Common Milkweed Seeds

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Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) produces purple/pink flower clusters that wildflower gardeners love. Milkweed is one of the Monarch Butterflies’ favorite plants and will bring many winged friends to your garden or meadow. It can be a challenge to grow but once established it will thrive for years to come and spread quickly. Perennial.

Zones 3 - 8
Advantages
Native
Native
Light Requirements
Full Sun
Full Sun
Half Sun / Half Shade
Half Sun / Half Shade
Mature Plant Size 30-60 inches tall
Bloom Time Summer
SKU ASSG

Plant Information

Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) is a handsome, straight plant you see in every farm field and growing wherever a roadside hasn't been mowed. Leaves are glossy and thick, and the blooms are large, rounded clusters of purplish/pink flowers atop plants that range from 2 to 5 ft. It's native in the US from Canada to Georgia, and west to Texas.

The botanical name, "Asclepias"; is after Aesclepios, the Greek God of medicine, since this plant has been used as a medicinal since ancient times. "Milkweed" derives from the fact that when you break a stem, sticky white sap immediately appears. Common Milkweed is one of our commonest "weeds," but one almost all wildflower gardeners want.

This is the plant famous for its "silky seeds" in fall, when you see the drying cone-shaped seedpods crack open and their snow-white shiny fluff flying around the meadow. This is the dispersal mechanism for the large shiny seeds of common milkweed. Every kid loves to blow them away in fall, like dandelion seeds in spring.

Even though farmers hate milkweed, you'll love it in your wildflower garden...for two reasons. It's beautiful and dependably perennial, and it's the No. 1 plant visited by Monarch butterflies on their famous migration south every summer and fall. In fact, during late summer, it's somewhat rare to see a milkweed plant without a monarch perched upon the flowers, making it the No. 1 butterfly magnet among our wildflowers. ("Butterfly Weed" is a close relative, with bright orange flowers.)

Native Range for Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed) - AL, AR, CT, DC, DE, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV.

Associated SKUs
ASSG
ASSP (Packet)
ASSQP (1/4 Pound)
Common Name Common Milkweed
Botanical Name Asclepias syriaca
Seed Life Cycle Perennials
Light Requirements Full Sun, Half Sun / Half Shade
Flower Color Pink
Mature Height 30-60 inches tall
Bloom Time Summer
Ships As Seed
Seeds Per Pound 64,000
Seeds Per Packet 45
Soil Moisture Average, Well Draining
Soil Type Clay Soil, Sandy Soil
Native To North America
Native To Most of the United States east of the Rocky Mountains
Native Yes
Ideal Region Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Southwest, West, Pacific Northwest
Zones 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Advantages Native
Is It Storable? Yes- You can store your seed in any cool (not freezing) dry place that is not subject to extreme temperature variations.
Non-GMO Yes
Neonicotinoid-Free Yes - Learn More
Ships to Hawaii, Alaska & Canada Yes

Planting & Care

Attract Butterflies To Your Garden With Milkweed!

Understanding Milkweed (Asclepias) Seed & Germinating

Germination: To start Milkweed seed we recommend starting inside, but before this happens Milkweed seeds need to go through a cold stratification period. Cold stratification is very important for the germination and growth of Milkweed. It helps break the seeds natural dormancy cycle. To do this, we recommend placing Milkweed seed in a damp paper towel or damp sand in a zip lock bag and place in your fridge for 3 – 6 weeks (30 days). Place in an area of the fridge, where it won’t get damaged. We taped ours to the bottom of a refrigerator shelf.

Growing Indoors

Planting In Spring: Once the 30 days are complete, it’s time to plant the cold stratified Milkweed (asclepias) seeds. We recommend planting in 2-4” peat pots. Fill peat pots ¾ of the way with seed starting potting soil and gently add water. Water should be able to drain through the peat pots. Once the soil is damp, place 1-2 cold stratified seeds into each pot. To finish, place 1/4 inch of soil on top of the seed.

Planting In Fall: If you're planting Milkweed seed in the fall, let nature do the cold stratification for you! There is no need to place your seeds in the refrigerator before planting, you can plant seeds directly into the soil after there have been a few frosts in your area. This allows for the seeds to remain dormant for the winter and come up in the early spring. Clear away any existing growth and using your index finger to measure, create 1.5" holes for each Milkweed seed. We recommend spacing seeds about 4-6” apart. Place a seed in each hole and cover. Water thoroughly.

Watering: Gently water the planted seed to give additional hydration. The best way to water is from the bottom up. Use a flat pan under the peat pots and add a half inch of water to the bottom of the tray. Don’t over water as it can cause fungus. Water every day or every other day as needed, the best way to test the soil dampness is to touch it. If the soil seems dry then add water; if it’s wet, wait for the soil to dry out to water.

