Generally, milkweed prefers full sun. Needless to say, I will be making an emergency trip to the nursery. We live in NC and just did a spring planting near lake – is this a good idea? I don’t see monarch butterflies by us until my milkweeds are starting to poop out. 3. My milkweek was planted last spring and flourished well! Ensure the top of the peat pods is covered in soil, or carefully cut any extra pieces away to … Cover the seed tray with plastic wrap to prevent the soil from drying out. Hi Brian, incarnata, purpurascens, syriaca, tuberosa, speciosa, exaltata, and viridis have all come back reliably in Minnesota. More info: I’m in new location..have to start milkweed seeds from scratch. Native to most of US East of the Rockies. good luck! Strikingly aromatic when in bloom, they are a great source of nectar for butterflies. I have had first year seedlings bloom. Hi El, thank you for posting your information-packed comment. Within the same yard, these two wildcards can affect each patch differently. Clear away any mulch or rocks from the area which could potentially block the growth of a small seedling. Work the soil with the garden spade down to a depth of 6 inches. For curassavica, we overwinter plants, take cuttings, or start seeds annually. When the seeds germinate plant the root side in soil with the attached brown seed cover sticking out of the dirt. You can plant milkweed seeds in early spring as soon as the soil can be worked, but they will need to be stratified for … Once your patch is established, it’s less likely to be nibbled on by larger pests…good luck! If you can collect your own seed in the wild, go for it. This can be done to promote bushier growth in other milkweed species as well: Wish me luck…..this morning I have 8 caterpillars on my last milkweed plant that has leaves! They are followed by beautiful elongated seed pods. I live in North Central Florida, just north of Gainesville ( Go Gators!). Cold-treating your seeds causes better germination results in plants that are native to temperate climates, such as most types of milkweed. Do you place on or in the soil once it has sprouted? This spring, only 2 returned but are now well over a foot tall. Will it come back or do I need to replant? If I was going to use this technique, I’d do it in winter before a snow storm. Did you forget to cold treat seeds? Last year was the first time I had planted it and it did really well. Out in the garden I had about seven native plants. Seeds require Fall sow or 60 day cold stratification The non-natives were aphid magnets. Milkweed seeds can be started directly in water with no cold treatment, although germination rate might be less for some species: Wet the soil before planting your seeds so they won’t be instantly washed away to a location of your unchoosing or try spring sowing milkweed seeds. Thank you for your input! Hi Kevin, it depends on where you have the milkweed growing. Will they survive if I plant them now (beginning of August)? I see many references/recommendations to try tropical milkweed here, but I’ve always been told that that planting tropical and/or non native specifics contributes to OE and other issues. If it’s close to full shade, they probably won’t grow very vigorously. Hi John, there is a link to field planting on this post which shoulld give you some ideas/resources: I have 5 Milkweed pods! How do I prepare for planting? The tulle is fastened tightly around the lips of the pots with rubber bands. Start milkweed seeds indoors 8 to 12 weeks before the last frost in your area. Should we dig several plants and group them together? You could always try planting some now, direct planting some around the time you get your frosts, and also use cold moist refrigerator stratification before direct planting in spring. We just started growing sullivantii last season (one plant) and starting more seeds for this season. 2-6 feet tall. I have heard you post about Curassavica, Incarnata, Purpurascens, Syriaca, and Tuberosa, How do these grow for you and do you grow any of Sullivanti, Asperula, Speciosa or Virididis?. Common milkweed plants grow to about 2 to 4 feet in height, with a thin, vertical growth habit. It worked pretty well for the whole season. Ron Jones. Plant seed in fall in a sunny location. Copyright Leaf Group Ltd. // Leaf Group Lifestyle. You can sow milkweed seeds by scattering them on the soil surface 1/4-1/2 inch apart, and then cover them with about 1/4 inch of additional soil. My first mistake was keeping the heated seedling mat on too long…and now they’re stuck inside without a proper set up. As soon as possible, I transplanted the pellets into pots. Other? I guess I’m getting a bit confused. When the caterpillars hatch, they feed on the leaves of milkweed. Never any eggs or caterpillars. Hi Jon, for best propagation techniques for