Seasonal News

Spring Issue 2024

Seeds that Need Special Care:

Cold Stratification

Written by Frankie Bygum-Cecil, active Roanoke Master Gardener

Have you ever planted seeds and they never germinated?  Well, a friend of mine and I have been trying to establish a Milkweed garden to no avail.  Everything we tried to do did not work.  After several years of failure, we did an in-depth bit of research and discovered that the seeds needed special care in order to germinate properly.  And, here is a list of some more seeds that need the same attention.


You still have time, if you hurry, to get these going.  April is your list ditch month to have these seeds stratifying in your refrigerator!


Many of the plants listed here are natives to our Southwest area and are noted for you.  Many on-line nurseries are starting to carry native seeds since most states are getting the message about our insects and birds disappearing due to the lack of native plants and trees.


Common varieties that require cold stratification for spring planting:

*** If you want more information on native plants, check out the Native Projects page on this site***

The following is a couple of ways to get the germination party started.  There are other means; however, these are the two easiest in my opinion.

Peat Moss/Water

Soaking/Paper Towels

This is one of the methods most widely used for native seeds, especially milkweed. It is easy, quick, and the materials are usually right in your kitchen ready for use.

Give stratifying a try for these seeds and you will be so surprised how simple this is to do and get such great results.