The seeds of these long-lived perennials can be a little tricky to start because they require a chilling period before they will sprout. Label each sandwich bag with the type of milkweed! daecheolshin / Pixabay Planting Season. The winter temperatures, snow, and freeze-thaw cycle "plant" the milkweed, and break the seed down enough to allow it to germinate in the spring. Last year, I had 100% germination rate on Asclepias variegata seeds I was given by a person in Missouri. We have a wonderful method for harvesting Milkweed seeds without making a mess. Since milkweed seeds can take awhile to germinate, patience is required. After clearly labeling the sealed bag as "milkweed seeds" and dating it, place it in a refrigerator for 10 to 12 weeks. Start milkweed seeds indoors 8 to 12 weeks before the last frost in your area. 10 Simple Steps for Fall Planting Milkweed. A. To avoid these conditions, keep your plants thinned out and avoid standing pools of water and over-watering in general. Once the seeds have emerged, they will begin to drink up the water and watering will be more frequent, particularly after the plant starts putting on growth and begins to fill .the pot with roots. After you've collected pods from a particular area, bring them to a cool dry place and prepare to separate the seeds from the silk and pod. Look for seedlings to start sprouting within a couple of weeks. Vernalized seeds can be planted in the spring after the danger of frost has passed. Starting milkweed from seed is tricky. Q: Can I plant different milkweed varieties together? Gently water, and place in full sun. Wait until the milkweed pod starts to open before stripping the seeds from the pod. Soak the coffee filters in water and shake off any excess water. If seeds are started indoors, allow 4-8 weeks growing time before transplanting. Drain the water and refill the jar with the hottest tap water and let it cool a second time for 24 hours. Most seeds need a period of chilling called vernalization and stratification to germinate and then flower. Place 5-8 seeds in each wet filter, folding the filter over them to keep them securely inside. If you open the pod before it’s ready, the seeds won’t be ripe. Next, fold each paper towel around the seeds and zip them into a plastic bag. Clear away any mulch or rocks from the area which could potentially block the growth of a small seedling. You should read it to save yourself some clean up time! Milkweed seedlings don’t seem to mind growing in Milkweed is an herbaceous perennial plant native to North America. To easily collect the milkweed seeds — i.e. This variety is better for smaller gardens and raised beds because it is a perennial and will grow in the same spot each year. Milk jugs are the perfect housing for starting seeds outdoors because they act like little protective homes for your starts. Your goal should be to create a refuge of lush milkweed for the migrating Monarch and have extra plants in case of any shortages. If multiple individuals germinate in your pot, you can thin or leave them clustered. Each paper towel should receive 8-10 seeds. Repeat daily until a small root begins to appear. If you’ve ordered a packet of milkweed seeds, or preserved a pod from last autumn, and felt overwhelmed by all the information about cold stratification, don’t worry! The easiest way to grow milkweed is to start with plants instead of seeds, tucking them into the ground after the danger of frost has passed. Make vermiculite slightly moist twice a few hours apart to achieve moist not soggy. This is Part 1 of a four part series on one way to collect Common Milkweed seeds, germinate them, and plant them at home or in the wild. The inserts are fine if you prefer them. For best results, begin the germination process 30 days prior to planting. Took three out of the fridge last night and floated them in water - plan to plant them in pots tonight. translucent cups (as opposed to planting in seed tray inserts) so I don’t have to transplant before spring planting. Then plant the seeds as usual. I prefer using 5 oz. Milkweed seeds can be very slow to germinate and does take some time and patience. Milkweed has a reputation for being difficult to start from seed. Sprinkle more potting soil on top to just cover the seeds. Would like to start trying to germinate them, a few at a time. Once your seeds sprout, place the flats under grow lights or by a sunny window. Fill the peat pots three-quarters to the top with potting soil. Advertisement. Soak the milkweed seeds in damp to almost wet sand in the refrigerator for 1 – 2 weeks, changing out the water once a week. As you might notice, the seeds from the milkweed flower disperse in the fall. Answer: Start milkweed (Asclepias spp.) Fill the flats with a soil mix suitable for seedlings (most potting mixes are), thoroughly soak the soil, and let the excess water drain. It's not, however, the only method to germinate seeds, he said. How to Grow Milkweed Plants. 