Questions about planting milkweed seeds in the spring

Asked April 4, 2017, 12:14 PM EDT

I have several milkweed seeds that my son and daughter-in-law gave me. I did not get them planted last fall. I kept the paper bag containing the seeds in my detatched garage from November until now. Can I plant these seeds directly in the soil, or do I need to start them indoors in peat pots before planting? If I am unable to get the seeds to germinate, are there nurseries where I can buy milkweed plants and transplant them? I planted milkweed seeds in the ground in the fall of 2015 and not one of the seeds germinated.

Hennepin County Minnesota horticulture sowing milkweed seed

1 Response

Most seeds of native plants require a cold treatment before they will germinate. You will likely need to mix the seeds with damp sand and refrigerate them for two months. Alternatively, seeds can be planted in pots in the fall, covered with mulch, and left outdoors for the entire winter in a protected, shaded spot, or in an unheated garage. Uncover the pots in the spring and keep them watered. You will be able to find native milkweed in full service garden centers. They have been carrying them the past coupe years. You could save time by phoning ahead to find a garden center that carries them.