The monarch butterfly’s best friend
Every garden with a patch of sunlight deserves the beauty and benefits of milkweed. This Native American perennial is a vital food source for monarch butterflies during the caterpillar stage, and countless other species flock to it as well for valuable nectar.
But Common Milkweed is far more than just a “useful” plant. It’s lovely, with bouquets of deep pink to purple blooms that make excellent cuts for the vase. It grows upright 3 to 4 feet high and about 2 to 2? feet wide, with good branching. And the fragrance—sweet, evocative, meadow-like—is unforgettable.
Because milkweed is a food source for monarch caterpillars, you may find some nibbled foliage. In fact, you should. That means that the caterpillars have fed and are ready for the chrysalis stage. And if you look very closely under the stems, you may see semi-transparent chrysalises containing beautiful folded-up butterflies, just waiting to break open and fly. It’s an amazing sight, and one that every gardener should experience.
Common Milkweed is a perennial, and it self-sows freely. It’s ideal for a wildflower garden or an area of sunny soil that you want to keep natural and open for the butterflies. This plant may not bloom the first year if started in spring, but it will still provide caterpillar food, and it will overwinter effortlessly and bounce back again in spring for an even better performance (with plenty of fragrant blooms this time.) It’s a time investment that repays you a thousand times over.
This native species is easy to grow in just about any soil type or climate. Hardy from one end of the country to the other, it doesn’t mind heat, humidity, drought, cold, salt spray, or poorly fertile soil.
When your seeds arrive, they need about a month of chill time. If you have room in your fridge, pop the seeds into the Bio Dome and put the whole Dome (or just the bottom tray, covered with plastic) into the fridge. But that takes up space, so another method is to place the seeds onto a moistened paper towel, fold the towel over them, and place it in a plastic bag. Put the bag in the fridge where it won’t be disturbed for a month. Either way, once the seeds have gone through their chill time, you can sow and grow them indoors until they have at least 2 sets of true leaves.
Common Milkweed is the foundation of a great butterfly garden, and it benefits your entire neighborhood as well as your own landscape. Start it this season.
(P)Pkt of 100 seeds
Item Form:(P)?Pkt of 100 seeds
Zone:3 – 9
Bloom Start to End:Mid Summer – Late Summer
Seeds Per Pack:100
Plant Height:3 ft – 4 ft
Plant Width:24 in – 2 ft 6 in
Additional Characteristics:Butterfly Lovers,?Cut-and-Come-Again,?Direct Sow,?Easy Care Plants,?Ever Blooming,?Flower,?Fragrance,?Free Bloomer,?Heirloom,?Long Bloomers,?Pest Fighter
Bloom Color:Light Pink,?Purple
Foliage Color:Medium Green
Light Requirements:Full Sun
Moisture Requirements:Dry,?Moist,? well-drained
Resistance:Cold Hardy,?Deer Resistance,?Disease Resistant,?Drought Tolerant,?Heat Tolerant,?Humidity Tolerant,?Pest Resistant
Soil Tolerance:Clay,?Normal,? loamy,?Poor,?Sandy