Germinating Milkweed Seeds
Thank you for supporting Monarch Butterflies!

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Milkweed seeds can be sown directly in the ground in the fall. By sowing them in the fall they will be exposed to winter’s colder temperatures, and then when they warm in the spring they will naturally be coaxed from winter’s dormancy. Place them in holes about ½” deep, and about 6” apart. A light coating of mulch will help keep the seeds moist in the spring. Do not fertilize. In the spring they will likely receive enough water from Sacramento’s rainfall, but light watering might be necessary if rain is scarce.

In the spring milkweed seeds can be grown in small pots and then transplanted. In
the early spring, sow them in 2” or 4” pots, using two or three seeds to a pot and
planting them ½” deep. Keep the soil moist but not wet. Do not fertilize. Once
sprouted, keep the pots in a well-lit location. Wait to transplant until the seedlings
are at least 3” or 4” tall. Be careful when transplanting; milkweed only forms a few
roots and the soil is not held tightly by the plant. Carefully transplant by supporting
the soil around the roots.

Monarch butterflies will be even more attracted to your milkweed garden if you also
plant flowering plants nearby. The caterpillars need milkweed, but the butterflies
need nectar. The butterflies will help pollenate your flowers, too!

Have fun with your milkweed seeds, and thank you for supporting Monarch
butterflies!