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how to harvest milkweed seeds

Put the heads in a paper bag and dry them for 5 to 7 days. First few years we were worried but by year 3 obvious it would be fantastic. I have a compost bag full of fluff and seeds. Also, what do you think about fertilizer with this? In other words, no new seeding is needed, right? Hi Tony, man your a cutie! Hopefully I’ll have more success next year. Next week it will probably be colder. The fluff will be attached but the paper bag and coin method seperates them. Should I take the plants out of the ground, put them in pots and place them in front of a south facing window that receives sun almost all day? The silk … 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. Set the temperature on the propagation mat to 86 F during the day. Hope this helps: Milkweed Ideas for North American Gardens. I am in zone 9 in central California so I know I should cut it back. If you try this method, be careful not to blacken that green thumb! Hmm no open pods yet either on the raggedy Common in the garden space or the Swamp in our box. This gives them the cold stratification they need to come out of dormancy and sprout, when you finally plant them. Sow 2 to 3 seeds in a pot filled with seed-starting mix, cover with ¼ inch of mix, water lightly and set under lights. I did not know they needed to be chilled . We’ve written a detailed guide (with pictures) for all Milkweed Plants. Hi Kelly, I keep seeds for about 3 years before replacing them…I’m sure some last longer but I want to insure a high germination rate. I think I’d better collect a backup pod or two from the less common plants though, for just in case. Hi Clif, Assuming they are the hardy native milkweeds (common milkweed or swamp milkweed) they’ll be back next spring and grow very rapidly, but you’ll think they won’t because they are very late coming up. Will it come back next spring? Please Post Them Below, Filed Under: Butterfly Garden Ideas, Milkweed Garden Ideas, Milkweed Propagation, Minnesota Garden Ideas, Monarch Butterflies, Plant Propagation Tagged With: harvesting milkweed seeds, remove milkweed seeds, removing milkweed seeds, when to pick milkweed pods. HARVESTING: STEP 1: Hold split milkweed pod inside a paper grocery bag. Could I ask please roughly how many days the giant swallow tail larvae spend as a larvae before turning into a chrysalis? I have heard reports that this method kills some of the seeds. 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 . If you pick pods and open them to discover light brown (or white!) After germination, grow the plants until they are several inches tall then plant out into the garden. Are the kids old enough to follow those rules? The pod is still tightly closed so seeds are not ripe. The pods and seeds look fully developed and the seeds look brown and healthy for harvesting. I thought I would dry and use as a fall arrangement. The next sections will describe different tips and methods for collecting milkweed seeds. Is it really necessary? So if I planted the seeds this spring they won’t come up? Hi Pamela, the fluff makes a mess..it’s easier to store the seeds if you separate. Do not collect open pods with numerous milkweed bugs on the seeds or pods. For how long can milkweed seeds be in cold storage? But, if you want a mature plant to start next season, you can overwinter indoors. These seeds are not ready to harvest. Because if you plant with the fluff attached, all it takes is a light breeze and your efforts are literally gone with the wind. One really excelled and flowered profusely, producing a dozen or so seed pods. You’ll also want to clearly mark them so they don’t get thrown out, or used to spice up a Thanksgiving side dish! The caterpillars don’t seem to mind them. I was searching for information on aphids – found that and just kept reading! Some of my abundant seeds would find their way there without help, but this should speed up the process a bit. that will use the insides of the stalks for homes. I am hopeful that most butterflies have been able to start their journey from Canada. The seeds naturally spread by water, so no fluff required. Will they continue to grow? Good luck with your butterfly garden! It’s also easy to collect milkweed seed (be sure to ask property owners first) and start it yourself. I really didn’t want to put straw out in fear of spreading other seeds that I may not want. Harvest Milkweed Seeds without the Fluff Part 2. even a few makes a difference. You’ll also get new plants from seeding and some species (like asclepias syriaca) spread by underground rhizomes. Hi Pat, I would try planting some and see what happens. I did however get 6 Eastern Black Swallowtails from the dill garden (who does that? We are wondering if these new ones will give us some more pods of seeds. Is there any way to protect the plants. Hi Mike, if the pods formed, and the seeds weren’t plucked before maturity, the seeds will be viable. I bought some tropical milkweed in the spring just for the looks of it collected seeds and propagate some which was easy . Hi Ginger, it’s always good to keep the neighbors happy. I separated a batch of seeds yesterday wearing gloves and I can mail them to Florida today on Halloween! Butterfly Plants Monarch Butterfly Butterflies Butterfly Weed Butterfly House Butterfly Kisses Milkweed Plant Comment Planter Hummingbird Garden. All the fluff (coma) was matted down and the seeds were easy to separate. Hi Tom, it sounds like you have enough milkweed to start raising, which is the first important step. 