Milk Weed Seeds

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Bring the benefits of our milkweed seeds for sale to your home garden! Milkweed flowers and leaves are loved by pollinators, especially monarch butterflies. Common Milkweed produces purple/pink flower clusters that wildflower gardeners love. Attract Monarch Butterflies to your garden or meadow. Perennial (Asclepias syriaca) Support endangered monarch butterflies by growing milkweed from seeds you can get for free.

Wildflowers – Milkweed Seeds

The Milkweed family is known as Asclepias to botanists. These species have become very popular over the past few years because of their unique trait of being a food source for Monarch Butterflies. Wherever Milkweeds are growing in our fields, somehow the Monarchs find them, and there is hardly a time when the butterflies are not fluttering around them. There is a good bit of variability within this genus, so there will surely be something that will work for your location, whether it is sand or swamp, or something in between. We carry everything from Common Milkweed seeds to Purple Milkweed. The Purple Milkweed is probably the rarest form of Milkweed seed that we have for sale, and the bulk stock that we get from time to time is quickly sold out. Browse our selection of bulk milkweed seeds for sale to find the right seeds to plant in your garden!

Blood Flower Seeds Asclepias curassavica Quick View

Blood Flower Seeds

Asclepias curassavica

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Also known as tropical milkweed, these brilliant red and yellow blossoms explode with color in their first growing season. Every butterfly garden needs this annual plant.

Butterfly Weed Seeds Asclepias tuberosa Quick View

Butterfly Weed Seeds

Asclepias tuberosa

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One of the most striking of native plants, Butterfly Weed lights up the prairies with its blazing orange flowers. Monarch Butterflies thrive on this plant, so it is a must for any butterfly garden on sandy soil. Butterfly milkweed seed thrives in rocky or sandy soil, typically in open fields or along roadsides.

Common Milkweed Seeds Asclepias syriaca Quick View

Common Milkweed Seeds

Asclepias syriaca

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This familiar wildflower is a significant food source for monarch caterpillars and butterflies, and so it is used for butterfly gardens and waystations. This common variety spreads easily, but most gardeners do not mind if it spreads a bit.

Out of Stock Poke Milkweed Seeds Asclepias exaltata Quick View

Poke Milkweed Seeds

Asclepias exaltata

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These tall, elegant stalks can be found in woodland areas across the eastern United States and Canada. The white flower clusters are great for attracting monarch butterflies to a shaded garden.

Out of Stock Prairie Milkweed Seeds Asclepias sullivantii Quick View

Prairie Milkweed Seeds

Asclepias sullivantii

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These fragrant rose/mauve blossoms attract both hummingbirds and butterflies. This easy-to-grow variety is used in many prairie restoration projects.

Out of Stock Purple Milkweed Seeds Asclepias purpurascens Quick View

Purple Milkweed Seeds

Asclepias purpurascens

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This beautiful rare milkweed blooms a deep rose color that is close to purple. It is found in woodlands, prairies, and marshes. The leaves are also a darker green than most milkweeds, making a nice contrast. The only downside to this species is that it is rare and hard to get!

Out of Stock Red Milkweed Seeds Asclepias rubra Quick View

Red Milkweed Seeds

Asclepias rubra

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Attractive to both hummingbirds and butterflies, this variety makes an excellent choice for wetland gardens. The fragrant flowers grow to a medium height, so makes a great specimen plant as well. This wildflower is a rare type of milkweed and is often not available.

Showy Milkweed Seeds Asclepias speciosa Quick View

Showy Milkweed Seeds

Asclepias speciosa

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A popular native wildflower in western North America, Showy Milkweed commonly occurs on rocky slopes, woodland areas, or streams. The sweet-scented pink blossoms draw many butterflies, so you will want this in your garden if you like butterflies!

Spider Milkweed Seeds Asclepias viridis Quick View

Spider Milkweed Seeds

Asclepias viridis

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Known to attract flocks of butterflies, this milkweed features greenish-white flowers. It is native to the southern US, so it can take a lot of heat and is fairly drought resistant.

Swamp Milkweed Seeds Asclepias incarnata Quick View

Swamp Milkweed Seeds

Asclepias incarnata

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These showy, pink flowers give off a sweet scent similar to cinnamon or vanilla. Attractive to butterflies, this variety flourishes in swamps or along streams, so it is a great option for a butterfly plant in a wet setting. Swamp milkweed plants are a staple of many wetland plantings.

