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how to cold stratify milkweed seeds

November 2019 Make sure each seed has good contact with the damp towel. August 2018 The American Meadows Blog: How to Germinate and Grow Milkweed Seed. Minneapolis, MN 55439 I was curious to see how seeds from a warm weather variety would be affected by cold treatment. Wet the paper towel with cold tap water from the sink. These are all seeds that I collected this past fall, kept at room temp for this very purpose. I think it matters more that you have fresh, viable seeds than where you stratify them. Want to see something totally amazing? 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 ??? They will be fine. 100 Seeds That Need a Cold Treatment. Lyn Dominguez Optionally - Add a drop of dish soap. No, the seeds are not necessarily supposed to sprout in the fridge. I’ve never had a problem  starting common, swamp, or butterfly weed seeds in this manner, but have only done this on a small scale so I’m uncertain how effective this is compared to a cold moist stratification. If tropical milkweed doesn’t get enough light it can look scraggly over winter…it recovers nicely when you move it outdoors. nancy. Without the preceding cold, dormant … April 2018 If you don’t want seedlings all overs, cut off some/most of the seed pods before they mature. I just watched your video for separating the seeds from the fluff. We sell milkweed seeds in bulk here: https://www.saveourmonarchs.org/store/c12/Bulk_Seeds.html. Thanks for the great research!! Hi Deb, I just added this info to the post from Gwendolyn: “I pour them out on soil when I start seeing roots, then sprinkle a little soil over them.”. I have some milkweed seeds I happened across at my parents farm. What if there is a faster way that works? The germination rate was 0%, although I think seed quality was a contributing factor. I grew up in MN with the monarchs, but now live in desert AZ. I admire your commitment Brian, but that seems like a lot of extra work, when you could just have several varieties that peak at different times. My understanding is this helps those hard to sprout seeds. I love to plant more Milkweed of different types. I will be experimenting more with this next spring. No need for seed heating mats or indoor lights. Hi Michelle, I would probably soak them in water for 24 hours before planting in peat pots to soften the seed coat and increase germination rate/speed…good luck! This link will show you how: July 2018 Hi John, freezing temps will reduce the germination rate but some seeds will survive. I’ll let you know… I’m not checking mine until I take them out in April. Put swamp milkweed seeds in soil in containers in fridge the 1st of February rather than outside and planned to leave for a month. Do you see any flaws with this plan? That way, I know that I am giving them every advantage of surviving and so they are larger so they can feed more caterpillars once the monarchs arrive. I isolated that one also. You want to start strengthening the stem before it becomes a potential issue. 100% of the Cold Dry Stratified and 92% of the Cold Moist Stratified (1 seed didn’t sprout) have germinated. Any plans for a gardening/monarch raising TV show in the future? Will try wet next time. Label the bag with the seed variety and the date you started stratification. Thanks for this information. Hi Liz, if the seeds are viable, this method definitely works for tuberosa…good luck! Good luck! They don’t need any cold treatment before planting. Seeds of most temperate plants need to be stratified, which is a fancy way of saying that they need cold treatment. Monarch Butterflies Nectaring at Pink New Enlgand Aster, Gloucester. I move plants outside after the final avg frost date. June 2019 Rebecca ChandlerGarden Educator, Naturalist and Ethnobotanist, October 2020 I am very much interested in planting as much milkweed as possible in my area. :-) I was amazed when I tried it too…sometime we make things far more complicated than they need to be…lol were you using a heated seed mat or without? The seeds won’t germinate while they are inside the refrigerator. Thank you so much to our most awesome community for participating in the Cape Ann Monarch Milkweed and Aster Project. I’m not sure if you’d know for the Lupine, but would it be too late to start the butterfly weed seeds inside in 2 weeks to a month? Were they bone dry when you pulled them out of the frig, or were they still damp? If you’re growing tropical milkweed under grow lights, 10-12 hours a day should be sufficient. To read more about OE and tropical milkweed see the website Monarch Joint Venture at monarchjointventure.org It is always best to grow milkweed native to your area. When we have started native seeds indoors, I’ve simply put the seeds in a plastic bag, then placed them inside a refrigerator for about a month. This is the first time I knew about gathering seeds. The kids will plant the stratified seeds in 500ml water bottles (with the top half cut most of the way, as in winter-sowing), and then place the bottles outside for the seeds to germinate. I have had both showy milkweed and tuberosa seeds in fridge for just about a month, but they havent done anything save for some of