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How to Plant Wildflowers
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Help the birds, bees, butterflies & hummingbirds by planting wildflowers.
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Milkweed, a native plant with showy flowers, has finally found its place in the home garden. While not a weed at all, Milkweed has been steadily growing in popularity over the past several years for one great reason: it offers both food and habitat to some of our most important pollinators, including Monarch butterflies.
Iconic Monarch Butterflies have been loved and celebrated in the USA for generations – they’ve even been bred in space by NASA astronauts! However, due to our changing modern landscape and the disappearance of milkweeds from the countryside, the American Monarch population has declined a drastic 90% over the past decade.
Milkweed is the sole ‘host plant’ for Monarch butterflies, meaning that it’s the only food source for growing Monarch caterpillars and the only plant where an adult monarch will lay her eggs. Planting milkweed is the most effective action any gardener can take to help increase the Monarch’s population once again.
Pollinators appreciate ‘block plantings’ - big swaths of their favorite plants are easier to find from above and allow them to spend their time and energy on what matters most - feeding!
Layer milkweed with other native plants, such as Bergamot and Coneflower to eliminate the “learning curve” in your backyard habitat.
Because milkweed is often covered in dancing pollinators, you’ll want to place it directly outside a well-visited window or next to your favorite patio sitting spot.
Milkweed, like many native plants, can be used for ecological purposes, meaning that gardeners can use it as a tool when re-working tricky landscapes.
Milkweed is the ‘host plant’ for Monarch Caterpillars, meaning that as their only food source, it’s the plant where the female butterfly will lay her eggs.
Because Milkweed attracts many more pollinators than just Monarchs, you can easily use it to guide these helpers straight to your veggie beds.
Swamp Milkweed can handle extra moisture and humidity.
Try Prairie Milkweed for highly fragrant, vanilla-scented blooms.
Plant Whorled Milkweed, a true Midwestern native.
Common Milkweed is reliable even in poor soils.
Butterfly Weed is perfect for fast-draining soils and full sun.
Spring Monarch Migration
Fall Monarch Migration
Native to most states in the continental US, Butterfly Weed can be found growing wild in dry prairies and open meadows. Its vivid orange color and famed ability to attract butterflies has made it a new favorite in home gardens.
Available in deep, rosy pinks and creamy whites, this variety comes with a pleasing vanilla aroma – you may want to plant it where you can smell it! Deer resistant and tolerant of wet soil, this milkweed makes a great addition to a rain garden.
Common Milkweed does well in average to poor soils and attracts a multitude of pollinators. Pinkish-purple flowers appear delicate alongside the plant’s thick stem and light-green pods, making for a unique, native addition to the ornamental flower garden.
While most milkweeds require full sun, Whorled Milkweed will manage on a bit less if that’s your only option. Use Whorled Milkweed to provide late-season food to butterflies who are already visiting your mid-season flower patch.
Similar to Common Milkweed in looks, Showy Milkweed has soft, pastel pink flower clusters with longer petals. This sun-loving asclepias grows well in dry, fast-draining soil and requ...
Spider Milkweed, is extremely drought tolerant and thrives in dry, fast-draining soils. A showy variety of asclepias, Spider Milkweed's off-white blossoms surrounded in green, along ...
Prairie Milkweed (Asclepias sullivantii) is extremely easy to grow and grows in any sunny spot in the garden or meadow. The highly fragrant blooms not only attract hummingbirds, but ...
Poke Milkweed grows best in indirect sun or partial shade, making it a superb plant for gardens with dappled sunlight. An important resource for Monarch butterflies, the bi-colored f...
Planting milkweed from seed is a great option if you’re looking to create a large patch, or if timing is on your side! Fall-planting milkweed seeds directly in the garden is easy to do and often brings the best results; but you must wait until the cold weather has set in.
Starting milkweed in seed trays for transplanting can be tricky, as the seeds will first need to be exposed to a full month of cold temperatures in order to sprout, and the long taproot that forms hates to be moved.
When spring-planting is your preferred schedule, Milkweed plants are your best bets. Without the worry over the fussy temperatures that seeds require, you can just choose your favorite varieties and set them in the soil once the ground has warmed up.
Look for ‘neonicotinoid-free’ Milkweed to be certain that your plants don’t contain harmful pesticides, and you’ll be providing a high-quality food source for monarch butterflies, native bees, and other important pollinators.
Our Monarch Magnet Preplanned Garden features 3 each of our most attention-getting milkweed plants to attract and support monarchs throughout their life cycle; bright-orange Butterfly Weed and deep-pink Swamp Milkweed Soulmate.
Planted alongside 12 other nectar-powerhouse flowers that adult monarchs visit to drink their nutrients (including Coneflower, Aster, and Daisy) this garden makes it easy to attract and support monarchs throughout their lifespan. Includes planting diagrams and instructions.