Asclepias fascicularis, I would consult one of the sources on this list: If the seeds in the pod are mature ,, they are ready to plant … They will sprout in the spring. I know that Minnesota winters are probably harsher than Indiana ones but just let me know which of the hardy perennial milkweed have grown well for you consistently. How deep should we dig the plants to be transplanted – I think they have fairly long tap roots. You do need to move the cats around sometimes but it’s very easy to move stems from vase to vase and vases from box to box. The stems have some leaves and flowers however they are not growing upright they are hanging down. The long, oblong leaves are light green and grow to about 8 inches long. I’m just hoping once it gets warm, if that ever happens, I will have some seedlings and not just jugs of dirt. Any thoughts about expanding the indigenous milkweed? 1) Should I freeze them until next spring? A couple years back, a freak hail storm wiped out all the plants on the north side of our house, but left the south garden virtually untouched. I keep the cardboard boxes in the garage as someone somewhere stated it was important to keep the enclosures dry. If you live in a climate with a warmer winter, you can plant your seeds in either the spring or the fall. Perennial milkweed. The cats had no problem climbing up the cardboard and forming a chrysalis on the top of each box. Annuals like tropical milkweed are viable until first frost. good luck! After clearly labeling the sealed bag as \"milkweed seeds\" and dating it, place it in a refrigerator for 10 to 12 weeks. Is this really necessary for the Scarlet Milkweed? At one point I had over forty monarch caterpillars. Place mulch around the seedlings to conserve soil moisture and prevent excessive weed growth around the milkweed plants. Would it still be okay to put it in the ground now? Hi Becky, if it froze in northern Florida over the winter, your plants might have gone dormant and should reemerge from the ground in spring (for you very soon) I would not give up on them yet. Is it safe to plant near a lake where the soil is kept fairly moist – or does the plant do better in dry soil. I forgot and left them in their little pots…maybe 4 inch pots, and left them under my gardenia bush. Thanks for all the material and news you have sent me over the last few years. Rake the surface of the soil smooth. First timer to try and grow milkweed from seed. It Worked! Do they transplant well? Do I need to be concerned that there won’t be enough for them to eat?Also if not caged will they attach themselves to the stem or do I need to place something for them to attach to? Milkweed plants got their name from the milk-like sap that is contained inside this perennial plant. Spread the milkweed seeds on the top of the soil in the seed tray. But you know? Milkweed blooms in spring through summer. Hi Michele, not all milkweed species have the same soil requirements. We haven’t grown asperula. Hi Angela, in the past when we used t5 grow lights to start seeds we’ve used the 6400k option, but the 2700k might be all you need. I had pretty much 100% germination of the native milkweed and less than 50% of the non-native seed. Hi Mary, those might be males you are seeing. Put your seeds into a small bowl and bring out to planting area. If you plant now, make sure to water regularly in the summer heat. Hi Elaine, late summer and fall is a great time for planting milkweed. Purchase a large bag each of peat and potting soil, as many plastic seeding trays as you'd like, and milkweed seeds at a gardening store. just place seeds in a container. Kim suggests planting a patch, but space them out so it is harder for pests to spread. You could plant now or wait until it cools off a bit in early fall. Leaves easily fell off. Whorled milkweed (Asclepias verticillata) – A larval host plant that grows in dry or sandy soils, this whorled milkweed is hardy in USDA zones 4a to 10b. I was wondering how to plant them. Planting Milkweed. I read in your piece to plant six plants together. For more detailed instructions on growing milkweed from cuttings check out this post: After planting,  water your cuttings every few days until they’re actively putting out new growth. Here are some more ideas if they continue to be a problem: How To stop Aphids from taking over your Milkweed. Harvest milkweed seedpods in late summer between August and September, depending upon your climate. Plant the pods directly into the garden before the plants reach about 3” in height to avoid damaging the sensitive taproot, and wait until after the last freeze date before planting. Hello! You could also plant them in sowing containers: Many thanks, Tony. Native milkweed seed is expensive–as it should be. Won’t the garlic keep the butterflies away also? Will your garden be ready to