I have nearly a cup full of pure seeds and need to know the best approach for storing and seeding. If a milkweed pod won’t pop open easily, leave it for another time. I imagine they would thrive in-ground vs in pots? We have mostly been having sun, but some clouds will come this week. You don’t have to do anything unless you have a specific milkweed plan in mind…. It was an awesome experience – I planted a butterfly bush this spring and on the day of the Eclipse was when my 1st Monarch’s appeared. They have attracted lady bugs which are feasting on them. Will they continue to grow? Living in southern California I figured I have Monarchs all over the place. My first try at planting milkweed seed. The pod should be drying out and beginning to split. You can test an unopened pod for maturity by applying gentle pressure to the seam. I went to goggle, found your website, and am now a monarch rescuer devotee. Plant them in full sun in groups of three to six spaced 6 to 24 inches apart scattered around your garden. When you are ready to harvest seeds, pry open the dried pods at the split seam before the fluffy floss escapes. I have seen a couple straggler Monarchs this far north in Chicago still the last couple days! We don’t grow many ferns, so maybe someone else can chime in with their experience…, When do the Monarchs come around this time and how do you know when to Collect the seeds from the milkweed plant. If one cannot be there when the pods split then the rubber band idea works great. By the way, I had a three late September Monarch caterpillars on this same plant. If they’re not getting close to maturity, that probably won’t work. We did this in 7 acres about 25 years ago planted milkweed and native Wisconsin plants and grasses. In the future, let the pods start splitting at the seam before you harvest. Not trying to kill off the monarch but trying to keep a clean pasture. 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). please checkout my milkweed resources page for both native and non-native ideas. Fine to harvest but easier if still contained in the pod for the method described here. Gather your seed in a mesh bag, dig a hole around 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm) deep and place the bag inside. You can actually store it as is in a paper bag until you’re ready to plant, or you can go ahead and clean the seed now to make it easier to store (in a cool place – preferably a refrigerator, which keeps the seed at a constant cool temperature. I’ve successfully planted seeds that were 4-5 years old, but I replace them with fresh seeds after that, if needed. i was told no deeper than a pencil eraser but alas no luck. Once the floss fluffs out like the one in the lower left, it is harder to remove from the seed. Plant seedlings outside in a sunny spot when they have 3 to 4 sets of leaves and the ground is warm. Hi Sammy, congrats on all your new milkweed! You will be able to feel the seed through the pod, and the top will have no seed (just feathers). Sow your milkweed seeds in early spring. They were not ready to pop so I took part the the milkweed stem and with the pods and have hung them outside in the hope they will dry. Thanks. There are still flowers, but in the old flowers’ place some large green oblong shapes have appeared, some very small and some as big as the digit of my thumb, but not very thick. Hi Arthur, I’m not sure how this will affect them, but I would still give them a cold moist stratification before planting and hope for the best…. the seeds ran about $450 per acre and each acre of seed would fill a couple of coffee cans. If I see another monarch this fall, and if I can capturing, I will in a heartbeat drive four hours to put it in the hands of someone who is driving to Florida next week. You never know what will pop up! The plant was about 4 feet tall and the pods were slender and smooth. I see new monarchs in my yard every day. They have points at the tips. Milkweed seeds need to be stratified to help them germinate. I think it’s mid-May here. We only have had two monarchs all summer in our WA state garden.. Hi Diane, they need to be cold stratified until you are going to plant them. The coins help to separate the seeds. reach inside the tip of the pod and grab the tip of the fluff. HARVESTING: STEP 1: Hold split milkweed pod inside a paper grocery bag. You can accomplish this with your refrigerator. I was under the impression that next spring the plants will produce more seed and thicken the area more. Children in my school planted Milkweed seeds from an only and old milkweed plant that we had. Leave this pod alone to scatter seed in the wind. If so, what should I do? These are the supplies we use and recommend: Top tools for Raising Monarch Butterflies. If you pick pods and open them to discover light brown (or white!) NO! I’m assuming they are sufficiently cold stratified. What about my asclepias Bloodflower which also still have green pods? The seeds will have edges that appear like dry, dark brown colored paper. