If so, when? Hi Carollynn, I would fall plant them now…they still have plenty of time to get acclimated before winter. For capsules and pods, when dry, pinch, roll, or pry open to remove seeds, then screen to separate seeds from remnants of capsules. Oh, and I have one more question. While this method seems to separate the fluff, there is no mention of germination rate afterward. Am going to try and add another type of milkweed but not sure what kind? Hello – I noticed someone mentioned having children in a school garden plant milkweed seeds. Hi Tony, man your a cutie! Do not collect seeds of rare or endangered milkweeds. These common household items can be lightly secured around milkweed pods to keep them from bursting open. Hmm no open pods yet either on the raggedy Common in the garden space or the Swamp in our box. I’d say with 100 new plants, you’re on the right track…However, if you’re in a region with a true winter, you might try fall planting seeds too. I never noticed any seed pods until now (December 29). Hi Nan, I prefer to plant more methodically, but broadcasting seeds works too. I just planted a few A. tuberosa this spring and only had a handful germinate. Avoid introducing milkweed bugs into the bags in which you are placing pods. How To Plant Milkweed Seeds In Fall: Water Once you’ve pressed the seeds into the soil, give the area a good watering to set the seeds. I’m renting the house I’m in and so I’ve kept them in pots, greedily, so I can take them with whenever I move. The silk … I have been harvesting the seeds as directed and have high hopes next years I’ll see a few more Monarchs. Its the only one Im having a hard time finding. I’m not a Gardener at all, I just really like Monarch’s and want to help and watch them grow…. I live in palm springs california.. a friend from minnesota just sent me seeds.. im going to try them… can anyone tell me what natives might grow well here in palm springs. Do it think the pods will mature this way? I do have assassin bugs and aphids and wondered if they consumed the fluff. Put the heads in a paper bag and dry them for 5 to 7 days. More info here: We live in Ontario, Canada, about two hours driving time west of Ottawa. If that’s the case I would wait until fall, winter sow, or plant earlier next spring. The vine’s stems are still green but no sap is running. As for cutting back plants, if you are in region where milkweed doesn’t die back over winter, plants should be cut back to between 6-12″ at least once a year to promote healthy new growth without OE spores. Do I try to dry them in the basement or do I open the kinda green ones and separate the seeds any way to plant now or in the spring??? that popped up in the front planter… gotta love new houses right? I’ve tried growing seeds outdoors twice, but have had no luck. After germination, grow the plants until they are several inches tall then plant out into the garden. How long will it take for my seeds to become useful to the Monarchs? It’s a butterfly haven now. The pods and seeds look fully developed and the seeds look brown and healthy for harvesting. Cold stratification is a simple pre-treatment that breaks the natural dormancy of the seeds and promotes germination. Yes, maybe getting them wet would help, but I have not done that before. I had caterpillars on the plants until almost the end of October. Hi Anissa, tropical milkweed is a continuous bloomer…and seeder! The plants are suppose to be perennial. White or light pink flowers and no fluff on the seeds. So what’s a milkweed gardener to do? I was under the impression that next spring the plants will produce more seed and thicken the area more. Tie Organza Bags around the pods to collect the seeds. The seed cluster can then be removed carefully from the milkweed pod. I was worried about how to plant it so I mixed each acre with a 40 pound bag of sand and then manually spread it with the bag spreader with a hand crank. These can take a while to germinate, so feel free to start them quite early in the spring season or even in late winter indoors or in a greenhouse with a heat mat. I will be collecting close to 100 pods this fall and I would be happy to donate some to Irene. I have about 50 milk weed plants in my back yard. good luck! Hi Karyn, not sure where you are located. It’s great for carrying the seeds to new locations outdoors. I live in southwest Louisiana. I just started with Monarch’s this season and I’ve raised 30 and released all but 6….I live on 32 acres in MD and have space for a GOOD milk weed garden…. I kept them, after separating the fluff, in our freezer. Butterfly Weed in bloom. You can also start seeds indoors or sow directly in spring. Hi Dick, if they are close to maturity they might be ok for planting. For growing information, you can read our article here: How to grow milkweed. You can plant milkweed starter plants purchased at specialty nurseries. A freeze killed the vines before the pods split. Harvest Milkweed Seeds without the Fluff Part 4 (You’re Late! When you are ready to harvest seeds, pry open the dried pods at the split seam before the fluffy floss escapes. The damage is often difficult to see. The resulting caterpillars then eat the leaves of the milkweed plants and build their pupas on the milkweed plants. Active Interest Media Holdco, Inc. © Copyright 2020. Hi Ginger, it’s always good to keep the neighbors happy. Hi Kathryn, you can donate to organizations like monarch watch or save our monarchs or join a butterfly facebook group to trade with other enthusiasts…, If any of your readers have extra seeds, they can be sent to the Live Monarch Foundation. Hi, I’m in north Florida, and this is my first summer growing milkweed and monarch caterpillars. I did not cut my milkweed back last fall so my original plants are very leggy-i will do that this year. Hopefully you have helped me get the one wild egg I found to become beautiful Monarch butterfly It is now a 2 day old chrysalis and I’m an anxious Mom waiting for a butterfly to emerge . The swallowtails we currently have in our porch won’t emerge from their chrysalides until (probably) next May. Thanks. We have mostly been having sun, but some clouds will come this week. I have read somewhere that most milkweed species require cross pollination from separate plants for fertilization and viable seeds to occur. Road trip! The coins help to separate the seeds. Hi James, I always plant and cover seeds, but that might not be practical for a field habitat. Good luck. I would remove the seeds as posted on the page. Hi Irene, sounds like a fantastic project. Hi Cathern, they won’t develop anymore after they’ve been plucked from the plant. Store them in an envelope at 40 degrees F or in the refrigerator to stratify until you are ready to plant in spring. This will help the seeds dry completely. I’m feeling pretty bad about this and would love to know what I could do. Your site has been my saving grace many times! How should the seeds be stored until I plant them? Hi John, it’s usually best to wait until the pods are starting to crack open. I also have cattle. It will also keep my neighbors from being upset! I have no idea what variety they are but the seeds look mature …brown with white fluff. Everyone feel free to contact me with pictures as I am interested in all comments. I have never seen a cat eat a seed pod before. Seeds that are too young will appear orangish and translucent on the edges. Happy Harvesting! I have seen a few downtown this year and this is the first time I can remember that happening and I have worked here 11 years. Thank you for all the help! even a few makes a difference. Any advice as to when to start the little guys? Winter sowing is one propagation technique. They had not split open yet so I manually opened them. I do have some open space available and it can get below freezing at night occasionally. First few years we were worried but by year 3 obvious it would be fantastic. You could also try winter sowing and then plant all the seedlings next spring. Hi Judy, if you still have high temps in the 60’s they will be in good shape for release: Late summer I drove around the area looking for common milkweed pods in areas that typically get mowed down. For pulp-encased seeds, allow fruits and vegetables to … Some have very thick stems – do we cut those back? Thanks so much Tony for all the information you share, your site is a wealth of answers for me. Any chance that I can contact “Irene”, the lady that wants seeds for her 40 acre garden? Some of my abundant seeds would find their way there without help, but this should speed up the process a bit. One of them was a little purplish. Sowed seed by hand and dragged the it by hand. I have never had moldy milkweed seeds. Now,I think,after reading, I need to harvest the seeds. We live by the side of the lake that moderates temperatures. Hi Tony, In Missouri–I cut quite a few green milkweed pods still on the stems from along our county road ditch yesterday. I am in Northern Illinois btw. Each bag is marked by milkweed species and the year they were harvested. Is there any way to protect the plants. I just tried the method for separating the floss in the video and it worked great! congrats on a successful season! 