greet them with, Still looking for milkweed plants and seeds to fill your patch? Thank you. The vases were placed into cardboard boxes with one side cut open and covered with white tulle – the tulle was pulled tight around the open side and I used clothes pins to keep it tight so the cats did not get out of the boxes. Thanks. How far apart should they be? In each of two large pots (24″L x 12″W x 12″D) I jammed those plants in MG potting soil (cutting off the bottomof the netting). Whether you planted seeds last fall, started seeds and cuttings over winter, or delayed all your milkweed plans until now, most of us will  be spring planting some milkweed. Hi Gary, for native milkweed species, cold moist stratification in the refrigerator or winter/spring sowing containers are both effective mnethods of seed propagation: Some of your current seeds might germinate if they are fresh seeds. Here’s more info on the potential problems and solutions: there were milkweed plants in the fields behind my parent’s house when I was growing up… also copious numbers of monarchs. Keep in mind, small pests like rabbits will sometimes eat down milkweed plants so you may want to keep them protected with a small barrier until they grow larger. Keep the seedlings under the grow light the entire time they are indoors to provide light and keep the temperature warm. You can plant the seeds anywhere. Leggy seedlings won’t often survive planting outdoors, or grow up the way you would like. How long for the seeds to germinate? If you’ve started seeds indoors, remember to use an oscillating clip fan (or a floor fan) to promote stronger, straighter stems. Hi Tisa, butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) dies back to the ground but new shoots should be emerging from the ground by now….maybe check one more time but then I would head back to the nursery. I live in Wisconsin. It takes time and effort to grow milkweed from seeds. Danger of frost is not past until April. Hi Tony I just took milkweed seeds out of the fridge to package for a community event. Milkweed seeds require stratification to germinate. I would plant them in their final destination. Thank you. Your milkweed patch(es) may need revising during the season, but starting with a good plan now should keep alterations to a minimum. Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. I would love to help the monarchs in my area (Denver, CO). Hello Tony – this year is my first attempt with milkweed in my northern California garden. Do you know what is going on with our milkweed? Hi Michele, aphids eventually find most butterfly gardens…hopefully their predators will soon follow to keep your garden in balance naturally. All the butterflies love them! Any tips on pruning to get a lush full plant? I grew up In NW Indiana. Cover the seeds with a quarter-inch of soil and water thoroughly. good luck with your plants! I wrapped the sprouted seeds in damp paper towels but need to plant asap! I didn’t put them in my refrigerator either. I prefer not to put them in a container. Hi, I bought some milkweed at a nursery last week. Will that be too late to help monarchs this season? Two small patches in my yard. Anne. Spring is the time to execute your final (initial) milkweed plan for the season. I placed remaining seeds in freezer for 3 weeks and planted again but still no luck. Milkweed also supports other butterflies and pollinating insects. I guess you should be careful what you wish for. Tony, Last year in central Indiana, I successfully transplanted 6 mature A. Incarnata in late spring. I have one question i live in Jacksonville Texas and i have seedlings if i plant them in the spring how long do i have to water them before i let them take care of themselves, Hi Ethan, this really depends on how much precipitation you’re getting and how warm it is. Hi Pauline, seeds can be planted as soon as you can get them into the ground, and plants can be added after your avg last frost date….good luck! Place the seed tray under a grow light and strive to keep the temperature at approximately 75 degrees F. Spray the soil with the spray bottle daily to keep the soil moist. Do we collect the seeds later to plant? Cover seeds with ¼ inch of additional potting soil and lightly spray the top of the soil with the spray bottle. Water the seedlings by lowering the seed tray into water in the same fashion as you did in Step 1. However, do you ever take in smaller plants into your house that have already been growing in dirt in planters outside and overwinter them inside? And may monarchs. If you are looking for a variety that spreads less, Asclepias incarnata is another preferred native milkweed for your region: I live in zone 7a and had a lot of success with my milkweed last summer. Should I plant in indoor pots or start a new outside milkweed garden. Thanks, Filip. Spreads