5 Tips For Planting Milkweed #gotmilkweed

5 Tips for Planting Milkweed juicygreenmom feature

It’s Spring!! Although there is usually still snow at this time of year in Edmonton, I am buzzing with excitement at how beautiful it is (even though it is a nasty sign of climate change). I started some seeds a few weeks ago and am super excited to see them starting to pop and I can’t wait to start putting them into the ground!

The past few years, I also got milkweed plants to add to the garden. Why? Milkweed is vital for the monarch butterfly population, and helps support other pollinators as well. Monarch butterflies need milkweed to survive – their caterpillars only eat milkweed, and they need it to lay their eggs. Monarch butterflies have been losing numbers drastically, so the David Suzuki foundation launched a campaign to help bring them back.

Here are 5 tips for planting milkweed!

5 Tips for Planting Milkweed juicygreenmom

1 – Know the genus: Asclepias.

There are different types of milkweed native to different regions, but they all have the same genus Asclepias. So when you’re at your local garden centre, ask for it, or look for it on the plant tags and you’ll know when you’ve hit the milkweed jackpot!

2 – Find out what’s right for your zone.

Different plants will do better in different zones, so you want to ensure you’re getting something that’s right for your area. Monarch Butterfly Garden has a great resource with different types of milkweed, where they can grow, and where they are native.

3 – Plant several!

One milkweed plant isn’t going to do a ton – imagine you’re a monarch butterfly looking for milkweed. It would be tough to zero in on one plant! If you can, plant a few plants. Or – plant one, and then collect the seeds to plant more. The best time to plant seeds outdoors is in the fall. Or you could start the seeds indoors and get them ready to plant next spring. This brings us to #4.

4 – Know how to get the seeds.

Stewardship Garden has a really awesome step-by-step guide for when to collect seeds from your existing milkweed plant and how to plant them! I was able to harvest seeds from my plants – and it’s so easy to do.

5 – Enjoy!

The best part about growing things is that you never know what’s going to happen – it’s a new adventure every time! I haven’t gotten any monarchs in our backyard yet, but I only have a few plants, so I’m definitely going to be harvesting seeds this season. I’m excited to see how more milkweed brightens up our yard and when the monarchs will start to come!

Here’s a great guide for how to plant your milkweed seeds!

Will you plant some milkweed this year?

25 Responses

  1. I planted 22 containers full of milkweed seeds, (half collected from native plants, half purchased seeds.) on Superbowl Sunday. Placed them all outside as mini greenhouses with simple saran wrap doubled and taped with strapping tape for lids, for winter stratification.
    Leaps and bounds! Gadzooks! I’ve got milkweed aplenty. And it’s all been transplanted into our 7 newly established butterfly gardens…
    I cannot wait to see it bloom, and better yet, see the butterflies and their eggs/caterpillars!

  2. So glad that more people are dping this. When we had pur farm,we left big areas to let the milkweed and other wild plants grow. The decline over the 20 years I’ve been keeping track is drastic. So much land being developed. They need to travel farther each year to find the milkweed. This just sickens me that as humans we keep choosing to destroy our planet. My little plot of land is being planted with everythibg I can cram into it for wildlife

    • I’m not sure exactly what type you’d need in Nova Scotia, but I would google to see what works in your zone! The David Suzuki Foundation sells milkweed seeds seasonally, so that might be a good resource for you to see what might work best.

  3. This year I decided to plant seeds since last year we bought 15-20 milkweed plants just to keep our caterpillars with food. I harvested my own orange milkweed seeds and bought white and pink seeds. I planted 100 Jiffy pellets with 3 seeds each and had 100 percent germination!! So needless to say all my family and a our neighbors have milkweed plants in their flower beds. There are monarch butterflies everywhere this year near us!

  4. I planted milkweed for a few years now , last year I got to watch a Monarch butterfly through all the phases. It was amazing ! Their cocoons look like a fine piece of jewelry with gold specks . After it hatched it flew around my garden for a few days. I am excited about this year !!

  5. Oh my gosh! I’m so excited people are dong this! I learned of the milkweed last year. Planted 3 plants. Wow! Caterpillars galore! I used to think it was a weed that would take over but it did not move from its spot. I have been telling everyone the plight of the monarch
    ( I work in a large nursery) people actually care??
    Keep spreading the word!
    Heather?

  6. I live in New Zealand & had 22 plants this year. It wasnt anywhere enough plants. They striped them bare.
    Ive never seen so many Monarchs as this Summer gone.
    Its Winter now, & I have the last catterply inside on a plant.
    Already planted about 6 pkts of seeds & some have already poped up in the glasshouse. This year I am trailing using soil blocks, this is new to New Zealand. So good so far. I am hoping that the soil blocks can go straight into the garden in Spring.
    I love growing plants for our beautiful Monarchs.

  7. We actually transplanted a tropical milkweed found on a construction site.. a solitary plant! It is sooo happy it over 6 feet tall and 6 or 7 stalks! We also planted a few from Home Depot but they aren’t nearly as large. In addition I tried some seeds. Half the batch didn’t germinate the others we have been battling too much and not enough rains! I am however happy to report that we are on our 4th generation of Monarch eggs and then of course our little “pillars” ! This has been soooo much fun!
    p.s. our first Monarch from egg to Butterfly stuck around the house for 8 hours following me around the yard sitting on me etc. That was AMAZING!!!

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