Light Requirements: For the next few weeks, make sure the Milkweed is either in a sunny window, in a green house or under a grow light. Milkweed needs lots of sun and warmth to grow. If you’re using a grow light, make sure to lower the bulb closer to the pots or your seedlings may become leggy, as they stretch to the light. In our experiment, this happened to us. Ideally a sturdier stem is better. Cold stratified seeds should germinate and sprout within 10-15 days once planted. In total Milkweed from the day they are cold stratified to growth can take 40 plus days, so be patient!

Other planting options: Place dry seed (not stratified) in seed starting soil and plant in peat pots under a grow light or in a greenhouse to germinate seeds. The success rate for this is low and more difficult to accomplish. If you choose to use this option it can take months for the seeds to germinate.

If you are planting seed outside, we suggest seeding in late fall, and let the Milkweed seed lay on the ground through winter. Milkweed seed will have a long winter of dormancy, so once the sun comes out and the ground warms in the spring, the seeds will germinate on their own.

Transplanting Milkweed (Asclepias) Seedling Outdoors

Where to Plant: Milkweed does well in open areas with full sunlight exposure areas like fields, parks, cultivated gardens, roadsides, highway medians, and road sides. We suggest transplanting Milkweed when the plant is no larger than 3 inches tall. In most cases in transplanting, the Milkweed plant will go though some shock and could lose all its leaves. This happens, don’t panic. The plant is trying to establish its roots and will eventually grow leaves again. This is the main reason we suggest planting seeds in peat pots, because Milkweed roots are very sensitive. Peat Pots breakdown over time in the ground, which allows the milkweed roots to grows without being disrupted. We found this to be the best way to transplant. If you decide to plant in plastic containers, but make sure it’s deep enough for roots to grow. If you receive a plant already grown in plastic, be careful to take out the plant and not disturb the roots.

When to plant: Soil moisture and temperature are very important when growing Milkweed. The best time to plant Milkweed is in early spring after the danger of frost has passed. If you plant seeds late in the spring, the seeds may not grow due toCommon Milkweed Field Grown germination time and temperature. Common Milkweed seed doesn’t germinate over 85 degrees.

Caring For Milkweed (Asclepias) Plants

Once your seedling is planted, water it for a few days to get it established, but after that, the plant doesn’t need a lot of supplemental water. Only water if you have an unusual dry spell. Peat pots are nice to use, but you need to be sure there is no top edge above the soil line after transplanting. In dry climates, this will wick away valuable soil moisture. A small 2 1/2″ diameter x 3 in. deep pot is ideal. Asclepias are somewhat finicky native plants. So minimizing the time growing in a pot and transplanting them as young plants is the best approach.

Shipping

Most orders ship within 48 hours or less.

As soon as your order is placed you will receive a confirmation email. You will receive a second email the day your order ships telling you how it has been sent. Orders for in-season products ship within 48 hours or less. Depending upon your order date, we may hold your shipment to combine it with other products on your order, if applicable. See our shipping information page for approximate ship dates and more detailed information. If you need express shipping or have any questions, please call Customer Service toll-free at (877) 309-7333 or contact us by email.

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Reviewsby PowerReviews

REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
American MeadowsCommon Milkweed Seeds
 
2.6

(based on 12 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (3)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (5)

50%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

No Pros

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Garden (3)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (6)
    • Primary use:
    • Personal (4)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

A Monarch's Dream!

The Milkweed Seeds I ordered from American Meadows not only provided a knockout show of blooms, but a butterfly extravaganza! I recommend these seeds to any gardener who is trying to plant native and...Read complete review

The Milkweed Seeds I ordered from American Meadows not only provided a knockout show of blooms, but a butterfly extravaganza! I recommend these seeds to any gardener who is trying to plant native and help pollinators.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Product did not live up to expectations

I planted 45 seeds in pots, so they would grow and be ready to plant after last frost. Only eight of the seeds ever sprouted.Ihad them in 60 to 70 deg. temp, under...Read complete review

I planted 45 seeds in pots, so they would grow and be ready to plant after last frost. Only eight of the seeds ever sprouted.Ihad them in 60 to 70 deg. temp, under a grow light.I moved these pots outside when it was warmer in the daytime , and covered them at night when it got cooler. They grew very slow. As they grew I planted in bigger pots to allow the roots to grow. I planted them out , but they did't grow very well , and now I only have 5 plants left. I doubt that they will make it through the winter. I had high hopes , but it didn't work out.

Reviewed by 12 customers

Displaying reviews 1-12

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(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Seeds have only sprouted

By 

from Waterford, MI

About Me Getting Started

Pros

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Garden

      Comments about American Meadows Common Milkweed Seeds:

      Recently planted my seeds and they have just sprouted.