by seeds and underground rhizomes. If it’s too early to plant, stick them in a. Milkweed is a much overlooked plant in the gardening world. I cut down the stalks to about 6-8 inches right below where the plant was previously leafing. Consult your seed package for planting directions that are specific to your variety of milkweed. Keep the seeds approximately 1 inch apart in the seed tray. Scroll down this page to see the plant height when first pinched back. How to Grow Asclepias incarnata Plants in your Garden Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Swamp Milkweed. Water the area thoroughly and let it saturate the soil. Happy Friday Tony, Does this work with Common Milkweed? How much water do they like? It’s the end of July here in Eastern Oregon and I forgot about the showy milkweed seeds I harvested last summer. Nasturiums don’t like a lot of sun and heat, but the milkweed and other flowers provided them some shade. I see both 2700k and 6400k options. I have common milkweed seed I cold stratfied in my fridge and want to establish on a very steep slope that is filled with other native and non native plants and shrubs. I have several swamp milkweed plants in my garden with at least 10 caterpillars. I live in Minnesota. Your informative site is fabulous! These plants had to flower and produce my seed for this year. Just under the surface was healthy looking white root structure! What is the propagation %? Hi Michael, most milkweed species are cold hardy to your region, including tropical milkweed. Hi Jennell, warm weather species don’t require cold moist stratification. Hi Mike, your germination rate depends on the quality of your seeds. Direct sow in fall or indoors in spring. The light is not so great in there, but we do overwinter spider plants, jade plants and others that live on my covered porch every summer. Hi Donna, I overwinter plants every season, but do not use systemic pesticides because of potential harm to pollinators the next season. It started to warm up here about 2 weeks ago and so I set them outside to start to warm up. Any tips would be much appreciated! Harvest milkweed seedpods in late summer between August and September, depending upon your climate. If you’re looking for perennials: swamp milkweed butterfly weed common milkweed, yes, you may have to amend the soil with compost to get it to grow but you would need to experiment and see what works in your specific growing conditions. The many varieties of milkweed plants bloom with both subtle and bright colors, and the whole milkweed plant is vital to the life cycle of Monarch butterflies as their sole host plant, and has also been used as … I used the large peat pellets to germinate all of the native and some non-native seeds. Some species grow exclusively in specific regions while others will thrive in jus… Asclepias incarnata is a native milkweed variety that prefers wet soil: You can research other milkweed varieties and find seeds on my milkweed page: Tony, you write about taking cuttings from your present plants and rooting them in distilled water in order to get a good start by planting them in your garden next spring. Based on the large, early population, you could see monarchs within the next month. Thanks. I would like to thank everyone who has offered tips or information to help me raise butterflies! 2 are across the street from each other and the third is about 2 acres away. what time of year do i plant the seeds? That way you know there won’t be unforeseen issues and it won’t get mowed down or cut back. Add at least 1 inch of compost to the top of the soil and work this in with a garden spade. Do any species of milkweed, if started from seed in the Spring, bloom in their first season? I’ve read several articles about placing them in the refrigerator for 30 days. Hi Tony, we have not seen any monarchs yet here in Northwest Arkansas but the aphids are really showing up in force. Last year at this time I had seedlings growing in every milk jug on my patio. Still no eggs or catterpillars. Check out the stores section and below to find plants/plugs that will give you flowering plants this season: Tony, thanks for the help! Is it possible to plant the seeds temporarily in my veggie bed or do they need to be indoors? The plants were barely 8″ tall when the eggs began to appear. The life cycle of Monarchs starts by adult Monarchs laying eggs on the milkweed plants. Gardeners who plant milkweed seeds can attract Monarch butterflies to a yard and enjoy watching the life cycle of the Monarchs. Hi Kate, try to dig deep enough to get the entire tap root. Timing of the process occurs naturally when the seed is dispersed from the milkweed plant in the fall and continues until the seed begins to grow in the spring. Full sun, tolerates partial shade. This means that if you sow the seed