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milk weed seeds

How to Germinate and Grow Milkweed Seed

Follow our instructions for starting milkweed from seed, including Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata), and Whorled Milkweed (Asclepias verticillata). We have found these techniques best for good growing results.

Why plant milkweed? Milkweed are the host plant for Monarch Butterflies: the leaves of milkweed plants are the sole food for monarch caterpillars, and the nectar-rich plants are an essenital food source for adult butterflies. The Monarch Butterfly population has declined a whopping 90% over the past decade due to the loss of meadows and habitat (especially in the Midwest). Plant milkweed in your gardens to help support these amazing North American butterflies!

Getting Started: Understanding Milkweed Seed & Germination

Milkweed seeds require cold stratification.

What does that mean? In the wild, milkweed plants scatter their seeds quite late in the season, at a time when the coming cold would kill any seedlings that germinated right away. However, the seeds of milkweeds (and other late-season flower plants) are cleverly programmed to delay germination until after they’ve been exposed to winter’s cold, followed by gradually rising temperatures in springtime. This adaptation is known as stratification. Cold stratification helps to break the seeds’ natural dormancy cycle. Exposure to winter temperatures help soften or crack the seeds’ hard outer casings.

Without prolonged exposure to cold temperatures, your milkweed seed is unlikely to sprout.

In most areas, when you plant seeds outside in fall, seeds can go through the cold stratification process naturally. If you are planting seed outside, we suggest seeding in late fall so that Milkweed seeds can lay on the ground through winter. This will give your Milkweed seed a long winter of dormancy. Once the sun comes out and the ground is warm in the spring, the seeds will germinate on their own.

In warm zones without winter frost, or if you are starting your seeds in spring, you can cold-stratify seeds in your refridgerator!

At-Home Cold Straification Summary: Put your Milkweed seed in a damp paper towel or some damp sand inside a zipper bag, and place in your fridge for 3 – 6 weeks (30 days). Label your seeds, and be sure to choose a low-traffic place inside your fridge where they won’t get damaged.

Follow our instructions for starting milkweed from seed, including Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata), and Whorled Milkweed (Asclepias verticillata). We have found these techniques best for good growing results.

Milkweed Seeds

Plant native Milkweed for Monarch Butterflies and other pollinators

Native Milkweed plants, including Butterfly Weed, are the sole host plants for monarch butterflies. Their nectar-rich blooms also provide essential food to native bees and a slew of other pollinators. Best of all, Milkweed produce gorgeous, fragrant flowers that are easy to care for. All of the seed we handle at American Meadows is non-GMO, neonicotinoid-free and guaranteed to grow!

Orange Butterfly Weed Seeds, Asclepias tuberosa with bees

Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) is the famous orange milkweed species native from Canada to Florida. Needs fast-draining soil and full sun. Perennial.

Pink Swamp Milkweed Wildflowers, Asclepias incarnata, Swamp Milkweed Wildflower Seeds

Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) is a showier variety of Common Milkweed. It is extremely elegant, producing willowy foliage and pink blooms. It will also attract beautiful butte.

Pink Common Milkweed, Asclepias syriaca with bees

Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) produces purple/pink flower clusters that wildflower gardeners love. Milkweed is one of the Monarch Butterflies’ favorite plants and will bring .

Poke Milkweed Seeds, Asclepias exaltata

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.

White Whorled Milkweed Seeds, Asclepias verticillata, Whorled Milkweed

Native to the Midwest, Whorled Milkweed (Asclepias verticillata) grows almost anywhere and is a pollinator magnet, providing nectar to all bee varieties, hummingbirds, butterflies an.

Showy Milkweed Seeds, Asclepias speciosa

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.

Prairie Milkweed Seeds, Asclepias sullivantii

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 .

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  • Spider Milkweed Seeds
  • Tall Green Milkweed Seeds
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Native milkweed plants play a critical role in feeding of one of our favorite winged friends, the Monarch butterfly, as well as loads of other pollinators. Easy to care for and very tough, nectar-rich milkweed (including butterfly weed) will bloom reliably year after year.