Curriculum / For Teachers / Grow

Planting Native Plants

Students define habitat and create native habitat with seeds.

Planting Native Plants

· When planting, demonstrate proper techniques from start to finish, including water and mulch.

· It is helpful to pass out seeds individually.

· Tree of Life Nursery in San Juan Capistrano sells native seeds, seedlings & seed mixes, such as “butterfly mix” that are designed specifically with habitat creation in mind.

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A habitat is a certain kind of place where a particular plant or animal lives.

However, a lot of the time, when we talk about an animal or a plant’s home, what we are talking about is more like a neighborhood than a single house.

There are many plants and animals that will share the same habitat.

The animals and plants that live together in a habitat form a community.

A community of living things interacts with the non-living world around it to form an ecosystem.



· Students plant native habitat to attract pollinators and other beneficial garden species.

· Students learn some of the key elements of a habitat.



LS3.A: Inheritance of traits

Different organisms vary in how they look and function because they have different inherited information; the environment also affects the traits that an organism develops.

(NGSS) 3-LS4-3: Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity

For any particular environment, some kinds of organisms survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all.



· Seedlings or seeds of pollinator attractors

· Shovels

· Watering cans

· Straw for mulch

· Chalkboard and Chalk



Obtain seedlings of habitat species.



1. Play this observational memory game: Sit in a quiet circle in the garden for several minutes. Have students observe all around them during this quiet time. Count every living thing in the garden—plants, animals, birds, and insects—from the perspective of their spot.

2. Invite students to share their observations. What did they see? How many did they count? Do you know the names of any of these species? What kinds of activities do you see these creatures doing in the garden? Eating? Flying? Resting? Are these creatures useful to the garden? How? How would the garden be different without them? What things might be missing?

3. Pick one specific pollinator that was observed—bee, hummingbird, butterfly, etc. Write its name on the board. Ask: “How does this creature help out in the garden?”

4. List the beneficial creature’s needs on the board: What does this creature need to live? i.e. Food, Water, Air, Shelter. Be as specific as you can. These things are known together as habitat—the things that make up a creature’s space to live.

5. Discuss: “Did you know that there are certain things that we can do as humans to help these creatures help us in our garden? Today you are going to begin helping to build habitat for this and other creatures in the garden.”

6. Show the plants or seeds you chose and explain their roles in attracting beneficial creatures to the garden: these plants are native to this area, which means they are part of the local ecosystem and the local animals and insects use them as part of their habitat.

7. As a class or in smaller groups, plant the seedlings according to instructions. Water, making sure not to step on them, and cover with a light layer of straw mulch.



1. What is habitat? What are some examples of habitat?

2. Name one local or native plant that attracts pollinators in our area.

3. What did you build and for what creature?

4. Tell us how the creature will use your habitat and what features you gave it to help that animal.