Put on garden gloves and stick your index finger in the dirt up to your first knuckle. 5. The aphids are difficult to get rid of. Just be sure to poke holes in the containers so excess water can drain off. You can plant milkweed seeds in early spring as soon as the soil can be worked, but they will need to be stratified for 2 to 3 months in the refrigerator before planting in spring for better germination. I bought the plant in a garden center and it has shed its fluffy seeds once already. Despite this trait, a milkweed plant is a little universe unto itself. Milkweed native to West Virginia can be purchased from native plant nurseries and seed companies in both plug and seed form. Collect and remove Asclepias seed pods after they’re ripe (don’t wait too long, or they will blow away). I was thinking of swamp milkweed and/or tropical milkweed. I used your technique above (along with several pods which I simply let fly wherever they wanted). Milkweed blooms in spring through summer. Mark your seeds with sturdy plant labels. Remove any leaves from the lower two to three inches, leaving at least one or two sets of leaves on top. The larvae or caterpillar stage feeds only on the leaves of Milkweed. Watch for signs of moisture buildup in the bag, and keep cuttings well ventilated to prevent disease. Question: Why is milkweed important to the monarch butterflies? The Butterfly Society of Virginia is a tax exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. It is a more cultivated alternative to common milkweed that is also attractive to egg-laying Monarchs. You can check the resources age for more natives/perennials or annuals:

Milkweed for North American Butterfly Gardens

Follow the steps on this post for fall planting. Zone 5 … Now I am in Norther Illinois and I have honeybees. By planting milkweed in your own garden, landscape and throughout your community, you can help reverse the fortune of these beautiful insects. I will be so excited to see them pop up in spring. Use the distance between the tips of each digit for approximate spacing. Asclepias syriaca Milkweed is an interesting plant on a variety of levels. I had 5 worms this year. I do that every year in my own garden. I also grow Oxypetalum caeruleum, with it’s lovely star-shaped light blue flowers and milkweed pods, which is reported to be a food source for Manarch larvae; however, I haven’t yet observed a Monoarch egg or larvae on this plant. The best milkweed is the one that is native to your area, is easiest to grow, and that feeds healthy monarch caterpillars. I have harvested seed pods and they are in a paper bag. It grew aggressively throughout several of the farm’s pasture fields, but the cows and horses avoided it. What would you advise?

Sheila in NJ

  • Hey Tony,

    Couple of questions;

    – Does butterfly weed form a single stalk or multiple stalks? This year I fall planted 500 Swamp Milkweed seeds(I always have good luck with Swamp Milkweeds). Plants from the Asclepias genus tend to be either half hardy or hardy perennials.. Last autumn, tending milkweed, she was hot and wiped the sweat off her face. I guess you should be careful what you wish for. The Butterfly Asclepias is sun-loving, easy to grow and blooms brilliant, vibrant orange colored blooms that will attract may pollinators to the garden. It also provides nectar for the adult butterflies. Swamp milkweed is a tall plant with fragrant, showy clusters of pink and light purple flowers. Thanks so much, Nina.