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we Our selection of milkweed seeds is untreated and open-pollinated. Before you make a decision, I would figure out what species you have: 25 Milkweed Species for Butterfly Gardens. Then they devour the seeds. Should I wait and harvest seeds or should I cut back now?Yes, it still has several flowers too. Shake more if necessary…. Any chance that I can contact “Irene”, the lady that wants seeds for her 40 acre garden? Hi Derek, the numbers are definitely up this season…looking forward to hearing the migration count results over winter. Cutting back where previous caterpillars have been might help. Thanks! Direct sow in fall or indoors in spring. Fall is here and the time has come to harvest mature milkweed seeds from milkweed pods. If you have an abundance of milkweed, you are more likely to have some that reaches it’s full potential. When I remembered them about noon, the car was closed up and the inside temp measured about 110°F. Otherwise there are many affordable options for buying milkweed seeds online. It will also keep my neighbors from being upset! I do have some open space available and it can get below freezing at night occasionally. Hopefully I’ll have more success next year. It’s where they lay their eggs and is their sole source of food. Two years? Hi Susan, I would not spray soap on plants that are currently hosting monarchs, but they should be safe after they are rinsed off with water. One was still flying around this week. I store seeds I’m not planting next season in a cupboard. good luck! I love monarchs and will leave them to grow to encourage the butterflies to come. Kept in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped in plastic. Winter sowing is one propagation technique. Thank you for your report Eleanor and welcome to the community! White or light pink flowers and no fluff on the seeds. I do have assassin bugs and aphids and wondered if they consumed the fluff. I believe that I had decent coverage and just finished planting November 30 this year. Allow the pods to dry out before opening. On a windy day I can really scatter a lot of seeds with the fluff attached. Everyone feel free to contact me with pictures as I am interested in all comments. The pods are closed up and green,and are safe in my garage. How to Grow & Harvest Milkweed When to Plant. We were thinking of doing that too – ideally, having them harvest them from the pods and plant them. I tried the paper bag and penny method. Is he eating the monarch eggs? I am in zone 9 in central California so I know I should cut it back. 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’m in Louisiana in zone 9a. If so, when? And are there any secrets or tricks to preserve them for years to come? At least I’ve done my part to try and attract them. Hi Ginger, it’s always good to keep the neighbors happy. And should I pick all of them. Milkweed seeds will germinate better if they are cold stratified. Hi Laurie, much of the perennial milkweed species in Michigan will not thrive in your region. We are overwintering 2 tweedia plants indoors. I think I’d better collect a backup pod or two from the less common plants though, for just in case. I know that praying mantis are beneficial in the garden. This technique works well when you are picking a couple pods at once. It is swamp milkweed with the small white blooms. 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. Here’s info on swamp: Thanks for the information. Also, what do you think about fertilizer with this? Road trip! Also, if they did flower they would need to be pollinated by butterflies, bees, etc. I assume they were predated by something, but they may have been big enough to start pupating though I saw evidence of such. Hi Tena, the seeds require a moist cold stratification to break dormancy. I planted milkweed for the first time this year. I would welcome any donations of milkweed seeds you may have. So what’s a milkweed gardener to do? Again, it would help if I knew where you were located. Other wise I have just the tropical variety. But yes, you can plant seeds with fluff attached if you wish. Can you leave a section of milkweed for the Monarch? Granted I may be paying more attention now but that can’t be all of it in this case. Its May here in Florida. If you have a massive amount of pods and seeds, it’s better to let the pods/seeds dry before separation. They were a good size but disappeared a few days after I spotted them. On October 24, 2017, we found, and photographed 3 monarch butterflies feasting on a bed of cosmos blossoms