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Do Plants Hibernate?

Do plants hibernate? Most people don't stop to think about what plants are doing during the winter. With the cold wind blowing, snow falling and frigid temps our thoughts may be geared towards a warmer time of the year. For many gardeners, it is the time of year to order seeds from the seed catalogs.

Forest Run Winter 4

Plants don't hibernate in the same way as animals do. However, they do go through a period of dormancy. Winter causes many things to slow down, but even during this dormant period, there may be some activity. There are several plants that die during winter but their seeds are safely resting in the soil. When spring arrives, these seeds will be ready to sprout, grow and the cycle begins again.

Some of these plants produce seeds that actually have to sit through a cold snap before they will germinate. This is called cold stratification. These plants require cold seed stratification in order to break the dormancy cycle before they can start to grow. Here are some common plants requiring a cold treatment for seeds:

Milkweed
Pincushion
Lavender
Ironweed
Verbena
Black-eyed Susan
Shooting Star
Evening Primrose
St. John's Wort
Sedum

Have you ever cold stratified seeds before? If not, print off these simple Seed Cold Stratification Instructions and start preparing the seeds for your next growing season.