Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) is a native herbaceous perennial whose main virtue is its appeal to butterfliesespecially the monarch, which deposits its eggs on the milkweed. Depending on the size of your area, you can either remove existing growth by hand and then rake the soil up before planting, or use a rototiller. I hope this information helpful and thank you for using Ask an Expert. Many gardeners realize the importance of adding milkweed to their gardens to help the disappearing Monarch population. Growing milkweed supplies larvae of the Monarch with food and shelter, providing caterpillars food and a resting place before they leave the caterpillar stage and become butterflies. Even if you don’t have enough room to plant milkweed, you can help by volunteering for seed collection trips with a local Land Conservancy, or by donating your seeds to other projects that help monarchs. Those of us with cold winters need to either sow our seeds in the fall or cold stratify them for spring planting. Depending on your area and garden style, either method will work. For the best experience on our site, be sure to turn on Javascript in your browser. Free Ground Shipping Right To Your Event Or Business, Attract Pollinators & Do Good For The Environment. Cover and wait for spring! Sow the seeds in a sunny spot, perhaps in a corner of a flower bed, where you can keep an eye on them as they come up. This Michigan native occurs throughout most of the United States and thrives in almost any well drained soil and produces a profusion of fragrant mauve colored flowers in midsummer. Collecting Milkweed Seeds. Spider Milkweed, is extremely drought tolerant and thrives in dry, fast-draining soils. These three free-flowering varieties are useful in landscaping, too. After you’ve sown your milkweed seeds, you need to compact them into the soil (but don’t cover them!) For the best experience on our site, be sure to turn on Javascript in your browser. But Milkweed is also a decorative and showy addition to the garden, offering up tufts of long-lasting blooms in the summer months. Issued in furtherance of MSU Extension work, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Be forewarned, however, that you will likely end up with butterfly … Get familiar with milkweed: there are some imposters out there. Perennial. Over 75 choices that will bloom in the second year and for years to come. As the plants can be toxic; consumption of the plant protects caterp… It is extremely elegant, producing willowy foliage and pink blooms. MSU is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer, committed to achieving excellence through a diverse workforce and inclusive culture that encourages all people to reach their full potential. Otherwise they are pretty tough and will take care of themselves. These little, fluffy seeds hold a lot of potential for monarchs passing through Michigan, and are important to many bees. It is about one to two feet tall, with glossy, lanceolate leaves that are arranged spirally up the length of the stem. Support local wildlife with native wildflowers. You can plant them immediately this fall. The beautiful flowers of milkweeds produce pollen and nectar for bees, butterflies and other pollinators. Starting seeds indoors in winter Large seed pods open up and self seed readily, spreading this native wildflower’s seeds each season. This helps reduce the risk of disease build up. More milkweed in Michigan means more food for pollinators, and more places for monarchs on their migration. Dampen the mix and plant the seeds, covering them lightly with more soil. Gardeners should also cut it back to ground-level once a year. Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) produces purple/pink flower clusters that wildflower gardeners love. If you’ve ever seen milkweed in action in the fall, it’s easy to understand. If you are doing an outdoor stratification, you can skip this step. Needs fast-draining soil and full sun. What do you do with milkweed seeds? Several kinds of milkweed plants grow in the United States. You can plant them immediately this fall. Use old, plastic containers like yogurt containers. Whorled Milkweed (Asclepias verticillata) has narrow leaves in whorls of 3 to 8 and umbels of white flowers that normally appear along the upper third of the plant.This is one of our shortest milkweeds, appearing slender in habit. Why is this? It has flat clusters of bright orange blossoms and blooms from early summer to first frost in most areas. Needs fast-draining soil and full sun. Rototillers are often available for rent at your local hardware store for a minimal fee. Asclepias syriaca Common Milkweed is the plant most people think of when they hear the word ‘milkweed’. Older milkweed plants are very difficult to transplant, so we do not recommend transplanting older, large milkweeds. Cousin to the common eastern milkweed, showy milkweed is native to areas west of the Mississippi, with its range extending into Michigan and Ohio in the East. Milkweed is one of the Monarch Butterflies’ favorite plants and will bring ... Spider Milkweed, is extremely drought tolerant and thrives in dry, fast-draining soils. © 2020 AmericanMeadows.com All rights reserved, Find the Right Perennials for Your Garden, Watch Our Spring-Planted Flower Bulb Videos, Watch Our Fall-Planted Flower Bulb Videos. Whorled Milkweed (Asclepias verticillata) is native to the Midwest and boasts light green/white blooms that illuminate in the moonlight. Common milkweed (Asclepis syrica). Fluffs of white appear along country roads in Michigan every fall – the seed pods of milkweed plants. Reference to commercial products or trade names does not imply endorsement by MSU Extension or bias against those not mentioned. When the caterpillars hatch, they feed on the leaves of milkweed. Meghan Milbrath, Michigan State University Extension, Department of Entomology, and Duke Elsner, MSU Extension - Container