Save Seeds and Adopt NewButterfliers!!!

docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)July 10, 2014

Given the sad state of the pollinator world, some of us are seeking ways to help others get started on the road toward re-establishing habitat that is free from pesticides and provides the necessary nectar and host plants needed by our tiny friends. So, I'm asking those of you who have established gardens to allow your blooms to set seed and collect them when they've ripened. Let them dry completely and then bag them up for sharing with those who are trying to begin or improve their gardens to benefit our butterflies and other pollinators.

I haven't thought thru exactly how this would work best. We'll all need to brainstorm about the best way to get seeds distributed for wintersowing or stratification and spring planting. But, the first step is for those who have plants growing to collect as many seeds as possible as they ripen and dry them so they are ready for shipping to new gardens across the country. International trading gets complicated, so we may need to limit this to the US.

Let us know here who's interested in helping, and what seeds you might have.

Martha

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Leafhead

Count me in, Martha :)
I've already been in contact with several members of this forum concerning sharing seeds. I plan on collecting as much seed as possible from my Milkweed and the Milkweed down the road.
I also plan on collecting Asters, Liatris, Vervains and Nettles, among others. I'll have these ready in the Fall.
Together I believe we can make a difference, especially if we reach out to others.
Spread the word and spread the Weed ;-)>

John

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 3:05AM
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doubleAmom(SWPA 5/6)

I would love to be included...I can save liatris, purple coneflower and zinnia seeds. I also have some wild joe pye weed that the butterflies love and could try to get seed from that. It may not be the best option for a small garden since it grows soooo tall but the butterflies flock to it. I also let some ironweed grow in one of my beds this year so I'll see if that attracts any butterflies. I'm not sure if you can save seeds from that plant or not. My problem is not having any host plants. I desperately want some milkweed seed. I have 14 acres and have so many places to plant the milkweed.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 7:13AM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

DoubleA,
I'm sure we can find you some milkweed seeds. I have Common left over from last year, and I'll have incarnata and tuberosa seeds this year.

Martha

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 8:25AM
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doubleAmom(SWPA 5/6)

Martha, I would sure love to spread some of your milkweed seed around my yard!!! Thank you for the offer!

Katrina

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 9:02AM
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october17(5chgo)

doubleAmom - I hope to have swamp milkweed seeds. If they like the spot, they'll get 7 ft tall in a few years.

We should have a seed swap thread on the forum in the fall. I would love some liatris seeds.

I don't know if I'll have enough seed, but I was thinking about setting up a table at the craft fair at work this year. Maybe put together some seed and instructions for raising cats. But, I really don't have any talent for drawing or painting. I would have to buy everything and I'm afraid I would have to price the kit too high. The fair is in early October, so i can put some orange butterfly weed seedlings in the kit.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 6:30PM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

I want this to stay near the top, so I'm going to keep bumping it up.

Martha

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 7:55AM
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treehugger101

I will have access to Common milkweed. I can save seeds this Fall if anyone wants them as well as purple Coneflowers. John was sweet enough to offer to hook me up with liatris, butterfly week, new england asters and other goodies. Can't wait, John!!!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 9:53AM
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roper2008 (7b)

I have Common Milkweed and orange butterfly weed
setting pods.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 5:08PM
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flutterby64

Martha,

I would be happy to share seeds. I should have Verbena bonariensis, A. curassavica (red, yellow and Silky Dark Red), A. tuberosa (orange and maybe some yellow), Salvia coccinea 'Lady in Red', Double Red Hollyhock and Zinnia. Hopefully I'll also have A. purpurascens, Gomphocarpus physocarpus, A. syrica, Celosia 'Cramer's Amazon', Celosia 'Pink Flamingo' and Ruellia humilis.

Dana

This post was edited by flutterby64 on Mon, Jul 14, 14 at 11:49

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 1:15PM
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doubleAmom(SWPA 5/6)

What is the best way to grow milkweed from seed? Do you just spread the seed where you want it to grow or do you actually start seedlings and then transplant them? I have had great luck wintersowing perennials in years past, would that also work for milkweed?

