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butterfly weed seeds germination

Special comments:

Milkweed (Asclepias) seeds germinate best under warm soil conditions. The seeds need a cold, dormant period, known as stratification, to germinate.

Preferred growing conditions:

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Garden care:

    Asclepias tuberosa (Orange Butterfly Weed) – this perennial stays dormant until later in the spring than many other plants, especially when grown in pots. It’s fine to plant dormant plants; don’t up-pot them for planting later in the growing season.

Special comments:

Butterfly Weed Seeds 6375. Bright, sun-loving plants are filled with brilliant orange flower clusters 10 cm (4″) across from June through to September. Mound shaped plants average 60 cm (24″) tall. Like its name suggests, this beautiful plant is a favourite of butterflies and other nectar loving insects. Butterfly Milkweed is a native Ontario perennial wildflower that is very heat and drought tolerant and an excellent choice for the low maintenance garden. Hardy to Zone 3.

125 seed/gram. Sow seed indoors in a soil-less mix in early March for late summer flowering in the first year. Growing medium temperature should be about 20 C (68 F). After germination, grow-on under lights at a cooler temperature of 15 C (60 F) before hardening off and planting out to a sunny site after the danger of frost has passed. Dormant fall seeding in mid October is also a good way to start not only this plant but many other perennials. Late fall seeding allows any dormant seed to be naturally stratified over the winter.

How to Grow

Harvest the seed pods of butterfly weed when the pods begin to split. Seeds can be sown directly outdoors in late fall or started indoors.

When sowing seeds outdoors, work up the soil in a protected location in early to mid-November. Scatter the seeds over the prepared seed bed and then cover the seeds with approximately 1/4 inch of soil. The cold, moist conditions over winter improve seed germination. Seedlings should emerge in spring. Carefully transplant the seedlings to their permanent locations when the seedlings are 3 to 4 inches tall.

To start seeds indoors, fill a flat with a commercial germination medium (such as Jiffy Mix). Moisten the medium. Scatter the seeds over the surface of the germination medium and lightly press the seeds into the material. Cover the seeds with an additional 1/4 inch of the germination mix. Carefully moisten the additional material. Slide the flat in a plastic bag and place the bagged flat in the refrigerator. Leave the flat in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 weeks. After 4 to 6 weeks, remove the flat from the refrigerator and place it in an area with a temperature of 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Seeds should begin to germinate in 3 to 4 weeks. (If no seedlings appear after 4 weeks, place the flat back in the refrigerator for another 4 to 6 weeks and repeat the process.) Take the flat out of the plastic bag as soon as seedlings appear and place the flat under fluorescent lights in a 60 to 65 degree Fahrenheit location. Transplant the seedlings into individual pots when the seedlings are 1 to 2 inches tall. Continue to grow the seedlings indoors under fluorescent lights for several more weeks. Prior to planting outdoors, place the seedlings outdoors in a shady, protected location and then gradually expose the seedlings to longer periods of direct sun. Plant the seedlings in their permanent locations after they have hardened outdoors for 10 to 14 days.