Amy Andrychowicz says
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. 🙂
What To Do With Butterfly Weed Seeds After Harvesting
Break open the seed pod to collect butterfly weed seeds
Thanks Mike! Yes, that is weird. They get tons of seeds too, and grow like a weed. 🙂
Butterfly weed seeds are flat, brown and shaped like a tear drop – and there are a ton of seeds in each seed pod.
Leave the bucket outdoors for two or three days to let the fluff blow away. Stir the seeds occasionally to loosen more fluff. Do not worry if some of the fluff remains, since it won’t inhibit the germination process.
Snip off the pod using pruning shears. Slice lengthwise along the edge using a utility knife. Pry open the seed pods. Scoop out the seeds and fluffy matter inside and place it in a bucket.
Gather the butterfly weed seeds in late summer or autumn, once the pods dry to a light, rosy-beige color, but before they split open. Put on rubber gloves before handling the pods to protect your hands from the mildly toxic sap.
Transplant the butterfly weed into a permanent bed in spring just after the last frost. If planting butterfly weed in clay soil, dig in 2 to 4 inches of compost to lighten the soil, or consider building raised beds to increase drainage.
Butterfly weed and milkweed seed pods may be harvested and planted to support Monarch butterfly caterpillars. Butterfly weed grows well from seeds, which must be harvested in late summer and either sown immediately in the garden, or started in spring after a lengthy chilling process. The seeds are viable and will germinate with little care, although they must be planted at the appropriate depth to ensure successful sprouting.
I live in central Ontario. I have a compost bag full of fluff and seeds. I tried the paper bag and penny method. Only a few seeds went to the bottom. My living room and myself are getting very fluffy! Help! Should I try the wet method? Do you lay them on paper?
Hi…I was just given some milkweed seed pods that were harvested in Michigan and I live in California. The pods are about 4-5 inches long. I have no idea what variety they are but the seeds look mature …brown with white fluff. Is it a good idea to plant them here? I do have some open space available and it can get below freezing at night occasionally.
Hi Carolyn, if you have a huge infestation you can always flick some into a bucket of soap water, which we do with Japanese beetles when their numbers start to spike…good luck!
Wow that is a relief. I have been scattering extra seeds at lakes, parks and other public places. On a windy day I can really scatter a lot of seeds with the fluff attached.
It is a beautiful sight and I have had some interesting conversations as a result.
Some of these seeds were from my first year 2013.
Thank you for all the help!
Peace Through Rotary Service
Clara Harris Lemon Grove,Calif.
congrats on a successful season…