Milkweed, Common, Asclepias syriaca, 4in potted plant, Apocynaceae, Organic Plants, GMO Free
Name: Common Milkweed
Scientific Name: Asclepias syriaca
Host plant to the monarch butterfly and the tiger moth, Milkweed is a staple of any butterfly garden. Monarch larvae consume only milkweeds, and will often eat it to the stem if the caterpillar population outnumbers the milkweed. The milkweed contains a milky sap, which is toxic in large quantities and should not be ingested.
Origination: North America
Recommended Uses: Butterfly Garden
Height: 3-6 ft.
Hardiness: zones: Perennial USDA Zones 8+; Annual In colder zones.
Flower Color: white, purple
Other Names: butterfly flower, silkweed, silky swallow-wort, and Virginia silkweed
When Starting milkweed seeds indoors, they will have to go through aa period of cold stratification (although not technically necessary, this not only increases the germination success rate, but its speed to germination after planting as well)
To do this, put your Milkweed seed in a damp paper towel or some damp sand inside a plastic zip lock bag, and place in your fridge for 3 – 6 weeks (30 days).
From here you may plant your seed start trays, or smaller pots covering with about ¼ inch of soil. Watering them once you plant them, and about once every other day. The best way to test the soil dampness is to touch it; if the soil seems dry then add water, but if it’s wet, wait for the soil to dry out before adding more water. Milkweed needs lots of light to grow so make sure for the next few weeks, your milkweed is either in a sunny window, in a green house, or under a grow light. (Cold-stratified Milkweed seeds should germinate and sprout within 10-15 days once planted)
The best time to put in milkweed plants in the ground is in early spring after the danger of frost has passed; while planting milkweed seeds can done in late fall so winter will do the cold stratification for you.
When transplanting outside, to a bright sunny place, take care not to disturb the taproot too much. If you do this can cause the plant to go into shock, in which case might drop all its leaves. If this happens, do not panic, and allow the plant some time as it reestablishes itself and its root system.
Once established, milkweed will need very little supplemental water, only really needing it during dry spells.