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 9:50AM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

Wintersowing has always worked well for me whenever I need to germinate milkweeds.

Martha

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 10:12PM
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msmorningsong(SW FL 10A)

Lol, I wish a few of you Butterfliers were a little further south :)
I have ascelpias curassavica, dandelion, bachelor's button,
Early goldenrod, guava (these southern butterflies LOVE guava in bloom), and for those of you who don't mind hauling a plant in come winter, the most loved of all plants by my babies: hamelia patens, native florida and non-native. It really draws in both bees and butterflies.
I would like to have fresh swamp milkweed, coneflower, monarda, zinnia, and/or the common orange milkweed if anyone is interested in such a trade. Give me a few weeks, as others noted, not everything has gone to seed yet.
edit: I forgot to mention, also can take cuttings of several species of clerodendrum (yes, frost sensitive but they love it) for those of you who want to try your luck with it.
edit edit: Just picked passiflora incarnata this very day, so fresh seed. I don't know about Northern butterflies, but down here they are the host plant to fritillaries and zebra longwings. Besides, surely your butterflies would love the nectar of the blooms? ;)

This post was edited by MsMorningSong on Tue, Jul 15, 14 at 17:43

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 4:59PM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

MsMorningSong,
I should have seeds for all the plants you listed. I'd be happy to,share them with you, whether or not we can work out a trade. I'll need to see if the guava can be grown here. I suspect not, but, we have all summer and fall to figure it out. Most of my plants haven't even bloomed yet, so seed collection won't happen for weeks or even months.

Martha

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 9:49PM
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msmorningsong(SW FL 10A)

Thank you for your kind offer Martha. Went ahead and ordered most of the seeds I wanted, we are expanding the Butterfly garden and I have to have them, but would still send anything out for SASE to anyone interested.
What a thoughtful thread you started, I have also noticed less (varied) butterflies in my garden this year, hope it's only a fluke. Loaded with Gulf frits and Zebras though. A bumper year for them, just less swallowtail species.
I also have Calendula, mixed. As for the guava, It would make a great container plant where you live, and is a very manageable plant.
This is true psidium, (subtropical) not fejoa, which can take frosts.
Your family may love the fruit, a double gift. One for butterflies, one for you.

This post was edited by MsMorningSong on Thu, Jul 17, 14 at 6:30

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 6:19AM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

I had a small brainstorm. I don't have the time to organize the collection and distribution of the number of seeds I'm hoping we are able to collect. But, I wonder if someone (I) could get a high school National Honors Society to take on the work as a service project. I could collect the seed donations and the seed requests/postage, and the kids could do the separating, labeling, and mailing. It could even be a one day project sometime in early winter when all seeds have ripened, but there is still plenty of time to stratify and plant before spring. I know there are lots of other exchanges that go on, but, if we keep working on getting the word out, I hope this will be big. I don't want this to be all about me and my ideas, so please chime in with any ideas or concerns.

Of course, the biggest obstacle will be that my daughter wouldn't want her mother butting in and being a busy body. Actually, she's pretty good about that and her friends think I'm OK as parents go.

Martha

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 9:06AM
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msmorningsong(SW FL 10A)

I think that's a wonderful idea! Mailing seeds to one location and allowing it to be handled by children is nothing less than brillant. It gets them involved with butterflying, which I'm sure their teacher would have them learn prior. Creating baby Butterfliers, and helping out the adults just getting started.
Smart, smart, smart, imho ;)

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 9:26AM
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BERGER123(4b-5a)

Hi
What set up should I use to winter sow I thought that those ice cream pails with the seeds in dirt and with plywood over the top would work. Will it?
Jacob

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 9:30AM
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doubleAmom(SWPA 5/6)

Berger123...there's so much info on wintersowing forum. There's a whole forum dedicated to wintersowing. Personally I use milk jugs but there are so many other things you could use. When you get a moment, please check out that forum...so much information it's a good thing winter is still a few months away

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 10:25AM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

Jacob,
What were you going to do with plywood? Definitely read the FAQ on the Wintersowing Forum.

