Show meShowing plants & seeds that grow in my area:

Invalid Zip Code
ALASKA HAWAII MIDWEST NORTHEAST PACIFIC NORTHWEST SOUTHEAST SOUTHWEST WEST Zone 1 Zone 2 Zone 3 Zone 4 Zone 5 Zone 6 Zone 7 Zone 8 Zone 9 Zone 10
What is this To help gardeners understand which plants will grow well for them, the entire USA has been segmented into ‘Plant Hardiness Zones’.

How to Germinate and Grow Milkweed Seed

Instructions for preparing and planting Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata), and Whorled Milkweed (Asclepias verticillata) seeds. We have found these techniques best for good growing results.

Common Milkweed with Monarch Butterfly

Milkweed: If you plant it, they will come! The Monarch Butterfly population has declined a whopping 90% over the past decade. As the only host plant for Monarchs, milkweed is the best plant for concerned gardeners to put in their gardens.

Let’s Get Started: Understanding Milkweed Seed & Germinating

Step 1: To start - Milkweed seeds, we recommend starting indoors, but before this happens Milkweed seeds need to go through a period of cold stratification.

Cold stratification is very important for the germination and growth of Milkweed. It helps to break the seeds natural dormancy cycle by exposing the seed to winter-like temperatures that help soften or crack its hard outer casing. Without prolonged exposure to cold temperatures, your milkweed seed is unlikely to sprout.

To do this, put your Milkweed seed in a damp paper towel or some damp sand inside a zipper bag, and place in your fridge for 3 – 6 weeks (30 days). Choose a low-traffic place inside your fridge where it won’t get damaged. We taped ours to the bottom of a refrigerator shelf.

Common Milkweed

Browse our full selection of ready-to-plant potted Milkweed here.

Growing Milkweed Indoors

Step 2: Planting - Once the 30 days are complete, it’s time to plant the cold stratified Milkweed seeds. We recommend planting in 2-4” peat pots. Fill the peat pots ¾ of the way with a '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.

Step 3: Watering - Gently water the planted seed to give additional hydration. The best way to water is from the bottom up:  sse a flat pan under the peat pots and add a half inch of water to the bottom of the tray.

Don’t overwater, 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, but if it’s wet, wait for the soil to dry out before adding more water.

IMG_5621

Caring for Milkweed Seedlings After Planting

Light Requirements - For the next few weeks, make sure your 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 find the light. You can see that in our experiment (below), this is exactly what happened!

Ideally, a sturdier stem is better. Some people have good luck pointing a gently circulating fan towards their growing seedlings, in an effort to strengthen young plants.

Cold-stratified Milkweed seeds should germinate and sprout within 10-15 days once planted.  Remember, from stratification time in the fridge to first sprouts can take 40+ days, so be patient!

Tray of Seedlings

Other Milkweed 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.

Milkweed Seeds

  • Butterfly Weed Seeds

    Starting at $4.95

    Per Packet

  • Common Milkweed Seeds

    Starting at $4.95

    Per Packet

  • Swamp Milkweed Seeds

    Starting at $4.95

    Per Packet

  • Whorled Milkweed Seeds

    Starting at $4.95

    Per Packet


If you are planting seed outside, we suggest seeding in late fall, and let the Milkweed seed lay on the ground through winter. This will give your Milkweed seed a long winter of dormancy. Once the sun comes out and the ground warms in the spring, the seeds will germinate on their own, usually at the perfect time!

Transplanting Milkweed Seedlings Outdoors

Step 4: Transplanting - Milkweed does well in open areas with full sunlight exposure. Remember: fields, parks, cultivated gardens, roadsides, highway medians, and road sides are all favorite places for spotting native Milkweeds.

We suggest transplanting Milkweed when the plant is no larger than 3 inches tall, as many varieties produce a long taproot that cannot be disturbed. In most cases, the transplanted Milkweed plant will go though some shock and could lose all of its leaves. This happens, so don’t panic! The plant is trying to establish its roots and will eventually grow leaves again.