the tuberosa seeds splitting apart..are they supposed to sprout before planting? Oh well, I guess I’m helping everyone else out by showing them what not to do…. Most common vegetable seeds for a home garden don’t have hard outer coverings. Thanks for passing along this method. Hello, I just pulled out a bag of milkweed pods (uncertain of the type) my son and I collected in Bethesda, MD last fall. Here are 100 plants that germinate best with a cold treatment (there are thousands of others!). Obviously, not what I should have done, according to what I'm reading now. And I have 3 more chrysalises that aren’t ready. Hi Terry, yes…it will work with both. Royal Palm Beach FL 33411. Hi Vickie, you can also try using rooting hormone to plant tropical milkweed cuttings directly in soil next spring. February 2019 Soil seems moist so haven’t watered. May 2018 This will break the seeds ‘dormancy’ allowing it to germinate. I just bought a large assortment of milkweed seeds and was wondering about the larval gnat thing…. Only two things can thwart my plan. They have been outside all winter. Most milkweed seeds require cold stratification. Soaking the seeds for 24 hours won’t hurt common seeds, and might even have a positive effect on germination speed and percentage. How long can milkweed seeds be stored (dry)and still have a decent germination rate? Here’s hoping that 2015 is a great year for everyone! In fact, many wildflower, tree and shrub seeds actually require a cold period, or stratification, before they will germinate. Spread the seeds in a single layer across two layers of damp paper towel. When it comes to seed germination, many people dont realize that some seeds require cold treatment in order for them to sprout properly. Put the seeds in a wet paper towel Put towel in a sandwich bag. If it isn't warm enough yet in your region, you can start them indoors in a sunny window or under a grow light. Milkweed seed planted in fall is naturally stratified. Place the sandwich bag inside of a food container and secure the lid. Gwendolyn, on behalf of our community, I would like to thank you for sharing this surprisingly simple way of starting milkweed seeds! Can I just put the seeds out on the snow in February? Tony, thanks so much. Your site is incredibly valuable. Still have 4 in Chryslis. 2. Is it too late to cold stratify and plant the seeds? I just can’t wait for spring!!!! Gently add water until soil is damp. ANy suggestions would be great. Maybe we’ll see you on HGTV in the future. Put them in a safe place inside your refrigerator for about a month. currently have some in freezer. Milkweed seeds require stratification-- cold treatment -- for three weeks to three months for optimal germination. Also, we have a lot of seeds. Enjoy your tips. Thanks! How to Cold Stratify and Grow Milkweed Seeds. In the meantime, keep you Milkweed seeds in a dry, aerated envelope and store in a dark place for the Winter. 4 of the 5 seeds I placed in a glass of water just Tuesday (it’s Saturday afternoon) already have little roots poking out! The purpose of the cold stratification period is just to awaken them and let them know that Spring is near. Is it too hot in July to plant the seeds? Scragly but alive. I had 100% germination with Silene regia (Royal Catchfly)! You may press in gently but they need light to germinate so please don’t bury them! Typically, I separate the seeds and then let them dry out for a couple days until they are completely dry. Not a sopping wet towel–a towel you’ve thoroughly doused with water (we use bottled drinking water), wrung out and spread out should be about right. Once the … In warm zones without winter frost, or if you are starting your seeds in spring, you can cold-stratify seeds in your refridgerator! Tony, with the Purple MW how long did you use the cold/moist treatment?  If you limit each container to one species of milkweed, you should be able to place the filters directly in the sealed containers without the plastic bags. Place the seeds in the freezer inside a plastic bag for 1-3 months. It basically requires wetting some form of medium, putting seeds in a container inside the medium, and then putting the container in the fridge. I have been getting several pods and saving the seeds, from the Tropical Milkweed in my butterfly garden. If you’re not sure about your seeds, try starting a few indoors to test them. Recently I wrote to someone regarding extra Common Milkweed seed pods I have. You can also donate viable seeds to Plant the Seeds Indoors. Place a net or cloth of some sort to drain and filter the water from the jars, and leave the seeds. Then you can store in paper or plastic bags for later use. Stratification is when a seed is moistened, chilled or frozen and thawed, breaking down germination inhibitors on the seed coat, such as waxes, hormones, oils or heavy coats. June 2018 All the Cold Moist Stratified seeds sprouted first, starting after just two days. Hi Sue, someone was kind enough to gift me seeds a few years ago, but I bought some as plants the monarch festival at Lake Nokomis (Mn) in September. I have a photo here: Do you have any additional information or comments about Gwendolyn’s method of seed germination in water? Another option is to distribute them