wintersowing butterfly seed

pippi21(Z7 Silver Spring, Md.)March 16, 2012

Has anybody had any luck wintersowing Ascleplas(Gay butterflies) butterfly weed in the milk jugs?

I seem to remember mine didn't make it last year or year before. I don't know where I found these instructions from but it says to sow seeds in peat pots or cell packs, press into soil but DO NOT COVER. Needs light to germinate..Keep at 70 degrees F. germination occurs within 4 weeks.. If not, put container inside a ziplock bag and refrigerate fro 4 weeks. Return to 70 degrees F to germinate. Transplant into the garden 12-18 inc. apart. This sounds like it's instructions for growing "Under lights" I thought wintersowing took care of all this..confusing for me. I only have 2 pkt. of 20 each seeds..

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pippi21(Z7 Silver Spring, Md.)

This sounds like a plant that doesn't like to be transplanted. It's been in the 80's all week but today is cloudy and 66 degrees outside. Maybe I should have started these earlier like in late Dec. or Jan? I just got the seeds a week ago from Park's. Should I just keep it till next year or sow it into peat pots directly in the ground?

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 2:16PM
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kqcrna(z6 SW Oh)

Pippi, instructions on seed packs are always for inside under lights. Ignore them. About the only thing that might pertain to wintersowing is to surface sow.

I wintersowed them in milk jugs in one of my early years wintersowing. They did fine and they're beautiful plants now. I don't remember when I sowed them.

Like anything with a tap root, they do just fine with transplanting as long as you don't wait too long.

If you want to pre-chill them, you could put them into a zip lock bag with a little damp vermiculite or sand for a few weeks, then sow in the jug and put outside.

I don't like peat pots at all, inside or out. When it rains they get moldy, when it's hot and dry they dry out in a heartbeat.

I'll link to a page where I (and others) have posted pics.


Here is a link that might be useful: A. tuberosa

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 2:27PM
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pippi21(Z7 Silver Spring, Md.)

Karen, I forgot all about that website(Allthingsplants)and loved looking at your pictures. The side of your house where the A/C unit is located, does that get a lot of shade or morning sun? I have Prairie Sun seeds to plant now and I hope the butterfly weed seeds germinate and live..I'm pairing those two together like yours, what a great combination. Coleus take shade. I love that painted nettle(trailing rose)
Will take time later to look more carefully at your pics..

The butterfly seeds came in foil pkt. do you think they really need chilling? If I was to chill them, do I keep them inside their foil pkt. or take them out and mix with the vermitculite? Sounds like a stupid question but you know how I am about comprehending new things. Bear with me!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 5:50PM
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kqcrna(z6 SW Oh)

No problem on the questions Pippi.

Seeds require moisture for stratification, so yes, you would open the pack, mix with a little damp vermiculite or sand, seal in a plastic baggie, and put in the fridge.

I don't know if they need cold strat. This is what Clothier says
"Asclepias exaltata , incarnata, and tuberosa, Sow at -4 to +4�C (24-39�F) for 4 wks in moistened sand, move to 20�C (68�F) for germination"
So, it wouldn't hurt to chill them for a week or two.

That side of my house where the heat pump is gets morning/early afternoon sun for about 6 hours in summer.

ATP is growing. I'm working with Trish on a new member's forum. It will have info about the site, how to navigate, and other "how to" stuff, and a place to ask questions. Look for it soon. I'll be a moderator on that forum.


    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 6:37PM
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bakemom_gw(z6 Central Ohio)

i spring sown them. No cold strat and they do fine. Asclepias seem to need warmer temps to germinate and get going and the mature plants are some of the latest to re-emerge.

i have winter sown some to. they aren't that fussy. they are a sleep creep and leap perennial in every sense of the term. i would recommend marking them in the fall, because they come up late and you might have forgotten where you plant them.

i don't know why yours came in foil, unless it's an annual version or some variety i haven't sown before. i surface sow mine because that's how i sow everything - i fling and plop outside.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 11:09PM
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kqcrna(z6 SW Oh)

Well, there you go Pippi, an expert who actually remembers things, like when she sowed them. Someone who still has a brain. So go for it, Pippi.

When you transplant it, put it where you want it as it's hard to move. And mine, like bakemom's, are among the last to emerge in fall too.


    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 6:11AM
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bakemom... hmmm surface sow in spring huh?
no chill time? hmmm.. guess I'm not too late!!! I doubt we'll get below 50 here until next fall. No more chill time for us.

Only one of the four I winter sowed in my first batch has come up. I sowed in individual containers to make it easier to plant out with the least amount of stress on the little plant babies.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 10:26AM
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I just checked my containers and found 4 more butterfly weed that sprouted! I'd forgotten I'd sowed these in one of the later sowing sessions.

Yea!!! I love finding little sprouts I'd forgotten I'd sown.