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. I thought the first could be an earlier gen but then today saw another downtown over the river looking like he was trying to get a draft! I assume they’ll dry out and split eventually and I can look at the seed color, just wondering what to expect. If you pick pods and open them to discover light brown (or white!) All the fluff (coma) was matted down and the seeds were easy to separate. Only during the spring before flower buds form can milkweed be mistaken for its mildly poisonous neighbor, dogbane. Otherwise, the plants will be too small to support monarchs. Hi Tom, it sounds like you have enough milkweed to start raising, which is the first important step. I did however get 6 Eastern Black Swallowtails from the dill garden (who does that? Collect milkweed seeds in late fall when the seed pods are brown and open, or green and easy to pop open. I also noticed the caterpillars eating the pods a few weeks ago. I never seem to have monarch caterpillars tho (several others)??? This is you (hopefully) improving Mother Nature’s exterior design plan. I did find a hand full of caterpillars. Smaller groupings are less prone than mass plantings to insect or parasite infestations or predators. Only a few seeds went to the bottom. Thanks. There are many reasons to collect and grow seeds from your garden, especially milkweed seeds. 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 planted milkweed for the first time this year. Apply the … Two years? You will be able to feel the seed through the pod, and the top will have no seed (just feathers). Only a small percentage of milkweed seeds will break dormancy when planted in the Spring. I live in Florida. I purchased a mixed blend of seeds to plant for the Monarchs including 3 types of milkweed. Is there a way to protect them from freezing (as we could still have a freeze…even though it is has been in the 70’s lately!). 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. Monarch Butterfly Garden- Bring Home the Butterflies, Butterfly Garden Ideas and Gardening Tips to Attract Monarchs, Swallowtails, Hummingbirds, and other Precious Pollinators. Can the seeds just be scattered or does the soil need to be prepared in any way? Here’s the thing, the State comes thru and cuts down established plants on the side of the road. Thank you! If you have a massive amount of pods and seeds, it’s better to let the pods/seeds dry before separation. ), Did you forget to separate seeds upon harvesting? Could it be that vine with small white flowers that produces pods and is just a milkweed wannabe and not real milkweed? Thanks Nancy. Hi Rebecca, the caterpillars may be eating down the plants before they have time to seed…Up north, ours seed prolifically. Fall-sown seed will be naturally stratified outside. after the pod crack opens. I’m from North East Pennsylvania and joined the Monarch release program locally this year. I havent had ANY luck this year with Monarch caterpillars but Im hoping the one I saw about a week or two ago placed some viable eggs. If you miss the window of opportunity for fall planting, winter sowing milkweed seeds is also an option. Hello, Di…the fluff makes a big mess and blows all over the place. But I’m wondering if there are safety concerns I need to be thinking about? What do we do with the plants themselves? Hi Ariana, our purple milkweed has never seeded. Any species in the milkweed family will do, but the easiest to grow is the common milkweed, Asclepias syriaca. We are wondering if these new ones will give us some more pods of seeds. seeds, you won’t have viable seeds for planting. What other varieties would you suggest for Southern Ca.? Hi Diane, Monarch Watch has a milkweed seed program. By harvesting, cleaning, and intentionally planting the seed, we create a much higher success rate for milkweed germination. Harvest Milkweed Seeds without the Fluff Part 1, 5. The pods are closed up and green,and are safe in my garage. Will they continue to ripen? seeds, you won’t have viable seeds for planting. 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. I was searching for information on aphids – found that and just kept reading! Children in my school planted Milkweed seeds from an only and old milkweed plant that we had. I am happy to hear you will be harvesting milkweed seeds Linda. One was still flying around this week. I have this plant inside in my garden window protecting those seeds. This year’s harvest of the Tallgrass Prairie Center’s A. tuberosa plots yielded 8.29 bulk pounds of seed in September, which were harvested both by hand and mechanically. Thanks! Why can’t I just put it all in the ground? 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. You can try planting to see if they’re viable, but I would harvest some more if possible. One year? What do I do next? Other sources say they won’t mature if picked too soon. HARVESTING: STEP 1: Hold split milkweed pod inside a paper grocery bag. Did I wait too long? I’m still not clear if I need to “cold strat” since our temperatures rarely hit freezing (1 day only in 2014). I now have problems doing the same with milkweed I find in ditches and fields I found several varietys but no luck … I planted some butterfly weed seed a few weeks ago but I did not refrigerate the seed . Thank you. Why? We will leave the stalks or cut them part of the way down then leave until early spring. I was wondering, what is the lowest temperature that a chrysalis can withstand? 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