Transplant shock is the main reason that we suggest planting seeds in peat pots, as Milkweed roots are very sensitive.  Because Peat Pots break down over time in the ground, the milkweed roots are able to grow through without being disrupted.

While we've found this to be the best way to transplant milkweed, sometime peat pots are not available. If you do decide to plant in plastic containers, just be sure that they're deep enough for long roots to grow. If you receive a plant already grown in plastic, be mindful when taking the plant our of the pot, so as not to disturb the roots.

Transplanting a Milkweed

When to Plant Milkweed

Soil moisture and temperature are very important when growing Milkweed. The best time to put in Milkweed plants is in early spring after the danger of frost has passed, while the best time to plant milkweed from seed is in late fall - this allows mother Nature to take care of the cold stratification for you!

If you plant milkweed seeds late in the spring, the seeds may not sprout as theyoCommon Milkweed Field Grown won't be exposed to a duration of cold temperatures. Common Milkweed seed doesn’t germinate over 85 degrees.

Caring for Milkweed Plants

Once your seedling is planted, water it for a few days to get it established. After that, the plant doesn’t need a lot of supplemental water. Only water if you have an unusual dry spell.

 

Visit our Learn How to Grow Milkweed page for more details.

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. Minimizing the time they spend growing in a pot and transplanting them as young plants is the best approach.

Are you excited about saving the Monarchs? Did you know that their population has dropped 90% over the past decade? You can help: learn how to create your own Monarch Waystation, a collection of milkweed plants and nectar plants for Monarch butterflies both young and old.

Browse Milkweed Seeds

  • Butterfly Weed Seeds

    Starting at $4.95

    Per Packet

  • Common Milkweed Seeds

    Starting at $4.95

    Per Packet

  • Swamp Milkweed Seeds

    Starting at $4.95

    Per Packet

  • Whorled Milkweed Seeds

    Starting at $4.95

    Per Packet


59 thoughts on “How to Germinate and Grow Milkweed Seed”

  • Wanda Fleming

    Where can I get Milkweed,either seed or plants?

    Reply
    • Amanda

      Hi Wanda,

      We sell Milkweed seed here: http://www.americanmeadows.com/wildflower-seeds/milkweed-seeds
      and plants here: http://www.americanmeadows.com/butterfly-weed

      Happy Gardening,

      Amanda

      Reply
  • Pamela kanarr

    I received the milkweed seeds the packet states it has already been cold stratified. I was told that I needed to do this. I just wanted to be sure

    Reply
    • Amanda

      Hi Pamela,

      If you received the packet from us, we would recommend still going through the cold stratification process. Let us know if you have any other questions.

      Happy Gardening,

      Amanda

      Reply
  • Ray Dupont

    Please give me tips for getting stratification and growth with seeds in jugs that are placed outside in Indiana in February. Thanks.

    Reply
    • jprince

      Hi Ray,

      you can get good germination outside in a northern spot like Indiana, as long as you time things correctly. That's the tricky part! Ideally, the seeds would be subjected to cold enough temps to stratify naturally through the cycle of freezing and thawing, but after they sprout, you'll have to make sure that the tender baby plants are no longer subjected to freezing temperatures. One way to do this is to 'winter sow' the seeds; leave them outdoors in the jugs in the heart of winter and watch carefully as they sprout in spring. If you see cold weather coming, you'll need to bring them indoors for protection until things warm up. Otherwise, you can refrigerate the seeds and sow them in your jugs indoors, bringing them out as soon as the conditions are favorable. Good luck and keep us posted! - Jenny

      Reply
  • sue

    Are both milkweed varieties good for Monarchs? I have wild milkweed and I've had caterpillars but then no chrysalis appear. ?????

    Reply
    • Amanda

      Hi Sue,

      Thanks for the question. Yes, any variety of Milkweed will help attract butterflies to the garden.

      Happy Gardening,

      Amanda

      Reply
      • Elaine

        It's best to plant the variety of milkweed that is native to your region. Just google something like, "native milkweed Indiana", for example.

