Showy Milkweed -- Asclepias speciosa (25+ seeds)
Now shipping fresh seed for 2023 planting!
This species of perennial milkweed offers food for Monarch Butterfly caterpillars, and its flowers provide nectar to Monarchs and a host of other butterflies and insects. I have seen Two-Tailed Swallowtails nectaring on these flowers in our front yard, as well as hummingbirds. (The product picture is of actual plants in our front yard)
Native to over three quarters of the continental US, this is a great plant to establish in your butterfly garden or plantings. Seed is wild collected fresh each year in Umatilla County, Oregon, where rainfall is only 11-12 inches per year. This makes our local populations very tolerant to low water. Once established, this beautiful plant will come back year after year.
What to expect with these seeds:
Germination: place seeds between moist paper towels in a sealed container in the refrigerator for two weeks. Take out of the fridge and they should begin sprouting within a week. Another option is to sow 1/4 inch deep in prepared garden soil in late winter or early spring, as the cold days will cold stratify the seed appropriately. (Will seed germinate without the cold treatment? Yes. However, germination will be sporadic.)
Planting: Start seed in an area where it has about a two foot square to grow in.
Year 1: The plant will remain small while establishing its root system. Make sure it is watered with other plants in the yard so it will get a strong start. No flowers the first year.
Year 2: Many stalks and flowers and a strengthening root system. Moderate water is helpful, but the plant is now very drought tolerant.
Year 3 onward: The plants are fully established. Pull occasional "runners" that may pop up as the plant spreads underground. This is typically only an issue if the plant continues to receive irrigation. Cut back the water as the plant no longer requires it.