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  • There is lots of milkweed in the wild, but maybe I should plant some in my garden. Unlike many ornamentals, swamp milkweed tolerates heavy clay soils and is very deer-resistant. I learned early on that if you break the leaves or stems of this plant, a sticky, white sap oozes out and irritates your skin. Last autumn, tending milkweed, she was hot and wiped the sweat off her face. The toxicity of the plant … It grew aggressively throughout several of the farm’s pasture fields, but the cows and horses avoided it. VA native milkweed species. Dr. Richard Mills’ outstanding article on “Milkweed and Monarchs” was reprinted in the Fall 2001 issue of the Virginia Butterfly Bulletin. Milkweed native to West Virginia can be purchased from native plant nurseries and seed companies in both plug and seed form. I will not use chemical insecticides, as they may kill my Monarch eggs and larvae. Now I am in Norther Illinois and I have honeybees. This year I have noticed many of the stems have tiny orange aphid-like insects on them. Good luck with your garden!

    Fall Planting Plants

    You might try planting in a couple different area to see where the plants thrive. This is perfectly normal! Monarchs may not notice a single butterfly weed or milkweed plant, but they do notice a group of them. When the flowers of summer wane, pollinators move on to late bloomers, such as the mistakenly maligned native thistles. I bought the plant in a garden center and it has shed its fluffy seeds once already. You can easily crowded young seedlings to extend your milkweed bed. Stratification of milkweeds usually occurs best at 32 to 41˚F for a period of three to six weeks. Where do I buy the seeds?

    • Hi Art,

      there are many different species of milkweed you can plant in your garden both native, and non-native. can’t get rid of them fast enough.

      • Aphids are a problem for butterfly gardeners everywhere. 5. I live in MA and have a lot of milkweed seed I was planning on scattering this fall. In addition, a group of toxicants known as cardenolides may be responsible for digitalis-like signs that cause or contribute to death. I want to split my swamp milkweed plants, so I have plenty next summer. Thank you for all your teaching!

        • Hi Barbara, not sure where you’re located? You can also plant plants in late summer, early fall for much bigger plants next season. Bloodflower flowers are an orange/yellow mix. I always wished there were some on our property. Is that OK?

          Also, I read other comments and see I might have to transplant the seedlings when they come up in spring…Can’t I leave them where they come up?

          • Hi Janis, you only have to transplant if your seedlings are competing for space and crowding each other out. I’ve seen pictures where it looks bush like, and didn’t know if this was a single plant or multiple plants close together.

            – Are there particular cultivars ( if there is such thing) of orange butterfly weed and if so is there one that stands out?

            _ Any recommended online sites to buy seed?

            Thanks

            • Hi Devin, Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly weed) has many stalks. I will be so excited to see them pop up in spring. I live in Long Beach, NY. It can vary from year to year. Use the distance between the tips of each digit for approximate spacing. Now new pods are coming out again I have it in a pot and have put it in my garage for the winter.
              Can I still plant the seeds in the ground I live in Maryland?
              My plant had long green leaves and orange/yellow small flowers it is about 3 1/2 feed tall..

              • Hi Carol, November is a great time to plant seeds. They are not buried in nature–they just float through the air and land on the ground.

                I have sprinkled common milkweed seeds on top of the soil in a large planter, and unknowingly spilled seeds on the ground. Swamp milkweed is a tall plant with fragrant, showy clusters of pink and light purple flowers. Milkweeds (Asclepias) get their name from the sticky white sap that oozes from the leaves when they are damaged. When emerging milkweeds have three to four sets of leaves, thin seedlings to 6 inches apart. Put your seeds into a small bowl and bring out to planting area. I did not want to plant seeds and wait for next year before I got results. Keep new cuttings out of direct sun for a few days, then place in a protected area out of hot sun and winds, such as under deck benches or under tall trees. This is perfectly normal! The majority of these are available at native plant … Some species grow exclusively in specific regions while others will thrive in jus… The flowers may be shaded purplish or green. The children will also be making bird and butterfly houses to put in these gardens. I actually got some milkweed seeds a couple years ago. I’ve never done this before or even knew to do it! Asclepias, commonly known as butterfly weed or milkweed, is a plant monarch butterflies need to survev, because it is the only food source that monarch caterpillars will eat. Milkweed is a glorious perennial wildflower native to North America. That way squirrels and other critters are less likely to dig up the seeds…definitely before the ground freezes and before the first big snowstorm. Asclepias syriaca Milkweed is an interesting plant on a variety of levels. If you miss the window of opportunity for fall planting, winter sowing milkweed seeds is also an option. Our main purpose is to raise the general consciousness of our members and the public regarding the survival problems of butterflies and moths through publicity, programs and activities for both adults and children. Common Names: Other common names include butterfly milkweed, butterfly weed, chigger-weed, pleurisy root, and Indian paintbrush. I personally like to combine colors to produce more of a natural look. Please confirm species listed are native to your area before planting. You are so informative. My tap-roots arrived in time for planting. Question: Why is milkweed important to the monarch butterflies? Planting a block of milkweed is the easiest way to help rebound the plummeting population of this beloved butterfly, but you might choose to plant it based on looks alone! All our plants are native plants and the butterflies just love the dwarf butterfly bushes and coneflowers. I had 100 Monarchs this year and had to pay about $300 to buy more milkweed from our 2 local vendors. Poke the holes, fill with potting soil (damp) place the lid on tight so the wind won’t blow it off, you can tape it on if you need to or use a rock to hold in place and place outdoors in a wind protected area. And our native plant friends continue to argue based on little and a non-replicated study that tropical milkweed is “bad” for monarchs. Perhaps this is why milkweeds in my little seaside community are decreasing? Conservation efforts I want to be as successful as possible, so is there anything specific to my variety that I need to do?