        Reply
    • jprince

      Sue - remember too that caterpillars are easy prey! If you see them disappear quickly, they likely became food for wasps or ants. Many folks find a way to protect caterpillars by bringing them into a screened porch or pool cage area, or by creating temporary habitats with laundry hampers, screened fish tanks, and even buckets covered with stretched-out pantyhose. If you do this, you'll need to provide them with milkweed cuttings until they're ready to be released - which is the fun part! - Jenny

      Reply
    • Elaine Clark

      I had a lot of monarch caterpillars this year, most get eaten by birds, insects, dragonflies. So i started to being them in and put them in a reptile cage and now I am getting the chrysalis. make sure you get a reptile cage with a plastic screened top. there re so many predators out there jumping spiders praying mantas, your outdoor cats dispensary.I am using a little book called How to raise Monarch Butterflies , by Carol Pasternak and its very informative.
      Good luck <3
      Elaine

      Reply
    • Marie

      When the caterpillars are ready to make a chrysalis they leave the milkweed plant. While they may have been eaten, they will travel easily up to 100 ft. to make their chrysalis. I have in the past found butterflies emerging from chrysalis on the opposite side of the yard from their host plant. I have also seen them moving thru the grass to look for a place to make their chrysalis. A mesh bag over the plant to protect the caterpillar while it is growing will help survival rates, but they will need to get out to find a branch to make their chrysalis. At this point an enclosure is helpful to keep the wasps from laying eggs in the chrysalis and you can see them emerge! Hope this helps.

      Reply
  • Jos

    I have cold stratified common milkweed seeds. I want to establish them on a very steep slope that is already filled with native and non native plants and shrubs. Can I just hand broadcast the seeds or should they be planted under soil? Also what about ground temps?

    Reply
    • Jenny

      Hi Jos. You stratified your milkweed seeds! Excellent, you're halfway there. Most milkweed seeds need a warm soil to germinate - around 70 degrees F, and they do want to pushed into the earth at least an inch deep. This is why so many folks choose to sow their stratified seeds in flats and grow them to 4-6 inches in height before transplanting them outdoors. Not sure if this will work for your scenario, but it is another option for springtime planting. Fall planting can be done by scattering unstratified seeds over the area. Hope you see lots of Monarchs - Jenny

      Reply
  • Carolyn

    I have 15 asclepsis tuberosas transplanted in small pots. My problem is that very few of them are really green. Leaves are yellow. I have them in compost and have been careful not to overwater. I have lost 7 plants already. Do you have any suggestions. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Jenny

      Carolyn - ok, here are two suggestions for you to try and remedy those yellow leaves! 1) I'm not sure where you've got them set out, but there's a chance that they simply need more sunlight. If it's possible that they're too shaded, definitely try moving them into a sunnier spot. 2) Compost can be a tricky potting medium, because it's rarely tested for nutrients. If sunlight is not your issue, I would recommend transplanting your seedlings into a potting mix that lists the nutrients right on the bag. This way you'll know for sure that your asclepias is getting proper nutrition - they should green-up quickly. Hope this helps and Happy Gardening! - Jenny

      Reply
      • Carolyn

        I have had them in my hothouse, but thought maybe it was getting too warm (I'm in the CA foothills). So I moved them outside. I will try your suggestion and re-pot, though I have read that they're very sensitive to having their roots moved. Thanks again.

        Reply
        • Jenny

          I think you're right to be wary of disturbing their roots; however, young plants are a bit less susceptible - so you may just get away with it! Asclepias has a long tap root and if you try to dig it up and transplant it, you almost always meet failure. But if you take a small potted plant and put it into a larger pot, there's a good chance that the taproot will stay intact and unharmed. Keep us posted!

          Reply
  • Lindsey Shorter
    Lindsey Shorter August 6, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    I purchased some Swamp Milkweed seeds. The package doesn't mention that they are stratified. I live in Southern Illinois. Should I plant them this fall so they go through the stratification process outdoors over the winter? Thank you so much!