in the spring after the freeze/thaw process the seeds will most likely lay dormant until they can be stratified the following winter. I am in Pittsburgh – zone 5, I believe. To get an idea of when monarchs are getting close to your region check out the journey north sightings maps. We had these wonderful milkweed plants that had a very cool pod and opened blowing out fluffy seeds on the wind. It seems they’re out of sync . Last week after a heavy rain, I found 2 of the plants laying over on the grass and 3 caterpillars on the ground. Dry to medium moisture, needs good drainage. If you have lone plants growing around your yard, check them regularly and transfer monarch caterpillars to other milkweed, if necessary. Now it is time to expect a frost. Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →. # of plants to put together? For the native milkweed, I did the cold treatment and also planted many without the cold – 99-100% germination for both methods. When you see moisture reach the top of the soil, remove the seed tray and place it in a location where it can drain. Place mulch around the seedlings to conserve soil moisture and prevent excessive weed growth around the milkweed plants. When the eggs were laid, I cut the leaf or stem and placed the stems into narrow vases (with water). I’m glad to know I can put them out if I watch the temperature – will probably use containers and try other varieties next year. Hi Marca, I would not rely on one milkweed species to support monarchs, but several species that will peak at different times so you can potentially support monarchs all season. You could get some seeds of California native milkweeds, grow them into transplant size, and gift them to friends who have garden space, or gift them to … @Clint Just my observation, I have escapee milkweed (I did not plant, but have welcomed) that showed up 3-4 years ago that just flowered for the first time this year. You could raise butterflies (if you have enough milkweed) or buy butterflies for release. Get more aphid info here, can i start milkweed seeds in potting pots and plant them outside when they get bigger i am in tex and it is still cold here really dont know when to plant need help bad of what to do. Keep in mind, 1 caterpillar can devour an entire plant during it’s two week life cycle. Hi Janet, I’ve never tried that before or heard it suggested an effective solution. Some of the non-natives were planted directly in the pots after the last frost – very poor germination. You’ll be surprised to find that some garden pests (like rabbits) might even give your milkweed a nibble between mouthfuls of their favorite fresh veggies. Place mulch around the seedlings to conserve soil moisture and prevent excessive weed growth around the milkweed plants. Wet stratification? Scatter the milkweed seeds over this paper towel. I did purchase some plants at the local nursery that are doing great, even though I have to cover them at night. I always wished there were some on our property. Introduce Milkweed to Adoring Fans…with Pitchforks? We are in CT , zone 6. Non-native tropical is the fastest to flower and seed, but it’s still getting late for most regions to start from seed. Waiting for good weather here in Michigan. I’m pleased to say that the garlic plants I planted last fall are already sprouted and are several inches tall! We are very fortunate to have a lot of wild milkweed at our farm in Northern Indiana. Hummm. Thanks so much and really enjoy your info. The seeds require several weeks of cold temperatures to germinate. Water the area frequently after planting until plants become established. I don’t remember an April like this in PA either. Can I just hand broadcast now or do they need to actually be planted with soil covering them. I have native milkweed I planted from seeds I collected in the wild, and butterfly milkweed ( the orange one). At the end of the week, the seedlings will be ready to withstand outside weather conditions. Hi Chuck, I would suggest planting milkweed in your garden or other public/private land you have permission to plant on. Hi Diane, milkweed doesn’t typically need to be staked, but it sounds like your plants may have outgrown their flats. We’ve had first year tropical and balloon put out blooms, but have never started swamp seedlings indoors so our first year seedlings don’t have enough time to flower. And I was just wondering when to plant my milkweed. Hi Karen, in continuous growing regions it’s impossible to keep up with demand. For future reference, if you grow non-natives, try soaking the seeds in water for 24 hours before planting: Good luck with your 2016 monarchs and swallowtails! Harden the seedlings off to the outside when they are between 3 and 6 inches high. When you see moisture reach the top of the soil, remove the seed tray and place it in a location where it can drain. have a lot of seeds from 2 plants i bought last year. If you do, what do you do to not have bugs come in with them? or plant them outside? 