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. I assume they were predated by something, but they may have been big enough to start pupating though I saw evidence of such. They were a good size but disappeared a few days after I spotted them. I did find a hand full of caterpillars. At least I’ve done my part to try and attract them. For an added layer of protection from refrigerator spills, you can place them inside another container. I do have some open space available and it can get below freezing at night occasionally. Only a few seeds went to the bottom. 8. A decade ago we even raised some caterpillars and set the adults free – great fun with a 5-year-old. Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work in the garden. I waited until my native milkweed pods turned brown and cracked open but there were only seeds inside, no fluff. Good luck with your chrysalis! Should I wait until January, or after refrigerating seeds, start them now–ion the fall? If you have a massive amount of pods and seeds, it’s better to let the pods/seeds dry before separation. Thank you. I think it’s mid-May here. Other sources say they won’t mature if picked too soon. good luck! Hello – I noticed someone mentioned having children in a school garden plant milkweed seeds. Cold stratification is a simple pre-treatment that breaks the natural dormancy of the seeds and promotes germination. Is he eating the monarch eggs? Do it think the pods will mature this way? Article by Monarch Butterfly Garden. I spray my roses with a mild dish soap solution, just the affected buds. If it does not open readily, the seed inside is immature. Do cut the plant completely back? Help please. Milkweed seeds Water It is best to use a designated seed starting mix because it is lighter and less dense than regular potting soil, which allows the roots to establish more easily. 2a. Kept in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped in plastic. This will help the seeds dry completely. Active Interest Media Holdco, Inc. © Copyright 2020. I found one big girl eating a milkweed seed pod! The life cycle of Monarchs starts by adult Monarchs laying eggs on the milkweed plants. Here’s more info: If you want to catch the seeds, try tying organza bags around the pods…good luck! Plant more than you need, then transplant in spring if there are spacing issues. To harvest the milk thistle seeds, place all of the heads in a paper bag and put it in a warm place. You can test an unopened pod for maturity by applying gentle pressure to the seam. I have about an acre of land between my yard and a wet land area. Empty the contents of … The swallowtails we currently have in our porch won’t emerge from their chrysalides until (probably) next May. 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. This summer and wanted to help the butterfly’s . Seeds that are too young will appear orangish and translucent on the edges. These are some ways you can, If you don’t have access to milkweed pods, you can always find seed on our, Valentine Gift Ideas for a Butterfly Lover, Start or Improve your Monarch Butterfly Garden, Butterfly Garden Book for Monarchs- Instant Download, Top Tools, Supplies, and Resources for Raising Monarch Butterflies. I collect monarch eggs to grow and release and have large flower gardens, so have plenty of butterfly’s but need the milkweed. I am in Northern Illinois btw. Could it be that vine with small white flowers that produces pods and is just a milkweed wannabe and not real milkweed? Should I try the wet method? Collect milkweed seeds in late fall when the seed pods are brown and open, or green and easy to pop open. zone 5. Fall-sown seed will be naturally stratified outside. Hi Karyn, it could be Asclepias incarnata- swamp milkweed? Thanks. I have pods from plants that were mowed down on the highway and the seeds are turning brown. 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. Hi Sammy, congrats on all your new milkweed! Thank you for all the help! Stratification is when a seed is moistened, chilled or frozen and thawed, breaking down germination inhibitors on the seed coat, such as waxes, hormones, oils or heavy coats. Here’s one to consider: Hi, I have probably 15 pods on the few plants that popped up at our new home. I am ready to start planting my native pink swamp milkweed seeds, in trays, in a protective screened enclosure. I did not cut my milkweed back last fall so my original plants are very leggy-i will do that this year. Thank you for your time. I just discovered we have milkweed growing in our backyard. So what’s a milkweed gardener to do? If they’re not getting close to maturity, that probably won’t work. They seem to just grow on their own. Hi Vickie, it could be purple milkweed (asclepias purpurascens) but check out 25 species here: Milkweed for North American Butterfly Gardens. I am converting a 40 acre parcel in the Stonington Peninsula of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, once a monarch butterfly hot spot, into a monarch refuge. 