Asclepias questions...

adidas(6/7)December 19, 2012

Hello. This was to be my first wintersowing season but I have, I think, already botched it! I started sowing early because I knew I wouldn't be home or have time to sow around the winter solstice and I was counting on the fact that most, if not all, my seeds supposedly needed months of stratification! Well, as you can see the magnolias and milkweeds did not read the memo re: stratification. My question is: Will the milkweed be ok until spring in those containers? I was able to repot the mags (and clethras)to one per pot but I think I would kill the milkweed if I attempted to un-clump it. The milkweeds are in the the 3 pots at the back of pic. Any advice? Thank-you!

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terrene(5b MA)

Hi Adidas, since you will get regular freezing temps in zone 6/7, they will probably not be okay. This is not the time of year for seedlings to get established and grow, as plants are dormant. I wouldn't even attempt to grow them on inside myself, esp. because that defeats the whole no muss-no fuss part of winter-sowing. Ditto for the other seedlings too.

That's great you got so much germination though! Do you have extra seeds? You can sow later in the winter.

I don't sow any Asclepias species until March or April. I've started at least a dozen species from seed, and none of them have needed long periods of cold stratification.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 12:49PM
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Thanks for the input Terrene. No, I don't have anymore seeds.
I put the seedlings outside everyday and take 'em in at night...I am not at home right now...I didn't think they would germinate so quickly. So now that I have gone and done it...will the seedlings survive growing in those pots 'til spring? If you were in my place what would you do w/them? I don't mind putting in the extra work since I am responsible for my mistake. Should I try and repot? Leave them altogether? Help!

    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 2:22PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Hi Adidas - you CAN repot them and grow them on under lights inside for the winter if you want. Some people start daylilies, for example, very early in the winter and try to get a good jump on the season. I have grown many plants under lights, started doing so in 1986 and did it for years, especially before learning about Trudi's winter-sowing technique. It's more work and more expensive than winter-sowing, so now I like to do things the easier way and throw them in containers or cups and put them outside!

What species of Asclepias are they? In my experience, some species grow quickly, for example A. curassavica, tropical milkweed (often grown as an annual), and the wetland perennial swamp milkweed, A. incarnata, are fast growing milkweed species. These could get pretty big by the time you would transplant them outside, but that's okay.

The tuberous rooted dryland species like Common (A. syriaca), Showy (A. speciosa), purple (A. purpurascens), and somewhat less so Butterfly weed (A. tuberosa) are slow to establish from seed and can take up to 3 years to flower. These species would likely grow slowly through the winter and you would have no problem maintaining them under lights.

If these are your only seeds, then it might be worth it to baby them thru the winter. However, seeds are relatively cheap, and electricity can be expensive, so you could buy more or do the seed exchange and try again later in the winter if you want.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 9:23PM
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They are A. tuberosa, A. incarnata, and A. purpurascens. Thing is I can't really set up lights as I am back and forth between NC and VA til Feb. If the weather stays warm I can keep them outside for most of the time (bring them in at night) and when I can't they still have filtered daylight. Do I need to repot them or would they be ok together? I know their growth will be slow this way but it's just stop gap 'til spring. Thanks for the input!

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 7:27AM
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terrene(5b MA)

Hi Adidas, I really have no idea how seedlings would do over the winter, perhaps in a sheltered, frost free location outside, or even in a sunny windowsill?? Never really tried that before. They probably will not grow robustly, but they may survive. Hey, gardening is a lot of experimentation, if you are a curious sort, so it's worth a try.

As a backup, I have extra seeds of all 3 of those species (only a few of A. purpurascens) so if you want to do a SASBE later in the winter that's cool with me. I am crazy about Monarch butterflies, am happy to help anybody trying to support this species.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 5:38PM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

I think you should just leave them outside for the winter and see how they do. There may be seeds still in the container that haven't sprouted yet, and they may follow the "rules" and sprout next spring. Terrene is correct that seeds are way cheaper and less bother than trying to baby these indoors all winter. I'm not starting any wintersowing until January because of the warm winter we had last year. I could also send you seeds for milkweed, if you need more.


    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 10:10AM
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Thank-you both so much for your offers. Actually, Martha, I did send you an envelope and stamps for seeds and tried to contact you through your email but never heard back from you. I have never swapped or done SASE for seeds before...maybe I did something wrong? I sent a bubble envelope w/my address in it along with 4 stamps. I have decided to remove the seedlings from the pots they germinated in and put them maybe 3 or 4 to a pot and keep them inside. That way I can put the original pots outside per Martha's suggestion as there might still be some ungerminated seeds in them. Could you please tell me what the exact protocol is for SASE or SASBE? Thanks so much!

    Bookmark   December 23, 2012 at 9:23AM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

I did receive an envelope with stamps, but there was no indication of which seeds the person wanted or what their GArdenweb ID was. I don't see an option to send you an e-mail. Could you e-mail me privately and I'll make sure I send out some seeds to you. I've been really busy and haven't gotten back to Gardenweb for a few weeks.


    Bookmark   January 1, 2013 at 3:48PM
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