Common milkweed DOES need to be cold stratified. You can save yourself some fridge space by winter sowing. Just put the seed where you want the plants, and let Mother Nature handle the rest. Personally, I use the Deno method: fold a coffee filter with the seeds spread out inside, wet the filter, and place it in a baggie. Let that baggie sit in the fridge for the winter, check weekly to make sure the filter is damp, take it out and give it some sun around March. I leave mind on a windowsill. The seeds will sprout and then you put them in pots and grow them up for transplanting. Takes up way less space, and you only have to pot the successes.
I take care of three Monarch Waystations and I have tried winter sowing our native Green Milkweed, Asclepias viridis, it sprouted just fine, had about 72 seedlings, but every single one of those seedlings died while waiting to grow large enough to transplant into the garden.
This is very frustrating, since I had great hopes for them. I wonder if winter sowing directly on the spot I want it might be better.
What is your opinion on this?
I really would like to offer the Monarchs our native plants, although they eat the tropical milkweed just fine.
I assume that Arlington is in the migration pattern for the 1st and 3rd generations each year. Is that correct? It is really a matter of timing when you decide whether to direct sow or start seeds indoors. Since you are in 8a, I would think that the Monarchs will only depend on your milkweed in the fall. That means that you have plenty of time for direct-sown seeds to grow instead of trying to get a head-start with indoor sowing.
If I'm wrong about the timing, and your Monarchs are laying when they come through in the spring, then it would be worth starting your seeds in mid-January so that they are bigger when they are ready to transplant. Any idea what caused your seedlings to fail? Gnats, damping, chill?
They do lay eggs in the spring and even through summer, since some of them never leave, except this year they are nowhere to be found, even queens are not around, I think the city spraying for mosquitos has a lot to do with their absence.
I do have quite a lot of tropical milkweed which I bring in for the winter, so I have large plants when they come in the spring.
The seedlings were being dug up by squirrels and I had to cover them and they did'nt like it. I think I will plant in ground next time and see what happens.
Milkweed has a long tap root .. As soon as they germinate they need to go in the ground . Any size to them and they resent terribly being transplanted . a lesson I believe you just said you have learned .
Difficult to get started and established the milkweeds can be ..
Congratulations!!! Good job, that is beautiful, I do have one Swamp milkweed potted plant that looks quite nice, it may even bloom this year, I almost lost it to aphids, but got rid of them with a hard water spray.
This has been an interesting little chat ,, thank you . I have been smashing milkweed beetles the past few days. They must like the cool wet weather .. They do not like these either , only thing I usually see on these is honey bees ,, that's good too !!!
I get that as spider milkweed another difficult as time goes ,
Sow it this coming winter .
Small plants arrive June through August (shew it's hot then)
Then do not not grow to size until the following year after arrival .. ..
Been there done that .. patience is the thing . Took three or four years for any of my syrica to grow to size that way .. real similar at the beginning ..
I've been watching my A. exalta and A. pupurea for three years now.
Started spring 2011 from seed cold moist stratified in the fridge for 2-3 months. Left them on th counter for a few days where they sprouted before I could put them in cells. TrAnsplanted to pots at 3"-4" and then planted out in the garden at the end of summer.
2012 I watched eagerly and was delighted with sprouts only to find them, one by one, nipped or eaten. Rabbits? I now use the tops of my milk jugs from W-S to protect tiny sprouts while they grow.
2013 could hardly believe that the MWs were sprouting again! Milk jugs over each. Use plastic cat litter containers white/opaque as they get larger.
Both of these species, particularly poke, do well in shade which is why I selected them. One of the poke grew a small flower, but none of the others. None of the poke grew more than 12". The purple look very healthy, but still not more than 15" and of course no spread, no blooms.
I started A. tuberosa from seed in 2010 by winter sowing after cold moist in fridge 2-3 months. It's very reliable.
I started A.syriaca in 2012 after cold moist in fridge.
I started A. incarnata from seed this spring after cold-moist strat in fridge.
Most seem to be slow growing, slow to bloom, but since we grow them for foliage blooms are just a bonus some years!
A. curassavica and A. physocarpus are easy to start from seed with no pretreatment. Both are very well received by hungry monarch cats.
I haven't seen any yet here, but I don't usually expect them till mid to late August. I am still hoping and have almost wrecked my car twice in the last week or two trying to ID a fly by. All eastern tigers, lovely, but...