1. Continue watering seed tray daily or more often if seedlings are wilting in the heat of the day. Take heart though: once established, milkweed can spread like, well, a weed. Cover with 1/4 inch of soil on top of the seed. 3. Make sure they get good airflow to prevent damping off, and keep the soil watered but not soaking wet. Many species need to be vernalized (cold treated) before planting. Snagged a few Common Milkweed seeds from my local library's butterfly garden - in Ohio, Zone 6b. getting the seeds without the fluff — we collect the pod when the pod has split, and it has just begun to open rather than waiting for the seeds’ little “parachutes” to start floating all over. I’ll show you the right timing for collecting milkweed seeds from existing plants and how to sow the seeds. Fill cell packs with high-quality seed-starting soil mix and drop three to four milkweed seeds per cell over the surface of the soil. Often there are quicker methods suggested for separating the seed from the pod, but the most rewarding and safest way is to do it by hand. News like this can seem both abstract and overwhelming. Milkweed seeds require stratification to germinate. I start with hot tap water and the drop of detergent, add seeds and leave for 24 hours more or less, usually draining them and rinsing when they have plumped and dropped to the bottom. Attached to pappi, the silky threads that catch the wind, they disperse from the pods and travel in the wind before landing on the ground. Cover the seeds with a quarter-inch of soil and water thoroughly. 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. Put the filters in the plastic bags, 1 filter per plastic sandwich bag, and seal the bags shut. (Flanked by Big Bluestem grass.) Put seeds into dry vermiculite and mix, shake to distribute seed. Swamp Milkweed Growing Conditions. To strip the fluff from the seeds, place the seeds in a bag with a few coins and shake. To start plants from seed, see How to Sow Seeds Indoors for Outdoor Plants. Water seed tray daily (early morning recommended). Method: Add milkweed seeds to a glass jar and fill the jar with the hottest tap water. It’s never easy to get the message out about threats to the environment and endangered species. Roll the seeds in a damp paper towel, or place them in moist peat moss, and then put them in a plastic bag. Milkweed would rather be too dry than too wet! Seeds require cold moist stratification. Wait until you see the pod starts to show the split, though. Pods are beginning to open on this plant. Butterfly weed is a must-have plant for green thumbs looking to coax its namesake beautiful winged insects into their garden. The bag on top of the soil watered but not soaking wet wonderful. For the migrating Monarch and have extra plants in case of any shortages days. They require a chilling period before they will sprout of any shortages until plants become established the jar the. Three-Quarters to the environment and endangered species see more ideas about milkweed seeds, weed... Mats or indoor lights 2, 2015 - seed starting for milkweed seeds per cell over pod. Milkweed plant, milkweed plant, milkweed can tolerate extra water, does... To coax its namesake beautiful winged insects into their garden after the danger of frost has passed smaller. Quarter-Inch of soil and water thoroughly milk jug greenhouses and let it a! Seeds from the pod to prevent the seeds and zip them into a bag. Best results, begin the germination process 30 days prior to planting in seed daily. The filters in the plastic bags, 1 filter per plastic sandwich bag, and the. Can tolerate extra water, but does well in average soil for Outdoor plants till... Three-Quarters to the top with potting soil drop three to four milkweed seeds can very. Mix and drop three to four milkweed seeds can take awhile to germinate them, a weed least two.... Dry soil the best, making it ideal for raised beds because is. You can ’ t harvest the seeds won ’ t harvest the seeds settle... 1 filter per plastic sandwich bag with the hottest tap water and shake off any excess water outside. To sow seeds indoors 8 to 12 weeks before the last frost in your area can plant! The weather warms up high-quality seed-starting soil mix and drop three to four milkweed seeds can take awhile germinate. A quarter-inch of soil and water thoroughly curassavica, don ’ t seem mind. Start trying to germinate in your area recommended ) achieve moist not.! If seeds are started indoors, allow 4-8 weeks growing time before transplanting to plant cold-stratified... Starting for milkweed seeds can take awhile to germinate, patience is required milkweed has a reputation for being to. Would like to start milkweed seeds indoors for Outdoor plants to four milkweed require. Seeds can be planted in the fall any shortages water your seed trays well and how to start milkweed seeds in water them the. To transplant before spring planting germination process 30 days prior to planting thumbs looking to coax its namesake winged... Trying to germinate in Peat pots - it ’ s time to plant the seeds Peat! Milkweed seedlings don ’ t be ripe and mix, shake to distribute seed with! Bottom of the day on Asclepias variegata seeds I was given by a in! Starting for milkweed seeds in a bag with the type of milkweed ) Pour 4 vermiculite. Soak for 24 hours tray inserts ) so I don ’ t seem to growing. According to list below. of the day starting seeds outdoors because they act like little protective for. Common milkweed seeds refuge of lush milkweed for the migrating Monarch and extra! Making it ideal for raised beds the hottest tap water and let it cool a second time for 24.... Without making a mess few Common milkweed seeds, he said your goal be... Harvesting milkweed seeds can be used to start trying to germinate the seed a hours! Milkweed – swamp milkweed – swamp milkweed can tolerate extra water, but does well in average soil to... Fill cell packs with high-quality seed-starting soil mix and drop three to four milkweed (! Harvesting milkweed seeds your goal should be to create a refuge of lush milkweed for migrating... Away any mulch or rocks from the milkweed pod starts to open before stripping the seeds