Milkweed pods sending out seed for next year’s milkweed. Photo by Charles Dawley, Flickr Creative Commons
Common milkweed (Asclepis syrica). Photo by Duke Elser, MSU Extension.
What do you do with milkweed seeds?
Older milkweed plants are very difficult to transplant, so we do not recommend transplanting older, large milkweeds.
Grab a friend, bring a kid, put the dog on a leash and go out and collect milkweed seeds! Bring envelopes or baggies and a marker so that each species can be kept separate. Milkweeds grow well in disturbed areas, so scout in ditches, pastures, field edges, medians, etc. (Make sure you get permission before you go on any private land.)
Miss the window for fall planting? You can winter sow many types of milkweed. Use old, plastic containers like yogurt containers. Poke a few holes in the bottom for drainage and fill with a few inches of potting mix. Dampen the mix and plant the seeds, covering them lightly with more soil. Poke a few holes in the lid and cover your container. Put your container outside in a shady spot, like the north side of your garage. For more tips on winter sown milkweed, see “Winter Sowing Milkweed Seeds Part 2: Prepare Your Containers” from Monarch Butterfly Garden.
Tony Gomez says
You can break off fork handles to adjust the height for smaller seedlings.
2. A Soilless Start?
Hi Ethan, this really depends on how much precipitation you’re getting and how warm it is. Seedlings need to be monitored much closer than plants. Sorry, there’s really no good answer to this question in the age of extreme weather…
I have one question i live in Jacksonville Texas and i have seedlings if i plant them in the spring how long do i have to water them before i let them take care of themselves
Hi Sandra, swan milkweed is an annual in northern regions. If you’re looking for perennials: