I planted a lot of Swamp Milkweed seeds 3 weeks ago for our butteryfly
garden here in Southern California. I didn't realize until now that these
seeds require 1 month of stratification in the refrigerator. The
temperature here has been hovering around 40F to 55F.
Is it too late to save these seeds from permanent dormancy? I was thinking
about possibly spreading ice on top of the soil each evening for a week in a
last attempt to allow the seeds to get the right signals to start sprouting.
I wouldn't be able to get new seeds and re-plant, I am just wondering if
spreading ice would be of any help as a last chance, or a wasted effort
since the seeds have already been moist in the ground for 3 weeks.
Are they planted in such a way that you could get under them with a trowel,
put the accompanying soil into a container, freeze the container and then
replant? I mean, if they were in the first 1-3 inches of soil, you could
probably snag a lot of them.
If you let ice melt every night on the soil you will keep the seeds
way too wet. If you can dig out the whole spot where you planted them
and put them in the fridge for a month it may help. I never had an
easy time with milkweed from seed. Most wildflowers really do need to
germinate. They fall off or pods open in late summer and they lay on
top of the soil for the winter, only sinking in the soil as it rains.
You may want to search online for plants as I think you will have a
real shot at it that way.
I just bought some heritage seeds the other day and I swear I saw someone
mention that one of them needed stratification to bloom but the
instructions in the packet never mentioned it. Now I'm worried about
what I bought and whether or not they need stratification.
Do any of these need to spend the month in the 'fridge:
Bread Seed Poppy
Most of those I find nothing regarding cold treatment. They are
mainly annuals that come from warm places and wouldn't be
likely to overwinter in cold. In fact, they need to be planted out
_after_ all danger of frost.
Marsh Mallow, hard to find information, it grows as a wildflower, but
native to US. Scientific name Althea officinalis (aha,found it in my
Rodale Herb book) moist soil, full sun, easily grown from seed,
cuttings, rootstock. Very cold hardy; nothing about stratification.
Hey, a good plant to grow with your mint!!
The swamp milkweed actually likes the soil to be really wet, so wouldn't it
be ok if the ice melts on top of it? The part I am not sure about is
whether it is too late for stratification treatment after I have already
exposed the seeds to the mild-warm and wet winter environment for 3 weeks.
The temps here have been 55F-65F lately. Would there be anything else to
consider about ice treatment besides the wetness? Would it be a waste or
worth a try?
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