This happens naturally outdoors in a cold climate: the plant drops its seeds in fall and they sprout in spring. ( Providing the weather is warm). HGTV? Should I leave them in the freezer and plant them in the spring? good luck! I’ll probably never bother with any other techniques again. Wish me luck. How long can milkweed seeds be stored (dry)and still have a decent germination rate? What is the usual time for roots to be seen? Your site is incredibly valuable. I hope they sprout. It’s too warm for the ground to be frozen but too cold for seeds to sprout before winter sets in. April 2020 Germination of Milkweed Seeds. What I do is to save the seeds in the fall just as the pods begin to open. Milkweed Stratification Procedures, Courtesy Native American Seed NOTE: George Cates insists that sterile rubber (latex) gloves be worn at all times and that containers and implements be sterile. Thank you for helping the Monarchs! Recently, we tried ‘cool’ treatment by spring sowing fresh swan milkweed seeds and had great success. The moisture helps to soften the seed coat so that the sprout can emerge. 3 Big Advantages of Winter Sown Milkweed + Winter Sowing Container ideas, Soak warm weather milkweed seeds including A. curassavica, C. gigantea, C. procera, G. fruticosus, & G.physocarpa in warm water 24 hours before planting. Tag: How to Stratify Milkweed Seeds for Spring Planting Thank You to Everyone Who Participated in This Year’s Cape Ann Milkweed Project!!! In fact, many California plants do not need a frost to trigger germination, but it is on a species by species basis. How to make, sow, grow, and enjoy herb, vegetable, and wildflower seed balls! Thanks for this information. The sturdier the seedling, the better! Hi Brian, it’s hard to imagine the seeds would germinate if the temp inside your refrigerator is in the mid-thirties. Will make 2018 I have used dry stratification in the past. Used a grow lamp and a heat mat, and, hooray, I got about 50% germination rate on the perennials, except the syriaca. Hi Alice, congrats on your butterfly garden success and helping start your local community butterfly garden. No, the seeds are not necessarily supposed to sprout in the fridge. Change the water ever 12 hours for 7 days. February 2020 As for next year you should consider fall-winter sowing for less effort. Everybody Gardens editor Doug Oster shows three different ways to prepare the seeds for planting. (I'm in an apartment so cant put in ground. I have had a problem starting purple seeds using dry cold stratification in the past. Stop when you see the lighter inner part of the seed. Your time frame is fine for starting indoors. Once you have mature plants, you can overwinter a couple indoors and take cuttings to start new plants, which grow faster than seedlings. It is about one to two feet tall, with glossy, lanceolate leaves that are arranged spirally up the length of the stem. (click here to find out when your average first frost is). Water the area frequently after planting until plants become established. I keep ours in a cupboard. You can sow milkweed seeds by scattering them on the soil surface 1/4-1/2 inch apart, and then cover them with about 1/4 inch of additional soil. Thanks for all your videos, Helen. Like many perennials (plants that come back each year), Milkweed requires a period of cold and damp to break dormancy of its seed. Cold moist stratification is a technique used to simulate the real-world conditions a seed would receive outdoors after the frozen winter gives way to a warm, wet spring. Reply. A coffee thermos works for this, change the water once. I put a bunch of swamp milkweed seeds in a ziplock bag without a wet towel and stuck in my fridge probably 3-4 months ago. Best of luck! I don’t know how true this is, but I have read that you should occasionally check on the seeds because they could start germinating in as little as three weeks time using the cold moist stratification method? Great experiments! You can place a few inches of straw or leaf mulch over the area to keep the soil from drying out. After reading this page I am starting to lose hope that they will germinate. Let one Monarch go two days ago. Still have 4 in Chryslis. There are many more than I can use so if anybody wants some, let me know directly or on CHAT. This link will show you how: I did an experiment where I tried dry, cold and wet, cold stratification methods on the same types of milkweed seeds and the wet, cold seeds did significantly better than the dry, cold ones. Looking fwd to your videos this season. If those seeds can survive a Minnesota