plants can be planted in spring, but it is advisable to wait until the threat of spring frosts has passed. Milkweed is one of the Monarch Butterflies’ favorite plants and will bring many winged friends to your garden or meadow. A step-by-step resource to saving seeds and planting milkweed to help monarchs and other pollinators. Water the area frequently after planting until plants become established. Types of Milkweed. Growing Milkweed From Seed: To start milkweed from seed, the easiest way is to emulate Mother Nature and plant them in the fall. Knowing your first and last frost dates will help you start your vegetable seeds at the right time. And do not grow if you have grazing animals being one of the more toxic Milkweeds. Miss the window for fall planting? Butterflies and bees can use your help in planting more of these plants. Often, you only really need a seed or two, especially if you have a small garden, while a milkweed pod can yield dozens of seeds. Use the map tool to select a state and learn which milkweed plants grow in that area. These seed packets will cover a 50 square foot area. For more tips on winter sown milkweed, see “Winter Sowing Milkweed Seeds Part 2: Prepare Your Containers” from Monarch Butterfly Garden. If you’ve been thinking about planting fall milkweed this season, November is the best time for most of us to complete this simple garden task. Jeffrey W. Dwyer, Director, MSU Extension, East Lansing, MI 48824. In short, direct sowing milkweed seeds in fall is much easier than planting in the spring. It is a threatened species in the state of Michigan, and the main habitat for Monarch butterflies , which have seen an alarming population decline in recent years due to habitat loss and climate change. Milkweed, also known as Asclepias, is one of the best native wildflowers for attracting pollinators to the garden and is the sole host plant for the Monarch butterfly. Check out the Agribusiness Management B.S. This variety is extremely attractive to Monarch butterflies, bees, and other beneficial bugs. They blow away on the wind thanks to their silky parachutes. Fluffs of white appear along country roads in Michigan every fall – the seed pods of milkweed plants. It will also attract beautiful butte... Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) produces purple/pink flower clusters that wildflower gardeners love. Swamp milkweed (Asclepis incarnate). The stems and leav… Find mixtures for your region, or for special uses such as dry areas, partial shade, attracting animals, low growing, and more. All of the milkweed seed we handle at American Meadows is non-GMO and neonicotinoid-free. This part is easy and fun! The seed pods turn brown over time and are nice for adding winter interest to the garden. It will show up on the International Monarch Waystation Registry, and you can order a sign to teach your neighbors about monarch conservation. These little, fluffy seeds hold a lot of potential for monarchs passing through Michigan, and are important to many bees. Milkweed seeds can be collected from existing plants or purchased from commercial suppliers. It grows in dry fields, roadsides, waste places, and prairies; often in large stands, that can be spotted from a moving car. Like all wildflowers, milkweed should be planted on bare soil. Michigan State University Extension programs and materials are open to all without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, religion, age, height, weight, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, family status or veteran status. So how do you decide which varieties to plant in your garden? Once the … To donate, visit Monarch Watch and view a list of some Michigan Land Conservancy programs. Milkweeds grow well in disturbed areas, so scout in ditches, pastures, field edges, medians, etc. Photo by Duke Elsner, MSU Extension. It can be a challenge to grow but once established it will thrive for years to come and spread quickly. If you miss the window for fall planting, the seeds can be planted in the spring, too. To have a digest of information delivered straight to your email inbox, visit https://extension.msu.edu/newsletters. Choose a self-contained area in the garden that isn’t in the middle of an existing garden bed. Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) is a red, showier variety. Learn about varieties which help to replenish nutrients to your soil. You can plant the seeds anywhere. Why Buy Seed Favors For Your Promotion Or Event: Step by step instructions on how to plant your bare root or potted perennials when they arrive. The milkweed flower (Asclepias syriaca) and its cousin butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) are an integral part of the butterfly garden, a source of nectar for butterflies and hummingbirds. Seedlings will emerge in spring, and the plants will grow both taller and larger every year. To contact an expert in your area, visit https://extension.msu.edu/experts, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464). You can collect your own seed or purchase seed or plants to add to your garden, or any landscape in your community. Butterfly Weed, Asclepias tuberosa Clasping milkweed, Asclepias amplexicaulis ... Mich. park plants 400K milkweed seeds to help monarchs USA Today The Rainbow Rest Stop is ready for the butterflies Milkweed planted on Mackinac Island to aid monarch butterflies. Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) is a showier variety of Common Milkweed. Many have adapted to different regions of the country and a wide range of climates and terrains, from deserts and rocky areas to marshes and open prairies. Like Whorled Milkweed, Clasping Milkweed (Asclepias amplexicaulis) and Green Comet Milkweed (Asclepias viridiflora) thrive in full sun, but even drier sites (mesic dry to dry) again preferring poorer soils. Remember that because milkweed are perennials, the first season you’ll likely only see foliage as the plants get established in your garden. Different milkweed plants grow across the United States. Although you can plant Milkweed in the spring after cold stratification and starting seeds indoors, fall is the easier — and more natural — time to plant. If anything we sell fails to grow in your garden, we will replace or refund your order. You can plant milkweed seeds in early spring as soon as the soil can be worked, but they will need to be stratified for 2 to 3 months in the refrigerator before planting in spring for better germination. (Asclepias viridis). Perennial. Once established, this native plant is a breeze to grow and requires little maintenance. 50% Off Spring-Planted Bulbs - Pre-Order For Spring. Butterfly weed is native to the prairies of the Midwestern United States. Planting local milkweed species is always best. You can also plant milkweed in the spring! Poke a few holes in the bottom for drainage and fill with a few inches of potting mix. If you do scatter them loosely by hand, come spring when the seeds start to germinate you may want to thin them out if they are extremely close together. The long, oblong leaves are light green and grow to about 8 inches long. When emerging milkweeds have three to four sets of leaves, thin seedlings to 6 inches apart. When selecting your Milkweed seeds, check the label to make sure they are neonicotinoid-free. Use your finger to poke holes in the soil and drop a seed in each hole. If that breaks your heart, and understandably so, plant some of those milkweed seeds in its honor so more caterpillars make their way in future years. A. curassavica is not yet considered an invasive species in Florida. I like to use the eraser-end of a pencil to get ¼ in holes in my soil. More than 100 species of this herbaceous perennial are native to the U.S. and Canada. Bring envelopes or baggies and a marker so that each species can be kept separate. to help with germination. Show your dedication to monarch conservation by registering your site as a Monarch Waystation. This is an all-around good idea for the garden. Some species grow exclusively in specific regions while others will thrive in jus… milkweed for monarchs seed packets Monarch butterflies are attracted to the nectar of the Common Milkweed flower, consume the leaves as a food source and make their chrysalis on the plant. Grab a friend, bring a kid, put the dog on a leash and go out and collect milkweed seeds! Step by step instructions on how to plant your wildflower seeds. In the second summer and for years to come you’ll enjoy bursts of blooms that are irresistible to butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. If you’d like to start preparing for spring the easy way, plant your perennial milkweed seeds (and plants) in the fall. It's important to carefully choose the spot where you'll plant your milkweed as they will self-seed and spread rather quickly. I planted several packets of milkweed seed for this blog and it took me less than an hour (including stopping to take photos). Or, if you prefer, you can simply throw them out by the handful. Or, block out a corner of a garden bed to plant the seeds. Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) is the famous orange milkweed species native from Canada to Florida. A showy variety of asclepias, Spider Milkweed's off-white blossoms surrounded in green, along with its shorter height (12"), make for a unique statement in the summer garden. This is important because some seeds treated with neonicotinoids could harm or even kill pollinators when they feed on the plants. If you find yourself with more seeds than you can use, here are a few ideas: Learn how to manage the spread of milkweed in your garden. Many species need to be vernalized (cold treated) before planting. Their milkweed diet also makes them toxic to predators, which they show off in brilliant, orange-and-black wings we love to spot in the garden. The beautiful flowers of milkweeds produce pollen and nectar for bees, butterflies and other pollinators. The key is to make sure there is no existing growth in the area before planting, so the milkweed seeds won’t need to fight underneath the surface to establish their roots. After clearly labeling the sealed bag as \"milkweed seeds\" and dating it, place it in a refrigerator for 10 to 12 weeks. Stepping all over the area is an easy way to do this, but if you’re seeding a large area you could also use a seed roller. A showy variety of asclepias, Spider Milkweed's off-white blossoms surrounded in green, along ... Sign Up For Our Best DealsAnd get $5 off your first qualifying order. Help the birds, bees, butterflies & hummingbirds by planting wildflowers. And that’s that! Click here to view our General Gardening Guides. For more information, visit https://extension.msu.edu. Roll the seeds in a damp paper towel, or place them in moist peat moss, and then put them in a plastic bag. JavaScript seems to be disabled in your browser. Over 110 choices for fast color, such as poppies, cosmos, sunflowers, zinnia, and many more. Because you’re planting in the fall, you won’t need to water after this until early spring when the seeds start to germinate. Choose a sunny corner where the milkweeds can spread. The nitrogen tells the plant to grow lots of leaves and stems, so don't fertilize common milkweed if you want it to flower. Most milkweed share the same advantages in the garden: they thrive in all regions, tolerate almost any soil type, bloom in the early-mid summer, are deer resistant, and — of course — attract bees, butterflies, and more to the garden. A showier variety spring, and the plants seeds are produced in pretty, pointed packed! Wind thanks to their silky parachutes garden or meadow species can be planted in,. Trade names does not imply endorsement by MSU Extension - October 27 2015! Frozen but too cold for seeds to make sure you get permission before you go on any private land )... 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