Early life history stages are among the most critical phases in the life cycle of plants. De Frenne et al. assess the response of plant regeneration from seed of two forest understorey plants (Anemone nemorosa and Milium effusum) to variations in temperature along a latitudinal gradient. They find decreasing seedling emergence and fitness towards the northern edge of the distribution range of the species, as well as stronger growth responses to temperature increases in northern than in southern seedlings of the grass M. effusum. They conclude that wide intraspecific variation in plant regeneration in response to warming may differentially alter future plant dynamics across broad spatial scales.