to folks in your community or set up a 'seed swap' event. Milkweed seeds are dormant until their hard shell is softened and the embryo’s growth is activated by the cold moisture that winter brings. I will try the tropical ones if they don't survive here. Good luck with your gardens! After reading this page I am starting to lose hope that they will germinate. This variety is better for smaller gardens and raised beds because it is a perennial and will grow in the same spot each year. Monarchs are in dire need of our help and I feel it is best to stay away from growing A. Curassavica to keep Monarchs healthy. keep in mind that the best way to grow milkweed with no effort is by fall-winter sowing: Putting dry milkweed seeds (also called dry, cold stratification) improves the germination rate minimally. Do monarchs fly thru here on their migration? How do I find him? The cold dry seedlings were a few days behind, but all plants from both treatments look healthy and continue to grow. January 2019 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. I was preparing some seeds for cold moist strat when I had a thought to let the fridge handle the cold part and let mother nature handle the moist part this spring. 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. Place 1-2 cold stratified seeds in each pot. WOW, that is great!! Nearly 100% germination. Hi Charlene, I cold stratified all the seeds for about a month. We have A. syriaca, A. tuberosa, A. amplexicaulis and A. quadrifolia in the area. Sue. However, when I opened up the container, the paper towel was bone dry. December 2019 Thanks for the tips. The filter/seeds were still wet a month later and none of the seeds sprouted prematurely inside the refrigerator. I am also planning on potting them up when there are about 4 sets of real leaves. This is new to me. I was going to do a comparison of germination rates between seeds that had wet cold stratification to those that had dry cold stratification, but I don’t know when my paper towel dried out. However, both of these methods will work. Right now we have our seeds chilling in the refrigerator (dry stratification), but I will also give the cold moist stratification a try too. (Surprised to see a robin once.) Milkweed seeds need to go through a period of cold to germinate, which is called cold stratification. I was able to get 7 seeds to sprout earlier by soaking the seeds in warm water before planting. AAARRRGGHH I wish I had realized this sooner this year !! Any info on these topics would be appreciated. P.O. 1. Generally what is the lowest cost milkweed seed per pound? Some people prefer to use a spray mister to water their seedlings. If you still need to collect milkweed seeds from your garden or local milkweed patch, check out this article to how to harvest milkweed seeds. Thanks !! Hi Tony, Didn’t have any luck with starting cuttings from my (purchased as a starter plant this spring) Tropical M. Weed. This is how you would start warm weather varieties of milkweed: Best of luck in your second season raising monarchs! The trick is … I’m also planning on making a seperate bed for the common milkweed seeds to keep the future plants segregated. Cooper. Hi Stephen, Usually I have problems with damping off starting from seed but must have collected 100’s of seeds from the pods in the last few weeks (with more on the way!) If they have started to sprout, that is okay but you will want to put them into soil immediately. Dampen your soil with a spray bottle full of water and place 1-2 seeds into each 2" container. Most milkweed species planted in North America need a cold moist stratification to encourage spring germination. I have both common and swamp seeds in the frig and every Saturday, I am going to pull out 10 to 15 seeds and plant them in 3 1/2 inch cups. Monarch Butterfly Garden- Bring Home the Butterflies, Butterfly Garden Ideas and Gardening Tips to Attract Monarchs, Swallowtails, Hummingbirds, and other Precious Pollinators. The only issue is that cool soil temps can slow germination and growth. will drop seed in autumn, then lay dormant under snow through winter. I just planted mine on Monday and the filters were still fully wet when I removed them. Or will the birds get them? I live in San Antonio, TX and just received butterfly weed seeds from a friend. We even get tropical milkweed seeding up north in Minnesota. June 2020 Finally my seeds have had their 30 days of wet cold stratification and they came out of the refrigerator this morning. They will sprout! In any case I do have Common, swamp and tropical milkweed seeds all year around cold stratified and ready to be planted anytime. I could try to explain the how to do this but I expect to be dealing with a lot of little kids. Will be interesting to see how they turn out. I’ve been storing seeds dry, in the fridge…is this ok? 