Xerces Blog. University of California Press. The range of desert milkweed extends from western Arizona and southern Nevada, into southeastern California and Baja California, Sonora, and Sinaloa, Mexico. Plant a seed today and change your backyard. In hopes to replace it In my garden this spring, I am looking for native variety seeds that may be growing in everyone’s gardens here in CA. If the appearance of the plant is too weedy for your taste, grow milkweed plants in a hidden but sunny corner or at the back of a border. But now, as difficult as it is to believe, we are learning that this may not necessarily be true. Growing Milkweed. Growing milkweed is easy, as the plant basically takes care of itself once established. Refer to the seed packets for special instructions on sowing the seeds. Whether to plant native milkweed or non-native milkweed in your garden has been a controversial topic. When to Plant Milkweed seeds can be sown outdoors after the danger of frost has passed. It is an important monarch butterfly caterpillar host plant. When to plant milkweed seeds depends on whether you’re growing milkweed from seeds or small plants. Plant them 18 inches apart. Sources of milkweed seeds and plants can be found via our Milkweed Market and the Xerces Society’s Seed Finder. Educate yourself about the effects of your actions. The red outline on the map below is a no-milkweed 5-mile buffer from the California Coast north of Santa Barbara. Resources. Please plant seeds and help to ensure their survival. Plant Milkweed The good news is that planting milkweed is one of the easiest ways that each of us can make a difference for monarchs. Endangered Species Conservation. I like to pour a heaping amount of soil mix onto the center of my seed insert and then spread it evenly with the edge of my seed packet or anything with a straight edge. Milkweed plants, in all their various forms, are the exclusive foodplant of Monarch butterflies, so gardeners can play an important role in monarch ecology, and hopefully their recovery. Keep the planting bed moist until the seedlings become established. News like this can seem both abstract and overwhelming. Milkweed is an herbaceous perennial plant native to North America. If you have less than those desirable conditions, you are in luck because they can adapt to poor soil conditions and some periods of drought. See BONAP’s North American Plant Atlas for Asclepias. Support the Xerces Society. I then gently tap the bottom of the seed tray on a flat surface to let the soil mix settle just a bit. California has a wonderful climate for growing vegetables, with a whopping 270 days between the last and first frost dates in the season. Version Number _01 PROGRAMS. References Balls, E.K. This flowering plant is a hairy, erect perennial that grows to about 4 feet tall. Grow milkweed in your garden to provide food for monarch caterpillars. Take responsibility for your actions. Sign up for our Newsletter. Speaking of migrations, where the monarch spends its summer determines where it goes in the winter. Seeds and plants of selected Asclepias cultivars are available from many nurseries. Flowers bloom from June to September, but may not bloom until the second year. 102 pp. If you need to improve your soil's drainage or if you have heavy clay soil, amend it by adding 4 inches of sand spread over the planting area. Without proper thinning, you will end up with weaker plants. Others have considered it toxic. To start plants from seed, see How to Sow Seeds Indoors for Outdoor Plants. When starting your seeds or seedling, keep the soil moist until the plant is fully established and then cut watering back to an as-needed basis. If you are planting seed outside, we suggest seeding in late fall so that Milkweed seeds can lay on the ground through winter. Plant an idea by sharing your knowledge. These experts suspect that the supply of exotic milkweeds is prompting some monarchs to loiter in California, and those that don't migrate seem to be more vulnerable to parasites, according to entomologist Brent Karner. Plant the seeds, watch the milkweed grow, and wait for monarch butterflies to arrive! Leaves … Newsletter . Monarch caterpillar on a Milkweed plant. In California it is found in the Sierras and Coast Ranges, from Tulare County to Modoc and Siskiyou Counties. As the blog points out, milkweed won’t germinate until the soil starts to warm in late spring. Plant in the spring after the danger of frost is gone. You can choose to direct sow seeds in a weed-free area of your garden or plant them in starter pots and transplant them outside. Pollinator Conservation. Press & Media. Almost always, more milkweed plants means more Monarch butterflies. Milkweed plants, in all their various forms, are the exclusive foodplant of Monarch butterflies, so gardeners can play an important role in monarch ecology, and hopefully their recovery. Keep in mind that seeds have a range of soil temperatures at which they will germinate. Gardener's have recently taken an interest in milkweed plants, as the flowers that appear throughout summer are known to attract butterflies. The milkweed plant is an upright specimen that may reach 2 to 6 feet. Midwest and Northeast. When emerging milkweeds have three to four sets of leaves, thin seedlings to 6 inches apart. It is best to plant species from your local area, adapted to the specific site conditions where the plants are to be grown. Grow milkweed In North America, more than 100 species of milkweed (genus Asclepias) grow, and the first step is finding a kind expert to your area, such as Grow Milkweed Plants or Xerces Society. In