winter, they can survive being planted in early spring. I had so little luck with my outdoor stratified butterfly weed (one lone seedling out of 30 planted) that I’m going to try the cold, moist stratification in the fridge, too. If you live in a climate with a warmer winter, you can plant your seeds in either the spring or the fall. Hi, Tony, I am thrilled to find your site. I just put some A. Tuberosa andLupine seeds in the fridge for cold moist stratification. Is that a good time frame, in your experience? Milkweed releases its seeds at the end of the summer. This is our first time collecting milkweed pods to plant-- next year we'll know to cold stratify. I have some seeds I didn’t get planted so I may give Gwendolyn’s method a try. Smaller seeds can be distributed onto moist paper towels. The most dependable way to stratify seeds is in a moist medium, wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator. I am sending seeds to my FB gardening friends in the 39 states that it will grow (syriaca) and I didn’t even THINK about them needing stratification … they have been in my cold car all winter here in Northern Illinois … Dear Abbey, do you think they will germinate ??? Not bothering to cold stratify – – still germinated. Place 1-2 cold stratified seeds in each pot. When it comes to seed germination, many people don’t realize that some seeds require cold treatment in order for them to sprout properly. If it isn't warm enough yet in your region, you can start them indoors in a sunny window or under a grow light. To stratify seeds, start by placing them in some moistened peat, sand, or paper towels in a closed container or sealed plastic bag. Any info on these topics would be appreciated. When you are ready to germinate them, soak the seeds for 24 – 48 hours in warm water before sowing. Pretty good. you are too kind Ruth 😉 I am really diving into video this season, so the videos will improve over time. seeds; butterflies5869; asked Mar 12, 2014 by Tony. Soak your filters Recently I wrote to someone regarding extra Common Milkweed seed pods I have. Native milkweed seeds, coffee filters or paper towels, plates, plastic sandwich bags, food containers. Here’s my plan for 2015. 3. By stratifying, or subjecting seeds to a cold/moist environment for a short period of time, you simulate the conditions of a seed's natural break of dormancy that occurs when the seeds spend the winter in the ground. I do have common milkweed in the garden from last summer I heard they can take over the yard which I hope happens this season, it was a starter plant I bought online…I only hope that I have enough milkweeds to attach a monarch or any butterflies for that matter. Planting milkweed seeds Fall seed planting. I move plants outside after the final avg frost date. Last year, I started ‘spring sowing containers’ in early March…this works well for starting tropical milkweed and is less work on your end: Our goal is not to have mature tropical milkweed at the beginning of the season because that’s when they favor the native/perennial varieties, but to have it start peaking in summer when the natives start to fade. Storing seeds in the freezer will provide seeds with more consistent temperatures than refrigerator storage. So, now in year 2, I’ve talked my town’s community garden into adding a butterfly way station too, which I am providing seedlings for. Sure fire way to sprout seeds indoors is to clip off the point of each seed with a nail clipper( yes, tedious). and we will distribute them in our School Pollinator Program. I didn’t take the wax covering off of these. The purpose of the cold stratification period is just to awaken them and let them know that Spring is near. Since most people prefer not to place potting soil in their refrigerators, an alternative is to place the seeds between moist paper towels in a plastic bag. How did the water method work out for the A. syriaca? Smaller seeds can be distributed onto moist paper towels. Most of the areas in which milkweed is found are frost freeze zones. We’ll see how my video skills improve over the summer…I’ve got a ways to go, but I’m looking forward to trying some new things . How to Stratify seeds. To read more about OE and tropical milkweed see the website Monarch Joint Venture at It is always best to grow milkweed native to your area. We have A. syriaca, A. tuberosa, A. amplexicaulis and A. quadrifolia in the area. In using the Outdoor Methods, it is best to plant your seeds after the first frost. However, my gardener is now suggesting we use your methods to spread our milkweed. For smaller seeds, you