    Reply
    • Jenny

      Hi Lindsey, you could certainly plant them outside this fall to make sure that they go through the stratification process; be sure that you wait to scatter them until after a killing frost. Otherwise, we've had success with refrigerating our seeds in damp ziploc bags inside the refrigerator for a couple of months (you can tape them to the underside of a shelf to keep them out of your way) to get them stratified before planting in the spring. That should do the trick if you're unable to plant this fall! Happy Gardening - Jenny

      Reply
  • Janine

    I have plants that are planted in my garden. We have some harsh winter weather here in Pennsylvania and I was wondering what I need to do for these plants? Should I cut them back? And if so when and how short? I think 2 of the plants are Swamp Milkweed while the other 2 I'm not that familiar. But I do not want to lose any if I can help it. Thanks for your reply!

    Reply
    • Jenny

      Hi Janine, great question! Technically, your Swamp Milkweed is perennial in your zone and you shouldn't have a problem keeping it happy through the winter (mine have survived and thrived for several years in Northern Vermont). However, for some extra insurance, you could scatter some seeds from each plant all around your planting area after the first killing frost. That way, you'll have new plants emerging if these don't survive the winter. As far as the other varieties, you might look at our site to try and ID what you've got so that we can give you good advice for those as well: http://www.americanmeadows.com/wildflower-seeds/milkweed-seeds - Happy Gardening, Jenny

      Reply
  • delbert hayes

    it is septin iowa, I have 3 ft plants with pods on, do I pick the pods off and pull the little dark seed of the white silky fiber and put in a bag in refrig?

    Reply
    • Jenny

      Delbert - that is definitely an option, although you'll want to make sure that your seeds are stored in damp paper towels and I'm worried that you might have to check on them a few times before spring to make sure that they're moist. What has worked very well for me is to leave the plants as-is and harvest the seeds in late winter or early spring. I always find plenty still attached to the plant; however, if you're nervous about the wind blowing them away before you can harvest, you may remove a pod now (or within the next 2 months) and store it in a safe place outdoors. That way, your seeds will be stratified naturally and you won't have to worry about them disappearing. Hope this helps and Happy Gardening - Jenny

      Reply
    • Jenny

      Hi Delbert, you have a couple of choices about how to proceed in late Sept. in Iowa, if you'd like to make use of wild-harvested seed. You can take the pods, separate out the seed, and cold-stratify them in your fridge. OR, you can leave the pods on the plant so that they can stratify naturally over the winter, and then plant the seeds in spring. If you choose the second option, read this blog post to find out how to keep the wild pods from bursting open while they spend the winter on the plant:
      http://www.americanmeadows.com/blog/2016/10/25/controlling-asclepias-plants/
      Hope this helps and Happy Gardening - Jenny

      Reply
  • Daniel

    Hi! Looking for advice for my mother. She got a late start this yr at growing common milkweed from seed - her first attempt. They're in a pot on her deck (in central Minnesota). There are numerous individual plants - probably more than 50 - that look very healthy, but are very close together. They are about 8-12 inches tall right now from the dirt level. Some are beginning to turn yellow, I would assume that's natural because of the time of yr.
    If she transplants them in the ground now, will they be ok over winter? Or should she wait until spring? And if so, what does she do with them over winter? Also, should she try and separate them? I fear that could damage the sensitive roots. Help!

    Reply
    • Jenny

      Hi Daniel, this is tough! Milkweed generally do not like having their long taproots disturbed, so I'm fearful that if your mom separates them and tries to transplant, she may have a low survival rate. That being said, there is never any harm in trying. My advice would be to go for it, but to also scatter milkweed seeds over the area this fall. You'll want to do this after the ground has cooled and there have been a few hard frosts - this will ensure that the seeds don't sprout until springtime. The natural freeze-thaw cycle that they'll be exposed to is the secret to great germination (seed sprouting). Hope this helps! - Jenny

      Reply
  • JULIE CAMERON

    I purchased milkweed plants this spring and planted them in my front yard. Two of them never really did anything, I do not remember the type, but the other 5 did well, except that they got aphids bad. I didn't know what they were until it was too late to do anything about them. I am hoping the plants survive and come back, but I have questions. 1) how can I avoid/prevent aphids? 2) I have been collecting pods from plants around my Minneapolis neighborhood. I really have no idea what species they are,...does it matter? I still need to stratify all the seeds correct? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Jenny

      Hi Julie, I too have struggled with aphids on my milkweed - quite a disturbing site! Generally speaking, they are not known to do damage to the plants; however, they will make things difficult for female monarchs who are looking to lay their eggs on the milkweed leaves. Your best bet is to 1) check your plants frequently for aphids, so that they don't get too out of control 2) brush them off into a bucket or jar of soapy water, using your hand, a rag, or even a soft brush. Best of luck and Happy Gardening - Jenny

      Reply
  • kim

    I brought back from my WV home some milk weed seed pods. Is there a way to get them to grow in South Florida?

