Publications Library. This will give your Milkweed seed a long winter of dormancy. Keep in mind that seeds have a range of soil temperatures at which they will germinate. California milkweed, Asclepias californica is one of the most beautiful milkweeds in the Santa Monica Mountains. 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. 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. Questions & Answers. The seeds should germinate in 10 to 14 days. 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. Sources of milkweed seeds and plants can be found via our Milkweed Market and the Xerces Society’s Seed Finder. Planting Narrowleaf Milkweed Seeds. Growing Milkweed. Growing milkweed is easy, as the plant basically takes care of itself once established. Educate others and ask them to take responsibility for their actions. As the blog points out, milkweed won’t germinate until the soil starts to warm in late spring. University of California Press. Where to Plant Milkweed in California. 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. Get A FREE Catalog. Most of the areas in which milkweed is found are frost freeze zones. But now, as difficult as it is to believe, we are learning that this may not necessarily be true. Refer to the seed packets for special instructions on sowing the seeds. 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. 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. References Balls, E.K. Whether to plant native milkweed or non-native milkweed in your garden has been a controversial topic. Connect With Us. 19-004. Pesticide Reduction & Alternatives. 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. I’ll show you the right timing for collecting milkweed seeds from existing plants and how to sow the seeds. Direct seed or transplant. You can also start stratified seeds indoors in late winter. And, true to their name, the nonnative plants are a bit weedy. Milkweed is slender and doesn't need much room to grow so go ahead and plant many seeds! The Midwest … The red outline on the map below is a no-milkweed 5-mile buffer from the California Coast north of Santa Barbara. California has a wonderful climate for growing vegetables, with a whopping 270 days between the last and first frost dates in the season. Leaves … Midwest and Northeast. Early uses of California plants. After you’ve sown the seeds, compact them into the soil (but don’t cover them) to provide good soil-to-seed contact. News like this can seem both abstract and overwhelming. clicking on Plant Materials. Flowers bloom from June to September, but may not bloom until the second year. California milkweed grows in lower northern California, central and southern California as well as into northern Baja California. 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. Download as PDF. Monarch caterpillar on a Milkweed plant. Zones 2-8. Plant an idea by sharing your knowledge. The plant is commonly found growing in open fields, pastures and prairies. Gardener's have recently taken an interest in milkweed plants, as the flowers that appear throughout summer are known to attract butterflies. In fact, many California plants do not need a frost to trigger germination, but it is on a species by species basis. But now, as difficult as it is to believe, we are learning that this may not necessarily be true. The range of desert milkweed extends from western Arizona and southern Nevada, into southeastern California and Baja California, Sonora, and Sinaloa, Mexico. HISTORY & FOLKLORE Historically, various Native Americans throughout its range have used desert milkweed as a medicinal plant. See BONAP’s North American Plant Atlas for Asclepias. Press & Media. This flowering plant is a hairy, erect perennial that grows to about 4 feet tall. Join our friendly community that shares tips and ideas for gardens, along with seeds and plants. In most areas, when you plant seeds outside in fall, seeds can go through the cold stratification process naturally. There are over 100 species of milkweeds in North America and not all of them are used by Monarchs. Plant a seed today and change your backyard. Educate yourself about the effects of your actions. Build a Butterfly and Pollinator Garden in 7 Steps When to plant milkweed seeds depends on whether you’re growing milkweed from seeds or small plants. Plant in the spring after the danger of frost is gone. SEEDS AND PLUGS NEEDED FOR RESTORATION BY REGION. How to plant milkweed for monarch butterflies. Monarch’s appetites do not seem specific to any particular species of milkweed. Narrow-leaf milkweed evolved in California so it is a generally drought tolerant plant. To direct sow, plant seeds in debris-free, well-worked soil that has been deeply watered. Without proper thinning, you will end up with weaker plants. 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 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). Planting Tropical Milkweed Seeds. Version Number _01 PROGRAMS. Please plant seeds and help to ensure their survival. When starting the plant, water regularly but allow the soil to go nearly dry between each watering. I then gently tap the bottom of the seed tray on a flat surface to let the soil mix settle just a bit. Native Milkweed in California: Planting and Establishment. 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. It is best to plant species from your local area, adapted to the specific site conditions where the plants are to be grown. Serial Number. With deep purple flowers and white to gray fuzzy foliage this plant typically sprawls across the ground rather than growing upwards. Happy growing! Cover with 1/4” of finely sifted soil. Skip to content. It’s never easy to get the message out about threats to the environment and endangered species. 1962. California has a wonderful climate for growing vegetables, with a whopping 270 days between the last and first frost dates in the season. Pollinator Conservation. Those engaged in restoration are urged to consult the county distribution maps and to select species that are previously known to occur. 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. Milkweed is an herbaceous perennial plant native to North America. Sign up for our Newsletter. Keep the planting bed moist until the seedlings become established. This may lead you to wonder what does milkweed look like. When emerging milkweeds have three to four sets of leaves, thin seedlings to 6 inches apart. Plant them 18 inches apart. Starting seeds indoors in winter. 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. Others have considered it toxic. Some seeds do need a hard frost to germinate, but milkweed seeds do not. Take responsibility for your actions. Speaking of migrations, where the monarch spends its summer determines where it goes in the winter. You have the power to instantly change the world ! 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. Plant seeds of the milkweed plant indoors or direct sow outside after danger of frost has passed and soil has warmed. If you are planting seed outside, we suggest seeding in late fall so that Milkweed seeds can lay on the ground through winter. ... That’s why migrate more than 3,000 miles each fall to Mexico or Southern California. Seeds and plants of selected Asclepias cultivars are available from many nurseries. Showy milkweed is native to much of the western half of North America. To start plants from seed, see How to Sow Seeds Indoors for Outdoor Plants. Newsletter . Work the sand into the soil to a depth of about 9 inches. Xerces Blog. It is a perennial and has thick wooly stems that are low to the ground and bending upwards. The milkweed plant is an upright specimen that may reach 2 to 6 feet. Resources. 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. 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. Support the Xerces Society. Plant the seeds, watch the milkweed grow, and wait for monarch butterflies to arrive! It is an important monarch butterfly caterpillar host plant. 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. You need to plant your California poppy seeds in rich, fast-draining soil with access to ample water and full sunshine. 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. You can plant your seedlings in your garden after the last frost when they are at least 3 inches tall. 102 pp. 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. A Milkweed in every yard! Fall and winter are the perfect time to start milkweed from seeds. Milkweed, in the Asclepias genus of plants, is the host plant for the monarch butterfly. Grow milkweed in your garden to provide food for monarch caterpillars. Step 2: Add soil . 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. When to Plant Milkweed seeds can be sown outdoors after the danger of frost has passed. Question: What type of milkweed should I plant for Sunland, California, a suburb of Los Angeles, CA? 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