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storing butterfly weed seeds

Amy Andrychowicz says

Amanda Hemmer says

Awesome post! I always love reading posts on how to harvest/save seeds from a variety of plants that grow. A big one around here is milkweed. Milkweed seeds themselves are very expensive, which is weird because it grows in abundance along roadways here in NJ.

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Butterfly weed seed pods

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I live and garden in Minneapolis, MN (zone 4b). My green thumb comes from my parents, and I’ve been gardening most of my life. I’m a passionate gardener who loves growing everything from vegetables, herbs, and flowers to succulents, tropicals, and houseplants – you name, I’ve grown it! Read More.

Wow, your butterfly weed plants flowered AND produced seed pods the first year after planting the seeds? That is amazing! Have fun collecting them for next year. ?

There are many different methods and variations to get milkweed seeds. Some of them are quite easy, others require a bit of planning and materials. Most of them will result in some milkweed floss/feathers getting in the way of a clean harvest.

The pods shown in the picture above are definitely ripe. But you would probably release a lot of feathers if you tried to harvest these, as they have opened up quite a bit on their own. You could do it, but would just need to be very careful.

The simplest process to cleanly save milkweed seeds

The population of the Monarch Butterfly has been declining for years. The best way to help them is to increase the number of milkweed plants. Propagating them in your garden is one great way to give them a stop over place to get nectar and lay eggs. The milkweeds native to North America are the primary hosts for Monarch Caterpillars. They lay their eggs exclusively on milkweed (Asclepias). The best way to help these species is to plant milkweed, plant milkweed, and plant more milkweed!

Take a pod, and identify the base and top. You will be able to feel the seed through the pod, and the top will have no seed (just feathers).

You need to harvest pods at the right time. Too early and the seeds won’t be fully developed. Too late, and the seeds may have already floated away with the wind.