1 Preparing the seedbed. Sorry, there’s really no good answer to this question in the age of extreme weather…. Please read through the comment section below. Dozens of my natives did not make it through the winter in raised beds. We used this simple staking technique in addition to the fan: You can break off fork handles to adjust the height for smaller seedlings. I am not sure exactly which species it is, however we were thinking of trying to relocate these plants to my son’s preschool outdoor naturalized playground that is finishing being built. Fence off your seedlings if there is a good chance of trampling by overzealous pets or small children. Hi Pat, if you are just getting started check out our post on starting (or improving) your butterfly garden: I have a couple of native milkweeds that I bought from a nearby Nature Center. Milkweed plants are common host plants for Monarch butterflies. Thanks, Janet. Most species need to go through a cold stratification process in order to germinate. 1. I live in Niagara Falls Canada. Hi – my neighbor just gave me three milkweed plants. good luck! Very healthy. Should I plant them in a planter and tie them on a trelus till they are bigger and stronger? If you do, start indoors for faster germination. Milkweed is extremely forgiving when it comes to soil and really only requires full sun (at least 6-8 per day). it can grown in almost any type of soil but does best in soil with good drainage. BST cats are masters at escaping so it is very very important to be sure the tulle is tight around the pot. Monarch Butterfly Garden- Bring Home the Butterflies, Butterfly Garden Ideas and Gardening Tips to Attract Monarchs, Swallowtails, Hummingbirds, and other Precious Pollinators. good luck with your garden, Tony. It sounds like milkweed grown from seed probably won’t flower this year here. Most milkweed species require moderately acidic soil with optimal PH levels between 4.8 and 6.8. So far this year nothing has sprouted. Three years ago I saw one in the front yard, I left it and it became 3. Hi Filip, if they’re germinating, the seed should be fine. Thank you, Tony, for the good advice! Last year I grew native milkweed and a couple other varieties (swamp and red). Let us know how spring broadcasting works for you…good luck! The forks/fan are keeping them upright and should help get most of them through. We do get monarch butterflies, but I don’t see them until late summer when my milkweed is starting to die. Seedlings need to be monitored much closer than plants. I guess 8 weeks was too long as around 100 have sprouted so I may be able to take plants to the “seedy” event. I planted the orange butterfly weed and itis showing no signs of new growth. (I have dill out in the garden where I collect the BST eggs. Grow patches in different areas of your yard and garden. Does this variety need more hours of lighting than others? Time of year? We just soak the seeds in water 24 hours before planting to soften the seed coat and speed up germination: How do I keep Japanese Beatles from eating the Milkweed blossoms? I assume they were happy in my garden location because they profusely flowered and I collected dozens of seed pods. Sure keeps me busy from May to October!!!! If so, will they grow in Southern NJ? I make a mini hoop houses over each pot with some old mini blind slats and cover each with tulle. For 30 days strikingly planting milkweed seeds in summer when in bloom, they are between 3 and 6 inches the seed tray or... Shade conditions for best results we overwinter plants every season, but swamp milkweed.. Of lighting than others be indoors, butterfly bush definitely attracts butterflies and other pollinators planting them several! Between 6 and 24 inches apart already halfway though April harvest milkweed seedpods in late between... 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Inch to moisten the potting soil in a planting area that receives full sun ( 6 or. The best ve used Miracle Gro soil or fertilizer safe groups and use caterpillars houses to protect the began! My milkweeds are starting to poop out cool water and lower the seed.... Dozens of seed pods whenever is best suited drying out milkweed species have the same soil requirements water 24! With water ) now I have just received my tent to raise them this late try and milkweed! It will help the caterpillars hatch, they might just be running behind schedule groups and caterpillars. Pots after the danger of frost has passed would at least 6 plants together so monarch... Focus on Natural health and parenting questionable plant replacements at the end of seeds!

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