fact, many California plants do not need a frost to trigger germination, but it is on a species by species basis. HISTORY & FOLKLORE Historically, various Native Americans throughout its range have used desert milkweed as a medicinal plant. Monarch’s appetites do not seem specific to any particular species of milkweed. You can plant your seedlings in your garden after the last frost when they are at least 3 inches tall. Pesticide Reduction & Alternatives. In most areas, when you plant seeds outside in fall, seeds can go through the cold stratification process naturally. Fall and winter are the perfect time to start milkweed from seeds. You have the power to instantly change the world ! Milkweed seeds require stratification-- cold treatment ... Plant milkweed seedlings outdoors, spacing them 1 to 2 feet apart in an area with well-drained soil and full sun exposure. Serial Number. Here are some resources. Almost always, more milkweed plants means more Monarch butterflies. This may lead you to wonder what does milkweed look like. SEEDS AND PLUGS NEEDED FOR RESTORATION BY REGION. When starting the plant, water regularly but allow the soil to go nearly dry between each watering. And, true to their name, the nonnative plants are a bit weedy. Showy milkweed is native to much of the western half of North America. To direct sow, plant seeds in debris-free, well-worked soil that has been deeply watered. When tropical milkweed is planted in the coastal southern U.S. and California, these plants continue to flower and produce new leaves throughout the fall and winter, except during rare freeze events. How to plant milkweed for monarch butterflies. With deep purple flowers and white to gray fuzzy foliage this plant typically sprawls across the ground rather than growing upwards. The seeds should germinate in 10 to 14 days. Download as PDF. Publications Library. Narrow-leaf milkweed evolved in California so it is a generally drought tolerant plant. Question: What type of milkweed should I plant for Sunland, California, a suburb of Los Angeles, CA? This will give your Milkweed seed a long winter of dormancy. Skip to content. Some seeds do need a hard frost to germinate, but milkweed seeds do not. Drought tolerant, this California native plant grows in some high desert areas and into Baja California. California milkweed grows in lower northern California, central and southern California as well as into northern Baja California. California has a wonderful climate for growing vegetables, with a whopping 270 days between the last and first frost dates in the season. There are several dozen species of this wildflower native to North America, so no matter where you live, there is at least one milkweed species naturally found in your area. Cover with 1/4” of finely sifted soil. It’s never easy to get the message out about threats to the environment and endangered species. Zones 2-8. Most of the areas in which milkweed is found are frost freeze zones. Join our friendly community that shares tips and ideas for gardens, along with seeds and plants. A Milkweed in every yard! As a naive butterfly lover, I picked up a tropical milkweed plant this past summer at a local nursery without reading throughly into all the studies that recommend against it especially in California where I live. Milkweed, in the Asclepias genus of plants, is the host plant for the monarch butterfly. 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. Milkweed is slender and doesn't need much room to grow so go ahead and plant many seeds! ... That’s why migrate more than 3,000 miles each fall to Mexico or Southern California. Where to Plant Milkweed in California. Planting Narrowleaf Milkweed Seeds. It is a perennial and has thick wooly stems that are low to the ground and bending upwards. You need to plant your California poppy seeds in rich, fast-draining soil with access to ample water and full sunshine. I’ll show you the right timing for collecting milkweed seeds from existing plants and how to sow the seeds. Those engaged in restoration are urged to consult the county distribution maps and to select species that are previously known to occur. 1962. Native Milkweed in California: Planting and Establishment. Plant seeds of the milkweed plant indoors or direct sow outside after danger of frost has passed and soil has warmed. Step 2: Add soil . Educate others and ask them to take responsibility for their actions. Work the sand into the soil to a depth of about 9 inches. To ensure successful germination of milkweed seeds, plant them in a smooth, clump-free soil bed worked to a fine consistency using a rake or rototiller. Starting seeds indoors in winter. You can also start stratified seeds indoors in late winter. Connect With Us. I will focus mainly on well-known plants that have seed available, are known to be used by Monarchs and are garden friendly (with a few exceptions that I will point out in the descriptions below). Happy growing! Planting Tropical Milkweed Seeds. Direct seed or transplant. Questions & Answers. But now, as difficult as it is to believe, we are learning that this may not necessarily be true. 19-004. Get A FREE Catalog. The Midwest … Narrowleaf milkweed is a perennial flower native to parts of the western U.S. Plant seeds during the cool season of Zones 9 and 10. There are over 100 species of milkweeds in North America and not all of them are used by Monarchs. California milkweed, Asclepias californica is one of the most beautiful milkweeds in the Santa Monica Mountains. The plant is commonly found growing in open fields, pastures and prairies. 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