The Brazilian Cerrado, a Neotropical savanna, is a fire-prone ecosystem where the ground layer biomass consists mainly of graminoids. However, as for other savannas, the effects of fire cues (such as smoke) on Cerrado grasses do not present a clear pattern, either for germination or seedling development. Smoke can stimulate different stages of the plant life cycle, which can alter the community and invasion processes. So far, most research on the subject focuses on germination, not addressing post-germinative phases, a sensitive stage of plant development. Here, we investigated the effect of smoke on a native (Echinolaena inflexa) and an invasive (Urochloa decumbens) grass species common in the Cerrado. We analysed germinative parameters and seedling mass and length after exposing the seeds to dry smoke for 5, 10, 15 or 20 min. Seedling development was assessed by measuring shoot and root systems after cultivating germinated seeds for 3, 7 or 15 d. Smoke did not affect germination percentages. However, fumigation reduced the mean germination time of both species and the germination onset of E. inflexa. U. decumbens had higher length values in all periods of cultivation, whereas mass values only surpassed that of E. inflexa at 15 d. Smoke exposure reduced the aboveground length of 7-d seedlings of U. decumbens, and mass of 15-d plants of both species. Also, smoke enhanced the root investment of the native and invasive species in different cultivation periods. Therefore, studying post-germinative parameters on seedling development may bring further insights into the smoke effects.