    Reply
    • Jenny

      Hi Kim, where there's a will there's a way? You may be able to get your WV milkweed to grow in South Florida if you have a microclimate in your garden that can mimic their preferred conditions, or if you grow them in pots that are exposed to cooler temperatures and less humidity. I wouldn't expect, however, that you could just straight-plant them into a true South Florida garden without making any accommodations on your end to keep them happy. Whatever you do, please keep us posted! - Jenny

      Reply
  • kirk kopitzke

    Have harvested eight common milkweed seed pods and intend to broadcast seeds in small weed choked field after a good frost. Live in central kY. Is it unreasonablyr optimistic for me to achieve a !% seed to mature plant success ratio with this planting technique? If each pod contains 200 seeds. eight pods (1600 seeds) could result in 16 mature plants next year in my weed field with this limited investment of time and energy.

    Kirk

    Reply
    • Jenny

      Hi Kirk, I think your approach is a wise one, and I would expect a decent plant success rate with this strategy. Waiting until after a few hard frosts always limits the possibility that temps will unexpectedly warm up and that your milkweed seeds will sprout at the wrong time. We highly recommend broadcasting seed in late fall, and as you noticed, with a few hundred seeds per pod, there will be plenty to share with hungry critters. What you don't want to do, is to bury the seed deep into the soil; raking or scratching it in is a good idea, though. Hope this helps and Happy Gardening - Jenny

      Reply
  • Asclepias Grower
    Asclepias Grower November 14, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    Kirk,
    Broadcasting milkweed seed on the surface rarely produces successful plants; Insects, birds and rodents collect and eat the seeds. If you start the seeds in some pots first you can plant them out in the field in the Spring after things have warmed up.

    Reply
  • Brenda

    I purchased some milkweed seed a couple of years ago, but never got them started. Would they still be good?

    Reply
    • Jenny

      Hi Brenda - the germination rate of all seeds will decline over time, especially when the seeds are exposed to heat or generally inconsistent temperatures. While you can expect that fewer of your seeds will sprout now that time has passed, they still may produce plants for you! An easy way to separate out the 'duds' from the performers is to leave them in a damp paper towel for a week or more, only planting those that have sprouted. Remember that milkweed seeds will still need to be cold-stratified first, so that's your starting point. Happy Gardening - Jenny

      Reply
  • Gloria

    I have seeds that I brought back with me from a trip to Wisconsin. I stored them in a small jar, in the fridge when I realized the mice and the cats were both in love with them. The have had ample cold, but not moisture, as you have suggested. Since it is now Jan. 25, should I still try putting them into a damp paper towel for around 30 days before planting them into a peat pot? Also, I saw a different site that simply sprouted them on a paper towel, then planted into a peat pot. Have you heard of any good results doing that? I may need to order fresh seed, but would like to try these first!

    Reply
    • Jenny

      Hi Gloria, yes, I definitely think you should give your seeds a try! Sprouting them on a damp paper towel first, or planting directly into a peat pot should both work, as long as you've gone through the cold & damp stratification process - so I still recommend the paper towel/ plastic bag-in-the-fridge technique for 30 days. I'm not certain where you're located, but whatever approach you use, try to time things so that your milkweed seedlings can be transplanted *after* the soil temps have warmed up enough where you live. Otherwise, if you start them too early, you'll risk the plants becoming leggy and spindly from spending too long indoors. Hope this helps and Happy Gardening! - Jenny

      Reply
  • Geraldine Mariani

    Live in Ormond Beach Fl., My milkweed seeds get 1st leaves (2only) then most die..what can I do?
    Like your site!

