Milkweed seeds

Bellevue, KY(Zone 6a)

Question: When harvesting milkweed pods, should I wait until the pods turn brown on the vine before picking them, or would it be okay to pick them while they're still green?

Thomasville, GA(Zone 8b)

I wait until they just open, right before they would otherwise blow away. by the time mine are brown the seeds are all gone.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Yep, what Linda said. Don't put the pods in plastic if they are green, they will mold. I gather in a paper bag, they dry burst open and I shake it until most of the brown seeds fall to the bottom, open and set the fluff on it's way. (Caution...don't open the sack in doors) If you catch them just as the crack appears, you can hold onto the tip end and strip the seeds off with your fingernail but not disturb the fuzz. This shows the process.
http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/showimage/216026/

Bellevue, KY(Zone 6a)

Thanks to both of you! I didn't know we had those instructions here, that's great!

Red Oak, TX

Most milkweeds need a period of cold stratification before they'll germinate. An exception is the Tropical/Mexican Milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) -- it does not need cold stratification.

Dale Clark
Dallas County Lepidopterists' Society
www.dallasbutterflies.com

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Dale...so if I spead seeds now would they get what they need with our winter?

Bellevue, KY(Zone 6a)

Good point, Dale. Will keeping them in the fridge until spring work, or should I store them outside?

Crofton, MD(Zone 7a)

What species of milkweed do you have?

Crofton, MD(Zone 7a)

I checked Prairie Moon Nursery's website and most species of milkweed require 30 days of cold, moist stratification. You can do that in the refrigerator in a plastic bag (with moist sand or peat), "winter sow" them or plant them outside. Store them (dry) in the fridge until you are ready to plant.

Red Oak, TX

Sheila:

which species of milkweed do you have? The directions for cold moist stratification that 2gardenkate posted above work great. If you've got our native milkweed seeds, you could just put them out and let nature do it naturally, although you probably won't get the same germination rate as if you did the cold moist stratification and sowed them a month from now. The fresher the seed the better the germination. ((We'll also be offering three native species of milkweed this coming Spring at the Texas Discovery Garden's butterfly plant sale: A. viridis, A. asperula and A. oenotheroides.)) If you've got Mexican/Tropical Milkweed, no need to do the cold stratification.

Dale Clark
Dallas County Lepidopterists' Society
www.dallasbutterflies.com

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

I haven't checked to see Dale, but I should have some more of the tuberosa and may have white Texas MW. I had a plant pop up and bloom white earlier this year, but it didn't set seeds, it died back in the extreme heat this summer. I hope it will return next year. I also have some of the tropical 'silky gold' MW which I know aren't winter hardy plants. I plan on digging them up and potting for the winter.

Post a Reply to this Thread

Please or sign up to post.
BACK TO TOP