Type: Native Wildflowers
Growing: Young plants should be watered until they become established; mature plants can tolerate drought, and the roots will be damaged by excessively wet soil. This plant grows slowly, and it may take 2-3 years to produce flowers. Though not invasive, this plant will eventually spread if left to drop its seed. The flowers attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Deer avoid this plant. If aphids become a problem, dislodge them from the plant with a strong stream of water.
Seed Saving: After the plant finishes flowering, 3-4″ narrow pods will form. Be sure to harvest butterfly milkweed pods before they split and the silky fluff carries the seeds away on the wind. As soon as the seeds inside the pod ripen to their mature brown color, remove the pods and spread them out to dry. Split open the pods and take out the silky seed material. Remove the fluff from the seeds. Store the seeds in a cool, dry place.
US Regions: Arid/Desert, Plains/Texas, Midwest, Northern, Northeast, Southeast
As I type, Iâ€™m stratifying these seeds in the fridge.. Also purchased the â€œshowyâ€ variety, looking forward to the colors!
Grow Butterfly Weed: All of our perennial butterfly weeds attract bees and hummingbirds, are important nectar sources for a wide range of butterflies, most notably the Monarch. To promote Monarch butterfly caterpillars, Asclepias incarnata is the host most preferred. Plants are deer and rabbit resistant. Learn more about monarch butterflies and butterfly weed.
Plant Butterfly Weed Seeds: Full sun. Asclepias incarnata (Milkmaid and Soulmate) thrive in moist, even wet soils, will adapt to average garden water. Asclepias tuberosa (Orange and Gay Butterflies) tolerate heat and drought, need only occasional water once established, will happily accept average moisture with good drainage.
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Seeds labeled “Packed for 2020” are guaranteed to grow if planted before the end of the year (in climates that permit fall and winter growing). Although we cannot guarantee seeds labeled as “Packed for 2020” for the 2021 year, they remain “shelf-legal” until the end of the year—and the vast majority of them will remain viable into next year. When kept in cool, dry conditions, most seeds maintain good germination rates for multiple years.
On the back of each of our seed packs you will find the year for which the seed is packed. Usually, by November, we remove from our inventory any remaining seed packs that are labeled for the current year. We do this to focus on preparing our inventory for the next year. However, due to the higher demand for seeds this year, we want to make as much viable seed available to our customers as we can.
Keeping butterfly populations happy and robust is a team effort, one that cannot be achieved by plantings of Common Milkweed alone. Although related, Butterfly Weed is a different species, with a wider native range and a habit and growth schedule that is all its own. It tends to flower for a longer duration of time than Common Milkweed, and it lacks milky sap. The nectar within its blooms attracts butterflies of all types, and the larvae of monarchs feed on the leaves. Long live the lepidoptera!
Seeds Last: A Few Words on Fall-Sold Seeds
As our germination testing continues, “Packed for 2021” seeds will continue appearing. At the start of the new year, any remaining seeds available only as “Packed for 2020” stock will be taken offline until a satisfactory germination test is complete on that lot.
To learn more, check out our short blog post on seed longevity here: How Long Do Seeds Last?