      • Primary use:
      • Personal
       
      3.0

      Pending

      By 

      from Bend, Oregon

      About Me Master Gardener

      Pros

      • Accurate Instructions

      Cons

      • Pending

      Best Uses

      • Outdoors

      Comments about American Meadows Common Milkweed Seeds:

      Just started it so not sure about it yet.

      • Primary use:
      • Personal
       
      5.0

      monarchs & I love these

      By 

      from allegany, ny

      About Me Avid Gardener

      Pros

      • Accurate Instructions

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Garden
        • Outdoors

        Comments about American Meadows Common Milkweed Seeds:

        always looking for great ways to attract pollinators 7 especially monarch butterflies. Thank you!

        • Primary use:
        • Personal

        (7 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

         
        1.0

        Check your shipping charge FIRST.

        By 

        from Denver CO

        Comments about American Meadows Common Milkweed Seeds:

        The shipping for a pack of seeds is $6.45 which is more than USPS, FEDEX, us UPS for a small BOX that would hold 100 packets. That is CRAZY. Bought elsewhere for better price and 75% less shipping.

        (6 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        A Monarch's Dream!

        By 

        from Michigan

        About Me Avid Gardener

        Verified Reviewer

        Pros

        • Attracts Pollinators
        • Easy To Grow
        • Gorgeous Blooms

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Attracting Pollinators
          • Garden

          Comments about American Meadows Common Milkweed Seeds:

          The Milkweed Seeds I ordered from American Meadows not only provided a knockout show of blooms, but a butterfly extravaganza! I recommend these seeds to any gardener who is trying to plant native and help pollinators.

          • Primary use:
          • Personal

          (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

           
          4.0

          Here come the monarchs!

          By 

          from Spring Valley, WI

          Verified Reviewer

          Pros

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Butterflies Cannot Resist
              • Naturalizing

              Comments about American Meadows Common Milkweed Seeds:

              These plants have brought butterflies into my yard by the dozens.

              • Was this a gift?:
              • No

              (6 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

               
              1.0

              Not a single seed sprouted

              By 

              from Capitola, CA

              Verified Reviewer

              Comments about American Meadows Common Milkweed Seeds:

              I purchased 3 packets of seeds to plant with my kindergarten class to support the butterfly population in our area. Not one single seed ever sprouted!

              • Was this a gift?:
              • No

              (5 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

               
              1.0

              Never germinated

              By 

              from New York

              Comments about American Meadows Common Milkweed Seeds:

              Planted in sunroom in pots. Never germinated. Got nothing.

              • Was this a gift?:
              • No

              (13 of 14 customers found this review helpful)

               
              1.0

              Product did not live up to expectations

              By 

              from Sharpsburg , Md.

              Verified Reviewer

              Comments about American Meadows Common Milkweed Seeds:

              I planted 45 seeds in pots, so they would grow and be ready to plant after last frost. Only eight of the seeds ever sprouted.Ihad them in 60 to 70 deg. temp, under a grow light.I moved these pots outside when it was warmer in the daytime , and covered them at night when it got cooler. They grew very slow. As they grew I planted in bigger pots to allow the roots to grow. I planted them out , but they did't grow very well , and now I only have 5 plants left. I doubt that they will make it through the winter. I had high hopes , but it didn't work out.

              • Was this a gift?:
              • No

              (9 of 11 customers found this review helpful)

               
              1.0

              Seeds great, Shipping way to expensive,

              By 

              from Wisconsin

              Comments about American Meadows Common Milkweed Seeds:

              SHIPPING TOO EXPENSIVE

              • Was this a gift?:
              • No

              (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

               
              2.0

              experienced gardeners only

              By 

              from Belleville, Illinois

              Verified Reviewer

              Pros

              • Difficult To Germinatge

              Cons

              • Customer Service Is Great

              Best Uses

                Comments about American Meadows Common Milkweed Seeds:

                I am still trying to get 12 more seeds to germinate...

                • Was this a gift?:
                • No

                (9 of 17 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                2.0

                didn't come up

                By 

                from Harrisburg PA

                Comments about American Meadows Common Milkweed Seeds:

                planted to attract monarch butterflies

                Displaying reviews 1-12

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                USDA Hardiness Planting Zones

                To determine if a plant is sufficiently cold hardy, the USDA created numbered zones indicating winter low temperatures; the lower the zone number the colder the winter.

                • If the coldest winter temperature expected in your area is -15°F (zone 5) then any plants rated zones 3-5 will survive the winter temperatures in your area.
                • If you live in very warm winter areas (zones 9-11) plants with zones 3-4 ratings are not recommended. The lack of freezing winter temperatures do not provide a time for winter dormancy (rest).

                Find Your Planting Zone:

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