Prairie restorations are less diverse than remnant prairies, partly because some species are difficult to establish. Restoring soil microbes may increase success of prairie restorations. A prairie habitat in Chicago was designed to investigate whether adding mycorrhizal fungi to soil improves survival and growth of prairie plants in a restoration. Seedlings of four species of prairie plants were inoculated with one of three types of inoculum (uninoculated soil, fungi from remnant prairies, or fungi sold commercially). These “nurse plants” were transplanted into plots. To investigate whether mycorrhizal fungi spread from the inoculated plants, uninoculated Sporobolus heterolepis (“test plants”) were planted alongside inoculated plants. Survival and growth of nurse and test plants were measured during the year of planting and the following year. Plants inoculated with native prairie fungi survived and grew better than plants inoculated with commercial fungi. Native prairie fungi also increased growth of neighboring test plants.