Purple Milkweed (A. purpurascens) Germination Tips?

coolbutterfly(5A)March 15, 2013

Hi, I just got 10 purple milkweed seeds from everwilde farms and I'm doing an abbreviated cold stratification.

(My stratification method consists of throwing the seeds in the refrigerator for two weeks and it has worked well with other milkweeds including swamp/common)

Longer cold stratification aside, does anyone have tips for getting these seeds to germinate? Should I use the heat mat?

Thanks for your help, Tony

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Bottom heat would definitely help. take out of fridge, let sit at room temp for 24-48 hours and plant 1/4 in deep in well drained soil. (I use paper egg cartons, but these need a lot of water).

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 2:56AM
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Thanks Leafhead. I will try the heat and see what happens.

As for paper egg cartons....that is probably the WORST set up I've ever tried because the bottoms start to disintegrate and it makes a mess...and, like you said, they require constant watering because the water soaks through fast.

I use 4" translucent cups and poke holes in the bottom, setting them in old seed starting trays or plastic muffin containers. I think I am trying the option in the link below for next year:

Here is a link that might be useful: Self Watering Seed Starting

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 10:29AM
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mary_littlerockar(8a-7b mid Arkansas)

another suggestion for small amounts of seed germination:

Once you've completed the 'cold stratification', if you don't yet own a heat mat, an easy way to provide soft heat for seed germination is to place your seed containers on top of the fridge.

I planted herb seed Mar 14 and both types are already germinating. One variety said to expect germination in 7 days, the other said 14 days. And icing on the cake, these seed are several years old (although aways kept in fridge).


mini greenhouses made from juice bottles, labels made from cut up mini blinds

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 2:57PM
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mary_littlerockar(8a-7b mid Arkansas)


I love the self watering pots idea. Years ago I used commercial pots based on this principle for growing African Violets indoors. This 'do your own' project is great and the author of the blog has provided a wonderful step by step guide to exactly how it's done. This would be a great project to get children involved in gardening.

Until seed germinates, take another 2 liter plastic bottle, cut off at the bottom, remove the cap, cut a slit up side so you can squeeze it a bit and place over the top of this self-watering container and you've got a mini green house effect for gerninating the seed.

Thank you so much for sharing this idea with us.


    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 3:58PM
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Hi Mary, I have tried the top of the refrigerator before with disappointing results.

Perhaps some refrigerators are warmer up top than others?

I am excited to try the self watering idea too...gardening efficency excites me :) Happy St Patty's Day, Tony

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 6:02PM
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tepelus z6a SW MI

I winter sowed mine this year, so we'll see. Other asclepias have done well this way for me in the past, hopefully purple milkweed will, too. I saved half the packet of seeds for next year just in case they fail this year. Sowed them only a few days ago so I know I'm cutting it close for the proper amount of time for cold strat. That's why I saved the other half of the packet.


    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 6:50PM
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