Upon examination, I found a large praying mantis. We have them here in Louisiana as well. You could also try winter sowing and then plant all the seedlings next spring. For growing information, you can read our article here: How to grow milkweed. The non-natives will likely be perennials in your region too. The seed cluster can then be removed carefully from the milkweed pod. Do you know if this is true and would the plant even produce pods and seeds if proper pollination did not occur? I live in Florida. Also, what do you think about fertilizer with this? I live in the Annapolis area of Maryland, and we’re getting temps between 52-76-ish. I love monarchs and will leave them to grow to encourage the butterflies to come. Is it strange for them to be appearing at this time of year if they are? Thanks. Can you leave a section of milkweed for the Monarch? If you want to guarantee a collection, tie mesh organza bags around the pods: I have butterfly weed, can I collect the pods in the same way? If a milkweed pod won’t pop open easily, leave it for another time. Hopefully I’ll have more success next year. By harvesting, cleaning, and intentionally planting the seed, we create a much higher success rate for milkweed germination. These seeds are ripe and dispersing. Hi Suzann, if you picked the pods prematurely, they won’t develop much more….if you place the cuttings in water, some that are close may open on their own with mature seeds. Butterfly Plants Monarch Butterfly Butterflies Butterfly Weed Butterfly House Butterfly Kisses Milkweed Plant Comment Planter Hummingbird Garden. On a windy day I can really scatter a lot of seeds with the fluff attached. Fall is here and the time has come to harvest mature milkweed seeds from milkweed pods. It is a beautiful sight and I have had some interesting conversations as a result. Here’s the thing, the State comes thru and cuts down established plants on the side of the road. Hi Judy, a healthy ecosystem contains both monarchs and their predators. 4. How long will it take for my seeds to become useful to the Monarchs? If you’re going to get a hard freeze, you could always take a stem cutting with the pods attached and place the cutting in water. Hi Laura, what species of milkweed are you growing? Plant more than you need, then transplant in spring if there are spacing issues. I’ve done this with “balloon plant” before and the seeds continued to develop. I’ll be saving many seeds and planting them this fall but will also be donating many to a Monarch organization. I have way more Butterfly Weed and Common Milkweed seeds than I’m going to be able to stratify and plant this spring. Hi Judy, the plants can survive temps as low as the high 20’s…if it’s going to get colder than that, you could overwinter plants indoors or just take a cutting of the plant with the pods and put it in water indoors to let them finish developing if they are close. pull out gently seeds and all. Last night we had a frost. I waited until my native milkweed pods turned brown and cracked open but there were only seeds inside, no fluff. I have just bought 3 of the narrow leaf milkweed and on one plant there are 2 seed pods. How To Harvest Milkweed Seeds…Fluff Be Gone! Step 4: Separate seeds from milkweed floss. They are common milkweed and would be a donation or would LOVE a trade if you have any Asclepias Purpurascens. I wasn’t able to plant them right away and now it’s the middle of June. You’ll also get new plants from seeding and some species (like asclepias syriaca) spread by underground rhizomes. HARVESTING: STEP 1: Hold split milkweed pod inside a paper grocery bag. Why is it necessary to separate the seeds from the fluff? Also, if they did flower they would need to be pollinated by butterflies, bees, etc. What are my best options for making sure the seeds will be good for planting in the spring? Simply empty seeds and fluff into a paper bag with a few coins and shake. that popped up in the front planter… gotta love new houses right? As I walked through the area yesterday I noticed quite a few birds helping themselves to some of the seed. Am I doing this right? Hi Diane, Monarch Watch has a milkweed seed program. Any way I can salvage them? When we ‘pot’ our swamp milkweed, we do so in the spring when the shoots start to emerge. Lately, however, I’ve noticed a shortage of eggs in one area of my yard. Here’s info on swamp: Thanks for the information. You can plant milkweed starter plants purchased at specialty nurseries. Hi Janet, my guess is somewhere around freezing 32° F but I would move one indoors if it was below 50° F. I have found small caterpillars alive after it dipped down to 31° F…. Hi Leigh, you could always cover the plants with a light blanket if the temps get close to freezing. For an added layer of protection from refrigerator spills, you can place them inside another container. When emerging milkweeds have three to four sets of leaves, thin seedlings to 6 inches apart. I’ve been riding through local alleys on my recumbent trike, blowing milkweed seeds onto the little weedpatches between the garages and the pavement. How to Grow & Harvest Milkweed When to Plant. Any species in the milkweed family will do, but the easiest to grow is the common milkweed, Asclepias syriaca. zone 5. What do we do with the plants themselves? I have heard reports that this method kills some of the seeds. It has seed pods though and they do not look even close to ripe. I also noticed the caterpillars eating the pods a few weeks ago. Seeds that are too young will appear orangish and translucent on the edges. I would like to know which species I have and if there is anything special I should do for them. This has been such a helpful source of information. I see new monarchs in my yard every day. They haven’t grown that much and I don’t see any seed pods. Milkweed seed planted in fall is naturally stratified. It’s great for carrying the seeds to new locations outdoors. Your site has been my saving grace many times! PS…thanks for the milkweed offer but we are