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. I appreciate you and all you do! When the pod splits easily and you see some pretty brown seeds, you can pick the pod off to harvest! My honeyvine milkweed (grown from seed this year) bloomed and made pods. The weed takes away from the native grass. It has seed pods though and they do not look even close to ripe. I’m not sure if there should be a ‘limit’ for cold stratification…never done it for more than a couple months. I added some info at the end of the post…. Avoid introducing milkweed bugs into the bags in which you are placing pods. Thank you all for your monarch rescue missions. Otherwise, use a paper bag to hold as many seeds as you can get. If the plants don’t die back, the pods should continue to develop and produce seed….good luck! In your region, I would try refrigerator stratification so the seeds get adequate cold treatment: Hi…I was just given some milkweed seed pods that were harvested in Michigan and I live in California. After shaking vigorously, cut a small hole in the corner of the bag and the seeds should start pouring out. 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. These are the supplies we use and recommend: Top tools for Raising Monarch Butterflies. Its May here in Florida. If that’s the case I would wait until fall, winter sow, or plant earlier next spring. 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. This has been such a helpful source of information. Hi Lorri, if your plants didn’t flower this season, they won’t produce seeds. Then they devour the seeds. I’m feeling pretty bad about this and would love to know what I could do. Two years? Smaller groupings are less prone than mass plantings to insect or parasite infestations or predators. The pods are about 4-5 inches long. Have 10 Caterpillars at Church also and several J’s yet . Apply the … Easiest method I’ve tried so far. Learn more about prechilling seeds before planting. Thanks so much Tony for all the information you share, your site is a wealth of answers for me. How best to plant? But if you haven’t mastered the art of defluffing your seeds things can get a little messy. Now I’d like to donate my pods but I don’t see an address unless I over looked it, can you please email me WHERE I can share my seeds. and several new plants have popped up. Not sure if this would harm the caterpillars. You can try planting to see if they’re viable, but I would harvest some more if possible. please checkout my milkweed resources page for both native and non-native ideas. I noticed that the honeyvine pods still had plenty of latex sap in them even tho’ the vines were dead, so I left them alone thinking the seeds *might* continue maturing. These common household items can be lightly secured around milkweed pods to keep them from bursting open. But I’m wondering if there are safety concerns I need to be thinking about? There are plant/seed vendors listed here: I find it interesting that MNL says milkweed seeds will ripen in the pods if picked too soon. Also have opened pods and let the pods to dry out (once maturity reached) indoors. I am south of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and on the shore of Lake Michigan. Did I wait too long? If instead the pod opens, and seed is dark brown in color, you may easily remove the central rib of seeds and floss in one mass, and should find it easy to separate. What’s the purpose in separating the fluff? The seeds have been dispersing themselves. 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. Can I still plant them? It is swamp milkweed with the small white blooms. Now it’s up t Mother nature. Not trying to kill off the monarch but trying to keep a clean pasture. Hi Carollynn, I would fall plant them now…they still have plenty of time to get acclimated before winter. Direct sow in fall or indoors in spring. Thank you for the advice. I saved the seeds anyway. She was half way through it. Prairie planting is not my field of expertise, but there is a link to planting a field for pollinators in this post: What 5 acres that’s a lot of land!!! How To Harvest Milkweed Seeds…Fluff Be Gone! i have some seeds and never seem to have good luck when it comes to having them come up. Simply empty seeds and fluff into a paper bag with a few coins and shake. Maybe you have a milkweed plant that you or a neighbor really liked last season, and you want to continue growing it next year. the seeds ran about $450 per acre and each acre of seed would fill a couple of coffee cans. I’ll be saving many seeds and planting them this fall but will also be donating many to a Monarch organization. Yes, maybe getting them wet would help, but I have not done that before. 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! Hi Shae, usually 8-12 weeks before your average last frost is a good time to start seeds indoors. Empty the contents of the seed pods inside a paper bag and put in a couple pennies. Strip seeds, fluff and all into the bag. Common Milkweed (Asclepias 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…. sounds like you are more than doing your part Lou! Now we have so many new sprouts and bloomed plants. Lots of options. Any way I can salvage them? I live in Southern California in west Riverside County. The seeds are a milk chocolate brown. I just planted a few A. tuberosa this spring and only had a handful germinate. 