may need to hold them with a pair of tweezers. did you seal the paper towel/seeds inside a plastic baggie before you put them inside the container? I just planted mine on Monday and the filters were still fully wet when I removed them. July 2019 Would I be ok to go ahead and plant them in peat pots right now for eventual planting outside once the seedlings are big enough? I started them in February hoping they would be ready for our garden club plant sale in May 13th,I’m so excited . I have some milkweed seeds I happened across at my parents farm. You may press in gently but they need light to germinate so please don’t bury them! Make sure your milkweed has enough light to grow whether that be under an artificial grow light or near a sunny window. Seeds require cold moist stratification. Filed Under: Butterfly Garden Ideas, Milkweed Garden Ideas, Milkweed Propagation, Minnesota Garden Ideas, Plant Propagation, Starting A Garden Tagged With: cold stratification, milkweed seeds, stratify milkweed seeds, Honeybees can have a hard time with milkweed, sometimes getting their legs caught in the flowers:, Hi Larry, I have seen flies and small white butterflies get stuck in common milkweed blooms, but never honey bees, and we see them often in our garden…. How to Germinate Milkweed Seeds. October 2019 If you want winter to take care of this for you, you also have the option to: water stratification works especially well for Asclepias tuberosa, and will work to some extent for most varieties…, Hi. Refrigerator chilling is best done at 37 to 40 degrees F for up to eight weeks, although one week is enough to stratify most seeds. The germination rate was 0%, although I think seed quality was a contributing factor. Then, close the container and place it in the refrigerator. Do I have to stratify the showy milkweed seeds before planting. After the required amount of time (see plant description), your seeds will be ready for transfer to their new home–in the soil of a container or garden bed. I will try the tropical ones if they don't survive here. This is very interesting. I also have a small cfl on during the day from 6:30 am to 9:30 . September 2019 You can track the monarch migrations and see real-time maps of their migration at Thanks! 4. How to Plant Milkweed Seeds … Hi Helen, make sure the plant is getting plenty of light so it comes out of dormancy. I want to plant an acre or two. Sprinkle water over the seed bed if soil is dry. In continuous growing regions like Florida and southern California, there are potential issues if the plants are not cutback periodically, but this is not an issue in other regions….yet this misinformation still spreads like wildfire. Hi Tony, This is my first year growing milkweed seeds & I’ve got several different types of seeds. 2. Rebecca ChandlerGarden Educator, Naturalist and Ethnobotanist, October 2020 I had 100% germination with Silene regia (Royal Catchfly)! Best milkweed because of flowers and it can sustain a large number of cats. Swamp milkweed – Swamp milkweed can tolerate extra water, but does well in average soil. Bought some showy tropical milkweed seeds to plant in the spring. Are indoor pots safer to sprout them then transplant? As long as they've been in the fridge for 6-8 weeks, we've noticed that by keeping them in a zip lock bag with some wet sand for a week or two before planting them they'll germinate even faster. If you’re not sure about your seeds, try starting a few indoors to test them. Wish me luck 🙂 Have 4 Tropical milkweed plants wintering over in my basement. Thanks for all the info. All the Cold Moist Stratified seeds sprouted first, starting after just two days. If you’ve been thinking about planting fall milkweed this season, November is the best time for most of us to complete this simple garden task. Then assume I set outside in containers for awhile before planting in ground. I did have a butterfly eclose yesterday that had OE which I isolated. Soak and Stratify Seeds Milkweed seeds require some time in the damp cool. Another option is to distribute them to folks in your community or set up a 'seed swap' event. What are your thoughts on my situation? Take a look every few days to make sure there’s still water for the seeds, adding more if needed. Hello! If you don’t want seedlings all overs, cut off some/most of the seed pods before they mature. Obviously, not what I should have done, according to what I'm reading now. Then plant and keep moist until they start taking root., I would like to contact Dick Seng to get seed pods. 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