Gardening for Butterflies, Birds and Bees forum: Asclepias tuberosa from seeds???

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Name: UrbanWild
Kentucky (Zone 6b)
Kentucky - borderline of 6a & 6b
Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Butterflies
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UrbanWild
Apr 5, 2017 11:33 PM CST
A few days ago, I planted the one packet of Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly weed) I was able to find. I have never grown it from seed. Today I spoke to 3 different friends about this species. They all told me they had tried to grow it for years with poor to no results. Two said they think it needs cold stratification although their experiments yeilded few plants. One is going to try winter sowing later this year.

So...has anyone had good luck growing Asclepias tuberosa from seed? Any tips? I found another 3 packs of seed and want to hedge my bet.
Always looking for interesting plants for pollinators and food! Bonus points for highly, and pleasantly scented plants.

"Si hortum in bibliotheca habes, nihil deerit." [“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”] -- Marcus Tullius Cicero in Ad Familiares IX, 4, to Varro. 46 BCE
Name: Morgan
IL (Zone 5b)
Winter Sowing Native Plants and Wildflowers Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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molanic
Apr 6, 2017 5:04 PM CST
It does really well with wintersowing, and yes it does need cold moist stratification. It is always possible you might get a sprout without it though. Prairie Moon Nursery shows it only needs 30 days stratification. You could try mixing seeds in a baggy with moist potting mix or other media and keep in the fridge for a month and then sow them outside. Save some seed to wintersow as well for next year. Milkweeds have long taproots and don't like to be disturbed, so get any resulting seedlings in the ground sooner rather than later.


http://www.prairiemoon.com/see...
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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tx_flower_child
Apr 6, 2017 11:09 PM CST
I'm kind of wondering where y'all got your seeds. Did you buy them online or in a garden center? Just asking b/c maybe the seeds weren't viable to begin with. Could happen.

Many people do grow A. tuberosa from seed. There's actually a thread somewhere here specifically for growing Milkweeds. Also, someone somewhere recommended a website that is all about growing milkweed.

Let me go find the links and will come back and add them.

Ok. You are in the right forum 'Gardening for Butterflies, Birds and Bees'. Within the forum there is a thread called 'Growing Milkweeds'. Bet you could get some good advice there. And that happens to be where I saw the post with the link that I mentioned.

@Grannyh wrote (and I quote) "The Monarch Butterfly Garden website will tell you anything you want to know about milkweed. I've been a member with them for years and there is just loads of information there! They'll know what you want to know! Tony is a peach!.."
http://monarchbutterflygarden....
[Last edited by tx_flower_child - Apr 6, 2017 11:24 PM (+)]
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central Arkansas - zone 8a/7b (Zone 7b)
Butterflies
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Myles
Apr 7, 2017 8:55 AM CST
I have just tried an experiment, based on a suggestion made by one of the readers who commented on Tony's Monarch butterfly garden website, link below. Scroll down a bit and you will see a photo of her container with A tuberosa seed sprouting in water.

http://monarchbutterflygarden....

Late in the day on Mar 31, I placed dry A tuberosa seed (NO cold moist stratification) into a clear container with about 1 cup of distilled water and 1/8 teaspoon of Hydrogen Peroxide mixed in. Put the clear lid on the container and set it under my grow lights (as the writer suggested and presumably for the warmth). About two days later, I had radicles showing on a few of the seed. I took 4 of these seed and placed in a 3"pot of damp ProMix, sprinkled a bit of potting mix over them, covered the little pot with a sandwich baggie with a small hole in the top and set back under the lights. April 6 ... I had 3 seed pushing up. Six days to seedlings is great. The seedlings look strong.

I've since taken more of these seed, planted into a small pot of damp ProMix and set on a north facing windowsill, to see if the seed will germinate under normal indoor temps, without benefit of the warmth of the grow lights.

The seed used is seed I saved in 2015 from a heavy blooming A tuberosa plant in my garden (hoping it's capacity to produce so many blooms over such a long period of time might be passed along Whistling )

Thumb of 2017-04-07/Myles/a932d1

I have had trouble keeping some of these plants alive here in my garden (I think too wet in some situations) Sighing! so this year, these new seedlings are going into a raised bed with soil amended with builders sand, hoping this will help to create a more natural growing condition. Crossing Fingers!

I have observed this milkweed growing in the wild on an extremely steep slope, in the middle of a hot summer, healthy and happily blooming. They're obviously tough little plants, once established in their preferred growing conditions.

Myles Thumbs up
.... gardening primarily for the butterflies and pollinators
Name: Morgan
IL (Zone 5b)
Winter Sowing Native Plants and Wildflowers Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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molanic
Apr 7, 2017 11:37 AM CST
Thats a great tip for getting earlier sprouts. It doesn't hurt to hedge your bets and try several techniques if you have enough seeds.

A. tuberosa does like a drier more well drained soil than many other milkweeds. It still does well in my heavy clay based soil, but I keep it in a fairly dry sunny location. Some other common milkweeds like A. syriaca and A. incarnata like moist and even wet soils.

A. tuberosa is not used by the monarchs much as a host plant here since they usually prefer the more tender and juicy varieties available. It does make an attractive plant and is loved by pollinators though. Plus, it is a good backup food source for the caterpillars.
Name: Adam
Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
Just Established
Butterflies
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yesAdam
Apr 8, 2017 6:15 PM CST
I bought some Asclepias Tuberosa seeds from Botanical Interests and I've gotten great germination with no cold stratification. Simply used Miracle-Gro seed starting mix and gave it lots of sun within our screened lanai. Planted 6 seeds and 5 germinated within a week. Kept the soil very moist and it was quite hot the past week in our area.
Name: UrbanWild
Kentucky (Zone 6b)
Kentucky - borderline of 6a & 6b
Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Butterflies
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UrbanWild
Apr 25, 2017 8:28 AM CST
So far, I have 10 out of 30 with sprouts...no stratification. Probably even less given that I put 3 seeds in each pot. I have hedged my bet with plants from two other suppliers. I have one package of seed in the refrigerator...dry. Also added swamp & common milkweed plants yesterday. Fingers crossed.
Always looking for interesting plants for pollinators and food! Bonus points for highly, and pleasantly scented plants.

"Si hortum in bibliotheca habes, nihil deerit." [“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”] -- Marcus Tullius Cicero in Ad Familiares IX, 4, to Varro. 46 BCE
Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
Seed Starter Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
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DavidLMO
Apr 26, 2017 9:50 PM CST
Butterfly weed grows well for me in NW MO. It is one of the MW seeds that can germinate fairly well without 30 days of CMS - as required by most Milkweed.
Seeking Feng Shui with my plants since 1976

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