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
Brad Grimm at GrowMilkweedPlants.com
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