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How to Sow Seeds Outdoors in Winter

By: Sherri RibbeySherri Ribbey
The milk jug method may be the easiest way to get a bunch of new perennials ever. We’ll show you how to sow seeds outdoors in winter.

Get a head start on seed starting this winter!

How would you like to save money on plants? Start perennials from seed with this easy method: Sow your seeds in a milk jug, set it outdoors and let Mother Nature do the rest. This simple process relies on sun, snow and rain to do the work of breaking down the seed coat and getting the seeds to sprout. Below is everything you’ll need to get started, including a list of some of the best perennials. Then click through the slideshow for step-by-step instructions!

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  • Clean plastic milk jugs
  • Plant tags
  • Seeds
  • Potting mix


  • Utility knife or scissors
  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver or awl
  • Peice of scrap wood
  • Packing tape or clear duct tape

Perennials that start easily with the milk jug method

  • Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida)
  • Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
  • Columbine (Aquilegia hybrids)
  • Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
  • Forget-me-not (Myosotis sylvatica)
  • Foxglove (Digitalis hybrids)
  • Poppy (Papaver hybrids)
  • Shasta daisy (Leucanthemum hybrids)
  • Tickseed (Coreopsis hybrids)

How to sow seeds outdoors in winter

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Published: March 22, 2018
Updated: Jan. 5, 2021

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