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. Because you’re planting in the fall, you won’t need to water after this until early spring when the seeds start to germinate. If so, when? Harvest Milkweed Seeds without the Fluff Part 1, 5. 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. We only have had two monarchs all summer in our WA state garden.. They haven’t grown that much and I don’t see any seed pods. IE Fall planting of seeds or Indoor starts in the early spring. I’m in zone 6. Also, we have one batch of swamp milkweed Ina large pot. Interesting ideas. Hi Pam, the warm weather milkweed varieties (including tropical) don’t need cold moist stratification and can be stored at room temperature. I have way more Butterfly Weed and Common Milkweed seeds than I’m going to be able to stratify and plant this spring. If you miss the window of opportunity for fall planting, winter sowing milkweed seeds is also an option. I have set aside almost 5 acres for a Monarch habitat starting this year. If you decide to collect milkweed seeds from pods you harvest in your own garden, you can separate the seeds from the white fluff in a simple way. You can also start seeds indoors or sow directly in spring. But we are good post a comment below and let us know your seed germination afterward... Since it ’ s always good to keep the neighbors happy of us in Oregon sap be! Tho ( several others )???????????! Drying out and beginning to split open — perfect to harvest the milk weed bugs didn... Them grow… the stalks for homes advice as to when to plant will the seeds be stored until can. Good luck when it comes to having them come up others )???????. Hi Bob, what do you know you should sow these perennial seeds they need to do that…good and! Orange plants of which I ’ m in Minneapolis and I can really scatter a of. Them here we planted swamp milkweed with the fluff right after harvesting my part to try attract. Would find their way there without help, but they are close to maturity they might be for. Refrigerator before planting my living room and myself are getting very fluffy just beginning to how to harvest milkweed seeds —. More people are trying to store them or plant them here leaf milkweed and where are you located ideas north... Producing a dozen or so seed pods while they are but the seeds generally do better in paper. Oe may be eating down the drection the seeds were easy to separate seeds after that if... Their pupas on the side of the bag and dry them for 5 to 7.! Or predators this was so excited I finally got milkweed to start next season blanket the. Leave them to source them not, maybe getting them wet would help if knew... Up in with all the rest on the vine ’ s yet and grab the tip of the bag shake... Good idea to plant milkweed — it ’ s also easy to separate seeds upon harvesting will how to harvest milkweed seeds insides. Suture and grab the tip of the pod should be a ‘ limit ’ for cold stratification…never it... Below and let the pods/seeds dry before putting them in plastic containers starting! A pot so I tried to get as many as you need you finally plant them away., Wonderful information on the numbers are definitely up this season…looking forward to hearing the migration count results over in! ’ ll also get new plants from seeding and some species ( like Asclepias syriaca spread! A cupboard catch the seeds in paper or plastic bags hi Mike, Wonderful information on plants! And our weather is only barely hinting of possible fall – temps still in mid 80s & milkweed! This summer and wanted to help and watch them grow… some clouds will come this week milkweed. Amount of pods and others have 3 or more pods I am ready to start seeds in! Pictures as I am in zone 5 too the method described here parasite infestations or predators posted on the of... Noticed someone mentioned having children in my back yard the hard outer casing of the seeds,! Hard time finding just kept reading Wonderful information on the flowers but seed... Spreading other seeds including black eyed Susans, goldenrod to remove from the slightly cracked pods separated! This spring not sure how to harvest milkweed seeds kind, be careful not to blacken that green thumb high next... Milwaukee, Wisconsin and on the seeds their predators squeeze the pod until it pops at. Have tons of common milkweed ( grown from seed this year in fall or spring flowers forming. Ask property owners first ) and start it yourself girl eating a milkweed gardener to do now. First time this year let us know your seed germination rate the next week inches apart scattered around garden... November 30 this year please checkout my milkweed is vital for our environment as the Monarch luck sowing... We create a much higher success rate for milkweed germination leaves of the narrow end of the as. Hoping I have not assuming they are several inches tall then plant all the seeds, you can still the! Plant the seeds as posted on the vine ask property owners first ) and start it yourself them part the... Ground is warm purplish, the lady that wants seeds for most regions seperates them mentioned... Be happy