Martha

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 4:12PM
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bernergrrl(z5 IL)

With giving away seeds, plants, I've found it best to give things away locally. #1 The things you grow are obviously adapted to your area. #2 You will be creating more habitat for the butterflies you want to see in your yard. If you are the only yard in your town that caters to wildlife, you might not see too much in your yard. If you can get your yard to connect to other yards, creating a wildlife corridor, well, then things can get interesting. It makes sense, and I've seen it happen.

Create a culture of gardening for wildlife, share your passion and knowledge locally, and the butterflies will grow.

Share your land ethic with others, change how traditional landscapes are done. etc. Butterflies need you to do that.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 7:55PM
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bernergrrl(z5 IL)

Rethinking my above posts; sounds critical of sending them off somewhere else, which wasn't my intent. Didn't mean to be a killjoy, just to give another way of spreading the seeds/plants.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 7:39AM
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msmorningsong(SW FL 10A)

Berner, where I live, you'd have to seed bomb the neighbors!
They haven't a clue as how to garden, much less butterfly garden. But with the right folks, your original idea is wonderful.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 8:20AM
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Leafhead

I couldn't agree more. Mine is in raging bloom right now and gets daily visits. They especially love the red ones.
Stachis, a relative of Lambs' Ears, is really proving to be a winner with both Hummingbird Clearwing Moths and Red Admirals in my area:) They fight over it! I'll have to get MORE next year!!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 12:04PM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

Leafhead,
Can you collect seeds?

Martha

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 8:25AM
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dr.liz(7 NJ)

Bernergrrl,
To the contrary, I don't think you were sounding critical and I agree with your idea 100%. In fact, I was just going to say the same thing. I think it would be much better to share locally if possible. I was hoping to share seedlings with my neighbors, two of whom were quite smitten with my butterfly raising last year, but I didn't have enough to share. I don't expect other people to raise butterflies, but simply planting some flowers for them and some host plants would be a big help. If we collect wild seeds, the plants will be truly native and well adapted here, and if we share them locally it will help the neighbors, the butterflies, and ourselves. A win-win all around.

Around here things are so built up it is not that easy to find native flowering plants. We do have milkweed of various types, though. Last summer I also found some mountain mint which was swarming with bees and butterflies when it flowered. I gathered some seed and planted it and it is doing beautifully. I love that minty smell! Also some wild chelone, but I understand that is difficult to grow from seed.

My local park planted a little wild patch for the butterflies with ironweed, milkweed, black-eyed Susan, thistle, and helenium. I saw a pretty good variety of butterflies there last summer, including monarchs, black and tiger swallowtails, lots and lots of clouded and orange sulfurs, and the occasional viceroy or buckeye. There were also lots of pearl crescents in that park in various places throughout the summer. However, I doubt that these plants are truly wild. I think the parks department probably bought seed to plant this area. However, you can say that the plants were well adapted here since they were thriving.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 10:03AM
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molanic(Zone 5 IL)

I usually collect a ton of seeds every year and should have plenty to share. The large group swaps I usually participate in are great, but there is not as much interest in the native plants as I had hoped. Most participants are interested more in vegetables and specific flower colors and cultivars from the latest seed catalogs, than natives. Especially since many of the natives get quite large and can look weedy to some. I should have plenty of natives and host plant seeds to share, and will hopefully have more seed from at least a few new species every year.

It would be great to share locally as well to those who are truly interested in it if you can find them. I have learned though to not go out of my way too much to help people for which it is just a passing interest. When you actually see the plants you worked hard to divide or even help plant for others get completely neglected and die...or worse yet never even make it in the ground. Well, it is a bit disheartening. Even collecting, drying, bagging, and labeling seeds is a bit of work. When you find out that the thirty prepared packets you gave to someone got forgotten for years and then just tossed in a weedy ditch.....Sometimes anonymous sharing is better, since you can at least pretend your gifts were appreciated and cared for.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 12:55PM
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Leafhead

Sure Martha, I can grab some seed for you...