                • Hi Patricia, tuberosa is just one milkweed that is native to your region. There’s also ‘hello yellow’ which has sunny yellow flowers. It’s not a method I have used in our garden. Fall planting is a great way to get your perennial milkweed varieties started, since the seeds will need cold stratification…and Father Winter takes care of this naturally! Consider planting milkweed varieties that are native to your region for best results. But, a Virginia Beach friend of mine recently shared how toxic milkweed can be. I have been cutting the stems down and tossing the insect covered stems in the trash. Seeds can move over winter and some won’t germinate so exact spacing now is a waste of time. If you’re going to do that, winter sowing is a better option because the seeds germinate faster in protective containers:

                  Winter Sowing Milkweed Seeds

              • how deep tony? Asclepias tuberosa, butterfly weed - Leaves are food during the egg and larvae stages. It contains toxins called cardiac glyphosides, which deter feeding by most insects and mammals. Appreciate any thoughts you might have.
                Love your site by the way. They can grow anywhere from 2 to 6 feet in height, so don’t crowd them. There are several dozen species of this wildflower native to North America, so no matter where you live, there is at least one milkweed species naturally found in your area. Three years ago I saw one in the front yard, I left it and it became 3. The blooms are excellent cut flowers, and in … I live in SW Connecticut and will go get a hand ful of Milkweed seeds from a local sanctuary, I plan to plant them this November with some pre schoolers. Milkweed is the only plant the Monarch Butterflies use to breed and is the main source of food for their developing larvae. 6. Then I heard monarch butterflies could only eat milkweed, then I heard their ‘ranks’ were dwindling…. The Ascelpias viridis (spider milkweed) plants will be spaced 1.5 to 2 feet apart. I would try to speak with someone in your region that has actually used milkweed seed bombs before, to see how effective they are. It has purple to pink flower clusters, which are approximately 2 inches wide and appear in the spring. Here are some options. Specializing in native milkweed plants. I was going to plant against the garage on east side. Good luck!

            • Thanks for your website. Plant Milkweeds for Monarchs. Starting seeds indoors in winter. there were milkweed plants in the fields behind my parent’s house when I was growing up… also copious numbers of monarchs. They even notice the Asclepias plants when they’re tiny, just emerging from winter dormancy in April. This year we bought a house with a big yard, so now I can plant the butterfly garden I’ve been wanting for the past few years! Free and open to the public. good luck!

              • First knuckle? Milkweed Retail Nurseries in West Virginia. Monarch Butterfly Garden- Bring Home the Butterflies, Butterfly Garden Ideas and Gardening Tips to Attract Monarchs, Swallowtails, Hummingbirds, and other Precious Pollinators. If you have seeds or plants for other species of Asclepias, please contact me for a trade! Sunshine Farm & Gardens Renick, West Virginia. I condition the soil every year. As I get more of the core site pages/posts finished, I will definitely post more about issues specific to other regions. Click on the orange links to find seeds…htere are seed vendors I purchase from at the bottom of the page. In general, it appears that the broad-leaved species produce cardiotoxic and GI effects while the narrow-leaved species are more commonly neurotoxic. Sow seeds immediately. In those studies, the prize for worst pollinator, but best nectar robber goes to the 865 American bumble bees ( B. pensylvanicus ) that visited Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed) and extracted only four pollinia among them. I have tried Safer Soap and hard sprays of hose water with disappointing results. It is also is a host plant for other butterflies, such as queen and grey hairstreak butterflies. When emerging milkweeds have three to four sets of leaves, thin seedlings to 6 inches apart. This year, my 2” Asclepias – all varieties – were covered with Monarch eggs. Milkweed Availability and the Nursery Industry. Of these, I’ve found that butterfly weed is the least favorite of my Monarch guests in my Virginia Beach garden for laying eggs (perhaps the leaves are tougher?) Although there are many species of milkweeds, deciding which milkweed species to plant depends on a few variables. It can also be propagated at home by collecting and sowing local seeds. The leaves are opposite and 4 to 10 inches in length; they are light green with grayish down beneath and produce a milky sap when damaged. I wanted mature plants for my bed THIS season. Exposing seeds to cool temperatures before the warmer temps of spring will cause them to break their dormancy coaxing out your new spring seedlings. As far as ‘planting’ goes, I would pull the stalks out by the base, they usually didn’t take up much root, and collected all these ‘fronds of seed-pods and go around all the empty lots around my house and wave them around spreading those ‘parachutes’ willy nilly! Winter Sowing Milkweed Seeds Part 1: Supply Checklist. Who Knew!

              • I would like to plant milkweed. What would you advise?

                Thanks!
                Sheila in NJ

                • Hi Sheila, if the seed pods are opening on their own and you can see mature brown seeds, I would harvest them now before the fluff starts coming out.

              • Hey Tony,

                Couple of questions;

                – Does butterfly weed form a single stalk or multiple stalks? You can also start stratified seeds indoors in late winter. It’s just been lawn up to when I start digging.

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