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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wintersowing asclepias (milkweed)

I find myself having 6 varieties of milkweed seeds right now.  The 3 on the right are just this week from Specialty Perennials; 2 incarnata varieties and 1 tuberosa.  The 3 on the left are seeds I previously received in trade.  The "Ice Ballet" and the unidentified pink incarnata were wintersown in 2009 and bloomed in 2010.  I've not sown the blue milkweed before.

Milkweed seeds
Since I have 6 kinds and enough seeds to gamble with, I decided to fill a whole WS bin with milkweed.

WS bin #E - 6 kinds of milkweed 
One of the tricks of sowing milkweed is to not cover the seeds as light helps germination.  I had decent WS germination last time I did milkweeds, so even though the blue is marked "spring sow only" I'm betting I get some action in this cell (#4).

I saved half of each pack for backup to either WS next year or GUL this year.  Interesting thing is, on the new packs of seeds the instructions advise you soak the seeds in hot water for 36 hours (changing water every 12 hours), then 1-3 weeks germination at 75 degrees.

Of the 2 methods, I gotta think WS'ing is sooo much simpler.  I'll keep you posted.

Update:  I contacted Tom and found out that the 'blue milkweed' is not a milkweed (although it is of the
Asclepiadaceae family), it is a tweedia caerulea. (Tweedia)  It may not BE a milkweed, but if you click the link to Wiki you'll agree that it sure LOOKs like a milkweed.  I hope they sprout.

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