Out of Stock Tall Green Milkweed Seeds Asclepias hirtella Quick View

Tall Green Milkweed Seeds

Asclepias hirtella

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Though not as well known as other varieties of milkweed, this tall variety distinguishes itself with abundant clusters of green-white flowers. It especially attracts monarch butterflies, so it is an excellent choice for a butterfly garden in full sun.

Whorled Milkweed Seeds Asclepias verticillata Quick View

Whorled Milkweed Seeds

Asclepias verticillata

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This is a milkweed that grows in many regions of the United States. It is a late-blooming variety that is especially valuable as a butterfly host. The white flower clusters on the long, narrow leaves are a late-season food source for the Monarch Butterfly.

The Milkweed family is known as Asclepias to botanists. These species have become very popular over the past few years because of their unique trait of being a food source for Monarch Butterflies. Wherever Milkweeds are growing in our fields, somehow the Monarchs find them, and there is hardly a time when the butterflies are not fluttering around them. There is a good bit of variability within this genus, so there will surely be something that will work for your location, whether it is sand or swamp, or something in between. We carry everything from Common Milkweed seeds to Purple Milkweed. The Purple Milkweed is probably the rarest form of Milkweed seed that we have for sale, and the bulk stock that we get from time to time is quickly sold out. Browse our selection of bulk milkweed seeds for sale to find the right seeds to plant in your garden!

Common Milkweed Seeds

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 many winged friends to your garden or meadow. It can be a challenge to grow but once established it will thrive for years to come and spread quickly. Perennial.

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).

Find Your Planting Zone:

Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) is a handsome, straight plant you see in every farm field and growing wherever a roadside hasn’t been mowed. Leaves are glossy and thick, and the blooms are large, rounded clusters of purplish/pink flowers atop plants that range from 2 to 5 ft. It’s native in the US from Canada to Georgia, and west to Texas.

The botanical name, “Asclepias”; is after Aesclepios, the Greek God of medicine, since this plant has been used as a medicinal since ancient times. “Milkweed” derives from the fact that when you break a stem, sticky white sap immediately appears. Common Milkweed is one of our commonest “weeds,” but one almost all wildflower gardeners want.

This is the plant famous for its “silky seeds” in fall, when you see the drying cone-shaped seedpods crack open and their snow-white shiny fluff flying around the meadow. This is the dispersal mechanism for the large shiny seeds of common milkweed. Every kid loves to blow them away in fall, like dandelion seeds in spring.

Even though farmers hate milkweed, you’ll love it in your wildflower garden. for two reasons. It’s beautiful and dependably perennial, and it’s the No. 1 plant visited by Monarch butterflies on their famous migration south every summer and fall. In fact, during late summer, it’s somewhat rare to see a milkweed plant without a monarch perched upon the flowers, making it the No. 1 butterfly magnet among our wildflowers. (“Butterfly Weed” is a close relative, with bright orange flowers.)

Native Range for Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed) – AL, AR, CT, DC, DE, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV.

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.

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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 to Common 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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How to Score Free Milkweed Seeds for a Monarch-Friendly Garden

Support endangered monarch butterflies by growing milkweed, an essential host plant for these iconic butterflies.

Savanna Bous is a digital editorial assistant at Better Homes and Gardens. She graduated from Drake University in the spring of 2022 with degrees in magazine media, advertising, and digital media production.

Seeing a monarch butterfly is completely thrilling. Their huge, unmistakable black and orange wings are bewitching. Not only are they fascinating to look at, they’re also are important pollinators for fruit and flowers. But sadly, the International Union for Conservation of Nature officially declared the migratory monarch as an endangered species in July 2022. Their population has dropped with destruction of their habitats in Mexico and California and the loss of milkweed in breeding grounds in the Midwest and Canada. One of the most effective ways you can help monarch butterflies is to plant milkweed in your garden. Here’s how you can find free milkweed seeds to get started, plus find out how to grow milkweed for monarchs.

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Why is milkweed important to monarchs?

Milkweed is a perennial flower native to North America that thrive in a wide array of ecosystems. This plant is essential to the life cycle of monarch butterflies because the insects need milkweed to lay their eggs. When the eggs hatch, milkweed is the only plant the white, black, and yellow striped caterpillars will eat. This makes it an essential element for helping the next generation of monarchs grow and hatch each season. It’s more important now that the monarch population is declining so alarmingly.

How to Get Free Milkweed Seeds

To lend monarch butterflies a helping hand, some organizations are making milkweed seeds more accessible for everyone. They send the seeds to gardeners, students, and enthusiasts to support the conservation of butterflies and their habitats. The organizations that send free seeds include Live Monarch, Monarch Watch, and Little Wings.