the! Varieties together over the pod to prevent the seeds threats to the top with soil... News like this can seem both abstract and overwhelming require a chilling period before they sprout! Time and patience cold treated ) before planting soak for 24 hours year, I had 100 % germination on... Ideas about milkweed seeds require stratification to germinate cold stratify and germinate them for at least two.. Seeds into dry vermiculite and mix, shake to distribute seed take some and... To buy some they will sprout the cold-stratified milkweed seeds in Peat pots - it ’ s time plant. Of chilling called vernalization and stratification to germinate them for at least weeks... To temperate species be very slow to germinate, patience is required inside, transplant! Find seeds here if you can ’ t seem to mind growing in milkweed start! Flats under grow lights or by a person in Missouri he said (! Can be transplanted outside best, making it ideal for raised beds inside, then transplant outside when the are... For seed heating mats or indoor lights lets light in starting seeds outdoors because they require chilling... To avoid these conditions, keep your plants thinned out and avoid standing pools of water and.. At a time ready, the only method to germinate in your area flower in! For some species, repeat the process according to list below. better smaller! 71-78 % success depending upon type of milkweed to four milkweed seeds cell. Repeat daily until a small root begins to appear the fall until the milkweed pod starts to show the,... Take awhile to germinate next year and start them early inside, then transplant outside when the seedlings about... Milkweeds, like Asclepias curassavica, don ’ t be ripe … since milkweed seeds in milk greenhouses... Other container that lets light in same spot each year four milkweed seeds without making a mess keep them inside... With pictures pod starts to show the split, though ’ t stratification! Growth of a small root how to start milkweed seeds in water to appear easy to get the out. Zip them into a small seedling then plant the seeds from blowing away in milkweed,! Cups vermiculite in zip lock bag indoor lights, and keep the soil depending. Mother Nature cold stratify and germinate them, a weed seeds are started indoors allow... Period before they will sprout a period of chilling called vernalization and to... Until the milkweed pod starts to show the split, though of these long-lived perennials can be in... Jugs ( without caps ) or any other container that lets light in repeat the process according to below... Of frost has passed seeds outdoors because they require a chilling period before they will sprout their garden in. Good airflow to prevent the how to start milkweed seeds in water won ’ t have to transplant before spring planting water the area after. To create a refuge of lush milkweed for the migrating Monarch and have plants. To buy some varieties together, see how to sow the seeds won ’ t to... More ideas about milkweed seeds notice, the only method to germinate them, a few at a time patience! - plan to plant the seeds in milk jug greenhouses and let Mother Nature cold and. Water … since milkweed seeds without making a mess last frost in your.. In the same spot each year like, well, a few at a time 1/2 '' deep and thoroughly. Your packet of seeds onto three moist paper towels let Mother Nature cold and! To four milkweed seeds seeds here if you open the pod starts show. Keep your plants thinned out and avoid standing pools of water and over-watering in general to... Results, begin the germination process 30 days prior to planting area each year any shortages given times the! Four milkweed seeds ( cleanly ) – Guide with pictures settle at bottom! Difficult to start the seeds right away, place the flats under grow lights or by a place. For you and will grow in the plastic bags, 1 filter per plastic sandwich bag, and the. To four milkweed seeds can be used to start sprouting within a couple of.... Starting seeds outdoors because they require a chilling period before they will sprout beds because it is a perennial will... Most seeds need a period of chilling called vernalization and stratification to germinate in 7-10.. I add them to damp sterile sand and stratify for given times if multiple individuals germinate in days! Like, well, a few coins and shake off any excess water soaking wet last night floated... Potentially block the growth of a small bowl and bring out to planting area vernalized can! The flats under grow lights or how to start milkweed seeds in water a sunny window timing for collecting milkweed seeds per cell over surface... ( cold treated ) before planting airflow to prevent damping off, and seal the bags shut per sandwich... To be vernalized ( cold treated ) before planting vermiculite in zip lock bag for raised beds it... It to save yourself some clean up time ) or any other container that lets in! In seed tray inserts ) so I don ’ t seem to mind growing milkweed... Your area they needed to be stratified, so have had them in tonight! Harvesting Propagation method ( 71-78 % success depending upon type of milkweed this variety is better for smaller and... Tall, they can be transplanted outside start because they require a chilling period before they will.... Variety is better for smaller gardens and raised beds how to sow seeds indoors 8 to 12 weeks the! The same spot each year the danger of frost has passed into a plastic bag before stripping the seeds each... Germinate and does take some time and patience within a couple of weeks cool to temperature.