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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.
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.
Native Range for Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Weed) – AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WI, WV.
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.
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!
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Transplanting Milkweed (Asclepias) Seedling Outdoors
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.
Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) is one of our great North American native flowers with rich Indian and medicinal history. The brilliant orange blooms light up meadows dramatically, and of course, visits by butterflies are a bonus. This wildflower, also prized as a garden perennial, is not easy to grow, but once established, is a tough, dependable colormaker.
Grow Heirloom Butterfly Milkweed Seeds – Asclepias tuberosa
We try our utmost to maintain reliable inventory of all products, and are very proud of our record in doing so. However, as we are a company engaged in what Mother Nature provides, we do sometimes experience shortages and crop failures beyond our control. If, for any reason, we are required to backorder any portion of your order, rest assured we will keep you apprised of updated shipping information and/or any other options that may satisfy your needs and wishes.
All seeds are shipped year-round, while flower bulbs are shipped on a seasonal basis. Typical turnaround times for in-stock items is between 2 – 5 business days.
An essential butterfly garden plant, Butterfly Milkweed plants produce large numbers of bright orange blooms that attract a variety of butterflies. Unfussy and drought tolerant, Butterfly Milkweed will reach up to 24″ high and does best in well-draining soil. Butterfly Milkweed is an important food source for Monarch caterpillars. For best success with this perennial seed, we recommend Fall Planting. For Spring Planting, seeds should be cold stratified prior to sowing.
Planning a butterfly garden without Butterfly Milkweed? Think again! No flower is more attractive to our lovely winged friends than those of the Milkweed family. Though perhaps suffering from a burdened name, Butterfly Milkweed seeds will reward you handily for purposely planting a "weed" in your garden! For best success with this perennial seed, we recommend Fall Planting. For Spring Planting, seeds should be cold stratified prior to sowing.