John

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 4:14PM
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jane__ny(9-10)

I just want to say that I would love to share but have just started out. My garden is having problems but the advice is to keep going and not get discouraged. Milkweed has been devastated and I can't grow enough parsley and dill to feed all the swallowtails. Then the wasps move in and its over.

I did plant some goldenrod and poke weed, rue. I did plant passionflower but my gardener mowed it down.

I would appreciate any seed appropriate for SW Florida (Sarasota) and will keep trying. I feel so bad seeing so many eggs on my parsley and dill but not enough to feed whatever hatches. I'm trying to sow seed but it takes forever to germinate.

This is the latest area we cleared. Doesn't look to good, but the plants are alive. I use cardboard boxes to keep the weeds down.

Jane

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 12:42AM
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Leafhead

I hope your Milkweed at least has been devastated by Monarchs :) At any rate, they're pretty tough and will rebound. The Passionvine may come back as well.
Do I see some Plumbago in the upper left hand corner? That will attract a lot of blue butterflies. (Miami Blue?)
I have some Tithonia just coming into bloom. You are certainly welcome to some seed.
Every new Butterfly Garden goes thru its growing pains with predators and not enough host plants. Once your garden matures, things will balance out. Try to hang in there and concentrate on getting your Milkweed, parsley and dill nice and thick and able to support cats. You can also pick up plants from garden centers that use no pesticides. Avoid big box fare at all costs! You can also try using Fennel, which reseeds. It also gets quite big and supports dozens of cats.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 2:42AM
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KC Clark - Zone 2012-6a OH

Thought I would bump this back up for Martha since it is inclusive versus the other seed topics that have popped up. ;)

My neighbors have already called dibs on my milkweed seeds and there were not that many. Very weird considering the zillion milkweed flowers I had during the year. I've had years with way more milkweed bugs but still had more pods those years. Don't understand it.

This post was edited by kcclark on Fri, Oct 10, 14 at 2:01

    Bookmark   October 10, 2014 at 1:57AM
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SouthCountryGuy Zone 4b-5 SE BC(Zone 4b-5 SE BC Canada)

I am going to bump this again.

I was far to busy to get many photos this year. After last years failure at winter sowing I am thinking of trying it again. I am still blaming the horrific freeze thaws we had last year and I had placed the containers in an area that had lots (way too much) of sunlight. I lost 95% of all winter sown seeds and a majority of my rather large bulb collection, all rotted. Lesson learned.

The positive side is 4 milkweed seedlings are still thriving!

So I would love to trade with folks for milkweed and other butterfly plants. I don't have many high butterfly attracting plants but I have a plethora of annual, perennial, herbs and veggie seeds, too many to list. I can also send a SASBE for those not requiring anything.

Hope you all had a great butterfly season. Was great reading your stories and seeing the pictures.

SCG

    Bookmark   October 28, 2014 at 6:29PM
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msmorningsong(SW FL 10A)

Anyone have a lawnmower warrior....ie: hubby, who thinks that a butterfly plant is a weed? This makes it very hard to get this type of garden established. I just had him put a tarp over my entire area and I will cut holes and insert my 'weeds' grown in pots into them...this keep him out of the area and away from my flutterbys :)
And I agree, Fennel is the way to go, at least for me in the south. Swallowtails may not prefer it, but they use it, and I love the seeds and reseeding. )
Makes a great Italian sausage, as well as a great crop of butterflies.
I know there are male butterfly gardeners, how do we attract them? Pollen/Nectar does not seem to work? Should I try an NFL QB Fountain??? (the bees and butterflies could get a sip) Any suggestions?

This post was edited by MsMorningSong on Tue, Oct 28, 14 at 18:55

    Bookmark   October 28, 2014 at 6:47PM
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