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how to grow butterfly weed from seed

Ideally, you will have planted them in their permanent location.

Mark your established butterfly weed in your garden well. The reason? Plants take a while to emerge in the springtime.

As the days warm-up, set your seedlings outdoors in their pots in shaded areas for brief periods of time. Gradually extend the amount of time that they spend outdoors.

How To Grow Butterfly Weed Seed Indoors

In the wild, you find it on the prairie, growing in depleted pasture soil, along roadsides and on the verge of very dry forests. When you come across butterfly weed in the wild, you should leave it alone.

With its abundant, vigorous growth and bright cheery colors, butterfly weed, grows happily as full bushes 2′ feet high and 2′ feet wide, making it a joyful addition to any garden.

Apart from its flowers, it seed pods also holds a different kind of beauty.

These variations add a great deal of cheer and diversity to your wildflower and butterfly garden setting.

Mulch is commonly used in the garden to help retain soil moisture and to keep weeds down, but butterfly weed will do better without any. It does not like wet soil, so mulch is likely to do more harm than good.

Bloom time is typically from July to September or early October, and you can keep plants flowering longer by deadheading.

Before you start seeds you need to give them cold stratification just like they would get outside. You can do this by filling a plastic bag with damp sand and spreading the seeds out on top. Keep them in your refrigerator for 1-3 months until you’re ready for them.

Planting Butterfly Weed

You can plant it as a border around a vegetable, fruit, or herb garden, and it makes an excellent plant for a native wildflower garden or meadow. Plant it with other perennials that feed pollinators at different times of the year to support them throughout the whole growing season.

All milkweed plants are vital to the life cycle of monarch butterflies.

Plus, the bright orange blooms look beautiful from summer to fall!

It also fills your garden with warm color and once established will return to bloom year after year. Butterfly weed is a very easy plant to care for and a perfect choice for a pollinator garden.

When to plant: Soil moisture and temperature are very important when growing Milkweed. The best time to plant Milkweed is in early spring after the danger of frost has passed. If you plant seeds late in the spring, the seeds may not grow due to Common Milkweed Field Grown germination time and temperature. Common Milkweed seed doesn’t germinate over 85 degrees.

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Watering: Gently water the planted seed to give additional hydration. The best way to water is from the bottom up. Use a flat pan under the peat pots and add a half inch of water to the bottom of the tray. Don’t over water as it can cause fungus. Water every day or every other day as needed, the best way to test the soil dampness is to touch it. If the soil seems dry then add water; if it’s wet, wait for the soil to dry out to water.

Caring For Milkweed (Asclepias) Plants

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Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) is one of our great North American native flowers with rich Indian and medicinal history. The brilliant orange blooms light up meadows dramatically, and of course, visits by butterflies are a bonus. This wildflower, also prized as a garden perennial, is not easy to grow, but once established, is a tough, dependable colormaker.

Germination: To start Milkweed seed we recommend starting inside, but before this happens Milkweed seeds need to go through a cold stratification period. Cold stratification is very important for the germination and growth of Milkweed. It helps break the seeds natural dormancy cycle. To do this, we recommend placing Milkweed seed in a damp paper towel or damp sand in a zip lock bag and place in your fridge for 3 – 6 weeks (30 days). Place in an area of the fridge, where it won’t get damaged. We taped ours to the bottom of a refrigerator shelf.

To determine if a plant is sufficiently cold hardy, the USDA created numbered zones indicating winter low temperatures; the lower the zone number the colder the winter.