bare-root plants.
Amend Your Soil
It doesn't matter if your soil is sandy, damp, or full of clay - there's a group of prairie
plants that will be happy there. Amend your soil with compost or Miracle-Gro® Garden Soil for
Flowers & Vegetables. This will help your soil retain moisture and provide nutrients to
Where to Find Prairie Plants
You can start your garden from seed, though it takes longer. You can buy bare-root or
container plants, such as cone flowers and black-eyed Susans, from your garden center. You get
the best selection from mail-order and online companies that specialize in prairie plants.
Whatever you do, don't try to dig up plants from preserves or other wild places. It's usually
What Plants to Plant?
If you have damp soil in your garden, plant moisture-loving prairie plants, such as cardinal
flowers, great blue lobelia, and queen-of-the-prairie. If your soil is dry, it could be
home-sweet-home to black-eyed Susans, cone flowers, and butterfly weed. Just be sure to add
some stands of prairie grasses, such as little bluestem. They help support your flowers and
keep out weeds.
Planting for Wildlife
Prairie gardens are magnets for wildlife. Attract butterflies with butterfly weed and
varieties of milkweed. Bumble bees and song birds throng to cone flowers. Hummingbirds love
cardinal flowers and bergamont. Your grasses will feed finches and other seed-lovers all year
Maintaining Your Prairie Garden
As with any garden, you need to weed. Weeds can easily take over a new prairie garden. As
your plants mature. divide and thin out the ones that grow fast. In the early spring, trim your
plants low and rake out any debris. This mimics the helpful effects of a prairie fire. Take
those steps, add a little water now and then, and you'll have a thriving prairie garden that
will make your yard very popular with wildlife.