Germination cues reflect the conditions under which a species is likely to succeed in recruitment. In a recent study published in AoB PLANTS, Lai et al. evaluated the seed germination responses of seven desert species to temperature and light and explored the implications for vegetation restoration. Both temperature and photon irradiance influenced the germination of these species. Based on these results and the environmental conditions of their natural habitat, suggestions about plant choices for different habitats including shifting sand dunes, semi-fixed sand dunes and fixed sand dunes are given.