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Milkweed seed germination in a jar
Method / Process
Tutorial with Pictuers
3. Remove the jar’s lid and sprinkle Milkweed Seeds on the surface of the soil.
Leave the soil dry for this step. You are taking the seeds that have been soaking in water for 24 hours and planting them in this step. Do not overthink this step. Dry the seeds if it helps. Drop the seeds onto the surface of the dry soil. If you can, distribute the seeds evenly around the soil inside the jar. I like to plant about twenty five seeds in each jar. I will discourage you from planting more than fifty seeds or fewer than five seeds in each jar. Twenty to twenty five seeds is a manageable amount that yields good results.
4. Add four tablespoons of water over the seeds.
Now it is time to add a measured amount of water to the jarmination container. Gently pour one tablespoon of water per two ounces of container size. Directions are written based on the assumption you are using the Ball Regular Mouth Canning Jar 8 oz. Adjust watering based on your container size by using the chart below.
5. Sprinkle the included Coconut Coir (dust/sand) evenly over the wet seeds and soil.
In step 3 we sprinkled the seeds on the surface of the soil. In this step we thinly cover the seed with Coconut Coir. Not more than one tablespoon of Coconut Coir. The seeds do not need to be fully covered. Enough Coconut Coir to hug up against the seed is good. Do not water until three days has passed.
6. Place one 6x6 Cellophane Sheet over the jar with the butterfly hole centered. Put the ring of the jar lid back on.
Try not to drop or shake the jar from here on out. Grab one Cellophane Sheets with Butterfly Holes. Place the cellophane sheet over the jar with the butterfly holes centered over the opening. Hold the cellophane in place with one hand. With your other hand grab the aluminum lid ring. Twist the lid onto the jar while pressing the cellophane down against the jar using even pressure. The cellophane sheet is now secured in place between the lid ring and the jar. Setup is complete!
Jar Selection Tips
Selecting the correct jar is important.
Don't select a jar with a top narrower than the bottom. The opening at the top of the jar is called the mouth. The mouth of the jar must be as wide or wider than the rest of the jar. If the mouth of the jar narrows, even slightly. Don't use that jar. Removing the plants can become impossible when the mouth narrows. Use the examples below as a guide to select the correct jar shape.
Can you see the YES jars (below) have mouths as wide or wider than the jar's bottom?
Can you see the NO jars (below) have wider bottoms than the mouth? The narrowing at the mouth of the jar is a NO. Do not use a jar with this shape.
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Clipping milkweed seeds
Clipping is a simple process. Clip off the tip of the milkweed seed. Milkweed seeds are drop shaped seeds. A milkweed seed has a wide round end and a narrow, pointy end. Clip off the narrow, pointy end. This is where the root grows. By clipping off the tip of the seed you can skip cold moist stratification and germinate the seed fast. Usually in less then a week if the seed is wet and warm.
• nail clippers, scissor or a knife (I prefer nail clippers like you see in the photo below)
In a single clean cut. Clip off the tip of the milkweed seed. Thats all. Now plant.
Which milkweed seeds benefit from clipping?
Do clip (always optional)
Which milkweed seeds do not benefit from clipping?
Do not clip
I have not been able to compare clipping and not clipping with every species of milkweed. The vast majority of milkweed in North America is hard to find, unless you are a butterfly. If the seed species is not listed above then it is unknown. As a reminder, clipping is always optional.
Asclepias cordifolia has been one of the most challenging milkweed seeds to germinate and grow. Through discussions with members of the Grow Milkweed Plants group on facebook and other social media channels. I was encouraged to pull off the tip of the seed jacket that covers the root radical. Clipping was born, April 3rd 2018, at least to me. Keep reading for more history going back over forty years.
Having no formal education in plant biology. I did not even know this could be done without harming the seed let alone that it would help with germination.
True origin and additional education about milkweed germination
Written by Stephen Broyles,
SCoRER=Seed Coat Over Root of Embryo Removed.
"I have observed this technique of rapid seed milkweed seed germination evolve into “clipping” on Grow Milkweed since it was introduced on January 23, 2018. I have wanted to revisit the why and how of this technique for some time and make sure individuals do it for the right reasons and invest the time to perform the technique properly. Why? I started using SCoRER in the 1980’s while in graduate school. I was using enzyme electrophoresis to study genetic variation, hybridization, and pollen movement in populations of milkweeds. Enzyme electrophoresis worked best on actively growing seedlings. At the time, I was using seeds of A. amplexicaulis, A. exaltata, A. purpurascens, and A. syriaca that usually required moist-cold stratification for germination. SCoRER allowed me to overcome cold stratification and produce actively growing seedlings quickly when needed. I needed thousands of seedlings to be grown in an efficient and well-timed manner. If I simply need germinating seeds to produce plants and you are patient, then six weeks in moist soil placed in a freezer works well. Proper removal of the seed coat is tricky, time consuming, and requires some finger dexterity. If you are patient (Broyles is not), then cold-moist stratification for these species is easier and effective. The technique. . .(a) seeds were soaked on moist filter paper for 2-3 days to soften tissue, (b) a single edge razor blade was used to CAREFULLY cut into the seed coat to pop the seed coat covering off the embryonic root, (c) the seed was returned to the moist filter paper and placed under bright lights.
For those of you who use the methods of clipping using fingernail clippers, you are likely cutting through the root and ruining many of your seeds. I recommend modifying your technique to protect the root or choosing another method (cold-moist stratification) to germinate your seeds. Obviously, many species (e.g., A. tuberosa, A. curassavica, A. incarnata, A. perennis, etc) do not require any stratification to germinate and sowing in moist soil is easy and quick. While I have used the SCoRER method for nearly 40 years, the acronym was constructed in my early morning daze of 21 January 2022." -Steven Broyles
Make milkweed your friend. Your friends will love your milkweed. My name is Brad. Learn more about me now.
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