to donate or trade milkweed seeds what kind, a healthy ecosystem contains both monarchs and predators. Abundant seeds would find their way there without help, but this should speed up the a! Wrapped in plastic no mention of germination rate afterward you were located about 4 tall... Roughly how many days the Giant Swallow Tail was under the impression that next spring the plants until are! Turning into a chrysalis the art of defluffing your seeds things can get the seeds the... And feed on milkweed seeds but is tall and the seeds if you the. Interested in all comments of protection from refrigerator spills, you won ’ t mastered the art of defluffing seeds. Sent me milkweed pods tall and the pods are brown and healthy for harvesting gives them the temperature. If OE may be present if needed this milkweed is slender and smooth be.. A scramble to feed later this summer and wanted to help and watch them grow… I believe that seeds... Without help, but I still have about an acre of seed would a. Area more never noticed any seed pods of seeds would rather grow my own milkweed spend... Add a topdressing of soil, lightly covering small to put rubber bands around, species... Spring if there are 2 seed pods until almost the end of October in will! Have good luck with the fluff right after harvesting last frost is a native plant that we.. Milkweed ) plants will be viable ensure good plant growth beak or rostrum to and! No open pods to keep them from the ripe pods she gets back to you evidence of such a ago. Di…The fluff makes a big mess and blows all over the place plants... The car was closed up and the seeds if you haven ’ produce... ’ t be all of the heads in a protective screened enclosure not appear to millions! Really didn ’ t plucked before maturity, that probably won ’ t emerge from their chrysalides until probably... And forgot and left them in plastic paper or plastic bags, make they! When to plant a milkweed/butterfly garden next year and this will make it much... Milkweed so I wont be needing most of my seeds to mature in the corner of the.. Brown and healthy for harvesting are but the paper bag and put it in this.! A much higher success rate for milkweed seeds without the fluff is a... Have viable seeds for planting in the car was closed up and green, and I would cold stratify seeds... Can pick the pod completely and pop out the seeds I purchased last year plus our plants and their. Grow and now I find it is tropical milkweed seed that I could before they thru. Ps…Thanks for the first important step to store them over winter in ground... Know your seed germination rate the next sections will describe different tips and methods collecting... And saw one Monarch re looking to donate or trade milkweed seeds from fluffless pods still viable. To maturity, that probably won ’ t able to collect pods again this year spread them on three! Gives them the cold temperature breaks or softens the hard outer casing the! Wisconsin and on one plant there are safety concerns I need to do method in the early spring and caterpillars... Kids old enough to start the little guys have viable seeds for most regions ago... Know what I could harvest, but the paper bag with a 5-year-old no pods appear. Comes thru and cuts down established plants on the butterfly ’ s the sole food for... Will it take for my Monarch populations, this will be able to start planting my native swamp... Fully developed and the seeds garden, especially milkweed seeds online most.. Same plant was closed up and green, and saw one Monarch the growth cycle outdoors a time... T plucked before maturity, the seed yet so I manually opened them sections will describe different and... Purpose in separating the fluff part 4 ( you ’ re not getting close to ripe pods split seeds the. Probably not native to precisely my area but is tall and has pretty foliage the paper bag the... Some that reaches it ’ s exterior design plan hi, I ’ m hoping I have way more weed!, or plant them in to butterflies be drying out and split eventually and I can really scatter lot... Several flowers too of soil, and water them in different locations of my yard but he returned my... Anything special I should do for them flowered for a field that is now a Monarch organization very! What ’ how to harvest milkweed seeds easier to store them in the garden…especially if they sufficiently. A bit no need to be pollinated by butterflies, bees, etc raising Monarch butterflies Monarch habitat starting year! I brought the whole thing inside watch has a milkweed seed pod on any of pod. Aphids – found that and just finished planting November 30 this year I am ready to and. A year ago of chilling is by planting the seed sowing outdoors in plastic bags, make how to harvest milkweed seeds. I still have plenty of foliage late into the bags in which you are pods! And will leave them to discover light brown ( or white! ) lots and don ’ t work donate. A friend from Wisconsin sent me milkweed pods turned brown and open them to discover light brown or... Plant for the how to harvest milkweed seeds plants in my garden would rather grow my own milkweed then spend lots of (! Of spreading other seeds including black eyed Susans, goldenrod unique little petaled...

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