If I have time I think I'll sow more for our plant swap now that I know they don't have to have chill hours.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 11:02AM
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terrene(5b MA)

Because I raise Monarch butterflies, I attempt to grow about a dozen milkweed species, with greater or lesser success. I sowed Asclepias tuberosa in April one year - had abundant germination so apparently this species does not require cold stratification to germinate.

With Asclepias, whether you get sprouts probably depends more on the viability of the seeds. There is a milkweed beetle that can bore into pods and suck the juices out of the seeds, although the pod can appear relatively normal. Try cutting one of the seeds in half carefully - if you see some white stuff inside (cotyledon), that is probably a viable seed.

Also Butterfly weed can be transplanted, but this will set the plant back for a season. The interesting thing I've noticed about the Asclepias species with tuberous roots, is that pieces of root left behind sometimes sprout into new plants too.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 11:41AM
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pippi21(Z7 Silver Spring, Md.)

I had plans this morning to WS liatris, Prairie Sun, Lobelia"Fountain blue", and "gay butterflies" butterfly weed, but never got around to it. It's only 7:45 pm and I'm so tired, I could go in there and go right to bed. I have spent most of the day, going through like 20 yrs. of income tax and medical papers, shredding 10 years worth. My back was killing me so I took a break and delivered 30 houses their local newspaper, went to Popeyes's for our dinner. The good part of this day is DH went and bought us a new shredder, cross cut type and what a difference that makes. I still have 8 more newspapers to deliver but they will have to wait till tomorrow after we come from church, just like the seed sowing will have to I have to deliver our mutual newsletter to 14 houses..8 of them will go to same 8 houses that the newspaper goes..I never realized my DH had kept that many years. I am keeping back to 2000..

Thanks for all the useful tips and if mine turn out as beautiful as Karen's did, I'll be happy.

Am I understanding correctly, the butterfly weed will not bloom the first year? Karen, what about the Prairies Sun?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 7:53PM
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kqcrna(z6 SW Oh)

Butterfly weed didn't bloom till 2nd year for me. But Prarie Sun, first year. Really, rud hirtas perform best for me as annuals. By second year, they bloom like crazy in early summer, then usually die or look like crap.


    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 8:43PM
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I pre-germinated my store bought seeds in coffee filters, no cold treatment, and they sprouted well. This was 3 years ago.

Last summer my plants produced seed pods, which I saved and dried. This past January I set 10 seeds in moist coffee filters/ziploc bag and stored in the fridge for one month. Pulled out and placed in my cabinet under the kitchen sink, all 10 sprouted, within 3 - 4 days. So I grew 3 seeds on in soil.

Then thought to try with the seeds and no cold/fridge treatment. Out of 10 seeds from the same seed pod, only 4 ever sprouted, and the ones that did, did so within 4 days.

So now I plan to pre-germinate + fridge treatment, and judging on the weather, pull out of fridge and plant the seeds just as they are popping, directly into the soil where I want them to grow, since the 3 I am growing in my window will grow spindlier than I prefer, since I have no indoor light set-up, and we still get a lot of greyish days till springtime.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 1:04PM
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Why not spring sow them?
Or go ahead and winter sow them out side?

You don't need a light set up indoors if you winter sow or direct sow in spring.
When its warm enough you could pre germinate then plant out.
Sounds like thats the second easiest solution, the first is to winter sow them.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 1:56PM
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pippi21(Z7 Silver Spring, Md.)

Today, I filled 15 (4 in. pots)with BES seeds from my own plants last year. Wrapped them into a plastic bag that our new cross cut shredder came in. poked holes in plastic for air and put them behind the forsythia bush. They will still get light but not direct sunlight. Will watch them for dryness and bottom water them if needed. I soaked the seed potting mix and let it drain, then sprinkled last year's seeds on top and took a jar and press down lightly, then used the misting spray on the hose and wet them down some more, let that drained and put that plastic bag over them.
Before that I planted 12 (4in) pots with prairie sun rudbeckia..I got the seeds from Park's and it was supposed to be 25 seeds in each pkt. and I really don't think there was a total of 25 in both pkt. They were too small to count. I put sugar in a spice jar and sprinkled them but think I had too much sugar. We shall see! Ran out of potting mix and had to go to garden center for another brand. Wanted Fafard what I had before and they just had the container mix and man who appeared to be a boss said that would be too heavy..talked me into Hoffman seed starting mix..we will wait and see how well that germinates.

My favorite garden center called me this afternoon, they are expecting creeping phlox in toward end of week, and Salvia May Night or Cardonna may also be on that truck. They take request and call you saving you run all over the county..I'd rather buy from him than conglomarate HD..He brother started this garden center/farm market and he bought it from brother when he moved to Arizona or Colorada. Everybody loves their plants and they have quality plants and great customer service and knowledgable people that work there. Just learned about their request book last week so that may be the way to go from now on out.

Bought some mountain blue and yellow starfire columbine seeds today(Renee's seeds) at the garden center where I got the seed starting/potting mix. $1.89 each..2 pkt. each color.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 5:22PM
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