that had not yet been hit by frost. Why is it necessary to separate the seeds from the fluff? Milkweed Seeds Ripe for Harvest, Gather them Now for Future …Jun 2, 2011 … One of many fun facts about milkweed is that the silky fluff, or seed threads attached to each seed, are more buoyant than cork. The seed is simple to harvest from the ripe pods. Will the seeds from fluffless pods still be viable? ), Did you forget to separate seeds upon harvesting? Hi Sandra, after cutting back plants you can also use a hydrogen peroxide mix to kill pathogens on the remaining plant and surrounding soil. The next sections will describe different tips and methods for collecting milkweed seeds. Tie Organza Bags around the pods to collect the seeds. Maybe even early June for the swamp MW’s. Thanks! For my monarch populations, this Milkweed is important as it still is standing with plenty of foliage late into the summer/early fall. It’s great for carrying the seeds to new locations outdoors. Hi Dana, I’m in zone 5 too. It’s easiest to open the pod completely and pop out the center part with all the seeds on it. congrats on a successful season! Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work in the garden. I have a compost bag full of fluff and seeds. The pods act as boats and I believe that the seeds float as well. Lately, however, I’ve noticed a shortage of eggs in one area of my yard. please don’t mind the spelling! For example, put the bag of milk thistle heads in your garage or a room in your house that gets lots of sunshine and warmth. zone 5. Your website shows how to harvest, but how should I package the seeds and where do I send them? It’s also easy to collect milkweed seed (be sure to ask property owners first) and start it yourself. We live by the side of the lake that moderates temperatures. Unfortunately, any immature seeds collected will not develop further so just harvest and plant (or store) the ones that are fully mature… If you’re interested in starting a garden: Hi Tony, I have six common milkweed that I purchased and planted this past Spring in a large galvanized tub. They haven’t grown that much and I don’t see any seed pods. Am I doing this right? If you miss the window of opportunity for fall planting, winter sowing milkweed seeds is also an option. It is so much information I will have to read it over again. 1. 74. any ideas? When do I release them outdoors? We have them here in Louisiana as well. Only a few seeds went to the bottom. For growing information, you can read our article here: How to grow milkweed. Also, being in zone 9a with the lowest winter temperatures being in the mid 20’s or so usually a few days of the year with fluctuating extremes to highs in the 70’s, is fall seed planting still possible when you generally have low chill factor? Help! Is it a good idea to plant them here? Sowed seed by hand and dragged the it by hand. If you’re trying to store them or plant them, all it does is get in the way…. Milkweed seed planted in fall is naturally stratified. The swallowtails we currently have in our porch won’t emerge from their chrysalides until (probably) next May. WE learned a lot when we visited the reptile land in PA. I would like and try to move it safely w/o loosing any plants. Hi Matthias, November is a good time to plant milkweed seeds for most regions. 3 Big Advantages of Winter Sown Milkweed + Winter Sowing Container ideas, Fall is here and the time has come to harvest future plants from your milkweed pods. Here’s one to consider: Hi, I have probably 15 pods on the few plants that popped up at our new home. When the pod splits easily and you see some pretty brown seeds, you can pick the pod off to harvest! This is you (hopefully) improving Mother Nature’s exterior design plan. It is a beautiful sight and I have had some interesting conversations as a result. They seem to just grow on their own. Thank you for your time. I hit the pod lottery in one area and have already separated the seeds from the slightly cracked pods and separated the fluff. seeds, you won’t have viable seeds for planting. Is there any way that I can get the seeds to mature in the rest of the pods before planting? For thriving plants, it’s best that they go through the winter part of the growth cycle outdoors. This has been such a helpful source of information. I’ve done this with “balloon plant” before and the seeds continued to develop. The milkweed that grows is a few feet tall with very light purple flower balls Thank you for your help! I plan to plant a milkweed/butterfly garden next year and am stratifying the seeds now so I wont be needing most of my seeds. If I can get a bunch do you want some, Hi Karen, I typically plant seeds in Minnesota toward the end of October or even early November…just make sure you do it before the first snowstorm!