    Reply
    • Jenny

      Hi Geraldine. I have loads of questions for you, but to start, I just want to make certain that you're planting milkweed varieties that can be successful where you live. You're in Zone 9, which typically means that your choices are limited to milkweeds that will perform well in high heat - such as Tropical milkweed. Further, many young plants won't do well if the temperature is above 85 degrees F, if they're exposed to full sun while still small, or - and this may be your problem exactly - if you've started them in poor soil. I'm unsure if you're attempting to start them in trays/pots or directly in the ground, but you'll want to use fresh potting mix to be certain that they're able to access nutrients as they begin to grow. Die off at the stage you describe would indicate that the plant got the nutrients it was born with from the seed leaves (the first two) and then was unable to go any further once those nutrients were used up. Please provide me with anymore info that you have - I'd love to help you solve this! Many thanks - Jenny

      Reply
  • Al

    Hi
    I have a batch of seeds here in Clearwater,FL - taken from wild native plants. Do I have to stratify the seeds as it almost never frosts here.

    Reply
  • Katelyn S Bolds

    This was by far the most informative article I found online. Thank you for sharing! I've been chilling my milkweed seeds in the refrigerator and hope to plant them soon!

    Reply
  • Stacey

    Hello, I live on the west side of Missouri. I am starting a garden for the first time this year, a vegable one and a butterfly one. I ordered some MW seeds with my other seeds. The packet says Butterfly milkweed. It is suppose to grow to about 2 feet with orange flowers. I didn't know they had to be planted differently. It is March now. Can I still cold stratify in the refrigerator and start indoors, or wait and scatter late fall/ early winter.
    One more question, since they are aphid magnets should I plant far away from the vegetables? I read dill might be a deterrent so want to plant that in the butterfly garden as well.
    Thank you for your time,
    Stacey

    Reply
    • Jenny

      Hi Stacey - great questions and congratulations on starting a garden! You will still need to stratify your Butterfly Weed seeds if you'd like to grow them out this summer - but don't worry, you have plenty of time. You still have a solid six months of warm-weather gardening in Missouri, so a month in the fridge for these seeds isn't a terrible setback. Otherwise, you're always welcome to hold off until fall, and plant them 'the easy way' after you've had a couple of hard frosts.

      In terms of the aphids, I think that you can absolutely plant dill to try and help deter them; however, I have never had a problem with the aphids leaving my milkweed and finding my other plants. I have an enormous mixed veggie & flower garden, and many of my milkweed plants do get aphids. I had never seen them in my garden before I began planting milkweed, and as of yet, I have never seen them make their way from the milkweeds into other areas of the garden. Have a great first growing season! - Jenny

      Reply
  • Caroline

    I put my milkweed seeds in the fridge about a month ago, but did not put them in a moist towel first, will they be alright?

    Reply
  • Jared

    This was actually extremely helpful! i started swamp milkweed from seed this year and moved it outside a couple days ago. The plant was about four inches when transplanted and it lost all of its leaves, however the stem is doing fine. I'm hoping it will come back as it may just need to recover. Any advice on lessening shock time or do you think it's dead?

    Reply
    • Jenny

      Hi Jared, thanks for sharing your experience. I think that you are most likely witnessing 'transplant shock' - so don't write off your milkweed just yet! While they don't love being uprooted and moved, you should've been able to plant your milkweed without disturbing the taproot enough to cause major trauma. I think it's more likely that your plant needs a bit of time to warm up to its new home. Best of luck and Happy Gardening - Jenny

      Reply
  • Rich

    About a month ago I planted 24 common milkweed seeds in peat pots. Only two have come up. These two began two grow about 10 days ago. Two questions. 1) Can just these two plants provide enough food for the caterpillars should they appear and 2) Is it still possible that the other seeds I have planted will yet grow? Thanks.