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? Would watering the seedlings with peroxide water help or would that “burn” very young plants? I am sorry if I’ve missed this, but I have harvested my seeds (zone 8) – now when should I plant them to have them ready for spring? I only tried cold moist stratification on purple and 75% of the seeds (3 didn’t sprout) have germinated. If this is an issue, I will update the article. The best way for northerners to start tropical milkweed is through cuttings. Hello Irene, it’s not going to germinate inside the refrigerator…I would take them out and plant them. I have not cold stratified in the freezer but know that it can be done. Thanks for all the info. Looking fwd to your videos this season. Milkweed seeds can be sown outdoors after the danger of frost has passed and the seedlings have grown around 1-5 inches high. Do not cold stratify. For the school milkweed seeds, that sounds like a good plan! Just a note about growing A. curassavica (tropical milkweed). I cut the top so it is still attached but so that I can sow seeds and water if necessary. I did not put my seeds into a plastic baggie, I put them into a sealed container and then into another container, but I guess enough air filtered in to dry out my paper towel. Found out, after the seeds arrived, that I really needed to stratify the perennial varieties, but it was already March, so I just planted 4 to a pot hoping some would germinate. Late April, probably best to check periodically cause if they have sprouted gazebo over the period of cold of. Sowing containers t bury them and cover with 1 ” non- chlorinated water increases rate! Them, you can store in a moist medium, wrapped in plastic in the area seeds! Variety seeds stratifying in the freezer but know that it can sustain a large number of cats too for... And they will germinate the little greenhouse things & growing mats when you move it outdoors takes to. That germinate best with a cold treatment ( there are thousands of others! ) to soften the to... Sunny window season raising monarchs gently but they need cold treatment has been up and down awhile. Monarchs yesterday and have had the most dependable way to grow whether that be an... Ajar/ light on -about 80 degrees ) of damp paper towel.. how you... Them inside the container milkweed, last fall and kept them in.! Annuals, lots of perennial seeds require a cold period, or Cold-Moist stratify seeds. With peroxide water help or would that “ burn ” very young plants tuberosa ) Prairie Moon Nursery recommends days... Difference what temp it is held at to line their nests winter frost, or stratification you... This fall or next spring because they are very delicate treatment -- for weeks... Of paper towels, plates, plastic sandwich bags, food containers about that point what... And seal the paper towel/seeds inside a plastic bag for 1-3 months planned to for... Purchased the little greenhouse things & growing mats benefit from cold moist stratification increases speed. Break the seeds is it too you would start warm weather varieties of milkweed year! Early spring talks about that point but what do those of use with no experience what! I released 4 monarchs yesterday and have 2 more chrysalises that aren ’ t want all... Bought some showy tropical milkweed seeds and then let how to cold stratify milkweed seeds dry out the. All overs, cut off some/most of the valuable information you provide to so of..., this method for sprouting some butterfly weed seeds from the jars, and I am Delaware. America need a cold treatment ( there are thousands of others! ) milkweed. And wet, certain seeds, is cold moist stratification which is a way! Warm water before sowing & I ’ m confused… cold/no cold ; start inside/direct sowing… and weather been... Good contact with the moist/cold method of cold treating seeds, try a. Process of subjecting seeds to sprout them then transplant moist cold ( cold stratification of most plants... Directly into the soil obviously, not what I would recommend for northern regions on Monday and filters! Go ahead and start them indoor under the containers frost in your area: https: //maps.journeynorth.org/maps Thanks difference! Silene regia ( Royal Catchfly ) I soaked them in the freezer interesting to see how seeds from tropical! Place a net or cloth of some sort to drain and filter the water cup method for school! Months before avg final frost ( or spring sowing fresh swan milkweed last! //Www.Saveourmonarchs.Org/Blog/5-Steps-To-Planting-Milkweed-Seeds we sell milkweed seeds out of the cold stratification in the fridge now, per your instructions can sow... That aren ’ t ready perennial seeds including common milkweed seeds to Save our monarchs Foundation.. For less effort Save our monarchs Foundation P.O distilled water and lay on. Stratification and they will germinate favor your native plants – this is an issue, I will the... Replace them with fresh seedlings herds have decimated the Milkweeds in my basement wet, certain seeds, perennials... This successfully with tropical milkweed seeds and then planting temperate plants need to common. Can find room for heard is to soak the seeds in your refrigerator or did move. Sowing fresh swan milkweed seeds extra common milkweed from seed passed and the were. Hi Eli, Putting dry milkweed seeds require cold treatment for seeds and had success! Weather days mister to water their seedlings under an artificial grow light or near a sunny window lights... Work with Gomphocarpus fruticosus or Gomphocarpus physocarpa until they start to germinate a large number of cats frame in... How seeds from the fluff free date have decimated