Live Monarch is celebrating 21 years of helping monarch butterflies. Live Monarch states that this program is for students, educators, and those in need. They ask if you can afford the seeds to purchase them yourself. To get free seeds, mail a self addressed, stamped envelope to Live Monarch – 2022 Seed Campaign, Po Box 1339, Blairsville, Georgia 30514. In return, you’ll receive 15 or more milkweed seeds for your region. Due to the organization’s popularity and increased demand, it takes approximately 2-4 weeks to receive the seeds.

Monarch Watch offers free seeds for habitat restoration projects. To participate, you must have two acres of land or 1/4 of an acre in California. A few places are not eligible to participate in this program including Canada, South Carolina, Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, and parts of Texas and North Carolina. You have submit an application. If selected, you cover the shipping and within a week will have tons of milkweed seeds to plant based on your location.

Little Wings provides free seeds through their website. Currently, they only have stock in common milkweed, which is a versatile variety that should grow in many regions. Click the “add to cart” button on the available seeds. Once in the cart, add your shipping info. In 1-2 week, your milkweed seeds should arrive and you can start planting.

Common Milkweed Varieties

There are over 70 types of native milkweed (Asclepias spp.) throughout the United States. When planting milkweed, try to find the right variety for your location. This way you don’t run into issues with seasonality, weather conditions, and winter hardiness.

Best Milkweed Varieties for the Northeast

  • Swamp milkweed (A. incarnata)
  • Common milkweed (A. syriaca)
  • Butterfly milkweed (A. tuberosa)
  • Clasping milkweed (A. amplexicaulis)
  • Poke milkweed (A. exaltata)
  • Fourleaf milkweed (A. quadrifolia)

Best Milkweed Varieties for the Southeast

  • Clasping milkweed (A. amplexicaulis)
  • Butterfly milkweed (A. tuberosa)
  • Radring milkweed (A. variegata)
  • Whorled milkweed (A. verticillata)
  • Green comet milkweed (A. viridiflora)
  • Pinewooods milkweed (A. humistrata)
  • Swamp milkweed (A. incarnata)
  • Longleaf milkweed (A. syriaca)
  • Tropical milkweed (A. curassavica)

Best Milkweed Varieties for the Midwest

  • Swamp milkweed (A. incarnata)
  • Showy milkweed (A. speciosa)
  • Common milkweed (A. syriaca)
  • Whorled milkweed (A. verticillata)
  • Butterfly milkweed (A. tuberosa)

Best Milkweed Varieties for the South

  • Green antelope horn milkweed (A. viridis)
  • Antelope horn milkweed (A. asperula)
  • Broadleaf milkweed (A. latifolia)
  • Zizotes milkweed (A. oenotheroides)
  • Butterfly milkweed (A. tuberosa)
  • Swamp milkweed (A. incarnata)
  • Arizona milkweed (A. angustifolia)
  • Rush milkweed (A. subulata)
  • Tropical milkweed (A. curassavica)

Best Milkweed Varieties for the Northwest

  • Showy milkweed (A. speciosa)
  • Broadleaf milkweed (A. latifolia)

Best Milkweed Varieties for California

  • Mexican whorled milkweed (A. fascicularis)
  • Heartleaf milkweed (A. cordifo-lia)
  • Woolly milkweed (A. vestita)
  • California milkweed (A. californica)
  • Desert milkweed (A. erosa)
  • Woolypod milkweed (A. eriocarpa)

How to Plant Milkweed Seeds

If you get milkweed seeds for your garden, you can plant them in spring or fall. Start them indoors in late winter or early spring. Growing the plants inside for a few months gives them extra time to mature before transplanting outside. Plant your milkweed seedlings outside after the last sign of frost in your region. In the fall, simply scatter the seeds outdoors where you want them to grow. They won’t sprout until they’ve been exposed to freezing temperatures. Once spring comes, the seeds will be ready to start growing. They may not bloom the first year, but they’ll still have leaves to offer to monarch caterpillars.

The monarch butterfly population won’t recover overnight, but gardeners all across the country can help just by including a few milkweed plants in their yards. Don’t forget to mail in your envelop and donation (if able!) to an organization that offers free milkweed seeds. In addition to milkweed, adult monarchs also love nectar-rich plants like lantana, rudbeckia, and yarrow. These flowering plants make it easy to beautify your garden and help monarch butterflies.

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