Summary Both reservation of small remnants and ecological restoration of degraded areas will be crucial if the Victorian Western (Basalt) Plains grassland community is to be conserved in the long term. This study examined the potential of direct seeding as a technique for grassland restoration by recording the initial establishment and subsequent recruitment success of 64 (predominantly perennial) grassland species direct sown onto a constructed site. Forty-three (67%) of the sown species emerged and established during the 2-year study and a further three species were recorded in subsequent years. In the second year, 32 species increased their number either through seedling or vegetative recruitment and 30 species dispersed beyond their original sown plot. Seed size was not correlated with field emergence but life form did influence initial field success for some groups. The finding that many species are able to establish and recruit under the study conditions supports the need for further investigation of direct seeding in the restoration of grassland communities.