good . I assume they’ll dry out and split eventually and I can look at the seed color, just wondering what to expect. They’re too small to put rubber bands around, what should I do for now? Harvest Milkweed Seeds without the Fluff Part 2. We have 98 plants now and I intend to collect pods again this year. I have pastures full of milkweed…. Thank you for caring for our Monarchs! Thank you for the info we have some wild milkweed on my boyfriend’s uncle’s land and we are going to try and hardest some seeds this year to plant more for next year. WE learned a lot when we visited the reptile land in PA. Will they continue to ripen? How to Harvest and Separate Milkweed Seeds To harvest the seeds, simply pull the entire seed pod off of the plant. So if I planted the seeds this spring they won’t come up? Can they be cut and sundried? Harvest Milkweed Seeds without the Fluff Part 1, 5. Direct sow in fall or indoors in spring. I have 5 varieties of milkweed. I live in palm springs california.. a friend from minnesota just sent me seeds.. im going to try them… can anyone tell me what natives might grow well here in palm springs. If you took the stalk and placed it in water with pods attached that were close to maturity, that might work…or stick the stem part emerging from the pod into a floral tube. 2a. Tips for harvesting milkweed seeds Step 1: Harvest seed pod from milkweed plant Pick pods as they turn brown, dry and mature. If so, please post a comment below and let us know your seed germination rate the next season. any ideas? Then, cut a small hole in a bottom corner of the bag and shake out the seeds. If not, maybe you could harvest, and then let them plant the seeds. Not trying to kill off the monarch but trying to keep a clean pasture. Hi Bob, what species of milkweed and where are you located? Will the seeds from fluffless pods still be viable? Folowed instructions on the seed packets and after a while I actually had about 50 milkweed plants, in addition to a failry large Buddleja Davidii, a( Butterfly Bush). . Interesting ideas. I did find a hand full of caterpillars. 4 – Open the pods, remove the fluff (or feathers, floss – everyone seems to have a different name) Take a pod, and identify the base and top. The milkweed that grows is a few feet tall with very light purple flower balls Thank you for your help! Plant seedlings outside in a sunny spot when they have 3 to 4 sets of leaves and the ground is warm. Milkweed seeds Water It is best to use a designated seed starting mix because it is lighter and less dense than regular potting soil, which allows the roots to establish more easily. How To Plant Milkweed Seeds In Fall: Water Once you’ve pressed the seeds into the soil, give the area a good watering to set the seeds. I stumbles upon some plants seeds opening and ready, I live in Rhode Island should I plant now or wait, Also I’m going back to get more since they’re on a property we own. Collect milkweed seeds in late fall when the seed pods are brown and open, or green and easy to pop open. Otherwise, the plants will be too small to support monarchs. They seem to just grow on their own. I havent had ANY luck this year with Monarch caterpillars but Im hoping the one I saw about a week or two ago placed some viable eggs. There are many insects…spiders, bees, etc. The nondescript flowers start forming pods in September Split a hairy Ball open and you will find hundreds of seeds. Gardeners who plant milkweed seeds can attract Monarch butterflies to a yard and enjoy watching the life cycle of the Monarchs. The resulting caterpillars then eat the leaves of the milkweed plants and build their pupas on the milkweed plants. The pod is still tightly closed so seeds are not ripe. One of the pods is finally dry and I cracked it open today — I don’t think it was ever going to split on its own. Dill garden?!?!?) Thanks. Put the heads in a paper bag and dry them for 5 to 7 days. I live in a suburb of Washington DC. Thanks again for all of the great information! You’ll also want to clearly mark them so they don’t get thrown out, or used to spice up a Thanksgiving side dish! HTH. Its the only one Im having a hard time finding. You never know what will pop up! You can always open pods to see if any hold mature seeds…good luck! I do have assassin bugs and aphids and wondered if they consumed the fluff. Good luck! White or light pink flowers and no fluff on the seeds. I am converting a 40 acre parcel in the Stonington Peninsula of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, once a monarch butterfly hot spot, into a monarch refuge. Plant milkweed —  it’s the sole food source for monarch caterpillars and is attractive to many pollinators for its nectar-rich flowers. This summer and wanted to help the butterfly’s . Because you’re planting in the fall, you won’t need to water after this until early spring when the seeds start to germinate. Harvest Milkweed Seeds without the Fluff Part 4 (You’re Late! Are they seed pods? You can accomplish this with your refrigerator. After germination, grow the plants until they are several inches tall then plant out into the garden. Sow your milkweed seeds in early spring. I store seeds I’m not planting next season in a cupboard. If that’s the case I would wait until fall, winter sow, or plant earlier next spring. http://www.gardengatemagazine.com/articles/how-to/start-seeds/how-to-harvest-and-plant-milkweed-seeds/, How to Propagate Rex Begonias from Leaf Cuttings. If you pick pods and open them to discover light brown (or white!) Hi Judy, if you still have high temps in the 60’s they will be in good shape for release: Late summer I drove around the area looking for common milkweed pods in areas that typically get mowed down. Only a small percentage of milkweed seeds will break dormancy when planted in the Spring. Kept in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped in plastic. Hi Laurie, much of the perennial milkweed species in Michigan will not thrive in your region. 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