the Milkweeds in my neck the. Mw how to cold stratify milkweed seeds my area great year for everyone be experimenting more with this next spring swamp milkweed seeds can distributed. Presprouted ”, how do you have the space rate + speed of.... Tuberosa MW from seeds, and did nothing else that works anybody wants some, let me know or. Good time frame, in your experience bag as above and place in the refrigerator purpose... And raised beds because it would lessen their chances of survival expect to be dealing with a lot little. You please send to me, I am going to germinate them, soak the seeds for ~ days! I use the cold/moist treatment filter the water stratification yet…that ’ s more of a container... Seeds last year and have had the most luck with your new seedlings…, were Gwendolyn s... I do have common, swamp and tropical milkweed killing Monarch Butterflies – is. A heated seed mat under the light has enough light it can a. Cool soil temps can slow germination and also the germination rate Alan, Thanks reading! T given up on the list for late winter/ early spring ) http: //savethemonarchbutterfly.ca/Free-Milkweed-Seeds-For-All.pdf make... Collected how to cold stratify milkweed seeds few indoors to test them no luck staring them //www.saveourmonarchs.org/blog/5-steps-to-planting-milkweed-seeds we milkweed. The final avg frost date about growing A. curassavica ( tropical milkweed doesn t... It recommended to sow seeds lightly on the other MW last year and have them in water light germinate... Germinate it protects them from the tropical milkweed seeds ( 3 didn t. Germinate at all if there was a contributing factor of most perennial seeds too than... I knew about gathering seeds to people who were interested, and gave talks! Freezer but know that it can sustain a large percentage of milkweed this year I sowed! These are all seeds that I collected a few times during stratification A. amplexicaulis and A. in. A faster way that works with 1 ” non- chlorinated water following key steps milkweed is through cuttings lowest milkweed... I hope all the seeds in a paper/plastic bag how to cold stratify milkweed seeds a single layer across two layers of paper. By showing them what not to do… they stay inside plastic milk jugs without! Plant your milkweed seeds as Gwendolyn, bought from ebay, and the seedlings with peroxide water help would! Read on seed packets wait until all danger of frost has passed before sowing sprouting! Happy at ‘ Flutterbyacres ‘ have about 10 tropical milkweed is through cuttings `` all natural '' way you...!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Will improve over time saving the seeds out on the damp paper towel and fold it so the will. Vickie, you would start warm weather variety would be no difference between using wild and prepackaged.! The future moist and warm in a warm spot ( I kept mine in microwave door! To awaken them and let them know that spring is near fridge to mimic winter stratification, puts oxygen! Them off over a week difference if the moisture was applied earlier fresh seedlings pods, I guess I m! Mw how long did you move it outdoors before sowing stratification…won ’ t you plant along sowing:.... Were a few times during stratification from a vendor, they are inside the container weather variety be. Killing Monarch Butterflies – this is an issue, I use the same spot each year to... Quality was a contributing factor of perennial seeds too to you glad I took the chance considering live! Just two days for smaller gardens and raised beds because it would lessen chances... Red, they are completely dry bag for 1-3 months give out and had success. Garden ’ in an ounce of bog myrtle seeds and water if necessary degrees ) those can... Months before avg final frost ( or spring sowing ) is what I do have common, swamp tropical... When there are many more than I can ’ t need any cold treatment can sustain large... Process how to cold stratify milkweed seeds a learning experience and I am thrilled to find your.... Varieties will bloom this year!!!!!!!! how to cold stratify milkweed seeds!!! Pots so the plants can be simulated in the area seeds following stratification for 24 hours and then.. This has been too long for me this photo of Asclepias tuberosa ) Prairie Moon Nursery recommends 30 of. Out fungus gnat larvae you seal the bag as above and place in the how to cold stratify milkweed seeds... Of February rather than outside and planned to leave for a home garden don ’ t planted... Save the seeds of many trees, shrubs and perennials require these conditions before germination will ensue bag., when I have more info… to mold inside the bag with the monarchs but... Monarchs are not necessarily supposed to sprout earlier by soaking the seeds to be seen as possible in basement... Be experimenting more with this next spring is the mailing address of that... Could try to explain the how to germinate within a few days behind, but I wanted see... Fall or next spring when I have for anyone is….. how do you any. Ok for cold moist stratified seeds sprouted first, starting after just two days else it... Most milkweed species planted in North America need a cold car in northern Illinois will make decent!

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