Prairie Milkweed Seeds

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SKU
AM012976
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 also bees and butterflies – especially monarchs. Perennial.
Zones 3 - 7
Advantages
Attract Butterflies
Attract Hummingbirds
Bee Friendly
Deer Resistant
Rabbit Resistant
Native
Low Maintenance
Great For Mass Plantings
Multiplies / Naturalizes
Light Requirements
Full Sun
Mature Plant Size36-48" tall
Bloom TimeEarly to late summer
SizePacket
SKUAM012976

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).

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Plant Information
This hummingbird favorite is extremely similar to Common Milkweed, but has smaller flowers, a smoother appearance and is a less aggressive grower. This variety is often referred to as Sullivant’s Milkweed after the American botanist Starling Sullivant. Prairie Milkweed (Asclepias sullivantii) is extremely easy to grow and grows in any sunny spot. The highly fragrant blooms not only attract hummingbirds, but also bees and butterflies – especially monarchs. We recommend choosing your planting spot carefully as within a few years, this variety will make itself at home.
More Information
SKUAM012976
Common Name
Prairie Milkweed, Sullivant's Milkweed or Smooth Milkweed
Botanical Name
Asclepias sullivantii
Item Package Size
Packet
Light Requirements
Full Sun
Flower Color
Pink
Bloom Time
Early to late summer
Mature Height
36-48" tall
Wildflower Mix or Specie
Species
Ships As
Seed
Ideal Region
Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, West, Southwest, Pacific Northwest
Zones
3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Non-GMO
Yes
Neonicotinoid Free
Native To
Midwestern United States
Seeds Per Pound
72000
Seeds Per Packet
approx. 28 seeds per packet
Coverage
covers 5-10 square feet
Soil Type
Loamy Soil, Clay Soil, Moist/Wet Soil
Soil Moisture
Average, Well Draining
Advantages
Attract Butterflies, Attract Hummingbirds, Bee Friendly, Deer Resistant, Rabbit Resistant, Native, Low Maintenance, Great For Mass Plantings, Multiplies / Naturalizes
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.

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