    Reply
    • Amanda

      Hi Rich,

      Congratulations on your endeavor of starting Milkweed from seed! Did you allow the seeds to go through a cold stratification period before starting them? If not, that could be why some of them aren't sprouting. You can learn all about it here: http://www.americanmeadows.com/blog/2015/06/11/how-to-germinate-and-grow-milkweed-seed/

      As for the two plants being enough for the Monarchs, the short answer is yes. This season they probably won't bloom (because they are perennials), but they will grow strong and next season offer up plenty for the Monarchs. Milkweed does spread readily so in a few seasons you'll have plenty of plants. You can also directly sow Milkweed seed to your garden in the fall, which eliminates the need to start the seeds indoors as nature does all of the work for you for growth in the spring.

      Let us know if you have any other questions and Happy Gardening!

      Reply
  • Rand

    A variety of milkweed I did not see mentioned in the article is the balloon milkweed. It grows over 6' tall on a single stalk. Fertilized flowers form a balloon filled with seeds that bursts and releases the seeds when ripe. My nurseryman in San Diego says that they are among the more favorite milkweeds for Monarchs, but so far the monarchs are favoring the more common varieties.

    Reply
    • Jenny

      Hi Rand, it's true - there are a great many milkweeds and some of them have become quite popular, especially if they're interesting to look at (like Balloon Milkweed!). I especially like Antelope Horn Milkweed (native to Texas) and Giant Milkweed, which grows into a big, woody tree in warm, humid climates. I've also heard of certain milkweeds being 'favored' over others by monarchs- and sometimes I think it may be true, as I've seen with Tropical Milkweed. But luckily, they seem to like the more common varieties just fine, too! We'd love to see a photo of your Balloon Milkweed someday if you get the chance. Until then, happy gardening! - Jenny

      Reply
  • Linda

    I have been given some milkweed seeds that may be red milkweed, not sure, multi color red/orange/yellowish flowers, short (2 feet) plants, sometimes sold by landscapers. Do I have to cold stratify, or will I be ok just planting in peat pots and hoping they germinate? Is it too late to cold stratify in Illinois, and how long do I do that for?

    Reply
  • Suzan

    I have moved to Cottonwood, AZ and wanted to plant a Monarch garden as I have seen a lot of them here and they are extremely large. My question, as it gets so hot and no humidity will it work. I had Hollyhock but when the temperature went above 100 had to move them into the shade. What plants would you suggest for this area? It is a little after 3:00 pm right now and the temperature is 105 - way too hot to be outside. Thanks

    Reply
    • Courtney

      Hi Suzan – We offer lots of options that are great for monarchs and will grow well in your zone. Butterfly weed is a wonderful plant for monarchs as it is the only plant the monarch butterfly will lay its eggs on. The caterpillars will consume the leaves for food and the adult monarchs can source nectar from the plant. You can try planting this with Echinacea, Monarda, and Lavender to create an amazing butterfly attracting garden that can tolerate the heat of your area. Hope this helps!

      Reply
  • Kat

    Hi,
    I was planning on cold stratifying and moving any seedlings outside next spring (stratifying outside is hard here in Santa Fe, we regularly get very warm days rather early but suffer from one-off late snows and freezes in mid May). My problem is where to plant, I wanted to put them in a large bed with echinacea, Robinson daisies, and verbascum, but worry any caterpillars might have to crawl a distance to the nearest tree by crawling over hot gravel (no grass) and then ending up in a tree that is popular with birds thanks to its proximity to our fountain. Should I even bother planting there, or consider a different location altogether?
    Thanks!
    Kat

    Reply
    • Jenny

      Hi Kat, I think that pairing your milkweed with echinacea, daisies, and mullein sounds like a lovely plan. The good news is that the caterpillars should be able to make their homes (chrysalids) directly on the milkweed plants. So, no crawling to trees is necessary! If you find after a time that they are struggling due to pest pressure (wasps can be devastating to caterpillars), you can always snip some milkweed and carry the plants and caterpillars indoors/ to a protected area to finish out their life cycle. Happy Gardening - Jenny

      Reply
Leave a Reply
You are using an out-of-date browser.

You will still be able to shop AmericanMeadows.com, but some functionality may not work unless you update to a modern browser. Update My Browser

×

Please wait...

Item added to your cart

has been added to your cart.

Continue shopping or View cart & checkout