Seed Sitters

Native plant seeds can be quite easy to propagate, but they have some special needs. Over thousands of years, native plants have evolved to take a rest over the winter months, before sprouting in the spring. This means that for most native seeds, they need winter conditions to propagate. During the winter, seeds undergo a process called cold-moist stratification, which helps prepare the seeds for spring germination.

There are many ways to plant seeds so that they go through this process of cold moist stratification:
  • Plant seeds in fall so that nature provides the winter conditions needed to stratify the seeds and expose them to cold and moist conditions.
  • Winter sowing is another method that allows Mother Nature to cold stratify milkweed seeds. Winter sowing is the process where seeds are sowed outdoors in the winter, typically in milk jug, or any other plastic container with a lid.
  • Plant seeds in spring after cold stratifying seeds in the refrigerator for 4-8 weeks.

I recently discover a very easy way to grow native milkweed and wildflower seeds called Seed Sitters which was created by the David Suzuki Foundation. Seed Sitters is an inexpensive and simple way to grow native milkweeds and other native plants through winter sowing on a balcony on in a backyard.

You can download this infographic from the David Suzuki Foundation website:

Additional Resources:

 Seed Sitters instruction sheet.
Cliffcrest Butterflyway
Wild Seed Project